Palestinians and Israelis agree to new truce

Palestinian negotiators say that a ceasefire agreement with Israel will be extended for another five days.

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have agreed to extend a ceasefire in Gaza for another five days after failing to reach a long term agreement in Cairo-mediated talks, Palestinian and Egyptian officials said on Wednesday.

A previously agreed three-day truce was set to expire less than an hour afterwards, at midnight local time (2100 GMT).

“We have agreed to give more time for the negotiations,” Azzam al-Ahmed, head of the Palestinian delegation in Cairo said on Wednesday, saying the extra time would be a further five days.

An Egyptian official said Israel also accepted the proposal. Israel had earlier said it would back an extension of the lull.

Earlier on Wednesday, Israeli police said a rocket from Gaza had landed in southern Israeli, hours before the truce was supposed to come to an end, the Reuters news agency reported. However, Hamas denied it was responsible for firing it.

Nearly 2,000 Palestinians have been killed since Israel launched its Gaza offensive on July 8 to halt cross-border rocket fire. On the Israeli side, 67 people have been killed, 64 of them soldiers.

(Source / 13.08.2014)

No truce without lifting Israel Gaza blockade: Haniyeh

A Palestinian man inspects the damage as he walks along the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip in the city of Rafah on August 13, 2014.

A Palestinian man inspects the damage as he walks along the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip in the city of Rafah on August 13, 2014

Leader of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas Ismail Haniyeh says a permanent truce with the Israeli regime cannot be achieved other than by the complete removal of a seven-year-old blockade on the besieged Gaza Strip.

On Wednesday, Haniyeh told the al-Aqsa television network that “achieving a permanent truce can come only through lifting the blockade on Gaza.”

The Hamas leader also expressed support for the Palestinian negotiators engaged in indirect talks with Israeli officials in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, in order to reach a truce deal on Gaza.

“I am quite certain that our delegation in Cairo will not give in to blackmail,” Haniyeh noted.

His remarks came hours after his house was targeted by an Israeli airstrike, which left no casualties, according to witnesses, although the house was flattened.

Israeli warplanes have been carrying out incessant airstrikes on the blockaded Gaza Strip since July 8.

Nearly 1,960 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have lost their lives and at least 10,100 have been injured despite pressure from the international community on the Tel Aviv regime to end the military aggression.

Moreover, nearly 400,000 Palestinian children are in immediate need of psychological help due to “catastrophic and tragic impact” of the Israeli war, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

(Source / 13.08.2014)

War Remnants Explode in Gaza, Killing 6 and Bringing Death Toll Up to 1957

GAZA, August 13, 2014 – (WAFA) – At least six people, including two journalists, were killed Wednesday and six others were injured when an Israeli War Remnants exploded near Ash-Sheikh Zayed Towers in Beit Lahia in northern Gaza Strip, bringing the total death toll to about 1,957 and over 10,200 injuries.

An unexploded Israeli missile blew up at this area, claiming the lives of at least six people, including two reporters, and injuring six others, mostly critical injuries.

The two reporters killed in the explosion, an international and a Palestinian, used to work for Associated Press (AP). The Palestinian reporter was identified as ‘Ali Abu ‘Afash.

Palestinian cameraman Hatem Moussa, who works at WAFA news agency and also at AP, was among the injured.

(Source / 13.08.2014)

French lawyer talks of reviving case against Israel at the ICC

French lawyer Gilles Devers had filed a case at the International Criminal Court on behalf of Palestine in July following Israel’s attacks on Gaza. But the case has been rejected.

However, the French lawyer says the case can be revived. For the French lawyer, the Palestinian case has gathered even more strength on two main issues over the past two months. Whether the ICC accepts or rejects the revival of the case remains to be seen, but French lawyer Gilles Devers believes, sooner or later the ICC will have to judge the war crimes committed in Gaza.

(Source / 13.08.2014)

Water disaster hits every single person in Gaza

Palestinians walk past a mosque and water tower destroyed in Israeli bombardment in Khuzaa, east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, 3 August.

Right now, none of the 1.8 million Palestinians living in the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip has access to a safe and secure supply of water.

The water situation was already severe before Israel’s bombardment began on 7 July. But now water experts are calling it a disaster.

Ninety percent of wells, wastewater treatment plants and desalination plants cannot operate due to power cuts and lack of fuel.

In the video interview above, Monther Shublak, director of Gaza’s Coastal Municipalities Water Utility, says that much of the infrastructure has damaged by Israeli bombing.

This includes Gaza’s central sewage pumping station which was recently upgraded with German taxpayer funding.

The wastewater treatment facility in Gaza was hit twice, he says, and could cause an environmental disaster in Gaza City.

Three wells and “a long list of water carriers and wastewater carriers” were damaged or destroyed all over the Gaza Strip, he says.

The Beach Well, which provides seawater to the only functioning desalination plant, was also destroyed.

Water workers killed

Trying to maintain the flow of water to people has been incredibly dangerous. Seven water technicians were killed while on duty at the height of the Israeli attack when almost half of Gaza’s territory was declared a no-go zone (see infographic below).

One of the workers, technician Zeyad Al Shawi, died on 14 July from critical injuries he suffered during an Israeli airstrike on 12 July as he opened valves to supply water to people in Rafah, southern Gaza, the Coastal Municipalities Water Utility reported.

Due to the risks, workers could not access areas to carry out repairs or to operate pumps and open and close valves to direct water to different neighborhoods.

Repairs are also hampered because Israel’s eight-year-long siege prevents the importing of needed materials.

Water experts estimate the damage to be at least $20 million.

“The money of taxpayers or UN agencies is again and again wasted … during these endless wars,” Shublak says, referring to the constant cycle of donor-funded infrastructure being destroyed by Israel and then repaired with international aid.

Living without water

In the below video called Water Deprived, Fatma, a 45-year-old mother of nine from the heavily bombed Shujaiya neighborhood speaks about the difficulty of living with the unsanitary and health-threatening conditions caused by the water crisis.

She and her family were displaced to a school run by UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees. Three thousand people took shelter in that school alone and Fatma and her family are living in a classroom with 41 people.

“Contamination of water and lack of hygiene in the bathrooms can cause health problems,” she says. “We have so many children experiencing diarrhea and fever and they have to be treated now. We don’t want to risk the health of our children.”

Palestinian children fill containers with drinking water from a public tap in Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip on 27 July.

A quarter of Gaza population were displaced at the height of Israel’s attack. As of yesterday, 370,000 people remain in temporary shelter, according to the UN.

Up to 100,000 people will need to be permanently rehoused because their homes were destroyed or severely damaged.

Gaza water disaster

The infographic below, produced by EWASH (the Emergency Water and Sanitation-Hygiene Group), highlights some of the facts about the Gaza water disaster.

It summarizes key facts about the critical damage to the water, sanitation and hygiene sector during the Israeli assault on Gaza, between 8 July and 5 August.

EWASH (ewash.org) is a coordinating body made up various stakeholders in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector in the occupied Palestinian territories. These include national and international nongovernmental organizations, UN agencies, academic and research institutions, the Palestinian Water Authority, the West Bank Water Department and the Coastal Municipalities Water Utility in Gaza.

You can also download the infographic as a PDF.

EWASH also produced and published both of the videos included in this post.

Israeli troops deployed around Gaza as truce deadline looms

Latest Israeli media reports say Tel Aviv regime has deployed more soldiers and tanks around the besieged Gaza Strip as deadline for an existing truce draws on.

Sources say the Israeli military has already deployed regular troops and mobilized a number of reservist soldiers near Gaza in case the ongoing talks fail.

This comes as the expiry of a 72-hour truce between Israelis and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip is approaching. A temporary Egypt-brokered truce between the two sides came into effect at 2100 GMT on Sunday.

Senior Israeli officials in Tel Aviv have warned about the resumption of the aerial and ground attacks on the besieged Palestinian coastal enclave.

Diplomatic sources say there seems to be no progress in the indirect negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis in Cairo.

The contentious subject at the talks is the issue of the Israeli blockade of the impoverished territory.

Palestinian officials have indicated that the ceasefire will not be extended if no progress is made. The Palestinian resistance group Hamas wants the seven-year siege to be removed, but Tel Aviv claims it will only take the measure if Hamas disarms.

Palestinian health officials say at least 1,958 people have been killed over the past several weeks in Gaza with nearly 10,100 injured.

Most of the victims were civilians, including children and the elderly.

Israel’s campaign against Gaza began in early July, but Tel Aviv later expanded its operation by land, sea and air.

Next month, a panel appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) will start investigating the crimes committed by Israel in its war on Gaza.

Palestinian delegate to the UNHRC Ibrahim Khreisheh made the announcement on Tuesday.

(Source / 13.08.2014)

Condoning Israel’s premeditated massacre

By Ramona Wadi

Ramona Wadi“Just as we try to do in the United States and be as careful as possible in going after targets to avoid civilians, mistakes are made. We’ve made them. I don’t know a nation, no matter what its values are – and I think that democratic nations have demonstrably better values in a conflict position – that hasn’t made errors, but ultimately the responsibility rests with Hamas.” Hillary Clinton’s comments from an interview published inThe Atlantic summarise the perils of impunity and the rhetoric of blame – necessary equivalents in the campaign seeking to tarnish Palestinian resistance and upholding Israel’s fictitious right to defend itself.

Clinton’s evocations of similarities between Israel and the US are precise, compounded with the disfigurement of vague concepts such as “values” and “conflict” within the exclusively-oppressive democratic framework as advocated by the imperialist and colonial powers.

Both Israel and the US have sought to maximise the number of civilian deaths by relying upon collateral damage terminology and attempting to create the illusion that “mistakes” are not tantamount to murder. In every occurrence of foreign intervention or, in the case of Israel, colonial violence unleashed upon Palestinians, blame has been shifted upon the oppressed and resilient population. The illusion of better values is nothing more than a continuous appropriation and manipulation of political power that forces interpretations of violence upon the rest of the world without specifying the foundations of murderous intent.

The destruction wrought by Israel is justified through the foolish excuse of Hamas embedding “rockets and command-and-control facilities and tunnel entrances in civilian areas”, which, according to Clinton, absolves Israel of any accountability. In this scenario Hamas is blamed for Israel’s precision strikes that have intentionally targeted Palestinian civilians. The intent, however, is to misrepresent both cartography and resistance.

Detachment from history remains a priority in discourse that focuses upon distorting the immediate reality. In keeping with the usual laments about Israel as a “small country” surrounded by “enemies”, despite the historical collaboration of several Arab leaders with the settler-colonial state. Clinton’s strategy is to indirectly invoke recurring recollections of part rhetoric exacerbated by propaganda that attempts to distort the densely populated enclave into an area deliberately transformed by Hamas into a “human shield” zone.

As with other resistance movements through decades of Zionist settler-colonial oppression and expansion, the emergence of Hamas as a resistance movement is a necessary outcome brought about by the establishment of Israel. Hence, any accountability with regards to the murder of Palestinian civilians lies not only with the current Israeli leaders and participants in “Operation Protective Edge”, but the entire construction of the Zionist state and its upholders.

Responsibility for Israel’s genocidal phases commencing with the Nakba remain the responsibility of imperialist-supported settler-colonisation in Palestine. Projecting blame upon Palestinian resistance is an abdication of responsibility – one that can be remedied by the obliteration of Israel to pave the way for land reclamation and the return of all Palestinian refugees and their descendants.

With regards to Hamas and Palestinian resistance factions, culpability would arise should the aims of Palestinians for total liberation be subjected to another travesty of diplomatic concessions and the quest of seeking legitimacy from the compromised international institutions advocating for the complete colonisation of Palestine.

(Source / 13.08.2014)

1416 tons of supplies entered Gaza Strip through Rafah during assault

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — 1416 tons of supplies including medicine, food, power generators, and tents entered the Gaza Strip from Egypt through the Rafah crossing during the Israeli offensive.

The director of emergency services of the Palestinian Ministry of Health said in a statement of Tuesday that these supplies entered through the Rafah crossing through coordination with the Egyptian Red Crescent.

Bassem al-Rimawi added that 75 percent of all supplies that entered Gaza through the Rafah crossing were from Egyptian sources, the vast majority of which came from the military.

Al-Rimawi added that 936 tons of food supplies and medicine were sent by the Egyptian Armed Forces, 57 tons of medicine and medical supplies from the Arab Doctors Union, eight tons of tents, blankets, medicine, and 4.6 tons of food supplies from the Egyptian Red Crescent, eight ambulances from the University of Palestine in Egypt, and two tons of medicine from the Egyptian Doctors’ Syndicate.

The Egyptian al-Azhar Red Crescent, meanwhile, sent 47 tons of food, medicine and medical supplies, while three tons of medicine and supplies were sent by SEDICO Company in Egypt.

Al-Rimawi added that the UAE sent 90 tons supply of medicine and medical supplies, a power generator, six “field hospitals,” 3 mobile clinics, a field bathroom, an ambulance, and 40 tons of relief/emergency supplies.

The government of Tunisia sent 28 tons of food, medicine and medical supplies, the government of Morocco sent 57 tons of medicine and food supplies, the government of Saudi Arabia sent 73 tons of food, and 35 tons of medicine and medical supplies were sent by the Islamic Development Bank and the Red Crescent.

The Kuwaiti Red Crescent sent 10 tons of medicine and medical supplies, half a ton of medicine and medical supplies was sent from the Arab League, and the Jordanian lawmaker Muhammad al-Isha sent 25 tons of medical supplies and medicine to the Gaza Strip.

Al-Rimawi added that the Egyptian Red Crescent is currently working on getting 25 tons of food and medical supplies that were sent from Kuwait into Gaza.

(Source / 13.08.2014)

Israel wants a truce that does not include a halt on assassinations

Israeli forces

Israeli media reports quoted, on Tuesday, security officials as saying that currently there are three options available, namely: an international effort to extend the cease-fire, or ‘surrendering’ to some of Hamas’ demands, or launching a new aggression against the Gaza Strip.

While Cairo is witnessing talks about a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip and in light of an international effort to reach a long-term truce between Hamas and Israel, Israeli security officials have demanded that the policy of assassinations against the Palestinian leaders would not stop.

Israeli media reports quoted, on Tuesday, security officials as saying that currently there are three options available, namely: an international effort to extend the cease-fire, or “surrendering” to some of Hamas’ demands, or launching a new aggression against the Gaza Strip. According to the officials themselves, the latter is less likely to happen.

Security officials added that “Hamas has put on the negotiating table demands on a seaport and an airport as a counterweight to Israel’s demand to strip the sector off any weapon,” and that the Israeli security apparatus “wants to test Hamas’ long-term steps, therefore, Hamas must be prevented from achieving anything that could help the movement’s strength grow.”

The security officials explained that the security apparatus demands the Israeli government to “reserves the possibility of returning to the assassinations choice,” adding that “it is prohibited to waive this requirement in the context of the negotiations” taking place in Egypt.

Walla website quoted an Israeli security official as claiming that the assassinations issue is a “point of serious concern among the movement leaders.”

He added, in a sarcastic tone, that “if Hamas wants to control the sector, it should do so from the tunnels and cellars.”

The same security official said an agreement has been reached between the parties involved in Cairo negotiations regarding a section of the demands put forward by Hamas, including the issuance of permits for the exit of a limited number of Palestinians through Erez crossing, under the control of the Shin Bet, and the immediate expansion of the volume of goods coming into the Gaza Strip through Karam Abu Salem crossing, as well as handing over control of the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing to the Palestinian Authority, so that the crossing would be supervised by both Israel and Egypt.

The Israeli official also confirmed that among the agreement reached was an agreement regarding the transfer of funds from Qatar, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states into the Gaza Strip, where the parties agreed that this should only happen through the Palestinian Authority and under strict international-Israeli-Egyptian supervision.

(Source / 13.08.2014)

Activating the Follow-up Committees Tops the Political Committee’s Meeting

Khatib Badlah, member of the political committee, said that the “committee discussed the political situation and field developments in Syria during a meeting held yesterday and today. The Coalition’s president and the Secretary General circulated reports on the members for assessment and evaluation to promote the positives and deal with the negatives. The meeting also discussed the rapid developments and the political changes at the local, regional and international levels, in addition to looking for ways to develop and promote the of the performance of the Syrian Coalition’s media office whose task is conveying the voice and demands of the Syrian people to the world’s decision-makers. Moreover, one of the most important points discussed during the meeting was the problems faced by the Syrian refugees in the host countries and ways to solve them, and also discussed the need to meet the needs of the Syrian refugees. The meeting also discussed the repercussions of refugee crisis in the Lebanese town of Arsal, and also the necessary steps towards activating the work of the committees entrusted with following up on the performance of the interim government and with raising the level of coordination between all components of the executive and political bodies of the Syrian Revolution.

(Source: Syrian Coalition / 13.08.2014)