Sunday, July 24, 2005

Violence Flares again in Gaza

This off the wires from WAFA (Palestinian News Agency)

GAZA, July 24, 2005, (WAFA)-Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) wounded on Monday [sic--the time-stamp in the web item was 5pm Gaza time] a citizen in the Gaza Strip (GS) city of Rafah, sources said.
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Medical sources at Abu-Yossef al-Najjar hospital, said that Mohamed Kshta, 14, was wounded with a bullet in his left hand.

Eyewitnesses told WAFA that Israeli soldiers stationed at Rafah border brutally opened heavy machine gun fire at citizens and houses, wounding a citizen and causing a state of panic among others, mostly children and women.

Another report said Mohammed Keshta, had been wounded in the left shoulder. Whichever is the case, it sounds as if he'll recover--hopefully, with the full use of his hand--or shoulder. Also from WAFA, this report of two deaths in Khan Younis:

GAZA, July 24, 2005, (WAFA)- Medical sources that the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) killed today at pre-down 2 citizens in the Gaza Strip city of Khanyounis.
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Medics at al- Shifa Hospital told WAFA that Tareq Suleiman Yassin 20, of Al-Zaytoon area and Yehya Abu Taha 21, of Rafah were shot and killed on the spot.
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In the meantime, IOF closed early morning its military "Abu Holi" checkpoint located in central Gaza Strip, security sources said.
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The sources told WAFA that this closure would cut the Gaza Strip into two alienated parts, and would bar hundreds of thousands of Gazans from access to their workplaces and hosptals.
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Witnesses told WAFA that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are unable to move between the southern and northern areas of the Strip and cannot reach their destinations.
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IOF is repeatedly closing Abu Holi military roadblock which links North Gaza with its South.

Here is a much fuller report from the International Press Center (Palestinian):

Palestinian Factions Jointly Attack Israeli Settlements in South Gaza Strip


GAZA,Palestine. July 24, 2005.(IPC+Agencies)--- Israeli military sources reported today morning that an attack was conducted overnight in Salah Al-Din road on the Israeli two illegal settlements Ghosh Qatif and Kosofim.



Few Israeli settlers were killed and wounded in the attack. The sources added

In a joint statement, Al-Quds brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad Movement, and Shohada Al-Aqsa brigades, associated with Fatah Movement, and Al-Naser Salah Al-Din brigades, the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees claimed responsibility for the attack.

In a press conference held today morning in Khanyounis the three Palestinian factions claiming responsibility affirmed such an operation comes as a normal retaliation to the Israeli recent assassination of Palestinian militants in the West bank and Gaza Strip.

The factions added, they will not stand crossed-handed watching the Israeli daily aggressions and violations of the concluded truce, these include the detention operations, the assassinations, and the murder of children, the confiscation of Palestinian-owned lands, and the siege imposed on them.

They also threatened the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) that if they do any wanton action against the Palestinian militants or civilians, they will ruthlessly and fiercely respond to all the Israeli crimes and violations.

Al-Quds brigades and Shohada Al-Aqsa brigades identified the two Palestinian militants who conducted the joint attack yesterday at night; Yehya Abu Taha, 21, from Rafah city and Tareq Yasin, 22 from Gaza city.

The Israeli sources have not yet reported the exact number of the killed and wounded in the attack.

Following the attack, the IOF blocked Salah Al-Din road that connects north Gaza Strip with its south denying thousands of Palestinian citizens access to their workplaces, Palestinian security sources reported.

The IOF also heavily and randomly shelled the Palestinian homes in western Khanyounis causing gross damages. No injuries were reported.

A recently issued report on the Israeli violations of the ceasefire agreed upon by the Israeli and the Palestinian sides in Sharm Al-Sheikh summit 8/2/2005 detected about 310 Israeli violations of cease fire understanding. The violations include shelling of densely populated residential areas, frequent incursions into the Palestinian cities and villages, closure of roads, confiscations of Palestinian-own lands and assassination of Palestinian militants.

Finally, this from the Jerusalem Post:

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas condemned the killing of an Israeli couple in Gush Katif on Saturday night, saying such attacks provided Israel with an excuse to launch retaliatory attacks on Palestinians, including targeted killings.

"This operation is in violation of the hudna [temporary truce] and period of calm agreed upon in Cairo between all the Palestinian factions earlier this year," Abbas told reporters.

He said the timing of the attack – on the eve of Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip – did not serve the interests of the Palestinians. "These attacks threaten our national security and undermine our credibility in the international arena," he added. "The Palestinian Authority will do its utmost to prevent such damaging attacks."

Despite Abbas's condemnation, the PA-controlled media hailed the two attackers as "martyrs," pointing out that were "resistance fighters" involved in a military operation.

The two are Jihad Abu Taha, 21, of Rafah, and Tarek Salim Yassin, 22, of the Zeitoun neighborhood in Gaza City. Both Islamic Jihad and Fatah claimed responsibility for the deadly attack.

Khaled al Batsh, a senior Islamic Jihad leader in the Gaza Strip, explained that the attack was in the framework of efforts to "correct the path of the Palestinian resistance by directing our weapons only toward the Zionist enemy." He was referring to last week's armed clashes between Hamas gunmen and PA security forces in various parts of the Gaza Strip.

Batsh said the attack also came in response to the killing of Fatah and Hamas members by the IDF over the past few weeks and the stabbing to death of a 13-year-old Palestinian boy near Nablus.

The boy, Yazan Musa, was murdered by his cousin in what was described as an inter-clan feud in the village of Karyut.

His family initially claimed that he had been murdered by Jewish settlers, but later admitted that the boy was murdered by his own cousin.

Batsh dismissed Abbas's argument that Saturday night's attack was in violation of the truce. "This operation cannot be regarded as a breach of the truce," he said. "The resistance will respond to Israeli violations whenever the opportunity arouses."

He added: "The tahdiya [calm] is not sacred. The Tel Aviv government is not abiding by the Cairo agreement and is continuing to kill and demolish and build the racist separation wall. We cannot sit on the side and watch them shed Palestinian blood."

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The Orwellian double-speak is predictable but discouraging. Truce violations by either side are always "responses"--while the hard fact remains that the violence, no matter what anyone chooses to call it, helps no one.

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