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B'Tselem demands Military Police investigation of firing at journalists in Gaza

On Sunday [27 August], the Israeli air force fired at a Reuter press vehicle near the Shaja’iyah neighborhood in Gaza. Two journalists in the vehicle were injured, one of them severely. An IDF spokesperson stated that the vehicle was attacked during an IDF operation because the vehicle “was driving suspiciously near IDF forces operating in the area.” The spokesperson contended that the soldiers did not identify the vehicle as one that belonged to the press agency, and regretted that the journalists were injured. According to Reuters, and from photos that appeared in the media, the vehicle was clearly marked as a press vehicle on all sides and on its roof. 

OCHA: 359 individual cluster bomb strike locations recorded

The Government of Lebanon (GoL) Higher Relief Council (HRC) reports the casualty figures at 1,187 killed and 4,061 injured. Most of the recent casualties have been caused by UXOs. As of 28 August, 359 individual cluster bomb strike locations have been confirmed and recorded. Given that areas of lower priority and a number of villages with IDF presence nearby have yet to be visited, it is estimated the total number of strikes could be in excess of 400. Un-exploded bombs (UXB) dropped by aircraft and ranging from 500lb to 2000lb, continue to be located. Many large, aircraft bombs lie un-exploded in people’s houses and gardens. 

International blockades threaten Palestinian schools

Palestinian parents are huddling on street corners, in cafes and in mosques and talking nervously about the looming crisis in their children’s education. The five month long financial blockade on the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority (PA) is now threatening to shut down the education system. With an alarmingly high unemployment rate of 40 per cent and most civil servants, including most teachers without paychecks for five months now, few households can afford the expense of sending the students back to school when the summer holidays end. 

Gaza siege causing major health crisis

Gaza hospitals are facing a crisis because of a western and Israeli economic boycott, and an Israeli military offensive. The United Nations has warned of an increasingly desperate humanitarian situation. “The siege and closure imposed by Israel have hindered medical aid from Jordan, Qatar, the Red Cross and the EU from reaching us,” said Dr Ma’awiya Hasanein, general manager of the emergency section in the Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip. Gaza is a Palestinian-administered strip of land bordering Israel and Egypt. It was fully occupied by Israel from 1967 until mid-2005, when it was handed over to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). 

Six Palestinians killed in escalating IOF offensive on Gaza Strip

According to Al Mezan field sources, on 28 August at approximately 5:50am an Israeli fighter jet fired a rocket at a group of members of the executive forces of the Palestinian Ministry of Interior, while gathering at the end of Al Mansoura Street in Al Shaja’ia. The shelling resulted in the killing of four members of these forces: Mahmoud Hamdi Jondia, 20, Mohammed Mostafa, 20, Khaled Kamal Al Ijla, 22, Ibrahim Sadeq Hellis, 20. Further, seven Palestinians, including five children were injured as a result of the constant arbitrary firing by the IOF in the area. 

What the camera fails to see

No matter how hard the photographers tried to capture with the camera what the eye sees, the picture cannot fully communicate the scene. It does not take with it the smell, the thoughts, the feelings one experiences while walking among the rubble left by the Israeli war machine. On the TV stations, one can see the toys of children shattered everywhere, broken furniture, torn out clothes. But on the TV stations or on the pages of newspapers, these are just items, objects one sees and one’s eyes get used to them, just like how the bodies of the deceased become objectified while on screen. 

In Gaza, Israeli missile strikes Reuters vehicle and wounds two

The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the apparent targeting of two Palestinian cameramen by Israeli forces in Gaza City late Saturday. A missile struck their armored car in the densely populated Shijaiyah neighborhood, seriously wounding Fadel Shana, a freelance cameraman for Reuters, and Sabbah Hmaida, a cameraman with a private Palestinian TV facilities house, Media Group. Reuters said the vehicle was clearly marked “Press” on all sides. The missile struck the letter “P” of the bright red “Press” sign on the car’s roof, the news agency added. Shana lost consciousness for several hours and suffered shrapnel wounds in his right hand and leg, Reuters reported. Hmaida sustained serious leg wounds from shrapnel. 

Lebanese who cannot return home fear being forgotten

Jamila Mehanna joined the rush back to her village in south Lebanon the moment the shooting stopped. Two weeks later she is living with other displaced Lebanese in a public building in Sidon, not sure when she will again be in her own house. “After the ceasefire came into effect, I went immediately with my kids to check out the house. I found the Israeli tanks at the outskirts of the village and so I turned around. I prefer to wait for the Lebanese army to take control before I go home,” she said. Amid the emphasis on getting daily convoys of UNHCR aid into battered villages and the return of most Lebanese to their homes, victims of the war like Jamila fear they could be forgotten by the refugee agency and other organisations. 

OCHA: Unexploded ordnances the most urgent threat

The Government of Lebanon’s (GOL) Higher Relief Council (HRC) reports to date that 1,187 Lebanese have been killed and approximately 4,060 injured. Unexploded ordnances, particularly cluster munitions, remains the most urgent threat to the beneficiaries and humanitarian workers. 12 people have been killed and 51 wounded by UXO and cluster bombs since 14 August. The Mine Action Coordination Centre has thus far 249 strike locations, a figure which is expected to rise. Demining activities are ongoing by the Lebanese army in Nabatieh, clearing residential areas such as Zawtar and by UNMACC in Yohmor, Smayieh, Ras Al Ain, Tebnine and Aita Al Jabal in South Lebanon. 

At home with unexploded bombs

Fifteen-year-old Ali Al-Hady begs his father to let him into his room, which was hit by four Israeli missiles during the 34-day conflict between Hezbollah and Israel. His father says it’s just too dangerous. “My father wouldn’t let me inside my bedroom because he suspected some cluster bombs were still under the rubble after he found an unexploded missile in the backyard and cluster bombs in our neighbour’s garden,” Ali told IRIN. He wanted to salvage some of his books and notes, left behind when he and his family fled their home in Kfarkila, 90km south of Beirut and adjacent to the Israel-Lebanon border. They went 20km north-east to Hasbaya, where they stayed with relatives.