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Occupation magazine - Life under occupation

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The blood on Barak`s hands
Gush Shalom/Ha`aretz
April 29, 2008

Ehud Barak, head of the extreme right in Israel who calls himself Labor Party leader has a lot of blood on his hands more than the Palestinian prisoners whom the government refuses to release in order to return capture soldier Gilead Shalit to his family.

The sole responsibility for the terrible killing of a mother and her four children, and to the countuning suffering and bloodshed of Israelis and Palestinians alike, belongs to those who reject out of hand a sensible ceasefire offer, and prefers to send militray forces on a brutal and senseless and brutal invasion of a thickly inhabited civilian area.

On Wednesday morning (April 30) a consignment of medicines and medical equipmentg will be passed to the Gaza Strip, which was purchansed through the sum of about 60,000 Dollars collected all over the world at the call of the Israeli Coaltion Against the Gaza Siege.

The medical supplies were purchsed from Palestinian suppliers in Nablus, with the help of the Tel-Aviv based Physicians for Human Rights (which also undertook the obtaining of permits from the IDF military bureacracy). The consignment will be passed on the morning hours of Wednesday, through the Bitunia Checkpoint near Ramallah and to the Gaza Strip border.

There, it will be received by representatives of the Palestinian-International Coalition Against the Gaza Siege, in which the psycuatrist and human rights activist Dr. Eyad Sarraj is involved. Members of Gush Shalom will accompany the consingment all the way to the gaza border.

On a time when the Government of Israel exells in brutal cruelty against the Palestinian inhabitans of Gaza, we present a humanist alternative of peace-seeking israelis setting out to break the suffocating ciege imposed on a million and half inhabitants of the Gaza Strip.


Original Haaretz title `IDF: Gaza blast was caused by militants` explosives`

The Israel Defense Forces said Monday that a blast that killed six Palestinian civilians in northern Gaza earlier in the day was not caused by an IDF tank shell, as the Palestinians had earlier reported, but was rather a result of militants` explosives.

The IDF investigated the incident, which left a Beit Hanoun mother and her four children dead along with a 17-year-old passerby, and concluded that the deadly explosion occurred when the Israel Air Force, targeting two Palestinian gunmen, fired a missile and hit the gunmen`s bags, which were full of ammunition. The missile caused the ammunition cache to explode with force, setting off a chain reaction of additional explosions.

Palestinian medics identified the dead children as sisters Rudina and Hana Abu Meatik, ages 6 and 3; and their brothers, Saleh, 4 and Mousab, 15 months.

The children`s mother, Miyasar, was critically wounded in the explosion and succumbed to her wounds shortly after. Her two older children were also critically wounded in the strike, the officials said.

A 17-year-old Palestinian civilian who was passing by the home was also killed in the explosion, medical workers said.

Hours after the explosion, Defense Minister Ehud Barak blamed Hamas for the continuing deaths of Gaza residents, saying `we see Hamas as responsible for everything that happens there, for all deaths... The army is acting, and will continue to act, against Hamas, including inside the Gaza Strip. Hamas is also responsible, by way of its activity within the civilian population, for part of the casualties among uninvolved civilians,` he said.

Barak spoke after Palestinian officials said IDF troops had shelled a house in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun, killing six Palestinian civilians. Residents said an Israeli projectile smashed through the ceiling of a one-story house where a family was eating breakfast.

In a separate incident, IDF soldiers killed a Palestinian gunman from Islamic Jihad during fighting in the area, the faction said.

An IDF spokeswoman confirmed troops were operating in Beit Hanoun, a northern Gaza border town from where Palestinian militants often launch rockets into Israel.

The IAF and a tank unit fired at groups of gunmen that tried to approach troops in the town but no houses were targeted, the spokeswoman said.

Hamas said one of its snipers shot an IDF soldier operating in the town.

The IDF spokeswoman said a soldier was lightly wounded by gunfire before the air force strikes.

Another soldier was also lightly wounded Monday afternoon while participating in an operation in the northern Strip.

Meanwhile, militants in Gaza launched at least nine Qassam rockets and nine mortar shells at the western Negev on Monday morning.

The deaths in the northern Gaza town cast another shadow on Egyptian efforts to forge a cease-fire between Israel and militant groups and end violence threatening U.S.-brokered Palestinian statehood talks.

`This aggression does not serve efforts being exerted to achieve calm, and it obstructs the peace process,` Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in a statement carried by the WAFA news agency.

Hamas said the strike demonstrated that Israel was not interested in a cease-fire.

`The continued Zionist massacres are new proof that the Occupation [Israel] is not interested in calm, and therefore Palestinian armed wings should continue to respond to the aggression by all possible means,` Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri said.

Israel is waiting for the results of talks between Hamas and other militant Palestinian groups in Cairo this Wednesday before it takes a position on an Egyptian-mediated cease-fire in the Gaza Strip.

Security officials have said that if Hamas cannot restrain the smaller groups, first and foremost Islamic Jihad, there will not be much point to the agreement.

Without completely restraining the smaller groups, the firing of Qassam rockets from the Strip will soon resume, they say, as has happened in the past.

IDF lifts Passover closure on Palestinian territories

Meanwhile, the IDF on Monday said would lift a blanket closure of the West Bank and Gaza it imposed for 10 days over the Passover

A military statement said the closure ended Monday morning. It mainly affected the West Bank, since Gaza has been virtually sealed by Israel and Egypt since Hamas seized power there last June.

The lockdown, imposed from April 18, barred Palestinians from entering Israel. Israel routinely seals the Palestinian territories during Jewish holidays, seen as a time of high risk of militant attack as Jews gather in public places for prayer and celebration.

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