[News] More than 100 killed as Israel intensifies Gaza onslaught

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri May 14 11:09:03 EDT 2021

than 100 killed as Israel intensifies Gaza onslaught

Maureen Clare Murphy
<https://electronicintifada.net/people/maureen-clare-murphy> - 14 May 2021

Palestinians recover the body of a Palestinian buried in the rubble of a
home destroyed in an Israeli strike in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, on
13 May.
APA images

Israel pounded the Gaza Strip for the fourth consecutive day on Thursday,
with the health ministry in the territory reporting more than 100 killed
<https://twitter.com/press221/status/1392953387046539273> in the most
severe military offensive there since 2014.

Palestinian armed groups in Gaza continued to retaliate by firing
projectiles towards Israel. Seven people, including a soldier and two
children, have been killed in rocket strikes in Israel since Monday.

Palestinians in the territory reported unprecedented Israeli fire at the
close of Thursday – which marked the Eid al-Fitr holiday at the end of
Ramadan – particularly in the northern Beit Hanoun area and eastern Gaza.
Families displaced from their homes sought shelter
<https://twitter.com/alqudsnewspaper/status/1392961566153351168> at United
Nations schools.
Gaza, which has been under a comprehensive land, air and sea blockade
imposed by Israel since 2007, has no bomb shelters and civilians are unable
to freely leave the territory for safety.

The Israeli military said
<https://twitter.com/IDF/status/1392953390443991040> it was attacking Gaza
with both ground forces and airstrikes after it had amassed tanks along the
perimeter of the besieged territory and called up
thousands of army reservists, setting the stage for a potential ground

The spokesperson for the Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, said
<https://twitter.com/SafaPs/status/1392957103908720642> late Thursday that
Israel was “launching raids for show” and that “they will not affect the
capabilities of the resistance one iota, God willing.”

Palestinian rocket fire caused international airlines to cancel flights
to Israel just as the country was celebrating its reopening after its
COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

Israel’s military reportedly admitted
in closed-door meetings that it had underestimated the rate with which
Hamas was able to fire rockets and their range capacity.
Netanyahu threatens military against Palestinians in Israel

Meanwhile, mobs of ultranationalist Israelis backed by police attacked
Palestinians in Jerusalem and in cities in Israel where Palestinian
citizens of the state live in close proximity to Jews.

A state of emergency had been declared in Lydd, a Palestinian city in
Israel that has been engulfed in violence since Monday when a Palestinian
man was shot and killed by a Jewish vigilante during riots.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, was reportedly considering
deployment of the military and permitting the use of administrative
detention <https://electronicintifada.net/tags/administrative-detention>
without charge or trial in cities where a state of emergency has been

Such a directive would with all certainty be applied with disproportionate
force and in a highly discriminatory manner by the state, which has “Jewish
supremacy” as its “single organizing principle,” in the words
of the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem.

Netanyahu told forces deployed into Palestinian communities in Israel to
use as much force as possible and to not worry about being held accountable
for their actions:
Israel’s defense minister Benny Gantz ordered a massive deployment
of paramilitary Border Police
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/israeli-border-police> forces, who
typically operate in the occupied West Bank and, like army soldiers, use
disproportionate and frequently lethal force against Palestinians.

In a pre-recorded video address on Tuesday, Gantz promised
even worse violence than that endured in Gaza in 2014, when he was chief of
the Israeli military.

“If citizens of Israel have to sleep in shelters, then Gaza will burn,” he

Fatou Bensouda, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court,
this week that the justice tribunal was moving forward with its Palestine
investigation despite the lack of participation by Israel.

Israel’s assault on Gaza in summer 2014, including the conduct of armed
Palestinian groups, is a primary focus
of the ICC’s investigation.

Bensouda said that individuals involved in the current escalation may be
“Green light to commit crimes”

Al Mezan, a Palestinian human rights group in Gaza, decried
<http://mezan.org/post/31664> the silence of the “international community”
which Israel interprets “as a green light to commit crimes against
civilians and their property.”

Al Mezan said that 14 resistance fighters targeted by Israeli warplanes on
Wednesday morning died as a result of suffocation, with apparent symptoms
indicating the possible use of toxic gasses.

Twenty-eight children and 15 women were amongst the dead in Gaza, the
health ministry said late Thursday. More than 600 have been injured.

Palestinians mourn 13 Hamas fighters killed in Israeli airstrikes during
their funeral in Gaza City’s al-Omari mosque on 13 May.
Ashraf Amra APA images

Like in 2014, Israel’s military has targeted several multi-story
residential and office buildings, wiping out a tower
that housed multiple local and international media outlets.

Israeli bombing has destroyed or severely damaged more than 18 buildings
and 350 housing units in Gaza since Monday, displacing some 500 families.

“Seven factories, eight schools and a health center have also been damaged
by Israeli airstrikes and shortfalls of Hamas-launched rockets,” the United
Nations monitoring group OCHA reported
on Thursday.

“In addition, scores of military sites, police and security facilities, as
well as open areas, have been hit, with the police headquarters in Gaza
City destroyed,” OCHA added.

UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees, said at least four of its
buildings in Gaza had been hit.

“It is unclear whether the UNRWA buildings were hit directly or whether the
strikes were so close that the buildings were impacted. All staff are
reported to be safe and well,” the agency stated

The already dire humanitarian situation in Gaza has been exacerbated as
Israel has prevented the entry of fuel, food and supplies of medicine.
Gaza’s sole power plant will stop operating at the end of the week when
fuel supplies are exhausted.

“The North Gaza Seawater Desalination Plant has stopped operating due to
the risk to workers and a damaged electrical supply line, affecting the
access of about 250,000 people to drinking water,” according to OCHA.
Meanwhile, some 160,000 people in Gaza City have limited access to running
water due to power cuts.

“The current insecurity significantly restricts the delivery of essential
services, including the ongoing COVID-19 response, with the number of tests
conducted drastically reduced and people unable to access treatment and
vaccination facilities safely,” OCHA added.

The full-scale military escalation came after Israeli police stormed
Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque
while it was filled with Ramadan worshippers on Monday, injuring hundreds.
This followed weeks of tension in the city and protests over the imminent
forced evictions of Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/sheikh-jarrah> neighborhood to make
way for Jewish settlers.

A Gaza ceasefire did not appear on the immediate horizon early Friday.

US President Joe Biden gave his implicit blessing of Israel’s targeting of
residential towers and other civilian infrastructure, telling reporters
that he had not seen a “significant overreaction” from Israel.

The Biden administration has stated that it supports Israel’s “right to
self-defense” but it does not consider rockets fired from Gaza to
constitute self-defense.

The UN Security Council is due to hold a virtual public meeting over the
deteriorating situation on Sunday

The US, which provides $3.8 billion in military aid to Israel each year,
has prevented the Security Council from issuing a statement on the
worsening violence.
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