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Five Palestinian Civilians Killed in Northern Gaza Strip

Today, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) killed five Palestinian civilians, including two children and an elderly woman, in two separate attacks on Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip. Fourteen other civilians, including five children and a woman, have been wounded. In the early morning, IOF warplanes attacked a house in Gaza City after having ordered its evacuation. These latest crimes have come in the context of the continued IOF offensive on the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) and have followed a statement by an IOF spokesman that IOF would attack houses under suspicion to prevent militant groups from accumulating weapons. 

An Emotional Rollercoaster

Tonight I feel apprehensive. It has been almost two days now that I have not heard the alarming sounds of bombardment. Paradoxically, after an initial relief, this ‘absence’ has made me even more nervous as I (and many Lebanese) consider their imminent return. “From Sunday, when the Americans are gone, they are going to bomb us hard”, remarked a relative of a Lebanese friend of mine yesterday as we were watching from my friend’s apartment the US navy ships anchored near the port of Jounieh. All day long on Friday military helicopters were evacuating US citizens from the troubled Lebanese shores to the safety of the ships. 

Precarious conditions in mountain shelters for fleeing Lebanese

Conditions for fleeing Lebanese seeking refuge in the mountain areas north of Beirut are precarious, with relief supplies needed urgently to cope with the growing numbers of displaced, says the top UN refugee agency official in Lebanon. The problem is getting those supplies into the country. UNHCR teams are buying supplies such as mattresses locally for the time being, but are increasingly anxious for a safe delivery route into Lebanon so relief supplies can be delivered from outside. Tonnes of relief items were moved Friday and were en route to Damascus, Syria, on Saturday in a convoy from the agency’s stockpiles in Jordan. 

TV crews hit by Israeli bullets in the West Bank

The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned that members of two Arab television crews were wounded by rubber bullets during an Israeli army operation in the West Bank city of Nablus on Wednesday. Wael Tanous, a satellite technician with the Qatar-based channel Al-Jazeera, was hit in the left leg while standing near his uplink vehicle on a main road in Nablus around noon, Al-Jazeera reporter Guevara al-Budeiri told CPJ. She said Tanous, like all crew members, was wearing a vest labeled “TV.” Walid al-Omary, Jerusalem-based bureau chief of Al-Jazeera, told CPJ, “It was clear when they shot him that they knew he was press.” Tanous was treated at a local hospital. 

From Syria, with love

It has been demonstrated time and time again (Iraq, Palestine and now Lebanon come to mind) that demonizing people so you can feel better about destroying everything they hold dear is not the best route to peace in any region. Therefore, I would like to offer an alternative to counteract the fear-mongering demonization of Syria that seems to be the one thing our administration is now willing to stand for (besides doing the same to Iran): The Syrian people are some of the most welcoming, kind and forgiving people I have ever encountered. Some notes from today to illustrate this point follow. 

Photostory: Montreal Mobilizes Against Israeli Attacks

Montreal-based organisations and individuals united last week to express their solidarity with the people of Lebanon and Gaza. Demonstrations, a human chains, a 24-hour vigil, speeches, letter-writing, emailing, petition-signing, fundraising and more played a role in this important beginning of a movement to bring an end to the present Israeli aggression in Lebanon and Palestine. Montreal photographer Darren Ell was present to capture some of these important developments in international solidarity. On July 22nd , people in over 30 cities from a dozen countries marched in solidarity with the people of Lebanon and Gaza. In Montreal over 20 organizations and thousands of individuals combined forces to demand an end to Israeli crimes. The demonstration was led by a gigantic Lebanese flag. 

Patience and food running low in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon

From the roof of his crumbling house, Mahmoud Kallam has a clear view across the slums of south Beirut where Palestinian children play football in streets lined with rotting bones and discarded clothes. As he looks, columns of brown smoke from Israeli air strikes rise into the sky. “My children are asleep now because they spent all night watching the missile attacks. They have started playing a game of who can spot the drone first,” says Kallam, a Palestinian researcher and life-long resident of the Shatila Camp. Shatila is one of dozens of camps where over half Lebanon’s estimated 400,000 Palestinian refugees live in squalid, cramped conditions. The camps are fully built up with concrete buildings and infrastructure, albeit in a deteriorating state. 

Egeland asks for money for UN to aid Lebanon

The UN’s Emergency Relief Co-ordinator, Jan Egeland, is asking for money from the international community to help the UN aid to Lebanon. “Even if the fighting stops tomorrow, the needs will go on for months and months and months,” he told a press conference in Beirut on Sunday. Egeland briefly toured a Beirut hospital, saying he saw “too many children wounded,” including five “severely wounded” children and their parents. “The father is a taxi driver whose legs were amputated,” Egeland said, giving reporters a rare glimpse of the kind of casualties doctors in Lebanese hospitals are currently dealing with. The UN’s aid chief is visiting Lebanon as part of a trip that will also take him to Israel on Monday. 

US and UN share broad long-range objectives on Middle East – Annan

Following meetings with the United States Secretary of State, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan told a US television audience that Washington and the world body share the same long-term objectives in responding to the Middle East crisis. “I think on quite a lot of the broad issues there’s very little disagreement between us,” the Secretary-General, who met with Condoleezza Rice in New York on Friday evening, told the host of the CNN show “Larry King Live.” Washington and the UN “have no disagreement on the longer-term goals,” he said. “Where we may differ is that I’m prepared to ask for immediate cessation of hostilities to allow us to assist the people, allow the diplomacy to take hold, and it does not exclude a longer-term solution.” 

What will happen to us when this is all over?

I get up, fix breakfast for my own personal refugees, and start my daily phone marathon (don’t tell them land lines are still working). I start with Saida; she tells me the bombing was far from their house. She did not synchronize with her son who told me a mall very close to their house was hit. I call my friend in the north: all is fine. My other friend in west Bekaa: they brought a factory down that used to build pre-fabricated houses and hangars and export them to Iraq. But that wasn’t all. Some miracle happened early this morning it seems, when the shelling spared Al Hanane Institution where tens of orphans live; the whole area was bombed like hell.