On Monday, August 8, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) held an emergency meeting on the situation in Gaza amid uncertainty around the fate of the truce reached the previous day after three days of Israeli aggression. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland reported during the meeting that in three days, Israel had carried out 147 airstrikes which killed 46 Palestinians, including 16 children, and injured 360 more. In retaliation, Palestinian groups fired over 1,100 rockets, in which a total of 70 Israelis were lightly injured. Wennesland also noted that increased border controls imposed by Israel before the actual bombings started caused a severe fuel shortage in Gaza, leading to power cuts of up to 20 hours a day in the densely populated territory.
An Egyptian-brokered ceasefire is expected to go into effect at 11:30pm local time (20:30 GMT). Palestinian Islamic Jihad announced the ceasefire in a statement, adding that they have a right to “respond to any Zionist aggression.” Mondoweiss correspondent in Gaza Tareq Hajjaj reported that Israeli airstrikes were ongoing in the last hour leading up to the ceasefire. The Times of Israel reported that Israel agreed to the ceasefire, and that Egypt was working to ensure two of PIJ’s principal demands, including the release of Palestinian hunger-striking prisoner Khalil Awawdeh and recently detained PIJ leader Bassam al-Saadi. It remained unconfirmed if Israel had agreed to the PIJ demands.
15 years have passed since Israel imposed a total siege on the Gaza Strip, subjecting nearly two million Palestinians to one of the longest and most cruel politically-motivated blockades in history. The Israeli government had then justified its siege as the only way to protect Israel from Palestinian “terrorism and rocket attacks”. This remains the official Israeli line until this day. Not many Israelis – certainly not in government, media or even ordinary people – would argue that Israel today is safer than it was prior to June 2007.
Filmed during the attack and in the days following the ceasefire, the documentary tells the story of how Gaza’s armed resistance groups outwitted the vastly superior Israeli military and established their ability to intervene against Israeli ethnic cleansing of neighborhoods like Sheikh Jarrah and provocations at the al-Aqsa compound in occupied East Jerusalem. “The Palestinian military capabilities are not highly sophisticated and destructive, but it becomes so effective when it’s used by Palestinian smart youths who believe in their rights and freedom,” a masked al-Qassam commander says. The documentary features intimate interviews with survivors, many of whom lost family members in the Israeli bombardment. Among them is Omar Abu al-Ouf, who lost 22 family members in the bombing of his family’s house in al-Remal, Gaza’s main thoroughfare.
How did Benjamin Netanyahu manage to serve as Israel’s longest-serving Prime Minister? With a total of 15 years in office, Netanyahu surpassed the 12-year leadership of Israel’s founding father, David Ben Gurion. The answer to this question will become particularly critical for future Israeli leaders who hope to emulate Netanyahu’s legacy, now that his historic leadership is likely to end. Netanyahu’s ‘achievements’ for Israel cannot be judged according to the same criteria as that of Ben Gurion. Both were staunch Zionist ideologues and savvy politicians. Unlike Ben Gurion, though, Netanyahu did not lead a so-called ‘war of independence’, merging militias into an army and carefully constructing a ‘national narrative’ that helped Israel justify its numerous crimes against the indigenous Palestinians, at least in the eyes of Israel and its supporters.
Hundreds of people have taken part in a volunteer campaign that aims to clear Gaza of debris left behind by a deadly 11-day Israeli assault, the Arabic news website Arabi 21 reported.
If the United States and Israel think that normalizing relations with Arab states will weaken our national cause, they should know that this means nothing to Palestinians. The Palestinian people have learned to look only to themselves for rescue. The young Palestinians of today are brimming with rebellion. They have lost faith in the diplomatic route and are fed up with U.S. policy. Be forewarned: Nothing will contain them.
There aren’t many issues which clearly and unequivocally delineate right from wrong. The question of justice for the Palestinian people and their right to be protected by international law is one which gives no wiggle room for ifs, ands, or buts. Israel’s apartheid system is of such long standing and is so brazen that millions of people feel not only outrage but an insult to their own personal integrity and now speak up though they once demurred. The state of Israel periodically decides to bomb Gaza, evict Palestinians from their homes, or attack the al-Aqsa mosque. They have done all of those things in recent weeks, during the holy month of Ramadan and the Eid al-Fitr celebration no less. Israel continues its practice of violating international law by carrying out collective punishments against civilian populations.
For the last 14 years, I have been running a hospital in the city of Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza. The first day of the war was the hardest day of my life as a doctor. I’m talking about the first shelling by Israel on Gaza. It was a week ago, just a little after seven in the evening. The first ones killed. Two children arrived in an ambulance, one of them was three years old, one was seven. They are brothers, and as soon as I saw them, it was clear to me that they were both dead. Their bodies crushed and burned. Their father also arrived. He was seriously wounded but still conscious. He got upset and asked me, “What about them, what about my kids?” Then another ambulance arrived with a little girl, 10 years old. She too died. This is the older sister of the first two children. All from the al-Masri family.
Over the past two weeks, the world has looked on in ominous horror as the military might of Israel, fully supported by both the US and Britain, has waged a relentless onslaught on the citizens of the besieged Gaza Strip; with what had initially begun as protests against the eviction of six Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem, and the subsequent storming of the al-Asqa Mosque by Israeli police the following day, soon escalating into a full-fledged military assault on Gaza, one which has already drawn comparisons with the 2014 war which resulted in the deaths of over 2,000 Palestinians in the space of 7 weeks. Although the ongoing violence has garnered worldwide media attention, an unusual occurrence for events in the Middle East, one glaring double-standard remains so far in all mainstream media coverage...
“Both sides need to de-escalate.” “No one benefits from this. ” You’ll hear a lot of statements like that from pundits, elected officials, government spokespeople, and mainstream media anytime there’s violence in Israel-Palestine. In the last few days, Israeli warplanes, armed drones, and artillery mounted on tanks have killed more than 119 Palestinians in the besieged and blockaded Gaza Strip. Thirty-one of them were children. Rocket fire from Gaza left eight Israelis, including one child dead. It’s easy to say no one benefits. But it’s not true. Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, has a whole lot to gain from this assault — among other things, it may keep him out of jail.
In Killing Gaza, independent journalists Max Blumenthal and Dan Cohen documented Israel’s 2014 war on Gaza and its devastating aftermath. Yet this film is much more than a documentary about Palestinian resilience and suffering. It is a chilling visual document of war crimes committed by the Israeli military, featuring direct testimony and evidence from the survivors. James North of Mondoweiss wrote, “If documentary films like ‘Killing Gaza’ appeared regularly on American television, public opinion would start turning against Israel overnight. The film, just released by Dan Cohen and Max Blumenthal, is inspiring and sickening.”
The Israeli military has continued its bombardment of the besieged Gaza Strip early on Wednesday, targeting several areas after rockets were fired from the enclave. It is the most intense airstrikes in Gaza since the bombardment in 2014. Health authorities in Gaza said at least 35 Palestinians – including 10 children – were killed in Israeli air strikes on the Strip since late on Monday, after Hamas launched rockets from the coastal territory towards Israel. At least 233 others were injured. At least five people in Israel have also been killed. The rocket fire came after Hamas, which rules Gaza, issued an ultimatum demanding Israel stand down its security forces from the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem after days of violence against Palestinians.
Egypt today opened the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip until further notice, Egyptian and Palestinian sources said, a move described as an incentive for reconciliation between the main Palestinian factions meeting in Cairo, Reuters reported. Leaders of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction, which controls the West Bank, and of Hamas, which governs the besieged Gaza Strip, began Egyptian-brokered talks yesterday to address long-standing divisions ahead of elections planned for later this year. The 365 square kilometre (141 square mile) Gaza Strip is home to around two million Palestinians. An Israeli-led, Egyptian backed, the blockade has put restrictions on the movement of people and goods since 2007.
A report published by the United Nations in 2018 stated that by the year 2020 the Gaza Strip would be uninhabitable. It said specifically that, “the United Nations has stated that Gaza may well be unlivable by 2020.” The report emphasized also that “Michael Lynk, Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories Occupied Since 1967, drew attention to Israel’s persistent non-cooperation with the Special Rapporteur’s mandate. As with his two predecessors, Israel has not granted him entry to visit the country, nor the Occupied Palestinian territory.” Anyone who thinks that the Gaza Strip was liveable prior to 2020 is out of their mind.