#AceNewsReport – July.15: News Director at Shehab, Hossam Al-Zayegh, described Facebook’s action as a new violation of freedom of opinion and expression guaranteed by international law.
#AceDailyNews says that Facebook removes Gaza-based Shehab News Agency from platform after deleting our page is a reprehensible and condemned action which aims to fight Palestinian content under the pretext of violating standards and inciting violence,” he added according to MEM
Facebook logo [Mustafa Çiftçi – Anadolu Agency]July 14, 2021 at 11:28 am
“Facebook overlooks incitement and violation of society’s standards by Israelis or Israeli political news sites or associations while preventing the publication of the Palestinian response to these provocations and incitement,” Al-Zayegh said, explaining that the agency had more than 7.5 million followers on Facebook.
The Palestinian Journalist Bloc condemned thew social media platform’s action, described it as “arbitrary and unjust”.
In 2020, the Echo Social Center documented 1,200 violations of Palestinian digital content on social media platforms.
Legal rights centre Adalah revealed in 2018 that social media giants are collaborating with Israeli authorities to censor user content.
In 2018, the Israeli Ministry of Justice said that Facebook has responded in to about 85 percent of Israel’s requests to remove, block and provide data on Palestinian content on the site throughout 2017.
Is Facebook censoring Palestine? – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]
#AceNewsReport – June.20: During the meeting, Gantz reportedly asked Washington for $1 billion in additional emergency military aid, arguing that the money was needed to replenish the Iron Dome battery and purchase munitions for the Israeli air force.
US approves replenishment of Israel’s Iron Dome after Gaza defeat: Earlier this month, Israeli minister of military affairs Benny Gantz visited the United States, where he met with Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin.
Saturday, 19 June 2021 9:28 AM [ Last Update: Saturday, 19 June 2021 9:28 AM ]
During a Thursday congressional session, addressing the Senate Appropriations Committee, Austin said that Israel’s request for military assistance had been approved by the Pentagon for its 2022 budge.
The US will look to transfer the total requested amount over to Israel following approval from Congress, he added, noting that the US government is working on clarifying the details and that politicians should expect a special budget request within the coming days.
US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley also confirmed at the same Senate hearing that the administration of President Joe Biden will call on Congress to pass the budget to replenish the Iron Dome system.
Tel Aviv launched the bombing campaign against Gaza on May 10, after Palestinian retaliation against violent raids on worshipers at the al-Aqsa Mosque and the regime’s plans to force a number of Palestinian families out of their homes at Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem al-Quds.
The Gaza-based resistance groups did not sit idly by and fired 4,300 rockets towards different cities in the occupied lands during the war, which ended on May 21 after Israel announced a unilateral ceasefire that the resistance movements accepted with Egyptian mediation.
#AceNewsReport – June.16: The counterstrike, which happened Tuesday evening in the U.S. and early Wednesday morning local time, targeted Hamas military compounds, according to the IDF.
Israel launches airstrikes on Hamas after balloon attack, IDF Says but the targets were used by Hamas’ Khan Yunis and Gaza Brigades for “terror activities,” according to the IDF: Authorities on both sides said there were no injuries, the Times of Israelreported.
“The Hamas terror organization is responsible for all events transpiring in the Gaza Strip, and will bear the consequences for its actions,” the military said in a statement. “The IDF is prepared for any scenario, including a resumption of hostilities, in the face of continuing terror activities from the Gaza Strip.”
The violence comes just three weeks after a cease-fire halted 11 days of fighting that marked the worst clashes between the IDF and Hamas militants since a small-scale war in 2014.
Israel’s fragile coalition government gets first test, launches airstrikes on Hamas: The violence comes just three weeks after a cease-fire halted 11 days of fighting
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett‘s coalition government, just three days into its term, responded to an incendiary balloon attack from Hamas by launching airstrikes into the Gaza Strip.
Bennett, the right-wing leader who was once former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s chief of staff, has said that he would approachballoon attacks with the same seriousness as if they were rockets.
The Jerusalem Post reported that Israeli Defense Forces said it targeted Hamas infrastructure. About 20 fires broke out in southern Israel as a result of the balloon attack, the report said.
The New York Times, citing Palestinian news, reported that one of the Israeli strikes caused damage to at least one property, but there have been no confirmation of any casualties.
The paper reported that Israel had been on edge after the new government approved a “far-right Jewish march to pass through Palestinian areas of Jerusalem on Tuesday night.”
Hundreds of Israeli ultranationalists, some chanting “Death to Arabs,” paraded in east Jerusalem in a show of force that threatened to spark renewed violence.
The violence comes just three weeks after a cease-fire halted 11 days of fighting that marked the worst clashes between the IDF and Hamas militants since a small-scale war in 2014.
The Post reported that Hamas called for a “Day of Rage” to counter the march. Palestinians consider the march, meant to celebrate Israel’s capture of east Jerusalem in 1967, to be a provocation. Hamas called on Palestinians to “resist” the parade, a version of which helped ignite last month’s 11-day Gaza war.
Yair Lapid, the alternate prime minister who will serve as foreign minister for the first two years of the government’s term, said those shouting racist slogans were “a disgrace to the Israeli people.”
“The fact that there are radicals for whom the Israeli flag represents hatred and racism is abominable and unforgivable,” he said.
Israel says it carried out air strikes in Gaza overnight after Palestinians launched incendiary balloons from the territory, in the first major flare-up since an 11-day conflict last month.
The Israeli military said it targeted compounds belonging to Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza.
The incendiary balloons sparked 20 fires in southern Israel on Tuesday.
Hamas said they were a response to a march by Israeli nationalists in occupied East Jerusalem.
There were no casualties on either side and calm had been restored by Wednesday morning.
In a statement, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said its fighter jets had hit military compounds operated by Hamas in Khan Younis and Gaza City.
It said “terrorist activity” took place in the compounds, and that the IDF was “prepared for all scenarios, including the resumption of hostilities, in the face of continued terror acts from the Gaza Strip”.
A Hamas spokesman said on Twitter that Palestinians would continue to pursue their “brave resistance and defend their rights and sacred sites” in Jerusalem.The IDF said the strikes were carried out in response to the “arson balloons launched from Gaza into Israel” on Tuesday.In recent years, militants have frequently sent balloons and kites carrying containers of burning fuel and explosive devices over the Gaza border. The devices have caused hundreds of fires in Israel, burning thousands of hectares of forest and farmland.
Incendiary balloons are commonly used by militants (image from 15 June)The air strikes were the first carried out under Israel’s new government, which took office on Sunday, ending Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12 years in power. Naftali Bennett, the new prime minister, is a right-wing nationalist who heads a coalition of eight parties spanning the entire spectrum of Israeli politics.
A reminder of a fragile ceasefire by Rushdi Abu Alouf, BBC News, Gaza CityThe recent air raids lasted for only 10 minutes, but they were enough to remind the city’s residents, who are trying to recover from the aftermath of the recent fighting, that the ceasefire is fragile. It is not only the sounds of explosions that remind people of the war here. You only have to drive your car or walk the streets to witness the scale of destruction that has befallen the city. Tons of rubble still block the main roads in the heart of Gaza. A local street vendor, Abu Muhammad, sells nuts on a small cart in the Rimal neighbourhood, which was subjected to the largest strikes in the previous round of violence. He told me: “We can no longer tolerate more wars, the coronavirus pandemic stopped our work for many months, and the last war caused a great loss, I could no longer feed my six children.” A neighbour, who lives near a Hamas military site that was hit in the latest strikes, told me by phone it was scary watching new plumes of smoke rising.What happened at the Jerusalem march?The Jerusalem Day flag march is an annual event that marks Israel’s capture of East Jerusalem – home to the Old City and its holy sites – in the 1967 Middle East War. Palestinians see it as a provocation.At Tuesday’s event, hundreds of mostly young, nationalist Israelis danced, sang and waved Israeli flags in front of the Old City’s Damascus Gate, the main entrance to the Muslim Quarter. They later entered through another gate to reach the Western Wall, one of Judaism’s holiest sites.EPAThe marchers agreed not to enter the Old City through the Damascus GateIsrael Foreign Minister Yair Lapid criticised a group of marchers that were filmed chanting racist slogans.”The fact that there are extremists for whom the Israeli flag represents hate and racism is abominable and intolerable,” said Mr Lapid. “It is incomprehensible how one can hold an Israeli flag in one’s hand and shout ‘Death to Arabs’ at the same time.”More than 30 Palestinian protesters were injured and 17 people arrested as Israeli police cleared areas of East Jerusalem ahead of the march, firing stun grenades and rubber bullets.Originally, the flag march was supposed to take place on 10 May. But it was interrupted by Hamas militants in Gaza firing rockets towards the holy city, which led to the 11-day conflict.ReutersPalestinians protested against the march, which they said was a provocationAs soon as a ceasefire took hold, the organisers asked for the march to be rescheduled. It was due to take place last Thursday, but it was cancelled by the organisers after Israeli police rejected the proposed route, citing security concerns.An amended route that avoided passing through the Damascus Gate was later approved by the new Israeli government, though the leader of the Arab Islamist Raam party in the coalition said it should have been called off.The Palestinian Authority’s prime minister warned that there could be “dangerous repercussions”.Why was there a conflict in Gaza last month?The conflict began after weeks of spiralling Israeli-Palestinian tension in East Jerusalem which culminated in clashes at a holy site revered by both Muslims and Jews.Hamas began firing rockets into Israel after warning it to withdraw from the site, triggering retaliatory air strikes from Israel on Gaza targets.Two children from Gaza City and Israel describe their experience of the Israel-Gaza conflictAt least 256 people were killed in Gaza, according to the UN, and 13 people were killed in Israel before an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire took effect on 21 May.The UN said at least 128 of those killed in Gaza were civilians. Israel’s military said 200 were militants; Hamas’s leader in Gaza put the number of fighters killed at 80.More than 16,000 homes in Gaza were destroyed or damaged in the conflict, along with 58 schools and training centres, nine hospitals, 19 clinics and vital infrastructure, according to the UN.
#AceNewsReport – June.04: The situation is volatile. WHO remains concerned … and calls for unhindered access for humanitarian and development-related essential supplies and staff into Gaza and referral of patients out of Gaza whenever needed,” warned the WHO’s Rik Peeperkorn:
Nearly 200K Palestinians need medical aid after Gaza bombings: Left without shelter and supplies due to a blockade and the 11 days of the Israeli offensive, Palestinians are facing “staggering health needs” in the occupied territories, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned Wednesday.
by DAILY SABAH WITH AGENCIES
United Nations and Red Cross officials visited the besieged Gaza Strip to see the devastation wrought by Israel’s bombardment, including damage to homes, educational centers, hospitals and other critical infrastructure.
“Over 77,000 people were internally displaced and around 30 health facilities have been damaged” in the hostilities, the WHO statement said, adding that the conflict triggered further displacements and exacerbated a protracted humanitarian crisis.
The offensive campaign in the Gaza Strip started in early May when Israeli forces assaulted Palestinian worshippers in Al-Aqsa Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan. It also forced the expulsion of Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. Days after clashes with Palestinians across occupied territories Israel launched airstrikes on Gaza, killing more than 250 people, including 69 children and wounded over 2,000 others.
The International Committee of the Red Cross’ (ICRC) head urged Israelis and Palestinians Wednesday to find a political solution, saying that it is “really heart-breaking to see and to hear about the people who paid the ultimate cost of this escalation.”
“Women, children, civilians who were living safely in their apartments and were caught in this rubble that we see behind us,” Robert Mardini told Reuters after his first visit to Gaza in four years. “I hope this is the last time I am coming to witness yet again the results and the humanitarian impact of yet again another cycle of violence and escalation.”
He asserted that political leadership is needed on all sides to avoid that “people yet again are in the line of fire because of yet again another round of escalation.”
“Political leadership to find a sustainable solution that is more sustainable than what we have been witnessing over the past decade and more,” he said. When asked if he would discuss the prospects for a new prisoner swap deal in the region, Mardini said the ICRC is ready to help the parties if the deal is concluded.
“We have repeatedly offered our services as a neutral intermediary, so we will be renewing this offer yet again,” he said.
Israel has enforced a land and sea blockade on Gaza since Palestinian resistance group Hamas seized control in 2007 of the impoverished and densely populated territory that is home to about 2 million Palestinians. Egypt’s heavily secured Rafah crossing is Gaza’s only passage to the outside world not controlled by Israel.
“Palestinians’ lives are deteriorating; many of the people affected by the conflict are in urgent need of aid and face other health threats like COVID-19,” WHO’s Peeperkorn said.
The global health body said that as of May 31, “337,191 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 3,765 deaths have been reported in OPT, with positive cases increasing in Gaza in recent weeks.” It said that last month it launched an appeal for $7 million to help shore up its health operations in the Palestinian territories, but had only received $2.3 million.
Israel’s recent attacks on Gaza destroyed 1,800 homes and partially destroyed at least 14,300 more, forcing tens of thousands of Palestinians to take refuge in U.N.-administered schools. The blasts also damaged 74 public buildings, including local municipalities, according to figures released by the Gaza Ministry of Information.
#AceNewsReport – May.26: Other journalists, in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank as well as Gaza, said their accounts had also been blocked.
WhatsApp blocks Palestinian reporters, violating digital rights: Messaging app WhatsApp has blocked the accounts of dozens of Palestinian journalists following this month’s Israeli violence against the Palestinians and resistance group Hamas, reporters said according to French Press Agency – AFP
Shortly after a cease-fire went into effect at 2 a.m. Friday (11 p.m. GMT Thursday) ending 11 days of deadly Israeli violence, two journalists in Agence France-Presse’s (AFP) Gaza City bureau received notices from WhatsApp in Arabic informing them their accounts had been blocked.
A crew from Qatar-based satellite news channel Al-Jazeera said their accounts had later been restored after they lodged complaints with WhatsApp owner Facebook. The vice president of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, Tahseen al-Astall, said “around 100 journalists” in Gaza had seen their accounts blocked.
As a necessary part of reporting on both sides of the conflict, Gazan journalists receive Hamas statements, including via WhatsApp, even though the Palestinian group has been blacklisted by the European Union and the United States, accused of belonging to “groups and entities involved in terrorist acts.”
The Arab Center for the Development of Social Media said the blocking of WhatsApp accounts was not an isolated incident. In a new report, the group, based in Israel’s third city Haifa, documented 500 cases in which Palestinian “digital rights” had been violated between May 6 and May 19.
“Content and accounts were removed, reduced and restricted, hashtags were hidden and archived content deleted,” the report said.
Some “50% of these reports were about Instagram, 35% Facebook, 11% Twitter and 1% Tik Tok.”
“Companies did not provide an explanation for the deletion or suspension in the majority of their responses to users,” the report said. “However, the reasons presented to users included hate speech, violation of community standards, requesting proof of identity, among others.”
We have seen an “escalation against digital rights of Palestinians” in recent weeks, 7amleh campaigner Mona Shtaya told AFP.
Social media remains an important tool for Palestinians in exposing the violence against them, many of whom believe traditional media coverage does not sufficiently capture the reality of the crisis.
Tensions came to a boil earlier this month over the looming expulsions of Palestinian families from their homes in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah to make way for Israeli settlers. Israeli airstrikes and artillery fire on Gaza killed more than 250 Palestinians, including 69 children, and wounded over 1,900 people in 11 days of violence from May 10, the Gazan Health Ministry said.
#AceNewsReport – May.21: More than 230 Palestinians were killed in Israel’s brutal attack which started on 10 May, including 65 children. A further 1,700 were injured, while many thousand lost their homes. Twelve Israelis were also killed.
CEASEFIRE: Palestinians celebrate as ceasefire goes into effect over Gaza: Mosques across the Gaza Strip hailed a “victory” and prayers could be heard across the enclave as a ceasefire took hold in Gaza at 2am local time (11pm GMT), bringing to an end to 11 days of the fiercest bombing campaign the Strip has come under since 2014 with at least 230-Palestinians killed, including children and nearly 2,000 injured’
The Cabinet unanimously approved the ceasefire unanimously; Time designated for the start of the ceasefire: 02:00 at night – subject to understandings between Hamas and Egypt. https://t.co/gyZ3k4nGwG
Palestinians carry a model of Dome of the Rock as they gather for a celebration after “mutual and simultaneous” cease-fire deal between Israel and Hamas took effect at 2 am Friday (2300GMT Thursday), ending the 11-day conflict, in Rafah, Gaza on 21 May 2021. [Abed Rahim Khatib – Anadolu Agency]May 21, 2021 at 10:39 am
Palestinians could be seen dropped to the floor in prostration by way of thanks to God. Celebrations reverberated across the besieged Strip, in the occupied West Bank and in Jerusalem, where fireworks were set off, cars lined the streets with drivers honking.
Many worshippers heading to the Al-Aqsa Mosque for morning prayers also prostrated in thanks for the safety of their brothers and sisters in Gaza.
The truce took hold after the Israeli cabinet agreed to the “mutual and unconditional” ceasefire proposed by Egypt.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad also confirmed the “mutual and simultaneous” agreement.
Commiting on the ceasefire, UN Secretary-general Antonio Guterres said: “Israeli and Palestinian leaders have a responsibility beyond the restoration of calm to start a serious dialogue to address the root causes of the conflict.”
He added that the UN was ready to help both parties return to “meaningful negotiations” on a two-state settlement.
ABC’s ‘World News Tonight’ suggests Biden brokered cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, avoids crediting Egypt
ABC News praised Biden for ‘walking a fine line throughout’ his ‘first big foreign policy test’
8 hours ago
ABC’s “World News Tonight” heavily implied that President Biden was responsible for the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas when it was actually Egypt that brokered the truce.
“Tonight, breaking news as we come on the air. Israel and Hamas agreeing to a cease-fire. President Biden speaking just moments ago,” ABC News anchor David Muir began the program. “After 11 days of relentless rockets and missile attacks, a truce now set to take effect just a short time from now. President Biden, who put increasing pressure on Benjamin Netanyahu, Biden talking just a short time ago.”
Muir told viewers that “we knew” that President Biden told the Israeli Prime Minister that he “wanted to see a significant de-escalation in the Israeli operation.”
ABC News correspondent Matt Gutman, who was reporting from Tel Aviv, read a statement that was released by Hamas saying a “mutual and simultaneous ceasefire in the Gaza Strip” had been reached. However, Gutman scrubbed the first part of that sentence from the official Hamas statement, which read, “We were informed by our brothers in Egypt that an agreement had been reached.”
After reiterating Biden’s push for a “significant de-escalation,” Muir brought on ABC News White House correspondent Mary Bruce to talk about the “delicate dance” that Biden endured and the “quiet diplomacy” that was enacted.
“David, this was the first big foreign policy test for this president and Biden walked a fine line throughout,” Bruce told Muir. “He was facing growing pressure from his own party to take a tougher stance on Israel and you seemed to see the president nod to that tonight in his remarks, saying, quote, ‘I believe the Palestinians and Israelis deserve to enjoy equal measures of freedom, prosperity and democracy.’”
“Now, White House sources I’ve talked to feel that this all shows Biden’s approach to diplomacy working. He laid low in those first few days, trying to rely heavily on that quiet, intensive, behind-the-scenes diplomacy, and then upped the public pressure on Israel in just the recent days,” Bruce explained. “He and prime minister Netanyahu have a relationship, they understand how each other work. Biden took an increasingly serious tone, I am told, and made it clear to Israel that it would not be in their interest if this continued.”
However, as NewsBusters news analyst Nicholas Fondacaro pointed out, ABC’s report made no mention of Egypt’s critical role in the ceasefire.
Reversely, CBS and NBC gave credit to Egypt.
“The truce follows last-minute negotiations led by Egypt after days of what the White House has called quiet intensive diplomacy,” Norah O’Donnell of “CBS Evening News” told viewers.
“Israel’s security cabinet said it unanimously approved the Egyptian initiative for Israel and Hamas to simultaneously stop their attacks, starting in just minutes,” NBC News correspondent Richard Engel said in his report on “NBC Nightly News.”
#AceNewsReport – May.21: American officials have privately urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his aides to wind down his country’s operations against the Gaza Strip… At the start, the person familiar with the situation said, Israel appeared on the verge of pushing forth with a ground invasion, a move that could have led to significantly more bloodshed and possibly a longer conflict. U.S. influence was important in preventing a ground operation, the person said:
WASHINGTON: ‘Biden Admin Pressuring Israel to End Campaign Against Hamas Terrorists: U.S. officials are confident their mostly behind-the-scenes intervention helped avert an early Israeli ground invasion of the Gaza Strip’
1. Pressuring Israel behind the scenes into accepting a Hamas “cease-fire” which just means restarting this conflict when the terrorists get more Iranian rockets to shoot off.
2. Accusing Israel of “destabilizing the region” which as everyone knows is very stable.
3. Supporting the UN’s campaign against Israel out of one side of its mouth while promising to support Israel out of the other
Wind down, that is to say, bail out Hamas. Also bail out Hamas, literally.
That being said, the Biden administration and others already are looking at ways to send in humanitarian assistance to Gaza, a densely packed seaside territory of 2 million people.
How much of that “humanitarian assistance” will go to Hamas? Assume that plenty of it will in one way or another.
On Monday, Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, conveyed a sense of urgency when he warned that the longer the conflict drags on, the more it risks destabilizing the region.
“It’s in no one’s interest to continue fighting,” Milley said.
This is a region with multiple civil wars and insurgencies, in which Iran’s proxies are bombing Saudi Arabia out of Yemen, Syria’s Shiite government is bombing the Sunnis, Turkey is in the midst of a prolonged campaign against the Kurds, Iraq is on the verge of another civil war, Libya is in a permanent state of civil war…and I could go on. But it’s the Israelis who are destabilizing the region because of a brief campaign against Hamas terrorists.
And, oh yes, don’t expect the Biden administration to back up Israel on the Hamas building bombing.
Israel’s operations drew heightened criticism in recent days after its armed forces leveled a building that housed several media offices, including that of The Associated Press. Israel – which warned people to evacuate the building about an hour before striking it – has said it has shared information with the United States showing that Hamas based some of its assets in that facility.
The person familiar with the situation confirmed that Israel has shared some classified intelligence with America about the building, but declined to characterize it other than to say it suggested the Hamas presence was significant, including involving operational activity. The United States has told Israel that it should share more information publicly about this intelligence.
Netanyahu says no to Biden’s call for ceasefire amid continuing Hamas rocket fire
The barrage of rocket fire targeting Israel’s civilian population continues as Biden is calling on Israel for a ceasefire, only to be met by a determined “no” from Netanyahu — a short answer of logical reason for a weak and blind leader. Since “Hamas and now terrorists in Lebanon are ignoring Biden’s calls for calm,” it is unreasonable for anyone in his right mind to advise Israel to stop defending itself. Israel needs to put an end to jihadist bullying once and for all as it engages Operation Guardian of the Walls.
One wonders: if Iran started bombing America, would Biden sit by and allow it? In fact, there is no sovereign nation on the face of the earth that would allow a hostile enemy to rain a steady barrage of rockets on its citizens, without taking defensive action. Israel is a sovereign nation with the duty to protect its country and citizenry, not to listen to the dictates of outsiders.
The Israel Government Press Office gave a thorough and brief summary of this latest round of violence HERE.
“BREAKING: Netanyahu Says No to Biden’s Call for Ceasefire,” by Katie Pavlich, Townhall, March 19, 2021:
Netanyahu says he is “determined” to continue operations against Hamas until Israeli’s goal is met.
President Joe Biden is calling on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “de-escalate” with Hamas terrorists in Gaza as the Iranian backed organization continues its attacks on innocent civilians.
“President Biden spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu today. The two leaders had a detailed discussion on the state of events in Gaza, Israel’s progress in degrading the capabilities of Hamas and other terrorist elements, and ongoing diplomatic efforts by regional governments and the United States. The President conveyed to the Prime Minister that he expected a significant de-escalation today on the path to a ceasefire,” the White House released about a call between Biden and Netanyahu Wednesday morning.
Hamas and now terrorists in Lebanon are ignoring Biden’s calls for calm…..
After a night of Israeli air strikes on areas across the Hamas-run enclave, Israel’s military said Gaza militants fired about 60 rockets towards Israeli cities overnight, down from 120 and 200 the two previous nights.
A Palestinian sponge factory in northern Gaza was hit in a Monday morning air strike and firefighters battled to quell the blaze, which sent plumes of smoke into the air.
One Palestinian was killed in an air strike later in the morning, medics said.
After rockets were fired from Gaza at the Israeli cities of Beersheba and Ashkelon, Israeli jets bombed what the military said were 15km of underground tunnels used by Hamas.
It also struck nine residences belonging to high-ranking Hamas commanders, the military said.
With the sounds of Israeli bombardment continuing throughout the morning, Gaza residents rushed to bakeries and drug stores to stock up on essentials.
BBC Middle East: Israel launches new strikes on Gaza as calls for ceasefire grow
59 minutes ago: Homes and buildings destroyed in Israel and Gaza
The pre-dawn raids on Gaza were some of the heaviest seen since the fighting began a week ago.
Israel said it hit facilities belonging to the militant group Hamas and several commanders’ homes, but main roads and power lines were also damaged.
There were no immediate reports of casualties following the strikes.
People in Gaza have told of their fear. “I was getting ready to die. I had to be at peace with it,” Najla Shawa, a Palestinian humanitarian worker and mother of two, told the BBC.
Describing previous air strikes over the weekend, she said: “People we know [were killed], people we work with… ordinary people, professional people, young and old.”
The Israeli military said more than 50 warplanes conducted a 20-minute attack on the Gaza Strip shortly before dawn on Monday.
They struck 35 “terror targets” and destroyed more than 15km (9.3 miles) of an underground tunnel network belonging to Hamas, it added.
The military also said it had hit the homes of nine “high-ranking” Hamas commanders. Israeli soldiers also fired artillery from positions near the Gaza border.
ReutersIsrael said the air strikes hit Hamas targets, but homes and other buildings were also damaged
The fighting began after weeks of rising Israeli-Palestinian tension in occupied East Jerusalem that culminated in clashes at a holy site revered by both Muslims and Jews. Hamas, which controls Gaza, began firing rockets after warning Israel to withdraw from the site, triggering retaliatory air strikes.
Israel says more than 3,000 rockets have been fired into the country over the past week.
On Monday, rocket warning sirens sounded again, in several areas around southern Israel. One rocket hit an apartment building in the city of Ashdod and several people were reportedly hurt.
Palestinian officials in Gaza, meanwhile, said the overnight strikes had caused widespread power cuts and damaged hundreds of homes and other buildings.
“Slept for 3 hours – we are physically safe but had one of the [most] difficult nights,” one resident wrote on Twitter.
The overall death toll in the territory now stands at 198, including 58 children and 34 women, with 1,230 injured, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. Israel says more than 130 militants are among the dead – but Hamas has not recognised this.
International calls for a ceasefire have continued to mount.
Egypt’s President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi said on Monday that his country was “going to great lengths to reach a ceasefire… and hope still exists”.
The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting on Sunday, and Secretary-General António Guterres warned that further fighting had “the potential to unleash an uncontainable security and humanitarian crisis”.
He pleaded for an immediate end to the “utterly appalling” violence.
How likely is a ceasefire?
By Paul Adams, BBC diplomatic correspondent
Is Israel’s military operation in Gaza, dubbed “Guardian of the Walls”, nearing its conclusion?
Not obviously. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the attacks are continuing with “full force” and will “take time”.
In a news conference on Sunday, he admitted there were “pressures” but thanked US President Joe Biden, in particular, for his support.
Mr Biden’s envoy, Hady Amr, has been in Israel since Friday, discussing the crisis with Israeli officials.
Since the US, like Israel and many other countries, regards Hamas as a terrorist organisation, Mr Amr will not be meeting one of the two warring parties.
Any messages for Hamas will have to go through traditional interlocutors, such as Egypt or Qatar.
Local reports suggest Hamas has been offering some kind of ceasefire for several days, only to be rebuffed by Israel, which clearly wants to inflict as much damage as it can on the militants before the fighting is finally brought to a close.
These episodes follow a familiar pattern: Israel presses home its undoubted military advantage until the international outcry over civilian casualties, and a deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza, demand that the operation end.
In Israel’s estimation, we have not reached that point yet.
The Israeli strikes followed Palestinian rocket attacks targeting the southern Israeli cities of Beersheba and Ashkelon just after midnight on Monday.
Ten people, including two children, have been killed in rocket attacks on Israel in the past week. Israeli officials say they have seen the highest ever concentration of rocket attacks in that time.
The country’s Iron Dome defence system is said to have intercepted 90% of the rockets. But some have caused damage to cars and buildings, including the Yad Michael synagogue in Ashkelon, where a hole was blasted through the wall just before a Sunday evening service for the Jewish holiday of Shavuot.
ReutersIsrael says more than 3,000 rockets have been launched by Palestinian militants over the past week
Officials in Gaza said Sunday had been the deadliest day of the flare-up so far, with emergency workers spending the day trying to rescue people from under debris.
The UN has also warned of fuel shortages in Gaza which could lead to hospitals and other facilities losing power.
EPARescuers in Gaza have spent much of the day searching through the debris of the strikes
Lynn Hastings, UN deputy special co-ordinator for the Middle East peace process, told the BBC that she had appealed to Israeli authorities to allow the UN to bring in fuel and supplies but was told it was not safe.
The UN Security Council has been unable to agree on a public statement in recent days and none was forthcoming after Sunday’s meeting.
The United States – a strong ally of Israel – is said to be the hold-out, believing it would be unhelpful in the diplomatic process.
President Biden has publicly backed Israel’s right to self-defence, but he has said his administration is working with all parties to achieve de-escalation. “My hope is that we’ll see this coming to conclusion sooner rather than later,” he said of the fighting last week.
Timeline: How the violence escalated
The worst violence in years between Israel and the Palestinian territory of the Gaza Strip has seen dozens killed. It follows a month of spiralling tensions before open conflict broke out. Here is what happened in the lead-up to the fighting.
13 AprilImage caption Israeli police officers detain a young Palestinian man at the Damascus Gate Image copyright by Getty Images
Clashes erupt in East Jerusalem between Palestinians and Israeli police.
Palestinians are angry over barriers which had been placed outside the Damascus Gate entrance to the Jerusalem‘s Old City preventing them from gathering there after prayers at the Old City’s al-Aqsa Mosque on what is the first night of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
Palestinian discontent had been stoked earlier in the day when President Mahmoud Abbas called off planned elections, implicitly blaming Israel over voting arrangements for Palestinians in East Jerusalem.
Hamas – Mr Abbas’ Islamist rivals who control Gaza and were running in the elections – react angrily to the postponement.
Violence around Damascus Gate and elsewhere in East Jerusalem continues nightly.
Rockets are fired from Gaza at Israel, which responds with air strikes after a relative period of calm between Israel and the Palestinian enclave.
Clashes spread to the mixed Arab-Jewish port city of Jaffa, next to Tel Aviv.
In Jerusalem, Jewish youths, angry over a spate of filmed assaults by Palestinians on Orthodox Jews posted on the TikTok video-sharing app, attack Arabs and chant anti-Arab slogans.
23 AprilImage caption Israeli security forces clash with Palestinians outside the Damascus Gate Image copyright by Getty Images
Hundreds of ultra-nationalist Jews shouting “Death to Arabs” march towards Damascus Gate in protest at the Arab assaults on Jews. Clashes erupt at the site between Palestinians and police trying to separate the two groups, injuring dozens of people.
Violence between Arabs and Jews spreads to other parts of the city.
Militants fire dozens of rockets at Israel from Gaza, drawing retaliatory air strikes.
President Abbas’ Fatah faction and Hamas condemn the looming threatened eviction of Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah district of East Jerusalem by Jewish settlers ahead of a planned court hearing. Hamas calls on Arabs to form “human shields of resistance” there.
In the days that follow, police and protesters repeatedly clash at the site as it becomes a focal point for Palestinian anger.
Militants in Gaza begin sending incendiary balloons into Israel over successive days, causing dozens of fires.
Two Palestinian gunmen are shot dead and a third is wounded after opening fire on Israeli security forces in the northern West Bank. Israeli authorities say the group planned to carry out a “major attack” in Israel.Image caption The al-Aqsa mosque has been a frequent flashpoint for violence Image copyright by Getty Images
Later on after Friday prayers – the last of Ramadan – major clashes erupt at the al-Aqsa mosque compound, injuring more than 200 people. Israel’s police force says it used “riot dispersal means”, firing rubber bullets and stun grenades after officers came under a hail of stones and bottles.
A second night of violence erupts in East Jerusalem after tens of thousands of worshippers prayed at the al-Aqsa mosque for Laylat al-Qadr, the holiest night of Ramadan.
Police and protesters clash at Damascus Gate, with police using water cannon, rubber bullets and tear gas against crowds of Palestinians, some throwing stones.
More than 120 Palestinians and some 17 police are injured.
Israel’s Supreme Court postpones the hearing on the Sheikh Jarrah case following calls to delay it because of the growing unrest. Tensions remain high though and more clashes take place between Israeli police and Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah and at Damascus Gate.
Early morning clashes break out between police and Palestinians at the al-Aqsa mosque compound, where crowds throw stones and officers fire stun grenades.
Palestinian anger has been inflamed by an annual Jerusalem Day march planned for later in the day by hundreds of Israeli nationalists to celebrate Israel’s capture of East Jerusalem in 1967.
The march is due to pass through predominantly Arab parts of the Old City in what is seen by Palestinians as a deliberate provocation. It is rerouted at the 11th hour, but the atmosphere remains volatile with more than 300 Palestinians and some 21 police injured in the violence at the holy site.
Hamas issues an ultimatum to Israel to “withdraw its soldiers… from the blessed al-Aqsa mosque and Sheikh Jarrah” by 18:00. When the deadline passes without an Israeli response, rockets are fired towards Jerusalem for the first time in years.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the group has “crossed a red line” and Israel retaliates with air strikes, killing three Hamas fighters.
A continuing exchange of rocket-fire and air strikes quickly escalates into the fiercest hostilities between the two sides since they fought a war in 2014.
#AceNewsReport – May.17: At least 139 people have been killed in Gaza and nine in Israel since the fighting began on Monday:
Thousands protest in London over Israel-Gaza violence: ‘The organisers of the protest called on the UK government to stop allowing what they described as “Israel’s brutal violence against and oppression of the Palestinian people” Demonstrators marched to the Israeli embassy chanting “free Palestine” It comes after the worst week of violence in Gaza and Israel since 2014.
11 hours ago
By Jo Couzens BBC News
Israel says dozens of militants are among the dead in Gaza, while Palestinian health officials say nearly half are women and children.
It came after weeks of spiralling Israeli-Palestinian tension in occupied East Jerusalem which culminated in clashes at a holy site revered by both Muslims and Jews. Hamas – the militant Islamist group which rules Gaza – began firing rockets after warning Israel to withdraw from the site, triggering retaliatory air strikes.
On Saturday, an Israeli air strike on a refugee camp in Gaza killed 10 people, while a Palestinian rocket killed a man in Israel.
The demonstration in London has been organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Friends of Al-Aqsa, Palestinian Forum in Britain, Stop The War Coalition, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the Muslim Association of Britain.
A spokesperson for the organisers said: “It is vital that the UK government takes immediate action.
“It must stop allowing Israel’s brutal violence against and oppression of the Palestinian people to go unpunished.”
They said the bombardment of Gaza “which is killing civilians including children is a war crime”, adding: “The UK government is complicit in these acts as long as it continues to offer Israel military, diplomatic and financial support.”
At the scene
James Waterhouse, BBC News reporter
From the outset, it has been clear how high passions are running among the thousands who have turned out in central London.
A river of protesters flows along Hyde Park towards the Israeli embassy in Kensington.
Every once in a while, a red or green smoke flare is set off, which is met with cheers and waving Palestinian flags which match the colours.
Their intended destination is sealed off down a private road, but that does not stop people chanting “free Palestine” and a minority climb scaffolding on Kensington High Street.
They essentially want Israel to stop air strikes and for the UK government to step in.
But as US negotiators call on both sides to calm things, few here think it will be resolved any time soon.
Addressing the crowds at the rally, Husam Zumlot, Palestinian ambassador to the UK, said: “This time is different. This time we will not be denied any more. We are united. We have had enough of oppression.
“Today we are saying enough, enough with the complicity. Thank you for standing with us.”
Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and former shadow home secretary Diane Abbott also spoke to those gathered outside the embassy.
Ms Abbott said: “We must remember we are part of an international movement. This is a worldwide movement for justice.
“Palestinian people are having their land seized… and they are now being killed in their homes. All of this is illegal.”
In a BBC interview, the former Israeli ambassador to the UK, Mark Regev, defended Israel’s actions in Gaza.
“I don’t want to see any innocent bystanders hurt, let alone children. I don’t want to see Israeli children or Palestinian children caught up in the crossfire,” he said.
“But Hamas says Israel has no right to exist. So, we’re only talking about deterrence, about strength, about them understanding that it’s not in their interest to shoot rockets into Israel,” he added.
“And we want to come out of this conflict with them understanding that clearly, and then have a sustained period of quiet. Ultimately, that’s good for Israelis, and that’s good for the residents of Gaza, too.”
A Foreign Office spokeswoman said the ongoing violence was “deeply concerning and must end”.
“There is never any justification for targeting innocent civilians. Both sides need to de-escalate and offer hope to their peoples, which can only come through political dialogue.”
The Metropolitan Police said a small minority of protesters had thrown objects of police, and warned that enforcement action “will be taken where necessary against those who breach Covid regulations”.
There have also been pro-Palestinian demonstrations in several other European capitals.
In Paris, riot police used water cannons and tear gas to disperse a rally held despite a ban by authorities.
#AceNewsReport – May.16: airstrikes on Gaza City flattened three buildings and killed at least 26 people Sunday, medics said, making it the deadliest single attack since heavy fighting broke out between Israel and the territory’s militant Hamas rulers nearly a week ago:
Israeli strikes kill 26, topple buildings in Gaza City: An additional 50 people were wounded from the attack: Israel appears to have stepped up strikes in recent days to inflict as much damage as possible on Hamas as international mediators try to broker a cease-fire. But targeting the group’s leaders could hinder those efforts. A U.S. diplomat is in the region to try to de-escalate tensions, and the U.N. Security Council is set to meet Sunday: Associated Press: 25: mins ago
The Gaza Health Ministry said 10 women and eight children were among those killed, with another 50 people wounded in the attack. A rescuer could be seen shouting into a hole in the rubble. “Can you hear me?” he called out. “Are you OK?” Minutes later, first responders managed to pull a survivor out and carried him off on an orange stretcher.
Earlier, the Israeli military said it destroyed the home of Gaza’s top Hamas leader, Yahiyeh Sinwar, in a separate strike in the southern town of Khan Younis. It was the third such attack in the last two days on the homes of senior Hamas leaders, who have gone underground.
The latest outbreak of violence began in east Jerusalem earlier this month, when Palestinians protested attempts by settlers to forcibly evict a number of Palestinian families from their homes and Israeli police measures at Al-Aqsa Mosque, a frequent flashpoint located on a mount in the Old City revered by Muslims and Jews. Hamas fired rockets toward Jerusalem late Monday, triggering the Israeli assault on Gaza.
The turmoil has also spilled over elsewhere, fueling protests in the occupied West Bank and stoking violence within Israel between its Jewish and Arab citizens, with clashes and vigilante attacks on people and property.
At least 181 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, including 52 children and 31 women, with 1,225 wounded. Eight Israelis have been killed, including a 5-year-old boy and a soldier.
The military said Sunday it struck Sinwar’s home and that of his brother Muhammad, another senior Hamas member. On Saturday it destroyed the home of Khalil al-Hayeh, a senior figure in Hamas’ political branch.
Hamas’ upper echelon has gone into hiding in Gaza, and it is unlikely any were at home at the time of the strikes. Hamas’ top leader, Ismail Haniyeh, divides his time between Turkey and Qatar, both of which provide political support to the group.
Hamas and the Islamic Jihad militant group have acknowledged 20 fighters killed since the fighting broke out Monday. Israel says the real number is far higher and has released the names and photos of two dozen alleged operatives it says were “eliminated.”
An Egyptian diplomat said Israel’s targeting of Hamas political leaders would complicate cease-fire efforts. The diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the closed-door negotiations, said Cairo is working to broker an end to the fighting. A U.S. diplomat has also been dispatched to the region and the U.N. Security Council is set to meet Sunday.
The Egyptian diplomat said the destruction of Hamas’ rocket capabilities would require a ground invasion that would “inflame the whole region.” Egypt, which made peace with Israel decades ago, has threatened to “suspend” cooperation in various fields, the official said, without elaborating.
Hamas and other militant groups have fired some 2,900 rockets into Israel. The military said 450 of the rockets had fallen short or misfired, while Israeli air defenses intercepted 1,150.
The interception rate appeared to have significantly dropped since the start of the conflict, when Israel said 90% were intercepted. The military did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Israel has meanwhile carried out hundreds of airstrikes across impoverished Gaza, which is home to more than 2 million Palestinians and has been under an Israeli and Egyptian blockade since Hamas seized power from rival Palestinian forces in 2007.
Israel has leveled a number of Gaza City’s tallest office and residential buildings, alleging they contain Hamas military infrastructure. On Saturday, Israel bombed the 12-story al-Jalaa Building, where the office of The Associated Press was located. The building also housed the TV network Al-Jazeera and other media outlets, along with several floors of apartments.
“The campaign will continue as long as it is required,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. He alleged that Hamas military intelligence was operating inside the building.
Israel routinely cites a Hamas presence as a reason for targeting certain locations in airstrikes, including residential buildings. The military also has accused the militant group of using journalists as human shields, but provided no evidence to back up the claims.
The AP has operated from the building for 15 years, including through three previous wars between Israel and Hamas. During those conflicts as well as the current one, the news agency’s cameras from its top floor office and roof terrace offered 24-hour live shots as militants’ rockets arched toward Israel and Israeli airstrikes hammered the city and its surroundings.
“We have had no indication Hamas was in the building or active in the building,” AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt said in a statement. “This is something we actively check to the best of our ability. We would never knowingly put our journalists at risk.”
In the afternoon, the military called the building’s owner and warned a strike would come within an hour. AP staffers and other occupants evacuated safely. Soon after, three missiles hit the building and destroyed it, bringing it crashing down in a giant cloud of dust.
“The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what happened today,” Pruitt said. “We are shocked and horrified.”
He said the AP was seeking information from the Israeli government and was engaged with the U.S. State Department to learn more.
#AceNewsReport – May.16: A barrage of Israeli airstrikes at dawn Friday destroyed several homes in the town of Beit Lahiya, in the north of the Strip, resulting in the killing of a mother and her three children from the al-Attar family:
GAZA STRIP: A mother and her three children among 10 Palestinians killed in latest Israeli strikes leading to four deaths were identified in the preliminary inspection of the mass damage, while the mother and her three children, together with two other bodies, were pulled out from the debris sometime later’
WAFA correspondent said Israeli fighter jets carried out a crazy barrage of about 160 airstrikes concurrently, which coincided with bombing by the Israeli artillery and navy that mainly targeted civilian facilities in the northern Gaza district.
The Ministry of Health said the latest figure bring up the number of Palestinians killed by the ongoing Israeli aggression on Gaza to 119, including 31 children, in addition to 830 injuries, including 139 children.
#AceNewsReport – May.16: We were cleaning our houses, buying new clothes for the small ones for the Eid. But things have changed, ” says Mariam Sersawi on the phone from Gaza on the eve of the three-day feast of Eid al-Fitr:
Gaza and Israel residents struggle through a new reality: Hostilities broke out between Hamas and Israel less only days ago. Swift escalations have since left civilians on both sides trying to come to terms with the maddening unpredictability. Tania Krämer reports from Israel.
Mariam is a 25-year-old content writer living in Shejaieh, a neighborhood in the east of Gaza City. Neither she nor others predicted what was yet to come later in the day. The beginning of this new conflict and the quick and wide scale destruction reminded her of the devastation her neighborhood saw during the war of 2014. “I am panicked. The sound of bombing is terrible. It’s constant bombing,” she says, fighting back tears as she speaks. “I am exhausted.”
Days later, people shed their disbelief as they realized that this has turned into a fierce and very serious conflict. As hostilities intensified, ordinary Gazans took to social media to describe how intense Israel’s air bombardments were and how dreadful they felt.
Old memories, new fears
According to the Israeli army, 160 fighter jets were in the air during Thursday night to strike the coastal enclave. To Gazans, the three previous wars and several shorter military escalations are deeply engrained in their memory. Now, they quickly had to again adapt their skills to hunker down at home and only venture out to get some basic food items quickly. Gaza has no shelters or air raid sirens. Two million people live in the blockaded territory which is ruled by the militant group Hamas.
DW correspondent Tania Krämer on Israel-Gaza violence
Abed Shokry, a senior lecturer at the Islamic University in Gaza paces from one room to another to find some sense of safety, he says on the phone from Gaza-City, saying that the house was shaking from the bombardments. “The strikes are stronger, more dangerous and more powerful than in 2014. I don’t know what to say, I feel powerless, helpless. We can’t do anything, there is no safe place. We don’t have any safe room or shelter. There is nowhere safe to go,” he says. Shoukry lived in Germany for over a decade before returning to Gaza in 2007, just as the closure around the small enclave was tightened by Israel and partly by Egypt after Hamas seized power.
On Monday he was working on a lecture in at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, when he realized what was happening. “Just tell me: What do the Israelis want from us?” he asks.
By Friday, he was writing from Gaza on Whatsapp that people in the neighboring high-rise building have been called by the Israeli military to vacate their house. “If they bomb and destroy it, it means we will also be affected. I am just trying to calm down our children.”
Heavy smoke and fire rise from a tower as it collapses after being hit by an Israeli air strike
Forced evictions and protests
There was a sense beforehand that the events in Jerusalem in recent weeks might have an impact on developments, Shoukri says. But still the outbreak of the fighting surprised most people in Gaza.
In this Palestinian neighborhood, four families have been struggling to fight off a pending eviction order in favor of an extremist Israeli settler organization. Violent confrontations between Israeli forces and Palestinians on the Harem Al Sharif, or what is known as Temple Mount to Jewish people, and inside the Al Aqsa Mosque had let Hamas to set an ultimatum to Israel to withdraw their forces from the holy compound and the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. At 6 p.m. local time, Hamas launched several rockets towards Jerusalem.
In pictures: Israel-Gaza conflict intensifies with rockets, airstrikesRetaliatory strikesThe wave of destruction continued on Thursday. Israeli fighter planes bombed the southern Gaza Strip, in attacks targeting facilities the Israeli army said housed members Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers.
Up until Friday, Israel has reportedly carried out more than 600 air strikes in Gaza. Palestinian militants fired over 1,600 rockets towards Southern Israel and into the center of the country.
While the intensive fighting has prompted international concern that the situation could spiral out of control, prospects of a ceasefire appear to be slim at this point.
“I said that we would exact a very heavy price from Hamas and the other terrorist organizations. We are doing so, and we will continue to do so with great force,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday evening. “The last word has not been said and this operation will continue as long as necessary in order to restore quiet and security to the State of Israel.”
But he also said that Israel was fighting on “two fronts” — referring to recent violent street clashes between Jewish and Arab-Israeli or Palestinian Israeli citizens inside Israel. Many “mixed” Israeli cities have seen an unprecedented outbreak of rioting, destruction of property and violent attacks on individuals — by far-right Israeli and by Arab-Israeli individuals and groups. The violence led to a curfew being imposed in the city of Lod in central Israel.
In the southern Israeli city of Sderot, smoke rises from a building hit by a rocket attack from the Gaza Strip
Ashkelon — coastal city hit hard by rocket fire
In the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon which lies just north of the Gaza Strip, air raid sirens wailed again and people in a neighborhood shopping center rushed to the underground parking lot. Once there, several loud booms echo in the basement. It’s the Iron Dome, Israel’s defense systemintercepting rockets fired from Gaza into Israel. A day earlier, one rocket landed in the street in front of the shops, damaging houses and cars. “It’s very stressful”, says Shula Elimelech, “But we follow the regulations, we trust in the IDF (Israeli Defence Forces) — and so God willing, it will be ok.”
Ashkelon has seen many missile barrages in the past days. Upstairs, baker Shmaayah Sassporta is preparing the traditional Challah bread for Shabbat. “It has been going on for many years now. And I don’t expect it to end any time soon,” says Sassporta. He shrugs, hardened by the previous as well as the present constant threat of rockets launched from Gaza towards the coastal town.
Further south in a small moshav, in very close proximity to the border fence that separates Gaza from Israel, Anat Partoush, a yoga teacher, talks to us via video call from a safe room — a fortified room.
She finds herself confined to her home again, just as she has been getting used to going back to work after the Corona-pandemic. When air-raid sirens go off in the area, there are less than a few seconds left to seek shelter before a possible rocket or mortar impact. “I am not too afraid, I just experience frustration. We have a shelter, and the Iron Dome also gives you some psychological help. It’s not nice to hear all the noises of the rockets. But I know it’s temporary also.”
Israel’s Iron Dome aerial defense system, which intercepts rockets, has only partly eased fears
Background of political uncertainty
This DW reporter met with her just before the last Israeli election in March. The Likud-supporter is glad that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is still at the helm. “There is no magic stick. I see people blaming Netanyahu, and everybody is so clever, it’s so complicated and I am happy that Bibi Netanyahu is not going crazy.”
Netanyahu had failed to form a coalition government. His rivals Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) and Naftali Bennett (Yamina) had been trying to build a broad coalition. However, on Thursday, Israeli media reported that Bennett had signaled that such an alternative government was off the table, and that he would renew talks with Netanyahu’s Likud to form a right wing-nationalist-religious government after all.
Partoush hopes that Arab countries, like the United Arab Emirates or Bahrain — with whom Israel has very recently normalized relations — could help restore calm and find a longer-term solution. But she is also sure that as long as Hamas rules Gaza and no political solution is in sight, there won’t be any prospect of quiet, let alone peace.
#AceNewsReport – May.13: Editor says when l set up this site many years ago l started with one simple aim to provide stories and posts that provided tha truth in the news ……since that day its become more difficult to find the truth with so many bias interviews and stories that just provide their view of the situation and their beliefs …..l now publish articles and posts that reflect not my view but an unbiased view of the news ….as the truth will set you free by the ‘Word of God’ being spoken up on the earth Amen
Israel-Gaza violence dominates Arab media: ‘However, the news remains relatively low down the running order of Syrian TV news, and in Iran it only started topping bulletins on Tuesday in both countries – key members of the so-called “axis of resistance” to Israel – domestic issues have taken priority’
BBC News: Says the escalation of violence in Israel and Gaza dominates TV and press coverage in most of the Middle East, with an outpouring of anger and solidarity with the Palestinians expressed by social media users across the region:
16 hours ago
By BBC Monitoring Essential Media Insight
Qatari Al-Jazeera’s Arabic channel, a traditional supporter of the Palestinian cause, gives the story full coverage: It is also the lead story on Saudi-funded Al Arabiya, which is pressing its guests and correspondents on claims by both sides:
Arab press highlights ‘dilemma’
Some Arabic newspapers predict a long-running armed conflict while others criticise “deluded” Arab countries that signed peace deals with Israel.
London-based website Rai al-Youm said: “Perhaps a major confrontation is imminent. We are in the beginning of an armed intifada that may last for months.”
Jordan’s Al-Dustour daily says Arab countries face “a serious dilemma” – whether to preserve their Arab-Islamic identity or continue normalisation with Israel.
A column in Algeria’s Echorouk says the clashes have “revealed the limitations and delusion of the normalisers”.
In Lebanon, Nidaa al-Watan notes how protests in Lebanese cities rejected “oppression against the Palestinian people”.
An editorial in Jerusalem-based Al-Quds urges Egypt to work hard for a truce to end “the bloodbath in Gaza”. “We see that a truce will be good for all the parties, particularly our people in the Gaza Strip. No party has any interest in an ongoing military escalation,” it says.
The story dominated Egypt’s press on Tuesday, but on Wednesday it was pushed down by domestic matters. However, state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper expresses surprise at the “international silence and the silence of the Biden administration” in the US.
On social media, Arabic hashtags being used to express solidarity with the Palestinians include “Gaza under attack”, “Free Palestine” and “Gaza resists”.
Thousands of users have lashed out at the Arab leaders, saying that they only care about “maintaining their relations” with Israel to remain in power.
The view from Turkey and Iran
The conflict has topped Turkey’s news agenda for several days, with both print and broadcast media widely condemnatory of Israel.
“They [Israel] know well how to kill children,” reads the front page of the flagship pro-government Sabah newspaper on Wednesday.
“Your day of reckoning will come,” says Yeni Safak in its main headline.
Opposition Sozcu newspaper says the Arab world, the US, the EU and UN have “not given a strong response”.
Iran’s domestic media is focused on its June presidential election, but the Israel-Gaza conflict is the main international story.
Rolling news channel IRINN and Press TV report Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip, while newspapers highlight Palestinian militants firing rockets into Israel.
“Biggest missile attack against Tel Aviv,” says the headline in conservative Khorasan.
And hardline Javan writes: “Gaza’s missile shield over honourable Quds [Jerusalem]”.
Two women in southern Israel were killed in rocket attacks launched from the Gaza Strip
At least 28 Palestinians have been killed, most in Israeli airstrikes
The military escalation follows days of clashes at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem
The military said other senior militants in the organisation were also killed in the same strike.
Islamic Jihad confirmed the three killed in an airstrike on an apartment in Gaza City were senior members of its armed wing.
The militant group vowed retaliation.
Hundreds of mourners later lined Gaza streets to mourn the three men.
Earlier rockets fired by Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip killed two women in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, according to the head of the Magen David ambulance service.
The two were killed in two separate strikes that hit two houses in the city.
Israeli media reported one of the victims was an 80-year-old woman.
Responding to the latest rocket attacks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would step up its attacks on Gaza.
“At the conclusion of a situational assessment, it was decided that both the might of the attacks and the frequency of the attacks will be increased,” he said in video statement.
Rubble littered some Gaza streets early on Tuesday following a series of Israeli airstrikes on Monday.
This round of violence, like previous ones, is being fuelled by conflicting claims over Jerusalem, home to major holy sites of Islam, Judaism and Christianity.
By Tuesday morning, Hamas and other Gaza militants had fired more than 200 rockets into Israel.
The Israeli military said it had carried out dozens of air strikes, targeting what it said were Hamas military installations and operatives, killing at least 16 militants.
Dozens of rockets were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome defence system.
More than 700 Palestinians were hurt in clashes with Israeli security forces in Jerusalem and across the West Bank in 24 hours, including nearly 500 who were treated at hospitals. The Israeli military said six Israeli civilians were hurt by rocket fire.
At least twenty-eight Palestinians have been killed, most in airstrikes, according to Palestinian health authorities.
Islamic nations form united front
In response to the incidents a gathering of representatives of Muslim nations condemned Israel for the outbreak of violence in the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem.
The emergency meeting of the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation was held on Tuesday to present a unified response from the Muslim world.
In a communiqué, they denounced Israel’s “continuous violations” of the mosque, “barbaric attacks” against worshippers and movement restrictions on Palestinians at the compound.
It said that it considered Israel’s actions a “provocation of the feelings of Muslims around the world and a serious violation of international law.”
It called on the international community to hold Israel liable for the escalation and to press it to halt attacks that threaten “the security and stability of the region.” It also reaffirmed the long-standing Arab stance of support for an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.
In a separate statement on Tuesday, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called on Palestinians to build up their fighting power to stop Israel’s “brutality”.
“Zionists understand nothing but the language of force, so the Palestinians must increase their power and resistance to force the criminals to surrender and stop their brutal acts,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.
International Organisations weigh in
The United Nations is urgently working to de-escalate tensions between Israel and the Palestinians.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is saddened by “the increasingly large numbers of casualties, including children, from Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, and of Israeli fatalities from rockets launched from Gaza,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
“Israeli security forces must exercise maximum restraint and calibrate their use of force. The indiscriminate launching of rockets and mortars towards Israeli population centres is unacceptable,” Mr Dujarric said.
The International Committee of the Red Cross, in a statement to Reuters, called on all sides in the conflict to de-escalate the violence.
#AceNewsReport – May.12: The latest round of violence between Israelis and Palestinians is happening because the long and unresolved conflict between the two sides has once again been left to fester. It is an open wound in the heart of the Middle East and it is why violent face-to-face confrontations have escalated into rocket-firing, air strikes and death.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier that the main militant group, Hamas, had “crossed a red line” by firing rockets towards Jerusalem for the first time in years.
He warned that the strength and frequency of Israel’s air strikes would increase and Hamas would be “hit in ways that it does not expect”.
Israel says it hit at least 150 targets in Gaza in response to the earlier rocket attacks. Israeli air strikes hit Gaza after rocket fire
Hamas, which controls Gaza, says it has been acting to defend Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque from Israeli “aggression and terrorism” after the site, which is holy to Muslims and Jews, saw clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians on Monday that left hundreds injured.
The past few days have seen the worst violence in Jerusalem since 2017. It followed mounting Palestinian anger over the threatened eviction of families from their homes in occupied East Jerusalem by Jewish settlers. Tension had already been stoked by a month of altercations between protesters and police in the predominantly Arab part of the city.
What do we know of the latest fighting?
Hamas said it had launched rockets at Tel Aviv and its suburbs in response to “the enemy’s targeting of residential towers”.
Video footage from the city shows rockets streaking through the night sky, some exploding as they are hit by Israeli interceptor missiles.
Pedestrians ran for shelter and diners streamed out of restaurants while others flattened themselves on pavements as the sirens sounded, according to Reuters. One woman is reported to have been killed in the town of Rishon LeZion, near Tel Aviv.
In the Tel Aviv suburb of Holon, a rocket hit an empty bus, Israeli police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld told AFP news agency.
The rockets were launched after the destruction of the Hanadi Tower in Gaza, which houses an office used by the political leadership of Hamas, Reuters reports.
Two hours after the collapse, there were still no reports of casualties.
The open wound of an unresolved conflictThe fundamental reason for the renewed violence does not change. It is the open wound of the unresolved conflict between Jews and Arabs that has blighted and ended Palestinian and Israeli lives for generations.
This latest episode has happened because of tension in Jerusalem, the sharpest part of the conflict. The holy sites in the Old City are national as well as religious symbols. Crises affecting them have often ignited violence.
The triggers for what has happened this time include heavy-handed Israeli policing of Palestinians during Ramadan and controversial efforts in the Israeli courts to evict Palestinians from their homes.But other events could have had the same effect. This was a crisis waiting to happen, in a conflict that, once again, has been left to fester.
Leaders on both sides have concentrated on safeguarding their own positions. The biggest challenge, of making peace, has not been addressed seriously for years.
Earlier on Tuesday, two women, one in her 60s and the other in her 80s, were killed in a rocket attack on the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, with one other person seriously injured, medics say.
Hamas said it had fired 137 rockets at Ashkelon and nearby Ashdod in the space of five minutes, and warned it had “many surprises” prepared if the fighting continued.At least 95 people received treatment in Israeli hospitals as a result of the attacks.EPAA barrage of rockets were fired at Israel’s southern city of Ashkelon on Tuesday morningEarlier, the Israeli military said 90% of the rockets had been intercepted by its Iron Dome missile defence system.
ReutersFlames and smoke could be seen in GazaThe Israeli military said it had struck 130 “terror targets” in Gaza overnight in response, including two attack tunnels being dug under the border with Israel.The military and the Shin Bet security agency announced that they had also killed the head of Islamic Jihad group’s special rocket unit, Samah Abed al-Mamlouk. Islamic Jihad confirmed the deaths of Mamlouk and two other senior figures in a strike on a building in central Gaza City.
The commander of a Hamas anti-tank missile unit was reportedly killed on Tuesday evening, as the Israeli military launched what it called “massive wave” of air strikes to neutralise Hamas’ rocket-launching capabilities in northern Gaza.
The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza reported that at least 28 Palestinians, including 10 children, had been killed in Israeli strikes and more than 150 others had been injured.It said a 59-year-old woman and her disabled son had died in an attack on Tuesday morning.
On Monday night, seven members of one family, including three children, died in an explosion in Beit Hanoun. The cause of the blast was not clear.
ReutersPalestinian health officials say children have been killed in Israeli strikesThe Israeli military said at least 16 of those killed had been members of militant groups and that it took precautions to minimise possible harm to civilians.
A spokesman told the BBC that about one in three of the rockets fired by militants landed inside Gaza, potentially causing damage and civilian casualties inside the territory.What’s the global reaction?US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Hamas must end the rocket attacks “immediately”, adding: “All sides need to de-escalate.”ReutersAir raid sirens have been constantly wailing in southern Israeli towns and citiesUK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab tweeted that the violence in Jerusalem and Gaza “must stop” and called for “an immediate de-escalation on all sides, and end to targeting of civilian populations”.
A spokesman for the EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said the upsurge in violence “needs to stop immediately” and warned that rocket-fire targeting Israeli civilians “is totally unacceptable and feeds escalatory dynamics”.ReutersA key holy site in Jerusalem has been a focal point of confrontations between Israeli police and PalestiniansThe UN human rights office said it was “deeply concerned” by the escalation and condemned “all incitement to violence and ethnic division and provocations”.A Palestinian official told Reuters news agency that the UN, Egypt and Qatar were trying to negotiate an end to the fighting.What has caused the violence?
The fighting between Israel and Hamas was triggered by days of escalating clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police at a holy hilltop compound in East Jerusalem. The site is revered by both Muslims, who call it the Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary), and Jews, for whom it is known as the Temple Mount.
Hamas demanded Israel remove police from there and the nearby predominantly Arab district of Sheikh Jarrah, where Palestinian families face eviction by Jewish settlers. Hamas launched rockets when its ultimatum went unheeded.Why the ancient city of Jerusalem is so importantPalestinian anger had already been stoked by weeks of rising tension in East Jerusalem, inflamed by a series of confrontations with police since the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan in mid-April.
It was further fuelled by an expected court ruling on the fate of the families in Sheikh Jarrah – ultimately postponed because of the unrest – and Israel’s annual celebration on Monday of its capture of East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war, known as Jerusalem Day.The fate of the city, with its deep religious and national significance to both sides, lies at the heart of the decades-old Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Israel in effect annexed East Jerusalem in 1980 and considers the entire city its capital, though this is not recognised by the vast majority of other countries. Palestinians claim the eastern half of Jerusalem as the capital of a hoped-for state of their own.
#AceNewsReport – May.12: Video footage showed three plumes of thick, black smoke rising from the tower, its upper storeys still intact as they fell. The tower houses an office used by the political leadership of Gaza’s Islamist rulers, Hamas:
Electricity in the area around the building went out, and residents were using flashlights.
Shortly after the attack, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad group said they would respond by firing rockets at Tel Aviv.
Air raid sirens and explosions were heard around the city and Channel 12 television said there had been a direct rocket hit on a building in the suburb of Holon.
Israel halted all flights from Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport.
“We are now carrying out our promise,” Hamas’s armed wing said in a statement. “The Qassam Brigades are launching their biggest rocket strike against Tel Aviv and its suburbs, with 130 rockets, in response to the enemy’s targeting of residential towers.”
Hours earlier, Israel had sent 80 jets to bomb Gaza and massed tanks on the border as rocket barrages hit Israeli towns for a second day, deepening a conflict in which at least 28 people in the Palestinian enclave and two in Israel have been killed.
Residents of the block and people living nearby had been warned to evacuate the area around an hour before the air strike, according to witnesses. It was not immediately clear if the building had been fully evacuated, or if there were casualties.
The most serious outbreak of fighting since 2019 between Israel and armed factions in Gaza was triggered by clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque on Monday.1/24
The holy city of Jerusalem has been tense during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, with the threat of a court ruling evicting Palestinians from homes claimed by Jewish settlers adding to the friction.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would step up its strikes on Gaza, an enclave of 2 million people, in response to the rocket attacks, which carried on into the early evening.
“Both the strength of the attacks and the frequency of the attacks will be increased,” he said in a video statement.
Within an hour, Israel said it had deployed 80 jets to bomb rocket launch sites in and around Gaza City.
Officials said infantry and armour were being dispatched to reinforce the tanks already gathered on the border, evoking memories of the last Israeli ground incursion into Gaza to stop rocket attacks, in 2014.
More than 2,100 Gazans were killed in the seven-week war that followed, according to the Gaza health ministry, along with 73 Israelis, and thousands of homes in Gaza were razed.
On Tuesday, before the block collapsed, the Gaza health ministry said at least 28 Palestinians, including 10 children, had been killed and 152 wounded by Israeli strikes since Hamas on Monday fired rockets towards Jerusalem for the first time since 2014.
Israel’s national ambulance service said two women had been killed in rocket strikes on the southern city of Ashkelon.
The International Committee of the Red Cross urged all sides to step back, and reminded them of the requirement in international law to try to avoid civilian casualties. read more
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian condemned the rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel but also said he was concerned at the threat of forced eviction of Palestinian residents in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem.
#AceNewsReport – Apr.24: Israel had its most significant standoff with the Gaza Strip in months on Friday night, as the IDF struck Hamas positions in the enclave and 36 rockets from fringe militant groups were fired at southern Israel: The initial response from an Israeli tank came after the first missiles were fired at around 11 P.M. Following the strike, at least 17 more rockets were fired at communities in southern Israel according to Haaretz:
Israel retaliates after missile fired by Syrian forces targets Israeli aircraft and nuclear reactor: Over the course of the night, the Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted six rockets, while the rest fell in open areas, the IDF said.
All this is happening while a so-called nuclear deal is being worked out, one with which Iran has never complied; nor will it ever. The goal of Iran (and its proxies) remains the obliteration of the State of Israel. Ditto for surrounding jihadists, including the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Hizballah, Fatah, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
“Israel retaliates after Syrian missile lands near nuclear reactor,” Reuters, April 21, 2021:
A Syrian missile exploded in southern Israel on Thursday, the Israeli military said, in an incident that triggered warning sirens near the secretive Dimona nuclear reactor and an Israeli strike in Syria.
An Israeli military spokesman identified the projectile as an SA-5 surface-to-air missile fired by Syrian forces against Israeli aircraft. He said it overflew its target to reach the Dimona area, 200 km (125 miles) south of the Syrian border.
The missile did not hit the reactor, exploding some 30 km (19 miles) away, the spokesman added.
The sirens that sounded overnight in the Dimona area followed weeks of heightened tension between Israel and Iran, a close ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, amid renewed global negotiations over Tehran’s nuclear programme.
For weeks, Israeli media have said air defences around the Dimona reactor and the Red Sea port of Eilat were being strengthened in anticipation of a possible long-range missile or drone attack by Iranian-backed forces.
In public remarks on Thursday’s incident, Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz said the anti-aircraft missile was fired from Syria during an Israeli strike there against “assets that could be used for a potential attack against Israel”.
Gantz said Israel’s anti-missile systems had attempted to intercept the SA-5 but were unsuccessful.
“In most cases, we achieve other results. This is a slightly more complex case. We will investigate it and move on,” he said. Israeli security sources said the missile exploded in mid-air.
In response, Israel launched further overnight attacks inside Syria, the military spokesman said, targeting several missile batteries, including the one that fired the SA-5.
Syria’s state news agency said the country’s air defence system intercepted Israeli rockets over the suburbs of Damascus “and downed most of them”. Four soldiers were injured and there was some material damage, it said…..
#AceWorldNews – PALESTINE – Nov.10 – The Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is cancelling Gaza ceremonies marking the 10th anniversary of Yasser Arafat’s death due to security concerns, AFP reported.
Fatah spokesman Fayez Abu Eita said that the security and political wings of Hamas had informed that they were “unable to guarantee the safety of the festival.”