Controversial, illegal, and documented: Israeli military strategies in Gaza


Israel commenced its invasion of the Gaza Strip with air strikes on more than 200 sites, killing 24 Palestinians on the first day. Above, an Israeli missile hits a building just south of Gaza City on July 8, 2014. Photo credit: Mohammed Saber, EPA

As Israel rolls deeper into its military offensive against the Gaza Strip, its tactics against the territory’s densely-packed civilian population are becoming more and more clear. Over the last 17 days, the death toll has risen to at least 797 Palestinians, most of whom were civilians and nearly two hundred of whom were children. Despite near-global condemnation, Israel has not dialed down the brutality. The following is a list of ten documented Israeli military strategies that are responsible for the disturbingly high casualty count.

1. Israel is one of the best equipped militaries in the world and its weapons industry is responsible for many technological advancements in modern warfare. It should come as no surprise, then, that Israel has the capacity to strike its targets with extreme precision. In the past, Israel has assassinated Hamas members so precisely that others riding with them in their cars or walking alongside them have survived. This has not been the modus operandi for Israel’s last three major offensives against the Gaza Strip, particularly this latest one. Even U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry commented on Israel’s military strategy, sarcastically calling it one “hell of a pinpoint operation”.

2. Israel contends that it warns Gaza residents of imminent air strikes and shelling campaigns and instructs them to flee. However, the crippling siege and total blockade that Israel has imposed on the territory means that Palestinians have no place to go. This allows Israel to kill two birds with one stone, as the saying goes. It can publicly claim that it works to minimize civilian casualties while at the same time killing Palestinians wantonly and with impunity. [Read more...]

New initiative restores Palestinian humanity in mainstream media

HP

Humanize Palestine is a new initiative intended to challenge the commonly dehumanizing or insensitive portrayal of Palestinians in mainstream media. This unique project aims to restore and maintain the identities of Palestinians killed at the hands of the Israeli military, particularly when they are dryly featured in news stories or depicted as collateral damage in an ongoing conflict.

According to website’s ‘About’ page, the individuals behind this effort take issue with the presentation of casualties in this latest military offensive. When a Palestinian is killed, news networks almost always circulate photographs of the victim’s funeral or of a burned, beaten, or otherwise mutilated body. But when an Israeli goes missing or is killed, the media introduces their story with photographs of them smiling with friends or positing with family. To the website creators, this creates a level of empathy that allows viewers to connect with the victim — a connection that is just not afforded to Palestinians.

Worse still, the presentation of Palestinians as disposable bodies strips the victims of their identities, their agencies, and their life stories which are just as important as anyone else’s. Humanize Palestine aims to combat that. For example, Abdulla Amara’s memorial page reveals that he was on his way to becoming a human rights lawyer before being killed in the shelling of Gaza City’s Shuja’iyya neighborhood. [Read more...]

Photo of the Day: Brutality of Israel’s Gaza invasion seen from space

Note: Due to the sheer amount of evocative and telling photography coming out of Palestine, we have transitioned our weekly photograph features into daily photograph features and will continue uploading images on a daily basis until further notice.

Photo credit: Alexander Gerst
Date taken: July 23, 2014
Location: International Space Station, Outer Space

Fiery blasts and explosions are seen in the Gaza Strip, as photographed by German astronaut Alexander Gerst in the International Space Station. [Read more...]

Running into death: Gaza woman risks her life to save another

The following four photographs depict a story of tragedy and courage deep inside the Gaza Strip. Captured on July 20, day one of Israel’s intense shelling of the densely-packed Shuja’iyya neighborhood of Gaza City, the images show Palestinians running for their lives through the neighborhood’s rubble-filled streets.

As the woman in the photograph sprints ahead, she turns to spot a young boy injured on the ground. His left leg had been broken below the knee by a blast moments before the first image was captured.

The woman runs back toward the boy and helps him up, risking her life to save his. As recently uncovered footage from Shuja’iyya shows, the shelling was relentless.

[Read more...]

Footage: Four minutes of Israel intensely shelling civilians in Shuja’iyya

Please take caution when watching this video. The footage is extremely distressing.

On July 20, Israel launched an offensive against the Gaza City neighborhood of Shuja’iyya, claiming it to be a stronghold for Palestinian armed resistance factions. More than 70 Palestinians were killed in the first day of the operation. Previously uncovered footage shows the aftermath of the assault which includes young children charred and strewn about throughout the streets. Many family members are seen wailing beside the bodies of their loved ones.

This footage shows the intensity of the shelling as it happened. It is unclear how many of the people seen in the footage made it out alive. We urge you to take caution when viewing this footage. The sights and sounds are extremely distressing. [Read more...]

In Gaza, the blood of the dead will not go in vain

Guest contribution by Manar Mohammad

It occurs to me that as I am typing this, a bomb is falling on Gaza. More will have fallen by the time I type the last period in this piece. I have never lived in Gaza and so I do not know what the constant bombardment of bombs sounds like. I do not know what it is like to sit in your own living room, staring at the walls adorned with photos of your family and wondering when these very same walls that keep your family safe will end your lives. I do not know what it is like to hide in the school I once believed would help me accomplish the goals I need to meet and exceed in order to pursue a higher purpose. I do not know what it is like to walk outside of my house and find the neighbor’s house across the street turned to rubble.

I am, however, from Palestine — just from the other side of it. It is sad to see that in the news, the West Bank and Gaza Strip are considered two separate places, almost two separate countries. Then I think back to the people I met and lived with in the West Bank and realize that even we Palestinians have begun to think of the two regions as separate places as well. I was living in city of Ramallah when Israel’s 2008-2009 invasion of Gaza occurred, and I remember how distant we were from the people in Gaza, the way we are now in America, watching their grief on the television screen and through the internet. [Read more...]

Baltimore Sun ‘literally otherizes’ Palestinians in insulting subheadline

This photograph of The Baltimore Sun’s front page taken by Twitter user @hankamarillo identifies 13 dead soldiers as Israeli but uses the word “others” to identify Palestinians.

For the past two days, the Israeli military has relentlessly shelled the Shuja’iyya neighborhood of Gaza City, claiming it to be a stronghold for armed Palestinian resistance fighters. In the first day alone, more than 70 Palestinians were killed, most either in their homes or in the streets as they tried to flee the scene of the shelling on foot. Many children were among the dead. At least two dozen more Palestinians have been killed since.

Thirteen Israeli soldiers were also killed in combat on the first day. [Read more...]

Gaza through the eyes of someone far from home

Guest contribution by Deena Kishawi

As the days of summer pass, I have tried hard to ignore the news. Not because I don’t want to know the goings-on in the world but because I know that if I see or hear something that strikes a nerve, my heart will shatter just as forcefully.

Since Israel’s aggressive operation on the people of the Gaza Strip began on July 8, I’ve shielded my eyes from the images of bleeding children, emotional mothers, and demolished houses. I’m afraid that I might see something I recognize from my visits to Gaza or someone I met — perhaps a relative or a friend. I’m afraid that my memories of Gaza will be tarnished with destruction and not the gleaming sun-lit beauty I remember from my time there exactly one year ago.

Today, I look back at my journeys to Gaza and desperately wish that I had stayed so that I could be there to help or provide some kind of support to the victims of the invasion — all 1.8 million of them. But not everyone gets to stay.

It is hard to stomach the news, but it is hard to stay away from it as well. When I finally gave in and searched for news on the latest in Gaza, I came across a photograph taken by journalist Ayman Mohyeldin that shows a the raw emotion and heartbreak of a mother after learning that her son had been killed with his cousins on the beach. The Israeli Navy fired two shells one after the other at the boys who had earlier been chasing each other on the wet sand. Four died. [Read more...]

Updated: Gaza invasion hits Houston Rockets locker room

Update: Recently discovered message by Dwight Howard suggests he might have been pressured into deleting his #FreePalestine tweet. More information at the bottom of the report.

Early into day six of Israel’s latest invasion of the Gaza Strip, American professional basketball player Dwight Howard tweeted “#Free Palestine” to his 5.2 million followers.

Minutes later, the tweet was deleted, only to be followed by an apology and a vow that he will continue to stay out of international politics. [Read more...]

Photo of the Week: The world shouts for Gaza

Photo credit: Muhammad Hamed
Date taken: July 11, 2014
Location: Amman, Jordan

A protester chants behind a Palestinian flag during a protest demanding an end to Israel’s latest assault on the Gaza Strip, in front of the Israeli Embassy in Amman. [Read more...]

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