Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesman of the ministry of health in the Hamas-run government in Gaza, said 22-year-old Ayman al-Sharafa sustained deadly wounds in the incident and was pronounced dead later. Two other men sustained injuries, he confirmed. The cause of the blast was not immediately clear.
The cause of the blast may not be immediately clear in Bethlehem and is likely to remain unclear based on past performance. But it is evidently somewhat clearer in Gaza. There the Arabic-language daily Al-Quds is now saying ["Report: Man killed in Gaza was Hamas operative"] that the “military wing” (their term) of the terrorist organization (not their term) Hamas is mourning what it calls
the death of one of its elements in an internal explosion in Gaza City. Explained in a statement, that the martyr is Ayman al-Yahya Shurafa from the Sabra neighborhood in Gaza City [who] died at dawn today in explosion on a car by mistake during training. Reported our correspondent in Gaza, that the citizen was killed and two others wounded when a mysterious occurred in a jeep in Gaza City… The blast took place near a mosque… south of Gaza City… The blast was caused by the explosion of an explosive device… inside the “pocket”… All of the inside are members of the Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the movement Hamas.
Terrorists inside cars, frequently young men with explosives stuffed into their clothing, are a fixture in streets controlled by Hamas and other like-minded terrorist groups. There’s an understandable reticence on the part of the Palestinian Arab terror organizations to own up to the way they place their own communities and neighbours at mortal risk, using them in effect as human shields. When, as happens often, the young men explode and go to their 72 virgins, their media conceal this by referring to “mysterious explosions” as Maan does today. For its part, the Israeli media term these events “work accidents” without much sympathy.
So it’s a little refreshing when the terrorist thugs come right out and call it what it is, as Al-Quds is doing – though in Arabic only.
“Gaza is the largest Palestinian city, roughly 500,000 in the metro area, out of 850.000 altogether in the province of Gaza. In 2009 the total population of the Gaza Strip was estimated in 2009 at 1,600,000.”
We Google-translated the above from رحلة سياحية لغزة (Tourist Trip to Gaza), which is part of the Tourism section of a website belonging to a radio station named “Sun.” The section on Gaza encourages tourism to the city which has been associated in popular public opinion with images of starving refugees huddled in shacks under daily Zionist air raids.
Sun is a regular radio broadcast of the Arab minority in Israel since 2003. Its slogan is: “Free Radio, modern Radio.” It says it represents the generation that no longer accepts being second class citizens in Israel. It is open to liberals who dare to break all political or social taboos. It also works to challenge the institution of the state and at the same time to build bridges of understanding and co-existence between Jews and Arabs.
The “Visit Gaza” section is current, and offers stunning images of Gaza City, a beautiful and vivacious place that could easily compete with many Israeli beach towns, including my own gorgeous city of Netanya.
So, all we have left to do is to take you on a tour of Gaza, and for the fun of it, we’ll add to these fabulous images quotes from two sources about conditions in this lovely city by the sea, UNRWA and the PA. In the end there’s a video you don’t want to miss. Enjoy!
As the Gaza blockade moves into its fifth year, a new report by the UN’s agency for Palestine refugees, UNRWA, says broad unemployment in the second half of 2010 reached 45.2 per cent, one of the highest in the world. The report released today, finds that real wages continued to decline under the weight of persistently high unemployment, falling 34.5 per cent since the first half of 2006. (UNRWA: Gaza blockade anniversary report)
The report concludes that 90% of Gaza water is unfit to drink. The reasons behind this deteriorating situation, the writer of the report believes, are the racist policies of occupation, the latest war on Gaza , the siege, and the division and its impact on society and education, which resulted in 45% of unemployed graduates. (Gaza Under Attack, Refugees Deteriorating Conditions)
The Refugees’ Affairs Department of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) published a report detailing the conditions of Palestinian refugees, living in the Gaza Strip. The report compares the conditions of refugees in 2012 and 2006. The report writer, Ala’a Abu-Diaa, states that refugees’ conditions are deteriorating, in relation to housing and lands’ price, which doubled in the last five years. The rate of exports decreased 80% compared to the pre-siege period. Gazans found refuge, the report continues, in tunnels linking Gaza with Egypt. (Gaza Under Attack, Refugees Deteriorating Conditions)
The UNRWA report finds that the private sector was particularly badly hit compared to the government sector. In the second half of 2010 businesses shed over 8,000 jobs, a decline in employment of nearly 8 per cent relative to the first half of the year. By contrast, the Hamas-dominated public sector grew by nearly 3 per cent during the same period. (UNRWA: Gaza blockade anniversary report)
Human rights activists have criticized the international community for its silence on the flagging Gaza economy that has been shattered by the siege and the 22-day Israeli assault on the Gazans at the turn of 2009. (UNRWA: Gaza blockade anniversary report)
“These are disturbing trends,” said UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness, “and the refugees, which make up two-thirds of Gaza’s 1.5 million population were the worst hit in the period covered in this report. (UNRWA: Gaza blockade anniversary report)
“Over a million refugees in Gaza live in hard conditions in several camps across the strip and are dependent on assistance provided by the UNRWA,” the report said. (UNRWA: Gaza blockade anniversary report)
The UN agency needs to build 100 schools and 10,000 housing units in addition to a number of health centers but these have been severely hampered by Israeli siege of the strip. (UNRWA: Gaza blockade anniversary report)
Successive UN human rights chiefs have slammed Israel’s illegal settlement plans, its Gaza blockade and the building of an apartheid wall across Palestinian territories in the occupied West Bank among other things. (UNRWA)
Refugees are still going through endless crisis, beginning with electricity and including fuel, which affect all walks of life in the besieged coastal enclave. The newly published report states that over 70% of refugees depend mainly on aid delivered by UNRWA.
Two Palestinians were killed Monday evening in an IAF strike east of Gaza City, bringing the death toll in Gaza to 25 since Friday, according to Ma’an, the Palestinian news agency.
Bassam al-Ajla and Muhammad Thaher were killed in an air strike on the Shujaiyeh neighborhood. They were members of the Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad.
The IDF Spokesman reported that the IAF attacked a terrorist squad Monday night in northern Gaza, shortly before it was able to shoot a high trajectory, medium-range rocket toward Israeli territory.
The same squad had been able to shoot high trajectory rockets in the past few days.
In addition, the Air Force recently attacked a terrorist tunnel in the southern Gaza Strip, and two additional sites for shooting high-trajectory missiles in northern Gaza.
All the hits were verified accurate.
Some 50 rockets were fired at Israel today, most of which were blocked by the three Iron Dome systems.
Meanwhile, the Egyptian government has offered Hamas to provide fuel to Gaza if the terrorists agree to a ceasefire with Israel, Hamas-affiliated MP Younis al-Astal said Monday.
The Gaza Strip has faced up to 18-hour blackouts each day, since Egypt cut fuel supplies through an underground tunnel network, and officials are negotiating an emergency route to stave the power crisis. Gaza’s sole power station shut down on Saturday evening for the third time in the past month.
Meanwhile, there has been virtual silence from Arab countries in response to the Gaza hostilities. Al-Ahram reported a single demonstration, in the town of El Arish in the Sinai, to protest Israeli strikes against Gaza. Otherwise, it appears that major Arab media are too busy with events in Syria to pay great attention to the Palestinians in Gaza.
The Palestinian news agency Ma’an reports that Israeli air strikes on Sunday killed three people in the Gaza Strip, including a 12-year-old boy, as cross-border violence continued for a third day.
Israeli warplanes also fired on the Zaytoun neighborhood of Gaza City, killing Ahmad Deib Salim, 24, a known terrorist.
Ma’an also claims that a Gazan farm keeper was also killed midday Sunday, when Israeli warplanes fired a missile at a field in Gaza City. Altogether, the death toll since Friday evening has reached 20.
The IDF spokesman’s office stated the “farmer” was, in fact, a terrorist who was targeted “moments before firing a Grad rocket at the city of Ashdod.”
Earlier, the IDF said that it had targeted a “terrorist squad” preparing to fire rockets from northern Gaza. It also confirmed a direct hit on “two rocket launching sites, in the northern Gaza Strip, used by terror organizations.”
As calls for all-out war on Gaza increase, it is important to set things straight. As I explained this week in an interview (on the Knesset channel of Israel TV), there is no reason for Israel to enter Gaza unless it intends to stay there, expel the hostile elements, declare Israeli sovereignty and build 100 Gush Katifs.
It is unacceptable to send Israeli soldiers to almost certain death in the booby-trapped alleys of Jabalya for no real purpose. It is not an option to send them to fight, weighed down by a Christian ethical code that prefers their deaths to the deaths of hostile civilians. And worst of all, it is unthinkable to send them to give their lives to conquer the Gaza Strip; to take it away from an arch-terrorist from Hamas, and turn it over to a different arch-terrorist from Fatah who, after a short break, will thank us by renewing the Kassam fire on Israel.
A war on Gaza now will suit Prime Minister Ehud Olmert well. After allowing the situation in the Negev to reach the boiling point, he will stage a war with wall-to-wall public and political support. The war will not solve the problem because it will not be fought with the ultimateobjective in mind: to win and remain in Gaza. But there will be deaths and funerals, and these will create public pressure. Olmert will attempt to diffuse thepressure by destroying settlements and throwing their residents into the streets. Soldiers will be killed, settlements will be destroyed – and the Kassams and terror will steadily increase. But in the dust kicked up by all the turmoil, Olmert will have bought himself another two years in office.
If Manhigut Yehudit says “no” to war on Gaza, then what exactly do we propose?
We have proposed a bill in the Knesset that would mandate complete disengagement from Gaza. No, this is not the ideal option. The ideal option, as above, is to re-conquer Gaza, drive out all hostile elements and make it flourish with Jewish settlements. But as long as we do not have leadership that believes in our historic right to the entire Land of Israel, and as long as we do not have leadership that will initiate a war on Gaza to re-conquer and settle it, we must not endanger our soldiers for nothing.
The next best thing we can do is demand complete disengagement from Gaza. We must not supply them with anything. No bread, no electricity, no fuel, no gas – and if it would be possible, no air, either. Any hostility from Gaza should be met with heavy artillery fire to force them to pull the missile launchers all the way into Gaza City and turn all the launching territory into a sure-death zone. The longer the rangeof the missiles, the farther the sure-death zone will have to extend.
What if the world protests?
In the 41 years that have passed since the miraculous Six-Day War, the State of Israel has done all in its power to convince the world that the Land of Israel belongs to its enemies. We have nobody to blame for that but ourselves. As long as Israel continues to justify the claims of its enemies, it is difficult to think about a return to national sanity. Complete disengagement from Gaza is the most that we can expect from Israel’s current leaders. If Israel is convinced that this action is just, the rest of the world will be convinced as well, and negative world opinion will dissipate.
It is important to join the residents of Sderot in their protests. But our message must be clear: We demand complete disengagement from Gaza - not cynical sacrifice of more soldiers in a rerun of the recent Lebanon war.
To learn more about Moshe Feiglin andManhigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership), and their plan for Israel’s future – and to order Feiglin’s newest book, The War of Dreams- visit http://www.jewishisrael.org/.