Tag Archives: Hamas

Violence and Discrimination Against Africans in Israel?

Washington DC- It is a story that few Americans have heard anything about. About 60,000 non-Jewish African migrants who have come to Israel since 2010 seeking asylum, have come under violent attacks and degrading situations.

Israeli filmmaker David Sheen has authored a U.N. report on the plight of these non-Jewish African migrants and the conditions they have been forced into since coming to Israel. He has now just finished a documentary on the matter.

He speaks with Ben Swann in about this story in an interview you won’t see anywhere else.

News agency reports they have obtained ‘Spy Cables’

Al Jazeera, a news broadcasting agency owned by the government of Qatar, has reported they have obtained hundreds of confidential and hidden documents, which the agency are calling the “Spy Cables.”

The report from Al Jazeera announcing the cables says the documents offer “an unprecedented insight into operational dealings of the shadowy and highly politicised realm of global espionage.” Al Jazeera also says they will release the documents over the next couple of days alongside the newspaper the Guardian.

The leaked documents, according to the Business Insider, come from many government agencies around the world, including Russia’s FSB, South Africa’s SSA, Britain’s MI6, and others. Documents from any American intelligence agencies though seem to be absent from the Spy Cables.

Even though documents from American intelligence agencies are not included, some of the documents point to the CIA working in correspondence with South Africa’s SSA agency. The documents also allegedly say the CIA had attempted to contact the group HAMAS, even though the U.S. government has labeled the group a terrorist organization.

Other documents say MI6 had attempted to recruit a spy in North Korea with the help of the South African government. MI6 reportedly met with a North Korean man and offered him an “undisclosed amount of money” for the man’s cooperation in a “long term clandestine operation.”

Another document claims Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu had exaggerated Iran’s nuclear production levels in a 2012 declaration made in front of the UN. A secret Mossad document released in the leak, however, says Iran was not at the time “performing the activity necessary to produce weapons.”

Al Jazeera writes they will only publish documents which they believe serve the public interest. They also write, “We believe it is important to achieve greater transparency in the field of intelligence…. Publishing these documents, including operational and tradecraft details, is a necessary contribution to a greater public scrutiny of their activities.”

More leaked documents will be released in the next few days on Al Jazeera and the Guardian.

Extended cease-fire reached in Gaza, officials say

After more than 2,000 people have died, and numerous bombs and rockets have been fired from both sides, officials are saying leaders from Israel and Hamas have reached an extended cease-fire agreement in Gaza.

“Israel has once again accepted an Egyptian proposal for a complete cease-fire,” a senior Israeli official said, according to the New York Times.  “This cease-fire is unlimited in time.”  The official in question spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Even though the two sides agreed to a brokered cease-fire through Egypt, Hamas declared the end of the conflict a victory, according to TIME.  “We are here today,” said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a news conference at Gaza’s Shifa Hospital, “to declare the victory of the resistance, the victory of Gaza, with the help of God, and the steadfastness of our people and the noble resistance.”

According to reports, Hamas initially said they would only agree to a cease-fire if the blockade on Gaza, which was imposed by Israel and Egypt in 2007 after Hamas seized the area, was lifted.  However, as the violence has continued to escalate over the past seven weeks, Hamas rocket caches are reportedly down to one third of what they were at the start of the conflict, while Israel has claimed to have destroyed the majority of Hamas’ military tunnel system.

FOX News reports the blockade on Gaza will not be lifted, but Israel and Egypt will ease the blockade to allow humanitarian aid to enter Gaza as well as construction material to abet the war-torn territory.

Peace talks will continue to take place in Egypt, and discussions on key issues, including Hamas’ demand to end the blockade and Israel’s call to disarm Hamas, will begin within a month.

The cease-fire will take effect Tuesday at 7 p.m. local time.

Militants in Gaza publicly execute alleged spies

As fighting commences in Gaza following the week-long truce and funeral processions for the family of a Hamas military leader, Hamas militants have publicly executed 18 Palestinians for allegedly spying for Israel.

Seven of those executed were lined up in front of a crowd of hundreds outside of the Omari mosque on Palestine Square, with bags over their heads and their hands bound.  Each was shot with automatic rifles for those present to see.  The other 11 were executed by militants at an abandoned police station in Gaza, according to YNetNews.

One eye-witness to the Omari mosque executions told reporters, according to the Independent, the executioners told the crowd those who were executed, “had sold their souls to the enemy for a cheap price.”

The names of those killed were not released to the public, as Hamas said they wanted to protect the families of those killed.

These killings are reportedly the beginning of new crackdowns on Israeli collaborators in Gaza.  According to ABC News, rally cries for people to “[choke] the neck of the collaborators,” have also been heard throughout the area.

Hamas security services made a post to their website, Al Majd, saying from now on, people who are suspected of being spies would not have a court hearing to determine their innocence or guilt.  Rather, these individuals will be dealt with “in the field,” meaning soldiers will decide the fate of those who are accused of being spies.

This same site said those who had been executed had “confessed” to their alleged crimes against the people of Palestine.  Their crimes included reporting on the movement of military commanders and providing the locations of resistance fighters throughout Gaza.

Another pro-Hamas website made a post following the executions saying, “The resistance has begun an operation called ‘strangling the necks’, targeting collaborators who aid the (Israeli) occupation, kill our people and destroy houses.”

These executions come a day after Israeli forces tracked down and killed three high-ranking Hamas commanders, according to the Mirror.

As fighting continues in Gaza, airstrikes kill Hamas leader’s wife and child

After a week-long ceasefire was called as leaders from Hamas and Israel met in Cairo, Egypt, to hold peace-talks, air strikes have resumed and claimed the lives of over 19 Palestinians, including the wife and child of Hamas military leader Mohammed Deif.

Hamas has said in a televised address the attack was an assassination attempt on the life of Deif.  Instead, the attack claimed the life of his wife, Wedad, and their 7-month-old son Ali, but Deif was not present with them at the time.

Both were laid to rest after a day of mourning on Tuesday where, according to the Guardian, hundreds of supporters showed up to offer their condolences to those killed and their families.

While Israeli security forces and politicians have not commented on the attack, they have said, according to the Wall Street Journal, Deif is indeed a target and has been for some time.  Deif has been severely handicapped from past assassination attempts from Israeli forces, and it seems Israel will continue to make attempts on his life.

Israeli Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich has said, “There is definitely room to strike the leaders of Hamas… and if Mohammed Deif is among them, we will continue to strike them, wherever they are.”

Ceasefires have been called and broken in Gaza as Israeli and Hamas forces have fought a six-week conflict which has claimed, according to the BBC, the lives of over 2,100 Palestinians and injured at least another 10,000, while 67 Israelis have been killed.

The latest ceasefire was broken after three rockets were reportedly fired from Gaza and into Israel with no resulting injuries.  After these rockets were fired, the Israeli missile defense system known as Iron Dome, was reactivated and fighting commenced.  No Palestinian militant group has claimed responsibility for the three rockets fired as of now.

Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has said the rockets which were fired broke the ceasefire agreement needed to hold the talks in Cairo, but now these talks must be cancelled.  “When Hamas breaks the ceasefire they also break the premise for the Cairo talk,” Netanyahu said Tuesday.  “Accordingly the Israeli team has been called back as a result of today’s rocket fire.”

Conflict in Gaza Changing but Not Ending, More Civilians Dead, Tunnels Nearly Destroyed

On Sunday, news that Israel was redeploying a large number of its troops out of Gaza, was followed by news that another United Nations school had been hit by an Israeli airstrike. This airstrike on a UN facility that was being used to house displaced Palestinian civilians was added to the list as the seventh one that Israel has launched in the four weeks since their operation began.

The Los Angeles Times reported that 10 individuals were killed, and about three-dozen were injured at a UN boys’ school in the southern Gaza City of Rafa, as a result of the Israeli airstrike.

According to The New York Times, “Witnesses near the school, where about 3,000 Palestinians had sought shelter, said that those killed or hurt were waiting in line for food supplies when a missile hit.”

Although the Israeli Army claimed that their original target was “three members of Islamic Jihad on a motorcycle near the school,” the US State Department called the shelling “disgraceful.”

Jen Psaki, a spokeswoman for the State Department, said, “the suspicion that militants are operating nearby does not justify strikes that put at risk the lives of so many innocent civilians.”

The United States is appalled by today’s disgraceful shelling outside an UNRWA school in Rafah sheltering some 3,000 displaced persons, in which ten more Palestinian civilians were tragically killed,” said Psaki. “We once again stress that Israel do more to meet its own standards and avoid civilian casualties.”

The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, called Sunday’s airstrike a  “moral outrage and a criminal act” and he said that those responsible were in “gross violation of international humanitarian law” and should be held accountable.

While Israel has said that “thousands” of its troops had been deployed into Gaza, it has never given an exact number. A spokesman for the Israeli military, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, said that there would be “substantial redeployments of the troops on the ground who will be regrouping, receiving further orders,” due to the fact that the destruction of Hamas’s tunnel network is just days from being complete.

It’s changing gears but it’s still ongoing,” said Lerner, in reference to the fact the large numbers of Israeli ground troops who were moving to positions just inside Gaza, while others were redeploying to Israel.

Colonel Lerner also addressed the death of Second Lt. Hadar Goldin. At first, Israel announced that Hamas militants kidnapped Goldin during the early hours of an unconditional humanitarian ceasefire on Friday. This supposed kidnapping put an end to the ceasefire.

However, on Saturday, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, announced that Goldin had most likely been killed when his unit were trying to destroy a tunnel, and were ambushed by three Hamas militants, one of which exploded a suicide belt.

We can’t determine if he was killed on the ground or from the blast,” said Colonel Lerner, the army spokesman. “The indications on the ground are that he was killed in the initial attack.”

The Huffington Post reported that although Netanyahu has “vowed to press on against Hamas,” he is redeploying troops due to that fact that he is coming under “international pressure to halt the fighting because of the heavy civilian death toll.”

We promised to return quiet to Israel and that is what we will do,” said Netanyahu. “We will continue to act until that goal is reached, however long it will take and with as much force as needed.

Netanyahu also warned that Hamas “will pay an intolerable price” if it keeps fighting.

In addition to the airstrike, which hit the UN school, several more Israeli airstrikes occurred in Gaza on Sunday, killing 71 Palestinians. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, the 1,822 Palestinians have been killed and 9,370 have been injured. The New York Times reported that 64 Israeli soldiers and three civilians have been killed.

According to International Business Times, while delegations from Hamas and Islamic Jihad arrived in Cairo on Sunday to participate in negotiating a ceasefire, which was organized by United States and Egyptian officials, Israeli officials still have yet to send a delegation.

Attempts by both the United States and United Nations to secure a permanent ceasefire have been criticized by those such as Yochanan Gordon, a blogger for the Times of Israel. In an article, which was deleted shortly after it was posted and received heavy criticism, titled “When Genocide is Permissible,” Gordon accused the US and the UN of being “completely out of touch.

Gordon also criticized networks such as CNN, BBC and Al Jazeera for only focusing on the “majority of innocent civilians who have lost their lives.” Gordon concluded his controversial blog piece, saying, “If political leaders and military experts determine that the only way to achieve its goal of sustaining quiet is through genocide is it then permissible to achieve those responsible goals?

(Although it was originally deleted, if you are interested in reading Gordon’s full article, you can find it here)

A similar attitude was evidenced in an article by The Jerusalem Post’s Martin Sherman, who claimed that, “The only durable solution requires dismantling Gaza, humanitarian relocation of the non-belligerent Arab population, and extension of Israeli sovereignty over the region.

On Sunday, Israel announced that it would hold a temporary ceasefire on Monday, from 10 A.M. to 5 P.M. in northern areas of the Gaza Strip. However, Israeli officials warned that they would respond if Hamas fired any rockets during those seven hours.

Unconditional Ceasefire in Gaza Collapses into One of The Deadliest Days So Far

On Thursday, the United States and the United Nations announced that there would be a 72-hour unconditional humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, starting at 8 A.M. Friday.

Although the ceasefire was meant to last three days, it was only in place for two hours. The New York Times reported that, “the Israeli military announced that two soldiers had been killed and a third apparently captured by Palestinian militants who emerged from a tunnel near Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

According to The Guardian, “Israeli tank fire on the southern town of Rafah was reported to have killed at least 40 Palestinians, turning what was intended to be the first day of calm into one of the deadliest days in Gaza so far.”

Hamas released a statement accusing Israel of breaking the ceasefire, and saying that the declaration of captured Israeli soldiers was meant to “cover up the barbaric massacres, especially in Rafah.”

A spokesman for the Israeli army, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, said that the missing soldier, who was identified as 23-year-old Second Lt. Hadar Goldin, was captured by Hamas militants while Israeli forces were working to destroy one of Hamas’s underground tunnels.

While Friday’s ceasefire was called for by the United Nations, Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was not in favor. Netanyahu told UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon that calling a ceasefire in Gaza would meet the needs of Hamas, but not of Israel.

Last week, the Chairman of the Hamas Political Bureau, Khaled Meshaal, spoke out at a news conference in Qatar. “Everyone wanted us to accept a ceasefire and then negotiate for our rights,” said Meshaal. “We will not accept any initiative that does not lift the blockade on our people and that does not respect their sacrifices.

We need to be ready for a prolonged campaign,” Netanyahu said in a statement on Monday. Despite each ceasefire that has been called during the last three weeks, he has kept Israeli troops in Gaza, maintaining that they are there to destroy the network of tunnels built by Hamas.

As a result of this conflict, 62 Israeli soldiers, 3 Israeli civilians, 191 Palestinian militants, and 1,244 Palestinian civilians have lost their lives thus far.

Israel says its troops will not leave Gaza until they have demolished scores of Hamas military tunnels under the Gaza-Israel border that militants use to infiltrate Israel and smuggle weapons,” reported The Washington Post. “Hamas says it will not cease fire until it receives international guarantees Gaza’s 7-year-old border blockade by Egypt and Israel will be lifted.

UN school in Gaza caught in the cross hairs, leaving 15 dead

As violence continues to escalate between Israeli forces and those of Hamas in Gaza, a UN backed school has reportedly been shelled by Israeli tanks, leaving 15 dead and about 200 wounded.

The school was in a coastal area of Gaza known as Beit Hanoun, which has been known to be a dangerous region since the fighting began.  Civilians had fled the region so they could find shelter and escape the fighting between the IDF and Hamas.  Of those killed and injured, all are believed to be civilians.

Valerie Amos, the UN Under-Secretary-General for humanitarian affairs, said, according to the Independent, “People are sheltering in UN schools which as a result cannot be used for education. They are running out of food, and water is also a serious concern.”

This strike comes amongst a day of heavy fighting throughout Gaza.  The fighting was sparked by a demand by Hamas for Israel and Egypt to lift the blockade around Gaza, according to the Guardian.

Spokesman for the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA), Chris Gunness made a tweet, according to the Ma’an News Agency, saying, “Precise co-ordinates of the UNRWA shelter in Beit Hanoun had been formally given to the Israeli army.”

A contact in the Israeli military told Al-Jazeera the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) were not necessarily responsible, but the IDF had detected rocket fire from Hamas in the area.  This same contact said those detected rockets could have fallen short and hit the school.

This is the fourth UN facility to be hit in the fighting since the Israeli operation began on July 8.

Director of UNRWA, Robert Turner, said, in relation to all of the facilities caught in the line of fire, “We always call on all parties to ensure that civilians are not harmed.”

NBC Removes Reporter from Gaza After He Witnessed Israeli Assault on Children

Foreign Correspondent for NBC News, Ayman Mohyeldin, witnessed the murder of four Palestinian boys via Israeli airstrike on Wednesday. After providing a firsthand account for NBC, he was contacted by the network’s executives, and was told to leave Gaza immediately.

NBC insisted that their decision to remove Mohyeldin from the region was due to “security concerns.” However, according to Journalist Glenn Greenwald, they quickly proceeded to replace Mohyeldin, who is an Arabic-speaking, Egyptian-American with experience reporting in the region, with Richard Engel and an American producer who has never been to Gaza and speaks no Arabic.

Mohyeldin’s account of Wednesday’s events in Gaza weren’t just limited to NBC – he also shared them with social media. On Twitter, he reported that he had been playing and kicking a ball with the young boys, just minutes before their lives were ended.

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Mohyeldin also gave the boys an identity on Social Media, sharing their names and ages on Twitter.

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While the words Mohyeldin wrote made readers aware of the details of the event, the pictures he shared with both Twitter and Instagram brought the horrific and tragic reality of the Bakr boys’ murder to life.

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Mohyeldin posted the picture above on his Instagram, showing the reaction of a Palestinian mother, whose son was one of the victims of the Israeli airstrike.

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A second Instagram post from Mohyeldin showed a Palestinian man grieving after he also learned that his son was one of the four victims.

Despite NBC’s decision to remove Mohyeldin from Gaza, he has gained the attention of Journalists like Glenn Greenwald, who wrote, “Over the last two weeks, Mohyeldin’s reporting has been far more balanced and even-handed than the standard pro-Israel coverage that dominates establishment American press coverage; his reports have provided context to the conflict that is missing from most American reports and he avoids adopting Israeli government talking points as truth.”

Poll Shows Americans Support Israel, But Do They Have All of The Facts?

As tensions come to a head and violence ensues between Israel and Hamas, a new poll shows that the partisan gap in Americans’ sympathies toward the Middle East is wider than it has been since the 1970s.

According to a national survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, 51% of Americans sympathize with Israel in the conflict between Israel and Palestine. 14% of Americans sympathize with Palestine, 15 chose neither side, and 3% sympathize with both sides. This survey was conducted July 8-14, 2014, using the opinions of 1,805 adults, obtained by telephone interviews.

There were notable differences between age ranges, and after finding that 60% of subjects who were 65 and older, and 56% of subjects who were ages 50-64 said they sympathized more with Israel, compared to 47% of subjects ages 30-49, the survey concluded, “Those under 50 also are more likely than older Americans to sympathize more with the Palestinians.”

According to Fox News, Israel and Hamas agreed Wednesday to a five-hour cease-fire in order to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza, following a request from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.

The Israeli military said in a statement Wednesday that it would hold its fire for five hours starting at 10:00 a.m. local time on Thursday.

As Ben Swann points out, while the majority of Americans support Israel, many are not aware of the facts of what is actually taking place this battle.

There is a lack of understanding by the American people,” said Swann, who filled in for national radio host Steve Deace on Tuesday. Swann said that while Americans have a right to their opinion, “American media has not painted a very clear picture that no one in Israel has died or been injured by Hamas rockets, while villages in Gaza are being bombed via airstrike.”

Children are being killed in these strikes, including on a coastal road west of Gaza City. Wednesday that airstrike killed four Palestinian boys, who were cousins and ages 9 to 11.  Seven others, adults and children, were wounded in the strike.

Fighting in Israel closes down US embassy in area

Recent violence in the Gaza Strip between Israeli forces and Hamas militants, who are in control of Gaza, have resulted in the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv to close down for Thursday.

The embassy website, which posted the closing,  cites the “current security situation” as their reason for closing, but also says, “emergency cases will be considered on a case by case basis.”

Due to the rocket firing over the past few days, the embassy has operated at minimum staffing levels in order to keep staff members safe.  One rocket reportedly hit a house in Jerusalem, resulting in an explosion but no casualties.

Over 300 rockets have been fired into Israel since the attacks began two days ago, but these attacks have resulted in no fatalities or serious injuries according to Businessweek.  Storefronts, groceries, and bakeries have been hit and various buildings have been damaged.

Many of the rockets have been pointed in the direction of Dimona which is thought to house an Israeli nuclear facility.  The Israeli government has not confirmed or denied these reports.

The Israeli Defense Forces have launched a full-fledged military operation in order to stop further attacks from Hamas militants on Israel.

As compared to the 300 ineffective rockets fired into Israel, the IDF has struck almost 600 of their intended targets in the Gaza Strip.  These targets have included rocket launchers, tunnels used by Hamas militants, command centers, and training camps.

According to RT, Israel’s strikes have also resulted in the deaths of at least 22 people, including eight children.

Since the attacks began, Israel has been mobilizing about 40,000 military reservists in preparation for a further push to take back the Gaza Strip from Hamas.

“Despite the fact it will be hard, complicated and costly,” Israeli intelligence minister,Yuval Steinitz, told Israel Radio, “we will have to take over Gaza temporarily, for a few weeks, to cut off the strengthening of this terror army.”