[News] Scores injured in days of Israeli attacks on Gaza

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Aug 3 19:51:24 EDT 2010

Scores injured in days of Israeli attacks on Gaza

Report, The Electronic Intifada, 3 August 2010

Tens of Palestinians were injured in a series of Israeli air strikes 
on Monday, 2 August in the refugee camp of Deir el-Balah in the south 
of the occupied Gaza Strip. Israeli forces targeted senior Hamas 
official Alaa al-Danaf during the attacks, which leveled his house 
and badly damaged at least 12 other homes nearby.

Al-Jazeera reported that medical rescue crews dug through rubble to 
locate injured civilians 
blast wounds Palestinians," 2 August 2010). According to reports, 
al-Danaf wasn't killed in Israel's attempted extra-judicial assassination.

Monday's attacks followed three consecutive days of Israeli military 
air strikes, as US-made Israeli warplanes hit multiple areas in the 
occupied Gaza Strip over the weekend, inciting panic in and 
inflicting trauma onto a population still reeling from the 2008-09 
bombings and invasions. During those three weeks of attacks, which 
the Israeli government dubbed "Operation Cast Lead," more than 1,400 
Palestinians were killed and thousands of homes leveled.

Following Israel's attacks on Monday, according to the Israeli daily 
Haaretz, at least five rockets were fired at the southern Israeli 
port city of Eilat, where no casualties were reported. One of the 
rockets landed in the Jordanian town of Aqaba, where one Jordanian 
civilian was killed and four wounded. The Chinese news agency Xinhua 
reported that although Israel blamed the Hamas government in Gaza for 
the rocket attacks, Jordanian security services stated that the 
rockets were fired from either Egypt's Sinai or southern Jordan, not 
from Gaza. Hamas, which has no history of carrying out operations 
from outside Palestine, also strongly denied any involvement.

Hamas' armed wing has maintained a renewed unilateral ceasefire 
policy since 19 January 2009 following Israel's invasions. Hamas also 
respected a six-month ceasefire brokered by Cairo in June 2008 even 
though Israel did not fulfill its obligations to ease the crippling 
embargo it imposed on Gaza following the election of the Hamas 
government in 2006. The ceasefire was broken when Israel 
extrajudicially executed Hamas activists in November 2008 and 
Operation Cast Lead soon followed.

But Palestinian resistance factions inside the Gaza Strip -- 
unaffiliated with Hamas -- claimed responsibility for rocket fire 
beginning on Friday, and continuing throughout the weekend as Israeli 
aerial and ground attacks escalated.

A Grad-type rocket was fired from Gaza on Friday afternoon, hitting 
an area near a residential building in the nearby Israeli town of 
Ashkelon, just north of the Gaza boundary. Hours later, rockets 
landed in the Negev desert. Haaretz reported on 1 August that no one 
was injured in either of the rocket strikes.

In response to the rocket firings, at 11:30pm on Friday, 30 July, 19 
Palestinians were injured when Israeli warplanes attacked an area 
near the presidential compound in Gaza City, firing two missiles on 
an area designated for civilian police and security vehicles. The 
late-night explosions hit the Arafat Police College and wounded 16 
police officers, as well as two women and a child who were walking 
near the area when the missiles hit, reported the Palestinian Ma'an 
news agency. The injured were treated at Shifa hospital in Gaza City.

"Traumatic reminder"

According to Adie Mormech, a British volunteer in Gaza working with 
the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), Palestinians close to 
the bombings were in shock.

"For many in Gaza, [Friday night's] attack was a traumatic reminder 
of the onslaught during Operation Cast Lead when three hundred F-16 
bomb attacks took place during the first two minutes of the 
campaign," an ISM press release on the strikes stated 
("<http://palsolidarity.org/2010/07/13385/>Israel bombs central Gaza 
City," 31 July 2010).

"The blast caused buildings far from the epicenter of the explosion 
to shake, and windows were smashed," reported Mormech. "When we 
arrived at Shifa hospital, the scene was chaos."

According to the Gaza-based Palestinian Centre for Human Rights 
(PCHR), during the air strikes in Gaza City, the Israeli air force 
simultaneously attacked a tunnel area at the Gaza-Egypt border 
Series of Israeli Attacks Wound Many Civilians ...," 1 August 2010).

Tunnels, which have become a lifeline for Gaza's 1.5 million 
Palestinians who remain under a siege of collective punishment, 
<http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11309.shtml>are often the 
only way people can receive basic supplies and fuel, as well as 
livestock, luxuries and other consumer goods.

Approximately one hour after the strikes on the presidential compound 
and the tunnels, just past midnight on 31 July, Israeli warplanes 
fired missiles into an open area in the Nuseirat refugee camp west of 
Gaza City, extrajudicially killing Issa Abdul Hadi al-Batran, a 
member of the armed resistance wing of the elected Hamas party. Ten 
Palestinians were injured in the early-morning missile attacks.

Al-Batran was the target of several assassination attempts by the 
Israeli military, the latest of which occurred during Israel's 
2008-09 attacks; on 16 January 2009, al-Batran's wife and five young 
children were killed when Israeli forces bombed their home 
Day of Continuous IOF Attacks on the Gaza Strip," PCHR, 17 January 2009).

After the assassination of al-Batran and the air strikes against the 
police compound, the Israeli government released a statement from 
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office, which said "Israel takes 
the firing on Ashkelon very seriously."

Israeli ground snipers shot three industrial workers near the 
northern Erez crossing a few hours later that morning, injuring the 
laborers who were collecting raw materials from nearby piles of 
rubble. The Israeli military has declared a vast 67 square kilometers 
of agricultural areas near the border as "no-go zones," and regularly 
shoot Palestinians who tend their farms or collect materials near these areas.

Later that same day on 31 July, the Israeli air force resumed missile 
strikes over Gaza City, damaging a six-story business center. Several 
offices of nongovernmental organizations and the office of the 
Organization of the Islamic Conference in Gaza were wrecked.

Palestinian armed resistance groups affiliated with the Salafi 
movement in Gaza fired another rocket into the western Negev on 
Saturday evening, saying it was "in retaliation to the ongoing 
Israeli aggressions against the Palestinian people," according to 
Ma'an mews. The projectile hit a public building, damaging the second 
story which was used as a daycare center for people with disabilities.

On Sunday, 1 August, Israeli warplanes launched missiles at open 
agricultural areas east of Khan Younis and again at tunnel areas at 
the Gaza-Egypt border.

Direct talks with Israel "waste of time"

After last weekend's air strikes, the Hamas government announced that 
it is holding the Arab League and Mahmoud Abbas' West Bank-based 
Palestinian Authority responsible for Israel's escalating assaults 
against Palestinians in Gaza, reported Ma'an. Hamas spokesman Fawzi 
Barhoum said on 1 August that the Arab League's decision to endorse 
direct talks with the Netanyahu administration -- while Israel's 
human rights violations continue -- "endangers Palestinian interests 
and inalienable rights."

"Our people in Gaza are paying a toll for the huge error and 
political sin committed by the Arab Peace Initiative's follow-up 
committee against the Palestinian people," Barhoum stated. "The 
committee has given the Israeli occupation the pretext and coverage 
they needed to attack our people and continue with settlement 
activities and displacement" 
("<http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=304174>Hamas: Gaza 
paying for Arab 'political sin'," 1 August 2010).

Direct talks between Israel and the West Bank's Palestinian Authority 
were canceled in December 2008 when Israel began its attacks on the 
Gaza Strip. According to Al-Jazeera, the Arab League last week sought 
help from the United States to pressure Israel into signing 
pre-conditional guarantees that settlements in the occupied West 
Bank, including East Jerusalem would stop before direct talks could 
resume. On August, the Obama administration in Washington announced 
that "the time is right" for direct talks.

Barhoum added that waiting for substantial support for Palestinian 
rights from US President Barack Obama would be "a waste of time."

Meanwhile, on 2 August the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights in Gaza 
called on the international community "to intervene and to ensure 
that civilians and their property are protected in the occupied 
Palestinian territories." Warning of a military escalation, Al Mezan 
added that the international community's silence over the last four 
days of lethal Israeli attacks on Gaza only encourages Israel "to 
violate international law and human rights with impunity" 
of IOF Aerial Attacks Hit Gaza ...").

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