Newsrooms and social media are replete with the latest conflict in Gaza. There isn’t a humane soul who has a lump in their throats nor a mother with a dry eye when an image of dead Palestinian child is viewed.
The Gaza attacks are a culmination of several past weeks of incitement of the Israeli political establishment and the Israeli public in general. Since the three settlers disappeared in the Hebron area, Israel implemented a policy of collective punishment of all Palestinians, and that implied closure of all Palestinian cities, erection of the checkpoints, raids and escalations of serious tension.
30 June: The Israeli army told Al Jazeera that they found bodies of the three missing teenage settlers (who went missing on July 12) near Hebron in the Occupied West Bank. Israel accused the Palestinian Hamas, which has its base in the Gaza Strip, of kidnapping them. The Israeli army responded by launching a series of airstrikes on the Gaza Strip on Tuesday. Refuting Israel’s claims, Hamas said: “The disappearance and the killing of the three settlers was all an Israeli story to use as a propaganda to start a war against our people. We warn Israel against any stupid action. If Israel wants a war the price they will pay will be greater than in previous wars.”
Jerusalem teenager Mohamed Abu Khudeir, 16, was found dead at dawn Wednesday after being kidnapped, tortured, and burned to death in an apparent revenge attack following the discovery of the bodies of three Israeli teenagers, by illegal Israeli settlers in Shuafat town southern occupied Jerusalem. His charred body was later found in the village of Deir Yassin, Jerusalem.
Local sources revealed that Abu Khudeir was kidnapped by three Israeli settlers while on his way to Shuafat mosque to perform dawn prayers.
“Muhammed [Abu Khudeir] was taken at about 4am, and from the early hours — it’s the month of Ramadan, so we all woke up to eat, and then after that we go to the mosque at 4:20. And news started spreading that the boy was taken, and he was taken by settlers. But there was still a lot of confusion — what was going to happen, if he would come back, and so on. And then about 7:30am local time, after 4:30 since people had been gathered at the main road of Shuafat, we got the news that the body had been found. And obviously, the people’s reaction was that they were very angry that this had happened to a child from their neighborhood here in Jerusalem. And from there on, there has been intense clashes throughout the whole day. The Israelis were deployed here in the hundreds, heavily armed, and basically youth on the other side, throwing stones. And this kept going for the whole day”. [Zalameh speaking to Electronic intifada from Shuafat- http://electronicintifada.net]
Meanwhile Palestinian-American Tarek Abu Khudeir, Abu Khudeir’s 15-year-old cousin, was released on bail on Sunday having been detained since Friday. A video thought to capture the moment of Tarek Abu Khudeir’s arrest shows him being beaten by Israel security personnel.
Dozens of illegal Israeli settlers set fire at dawn Wednesday, 02 July 2014 to agricultural land and facilities in Aqraba town in Nablus. [http://www.aljazeerah.info]
05 July 2014: Hundreds of palestinians detained. An Israeli gunship fired three missiles at a location to the east of Rafah city near a training camp of Ezz Ad-Deen Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas. F-16 fighter jet fired missiles at an open area in Rafah and two poultry farms in Khan Yunus. [http://www.kuna.net.kw]
Between 6 July and 9 July 2014, Al-Haq (Palestinian human rights organisation) has documented the killing of 22 Palestinian civilians, including 7 children. In addition, at least 170 Palestinians have been injured. Statements by Israeli officials indicate an intent to expand their military operation in the Gaza Strip, code named ‘Operation Protective Edge’, which will likely result in more death and destruction. It must be emphasised that ‘Operation Protective Edge’ erupted in the context of an already ongoing armed conflict and belligerent occupation. As such, Israel cannot rely on the right to self-defence according to Article 51 of the UN Charter and must therefore act in accordance with the laws regulating the conduct of hostilities. [http://www.alhaq.org]
The Palestinian Ministry of Health said 550 people had been wounded since Israel launched its campaign in Gaza this week. At least 550 sites have been hit by Israeli jets, including Gaza City, Beit Hanoun and Khan Younis.
An Israeli air strike killed seven Palestinian civilians on Thursday, including five children, in the largest death toll from a single attack since the start of the three-day offensive, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said.
Bodies were pulled out of rubble from three or four homes including neighbouring structures. Another 16 people
were also wounded in the attack, the ministry said.
Israeli tanks continued to patrol the border of Gaza, after Israel’s cabinet mobilised 40,000 reservists. At least 81 people, including many children, have been killed in the Gaza Strip in two days of Israeli air raids, as Israel’s army mobilised on the border for a possible ground invasion. [www.aljazeera.com]