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HRW: IDF probe no substitute for real investigation


The Israel Defense Forces’ internal inquiry into its artillery shelling of Beit Hanoun, which killed 19 Palestinian civilians and left dozens injured in northern Gaza, failed to address the key questions of whether the attack was a violation of international law and who should be held accountable for the lethal fire, Human Rights Watch said today. The Israeli government should immediately conduct a comprehensive independent investigation to establish these issues. “The IDF’s internal probe suggests that the Beit Hanoun tragedy can be chalked up to an errant volley of shells,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, director of the Middle East and North Africa Division of Human Rights Watch. 

Qatari draft resolution calls for ceasefire and UN observer force


The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting on Thursday at the request of Qatar - the lone Arab representation on the council - regarding the killing of 18 Palestinians on Wednesday by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). At dawn on Wednesday, the IDF fired between 12 and 15 shells at an apartment block in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, killing 18 people while they slept, mostly women and children. A further 55 people were injured. Council members held closed consultations on a draft resolution circulated by Qatar on Wednesday before holding an open meeting with 45 speakers that included a briefing by Angela Kane, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs. 

MEPs Call For An International Force To Stop The Killing In Gaza And For An End To The Occupation


We, the undersigned Members of the European Parliament, recently returned from a fact finding mission to Israel and Palestine, are shocked and appalled by what we have seen and experienced in Gaza. Due to economic sanctions, almost all public institutions have shut down. The hospitals are overcrowded and receive neither money nor sufficient medicine. The public employees have not been paid for months. The doctors told us that some deadly injuries are not caused by traditional weapons but most likely by new experimental chemical weapons. More amputations than ever are necessary. They have not had the time to examine the dead bodies yet as they are busy dealing with the wounds of those who have survived. 

After deadly Gaza shelling, senior UN official urges Israel, Palestinians to return to talks


The Security Council met in open session today to discuss the latest deadly violence in the Gaza Strip, with a senior United Nations official calling on Israel to review the implications of its military actions, on the Palestinians to take the critically important step of stopping rocket attacks by militants, and on both sides to return to talks. “The incident that occurred in Beit Hanoun on Wednesday is shocking,” Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Angela Kane said. 

Meeting Ahmad on the Burnt Side of the Border


I arrived to meet Ahmad after a highly emotionally charged trip through the destroyed villages along the Israel-Lebanese border. We stood there silently sobbing, watching the forbidden land that we consider Palestine as we puffed our cigarettes along with our frustration and helplessness. On one side of the border total destruction, burnt land and graffiti of resistance; and on the other side, green fields and tidily arranged houses protected by the Israeli military. All look serene, rendering the scene all the more brutal and surreal. Borders never looked more ridiculous and painful, a winding barbed wire with fences and military roads marking the separation, cutting through a land that looks very much alike. 

IOF violations continue in Gaza with four Palestinians killed


Following yesterday’s mass murder in Beit Hanoun, the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) continued its attacks on Gaza. Four Palestinians have been killed and four others wounded from Israeli fire over the day in the Gaza Strip. The death toll has reached 80 in the north of the Gaza Strip (87 in the whole of the Gaza Strip) since the start of the IOF operations in Gaza on 1 November 2006. At 7.10pm Wednesday, 8 November 2006, IOF killed 32-year-old Rajab Awad and injured one person when an Israeli drone fired a missile at a car in the Zeitoun neighborhood in Gaza City. 

Photostory: Australians protest Apartheid Wall


As part of the International Week of Action Against the Apartheid Wall, Australians for Palestine took part in a Stop the Wall rally today and contributed an amazing mock wall. The wall was assembled before the rally began and attracted many curious onlookers who soon learned that this wall was only a third of the height of the actual wall being illegally built by Israel in the West Bank. The 3 metre-high wall had been designed and constructed by three Palestinian brothers - Nasser, Moammar and Kamahl Mashni and then re-assembled with the help of Amin Abbas, Joe Lui and Robert Martin. 

Between Resistance and Deception


The Israeli regime unleashes daily racist brutality that by far outstands the crimes of the previous apartheid regime in South Africa. It imprisons an entire people behind ghetto walls, kills them and submits them to an economic blockade that has brought communities to the verge of starvation. Yet, while exactly 30 years ago the UN General Assembly called for comprehensive sanctions against apartheid in South Africa, Palestinians are reminded on a daily basis that the Zionist Occupation can still count on the blindness of the world to its atrocities and crimes. Until when? 

We overcame our fear


Yesterday at dawn, the Israeli air force bombed and destroyed my home. I was the target, but instead the attack killed my sister-in-law, Nahla, a widow with eight children in her care. In the same raid Israel’s artillery shelled a residential district in the town of Beit Hanoun in the Gaza Strip, leaving 19 dead and 40 injured, many killed in their beds. One family, the Athamnas, lost 16 members in the massacre: the oldest who died, Fatima, was 70; the youngest, Dima, was one; seven were children. The death toll in Beit Hanoun has passed 90 in one week. This is Israel’s tenth incursion into Beit Hanoun since it announced its withdrawal from Gaza. 

"One Country": An Interview with Ali Abunimah


“Let’s assume that what the Israelis are saying is true and that they are imposing this siege because of the capture of the Israeli soldier. If that is true then they are admitting to the most serious war crimes that can be committed under international law because the Geneva Convention makes it very clear that it is a serious crime to punish a civilian population for political reasons. Here Israel says they are punishing the civilian population in order to secure the release of a prisoner of war. I think that, if nothing else should alert people to the true nature of this regime.”