Daniel Barenboim: The illusion of victory

If Hamas is destroyed, a more radical group will replace it. Israel’s security depends on wiser action

I have just three wishes for the coming year. The first is for the Israeli government to realise once and for all that the Middle East conflict cannot be solved by military means. The second is for Hamas to realise that its interests are not served by violence, and Israel is here to stay. And the third is for the world to acknowledge that this conflict is unlike any other in history. It is uniquely intricate and sensitive – a conflict between two peoples who are both deeply convinced of their right to live on the same very small piece of land. This is why neither diplomacy nor military action can resolve this conflict.

Read moreDaniel Barenboim: The illusion of victory

Olmert: Airstrikes, blockade merely first stage in Gaza

A column of Israeli armored vehicles is deployed in a farmer's field Tuesday near the Gaza border.
A column of Israeli armored vehicles is deployed in a farmer’s field Tuesday near the Gaza border.

GAZA CITY (CNN) — Israel’s fourth day of attacks in Gaza sent the Palestinian death toll to more than 375 as the Jewish state’s prime minister warned Tuesday that the air offensive marked only the beginning, according to officials.

“We are currently at the first stage of the operation,” Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told President Shimon Peres during a morning briefing, officials said.


Related article: World rallies around Palestinians amid Gaza offensive


A girl in Caracas, Venezuela, holds a sign reading, “No more massacre in Gaza” at Israel’s embassy Monday.


Olmert’s summation came a day after Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Israel’s parliament that the campaign launched Saturday marked an “all-out war” against Hamas, the Islamic militant group that rules Gaza.

Read moreOlmert: Airstrikes, blockade merely first stage in Gaza

It’s war to the end, Israel tells Hamas


Smoke billows from a site in Gaza today following more Israeli air strikes. Picture: AFP/Getty Images

ISRAEL today warned the people of Gaza that its attacks which have so far killed more than 300 were a “war to the bitter end”.

The statement from defence minister Ehud Barak came as jets obliterated symbols of Hamas power on the third day of its overwhelming assault.

They hit a house next to the Hamas premier’s home, devastated a security compound and flattened a five-storey building at a university closely linked to the Islamic group.

Related articles:
Six months of secret planning – then Israel moves against Hamas (The Guardian)
Two Israeli armored divisions stand by outside Gaza (DEBKAfile)
Mideast papers on Gaza (BBC News)
Gaza: where civilians become targets (The Guardian)
Aid reaching Gaza, but U.N. says it’s not enough (CNN)
White House blames Hamas for violence (msnbc)

Israel Moves Tanks Toward Gaza as Hamas Rockets Hit (Bloomberg)
Protests erupt in the Arab world against airstrikes (The Times)
Israel seals off Gaza periphery to journalists (Reuters)

Meanwhile there were reports that the Israeli navy had begun bombarding the area from the sea.

The death toll rose to 315, including seven children under the age of 15.

Read moreIt’s war to the end, Israel tells Hamas

UN Envoy: Bombings a ‘Massive Violation of International Law’

ISRAEL’S bombing of the Gaza Strip is a massive violation of international law because it is punishing an entire population for the actions of a few.

That is the assessment of the United Nations regional envoy, Professor Richard Falk.

Yesterday, Professor Falk accused Israel of targeting civilians and of a disproportionate response to the threat posed by Hamas’ equally illegal rocket attacks on its southern border.

An emeritus professor of international law at Princeton University and a trenchant critic of the Bush Administration’s foreign policy, Professor Falk was again at odds with the White House, which has blamed Hamas for breaking the Gaza ceasefire.

The US used veto rights to block a UN Security Council resolution demanding an end to the Israeli attacks. The council instead issued a statement calling for a halt to violence.

While Israel said it targeted Hamas militants, Professor Falk said its air strikes hit the most densely populated area of the Middle East.

He said Israel’s blockade of Gaza led to food shortages and prevented medical aid from reaching the injured.

“Certainly the rocket attacks against civilian targets in Israel are unlawful,” Professor Falk said.

“But that illegality does not give rise to any Israeli right … to violate international humanitarian law and commit war crimes or crimes against humanity in its response. The entire 1.5 million people who live in the crowded Gaza Strip are being punished for the actions of a few militants.”

Read moreUN Envoy: Bombings a ‘Massive Violation of International Law’

Violent protests at Israeli Embassy in London


Protesters attempt to break through barriers to the Israeli Embassy in Kensington, west London

Violent confrontations broke out at the Israeli Embassy in London today as up to 1,500 protesters against Israel’s Gaza campaign gathered in a vociferous demonstration.

Campaign supporters, Palestinians and British Muslims stood on the pavement of High Street Kensington, west London, and chanted in unison: “Five, six, seven, eight – Israel is a terror state.”

Riot police were brought in to control the crowd, some of whom turned violent. Witnesses said some protestors were forcibly removed and others were seen with bloodied faces as violence erupted.

One campaigner was seen throwing a bag and what appeared to be a book over some gates towards the embassy and another was seen throwing red liquid. Officers retreated from the immediate scene as the crowds swelled, and some appeared to be trying to break through barriers to access the embassy.

The protesters waved Palestinian flags and held up placards, including some which read: “Holocaust in Gaza” and “no peace, no justice.”

Read moreViolent protests at Israeli Embassy in London

Gaza humanitarian plight ‘disastrous,’ U.N. official says

(CNN) — Israeli airstrikes pounding Gaza are deepening the humanitarian crisis in an area that was already in deep distress, according to a United Nations aid official.

A man carries a wounded Palestinian boy into a hospital in Gaza City on Sunday.
A man carries a wounded Palestinian boy into a hospital in Gaza City on Sunday.

“The situation is absolutely disastrous,” U.N. official Christopher Gunness told CNN on Sunday, as a second day of aerial attacks brought the death toll in Gaza close to 300. Hundreds more people have been injured.

Israel has said the airstrikes are a necessary self-defense measure after repeated rocket attacks from Gaza into southern Israel by Hamas militants. Israeli leaders say they are trying to minimize civilian casualties in Gaza.

Gaza is headed for “a major humanitarian disaster” unless the fighting ends soon, said Dr. Eyad El-Sarraj, a psychiatrist who runs Gaza’s mental health program. Photo See photos of Gaza in crisis »

He described people huddling in their basements for safety as bombs fell.

“The children are terrified,” he said. “Adults are unable to provide them with security or warmth. Hospitals are stretched out of the limits. We need blood and medicine and surgical equipment.”

“People are suffering and dying because of shortages of medical equipment,” said Dr. Mahmoud el-Khazndar, who works at Gaza City’s Shifa Hospital. “The hospital is not accustomed to accept mass casualties like this.”

Gunness, a spokesman for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), said the agency has been unable to get needed medical supplies into Gaza for more than a year, because of Israel’s blockade of border crossings.

Read moreGaza humanitarian plight ‘disastrous,’ U.N. official says

Israel May Call Up Army Reserves After Bombarding Hamas in Gaza

Dec. 28 (Bloomberg) — Israel’s cabinet agreed to call up as many as 7,000 army reservists, signaling that two days of air raids on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip may be followed by a ground invasion to halt rocket attacks.

“This will be a long, difficult and painful operation,” Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told ministers in Jerusalem today, according to Cabinet Secretary Oved Yehezkel, before the call-up was approved by a committee of parliament.

As many as 285 Palestinians have been killed in the raids, the deadliest such attack since the 1967 Six-Day War. Israel began the bombardment yesterday after dozens of rockets were fired by Islamic militants at its southern towns following the Dec. 19 expiration of a six-month cease-fire with Hamas, which controls Gaza.

Warplanes today struck Hamas government offices in Gaza and 40 tunnels dug under the border with Egypt to bypass an Israeli blockade.

“It is clear to everyone that there is no way to end this without some sort of ground offensive,” Shmuel Bar, director of studies at the Institute for Policy and Planning at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center in Israel, said of the call-up. “This is one of the lessons learned from the second Lebanon War, that air strikes alone cannot prevent missile or rocket attacks.”

Read moreIsrael May Call Up Army Reserves After Bombarding Hamas in Gaza

U.N. calls for an immediate halt to all violence in Gaza

27 December 2008 – Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on the situation in Gaza and southern Israel

The Secretary-General is deeply alarmed by today’s heavy violence and bloodshed in Gaza, and the continuation of violence in southern Israel.

He appeals for an immediate halt to all violence.

While recognizing Israel”s security concerns regarding the continued firing of rockets from Gaza, he firmly reiterates Israel”s obligation to uphold international humanitarian and human rights law and condemns excessive use of force leading to the killing and injuring of civilians. He condemns the ongoing rocket attacks by Palestinian militants and is deeply distressed that repeated calls on Hamas for these attacks to end have gone unheeded.

The Secretary-General reiterates his previous calls for humanitarian supplies to be allowed into Gaza to aid the distressed civilian population. He is making immediate contact with regional and international leaders, including Quartet principals,in an effort to bring a swift end to the violence.

Related articles and video:
Israeli jets kill ‘more than 200′ in revenge strikes on Gaza (The Times)

Israel vows to keep up Gaza attacks through the night (CNN)
Witness describes Gaza attacks (BBC)
EU Calls for Ceasefire as Casualty Numbers Rise in Gaza (Deutsche Welle)
Hamas source: IDF strike unexpected (ynet news)

Source: UN

Israeli jets kill ‘more than 200′ in revenge strikes on Gaza

The Times first published the article with the following picture:
A wounded child awaits medical attention at the Shifa hospital

A few minutes later the Times exchanged it for this one:
The Israeli missile attacks left hundreds of Palestinians killed or wounded in the Bureij refugee camp and elsewhere in the Gaza Strip. The strikes, which involved 60 planes, came days after a six-month ceasefire with Hamas expired. The militant group vowed to carry out revenge attacks (Yasser Saymeh/AFP/Getty Images)

Israel yesterday launched its largest raid on Gaza with two waves of air attacks that killed at least 205 people and injured more than 700, according to Palestinian doctors.

Children on their way home from school and policemen parading for a graduation ceremony were the principal victims of a bloody few hours that left the territory in flames.

Related articles and video:
Israel vows to keep up Gaza attacks through the night (CNN)
Witness describes Gaza attacks (BBC)
EU Calls for Ceasefire as Casualty Numbers Rise in Gaza (Deutsche Welle)
Hamas source: IDF strike unexpected (ynet news)

The short but brutal aerial blitz was aimed at targets held by the Islamic fundamentalists of Hamas, which seized control of the Gaza Strip 18 months ago.

After weeks of rising tension and repeated Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli territory, the air force struck with warplanes and unmanned drones loaded with guided missiles.

They hit at least 100 security compounds and rocket-launching bases across the heavily populated Strip.

The strikes caused panic and confusion as black clouds of smoke rose above the territory. Most of those killed were security men – including Gaza’s police chief – but an unknown number of civilians were also among the dead.

One perfectly aimed missile demolished the Hamas-control-led Rafah police station. But the building next door was a school and several pupils were on the street outside when a huge explosion sent shards of shrapnel and concrete hurtling in all directions. Parents rushed into the streets frantically looking for their children.

The strikes on Gaza yesterday were unparalleled. Israeli warplanes screamed in from the sea across Gaza in wave after wave, pounding at least 30 security compounds in the strip controlled by the Hamas government.

Read moreIsraeli jets kill ‘more than 200′ in revenge strikes on Gaza

Israel preparing for an invasion of Gaza


Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni of Israel, left, in Cairo on Thursday with President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. (Amr Nabil/The Associated Press)

JERUSALEM: Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned Thursday that militants in Hamas-ruled Gaza would pay a “heavy price” if they continued to target Israel, as the Israeli military wrapped up preparations for a possible large-scale assault on the coastal territory.

In Cairo, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt urged Israel to show restraint in his meeting with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, an Israeli official said. Livni insisted that Israel would respond to protect its citizens.

Related articles:
Gaza families eat grass as Israel locks border
Israeli blockade ‘forces Palestinians to search rubbish dumps for food’

On Wednesday, Palestinian militants pummeled southern Israel from Gaza with more than 80 rockets and mortars, causing no injuries but generating widespread panic. Cabinet ministers approved a broad invasion of Gaza, defense officials told The Associated Press.

“We will not accept this situation,” Barak warned Thursday. “Whoever harms the citizens and soldiers of Israel will pay a heavy price.”

Read moreIsrael preparing for an invasion of Gaza

In Gaza, all dreams and hope have gone

Ameera Ahmad, 25, gave birth to daughter Layan six months ago. Here, she tells of life under siege and of her struggle to bring up a child after 18 months of Israeli blockade

During the months of the blockade, everything in my life has changed. Before, I would wake up and hope that tomorrow would be better than today. But it never happened. The reason is simple. It is because I live in Gaza, where all dreams and hope vanish because of the situation we live in.

Read moreIn Gaza, all dreams and hope have gone

Israeli blockade ‘forces Palestinians to search rubbish dumps for food’

UN fears irreversible damage is being done in Gaza as new statistics reveal the level of deprivation

Impoverished Palestinians on the Gaza Strip are being forced to scavenge for food on rubbish dumps to survive as Israel’s economic blockade risks causing irreversible damage, according to international observers.

Figures released last week by the UN Relief and Works Agency reveal that the economic blockade imposed by Israel on Gaza in July last year has had a devastating impact on the local population. Large numbers of Palestinians are unable to afford the high prices of food being smuggled through the Hamas-controlled tunnels to the Strip from Egypt and last week were confronted with the suspension of UN food and cash distribution as a result of the siege.

The figures collected by the UN agency show that 51.8% – an “unprecedentedly high” number of Gaza’s 1.5 million population – are now living below the poverty line. The agency announced last week that it had been forced to stop distributing food rations to the 750,000 people in need and had also suspended cash distributions to 94,000 of the most disadvantaged who were unable to afford the high prices being asked for smuggled food.

“Things have been getting worse and worse,” said Chris Gunness of the agency yesterday. “It is the first time we have been seeing people picking through the rubbish like this looking for things to eat. Things are particularly bad in Gaza City where the population is most dense.

Read moreIsraeli blockade ‘forces Palestinians to search rubbish dumps for food’

Gaza families eat grass as Israel locks border

Before you read The Times article below consider also the following articles:

A human rights crime in Gaza by Ex-President Jimmy Carter.

Carter says Israel has arsenal of 150 nuclear weapons:
Carter also condemned Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip as “one of the greatest human rights crimes now existing on Earth,” according to the Agence France-Presse news agency.
Carter said in reference to the situation of Palestinians in Gaza that, “There is no reason to treat these people this way.”

Gaza: A modern concentration camp run by Israel:
Gaza is being forced to pump 77 tonnes of untreated or partially treated sewage out to sea daily due to the Israeli blockade of the coastal territory. The fear is that some of this is creeping back into drinking water.
“The health of Gaza’s 1.5 million people is at risk,” Mahmoud Daher, from the UN World Health Organisation (WHO) told IPS.
The results revealed that three areas in Gaza and one area in the Rafah governorate (30.8 percent) are polluted with human faeces (Faecal Coliform) and animal faeces (Faecal Streptococcus), and three areas in Gaza city (23.1 percent) are polluted with animal faeces.

Hungry Gazans Resort to Animal Feed as U.N. Blasts Israel:
GAZA CITY, Gaza — Half of Gaza’s bakeries have closed down and the other half have resorted to animal feed to produce bread as Israel’s complete blockade of the coastal territory enters its 19th day.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon alarmed at the escalating humanitarian crisis called incumbent Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert last week and demanded that he lift the blockade.

BBC: Gazans despair over blockade:
“People in Gaza are waiting in lines for almost everything, and that’s if they’re lucky enough to find something to wait for,” says Bassam Nasser, 39.

Israel blocks foreign media from Gaza

UN suspends food distribution in Gaza

Israeli siege leads to soaring anemia in Gaza newborns

Scottish activist films Israeli navy shooting at Gaza fishermen:
A SCOTTISH human rights activist has filmed the Israeli navy firing machine guns at unarmed Palestinian fishing boats in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of the Gaza Strip.

Israel’s secret police pressuring sick Gazans to spy for them, says report
Israel’s secret police are pressuring Palestinians in Gaza to spy on their community in exchange for urgent medical treatment, according to a report released today by an Israeli human rights organisation.

Israel launches deadly airstrike in Gaza + Hamas fires rockets at Israel after 6 killed

U.N. chief condemns Israel after Gaza clash:
GAZA (Reuters) – U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned Israel for using “excessive” force in the Gaza Strip and demanded a halt to its offensive after troops killed 61 people on the bloodiest day for Palestinians since the 1980s.

The New York Times: Making Nuclear Extermination Respectable:
On July 18, 2008 The New York Times published an article by Israeli-Jewish historian, Professor Benny Morris, advocating an Israeli nuclear-genocidal attack on Iran with the likelihood of killing 70 million Iranians – 12 times the number of Jewish victims in the Nazi holocaust:

” Iran ’s leaders would do well to rethink their gamble and suspend their nuclear program. Barring this, the best they could hope for is that Israel ’s conventional air assault will destroy their nuclear facilities. To be sure, this would mean thousands of Iranian casualties and international humiliation. But the alternative is an Iran turned into a nuclear wasteland.”

Eating weeds and herbs was often the only thing that kept people alive in prison camps.

Israel turned Gaza into one big concentration camp. Why is there no help? Look who rules the world and what interests they have, then you know.
________________________________________________________________________

December 14, 2008
Source: The Sunday Times

AS a convoy of blue-and-white United Nations trucks loaded with food waited last night for Israeli permission to enter Gaza, Jindiya Abu Amra and her 12-year-old daughter went scrounging for the wild grass their family now lives on.

“We had one meal today – khobbeizeh,” said Abu Amra, 43, showing the leaves of a plant that grows along the streets of Gaza. “Every day, I wake up and start looking for wood and plastic to burn for fuel and I beg. When I find nothing, we eat this grass.”

Abu Amra and her unemployed husband have seven daughters and a son. Their tiny breeze-block house has had no furniture since they burnt the last cupboard for heat.

“I can’t remember seeing a fruit,” said Rabab, 12, who goes with her mother most mornings to scavenge. She is dressed in a tracksuit top and holed jeans, and her feet are bare.

Conditions for most of the 1.5m Gazans have deteriorated dramatically in the past month, since a truce between Israel and Hamas, the ruling Islamist party, broke down.

Read moreGaza families eat grass as Israel locks border

Iran to send relief ship to Gaza


A Palestinian woman carries branches to be used as cooking fuel

TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran’s Red Crescent announced on Wednesday that it is sending a relief ship to the Gaza Strip, in the face of an Israeli blockade of the Hamas-ruled territory.

“We are sending a consignment of a 1,000 tonnes on a ship to Gaza the beginning of next week,” Red Crescent secretary general Ahmad Moussavi was quoted as saying on the organisation’s website.

“There is the possibility of our ship being blocked just as the Libyan ship was blocked,” he added referring to a vessel intercepted by Israel a month ago.

Libya protested to the UN Security Council over Israel’s interception of the cargo ship, which had sought to take 3,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid to Gaza.

Israel said that because Libya does not recognise it, the interception was justified on grounds of national security.

Read moreIran to send relief ship to Gaza

Hungry Gazans Resort to Animal Feed as U.N. Blasts Israel


British journalist and peace activist Lauren Booth, sister-in-law of Palestinian development envoy and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair visits a family in the Rafah refugee camp, south Gaza on Sep. 14. Booth arrived in Gaza on a boat carrying human rights activists protesting against an Israeli blockade. (UPI)

GAZA CITY, Gaza — Half of Gaza’s bakeries have closed down and the other half have resorted to animal feed to produce bread as Israel’s complete blockade of the coastal territory enters its 19th day.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon alarmed at the escalating humanitarian crisis called incumbent Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert last week and demanded that he lift the blockade.

Following the continued closure, the secretary-general reiterated his appeal on Friday but to no avail.

Karen AbuZayd, commissioner-general for the U.N.’s Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which supports Palestinian refugees, warned that a humanitarian “catastrophe” loomed if Israel continued to prevent aid from reaching Gaza.

“It’s been closed for so much longer than ever before. We have nothing in our warehouses. It will be a catastrophe if this persists; a disaster,” said AbuZayd.

AbuZayd added that the human toll of this month’s closure of the territories was “the gravest since the early days of the second intifada or Palestinian uprising.

Read moreHungry Gazans Resort to Animal Feed as U.N. Blasts Israel

Gaza power plant shuts down


A GPGC employee presses a button at the company’s power plant in Nusseirat

GAZA CITY (AFP) – Gaza’s sole power plant has shut down because Israel will not allow the importation of replacement parts needed for urgent repairs, an official in the impoverished Palestinian territory’s energy authority said on Tuesday.

“Despite deliveries of fuel on Monday, the power plant stopped functioning because of breakdowns in the production units,” said Kanaan Obeid, assistant director of the authority.

He said the frequent shutdowns of the plant, caused by fuel shortages, damaged parts of the production units that cannot be replaced because of the Israeli blockade of the territory.

Israel “refuses to allow in the necessary parts and the plant cannot restart without them,” he said.

Read moreGaza power plant shuts down

BBC: Gazans despair over blockade

Many Gazans are dependent on food aid

“People in Gaza are waiting in lines for almost everything, and that’s if they’re lucky enough to find something to wait for,” says Bassam Nasser, 39.

An aid worker in Gaza City, he, like so many others there, including the UN relief agency, says living conditions are the worst he has ever seen in the strip.

“People queue for two or three hours for bread, but sometimes there’s no cooking gas or flour, so no bread.

“People wait in line for UN food handouts, but sometimes there aren’t any. The suffering is reaching every aspect of life.”

As well as working for an American development agency, Mr Nasser is a Gazan, and a father.

“I’ve got three young children. It’s difficult to explain to them that it’s not my fault we don’t have electricity and that it’s not in my control.”

Read moreBBC: Gazans despair over blockade

Israel sends tanks into Gaza

Jerusalem Israeli tanks entered the southern Gaza Strip yesterday, drawing mortar fire from Palestinian militants and undermining a tenuous truce. The tanks, backed by a bulldozer, drove 500 metres into the strip and levelled earth near Rafah, Gaza’s southeastern border crossing with Egypt.

Israel said that the operation was mounted to uncover explosives, while the Palestinians accused Israel of trying to increase violence. The latest fighting began two weeks ago and there is now a near-daily cycle of mortar attacks on southern Israeli towns and Israeli airstrikes in Gaza. At least 17 Palestinians have died, and several Israelis have been wounded.

Read moreIsrael sends tanks into Gaza

UN suspends food distribution in Gaza


Labourers work at a UN Relief and Works Agency food distribution center in the Gaza City Shati refugee camp

GAZA CITY (AFP) – The United Nations announced it was suspending food distribution to half of Gaza’s 1.5 million people on Thursday after Israel failed to allow emergency supplies into the Palestinian territory.

Israel had said it would allow 30 trucks to deliver supplies to Gaza on Thursday after it sealed off the Gaza Strip on November 5, but later said rocket and mortar fire by Gaza militants made it impossible to do so.

“They have told us the crossings are closed today. At the end of today we will suspend our food distribution,” said UN Relief and Works Agency spokesman Chris Gunness.

“Our warehouses are effectively empty,” he told AFP.

Read moreUN suspends food distribution in Gaza

Israel blocks foreign media from Gaza

JERUSALEM: Israel has barred foreign journalists from entering the Gaza Strip for a week, in a move media have assailed as a serious violation of press freedom.

Israeli military spokesman Peter Lerner said the restrictions were imposed because Palestinian militants have resumed their rocket fire from Gaza, in violation of a 5-month-old truce. The only people allowed to enter and leave Gaza under the policy are international aid workers and Palestinian patients seeking medical treatment outside the territory, he said.

Because the Islamic militant Hamas group that rules Gaza “is not doing anything to stop the rockets firing into Israel, the decision is that only humanitarian movement is allowed,” Lerner said.

Journalists dismissed that explanation as implausible and said current hostilities did not justify the ban on access.

“It is absolutely essential that international journalists be allowed to enter the territory and deliver their news reports to Israel and the rest of the world,” said a statement from the Foreign Press Association, which represents international media covering Israel and the Palestinain territories.

Read moreIsrael blocks foreign media from Gaza

UN says Gaza running out of food


The UN says it feeds about 750,000 needy people in the Gaza Strip [EPA]

“They are telling children in Gaza that they have to respect rights universally. How can we tell those same children, ‘Oh by the way you have to respect rights of people in Israel but they are actually stopping us giving you food?” Christopher Guness, UN aid agency spokesman

The UN relief and works agency has said it will run out of food within the next 48 hours as the blockade imposed on Gaza by Israel continues.

Christopher Gunness, the agency’s spokesman, told Al Jazeera the people in Gaza were being put through not just a “physical sense pf punishment but also a mental one”.

“That’s how serious it is. We feed 750,000 people in Gaza and these are some of the poorest and most disadvantaged people in the Middle East,” he said on Wednesday.

“Something very unusual is happening here. This is becoming a blockade against the UN itself.”

Read moreUN says Gaza running out of food

Hamas fires rockets at Israel after 6 killed


Palestinians carry a man who was wounded in an Israeli army raid, into hospital in Deir El Bahlah in the central Gaza Strip, early Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2008. Israel launched an airstrike on Gaza early Wednesday after its troops clashed with Hamas militants who fired mortars into Israel, leaving six Palestinians dead. It was the first battle since a June truce mostly quieted violence in the volatile territory.(AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) – Hamas militants pounded southern Israel with a barrage of rockets Wednesday, hours after Israeli forces killed six gunmen in a fresh bout of violence that threatened to unravel a five-month-old truce that has brought relief to both Gaza and southern Israel.

The clashes began late Tuesday after the Israeli forces burst into Gaza to destroy what the army said was a tunnel being dug near the border to abduct Israeli troops.

Despite the outbreak of violence, both Israeli authorities and officials with Gaza’s Hamas government said they wanted to restore the calm that has largely prevailed over the past five months.

After the Israeli incursion, Hamas gunmen battled Israeli forces and Gaza residents reported the sound of explosions, gunshots and helicopter fire. One Hamas fighter was killed, prompting a wave of mortar fire at nearby Israeli targets.

An Israeli airstrike then killed five Hamas militants preparing to fire mortar shells. Hamas responded with the barrage of rockets.

Read moreHamas fires rockets at Israel after 6 killed

Israel launches deadly airstrike in Gaza


Medical workers wheel a wounded man to hospital in the central Gaza strip on Tuesday after clashes.

GAZA CITY (CNN) — Israel launched an airstrike Tuesday night on southern Gaza after clashing with Hamas militants in central Gaza, Palestinian sources and Israel Defense Forces said.

Four were killed in the airstrike, which occurred east of Khan Younis, Palestinian sources said. They said a drone and an apache helicopter could be seen.

Read moreIsrael launches deadly airstrike in Gaza

Scottish activist films Israeli navy shooting at Gaza fishermen

Claims of 14 deaths in previous incidents

A SCOTTISH human rights activist has filmed the Israeli navy firing machine guns at unarmed Palestinian fishing boats in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of the Gaza Strip.

The footage, taken on September 6 by Andrew Muncie, who is from the Highlands, shows an Israeli gunboat engaging fishing boats while international observers hold their arms in the air and scream for them to stop firing.


Source: YouTube

No-one was injured in the incident, but Palestinian fishermen claim 14 colleagues have been murdered at sea by the Israeli navy since the onset of an economic blockade imposed after Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007. Israel says patrolling these waters is a vital security measure to stop weapons being smuggled into Gaza.

Read moreScottish activist films Israeli navy shooting at Gaza fishermen