Bombs rain down in Gaza as peace deal accepted ‘in principle’

January 8 2009

The first tentative hope of an end to the war in Gaza came yesterday when Israel said it accepted “the principles” of a French-backed Egyptian peace plan providing for international action to stop Hamas militants smuggling arms.

Israel, nevertheless, resumed its 12-day-old offensive against Hamas last night, which Palestinian medics say has killed 688 Palestinians, after halting it for three hours to allow humanitarian and medical aid into Gaza. The military said it may halt ground operations for three hours a day.

As witnesses reported tanks on the move close to the border parallel to the southern town of Khan Yunis, Israel began new air strikes against smuggling tunnels in Rafah after warning local residents to leave their homes. It was claimed that an Israeli airstrike destroyed a mosque in Gaza City, injuring at least 15 worshippers.

Amos Gilad, the top official in the Israeli Defence Ministry, flies to Cairo today for negotiations. It is clear Israel is seeking tough assurances on the strength and practicalities of any future international force on the Egypt/Gaza border before agreeing to end the war.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy appeared to jump ahead of events by announcing his “delight” that Israel and the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority, loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas, had accepted a new peace plan.

Israel’s security cabinet opted to continue pursuing its offensive, which yesterday resulted in the deaths of an estimated 29 Palestinians.

The UN said civilians continued to “bear the brunt” of the ground operation which started on Saturday night. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights in Gaza said 130 children aged under 16 had been killed. Seven Israeli soldiers have died during the offensive. (4 were from Friendly Fire)

With Cabinet ministers reportedly deferring a decision on whether to deepen the offensive by moving further into inner-city areas to engage with the Hamas militants, Maj-Gen Gilad told Israel’s Army Radio the Gaza operation was “at a crossroads”.

The Egyptian foreign minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit , attending a deadlocked UN Security Council New said that the plan in Cairo was to forge a “temporary ceasefire that would lead to a consolidated, permanent ceasefire”. He said he was unable to confirm whether Hamas intended to send a team to Cairo today.

Amid reports a Turkish force was being considered to bolster border security as part of the peace plan, Mark Regev, the spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, said the plan’s success depended on the international community as well as Israel.

With 800,000 Gazans now without running water, the World Bank called on Israel to allow emergency fuel distribution to 170 halted water and sewage pumps and warned that 10,000 residents could be at risk of drowning if a combination of explosions and heavy rain resulted in the failure of Beit Lahiya sewage lake.

The exact details of what appears to have been one of the worst attacks of the war – the shelling on Monday of a compound in the Zeitoun district of northern Gaza City in which about 100 members of the Al Samoun family had taken shelter – are yet to emerge.

The Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem said a paramedic who had reached the compound during the ceasefire reported the removal of three bodies and 14 injured people but that about 16 bodies remained inside.

About 12 bodies were removed on the day of the day of the attack, making the paramedic’s report broadly consistent with reports that more than 30 people were killed. However B’Tselem said some family members were now saying the death toll was lower. Others have suggested that it is even higher.

From a hilltop half a mile from the northern Gaza border, near Sderot, the resumption of the bombardment could be seen and heard about 15 minutes after the designated 4pm end to the ceasefire. Helicopters hovered in the air above the Strip, plumes of heavy smoke rose from some of the areas under attack and the trails left by two rockets fired by militants could be seen against the sky as the sun sank.

At the UN, diplomats manoeuvred to avoid the tabling of a Libyan-drafted ceasefire resolution that would be almost certain to provoke a veto by the United States for failing to mention the Hamas arms smuggling.

British officials suggested the the 15 Security Council members may agree a compromise text just short of a resolution to avert a public split. They said this would not preclude negotiations on a full-blown resolution, with the ceasefire initiative put forward by Egypt as its likely basis.

Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, delayed her return to Washington to stay in New York and meet with counterparts from the Middle East and Europe, including Foreign Secretary David Miliband.

Mr Miliband said: “I’ve seen the first glimmerings of the possibilities of a ceasefire… we’ve got to try and make sure the action on the ground led by President Mubarak and the diplomatic work here in New York come together.”

Army admits there was no firing from school

The Israeli army has admitted privately to the UN that no firing came from a Gaza school where 42 people died on Tuesday after being hit by Israeli mortars, officials of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (Unrwa) disclosed last night.

Publicly, the Israeli army claims that the school, which was providing shelter for around 350 people, was being used by Hamas fighters to carry out attacks. Unrwa officials said they were fully confident this was not the case.

More than 20,000 mourners attended the funerals of the victims yesterday. The attack was the single biggest loss of civilian life since the Israeli onslaught began. Mourners chanted slogans against “aggressors” and “murderers” and called for Israeli government leaders to be tried for war crimes. The procession went from the Kamal Adwan Hospital, where the casualties were taken, to the Al-Fakhora school.

Source

20000-morners-jan-7-gaza

More than 20,000 mourners attended the funerals of the victims yesterday Photo:  AFP/Getty

Egypt floats truce plan after 42 killed in Gaza School and Bars Doctors from Gaza

Gaza (3): A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Gaza (2): A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Gaza (1): A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Israel strike kills up to 60 members of one family

Israel rains fire on Gaza with phosphorus Shells/Targets UN School

Gaza hospital overwhelmed by dead and wounded

Foreign Press still banned from Gaza/Israel attacks Media Building in Gaza City

Gaza wounded die waiting for ambulances

War on Gaza – Timeline: June 19 2008 to January 3 2009

Published in: on January 8, 2009 at 6:54 am  Comments Off on Bombs rain down in Gaza as peace deal accepted ‘in principle’  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Egypt floats truce plan after 42 killed in Gaza School and Bars Doctors from Gaza

January 6 2009

By Nidal al-Mughrab

GAZA

Israel and Hamas studied a proposal by Egypt for a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday that won immediate backing from the United States and Europe, hours after Israeli shells killed 42 Palestinians at a U.N. school.

However, Israeli officials also said ministers would discuss a major escalation of their 12-day-old offensive that would push troops deep inside Gaza’s cities and refugee camps in their bid to end rocket fire into Israel by Islamist militant groups.

A Palestinian official said Hamas leaders, who want an end to Israel’s blockade of the coastal enclave, had been briefed in Egypt on the proposals by President Hosni Mubarak and were debating them internally.

Israeli officials have said they too are willing to look seriously at plans that would satisfy their demand that Egypt cut off Hamas’s supplies of smuggled weapons.

Mubarak made his cease-fire call at a joint news conference in Egypt with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. He gave little detail, but diplomats have described a process that would focus on bringing in foreign forces to seal the Egypt-Gaza border to Hamas arms smugglers while easing other trade routes.

Sarkozy, winding up a two-day tour of the Middle East, said: “I am confident the Israeli authorities’ reaction will make it possible to consider putting an end to the operation in Gaza.”

With Washington hamstrung by the transition period ahead of the January 20 inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama, France and its European partners, with backing from U.S. allies in the Arab world, have been pushing hard for Israel to cease fire.

But Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, speaking at the United Nations, quickly endorsed the Mubarak proposal and said a “sustainable” cease-fire should involve both closing off Hamas’s ability to rearm through tunnels from Egypt and easing the lives of the 1.5 million people of Gaza by reopening its trade routes.

“We need urgently to conclude a cease-fire that can endure and that can bring real security,” Rice told the Security Council.

She also welcomed an offer by Israel to open what it called a “humanitarian corridor” that would let aid agencies more easily distribute food and medicine around Gaza while it continues its military operation, which has killed over 600 people and carved the 40-km (25-mile) strip into several zones.

ISRAEL’S “THIRD PHASE”?

For all the talk of cease-fire, however, Israel continues to insist that it wants all rocket fire to stop — over 30 missiles hit Israel on Tuesday — and guarantees that Hamas cannot rearm.

And Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s security cabinet, convening on Wednesday morning, will discuss a third — and final — stage of the offensive, two senior political sources said, though the ministers may defer a vote on approving the plan.

“The plan is to enter the urban centres,” a source said, noting the first phase was an air campaign launched on December 27 and the second a ground invasion that began on January 3.

Olmert spokesman Mark Regev declined comment, saying: “We do not generally discuss the agendas of the security cabinet.”

CARNAGE AT SCHOOL

After nightfall, fighting eased to a sporadic rhythm of explosions and gunfire across the enclave. On Tuesday, 77 civilians were killed taking the total Palestinian death toll to 631, compared to 10 Israelis, seven of them soldiers.

Israel says it has killed dozens of militants this week in intensive close-quarter combat. Arab and widespread international anger mounted on Tuesday, however, when Israel admitted mortaring a United Nations school where hundreds of people were taking refuge. Medics said 42 people were killed.

The Israeli army accused Hamas militants of using civilians as “human shields” and said its troops had been returning mortar fire from the school.

An aide said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, a bitter foe of Hamas, had ordered officials to look into taking Israel to international courts over the incident. A U.N. spokesman said it wanted an inquiry into both the incident and the Israeli allegations about militants firing from its schools.

The school killing could intensify pressure on Israel for a cease-fire. During Israel’s 2006 war against Hezbollah, the deaths of 28 unarmed Lebanese in shelling at the village of Qana intensified international pressure on the Jewish state to negotiate a cease-fire.

The deaths in the school prompted Obama to break his silence on the Gaza offensive, to say the loss of life among civilians was “a source of deep concern” for him. Obama said he would not engage in policy until he was in office but vowed to work rapidly thereafter to secure peace in the Middle East.

Some commentators have said the U.S. presidential transition has exposed the United States to greater risks from Israel’s action in Gaza. Al Qaeda second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahri called on the Internet for Muslims to “hit the interests of the Zionists and Crusaders wherever and in whichever way you can.”

Washington’s allies in Arab governments have condemned the Israeli assault, which has contributed to rising oil prices, and the always vocally anti-American Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, another OPEC member, called it a “holocaust.”

Venezuela also expelled the Israeli ambassador.

Hamas, which has rebuffed Western demands to recognise Israel, end violence and accept existing interim peace deals, has demanded a lifting of the blockade of the Gaza Strip in any future cease-fire. It seized the territory in 2007, 18 months after it won a Palestinian parliamentary.

That created a schism with Abbas’s Fatah faction that helped kill off the outgoing U.S. administration’s efforts to broker a peace with Israel that would have created a Palestinian state. The violence in Gaza this month has raised questions over Obama’s ability to do better.

(Additional reporting by Dan Williams and Adam Entous in Jerusalem, Aziz el-Kaissouni in Sharm el-Sheikh and Claudia Parsons at the United Nations; Writing by Alastair Macdonald; editing by Myra MacDonald)

Source

France and Turkey willing to give monitors for Gaza

January 6 2009

UNITED NATIONS

France and Turkey said on Tuesday they were willing to contribute to an international monitoring team for a cease-fire in Gaza, where Israel launched a ground offensive last weekend.

“International monitoring mechanisms might prove necessary and we are willing to contribute to this,” French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told a session of the U.N. Security Council.

Kouchner said France was awaiting Israel’s response to a cease-fire proposal announced by Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak after a meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and “we harbour hope that it will be a positive one.”

Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan also said his country, which has been active in trying to end the violence in Gaza, would be prepared to contribute monitors.

“If Turkey is asked to be in such an international monitoring team, we are going to be of course willing to be there,” Babacan told reporters before the special U.N. session.

(Reporting by Sue Pleming and Claudia Parsons; Editing by John O’Callaghan)

Source

Egypt bars doctors from entering Gaza Strip

January 6 2009

RAFAH

Frustration is mounting at Egypt’s border with the Gaza
Strip, where many local and foreign doctors are stuck after Egyptian
authorities denied them entry into the coastal area now under an Israeli
ground invasion.

Anesthesiologist Dimitrios Mognie from Greece idles his time at a cafe near the border, drinking tea and chatting with other doctors, aid workers and curious Egyptians.

“This is a shame,” said Mognie, who decided to use his vacation time to try help Gazans. He thought entering through Egypt, which has a narrow border with the Hamas-ruled strip, was his best bet.

“That in 2009 they have people in need of help from a doctor and we can go to help and they won’t let us; this is crazy,” he added.

Gaza’s few hospitals have been swamped by the numbers of injured; health officials there reported more than 550 Palestinians dead and 2,500 wounded,  since Israel embarked upon its military campaign designed to stop Gaza’s Islamic Hamas from launching rockets at Israel on December 27.

Mognie and a colleague, both part of the Greek organization Doctors for Peace, came to Rafah four days ago, loaded with instruments and medical supplies. Egyptian border guards turn them back daily.

Mognie, who said he has worked in conflict zones such as Iraq, Angola and Somalia, added that he understood worries over security but that he was willing to take the risk to help the people in Gaza.

Along with Israel, Egypt has maintained the closure of the Gaza border,
imposed after Hamas took control of the area in June 2007. However, the Egyptian closure has been seen by some as abetting Israel’s siege of the crowded strip, home to 1.4 million people.

Since Israel’s offensive, Egypt has taken in a trickle of wounded Palestinians from Gaza through the crossing in the border town of Rafah. Cairo, the main mediator between Israel and Hamas, has said it would only open Rafah if moderate Palestinian forces of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are in charge of the crossing.

Calls to Egypt to ease the border bottleneck – where aid convoys first have to have their cargo unloaded from Egyptian trucks before it’s loaded onto Palestinian ones and taken into the strip – have increased, including from Hamas allies such as Iran.

Although Egypt allowed two Norwegian doctors into Gaza on Dec. 31, the majority of physicians are frustrated at their inability to get in.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hasan Qashqavi said Monday the his government submitted a formal request to Egypt to set up a desert hospital on Egyptian territory near the Gaza Strip to receive wounded Gazans.

Palestinian doctor Abed el-Qader Lubbad, who works in the intensive care at Shifa Hospital in Gaza, arrived in one of the ambulances transporting patients to Egypt on Monday. Out of the eight patients he ferried, one seriously wounded died on the way to the border, Lubbad said.

The Palestinian ambulances are not allowed to continue driving through Egypt. At the crossing, patients are taken out of the often poorly equipped Palestinian ambulances and transferred on gurneys to Egyptian ambulances.

On Monday, at least 18 Palestinian patients were brought to Egypt, according to Mohammad Arafat, a Palestinian representative in Rafah. The wounded included a man missing both legs and another who lost his eye and fractured his skull.

Another physician at Rafah was obstetrician Jemilah Mahmood from Mercy Malaysia. She said her group worked with the Egyptian Red Crescent to bring around $100,000 worth of medical supplies to the border for transport to Gaza. And while equipment eventually got through, Mahmoud said neither she nor her colleagues are allowed to cross.

“Can you imagine how many women are hurt and how few women doctors there are?” she asked. “All of us are sitting at the border.”

Source

The cost of the Damage in Gaza at this point, I would imagine is in the Billions of Dollars. No one has yet to mention anything about that, to this point. However are they going to be able to rebuild. The damage to the infrastructure is overwhelming,  schools, hospitals, police stations, government buildings, media building, roads, and homes to name a few have been destroyed.  I think Israel should pay for it however. Considering they choose to drop the massive amounts of bombs. They are responsible for the damage. They had bloody well not hire the likes of Haliburton either.

Latest Report Stated.: As of  Tuesday January 6 2009, 77 civilians were killed taking the total Palestinian death toll to 631. Over 2,500 Palestinians wounded, according to Gaza health officials and UN estimates.
10 Israelis have died, seven of them soldiers. Of the 7 soldiers who died, 4 were killed by friendly fire.

The International Press is still banned from Gaza and the Doctors that want to help are also Banned. Israel isn’t to keen on stopping the devastating attacks.

Israeli officials also said ministers would discuss a major escalation of their 12-day-old offensive that would push troops deep inside Gaza’s cities and refugee camps in their bid to end rocket fire into Israel by Islamist militant groups.

They want to escalate it to what? They want all of Gaza. They want total control. They don’t want to compromise. They are not being truthful.

I don’t trust them. They have done to much damage to be trusted. They have  lied.

They are using weapons that are illegal.

They are attempting to hide the truth from the rest of the world.

They starved Palestinians and then devastated them with bombs that do horrendous damage.

There will be long term health problems for  Palestinians in the years to follow, Israels cruel and unnecessary attacks.

This could have been resolved without an all out war.  Instead of putting the Palestinians in a prison camp which is what Gaze really is they could have treated them with kindness and respect. Israel choose to commits crimes against humanity and war crimes.

They choose Ethnic Cleansing, , Genocide, and Murder.

They put Palestinians behind a wall just like the Berlin wall.

If anyone should have their “Weapons of Mass Destruction” removed is should be Israels. They have weapons and equipment that is far more deadly then anything Hamas has.

I am certainly doubtful, they will ever compromise on anything.

Pictures from Israel.

People look at the site where a rocket landed in the southern ...

People look at the site where a Hamas rocket landed in the southern town of Sderot, Israel January 6, 2009. (Nikola Solic/Reuters)

A municipality worker surveys the scene after a rocket landed ...

A municipality worker surveys the scene after a rocket landed on an empty kindergarten in the port city of Ashdod, Israel January 5, 2009. (Baz Ratner/Reuters)

An Israeli man surveys damage to a house after a rocket landed ...

An Israeli man surveys damage to a house after a rocket landed in the southern city of Ashkelon January 5, 2009. (Baz Ratner/Reuters)

An Israeli mourner attends the funeral for soldier Dagan Vertman ...

An Israeli mourner attends the funeral for soldier Dagan Vertman at Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem January 6, 2009.(Yannis Behrakis/Reuters)

Israeli soldiers mourn beside the grave of their comrade Nitai ...

Israeli soldiers mourn beside the grave of their comrade Nitai Stern during his funeral at Mount Herzl miltary cemetery in Jerusalem January 6, 2009. (Eliana Aponte/Reuters)

Israeli soldiers carry the flag-draped coffin of their comrade ...

Israeli soldiers carry the flag-draped coffin of their comrade Dagan Vertman during his funeral at Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem January 6, 2009. (Yannis Behrakis/Reuters)

Israel's President Shimon Peres stands beside the bed of a soldier, ...

Israel’s President Shimon Peres stands beside the bed of a soldier, wounded during Israel’s offensive in Gaza, at a hospital in the southern city of Beersheba January 5, 2009. (Eliana Aponte/Reuters)

Two pages of Pictures from Gaza:

Gaza (1): A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Gaza (2): A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Reports From Gaza:

Israel strike kills up to 60 members of one family

Israel rains fire on Gaza with phosphorus Shells/Targets UN School

Gaza hospital overwhelmed by dead and wounded

An Open Letter From Jewish Youth in Canada – Support of Gaza

Foreign Press still banned from Gaza/Israel attacks Media Building in Gaza City

Gaza wounded die waiting for ambulances

War on Gaza – Timeline: June 19 2008 to January 3 2009

Gaza: Al-Wafa Hospital received warning they would be shelled

Israel pounds Gaza strip, vows to continue attacks


Published in: on January 7, 2009 at 11:07 am  Comments Off on Egypt floats truce plan after 42 killed in Gaza School and Bars Doctors from Gaza  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Actions we can take to help Palestinians in Gaza


Israeli jets bombed targets across Gaza for the third consecutive day. Five girls from the same family, including a 14 month-old toddler, were slain overnight when Israeli warplanes pounded a mosque near their home in the northern town of Jabaliya. Three boys were also killed in a separate Israeli strike on the southern city of Rafah. The fatalities took to 27 the number of children killed in the Israeli onslaught, unleashed Saturday. More than 345 people have been killed and 1,650 wounded in the Israeli offensive. (References for text: IslamOnline.net and agencies. Photo: Ashraf Amra/AP) Source

AVAAZ.ORG

GAZA: STOP THE BLOODSHED, TIME FOR PEACE
With already 380 dead and continued shelling of civilians in southern Israel, now is the time to issue a demand to world leaders that the spiralling violence that has characterized the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must come to an end.

Petition to the UN Security Council, the European Union, the Arab League and the USA:
We urge you to act immediately to ensure a comprehensive ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, to protect civilians on all sides, and to address the growing humanitarian crisis. Only through robust international action and oversight can the bloodshed be stopped, the Gaza crossings safely re-opened and real progress made toward a wider peace in 2009.

Sign the petition calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza – and for peace to be achieved between Israel and Palestine in 2009.


From International Action Center

Sign the Appeal to Stop the Attack on Gaza!
Urgent Appeal for Israel to Immediately Cease Its Murderous Bombing, Siege and Threatened Invasion of Palestinian Gaza

Initiated by 2008 U.N. Human Rights Award winner Ramsey Clark

Let President George W. Bush, President-Elect Barack Obama, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, Secretary of State Designate Hillary Clinton, Vice President Richard Cheney, Vice President-elect Joe Biden, Congressional leaders, U.N. Secretary General Ban, U.N. General Assembly President d’Escoto-Brockmann, members of the U.N. Security Council, U.N. member states, the President, Prime Minister, Cabinet and Opposition leader of Israel, and Major media representatives know you support this urgent appeal initiated by 2008 U.N. Human Rights Award recipient Ramsey Clark for Israel to Immediately Cease Its Murderous Bombing, Siege and Threatened Invasion of Palestinian Gaza!

To sign this Petition

Take Action to Protest Israeli Attack on Gaza

Mid-morning Saturday, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) launched a series of deadly air strikes on the occupied Gaza Strip. As we write this, an estimated  380 Palestinians have been killed and 1,650 innocent people have been wounded. According to news reports today, Israel plans to keep these attacks going and has brought scores of tanks to the border with Gaza.

These Israeli attacks come on top of a brutal siege of the Gaza Strip which has been going on for years and has created a humanitarian catastrophe of dire proportions for Gaza’s 1.5 million Palestinian residents by restricting the provision of food, fuel, medicine, electricity, and other necessities of life. All of this is happening in the most densely populated and one of the poorest areas of the world.

Israel is carrying out these attacks with F-16 fighter jets and missiles provided by U.S. taxpayers. From 2001-2006, the United States transferred to Israel more than $200 million worth of spare parts to fly its fleet of F-16’s. In July 2008, the United States gave Israel 186 million gallons of JP-8 aviation jet fuel. Last year, the United States signed a $1.3 billion contract with Raytheon to transfer to Israel thousands of TOW, Hellfire, and ‘bunker buster’ missiles.

Israel’s lethal attack on the Gaza Strip could not have happened without the active military and political support of the United States. We need to take action now to protest this attack and demand an immediate cease-fire.
The U.S. Campaign to End the Israel Occupation (a member group pf UFPJ) has issued an action alert with these suggestions — we urge you to take action today!

    Contact the White House to protest the attacks and demand an immediate cease-fire. Call 202-456-1111 or send an email to comments@whitehouse.gov.Contact the State Department at 202-647-6575 or send an email by clicking here.

    Contact your Representative and Senators in Congress at 202-224-3121 or find contact info for your Members of Congress by clicking here.

    Contact your local media by phoning into a talk show or writing a letter to the editor. To find contact info for your local media, click here.

    Organize a local protest or vigil and tell us about it by clicking here.

    Sign our open letter to President-Elect Obama calling for a new U.S. policy toward Israel/Palestine and find out other steps you can take to influence the incoming Administration by clicking here.

Contacting Israels Embassies and all Government officials around the world wouldn’t hurt either.

Ontario man’s Gaza trip an extended nightmare, he is trapped in Gaza

Israel ‘rammed’ medical aid boat headed to Gaza

Leaders Lie, Civilians Die, Israelis-Palestinians

US Veto Blocks UN Anti-Israel Resolution

Global protests against Israel

Israel Used Internationally Banned Weaponry in Massive Airstrikes Across Gaza Strip

Iran preps humanitarian aid ship to Gaza Strip

Israel blocks foreign media from Gaza