Over half of Israelis believe Gaza attack was ‘too weak’, poll finds

Smoke rises after the warplanes of Israel carried out an airstrike over Gaza City, Gaza on May 29, 2018

Over half of Israelis believe that Israel’s recent attack on the Gaza Strip was too weak, while only three per cent thought it constituted an excessive approach.

The poll – which was published by Israel’s public broadcaster Kan this morning – found that 53 per cent of respondents think Israel’s attack on Gaza in the past few days was “too weak”. Only three per cent said Israel’s response was “excessive”, while 29 per cent said Israel’s response was “sufficient without being excessive,” Arutz Sheva reported.

The poll also found that Israelis were divided over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s performance throughout the attack, with only 24 per cent of Israelis characterising his performance as “good”. A further 33 per cent said it was “poor”, while 33 per cent gave the prime minister a “moderate” rating.

This comes after Israel on Monday launched an attack on the already-besieged Gaza Strip, continuing to bombard the coastal enclave throughout the week. In what the Israeli army claimed to be a response to a rocket fired from Gaza at a town north of Tel Aviv, Israel sent two army brigades – amounting to over 1,000 soldiers – to the Gaza fence and called up reservists from aerial units in preparation for air strikes.

It also locked down the Strip, closing the Kerem Shalom (Karm Abu Salem) and Erez (Beit Hanoun) crossings – which allow goods and medical supplies into Gaza – and reduced the fishing zone it imposes off the Strip’s Mediterranean coast.

This was followed by a series of intense bombardments of Gaza which saw multiple buildings destroyed, including a mosque and the office of Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas which governs the enclave. Images of the destruction have since revealed that, contrary to the Israeli army’s claims to have only targeted military positions, civilian infrastructure including Palestinians’ homes was also hit. Palestine’s Public Works Minister, Mufeed Al-Hasayneh, announced today that “30 houses were completely destroyed and 500 houses were damaged” across Gaza.

READ: Hamas: Palestinian resistance has a right to defend its people

That the majority of Israelis viewed Israel’s strikes on Gaza as “weak” should come as little surprise given the rhetoric employed by Israeli politicians in the past few days. With less than two weeks to go before the upcoming general election on 9 April, candidates have been quick to use the attack on Gaza for their own political agendas.

Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked – who co-lead the New Right (Hayemin Hehadash) party – this week called for the bombardment of Gaza to be intensified. For his part, Bennett appeared to advocate for bombing civilians and carrying out targeted assassinations, saying: “Bombing an empty building and then feeling good, as if this is what is deterring Hamas, is nonsense, it does not work.”

Meanwhile, Shaked said that “[Israel] must not contain and pay Hamas protection money. They have to be afraid of us. They have to be deterred and we should not allow this rampage to happen.”

That over a third of Israelis think Netanyahu’s handling of the attack on Gaza was “poor” will be a blow to the incumbent prime minister, who many commentators believe hoped to use the crisis to prove himself able to be “tough” on Gaza and Hamas. Netanyahu – who is also Israel’s defence minister – cut short his two-day trip to the US to deal with the situation, immediately convening a meeting with the Israeli defence establishment upon his return.

Addressing the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference via video link from Israel yesterday, Netanyahu said: “We responded with great force [but] I can tell you we are prepared to do a lot more. We will do what is necessary to defend our people and to defend our state.” Since then Israel’s attack on Gaza has slowed, though a number of air strikes took place near Rafah, in the south of the Strip, were carried out last night.

There are fears that Israel could re-start its assault later this week, as tens of thousands of Palestinians are expected to gather at the border fence this weekend for the first anniversary of the Great March of Return.

READ: UN warns of ‘catastrophic consequences’ in Gaza

(Source / 27.03.2019) 

PA stops medical transfers due to lack of funds

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US dollars

Palestinian Ministry of Health announced yesterday that it is stopping all medical transfers to Israeli hospitals in response to Tel Aviv  withholding millions of dollars in taxes owed to the Palestinian Authority, Arab48 reported.

Spokesman of the Ministry of Health Osama Al-Najjar said: “The decision came in the context of the directions issued by the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to the different ministries to reduce the relationship with Israel.”

Al-Najjar added that this is part of the response of the Israeli decision to deduct $138 million from the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s tax revenue in a bid to stop prisoners’ stipends.

“The bill of the medical treatment transfers to the Israeli hospitals is about $100 million a year,” he said.

The PA threatened to refuse customs duties altogether if Israel pressed ahead with its decision to make deductions. Senior official of Fatah – the Palestinian faction which dominates the PA – Hussein Al-Sheikh, blamed the US for Israel’s decision, revealing that international financial institutions and banks had begun imposing a financial siege on the PA at the US’ request.

READ: PA loses $350m per year due to Israel treaty violations

(Source / 27.03.2019) 

Israel guards handcuff 90 Palestinian prisoners overnight

Palestinian activists take part in a protest in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons [File photo]

Palestinian activists take part in a protest in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons

Ninety Palestinian prisoners held at section 3 of the Negev prison, in southern Israel, spent their night handcuffed to their beds, Ma’an News has reported.

The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) reported that prisoners of the section were not provided with bed covers or any other belongings.

PPS added that the Israeli Prison Services (IPS) demanded prisoners to pledge that they would not set their bed covers on fire as a form of protest if allowed in.

READ: Israeli forces detain 10 Palestinians across West Bank

Israeli suppression forces have been carrying out raids suppressing prisoners at the Negev prison since February 19th, after prisoners protested against the IPS installing jamming devices around sections of the prison.

Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners were assaulted and injured by Israeli prison guards on Sunday night. Israeli guards used bullets, stun grenades and tear-gas bombs to suppress prisoners.

(Source / 27.03.2019) 

ISRAELI ATTACKS DESTROY MOSQUE, WOUND 10 PEOPLE IN BESIEGED GAZA

10 people, including 2 children, were wounded in Israel’s occupation forces attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip on Monday and early on Tuesday. Israeli occupation fired and dropped over 100 bombs and missiles to the small coastal enclave of two million people in the attacks. Among the targets were nine sites belonging to Hamas, the office of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, various office and business sites including a driving school and al-Multazem insurance company; Israeli occupation claimed that the latter would’ve been ‘secret headquarters’ for Hamas operatives, which was denied by Palestinian sources. Civilian residential buildings, including four-story one belonging to the Ghazali family in Gaza City, were also git and in that particular case, completely destroyed. Israeli bombing overall left 70 people, including 44 children and 13 women, homeless. Omar Ibn Abdel Aziz mosque in Beit Hanoun caught fire after being hit by an Israeli bomb and was mostly destroyed. The mosque was built to replace a previous one which Israel destroyed in an air-strike on January 4th 2009. 20 agricultural sites were also hit in the Israeli occupation attacks, while resistance groups launched up to 50 rockets (and possibly mortars), none of which caused injuries or damage to infrastructure. The attacks came after a rocket hit a building in the town of Mishmeret in ethnically cleansed Palestine 1948, injuring 8 persons, including 3 children. Israel’s occupation forces claimed that the rocket would have been launched from a Hamas site in Gaza, which Hamas denied, with an official of the movement commenting: “No one from the resistance movements, including Hamas, has an interest in firing rockets from the Gaza Strip towards the enemy.” Palestinian Authority’s caretaker government released a comment condemning the Israeli occupation forces’ attacks and pleaded for intervention from the world: “The international community cannot remain silent to the Israeli airstrikes on Gaza…” The reaction was expected; for example United Nations’ special envoy Nickolay Mladenov condemned the rocket launch but not Israeli occupation forces’ attacks and after thus neutralizing the weight of his other comments, made the usual warnings about the possibility of a war and that there was no alternative for a two-state solution. Currently a truce negotiated by Egypt seems to be largely holding beyond Israel’s occupation forces shooting 18-year-old teenager at his foot east of al-Bureij refugee camp with a rubber-coated steel bullet. Whether the truce will be continued is unclear. Approaching Knesset elections mean that Israel’s government will be even more prone than usual to military action instead of de-esclation. #Gaza #GazaStrip #Palestine

  (Source / 27.03.2019) 

Jewish illegal settlers attack Palestinian school in Bethlehem

BETHLEHEM, PALESTINOW.COM — Groups of Israeli settlers on Tuesday afternoon attacked a Palestinian school in Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank.

Quds Press said, quoting local residents, that hordes of Israeli settlers, escorted by the Israeli army, gathered at the doors of an elementary school in Tuqu’ town in Bethlehem, and blocked the movement of Palestinian citizens in the area.

The settlers attempted to break into the school and attacked the teachers and students, while dozens of Palestinian youths and parents rushed to the place and confronted the settler attack.

(Source / 27.03.2019) 

Hunger Striker Ahmed Mousa In Poor Health Condition In Israeli Jail

The health condition of Palestinian prisoner Ahmed Mousa, 41, has badly worsened as a result of the open-ended hunger strike he started 28 days ago in protest at his detention administratively, with no trial or indictment.

According to Muhjat al-Quds Foundation for Martyrs and Prisoners, prisoner Mousa suffers from severe physical fatigue and weakness and has become unable to move.

Mousa has been on hunger strike since February 28, 2019 and refuses to have water or any type of vitamins and medication.

He was arrested with no guilt in November last year and has been in administrative detention since then.

(Source / 27.03.2019) 

Everyone Was United Under One Motto: We Have A Right To Return To Our Historic Homeland

On Land Day, March 30, I set out with my three 12-year-old children, husband and other family members to join an estimated 30,000 other Gazan Palestinians for the first day of the Great Return March to the border with occupied Palestine [Israel]. Every day until May 15, the anniversary of the Nakba [“catastrophe” when more than 750,000 Palestinians were forced from their homeland during Israel’s creation] we will camp by the border to remind the world that we have a right to return home.

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It took me 45 minutes to get to the eastern border of Gaza City. We passed through the densely populated neighborhood of Shejaiya, where a terrible massacre took place during the 2014 Israeli war on Gaza. The streets were congested with Friday morning vendors whose faces reflected the miseries and toils of Gaza life. Mule and horse-pulled carts dominated al-Mansoura Street as I rode in the car; I realized I had actually never been to that part of the city before!


When we reached the Israeli border area, tents and seating areas places where people were to sit were placed about 700 meters from the fence that separates Gaza from the rest of occupied Palestine. My eyes beheld a heavenly scene of a vast, green area on the other side of my country. (The area now known as Israel has plenty of water, unlike Gaza!) My heart raced and pounded in the same way it had when I went to Jerusalem in 2000 and visited al-Aqsa Mosque. I wanted to run to that oasis and touch the isolated and prohibited area of my homeland. A sudden rush of adrenaline filled my body.

Families sat on the ground with their kids, who wore the national Palestinian dress or camouflage uniforms. When I asked them to pose for a picture, each kid held up the name of the town his/her family originally came from and a sign that read, “We will return.” For a fanciful moment, I imagined that today was actually the day of return. All of the people gathered there greeted each other with, “Inshallah, we will all return.” Gaza happens to be my native homeland, but I was envious, so I said to my friends there: “I’m going back, too. All of Palestine is my country.”

I pointed to the closed border area, where the barbed fence and armed watchtowers were located, and said to my kids with a half-cracked voice, “See, that is Palestine. See how beautiful it is.” As the sirens of ambulances intermingled with the vociferous speeches and national songs, I realized there would always be martyrs. As long as Palestine is not free, and as long as we are locked up in the big cage that is Gaza and denied the right to live like other ordinary humans around the world, there will always be young people willing to sacrifice their lives for the sake of the sacred soil of Palestine.

At that moment, we were all one. Everyone there was united under one flag and one motto: We have a right to return to Palestinians’ historic homeland. This overwhelming feeling of unity long has been missing, especially in Gaza. As I pondered the faces of my people there with me, one fact was clear to me more than ever: None of us had anything more valuable to lose than what we already had—our home.

The fearless ones, mostly young men, ventured close to the border even though they were not armed—they couldn’t resist getting a closer glimpse of their occupied homeland. They were as vulnerable as us women and posed no threat. Yet as they had threatened, Israeli snipers were positioned to kill these dreamers. The Israeli occupation forces also fired teargas canisters at the crowds.

The toll at the end of the day was 16 martyrs and more than 1,500 wounded. But being a Palestinian and standing up for our rights has meant sacrifice since our first displacement in 1948. My family and I will not back down.

(Source / 27.03.2019) 

Latest Israeli Bombing On Gaza Destroyed 30 Residential Units, And Caused Damage To 500

27 MAR12:39 AM

Palestinian Labor Minister Mofeed al-Hasaina has reported, Tuesday, that the Israeli bombing on Gaza, which started on Monday evening, has destroyed 30 civilian residential units, and caused damage to 500 others.

In a press briefing, al-Hasaina said that engineers and workers of the Labor Ministry have started since morning hours, Tuesday, assessing the damage caused by extensive Israeli bombings on Gaza.

He added that the teams started reopening roads that were closed by debris of bombed homes, and buildings.

Al-Hasaina also stated that the Ministry is conducting all needed efforts, including coordination with international institutions, to ease the suffering of the Palestinian people in the besieged and impoverished Gaza Strip.

The Ad-Dameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association issued a statement condemning Israel’s serious escalation on Gaza, and its ongoing violations of international law, especially international humanitarian laws.

Ad-Dameer added that this latest escalation is the most violent since Israel’s offensive on the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2014, and called on the International Community to end its silence and intervene to end these serious crimes against the civilian population.

It stated that the Israeli army started its latest offensive of the Gaza Strip on Monday evening, March 25th, 2019, by carrying out more than 50 air strikes, targeting not only sites used by army resistance groups, but also dozens of civilian homes, apartment and commercial buildings, in addition to agricultural lands and structures, causing serious damage and dozens of injuries.

(Source / 27.03.2019) 

Israeli Escalation Continues for Second Night; Egyptian Mediators Arrive in Gaza

27 MAR3:44 AM

After Israel’s assault on Gaza Monday night, Israel’s Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, told Israeli army radio on Tuesday morning that Israel will “continue to exact a very heavy price from Hamas for its attacks on Israeli citizens”, Israel’s Haaretz reported.

Erdan acknowledged that Hamas was willing to agree to a truce, but insisted that “all rumours and heresy of a cease-fire are incorrect.” and that the Israeli hostilities will persist until the objectives are met.

Also on Tuesday morning, a senior Hamas official told Haaretz that Gaza factions are committed to cease-fire, while Al-Jazeera reported that Egyptian officials are currently mediating talks between the Israeli government and leaders in Gaza.

Israel’s stipulation for cease-fire, according to Palestinian sources, included stopping all protest near the perimter fence, including acanceling the border protest scheduled for March 30th, which marks Palestinian Land Day, and the one year addnivassary since the Great Return March” nonviolent processions started in the Gaza Strip.

The night-time protest planned for Tuesday night was delayed, for security reasons, the organizing committee of the “Great March of Return”, that it would halt all activities on Gaza’s northern shores.

Israeli army equipment and troops were reported on Tuesday afternoon to be organized along several points along the southern border fence between Gaza and Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, conferred with his chief of staff, the head of Shin Bet (Israel’s security agency), and others, assessing the situation.

An Israeli army  source claimed that several Palestinian “suspects” crossed the “security fence” into Israel, and returned to the besieged Gaza Strip.

Tuesday afternoon, a so called incendiary balloon from Gaza set fire to a field inside of Israel, shortly after this, rocket alerts were sounded in Southern Israel, bordering Gaza, an explosion was heard, and the rocket landed in an open area, with no injuries reported.

Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett, and his party, Hayamin Hehadash, made a statement calling for Netanyahu to “neutralize and defeat Hamas”.

The two main factions in Gaza, Hamas and Islamic Jihad both denied involvement in the last rocket that came from Gaza.

It is worth mentioning that Egyptian mediators have been holding separate talks with Israel and Hamas, in an effort to prevent further, and more serious, militatry escalation and offensive.

(Source / 27.03.2019) 

Israeli Air Force Fires Many Missiles Into Gaza

27 MAR7:44 AM

The Israeli Air Forces carried out, at dawn Tuesday, several airstrikes for the second consecutive night, targeting many areas in the besieged and improvised Gaza Strip, after hours of relative calm in and around the coastal region.

Media sources said the army fired missiles at a Palestinian security center, east of Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, and attacked the same site with missiles a few hours later.

The missiles caused excessive damage to the site, in addition to surrounding homes and structures, and caused a power blackout in large areas of Rafah.

The army also fired missiles and shells targeting several sites, run by armed resistance groups, security and police centers, in addition to several civilian structures, including apartment buildings, in Rafah, causing excessive damage.

Several missiles were also fired into another resistance-run site, in Khan Younis city, in southern Gaza Strip, and in Bani Suheila village, east of the city.

It is worth mentioning that the al-Qassam brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, and various armed resistance groups in Gaza, including the Al-Quds Brigades of the Islamic Jihad, have denied firing missiles into Israeli areas, and stated that the shells were fired by an unknown armed group.

On its part, the Israeli army said a missile was fired from Gaza and landed into an open area in Asqalan (Ashkelon).

(Source / 27.03.2019)