Stay up to date on the situation in Gaza
Guardian: Footage filmed in the village of Khoza’a shows an unidentified incendiary substance
Guardian: Gazans from Khoza’a near Khan Younis were fired upon and forced to flee their homes
As casualties of the Israeli attack exceed 1000 dead and 4600 injured, ground troops circle in on Gaza City. The Real News spoke to George Rishmawi, founder of the independent media source called International Middle East Media Center. In this first interview in the series, Rishmawi says Israel must be tried in international courts for war crimes committed during this attack and condemns the Palestinian Authority for failing to take initiatives on that front. Rishmawi also says that if the stated Israeli goal was to stop the so-called rocket attacks on Southern Israel, after 20 days of bombing the Gaza Strip they are still failing. Though Israel’s stated strategic plan of the attack has been to eradicate Hamas, almost half of the dead are civilians. Rishmawi discusses how this will affect power relations in Palestine and the unending feud between Hamas and the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority.
For the first time since the Israeli attack on Gaza began, the diplomatic effort approached a tangible achievement. Hamas announced Wednesday it will conditionally accept a ceasefire proposal offered by Egypt. Israel sent Amos Gilad, General Major (Reserves) to discuss the Egyptian proposal in Cairo. The Real News spoke to George Rishmawi, founder of a multimedia independent network in Palestine called the International Middle East Media Center. Rishmawi says the proposal offers an immediate end to violence, but does not necessitate an Israeli withdrawal, a condition Hamas said it would not sacrifice. Israel’s conditions were pending on a complete cessation of the rocket attacks from Gaza and an arms embargo. Further diplomatic efforts by Condoleezza Rice have involved the US Navy. Rice urged Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tzipi Livni, to sign a memorandum of understanding stipulating the United States will secure the end of arms smuggling into Gaza by monitoring the Gaza shore.
Guardian: Dr Ahmed Almi from the al-Nasser hospital describes serious injuries and chemical burns
Guardian: A freelance filmmaker in Gaza shot this material for Save the Children at UN-supported school
In this second part to The Real News’ interview with Jesse Rissin Rosenfeld, freelance journalist in Israel and the West Bank, the process of peace talks is discussed. Rosenfeld says that a "simmering intolerance" for the Palestinian Authority has contributed to anger at the Israeli attack on Gaza and may pave the road for a new intifada. The PA has been engaged in the "peace process" with Israel and its security forces have been aiding the Israeli attempt at stopping Palestinian resistance to the occupation and the attack on Gaza. A resurgence in protests and riots in the West Bank is therefore seen as a revolt against both Israel and the PA. Rosenfeld says this will mean either a defeat for Mahmoud Abbas in the upcoming elections, or a popular revolt, akin to a third intifada.
Despite a temporary ceasefire to allow in humanitarian aid, the conflict between Israeli Defense Forces and Hamas fighters in Gaza continued for the twelfth day. Although the Israeli government welcomed a ceasefire proposal from Egypt and France, Israel’s military was instructed to continue its assault on Hamas. Palestinian casualties are estimated to total at least 650, including 350 civilians, and 130 children. McClatchy bureau chief Dion Nissenbaum states that "it is difficult to see how this ends."
As a full week of bombing came to an end, Israeli Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak, launched a ground invasion into Gaza. The Real News Network spoke to Sameh Habeeb, a photojournalist based in Gaza City. Habeeb reports the invasion has been closing down on the Strip from all sides. The troops, which entered Gaza around 8:00 p.m. local time, have been met with fierce resistance from Palestinian militants. Israeli intelligence reports several months ago have estimated there were roughly 20,000 trained gorilla fighters in Gaza. With the intensifying violence, the humanitarian situation in Gaza is also severely deteriorating as the siege, imposed after Hamas was elected in 2006, has caused massive shortages of food, water, gasoline, and medical supplies in the battered territory.