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Gaza Blog

Fluctuating between shelling a temporary truce, Operation Protective Edge has left a high civilian death toll in its wake.

  • Thousands celebrate Gaza truce announcement

    Palestinians have celebrated what they said was a victory over Israel [Reuters] 
    Israel has laid siege to Gaza for more than seven years [Reuters] 
    More than 2,000 Palestinians have been killed since Israel began its assault on July 8 [Reuters]

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  • Hamas and Islamic Jihad chiefs make rare public appearances

    Several senior Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders appeared in public on Tuesday shortly after a Gaza truce took hold, the first time they had done so since the conflict began  on July 8.

    Among them was Mahmud al-Zahar, a senior member of the Hamas political wing, and senior Jihad official Mohammed al-Hindi who gave a rousing victory speech to thousands of people gathered in a square in Gaza City's Rimal neighbourhood. 

    "We're going to build our port and our airport, and if they attack the port, they attack the port. But anyone who attacks the airport will have their airport attacked again," Zahar said. 

    He was referring to a two-day suspension of flights into Tel Aviv by major US and European airlines in mid-July after a rocket from Gaza struck near the runway, in a move hailed as a victory by Hamas. 
  • The UN Secretary-General welcomed the announcement of an open-ended ceasefire in the Gaza strip in a statement.

    The statement by the spokesman for Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday said Gaza "must be brought back under one legitimate Palestinian Government," that the blockade of Gaza must stop and that Israel's security concerns must be addressed.

    It adds: "After 50 days of profound human suffering and devastating physical destruction, any violations of the cease-fire would be utterly irresponsible."

    The UN statement stresses that a political process that leads to two states is the only way to reach lasting peace in Gaza.


  • Hamas and Israel agree to ceasefire
    by Al Jazeera English via YouTube

  • Israeli troops keep positions near Gaza border as ceasefire holds

    Israeli troops kept their positions near the border with Gaza on Wednesday as a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians aimed at ending their seven-week conflict in the coastal enclave appeared to be holding. 

    No clear victor emerged from what had become a war of attrition between the Middle East's most powerful armed forces and the dominant Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip. [Reuters] 
  • Qatar offers to rebuild Gaza, hails ceasefire between Hamas and Israel 

    Qatar has hailed the Gaza ceasefire accord and offered to help rebuild the occupied territory that was battered by seven weeks of Israeli bombardment.

    The accord for a long-term ceasefire,  which came into effect on Tuesday, was thanks "firstly to the resistance and the sacrifices" of the Palestinians, Qatar said in a statement, according to the AFP news agency.

    It said Qatar was "ready to contribute to the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip as soon as possible".[AFP]

  • Palestinians begin to return home, many find nothing but rubble:

    Women inspect the destruction left in the wake of the airstrikes [Reuters] 
    A boy climbs over the rubble left in Gaza [AP] 
    A boy looks out from a damaged home [Reuters] 
    A family leaves a UN school where they have been sheltering [Reuters] 

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  • Aid reaches Gaza:

    A United Nations humanitarian aid convoy crossed into Gaza from Egypt on Wednesday for the first time since a blockade was introduced on the territory in 2007. 

    The World Food Programme (WFP) said the convoy, which entered Gaza through the Rafah crossing, carried enough food to last 150,000 people for five days. 

    "It is extremely important that we have access to the Gaza Strip to ensure a constant flow of humanitarian supplies to meet the growing needs of the people affected by the recent violence."
    Mohamed Diab, WFP Regional Director
  • Dr. Husam Zomlot, a senior Foreign Policy adviser for Fatah, tells Al Jazeera that the truce has unified Palestinian political parties. 

    Audio: Senior Foreign Policy adviser for Fatah
    by Rahul Radhakrishnan
    Our cause is universal, our cause is righteous, we have the law, we have the morality, we have the support of the millions of people and we have a hell of a nation here, steadfasting, resisting, resilient and staying on their land.  

  • Palestinians left to rebuild lives and homes:

    by Al Jazeera English via YouTube

    You can follow Jane Ferguson on Twitter

  • Netanyahu speaking earlier this evening:

  • As Hamas claims victory in Gaza, Andrew Simmons looks at the toll the war has taken on the besieged territory, with some estimating that it will take 15 years to repair the damage caused by Israeli bombing.
  • EU welcomes Gaza ceasefire agreement

    The European Union has welcomed a long-term ceasefire in Gaza after the worst fighting between Israel and the Palestinians in a decade, calling for more talks to bring a lasting end to the conflict.

    "Simply returning to the situation before the latest conflict is not an option," said a statement from the bloc's diplomatic arm, the European External Action Service (EEAS). 

    "A sustainable agreement should address all the root causes of the conflict and bring fundamental change to the situation in Gaza." 

    The EU said that "a durable peace can only be achieved through the resumption of the Middle East peace process, leading to a two-state solution".

    It also called for an end to the Gaza blockade, a Palestinian government of national consensus and the cessation of rocket-fire from the Gaza strip. 

  • Is This Gaza - Israel Ceasefire Different?
    by AJ+ Labs via YouTube

  • Palestinians receive medical aid in Turkey

    Dozens of Palestinians in need of medical treatment will be flown to Turkeys's central Afyon province today. 

    At least 33 injured Palestinians will fly in bring the total number of injured in Turkey to more than 70.

  • Aid flows into Gaza after Israel-Hamas truce

    Vital humanitarian  aid was arriving in Gaza as residents began rebuilding their lives  following a devastating 50-day war between Israel and Hamas that experts say left no winners.

    Millions in and around the war-torn coastal enclave were enjoying a second  day of peace on Thursday, after the guns fell silent following a permanent ceasefire agreement, allowing people to begin putting their lives back together.

    The truce, which went into force on Tuesday evening, saw the warring sides agree to a "permanent" halt to seven weeks of bloodshed in a move hailed by Washington, the UN and top world diplomats. [AFP]

  • Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal expressed his appreciation to the people of Gaza in a press conference minutes ago. He also expressed his gratitude to those who brokered the truce with Israel. 

    "After 51 days of aggression you had your day to express your fortitude. This was a war of necessity and not of choice, we have been in a military siege for eight years now. To all other factions of brigades and all those who have fallen martyrs , we observe and honor their memory with a moment of silence. "

    "We pray to God almighty to speed the recovery of all those injured and those who have been victimized by the Israeli arsenal using internationally banned weapons" 

    " Elderly women and children who took refuge in UNRWA schools have been victimized. We share the same pain and suffering , we also share the suffering of the refugees including more than 60,000 Gazans. It is a new holocaust one that is worse than that perpetrated by Hitler. They targeted everything from hospitals, schools to factories."

    Also adding " The latest war between Israel and Hamas is not the last round of conflict , but a milestone to reaching our objective this is not the end. This is just a milestone to reaching our
    objective, we know that Israel is strong and is aided by the 
    international community. We will not restrict our dreams or make compromises to our demands" 

  • A busload of Palestinians trying to leave the enclave waited at the border of the neighboring Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza to see if they would be given permission to enter.

    Egyptian authorities shut the Rafah crossing to all but those with Egyptian and foreign passports, residency permits and the seriously wounded during much of the war.

    Rafah, Gaza's only gateway to the world which is not controlled by Israel, is controlled by the Egyptian authorities, and therefore not technically included in the ceasefire agreement. Crossing into Egypt is still an arduous process open to few from inside Gaza.

  • Meshaal says Qassam Brigades chief 'fine' after failed assassination attempt

    Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal has described the condition of the group's military commander, Mohammed Deif, as "fine", after a failed Israeli assassination attempt on him earlier this month.

    Hamas' military wing, the Qassam Brigades, had said at the time that Israel had missed its target and that Deif's wife and seven-month-old son were killed in the attack.

    Deif was widely believed to be masterminding the Islamist group's military campaign from underground bunkers.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declined to say whether Israel had tried to kill Deif, but said 'militant leaders' were legitimate targets and that "none are immune" from attack.

  • People have taken up the "Rubble Bucket challenge" in support of Palestinians in war-torn Gaza [Reuters] 

  • With the truce in Gaza , the issue of border crossings has still not been resolved. There a total of six entry points to Gaza , only three of which are presently operational.

    The Rafah crossing lies on the border between Gaza and Egypt. Negotiations for reopening it appear to have been put off by at least a month.

    Aid supplies for hundreds of thousands of bereft people in Gaza are getting through, but border control remains difficult.

    UN World Food Programme country director Pablo Recalde speaks on the matter :
    "In order to feed half a million people both in shelters and in their homes we need to develop new ways and means to do it. We need access. We need security. We need the capacity to receive these goods."
  • Media outlets in the Maldives have raised nearly two million dollars to help Gaza residents affected by massive destruction caused in the 50-day war between Israel and Hamas, a fundraising organiser said Saturday.

  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel agreed to a permanent truce in its 50-day Gaza war with Hamas in order to keep focused on the threat from regional militants.

    "We fought for 50 days and we could have fought for 500 days, but we are in a situation where the Islamic State is at the gates of Jordan, Al-Qaeda is in the Golan and Hezbollah is at the border with Lebanon," Netanyahu said in an address on public television.

    His remarks come as the United States, Israel's chief ally, is calling for a global coalition to fight the jihadists who have set up an Islamic "caliphate" in areas they have overrun in Syria and Iraq.

  • Doctors in Gaza have given warning that damage to the territory's infrastructure has left it vulnerable to outbreaks of deadly illnesses. Imtiaz Tyab reports.

  • Artists protest Israel-sponsored Brazil arts fair

    Dozens of artists taking part in Sao Paulo's 31st Art Biennial have lodged a protest against the event after it received sponsorship from Israel. 

    The biennial, which started in 1951 and is the second oldest art biennial in the world after Venice, dating back to 1895, is scheduled to open its doors next Saturday.

    But it will do so amid controversy after more than 50 artists urged organizers to return around $40,000 funding from Israel, whose consulate in the city is one of the sponsors of the event, in protest at the recent conflict in Gaza.

    An artist from Ramallah, Ruanne Abou-Rahme, due to exhibit at the show with fellow Palestinian Basel Abbas, was among some 60 signatories to an open letter to organizers, prompting Globo daily Saturday to dub the event the "Biennial of conflict."

    Three Israeli artists are set to feature with around 70 participants in total at this year's event. [AFP]

  • US urges Israel to reverse land appropriation

    Official describes as counterproductive Israeli announcement to appropriate 400 hectares of West Bank land.

  • Unemployment rate in Gaza has crossed 50 percent after Israel bombed hundreds of factories and business establishments.

    Gaza war takes heavy toll on its businesses
    by Al Jazeera English via YouTube

  • Israeli children return to schools after Gaza fighting

    More than 2 million Israeli children have joined schools after a summer spent by many in bomb shelters or far away from homes near the Gaza border, Israel's education ministry has said.

    The ministry said that the decision to open schools and kindergartens on Monday was taken in coordination with the army department which deals with civil defence.

    "It was made possible after the home front command ruled that classes could be held in every part of the country," it said on its website.

    In the wake of Israel's 50-day war with Hamas in Gaza, which began on July 8 and ended last Tuesday, Israel said that the first two weeks of the new school year would be spent helping children "return to routine".


  • West Bank women donate essential goods for Gazan mothers

    A group of Palestinian business women in the West Bank city of Ramallah have launched a campaign to raise money for essential household goods and toiletries for Gazan mothers.

    'Mother-to-Mother' have put together 1,500 bags of necessities which will be taken to Gaza on Wednesday in co-ordination with the United Nations, the Reuters news agency has reported.

    Each bag carries a letter from the mothers from the West Bank to mothers in Gaza expressing their support.

    Around 100 volunteers worked for a week to put 12 different items used by women at home into each bag. The items included household goods such as washing-up liquid, toiletries such as shower gel and first aid goods including antiseptics.

    This campaign is a campaign (to) support the mothers in Gaza. To support and thank our mothers in Gaza for their patience and giving birth to the resistance.

    "This campaign is a campaign for support the mothers in Gaza. To support and thank our mothers in Gaza for their patience and giving birth to the resistance. This small move does not show how grateful we are toward them," said Maram Shamasneh, organiser of the campaign.

    Thousands of homes in Gaza have been destroyed or damaged in the conflict between Hamas and Israel. Nearly 500,000 people have been displaced in the territory of 1.8 million Palestinians.


  • Businesswomen donate essential goods for Gazan mothers 

    A group of Palestinian business women in the West Bank city of Ramallah have launched a campaign to raise money for essentail household goods and toiletries for Gazan mothers. 

    'Mother-to-Mother' have put together 1,500 bags of necessities which will be taken to Gaza on Wednesday in co-ordination with the United Nations.

    Each bag carries a letter from the mothers from the West Bank to mothers in Gaza expressing their support.

    "Today we are preparing the bags for the 'Mother-to-Mother' campaign for mothers in Gaza. It was launched by the forum of the business women and started last Thursday when we had the first packing day and today is the second step for the campaign by the business women, which we called 'Mother-to-Mother' because it contains necessities especially for the mothers," said Dua'a Wadi, director of the campaign. [Reuters]
  • The seven-week war in Gaza has affected the psychological and emotional well-being of more than 370,000 Palestinian children. Staff at the besieged territory's only orphanage are now helping the youngsters cope with their trauma. Al Jazeera's Andrew Simmons reports from Gaza.

    Gaza's orphans learn to cope with trauma
    by Al Jazeera English via YouTube

  • Palestinian artists launch new song in support of Gaza

    A group of Palestinian singers and artists have launched a new song in support of the people of Gaza following the latest Israel offensive in the blockaded Strip.

    Six Palestinian singers, among them the popular singer Mohammed Assaf who won the "Arab Idol" song contest, feature in the song.

    The video entitled, "Operette Gaza" which was screened for the first time in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, opens with scenes of homes being destroyed by Israeli air strikes in Gaza.

    This is a message from six Palestinian artists, some of them are not in the country but all of them are Palestinians. The director is Palestinian, the music composer is Palestinian, the photographer and editor are all Palestinian - this is a Palestinian work par excellence

    The video clip then leads with a singing sequence from Assaf, who grew up in a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, before it features the other five Palestinian artists.

    Mohammad Ayad, a poet who wrote the lyrics said the project is entirely Palestinian.

    "This is a message from six Palestinian artists, some of them are not in the country but all of them are Palestinians. The director is Palestinian, the music composer is Palestinian, the photographer and editor are all Palestinian - this is a Palestinian work par excellence," Ayad told Reuters news agency.

  • A prime suspect in the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank has been charged with organising and financing the crime, Israeli security officials said Thursday.

  • Palestinian officials: Rebuilding Gaza to cost 6bn euros

    The reconstruction of the Gaza Strip, devastated during 50 days of war with Israel, will cost  
    6bn euros ($7.7bn), Palestinian experts said.

    The Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction, a Palestinian Authority body that oversees the implementation of donor-financed projects, said the process would take "five years if Israel removed its  blockade over Gaza entirely."

    Since 2006, Gaza has been subject to a blockade that, among other things, prevents the entry of construction materials, which can be used by fighters to build tunnels and fortifications. 

    [Source: AFP]
  • In a speech to be delivered tomorrow (Sunday), to Arab League Foreign Ministers in Cairo, UNRWA’s Commissioner General, Pierre Krahenbuhl, will ask for 47 million dollars for four weeks emergency work in Gaza. 

  • Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has threatened to break off a unity agreement with Hamas if the movement does not allow the government to operate properly in the Gaza Strip.

    "We won't accept a partnership with (Hamas) if the situation continues like  this in Gaza where there is a shadow government of 27 deputy ministers who are  running the territory," Abbas said on arrival in Cairo late Saturday, in  remarks published by official Palestinian news agency WAFA.

  • You can read Al Jazeera's story on the threat by Abbas here.

  • And here's Al Jazeera's latest video report on the rebuilding of Gaza after the third war in six years.

    by Al Jazeera English via YouTube

  • PA leadership: Speaking with two voices?

    There has been no international investigation into war crimes in Gaza so far. Leaked document may hold clues as to why.
    The Palestinian Authority has so far prevented the launch of a formal investigation into the alleged war crimes committed by Israel and Palestinian factions during the 50-day Gaza war last July and August, according to officials at the International Criminal Court.
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