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Fatal strikes: Israel's indiscriminate attacks against civilians in Lebanon

This report documents serious violations of international humanitarian law (the laws of war) by Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in Lebanon between July 12 and July 27, 2006, as well as the July 30 attack in Qana. During this period, the IDF killed an estimated 400 people, the vast majority of them civilians, and that number climbed to over 500 by the time this report went to print. The Israeli government claims it is taking all possible measures to minimize civilian harm, but the cases documented here reveal a systematic failure by the IDF to distinguish between combatants and civilians. 

UN reports increase in Israeli shells fired into Gaza

There has been a significant rise in the number of artillery shells fired by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) into Gaza, which remains tense, a United Nations spokesman reported today. With at least 1,050 shells fired in the last week, the UN remains “remain very concerned about the threat this poses to civilians and civilian infrastructure,” Ahmad Fawzi told reporters in New York. The IDF shelling of the northern Gaza strip continues to bring more fatalities and increased internal displacement, he said. In the latest round of violence a 24-year old woman and a 14-year old boy were killed east of Beit Lahiya by an artillery shell. Four other people were reported injured. 

Amnesty International: IDF inquiry into Qana a whitewash

The investigation carried out by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) into the air-missile attack on Qana was clearly inadequate and reinforces the need for the urgent dispatch of the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission (IHFFC). “We cannot allow any investigation into the events in Qana to be a whitewash. What is needed here is an independent investigation which can look at all credible reports of serious violations of international humanitarian law taking place in this conflict. Any investigation needs the capacity to cross borders and talk to survivors of the attack as well as to the forces involved,” said Kate Gilmore, Executive Deputy Secretary General of Amnesty International. 

Beirut will never die

Despite the threats of Beirut being blown up today, here were people working … here were everyday people, coming together to help in any way they could. I was filled with so much love, being around such passionate people. Something changed tonight. I guess when you are looking at death, straight in the eyes, you find a new kind of courage. You realize how important it is to hang on to what you have. You fight for life with a new kind of passion. I have spent the last three weeks mourning the loss of Beirut … mourning the loss of my dreams and my work. Now, it’s time to accept what is happening and take charge of the situation. Beirut, she will never die. 

EU Monitors at Rafah Contribute to the Strangulation and Deprivation of Gaza

PCHR is dismayed by the position of the European Union (EU) monitors at Rafah International Crossing Point (Rafah Crossing) on the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. This position falls in line with the Israeli position of imposing collective punishment on the civilian of the Gaza Strip by preventing travel in and out of the Strip. The Centre is worried that their role could lead to an escalation of violations of the rights of Palestinian civilians, especially their right to movement and travel in and out of the Gaza Strip. 

IOF Kill 8 Palestinians in Rafah, including a Child, and Injure 20 Others

In another war crime of disproportionate use of lethal force, IOF have killed 8 Palestinians, including 6 unarmed civilians (one of them a child), and injured 20 others (5 of them children) in land and aerial bombardment. The bombardment accompanied a land attack on El-Shoka community that started during pre-dawn hours. PCHR’s fieldworker reported that most of the victims were torn and charred. The Centre is very concerned over this Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) escalation, which is part of an open aggression on the Gaza Strip that started at the end of June. 

A prisoner in my own land

I was just released from prison. It has taken me a few days to sit down and calmly write about this experience as I have been slightly shocked and dazed. For safety purposes I am choosing to leave out the details of my arrest. It is enough to say that the reason for my detention was that I was “suspected of being a spy for Israel.” The ultimate crime: treason. And who but me to be a spy for Israel! I have been trying to tell my story, what I was doing, why I had been here or there, all of it, but every time I begin writing I feel like I am speaking, again, to my interrogators; I don’t like that feeling. 

Video: Lebanon Telethon

The narrator of this spot exclaims, “I was watching the news with my brother John and it was ba-ad! Israel was bombing the civilians and infrastructure of Lebanon! So we decided to do something. We decided to have a telethon to tell Israel not to bomb Lebanon. We called our favorite celebrities — Goldie Hawn, Michelle Kwan, Kofi Annan, Cheech and Chong, Pokemon, Celine Dion, Gengis Khan (maybe not Genghis Khan) …” 

Human rights orgs. call for fact-finding mission to Gaza

During a special session on 6 July this year, the Human Rights Council adopted a resolution (A/HRC/S-1/3), expressing deep concern at the breaches by Israel, the Occupying Power, of international humanitarian law and human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and decided to dispatch a fact finding mission.In the weeks following the adoption of the resolution, Israeli breaches of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory have continued unabated, exacting a massive toll on the Palestinian civilian population. Since the beginning of Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip on 27 June 2006, 159 Palestinians have been killed, including 31 children. 

Christianity in Palestine: Misrepresentation and Dispossession

“You are a Christian?” a foreign tourist inquires with marked disbelief of a Palestinian tour guide in Bethlehem. “When did you convert?” This response by foreigners, Christian or not, is unfortunately not uncommon in Palestine. Even in Bethlehem, the origin to which many trace the very roots of their Christian faith, this disbelief goes hand-in-hand with tourists’ visits to the Church of the Nativity — visits that seem to carry with them some image of a time long past with only archaeological or religious sites remaining with little consideration for the “living stones” that have continuously borne witness to this tradition for two millennia.