Monday, December 29, 2008

Children Killed as Israel Continues Massive Airstrikes on Gaza, Prepares Land Invasion

Palestinian (Gazan) "Terrorists"

"All that you have done to our people is registered in notebooks." -Mahmoud Darwish, the late Poet of Palestine

"Electricity comes and goes as usual. Most shops are closed. There is a lack of everything - the UN relief agency UNRWA has not been able to deliver food aid for about 750,000 people. There are shortages of anaesthetic gas, medical supplies, flour and milk - but many of the people I have spoken to say they don't feel like eating while this is going on.

Families are just sitting in their homes. I spoke to one of my neighbours, Iman, a 14-year-old-girl. She was so scared she could barely speak. 'I don't know where to go. I don't know where is a safe place to stay. We don't know when they will strike again,' she said."

-BBC journalist & Native Gazan Hamada Abu Qammar

Israel is not currently permitting international journalists to cross into Gaza. [Surprise. I wonder why not...]

Children Killed as Israeli Jets Again Bomb Gaza
Agence France-Presse [December 29, 2008]

GAZA CITY (AFP) — Israeli jets bombed Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip for a third day on Monday, killing several children, amid growing international calls for halt to the violence that has left more than 300 dead. As Israeli tanks massed ahead of an expected ground operation, warplanes staged dozens of bombing raids in the densely-populated Palestinian enclave overnight, killing seven people including six children, medics said.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon repeated his call for an end to the hostilities and urged Israel to allow humanitarian aid into the enclave that it has kept virtually sealed since Hamas seized power there in June 2007. "He strongly urges once again an immediate stop to all acts of violence," his spokeswoman said.

The Israeli blitz, unleashed on Saturday in retaliation for ongoing rocket and mortar fire from Gaza , has killed 310 Palestinians and wounded more than 1,400 others, with most of the victims Hamas members, according to Gaza medics. They said that among those killed overnight were four girls from the same family aged from one to 12 years old. They died in an air raid in the northern town of Jabaliya that targeted a mosque near their home, while two boys were killed in a raid on the southern city of Rafah, medics said.

China and Japan joined the growing international chorus for a halt to the violence, which has also included Britain, France and Russia. Beijing said it was "shocked and seriously concerned" at the violence, while Japan called on Israel to "exercise its utmost self-restraint" and for Palestinian militants to halt rocket attacks.

Hamas, the Islamist Palestinian movement branded a terror group by Israel and the West, remained defiant and lashed out at the world for not doing enough to end the Israeli blitz. Israel is "committing a holocaust as the whole world watches and doesn't lift a finger to stop it," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum told reporters. The Islamist group "reserves the right to hit back at this aggression with martyr operations," meaning suicide bombings of the sort Hamas has not carried out inside Israel since January 2005, he said. Hamas has responded to the Israeli onslaught by firing nearly 100 rockets and mortars into the Jewish state, killing one man and wounding a handful of others. Some of the rockets landed some 30 kilometres (18 miles) inside Israel, the farthest yet.

Despite the ongoing bombardment, Israel said that it would allow 100 truck-loads of humanitarian aid into Gaza on Monday. The Kerem Shalom crossing in Gaza's south was opened on Monday morning to allow the passage of the goods, an Israeli military spokesman told AFP.

As pressure mounted within the impoverished territory, dozens of Gazans tried to break through the border into Egypt on Sunday, to be stopped by Egyptian police firing into the air. An Egyptian policeman was killed and another wounded by shots from across the border in the divided town of Rafah, a security official and medics said, adding that the source of the fire was unclear.

Amid vows by Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak to expand the air blitz and to send in ground troops if necessary, the Israeli cabinet on Sunday gave the green light to call up 6,500 reserve soldiers.

The Israeli offensive sparked protests across the world, with demonstrations held in European capitals, Turkey, Egypt and Syria. At least two Palestinians were killed with clashes with Israeli security forces during protests in the occupied West Bank.

Israel unleashed "Operation Cast Lead" against Hamas in the middle of Saturday morning, with some 60 warplanes bombing more than 50 targets in just a few minutes. The Israeli blitz came after days of spiraling violence since the expiry of the Gaza truce. It comes less than two months before snap parliamentary elections in Israel called for February 10.


*Current figures put the number of Palestinian dead at 320, at least 62 of them civilians, including children. Three Israelis have been killed in retaliatory rocket and mortar attacks by the Palestinian group HAMAS, including attacks using primitive homemade Qassam rockets. According to pro-Israeli sources, since 2004, 23 Israelis (not counting those killed in the past three days), civilians and several military personnel, have been killed by Palestinian rocket and mortar attacks. Several of those killed were Palestinian workers in Israel.

As usual, the U.S. is providing the Israeli assault on Gaza with diplomatic cover. Republicans and Democrats, including the incoming president, Barack Obama, through his lackey David Axelrod, pledged eternal support for Israel, no matter what it does.

One day, there will be a reckoning.

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