Clashes across West Bank amid Gaza bombardment

Fierce clashes broke out across the West Bank late Friday July 11 between Israeli troops and young Palestinian men protesting the ongoing military offensive against the Gaza Strip. In Ramallah in the central West Bank, Palestinian protestors on Saturday morning used rocks to block the road to an Israeli military base near the town of Sinjel in the north. The protestors then clashed with Israeli troops who showered them with tear gas, rubber-coated bullets and stun grenades. The young protestors responded with stones, gas bombs and fireworks. Also that day, dozens of angry young Palestinian men attacked an Israeli military post in Tal al-Asour in the village of Kafr Malik north of Ramallah. The protestors threw several Molotov cocktails and fireworks at the post, setting it ablaze. Israeli troops got out of their bunkers and started to extinguish the fire, while other soldiers fired rubber-coated bullets and tear-gas canisters at the protestors.

On Friday evening, hundreds of young Palestinian men demonstrated near Qalandiya checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem. During the protest, young men hurled several Molotov cocktails at an Israeli watchtower near the checkpoint setting it aflame. A Ma'an reporter said Israeli soldiers attacked the protestors with live ammunition, rubber-coated bullets and tear-gas canisters in an attempt to disperse them and move them away, but the boys were adamant to confront Israeli troops. He confirmed that many were hit by rubber-coated bullets and live gunshots.

In the southern West Bank'd al-Arrub refugee camp, four young Palestinian men were injured by rubber-coated bullets after midnight during clashes with Israeli troops. A spokesman of a committee of volunteers with the Red Crescent ambulance service confirmed that four protestors were treated after they were hit with rubber-coated bullets. Witnesses said an Israeli ambulance evacuated an Israeli soldier who seemingly sustained burns after Molotov cocktails were hurled at a watchtower near the camp.

Similarly, hundreds of protestors rallied after the late evening prayer in al-Fawwar refugee camp and in Hebron city. Local sources in al-Fawwar camp told Ma'an that worshipers from the camp's three main mosques gathered and rallied to protest the ongoing Israeli military attacks on the Gaza Strip. After the rally, dozens of angry young men attacked Israeli troops garrisoned at the main entrance with rocks and empty bottles. The soldiers fired rubber-coated bullets and tear gas at the protestors.

In Hebron, large numbers of worshipers demonstrated after late evening prayers at the al-Hussein Mosque in the city center. They chanted slogans calling for revenge for Gaza and slamming Arab countries and the international community for remaining silent toward the Israeli offensive against Gaza.

Clashes with Israeli troops also broke out in Beit Ummar north of Hebron. A spokesman of the town's local committee against Israeli settlements and the separation wall Muhammad Ayyad Awad said young Palestinian men pelted Israeli troops with stones in Asida neighborhood. The soldiers fired rubber-coated bullets and tear-gas canisters, he added. A young man was hit with a rubber-coated bullet, while several others inhaled tear gas.

In Bethlehem in the southern West Bank, a young Palestinian man was hit by live ammunition during clashes near Rachel's Tomb at the northern entrance to the city between Palestinian protestors and Israeli troops, according to the director of the ambulance service of the Palestinian Red Crescent. He added that several demonstrators were treated in the field after they inhaled tear gas.

In the East Jerusalem villages of Anata, Abu Dis and Shufat, young Palestinian men attacked Israeli soldiers with stones, empty bottles and Molotov cocktails on Friday night. Witnesses said Israeli soldiers were unable to step out of their military vehicles because protestors showered them with rocks and empty bottles. A military transport vehicle was attacked with several Molotov cocktails in Abu Dis. A spokesman of the East Jerusalem popular resistance committees told Ma'an that several young Palestinians suffered from tear-gas inhalation and some were hit by rubber-coated bullets.

A spokesman of the Fatah movement in Shufat refugee camp Thaer al-Fasfous said clashes broke out near an Israeli military checkpoint at the main entrance to the camp.

In Qalqiliya, in the northern West Bank, dozens of worshipers rallied after late evening prayers. Witnesses said worshipers rallied from mosques toward an Israeli checkpoint north of Qalqiliya where they clashed with Israeli troops who showered them with tear gas and rubber-coated bullets.

From Ma'an News Agency, July 12

  1. Thousands flee northern Gaza in fear of Israeli attack

    Thousands of Palestinians fled the northern Gaza Strip on July 13 and sought refuge in UNRWA facilities after Israeli forces instructed them to leave their homes. Israeli forces dropped leaflets warning residents to leave their homes before midday "for their own safety." Residents said they also received phone calls from Israel's military instructing them to evacuate their homes and several tank shells were fired to scare residents. (Ma'an)

    Israeli naval commandos raided the northern Strip on a mission to destroy longer-range rockets, dozens of which have been fired at cities as far away as Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Hadera in the north. The raid sparked a fierce gun battle with Hamas militants in the Sudaniya district. The Israeli military said four of the commandos were lightly injured.

    Israel has not ruled out a ground invasion, mobilizing 20,000 reservists so far and massing troops on the border with Gaza. (DWAFP)

    Electricity was disconnected in major areas in Gaza City after heavy Israeli strikes on the al-Shujaiyya neighborhood, the Strips's electric company said July 11. Some 75% of the city is without electricity. (Ma'an) A post on the Israel Defense Forces Facebook page claimed: "A rocket fired from Gaza hit electricity infrastructure in Israel that supplied power to Gaza, cutting power to about 70,000 people in Gaza." Another post reads: '"When civilian infrastructure is used for terror activity, it may become a legitimate target. Israel has the right to defend its citizens."

    The death toll in Operation Protective Edge now stands at 170, with more than 1,000 Palestinians injured. (Ma'an)

  2. Tel Aviv anti-war march attacked

    972Mag reports that an anti-war march in Tel Aviv July 12,—under the banner “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies!”—was attacked by right-wing thugs chanting "Death to Arabs!" Three protesters were injured, one of whom was hospitalized. There was little police interference. Anti-war protests also took place in Haifa and Jaffa.

  3. Israel to ‘expand, intensify’ Gaza campaign

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to "expand and intensify" Israel's military campaign in Gaza, after Hamas and Islamic Jiahd rejected an Egyptian ceasefire plan. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told Ma'an News Agency that the group was not consulted by Egypt about ceasefire arrangements and only heard of the initiative through media outlets. "We in Hamas haven't heard about the Egyptian suggestions except on media outlets. Nobody has consulted us about this initiative, and so it is natural that the initiative isn't binding to us," he said.

    Hamas and Islamic Jihad jointly claimed responsibility for launching dozens of rockets at Tel Aviv after the ceasefire was rejected. The first Israeli casualty in the current round of exchanges was also reported. An Israeli man was fatally wounded by rocket fire near the Erez crossing into Gaza. Over 190 Palestinians and been killed in Israel's ongoing assault on Gaza, with at least 1,400 injured. (AFPMa'anMa'an, AFP)

  4. Israel warns 100,000 Gazans to evacuate their homes

    Israel's air force dropped flyers warning 100,000 resident in the northeastern Gaza Strip to flee their homes, but the warning was largely ignored despite an intensification of the military's air campaign that is now in its ninth day. (AFP) Several journalists were injured after an Israeli airstrike early this morning struck a building in Gaza City that houses the Sawt al-Watan radio station. (Ma'an) The latest air-strikes bring the Palestinian death toll since Israel's assault began last week to 220 killed, with 1,570 injured. Gaza-based rights groups say over 80% of the casualties are civilians. (Ma'an)

    Four children were killed when Israeli forces shelled a beach they were playing on in Gaza City, in an incident witnessed by AFP journalists and drawing global outrage. (Ma'an)

  5. Israel launches ground operation in Gaza

    Air-strikes on the Gaza Strip resumed July 17 at the end of a five-hour "humanitarian window" both sides had agreed to. The new air-strikes have this far claimed 10 lives, bringing the total number of Palestinians killed in 10 days of hostilities to over 240 and at least 1,770 injured. Gaza-based rights groups have reported that around 80% of the Palestinians killed have been civilians. (NYT, Ma'anAFP)

    Hours later, Israel launched a ground operation in Gaza. "In light of Hamas' continuous criminal aggression, and the dangerous infiltration into Israeli territory, Israel is obligated to act in defense of its citizens,” a statement from the Prime Minister's Office said. (JPAFP) Israeli tanks are shelling Gaza's al-Wafa hospital, whose 14 patients include some who are paralyzed or in a coma, and several people have been hurt, the facility's director Basman Alashi said. (AFP)

    The Senate passed a resolution expressing support for Israel, through a unanimous consent agreement. Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) authored S.Res. 498, which reaffirms Senate support for Israel, condemns unprovoked rocket fire and calls on Hamas to stop all rocket attacks on Israel. (The Hill)

  6. Israel and the West created Gaza crisis: NYT op-ed

    A July 17 op-ed in the New York Times by Nathan Thrall of International Crisis Group, "How the West Chose War in Gaza," is about the most forthright analysis we can hope for from that organ. Thrall writes that "Israel and much of the international community placed a prohibitive set of obstacles in the way of the Palestinian 'national consensus' government that was formed in early June." The deal that resulted in the pact was a result of Hamas' "desperation and isolation," following political reversals in Egypt and Syria. "Despite having won the last elections, in 2006, Hamas decided to transfer formal authority to the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah." Terms for the agreement were set almost entirely by Palestinian Aauthority President Mahmoud Abbas, with the Hamas administration accepting his cabinet with few changes and no Hamas representation. 

    Nonetheless, "Israel immediately sought to undermine the reconciliation agreement by preventing Hamas leaders and Gaza residents from obtaining the two most essential benefits of the deal: the payment of salaries to 43,000 civil servants who worked for the Hamas government and continue to administer Gaza under the new one, and the easing of the suffocating border closures imposed by Israel and Egypt that bar most Gazans' passage to the outside world."

    Thrall finds that "the reconciliation government could have served Israel's interests." But: "Israel strongly opposed American recognition of the new government…and sought to isolate it internationally… So after Hamas transferred authority to a government of pro-Western technocrats, life in Gaza became worse. Qatar had offered to pay Gaza's 43,000 civil servants, and America and Europe could have helped facilitate that. But Washington warned that American law prohibited any entity delivering payment to even one of those employees—many thousands of whom are not members of Hamas but all of whom are considered by American law to have received material support from a terrorist organization…"

    This was a recipe for further desperation. "For many Gazans, and not just Hamas supporters, it's worth risking more bombardment and now the ground incursion, for a chance to change that unacceptable status quo. A cease-fire that fails to resolve the salary crisis and open Gaza's border with Egypt will not last. It is unsustainable for Gaza to remain cut off from the world and administered by employees working without pay. A more generous cease-fire, though politically difficult for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, would be more durable."

    "The current escalation in Gaza is a direct result of the choice by Israel and the West to obstruct the implementation of the April 2014 Palestinian reconciliation agreement. The road out of the crisis is a reversal of that policy."

  7. Gaza death toll tops 300

    Over 100 Palestinians have been killed in less than 48 hours since Israel launched a ground invasion of the besieged Gaza Strip, bringing the total number of dead in the 12-day assault to 339. (Ma'an) Hamas' armed wing, the al-Qassam Brigades, said that a group of its operatives infiltrated Israeli territory and killed five Israeli soldiers. The Israeli army announced the deaths of two soldiers by militants who had breached the Gaza border. (Ma'an

    Clashes meanwhile continue across the West Bank. Israeli forces sprayed homes and shops along Bethlehem's Manger Street with a foul-smelling chemical known as "Skunk" on Friday night following clashes with local youths protesting in solidarity with Gaza. (Ma'an)

  8. Tel Aviv anti-war march attacked

    Anonymously posted to Facebook, July 17:

    Tonight about a thousand anti-war demonstrators stood in the center of Tel Aviv for hours calling for the end of the war and the siege of Gaza. As the evening went on more and more nationalists came to yell at them "your mothers are whores", "death to Arabs", and "may a missile kill you now". Their rage eventually turned to violence as they tried to isolate protesters and beat them. The police intervened and pushed the anti war protest from the square. At the simultaneous protest in Haifa neo fascists succeeded to isolate some protesters and beat them severely.

    Tel Aviv anti-war march

  9. Israeli ‘massacre’ in Gaza City kills at least 66

    Israeli forces killed at least 100 Palestinians on July 20 including 66 in a single neighborhood of Gaza City, bringing the 13-day death toll to 437. The 66 bodies were recovered from the Shujaiyya neighborhood in eastern Gaza City, in what medical authorities called a "massacre" and a level of violence not seen before in the ongoing conflict. The neighborhood is described as "moonscape strewn with bodies." (Ma'anAFP)

    The Israeli military reports that 13 soldiers have now been killed in fighting in the Gaza Strip. (Ma'an) With the killing of a Bedouin security guard near Dimona on July 19, two Israeli civilians have now been killed by Hamas rocket-fire since the current exchanges began. (JP)

  10. Israeli tanks shell Gaza hospital

    Israeli tanks have shelled a hospital in the central Gaza Strip, killing at least five people and wounding at least another 50. Al-Aqsa Hospital is the third to be hit by Israeli tank fire since Israel launched its ground offensive in Gaza four days ago. (Al Jazeera) UNICEF estimates that 121 children have been killed since Israel's assault began on July 8, with the death toll in Gaza now standing at over 550 Palestinians. The United Nations estimates that 70% of the Palestinian dead have been civilians. A total, 25 of Israeli soldiers have lost their lives, including three believed killed by friendly fire. (Ma'an, CNN)

    Dozens of Palestinians were injured as Israeli forces opened fire a rally in Hebron celebrating the capture of an Israeli soldier in Gaza. (Ma'an) An Israeli also shot dead a Palestinian who had been throwing stones at his car near al-Ram, north of Jerusalem in the West Bank. (AFP)

  11. Gaza death toll tops 600

    At least 50 Palestinians were killed in Gaza on July 22 as Israel's military assault entered its 15th day, bringing the total death toll to over 600 people since July 8. (Ma'an) Major European carriers today followed their US counterparts and suspended flights to Israel over security concerns amid the raging Gaza conflict. (AFP)

  12. Hamas demands..

    Mondoweiss provides a translation of the Hamas' 10 demands for a 10-year ceasefire, as reported in Israel's Ma’ariv (in Hebrew)…

    Withdrawal of Israeli tanks from the Gaza border.

    Freeing all the prisoners that were arrested after the killing of the three youths.

    Lifting the siege and opening the border crossings to commerce and people.

    Establishing an international seaport and airport which would be under U.N. supervision.

    Increasing the permitted fishing zone to 10 kilometers.

    Internationalizing the Rafah Crossing and placing it under the supervision of the U.N. and some Arab nations.

    International forces on the borders.

    Easing conditions for permits to pray at the Al Aqsa Mosque.

    Prohibition on Israeli interference in the reconciliation agreement.

    Reestablishing an industrial zone and improvements in further economic development in the Gaza Strip.

    OK, we oppose Hamas' reactionary ideology as much as anyone, but it cannot be argued that a single one of these demands is anything other than entirely just. Of course, Hamas has broached a long-term ceasefire before… as has Islamic Jihad… But we're not supposed to talk about that.

  13. Gaza total death toll nears 700

    Unceasing Israeli attacks on Gaza left 73 Palestinians dead on July 23, bringing the death toll since the beginning of Israel's offensive on the Strip to 695. The UN Human Rights Council launched a probe into the offensive, backing calls by the Palestinians to hold Israel to account despite fierce opposition from Israel. The decision came after a marathon seven-hour emergency session of the top UN human rights body, where Israelis and Palestinians traded accusations over war crimes. "What Israel is doing is a crime against humanity," said Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki. Benjamin Netanyahu's media office slammed the resolution as a "travesty" that ignored violations by Hamas. (Ma'an)

    Intermittent clashes continue on the West Bank, where a Palestinian man at Husan village west of Bethlehem was killed by IDF "rubber bullet" fire. (Ma'an)

  14. Israel shells UN shelter in Gaza

    A series of explosions at a school run by the United Nations sheltering hundreds of Palestinians who had fled their homes for safety from Israeli military assaults killed at least 16 people on July 24 afternoon and wounded many more. The New York Times wrote that "The cause was not immediately clear." But Ma'an News Agency quotes UNRWA spokesman in Gaza, Adnan Abu Hasana, saying staff received no warning before Israeli forces shelled the school in Beit Hanoun. UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness tweeted in response to the attack that the "Precise co-ordinates of the UNRWA shelter in Beit Hanoun had been formally given to the Israeli army."

    Two Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli forces as over 10,000 marched from a Ramallah-area refugee camp toward Jerusalem to protest Israel's Gaza offensive. Over 100 Palestinians were injured by Israeli fire during the march, at least 60 of them with live bullets. (Ma'an)

    More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have publicly refused to serve in the nation’s reserve force, in response to the Gaza offensive. “We found that troops who operate in the occupied territories aren’t the only ones enforcing the mechanisms of control over Palestinian lives. In truth, the entire military is implicated. For that reason, we now refuse to participate in our reserve duties, and we support all those who resist being called to service,” the soldiers wrote in a petition. (The Forward)

  15. Gaza death toll hits 867

    Hamas and Israel announced late Friday a 12-hour ceasefire to take place beginning the next morning, as the day's death toll in the Israeli assault on Gaza topped 67 amid an intense sunset barrage that killed at least 14. More than 5,730 injured in 18 days of Israeli assault. A total of 35 Israeli soldiers have been killed by Palestinian militants in the same time, along with three civilians. (Ma'an)