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UK architects, planners and other construction industry professionals campaigning for a just peace in Israel/Palestine.


Caution, another Cast Lead lies ahead

The first few days of Operation Protective Edge indicate that Israel has not learned anything from previous instances of mass killing.

Haaretz Editorial        11 July 2014           


Relatives of 8-year-old Hadil Ghraben during her funeral in Beit Lahiya, Gaza. Photo by AP

Israel launched Operation Protective Edge after showing restraint for a number of weeks in response to the insufferable firing of rockets on its southern residents, which continues and has even spread to the center of the country. But, the response must not be mass killing of innocent civilians.

Abdullah Abu Ghazal, 5, became the 77th Palestinian fatality of Operation Protective Edge yesterday morning . He died in an Israeli air strike on Beit Lahia. His death was preceded by that of dozens of other civilians in the Gaza Strip, including women and other children.

Eight members of the Hajj family were killed in Khan Yunis yesterday. Before that, nine Palestinian civilians were killed in Khan Yunis while watching the World Cup, according to the Palestinian news agency Ma’an. Three women were killed when the Israel Air Force bombed the Beit Hanun home of Islamic Jihad operative Hafez Hamed. The Shalat family, parents and two children, were killed in their home in al-Zawayda.

Nearly the entire Kaware family, of Khan Yunis, was wiped out on Tuesday – eight family members, including six children, were killed in what the IAF termed “a mistake.” The family left their home after the IAF warned it of an impending strike, but after the house was hit by a small “warning” missile they returned and went up to the roof, on the assumption the IAF pilot would hold fire if he saw them there. Their hopes were dashed, in a horrifying fashion.

The longer Operation Protective Edge continues, the clearer the nature of the IAF’s targets become. This time they include the homes of Hamas and Islamic Jihad operatives. Israel’s B’Tselem human rights organization said yesterday that this violates the international humanitarian law, which permits attacks only against targets that effectively assist military efforts. The homes of people involved in the fighting against Israel do not meet this definition. Nor is killing their relatives a military necessity.

Ariel Harmoni / Defense Ministry

IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz (left), PM Benjamin Netanyahu (center), and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon updated on Operation Protective, July 10, 2014. Photo by Ariel Harmoni / Defense Ministry

After Operation Cast Lead in early 2009, during which hundreds of innocent civilians in the Gaza Strip were killed, Israel paid a heavy price in the form of international censure, which reached its peak in the Goldstone report. Israel should have learned its lesson and been as careful as possible to avoid harming civilians. But the first few days of Operation Protective Edge make us fear that Israel hasn’t learned anything. The growing body count not only damages its international standing, it is first and foremost a corruption of its own moral character.


Thousands in London, Paris, and Oslo protest Israeli strikes in Gaza

Several thoousand people crowded the streets outside the Israeli Embassy in West London waving placards that read 'Gaza: End the siege' and 'Freedom for Palestine'.

By Haaretz and Associated Press  11 July 2014

Demonstrators gesture as they chant slogans near the Israeli embassy

Demonstrators gesture as they chant slogans near the Israeli embassy against the action taken against Gaza, in London, Friday, July 11, 2014. Photo by AP


Thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators turned out on the streets of London, Paris, and Oslo on Friday to call for an end to Israeli military strikes on Gaza.

Several thousand people crowded the streets outside the Israeli Embassy in west London, waving placards that read "Gaza: End the Siege" and "Freedom for Palestine." The crowds blocked an entire road, and several protesters managed to climb on top of a double-decker bus stuck in traffic, but police said the protest was largely peaceful.

Norwegian news website The Local reported that some 3,000 protestors gathered in front of the Norwegian parliament in Oslo calling for the end of violence in the region. The event was organized by the Palestine Committee of Norway and other organizations.

A smaller protest took place in Paris Friday, where about 100 people demonstrated near the French Foreign Ministry.

Demonstrators waved Palestinian flags. One woman shouted "Palestine will survive" had the flag painted on her cheeks.

Stephane Frappreau, who identified himself as Jewish, said the demonstrations were about "defending humanity and about stopping the massacre."

"I think that people tend to forget that Palestinians are people who are suffering, kids and women, who are dying every day," Frappreau said. "And I think that people shouldn't confuse things or come to quick conclusions, because being against Israel as we are today is not about being anti-Semitic."

France has both Western Europe's largest Jewish community and its largest Muslim population, and the French government has been walking a careful line on the Gaza developments. President Francois Hollande issued a statement earlier this week in support of Israel that prompted criticism because it failed to mention Palestinian victims. He later spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyau and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, then issued new statements expressing support for each and concern for all victims. He condemned violence and urged a return to peace talks.

More demonstrations were planned for the weekend.

In London, a spokeswoman for Prime Minister David Cameron said earlier he supported Israel in the face of attacks by Hamas against Israeli civilians.