The latest round of violence in Gaza and Israel
Following a month of Israeli air strikes and Palestinian rocket launches in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army declared the start of “Operation Protective Edge.” The Israeli cabinet authorized the call-up of a total of 86,000 reserve soldiers to bolster what became a ground invasion.
For the first time since “Operation Pillar of Defense,” Hamas rockets reached Tel Aviv and as far as Haifa. In Gaza, the Israeli Air Force targeted the family homes of suspected Palestinian militants, leading to massive civilian casualties. By the end of the war over 2,100 Palestinians were killed and tens of thousands wounded, with 70 deaths on the Israeli side, 66 of them soldiers.
The operation came as tensions were already high in Israel and the West Bank following the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers, and the subsequent kidnapping and murder of a Palestinian teenager in East Jerusalem.
Reportage, commentary and vital analysis in this latest round of violence from +972.
(Scroll down for +972’s past coverage of recent escalations, including “Operation Pillar of Defense.”)
UNRWA funding crisis puts 500k Palestinian children at risk
A budget deficit of $101 million threatens to delay the start of the academic year in UNRWA schools. At a time of rising extremism, such an outcome could have consequences for states across the Middle East, the agency says. UNRWA, the UN agency responsible for Palestinian refugees, is facing a budget deficit of $101 million for the coming year, the agency says. The shortfall threatens to delay the start of the academic year for UNRWA-run schools. At risk, too, are psychosocial support programs that are administered within UNRWA schools (those offered in health centers will continue to run). The scale…
Despite the devastation, Gazans see no alternative to Hamas
A year after Operation Protective Edge, I traveled from Israel to visit my family in the Gaza Strip, where Palestinians are suffering from high rates of unemployment, violence, and drug use. By Thair Abu-Rass This past week I experienced one of the most formative events of my life: a three-day visit to Gaza for the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which marks the end of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan. Entering the "largest prison in the world," as Gaza's residents call it, came after the Israeli authorities' eased access for family visits between Israel and Gaza. [tmwinpost] I am a quarter Gazan:…
Permanent victims of war: Who remembers Gaza's children?
The Israeli public’s indifference to the effects of war on Palestinian children does not result in passivity — it is an integral component of the violence Gaza’s population faces. Ali al-Awour (pictured above on the left) was a 10-year-old boy from Gaza who loved to play soccer. On June 11, 2014, Ali was riding on the back of his uncle’s motorcycle when an Israeli missile targeting his uncle, a suspected member of a militant group, struck the vehicle. He found himself on a hospital bed in intensive care for three days before dying of his wounds. Ali was the first…
Will the UN Gaza report finally push Europe to confront Israel?
The UN's Commission of Inquiry report on the 2014 Gaza war has been able to achieve what the Goldstone report could not in 2009: a new gateway for confronting the EU to demand accountability for the devastation of the war. Two weeks ago the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution to adopt the report of the UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) on the 2014 Gaza Conflict, calling for the implementation of the report’s recommendations. In a move that some observers described as “unprecedented,” all eight EU member states on the Council – the U.K., France, Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland,…
A year after Gaza: The only lesson we can draw from Protective Edge
Both Israel and Hamas are preparing for the next round of fighting. So how does one prevent the inevitable? Hamas is preparing for the next round of fighting. That has been the messaging the Israeli security establishment has dispatched throughout the media in recent days, part of widespread coverage marking one year since the start of last summer’s war in Gaza. [tmwinpost] “Since the end of Operation Protective Edge Hamas is rebuilding its terror infrastructure and its capabilities, which were severely damaged during the operation,” Deputy Gaza Division Commander Col. Nochi Mandel told Israel Radio on Tuesday. “The organization is…
The oddity of finding hope while investigating war crimes
+972 speaks with Mary McGowan Davis and Doudou Diène, authors of the UNHRC report on potential war crimes in Gaza. The pair discuss possible consequences of the report, and why their investigation gave them hope. By Dahlia Scheindlin and Natasha Roth The main reaction in Israel to the findings of the United Nation’s commission of inquiry into last summer’s Gaza war was rejection. That response tops a process so fraught with politics, that it seemed unlikely the commission would be able to say anything meaningful at all. Israel views the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the body that commissioned the…
Lessons from the UN Gaza report: Next stop, ICC?
The Human Rights Council's independent inquiry is full of suspicions of war crimes. More important is what it has to say about how Israel investigates those allegations, and what that means for the International Criminal Court. To the relief of Israel and the chagrin of many others, the UN report into last summer’s war in Gaza is not an indictment of Israel. It does not declare conclusively that Israel committed war crimes and it is certainly not one-sided. The Human Rights Council report released on Monday is valuable, nevertheless, when read as a preview of what might transpire in a…
How an alleged war crime goes away — and resurfaces a year later
Nobody really noticed the deliberate shelling of a Palestinian medical clinic, even when it was reported in real time during Israel's war in Gaza last summer. Now, because of reporting by an independent journalist, there is a chance that somebody will be held accountable for what a rights group says is a clear-cut war crime. How does an apparent war crime, recorded and reported in real time disappear from the public realm and the radar of military investigators for almost a year? The fog of war? Hiding in plain sight? It’s not quite clear. [tmwinpost] The story begins in the…
Chronicle of a tragedy foretold in Gaza
If there's one takeaway from the newly published Breaking the Silence report, it's that the IDF is most certainly not the most moral army in the world. By Ido Even Paz Breaking the Silence member Idan Barir published an article during last summer's Gaza war, in which he warned against the firing of artillery into densely populated areas such as the Gaza Strip. The use of a ‘’statistical’’ weapon, he wrote, would bring about disastrous consequences, due to its inherent imprecision. [tmwinpost] Now, nearly a year after the last shell of Operation Protective Edge fell silent, it has become clearly…
Gunning for destruction in Gaza: ‘You want to see people in pieces’
36,000 artillery shells, tank shells, mortars, anti-tank missiles and munitions, alongside an ubiquitous use of armored bulldozers, razed streets and districts to the ground during last summer's Gaza war. According to a newly published Breaking the Silence report, this is exactly what the Israeli army wanted. In On Photography, the essayist Susan Sontag reflects on how our reliance on the photographic image has inverted our concept of reality. So accustomed have we become to recorded images showing us things we otherwise would not witness, that what cameras show us defines the boundaries of our reality. Therefore, Sontag argues, if and…
Redefining civilians and legitimate targets: Israeli soldiers testify on Gaza war
Two themes are present in almost all of the 60-plus testimonies collected by Breaking the Silence from Israeli soldiers who fought in the last Gaza war: loose rules of engagement and systematic, wanton destruction. But can the new documentation serve as a catalyst for change inside Israel? Internationally? By Mairav Zonszein and Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man Breaking the Silence, an Israeli organization of military veterans, released on Monday a collection of testimonies from nearly 70 soldiers and officers who participated in Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip last summer. It has been 10 months since the 50-day assault, which killed…
A Week in Photos: Survivors, art and destruction in Gaza
Ten photos from Gaza — of survivors and the devastated urban landscape seven months after the last Israeli offensive. Photos by Anne Paq/Activestills.org This week marks seven months since Israel’s war in Gaza last summer, “Operation Defensive Edge.” During the course of the war, over 2,200 Palestinians were killed. Tens of thousands are still homeless due to Israeli strikes. Almost no reconstruction has taken place because of Israeli and Egyptian restrictions on the import of raw materials into the Strip. The following are images from the Gaza Strip in the past week, March 17-25, 2015, showing the destruction, the lives…
IDF: Nothing illegal in Gaza strike that killed three journalists
The chief military prosecutor investigates the IDF’s killing of three journalists and finds that ‘the [mortar] fire was carried out in accordance with Israeli and international law,’ in response to intensive fire toward IDF troops. By Oren Persico IDF Military Advocate General Danny Efroni decided not to open a criminal investigation into the killing of three journalists, among others, during Operation Protective Edge last summer, according the IDF prosecutor. On July 30, 2014, IDF forces shelled the market area of the Shejaiya neighborhood in Gaza. Rami Rayan, 26, who reportedly worked as a cameraman for Gaza-based news agency PNJM, was…
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