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Almost half the fatalities in Gaza in July were civilians

In July, the Israeli military killed 163 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, 78 of whom (48 percent) were not taking part in the hostilities when they were killed. Thirty-six of the fatalities were minors, and 20 were women. In the West Bank, 15 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in July. The number of Palestinian fatalities in July was the highest in any month since April 2002. Of the incidents B’Tselem investigated in Gaza over the past month, the organization has identified four cases in which Israel may have committed grave breaches of the laws of war. A total of 15 Palestinian civilians were killed in these incidents, including 7 minors. 

Photostory: Israeli brutality at the US Consulate in Jerusalem

On Tuesday, August 1st, Palestinians and some Americans held a protest outside of the American consulate in East Jerusalem, protesting America’s massive political and financial roie in the assault on Lebanon. There were no physical or verbal exchanges between protestors or police. A police jeep arrived with back up. Suddenly, about 15 police crossed the street to the protestors quickly in a column and began shoving everyone down the hill. They immediately became violent with the protestors, shoving them, aggressively using batons and horses. 

Human Rights Watch: Hezbollah must end attacks on civilians

Hezbollah must immediately stop firing rockets into civilian areas in Israel, Human Rights Watch said today. Entering the fourth week of attacks, such rockets have claimed 30 civilian lives, including six children, and wounded hundreds more. “Lobbing rockets blindly into civilian areas is without doubt a war crime,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch.” Nothing can justify this assault on the most fundamental standards for sparing civilians the hazards of war.” Hezbollah claims that some of its attacks are aimed at military bases inside Israel, which are legitimate targets. 

More children killed in Rafah

The victims of war crimes perpetrated by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) for the third consecutive day in Rafah has increased to 16 killed, including 10 civilians (four of them children). One of the victims was a three-day-old infant girl who fell her mother’s arm as the latter was fleeing from IOF. Two other children victims were brothers. They were killed and their mother and brother were seriously injured when they were trying to flee their house. The number of injured is up to 39, including 13 children and one woman. All were injured by shrapnel and burns, many of them were injured seriously. 

A dialogue at Huwara Checkpoint

Why were you traveling in Nablus, he asks. There are beads of sweat on his upper lip, the stubble on his chin is fair. He has found a way to prop his M-4 carbine against the wall behind him so that its sling rests loosely on his shoulder. The blue-eyed corporal next to him slams his palm against a steel beam inches from a woman’s face. She startles and retreats to the imagined line behind us, corrects her hijab along her hair line and stares through him. 

Factories come under fire

The Maliban glass factory, owned by an Indian businessman based in London, used to produce some 200 tons of glass a day in Chaura, 40km east of Beirut in the heart of the Bekaa Valley, and employed around 400 people. Now burnt steel bars rise like giant teeth against a clear blue sky. Salah Baraki, 60, the manager, looked out over a sea of devastation. “The factory is 42 years old, of which I worked here for 41,” he said. “In two minutes, everything was gone.” On 18 July, two Israeli fighter jets fired a handful of rockets on the production hall, reducing it to rubble. 

Oil-spill clean-up delayed by conflict

European and Arab governments are ready to step in with aid and equipment to help Lebanon tackle a 10,000-tonne oil spill that was the result of Israeli air strikes on the fuel tanks of Jiyeh power station, 20km south of Beirut, on 13 and 15 July. However, the conflict between Hezbollah and Israel in the south of the country is stopping them from doing so, according to a member of the Lebanese environment ministry, who did not want to be named. “They cannot mobilise their forces until a ceasefire is called,” said the ministry official. “We are operating in a state of war so normal procedure cannot be followed in this situation … a lot of countries are on standby trying to get the aid to us,” she said. 

No time to lose, UN warns as emergency aid supplies to Lebanon cut off by shelling

Getting emergency United Nations humanitarian aid to the hundreds of thousands of Lebanese displaced by the worsening conflict became even harder today after the UN said that Israeli shelling had severed the vital supply route between Syria and Beirut, as well as forcing the cancellation of all but one convoy to the devastated south of the country. “We do not have the humanitarian access we need for critical and vulnerable communities in south Lebanon … ” UN spokesman Ahmad Fawzi told reporters in New York. 

Southern Lebanon continues to endure intense fighting - UN mission

More than three weeks after hostilities began, Hizbollah and the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) are still exchanging heavy fire in southern Lebanon with little sign of any abatement, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) reported today. Although the number of rockets launched by Hizbollah from within UNIFIL’s area of operation during the past 24 hours was below the figures of recent days, the numbers remained large, UNIFIL said in a statement issued in the Lebanese city of Naqoura. Some rockets were fired from close to UN positions near Alma ash Shab and At Tiri. 

Holed up in southern mountains

The road inland from the port city of Tyre, 60km south of Beirut, is riddled with craters filled with mangled cars. A cattle pen is jammed with dead and dying cows left to starve after their terrified owner fled. The road then forks east into the Aamel Mountains where entire towns are deserted, shops boarded up, bridges collapsed, and broken power lines flail in the wind. The once-bustling market town of Nabatiyeh, 30km east of Tyre, is a Hezbollah stronghold, with the faces of those killed fighting Israel emblazoned on flags. Now, just a few grocers and roaming cats are left.