PressTV & Reuters & Ian Black / The Guardian – 2014-07-25 01:20:13
Israel Attacks UN School Sheltering Palestinians in Gaza
(July 22, 2014) — Israeli forces have attacked a UN school sheltering displaced Palestinians against the Israeli offensive in the besieged Gaza Strip. On Tuesday, Israel’s tanks shelled the school belonging to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in al-Maghazi, located in central Gaza, an official said on condition of anonymity.
The school had also come under fire on Monday.
“Yesterday we got reports that it was shelled and so today we sent our guys down to investigate and see which side the fire came from,” the official said, adding, “They went down there with Israeli clearance, and while they were there, they came under Israeli shelling,”
There were holes blown through the walls of the school while its gates were blown off, said the UNRWA official.
UNRWA, which is sheltering more than 100,000 people at more than 60 of its schools in Gaza, submitted a formal letter regarding the attack to the Israeli regime after evacuating the school.
Meanwhile, Jens Laerke, spokesman of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said at a press conference in Geneva that tens of thousands of Gazan kids were in need of treatment for the trauma they have experienced.
“According to an assessment by aid workers on the ground, at least 107,000 children need psycho-social support for the trauma they are experiencing such as death, injury or loss of their homes,” Laerke said, adding, “There is literally no safe place for civilians.”
So far, around 630 people have been killed and over 3,700 others injured by the Israeli regime despite pressure from international community.
The Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, has been launching retaliatory attacks against Israel.
Israeli warplanes have been carrying out incessant airstrikes against Gaza since July 8. Last Thursday, thousands of Israeli soldiers launched a ground invasion into the densely-populated strip.
US Senate Sets $225 Million for Israel’s Iron Dome in Emergency Bill
WASHINGTON (July 22, 2014) — US Senate Democrats included $225 million for Israel’s Iron Dome rocket interception system in an emergency funding bill on Tuesday that also cut $1 billion from President Barack Obama’s request for $3.7 billion to deal with thousands of undocumented child immigrants.
“Israel is an essential American ally and needs these assets to defend itself,” said Maryland Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski, chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, in a statement.
More than 600 people — most of them Palestinians — have been killed in the current conflict between Israel and militants in Gaza. On Tuesday, Israel pounded targets across the Gaza Strip, saying no ceasefire was near.
Israel said the Iron Dome has intercepted about a fifth of more than 2,000 rockets militants have fired at Israel during the current conflict.
US lawmakers tend to be heavily pro-Israel. However, the fate of the $225 million — and other funding in the legislation — is uncertain in the Republican-controlled US House of Representatives, where there is stiff opposition to an increase in spending tied to the Democratic president’s request.
Al-Jazeera Gaza Offices Evacuated after Direct Hit by Israeli Fire
Ian Black, Middle East editor / The Guardian
(July 22, 2014) — Israel’s army has denied targeting the Gaza offices of al-Jazeera TV after the network’s correspondents reported that the building had come under fire on Tuesday.
Staff in Gaza said their 11th floor bureau was hit by two Israeli bullets as a crew was preparing to broadcast live from the balcony. “Two very precise shots were fired straight into our building,” said Stefanie Dekker. “We are high up in the building so we had a very strong vantage point over the area. But we have evacuated.” Al-Jazeera aired footage of their staff standing outside the building.
A spokesman for the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said no warning shots had been fired but could not confirm or deny whether there had been indirect damage to the building from firing at nearby military targets, the Jerusalem Post reported.
The incident came a day after Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, called for al-Jazeera to be banned.
Lieberman accused the Qatar-based channel of being a mouthpiece for Hamas, and said the foreign ministry was taking steps to prevent it from broadcasting from Gaza, according to Israel’s Channel 2 TV.
Al-Jazeera “has abandoned even the perception of being a reliable news organisation and broadcasts from Gaza and to the world anti-Israel incitement, lies, and encouragement to the terrorists,” he said.
“All the big networks operate in Israel, some of them are not exactly pro-Zionist, and yet as a democratic state we allow them to operate here. In the case of al-Jazeera it is not an issue of freedom of the media but of a terrorist wing that currently fights against Israel.”
A statement posted on the al-Jazeera website said: “Al-Jazeera network considers statements made against it by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman a direct incitement. (It) considers (his) comments as a very serious matter. Israel is accountable for the safety of al-Jazeera teams working in Israel and the Palestinian territories.”
Al-Jazeera also reported that Israel’s communications minister, Gilad Erdan, has asked Israeli cable and satellite providers to stop airing al-Jazeera, calling it an “enemy” broadcaster. The request is not mandatory.
Al-Jazeera said: “Our journalists have been doing an outstanding job in reporting to our mass audience in the region what is happening on the ground. A threat to one is a threat to all, and this is a dark sign for all journalists operating in the territory. Journalists must be protected while doing their job of giving the public information they have the right to know, helping them understand what is going on. Journalism is not a crime!”
Al-Jazeera has often come under fire in war zones and been banned, at different times, from almost every country in the Middle East. Its most recent troubles have been in Egypt, where three journalists working for al-Jazeera English were sentenced to between seven and 10 years in jail on charges of aiding terrorists and endangering national security.
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