|Al Jazera, January 5, 2008
Palestinian civilians are continuing to suffer as the Israeli military pushes deeper into the Gaza Strip.
At least 540 people have been killed in the territory in the last 10 days, with more than 80 deaths reported since the Israeli ground offensive began on Saturday.
Among the dead on Monday was a family of seven from Shati refugee camp, who were killed by Israeli navy shelling.
Three siblings from one family, as well as a girl and her grandfather, also died in the Zeitoun neighbourhood of Gaza during artillery shelling.
Emergency medical services have also come under attack with the al-Awda hospital in Jabaliya being hit by two Israeli shells, foreign human rights actvists said.
“Two consecutive shells just landed in the busy car park 15 metres from the entrance to the emergency room,” Alberto Arce of the International Solidarity Movement said in a statement.
“The entrance of the emergency room was damaged. At the time of the shelling ambulances were bringing in the wounded that keep pouring in.”
On Sunday, an Israeli raid killed at least four paramedics as they tried to reach wounded Palestinians. Ambulances have also been hit in the attacks, Palestinian sources said.
Israeli government officials say they are not targeting civilians, but only seeking to halt rocket fire from the Palestinian Hamas movement governing Gaza.
There are also fears that the humanitarian situation will further deteriorate as the strip, home to 1.5 million people, is suffering from acute shortages of fuel, food and medical supplies.The UN has warned that there were “critical gaps” in aid reaching Gaza, despite claims from Tzipi Livni, the Israeli foreign minister, that there was no crisis and that aid was getting through.
Christopher Gunness, the UN Relief and Works Agency (Unrwa) spokesman, said the idea that there was no humanitarian crisis in Gaza, was absurd.
“The organisation for which I work – Unrwa – has approximately 9,000 to 10,000 workers on the ground. They are speaking with the ordinary civilians in Gaza… People are suffering,” he said.
“A quarter of all those being killed now are civilians. So when I hear people say we’re doing our best to avoid civilian casualties that rings very hollow indeed.”
About 250,000 people in the northern part of Gaza are also reported to be without electricity. The main power plant has been shut down for lack of fuel due to Israel’s blockade.
Despite the crisis in Gaza, Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior Hamas official, said the group was heading for “victory” against the Israeli military.
He said that Hamas’s armed wing, the Izz-e-din al-Qassam Brigades, had “given the most beautiful performances during its confrontation with the army that the world thought invincible”.
Palestinian factions have continued to launch rockets into southern Israel, despite more than a week of aerial bombardment by Israel and the ground offensive.
One Israeli soldier has been confirmed killed in the Gaza assault so far, with at least 49 others wounded. Four Israelis have also been killed by Palestinian rockets.
The International Red Cross and world leaders have appealed to both Israel and Hamas to stop targeting civilians and work to restore a ceasefire.
Posts Tagged ‘Gaza invasion’
10,000 is a significant percentage of the people in Tel Aviv and shows that the peace movement has some support, the ground invasion will lead to a huge increase in loss of life in Gaza.
MASSIVE DEMONSTRATION AGAINST THE WAR
At the same time as Ehud Barak was ordering the army to start the bloody ground offensive against Gaza, some ten thousand protesters from all over Israel marched in Tel-Aviv in a massive demonstration against the war.
“One does not build an election campaign over the dead bodies of children!” shouted the protesters in Hebrew rhymes. “Orphans and widows are not election propaganda!”, “Olmert, Livni and Barak – war is no game!”’ “All cabinet ministers are war criminals!!” Barak, Barak, don’t worry – we shall meet you in The Hague!”, “Enough, enough – speak with Hamas!”
The written posters were similar. Some of them paraphrased Barak’s election slogans: “Barak is not friendly, he is a murderer!” )The original Barak slogan says: “Barak is not friendly, he is a leader!”) Also: “No to the Election War, 2009!” and “The six-Knesset-seat war!” – an allusion to the polls which showed that in the first days of the war Barak’s Labor Party has gained six prospective seats.
The demonstration took place after a fight with the police, which tried to prevent or at least limit it, arguing that they would not be able to stop right-wing rioters from attacking it. Among other things, the police demanded that the organizers undertake to prevent the hoisting of Palestinian flags. The organizers petitioned the High Court of Justice, which decided that the Palestinian flag is legal and ordered the police to protect the demonstration from rioters,
The demonstration was decided upon by Gush Shalom and 20 other peace organizations, including the Women’s Coalition for Peace, Anarchists Against the Wall, Hadash, the Alternative Information Center and New Profile. Meretz and Peace Now did not participate officially, but many of their members showed up. Some thousand Arab citizens from the north arrived in 20 buses straight from the big demonstration of the Arab public which had taken place in Sakhnin.
The organizers themselves were surprised by the large number of protesters. “A week after the start of Lebanon War II, we succeeded in mobilizing only 1000 demonstrators against it. The fact that today there came 10,000 proves that the opposition to the war is much stronger this time. If Barak goes on with his plans, public opinion may completely turn against the war in a few days.”
The giant Gush Shalom banner said in Hebrew, Arabic and English: “Stop Killing! Stop the Siege! Stop the occupation!” The slogan of the demonstration called for the end of the blockade and an immediate cease-fire.
On the day of the protest, the extreme Right mobilized their forces in order to break up the demonstration by force. The police made a great effort to prevent riots, and the one-mile march from Rabin Square to Cinematheque Square proceeded relatively quietly. However, when the protesters started to disperse, in accordance with the agreement with the police, a large crowd of rightists started to attack them. The police, which till then had been keeping the two camps apart, disappeared from the scene. The rioters then encircled the last of the protesters, harassing them, pushing them about and at a certain point started to besiege the Cinematheque building, where some of the last protesters had found refuge. They tried to break into the building, threatening to “finish off” the protesters, but at the last moment some police arrived and protected the entrance. The rioters stayed around for a long time.
See a usefull round up of protests here at Jim Jepp’s blog Daily (Maybe)