I have been reporting for years about the fact that Qassam rockets often cause more damage to Gazans than to Israel. My rocket calendars note, when I can, rockets that fall short in Gaza and sometimes they even result in fatalities.
But only now does the New York Times notice this phenomenon – and it is because PCHR released a report about it.
A Palestinian human rights group in Gaza took the unusual step this week of condemning the building and storage of anti-Israel rockets in densely populated areas, a practice that has led to injuries and deaths of civilians.
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights said that it had investigated recent rocket explosions and found that locally produced projectiles had fallen on homes in Gaza or exploded in factories where they were made or stored. Shrapnel severely wounded several people, including a 22-year-old woman and her 7-month-old baby.
It called on the Hamas government, which controls Gaza, to investigate “and take measures to protect Palestinians and their property.” It added that “members of the Palestinian resistance continue to store explosives or to treat such explosives in locations close to populated areas.”
“This poses a major threat to the lives of the Palestinian civilians,” it said.
Israel has long accused Hamas and other groups of endangering Palestinian civilians by carrying out militant activities in densely populated areas.
But only now does the New York Times bother to report about it – when Palestinian Arabs admit it is true.
Well, I have a tip for the New York Times.
There is a Gaza consortium of NGOs called GANSO (Gaza NGO Safety Office) that is tasked with keeping internationals in Gaza safe. So they actually keep track of Gaza rocket fire. And according to them, some 30% of all Qassams and mortars fall short in Gaza!
In one two week period late last year, 42% of rockets and 57% of mortars exploded prematurely or fell short in Gaza.
While that was an especially bad week for Gazans, this phenomenon happens all the time. Too bad that the media that has reporters on the ground in Gaza couldn’t figure out what I have been able to document for so long.
The NYT is one of the very few media outlets that even noticed the PCHR report to begin with. The blame goes to the media altogether. If one out of every three rockets explodes in Gaza, and if Gazans are injured and killed by those rockets, shouldn’t that fact be mentioned occasionally from the thousands of reports that come out of the area?
Yet even the PCHR and the NYT didn’t mention the Gazan that was killed by a Qassam on January 21.
Oh, one other thing: The Palestinian Center for Human Rights may have condemned the rocket launches from populated areas, but they didn’t have a word to say about the morality of shooting the rockets at Israeli civilians.
I guess they don’t consider Israeli civilians to be human.
(h/t Mike and T34)
Senior members of Hamas’ military wing told aides of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that it would not guarantee the Fatah leader’s safety if he visited the Gaza Strip, Haaretz has learned.
PA officials interpreted these statements as a threat to Abbas. As of last night, an Abbas trip to Gaza for reconciliation talks with Hamas has been dropped from the agenda.
Some Palestinian commentators attributed the increase in hostilities with Israel to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh’s proposal that Abbas visit Gaza for reconciliation talks.
PalestinianArabs had been keenly interested in Abbas’ planned visit so it will be interesting to see the reaction.
The hudna is never intended to last, and can be called only when it is in the jihadists’ interest to take a break, regroup, and re-arm. “Gaza militant groups agree Israel ceasefire, says Hamas,” from BBC News, March 26:
Militant groups in Gaza say they will agree to a ceasefire if Israel stops attacks on the Palestinian territory.
The move was announced by the Hamas group that runs Gaza following a meeting between its leaders and insurgent groups.
In the past week at least 10 Palestinians, including several civilians and children, have been killed by Israeli attacks.
Never mind Hamas’ track record of actively positioning their military assets to put civilians in harm’s way for propaganda purposes. They are also known to inflate civilian casualties, all the more to downplay their losses of jihadist personnel.
In the same period, militants have fired 80 rockets and mortar shells.
BBC Gaza correspondent Jon Donnison says the past week has seen some of the most serious violence in and around Gaza since the end of Operation Cast Lead – Israel’s major offensive here more than two years ago.
But in a statement released after a meeting with all militant groups in Gaza, Hamas said the insurgents were “committed to calm as long as the occupation (Israel) commits to it”.
Khader Habib, an Islamic Jihad leader, told Agence France-Presse that “everybody confirmed that they respect the national consensus by calming things with the Zionist enemy”.
He added that the truce depended “on the nature of Israeli behaviour, and we insist on the need to respond immediately to each escalation by the occupiers”….
Suffer the children.
Israeli civilians in Sderot and in fact all of the western Negev region have been attacked by thousands of rockets fired by Hamas and other terrorist organizations-yet the UN and the international community remain silent to their suffering.
Sderot, Israel: Life Under Constant Terrorism from Gaza
This video about the city of Sderot, Israel, shows the terrorism Israelis are up against every single day.
As civilians continue to be attacked by rockets fired by Hamas and other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip (and once again from inside Israel with the bombing at the bus stop in Jerusalem), we cannot forget this is about Israel’s survival and the desire and right of Israelis to live in peace and security.
Technorati Tag: Sderot and Palestinian Terrorism.
Criminal asks government to stop police. “Report: Hamas calls on UN to halt Israel’s strikes on Gaza,” from Haaretz, March 25 (thanks to Alexandre):
Hamas called on the United Nations on Friday to put an end to the “crime of the recent attacks on Gaza,” referring to the stepped up Israeli air strikes on the Strip which have come in the wake of increased rocket fire, the pan-Arab daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported.
The report, which was carried by Israeli media, also said that Taher al-Nunu, a spokesman for the Hamas regime, called on the Arab League to work urgently to stop “recent Israeli aggression.”
Israel must be prevented from “exploiting the instability in the region and world to carry out massacres against the Palestinian people,” Taher said….
Written by Imane
The Gaza Strip is lately experiencing the largest escalation of violence since Cast Lead operation in 2008-2009 that claimed the lives of more than 1,400 Palestinians, among them over 350 children. Since the beginning of this year, several strikes by Israel have been justified by presence of military training camps or tunnels, and the lives claimed were said to be militants.
On the night of March 22, however, Israel started military operations that led to the bloodiest day in Gaza in two years. Shortly before midnight, 19 civilians – including seven children and two women – were injured by air strikes that were supposed to target tunnels and explosive manufacturing sites in retaliation to rockets sent from Gaza into open fields in the Eshkol Regional Council. On Tuesday, March 22, during the evening, Israeli tanks shelled a house East of Gaza city belonging to Al Hilo family, killing four (among them two children, aged 11 and 16 years, and a 50-year-old man) and injuring 10, all civilians. Later in the evening of the same day, Israel bombed Gaza for the third time, killing another four Palestinians belonging to the Al Quds Brigades (Islamic Jihad military wing), bringing up the casualties to eight dead. As Israel claims retaliation of rockets fired from the Strip to justify the air strikes, Hamas specifies that the rockets were fired in retaliation to previous strikes that killed two of its militants the week before. On Twitter, Yousef Munayyer notes:
@YousefMunayyer: CONTEXT MATTERS: ONE #Israel artillery shell today killed at least 4 times as many people as 100s of Qassam rockets over 3 years #gaza
Drawing the parallel between the events that led to Cast Lead Operation and the current ones, he adds on his blog:
So when the war on Gaza inevitably started at the end of December in 2008, it permitted many editors to create this simple, context free story line:
Israel must defend itself. And Hamas must bear responsibility for ending a six-month cease-fire this month with a barrage of rocket attacks into Israeli territory.
[…] Another common feature of these stories is how shallow the context is. We are told Palestinians were killed by Israelis yesterday after Palestinians fired rockets over the weekend. 3 days, that's it. That's all the context we get. What happened before that? Don't we need to know? As far as editors are concerned, we don't.
On March, 23rd, a bomb attack in Jerusalem targeting a bus stop killed one woman and injured more than 30 others. The attack stirred wide condemnation:
@Huwaidaarraf: 1 bomb in #Jerusalem that wounded 25 Israelis will get more attention than all the bombs that Israel dropped on #Gaza killing 8 yesterday.
In Gaza, Palestinians predict a new escalation of violence as Tzipi Livni, the current Israeli Opposition Leader and leader of Kadima, the largest party in the Knesset, asks for a new Cast Lead, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signals a new wave of air raids over the Strip:
@Omar_Gaza: @AmoonaE I mean that 2night Israhell will bomb the hell out of us even if Jerusalem-Operation has nothing 2 do with us! Gaza has 2 pay :-S
@imPalestine: Here's my plan for the night: I'll sleep now for a couple of hours before the bombing begins which is usually sometime around midnight #Gaza
Drones invade Gaza sky in the late hours of Thursday, as attacks are expected:
@imPalestine: Friends here is a much better recording: Israeli drones across Gaza's sky http://t.co/7dYQKQA via @olanan #Palestine #Gaza
@Jnoubiyeh: It is past 1 a.m. now in besieged #Gaza and there are 185 Israeli drones in the skies. Is sleeping an existential threat to #Israel now too?
Israeli special forces are then reported to have made an incursion into Northern Gaza:
@Omar_Gaza: BREAKING: Israeli special forces took over a house that belongs to Al Zendah family in Beit Lahya #Gaza they r stationed in it!
@Solarah: All police stations & security centres been evacuated.. State of EMERGENCY declared in #Gaza #Palestine
@imPalestine: A state of cautious anticipation among #Gaza residents now as Israeli drones have completely cleared off the sky #Palestine
In this stressful moment, some still manage to keep some sense of humor:
@Omar_Gaza: LOOOOOOL RT @imPalestine: People want the drones BACK! Please no F16s, no Apaches. let's be friends! Allah yostor (May God have mercy) #Gaza #Palestine
After midnight, on March, 24th, bombings start and Gaza bloggers set up a livestream enabling people to witness the bombings by themselves as they happen:
@imPalestine: You can watch live broadcasts of what's happening in Gaza tonight on this link: http://ustre.am/waCa #Gaza via @imNadZ
@Jess_Gaza: Mohammed Qudaih via FB Huge Explosion in Rafah city now
@WillOuda: 5 missiles till now…explosions heard in the distance to the south and east of #Gaza city
@Omar_Gaza: Israel targeted a tunnel in Rafah with 1 missile & a security HQ belongs 2 Hamas with 4 missiles which affected the high-voltage power lines
Drones haven’t stopped hovering the Strip on Thursday, and bombings have been reported early this afternoon:
@livefromgaza: they're back : the drones #Gaza #zanana
@Omar_Gaza: F16 striked again a while ago, targeted a crowd in jabalya, 1 injured! #Gaza
@Solarah: OMG! Again!!! more & more Ambulances rushing out & to Al-shifa Hospital! #Gaza #Palestine # Israel
Around 8:30pm local time, strikes started again:
@SafaJoudeh: 6 consecutive #Israel F16 strikes on #Gaza just now, LOUD, ambulances screaming, ppl on the street yelling
@imPalestine: I was lying all the time when I said I got used to it. You never get used to being BOMBED by F-16s! #Gaza #Palestine
@annan6: the US Consulate has told all Americans to leave #Gaza. A repeat of the Gaza Massacre coming soon? I really hope not. I pray not. Please no
As I finish this report, bombings stop and are replaced by drones:
@imPalestine: F-16s disappeared to be replaced by unmanned drones once again! an d this is how it goes on! #Gaza
@imPalestine: Gaza is usually hailed in Arabic as the “Sing of Pride”. But the pride is being shattered daily by hellish Israeli bombing of #Gaza.
Omar Ghraieb, blogger from Gaza, reports:
Gaza, March 24 Thursday, In Gaza City, Israeli F16 warplanes bombed an intelligence headquarter named “the ship”, using at least five missiles, also raided the al-Rayes mountain with one missile and a room that belongs to “Gaza” sporting club, also “Badr” security HQ belonging to the Qassam Brigades, Hamas militant wing, with three missiles.
According to witnesses in the northern Gaza Strip, the shelling caused enormous material damage in the homes of civilian citizens in Maqqousi residential buildings which are located near the “Badr” security HQ, which was bombed with two missiles by Israeli warplanes.
According to Adham Abu Salmeyah, Health ministry official, one citizen got injured by shrapnel in the face, he is 10 years old and his name is Raid Afifi. More injuries reported to have reached Al Shefa hospital for treatment.
The loud bombing triggered a massive panic that hit women and children.
Will Israel Invade Gaza Again?: We Now Return to our Regularly Scheduled Conflict
Last week, Mahmoud Abbas announced plans to visit Gaza for the first time since Hamas took over.
It is possible that much of the recent escalation in rocket attacks, and perhaps even the Jerusalem attack, is an effort to stop that visit.
There has been much discussion in the Palestinian Arabic media about this planned visit. Hamas itself is divided over it, something that they even admit themselves. From Palestine Press Agency:
Official Hamas sources confirmed the existence of differences between the movement’s leaders of the initiative of Abbas, and said: “Yes, there are differences in views toward Abbas’s visit to Gaza” pointing out that it does not rise to the level of a dispute. “We do not have any allergies to any differences of opinion because there is a specific mechanism for decision-making, The differences in this case will be decided by opinion and the Shura Council.”
The view of a senior official in Fatah is that Abbas’s visit to Gaza has raised fears within Hamas, saying, “Definitely, if Abu Mazen went to Gaza, the masses will come out to receive support for his initiative because there is a strong desire to end the division [between Hamas and Fatah] … These things frighten and confuse [Hamas], and… such a visit would be for them a new referendum on their popularity, they do not want to put themselves in that position or be engaged in this thorny issue,” referring to Hamas’ refusal to hold legislative elections. He added, “So we are questioning the chances of support by Hamas for Abbas’ initiative.”
Yesterday there were reports that the political Hamas leaders in Gaza were not against the Abbas visit but the Al Aqsa Brigades and the Syrian Hamas leadership were against it.
All recent polls show Fatah defeating Hamas in any election.
Add to this equation Islamic Jihad and the other terror groups, who now enjoy a cozy relationship with Hamas but who fear a unification that would leave them without their unofficial but substantial political power.
A new terror spree, and the Israeli reaction, would do a nice job at torpedoing any chance for re-unification between Hamas and Fatah.
Which means that in this case, Israel is not even the target of the terror initiative – Fatah is.
Killing and terrorizing Jews is just a bonus.
Will the jihadist savages celebrate this murder, as they did the Fogel family murders, or will their PR handlers instruct them to tone it down this time so as not to wake up the ever-gullible West?
An update on this story. “Woman Dies of Wounds in Jerusalem Bombing,” from Israel National News, March 23 (thanks to Tziona):
A woman who was critically wounded in the bombing in Jerusalem on Wednesday afternoon has died of her injuries, doctors at Hadassah Ein Karem hospital report….
While Gaza terror groups are showering rockets on Israeli communities in the south, Islamic Jihad’s mouthpiece Palestine Today still reports, without irony, that Israel will today allow between 210 and 220 trucks to enter Gaza today, loaded with aid and items for agriculture and commercial factories. Also, cement and iron is being sent through Kerem Shalom, along with food and fuel.
A shipment of cherry tomatoes is also going to be exported today from Gaza.
All while tens of thousands of Israelis within Grad rocket range – and now, again, Jerusalem – live in fear.
IHH, left-wing European groups plan to send flotilla this May, one year after another IHH flotilla resulted in bloodshed that prompted widespread international condemnation of Israel.
By Barak Ravid
Israel will launch a public campaign on Tuesday against a plan by the Turkish organization IHH and several left-wing European groups to send a flotilla to the Gaza Strip this May, a year after another IHH flotilla resulted in bloodshed that prompted widespread international condemnation of Israel.
IHH activists aboard that flotilla attacked Israeli soldiers who tried to intercept it with axes, knives and iron bars. Nine Turks were killed.
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon will summon foreign ambassadors to the ministry today to seek their help in stopping this year’s flotilla, which is slated to contain at least 15 ships. The sailing date has not yet been finalized, but the ministry expects it to be sometime between May 15, when the Palestinians commemorate the “Nakba” (“catastrophe” ) of Israel’s establishment, and May 31, the anniversary of last year’s deadly interception.
Thirty organizers from 15 countries met in Madrid about six weeks ago to discuss their plans, which have so far been kept under wraps for “security reasons.” They also asked the governments of some of the countries whose nationals plan to be aboard the flotilla to guarantee their safety should Israel try to stop the ships.
Over the last two months, the Foreign Ministry has asked several governments, including those of Spain, Britain, Ireland and Sweden, to publish travel advisories warning their citizens against sailing to Gaza. Britain and Ireland have in fact done so.
When the president of Cyprus, Demetris Christofias, visited Israel about 10 days ago, the flotilla was a key topic of discussion. Christofias stressed that the order he issued a year ago banning ships from sailing to Gaza from Cypriot ports remains in force.
The ministry is far from sure the flotilla can be stopped by diplomatic means, but is determined to try.
Barak Ravid is the diplomatic correspondent for Haaretz newspaper. He joined Haaretz in April 2007, covering the Prime Minister’s Office, the Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Defense, dealing with issues such as U.S.-Israeli relations, EU-Israeli relations and the peace process.
Palestine Press reports:
Media and witnesses in Gaza said that resistance fighters this morning fired a surface to air missile targeting an Israeli Apache [helicopter] over the central region [of Gaza.]
Witnesses said out that the helicopter left Gaza and went back to the Israeli border without being hit. Israeli sources did not confirm this news.
Muslims can only be victims, and Jews can only be aggressors. Anything that could possibly arouse sympathy for those “strongest in enmity” to Muslims (Qur’an 5:82) is bad for business, and clearly Hamas cannot tolerate that. Toward the end of the report, we find out the Palestinian Authority can’t, either. And they’re supposed to be the “moderate” guys.
“Hamas protests UN plans to teach Gazans about the Holocaust,” from the Associated Press, March 22 (thanks to all who sent this in):
The United Nations has launched a new plan to teach the Holocaust in Gaza schools, drawing fierce condemnation from Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers, school teachers – and even the body tasked with peace negotiations with Israel.
If implemented, it would be the first time most Palestinian children learn about Jewish suffering. But the outcry underscores how sensitive the issue is to Palestinians.
“Playing with the education of our children in the Gaza Strip is a red line,” Hamas Education Minister, Mohammed Asqoul told a website of the group. He said Hamas will block attempts to teach the Holocaust regardless of the price.
The uproar erupted after a UN official told a Jordanian daily in February that UNRWA, the main UN agency serving Palestinian refugees, would introduce a short case study about the Holocaust to Gaza students as part of its human rights curriculum.
“Instead of pre-emptive accusations, it is important for Palestinians … to fully understand the tragedies and suffering that happened to all people through generations, without divvying up facts and taking things out of context,” the official, Sami Mushasha, was quoted as saying.
UNRWA representatives refused to comment on the record, but one official said the agency was committed to introducing the curriculum for the next school year, beginning in September.
He added that officials were hesitating because they feared Hamas would incite loyalists to damage UN schools or harm their teachers if they introduce the materials. He requested anonymity because he was barred from discussing the matter with the media.
Hamas frequently accuses the UN of spreading immorality, and unknown assailants have attacked the agency’s property in the past, including the torching of summer camps last year.
Since Hamas seized power of Gaza in 2007, it has viewed the UN as the main challenger to their influence in the coastal territory. Officials have tried to limit the international group’s vast influence in Gaza, where it operates schools for some 200,000 children.
But the controversy over teaching the Holocaust in Gaza is more than a power struggle between the UN and Hamas, whose militant officials frequently deny the Nazi genocide of European Jewry ever occurred.
Many Palestinians are reluctant to acknowledge Jewish suffering, fearing it would diminish recognition of their own claims. Views range from outright denial to challenging the scope of the Holocaust.
Even Hamas’ bitter enemy, the Western-backed Palestinian Authority, which rules the West Bank, reacted angrily to the UN plan. And the Palestinian Liberation Organization, the chief body tasked with negotiating peace with Israel, rejected the idea.
“Teaching the Holocaust to Palestinian students in UN schools is unacceptable,” said Zakaria al-Agha, a member of the PLO’s executive committee.[…]
Yet even if the UN moves ahead with the plan this year, it could face another obstacle: its own schoolteachers. In about a dozen interviews, they said they did not want to teach the materials and warned of rebellion.
“The agency will open the gates of hell with this step,” said one schoolteacher, Sami. “This will not work.”
ISRAEL BOMBS RESIDENTIAL AREA OF GAZA CITY – MARCH 22, 2011 – KEN O’KEEFE [VIDEO]
The American taxpayer continues to pay for Israel to terrorise children by dropping bombs on residential areas of Gaza. Women and children were injured in Israel’s latest bombing.