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Israeli bombardment of Gaza enters second day

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Member of Knesset: Gaza war part of immoral electoral campaign
A Palestinian member of the Israeli parliament, Sami Abu Shehadeh, has slammed the Israeli military operation in Gaza as part of an election campaign by caretaker Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz.

“Israel’s latest aggression in Gaza shows the will of Lapid and Gantz and their [governing] coalition to do anything to stay in power, including the killing of a 5-year-old girl. This new war crime is part of an immoral electoral campaign to show they can be as criminal as Benjamin Netanyahu,” Shehadeh told Middle East Eye, referring to the leader of the opposition, who led three military campaigns against Gaza during his time as primer minister.

“The Palestinian people are in urgent need of international protection. The Israeli government has increased its attacks and crimes in Palestine, and this isn’t only about a particular faction: Their attacks go from human rights organisations to the families of Sheikh Jarrah,” Shehadeh, a lawmaker with the Joint List, added.

“Who will stop these war crimes? The international community keeps rewarding the Israeli occupation in a way that apartheid gets deeper. But it isn’t irreversible: We shall continue struggling for justice, freedom and equality, which is the only way to achieve a lasting peace.”

A Palestinian man identified as Tameem Hijazi was killed on Saturday morning in Khan Younis, taking the death toll to 11 since Israeli  bombardment began on Friday afternoon.

More than 80 people have been wounded so far, with many in critical condition, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

Translation: A photo of the martyr Tamim Ghassan Hijazi, who was killed in the occupation’s bombing, east of Khan Yunis, south of the Gaza Strip.

Overnight, Israeli jets continued to bomb several areas in the besieged strip, while dozens of Palestinian rockets were fired in response, triggering sirens across Israeli cities in the south.

One Israeli was lightly wounded in the Eshkol regional council south of Gaza southern Israel after a rocket shrapnel landed in the area.

The Israeli army also carried out overnight raids on Palestinian towns near Ramallah and Hebron in the occupied West Bank, arresting 20 people.

The Israeli assault on Friday is the most serious round of violence since last year’s war in May.

During the 11-day campaign in 2021, the Israeli army killed 256 Palestinians, including 66 children. In Israel, 13 people were killed by Palestinian rockets, including two children.

Late on Friday, Egyptian mediators were in contact with both Israel and Palestinian groups in Gaza, seeking to bring hostels to a quick end, according to Egyptian media.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Israel’s declared target in the operation, said it was not time for truce talks.

Ran Kochav, a spokesperson of the Israeli army, also said Israel is not holding any negotiations and was preparing for the operation to last for a week.

Meanwhile, Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, Jerusalem and within Israel are planning to hold demonstrations against the Israeli assault later on Saturday.

Protests are expected in Haifa, Umm al-Fahm, Jerusalem, Ramallah and other West Bank cities.

 

 

Israel on Friday launched a series of air strikes and artillery fire in Gaza in an attack that left at least 10 Palestinians dead, including a five-year-old girl. At least 75 people have been injured as well, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, as one of the air strikes hit a residential building in central Gaza.

Palestinian and Israeli analysts told MEE that the timing and the conduct of the attack was strange. The timeline of events goes like this: Israel arrested Bassam el-Saadi, a senior member of the Islamic Jihad group, in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin earlier this week. Then, after receiving no response from the Islamic Jihad, Israel launched air strikes that killed Palestinians, including a top member of the group, on the grounds that the organisation was planning to attack.

In response to Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, the Islamic Jihad group said that it fired more than 100 rockets into Israel.

“The bottom line is, after Israel allegedly tried to prevent Islamic Jihad attacks, it is now receiving rockets that apparently would not have happened if Israel did not attack first,” veteran Israeli analyst Meron Rapoport told MEE.

The US issued a statement that strongly defended Israel, saying it “has a right to defend itself”. US President Joe Biden visited Israel just a few weeks ago.

Hamas, the leading political faction in the Gaza Strip, said that it had “all options open” in response to Israel, while Islamic Jihad said that “there are no red lines in this battle” and the city of Tel Aviv will fall under rocket fire.

Sirens have gone off across Israel amid the rocket fire from Gaza, while Palestinians continue to fear further Israeli bombardment.

Several Palestinian residents of the apartment building bombed by Israel were shocked at the attack, questioning why Israel’s military was continuing to bomb civilians.

That’s a wrap from the Middle East Eye team for now, please continue to follow us for more updates, and check out our Twitter and Instagram for the latest coverage.

 

UN ‘deeply concerned’, says Middle East peace envoy

The United Nations’ special coordinator for the Middle East peace process has said there was “no justification” for attacks against civilians, after Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip left at least 10 Palestinians dead, including a five-year-old girl.

“I am deeply concerned by the ongoing escalation between Palestinian militants and Israel, including the targeted killing today of a Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader inside Gaza,” Tor Wennesland said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

“The continuing escalation is very dangerous,” Wennesland said.

“The progress made in gradually opening Gaza since the end of the May escalation risks being undone, leading to even greater humanitarian needs at a time when global resources are stretched and international financial support for a renewed humanitarian effort in Gaza will not be easily available.”

‘Twisted logic’: Israel punishing Islamic Jihad for ‘not retaliating’ to leader’s arrest
12 hours ago

The timing and manner in which this Israeli operation has come about is odd, veteran Israeli analyst Meron Rapoport tells Middle East Eye.

“This is undoubtedly one of the strangest events,” he said.

“Israel arrests a senior member of Islamic Jihad in the West Bank, the group does not respond,” Rapoport continued, referring to the arrest of Bassam al-Saadi earlier this week in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin.

‘After Israel allegedly tried to prevent Islamic Jihad attacks, it is now receiving rockets that apparently would not have happened if Israel did not attack first’

– Meron Rapoport, Israeli analyst

But then, “Israel puts tens of thousands of residents in the areas adjacent to Gaza under curfew on the grounds that Islamic Jihad is planning a response, then kills senior members of the group in Gaza, as well as civilians, on the grounds that they planned to attack Israel”.

The analyst noted that Israel was essentially punishing the Islamic Jihad group for not attacking in retaliation to Saadi’s arrest, given that the group only launched rockets after Israel launched air strikes on Gaza.

“[Israeli Defence Minister Benny] Gantz said this evening ‘they cannot threaten Israel’. Then, after the action that came ostensibly to prevent shooting at Israel, Islamic Jihad ends up firing [rockets] at Israel, and hundreds of thousands of people in southern Israel enter protected rooms or shelters,” he said.

“The bottom line is, after Israel allegedly tried to prevent Islamic Jihad attacks, it is now receiving rockets that apparently would not have happened if Israel did not attack first.”

Following the Israeli air strikes that killed at least 10 Palestinians, including senior Islamic Jihad commander Taiseer al-Jabari, the group said it fired 100 rockets first as an initial response late on Friday.

“So what is behind this twisted logic?” asked Rapoport.

“One possibility is that [Prime Minister Yair] Lapid wants to establish his position as a ‘strong’ prime minister, less than three months before the general elections, while the [opposition] Benjamin Netanyahu bloc is gaining strength in the polls.”

 

Hamas says ‘all options are open’

The office of Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh has blamed Israel for attacking Gaza, escalating tensions, and killing Islamic Jihad leader Taiseer al-Jabari, along with civilians.

“Haniyeh made it clear to everyone that this crime is condemned and that the occupation bears its repercussions and consequences,” his office said in a statement.

Haniyeh’s office added that he had received calls from international and regional figures to discuss the situation.

He also warned “all options are open”, in response to Israel’s aggression.

Several of the Palestinian residents in the Palestine Tower, a residential and office building in central Gaza that was hit during one of the first Israeli air strikes on Friday, spoke to Middle East Eye about the bombing.

Khalil Kanon, who lives on the 12th floor, told MEE that the bombing left his wife and mother injured, his children in fear, and his entire family stained with blood.

Following the attack, Kanon’s neighbour rushed to help, and took his children and wife out of the building while Kanon awaited paramedics to assist in removing her mother from the building.

‘We are civilians. Why did they bomb us?’

– Ziyad Mezher

“All of us were stained with blood. Look, there is a blood stain on my t-shirt.”

Ahmed al-Bata, a journalist, was waiting for the lift to go up to the 14th floor of the Palestine Tower – where his office is located – before the building was bombed.

“The scene was unbelievable. After some minutes, tens of residents started fleeing while shouting. Almost all of them were children and women. Tens of them were injured. The scene was so horrible. It’s a crime in every sense of the word.”

Um Osama Mahdi, 66, who lives on the 4th floor, was all alone when the bombardment started.

“The air was full of dust. I couldn’t see anything,” she said, adding that she began reciting the Islamic testimony of faith.

“I stayed in the same position for 5 minutes until my husband came and got me out of the building. My neighbour and his children were bleeding.”

Ziyad Mezher, an expert in disaster risk management, said that he was preparing for a family gathering when Israel bombed the apartment building.

“I was laying on my bed. Suddenly my wife, my daughter and I found ourselves flying and falling on the ground. I crawled. We fled the place. All things were destroyed.”

“Blood was everywhere,” he said. “We are civilians. Why did they bomb us?”

Rockets fired from Gaza in response to Israeli bombardment
14 hours ago

Palestinian groups have fired rockets from Gaza at 21:00 local time towards Israeli cities as sirens were activated in Tel Aviv and southern Israel.

Live footage from the besieged strip showed some rockets being intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome defence system.

Gaza’s military Joint Operations Room, which consists of all of Gaza’s main armed factions, said in a statement that it was preparing a response to the Israeli air strikes that killed at least 10 Palestinians.

Qatar condemns Israeli aggression
The Qatari foreign ministry issued a statement of condemnation against Israel, saying that it denounced Israel’s latest series of attacks on Gaza.

“We stress the need for the international community to move urgently to stop the occupation’s repeated attacks against civilians,” the foreign ministry said.

“We reaffirm our position on the justice of the Palestinian cause and the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.

The resistance’s response is coming, says Gaza’s main armed factions
14 hours ago

Gaza’s military Joint Operations Room has said in a statement that it is currently assessing the situation and that the “response of the resistance is coming”.

“We hold the Israeli enemy to be full[y] responsible for this aggression, and by doing this the enemy has miscalculated. We affirm that this aggression will not go unnoticed,” said the Joint Operations Room, which consists of all of Gaza’s main armed factions.

“We will not allow the enemy to overpower our people and it will not succeed in breaking our people’s steadfastness and resistance.”

Israeli army calls up 25,000 reservists
15 hours ago

Israel’s Defence Minister Benny Gantz said the military will call up as many as 25,000 reservist troops as the bombing campaign in Gaza is expected to grow.

The Israeli military announced earlier that it is moving the elite Golani Brigade unit and the Armoured Corps to the Gaza border as well.

Source: Middle East Eye


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