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World Israeli Officials Dispute Death Toll in Gaza Amid Onslaught

02:45  18 may  2021
02:45  18 may  2021 Source:   thedailybeast.com

The fighting in Gaza is over. The humanitarian crisis isn’t.

  The fighting in Gaza is over. The humanitarian crisis isn’t. Aid is beginning to flow, but the damage has been done.Earlier this week, Tibi hadn’t been sure if she would see the next morning, or the morning after that, so heavy was the bombardment from Israeli airstrikes. This week, Tibi’s daughter, pregnant for the first time, gave birth in the hospital, Tibi’s granddaughter, Naya, entering the world to the sound of shelling for hours and hours.

Meanwhile, the Gaza health ministry said the death toll in Gaza had reached 48, including 14 children, with more than 300 wounded. Six people in Israel have been killed. “We believe Palestinians and Israelis deserve equal measures of freedom, security, dignity and prosperity,” Psaki said. “US officials in recent weeks have spoken candidly with Israeli officials about how evictions of Palestinian families who have lived for years, sometimes decades, in their homes, and how demolitions of these homes, work against our common interests and achieving a solution to the conflict.”

The death toll from the ongoing Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip rose to 198, the Palestinian Health Ministry said on Monday. A ministry statement said that the toll includes 58 children and 35 women. The Israeli military has staged airstrikes across the Gaza Strip since May 10, leaving behind a massive trail of destruction across the seaside territory. Ten Israelis have also been killed in Palestinian rocket fire from the Gaza Strip into Israel. *Ahmed Asmar inh Ankara contributed to this report.

TEL AVIV, Israel—The Gaza Strip and Israel entered their second week of hostilities Monday with a surging death toll, primarily on the Palestinian side. International efforts to bring an end to the deadliest round of fighting in the region for years have so far failed to take hold, with Israel continuing to hammer Gaza with airstrikes and militant groups continuing to fire barrages of rockets into Israel.

a man and a woman standing in front of a building: Anas Baba/Getty © Provided by The Daily Beast Anas Baba/Getty

According to Gazan health authorities, 200 Palestinians have so far been killed, including 59 children and 35 women. 10 Israelis have been killed, according to local authorities, including 2 children and one soldier.

Now that the guns are silent, minds turn to reconstruction

  Now that the guns are silent, minds turn to reconstruction It is high time to break Gaza’s endless cycle of destruction and reconstruction. Realistically, this cycle can only be broken by the lifting of the blockade. Third, the leaders of the international community need to understand that Gaza’s reconstruction can only be truly successful if it is led by the Palestinians themselves. Reconstruction in the Gaza Strip both before and after the signing of the GRM has been an externally-driven process that denies meaningful local ownership to Gaza’s population.

GAZA CITY, Palestine. The death toll from the ongoing Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip rose to 198, the Palestinian Health Ministry said on Monday. A ministry statement said that the toll includes 58 children and 35 women. According to the statement, 1,300 people have also been injured in the Israeli offensive in Gaza . The Israeli military has staged airstrikes across the Gaza Strip since May 10, leaving behind a massive trail of destruction across the seaside territory. Ten Israelis have also been killed in Palestinian rocket fire from the Gaza Strip into Israel. *Ahmed Asmar inh Ankara contributed to this

The death toll from a week of fighting now stands at 211, with 201 dead on the Palestinian side according to Gaza 's health authority, including 58 children and 34 women. Ten deaths have been confirmed in Israel, including one child. Abu Harbid - whose death has yet to be confirmed by PIJ - came amid continuing attacks by Israel in Gaza today. Pictured: Palestinian rescue workers carry the remains of a man found next to a beachside cafe after it was hit by an Israeli airstrike.

Israeli military officials disputed the casualty count coming out of Gaza, stating conservatively that 130 enemy combatants had so far been killed.

“The Health Ministry is told not to report male military-age fatalities,” an Israeli officer told The Daily Beast. “Military casualties are obfuscated, while civilian casualties are inflated.”

The Daily Beast could not independently verify either Palestinian or Israeli claims regarding the death count inside Gaza, and no evidence has yet been provided by the Israeli military to suggest an exaggerated toll.

The Israeli military did not deny that civilians had been killed in its operations, especially overnight during strikes on an extensive Hamas underground tunnel system—referred to by Israel as the Gaza “metro”—that reportedly killed 42 people as adjacent buildings collapsed.

Israel’s unraveling

  Israel’s unraveling The wave of riots sweeping Israeli cities reflects the damage done by a decade of divisive right-wing government.On Wednesday night, Bat Yam erupted in violence. A mob of Jewish extremists surrounded a man they presumed was an Arab and pummeled him mercilessly. Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, aired live footage of the unnamed man being beaten with a flagpole flying the Israeli flag.

The death toll from Sunday's Israeli strikes has risen to 42, including 16 women and 10 children, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. It comes as the UN Security Council met to discuss the escalating violence, with Secretary General Antonio Guterres condemning the crisis as "utterly appalling". Israeli airstrikes toppled the offices of major media organisations in Gaza on Saturday. Hamas and the Islamic Jihad militant group have acknowledged 20 fighters killed since the fighting broke out on Monday, while Israel says the real number is far higher. Hamas and other militant groups

Palestinian officials in Gaza , meanwhile, said the overnight strikes had caused widespread power cuts and damaged hundreds of homes and other buildings. "Slept for 3 hours - we are physically safe but had one of the [most] difficult nights," one resident wrote on Twitter. The overall death toll in the territory The Israeli strikes followed Palestinian rocket attacks targeting the southern Israeli cities of Beersheba and Ashkelon just after midnight on Monday. Ten people, including two children, have been killed in rocket attacks on Israel in the past week. Israeli officials say they have seen the highest ever

“The buildings were not the target, and we didn’t assess they were going to collapse,” the Israeli officer said, expressing regret. “We try our best…to minimize collateral damage…we’ll adjust in future.”

Hostilities erupted last Monday amidst weeks of tensions around Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest site, as well as a pending Israeli court decision that may have evicted several Palestinian families from their homes in a nearby neighborhood. Hamas subsequently fired a barrage of rockets at the contested holy city, setting off reprisal Israel airstrikes in Gaza and the current cycle of violence.

The rising civilian death toll inside Gaza has drawn international condemnation towards Israel, including from significant parts of the Democratic party, and increased efforts—primarily on the part of the U.S. and Egypt—to broker a ceasefire between the two sides.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Wants Israel's 'War Crimes' Punished by International Courts

  Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Wants Israel's 'War Crimes' Punished by International Courts Israel said it has avoided civilians and given warnings ahead of some airstrikes, and that it is attacking only militant groups. Abbas is the head of the internationally backed Palestinian Authority, which was forced out of Gaza by the militant Hamas group in 2007. The Palestinian Authority now holds limited autonomy in parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The International Criminal Court launched an investigation earlier this year into possible war crimes committed by Israel against Palestinian civilians during the last Gaza war in 2014. For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

BreakingGaza's death toll rises to 200. Gaza ’s Hamas-run health ministry says 200 people have now been killed there in Israeli strikes since the hostilities between Palestinian militants and Israel began a week ago. Israel is not done in Gaza . There’s every sign that its military strikes will continue for some time. Officials describe a phased series of attacks, with the overall aim of destroying as much of Hamas’s infrastructure and manpower as possible in the time available.

The Gaza Strip’s only power plant is running out of fuel and will stop operation within days, a Palestinian spokesman warned on Monday. “Israel is preventing the entry of fuel to the power plant in Gaza ,” Mohammad Thabet from the Electricity Distribution Company of Gaza , told a press conference in Gaza City. At least 198 Palestinians have been killed, including 58 children and 34 women, in Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip since last week, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. More than 1,235 people have also been injured and tens of buildings destroyed or damaged in the Israeli assault.

A senior U.S. diplomat is in the region for talks with Israeli officials, yet the Biden administration, while calling for the fighting to end, has not demanded an immediate cessation from Israel.

“Israel has the right to defend itself. There is no equivalence between a terrorist group indiscriminately firing rockets at civilians and a country defending its people from those attacks,” Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said on Monday. “But Israel as a democracy has an extra burden to do everything possible to avoid civilian casualties even as it defends itself.”

Later on Monday, the U.S. again blocked a UN Security Council resolution criticizing Israel for the hostilities.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made clear over the weekend that the military operation would continue “with full force,” he said Sunday—until Hamas capabilities were degraded and long-term deterrence against the group was restored.

In service of these aims, Israel said it was targeting militant operatives (including senior commanders and their homes), rocket production facilities, command and control centers (controversially including multi-story buildings), and, new to this round of fighting, the Gaza “metro” system: hundreds of kilometers of reinforced concrete tunnels built underneath the coastal enclave meant to move around fighters, store weapons, and attack Israeli forces during any ground incursion.

Hamas Unconcerned by Potential Israeli Ground Invasion, Says They Can 'Increase Our Catch' of Soldiers

  Hamas Unconcerned by Potential Israeli Ground Invasion, Says They Can 'Increase Our Catch' of Soldiers "As always, the aim is to strike military targets and to minimize collateral damage and civilian casualties," an Israeli military spokesman said. "Unlike our very elaborate efforts to clear civilian areas before we strike high-rise or large buildings inside Gaza, that wasn't feasible this time."But even the Israeli tank that fired 50 rounds at the border toward Gaza did not intimidate Hamas forces. Hamas military spokesman Abu Obeida told the Associated Press that the group was not afraid of a ground invasion. In fact, Obeida said it would be a chance to "increase our catch of Israeli soldiers.

After three intense rounds of bombardment in recent days, the Israeli military assessed that one hundred kilometers of the system had been destroyed—with more in the offing.

“Hamas miscalculated...best I can assess, Gaza has never felt this kind of force before,” Israeli military chief of staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi said Sunday.

For their part, Hamas and its allies have fired over three thousand rockets at Israel in eight days, including barrages of hundreds, a rate of fire previously unseen. For comparison, during the last Israel-Gaza war, in 2014, militant groups fired 4800 rockets and mortars at Israel—in two months. Over the past week Hamas has been able to target Tel Aviv and its environs with regularity, on a scale never before witnessed.

“Firing on Tel Aviv is like drinking water,” Hamas spokesman Abu Obeida said last week, later boasting that the group could keep firing on Israel’s economic capital for the next six months. The group scored a major psychological victory this past Saturday night when it announced that it was “lifting the curfew” over Tel Aviv for two hours and would hold its fire; but after midnight, it added, the city should prepare for incoming attacks.

True to its word, sirens rang out in Tel Aviv nine minutes after midnight, followed by the familiar thuds and louder booms of the Iron Dome aerial defense system indicating rockets had been intercepted in the skies above.

Traumatised by Israeli bombing, Gaza children 'scared of dying'

  Traumatised by Israeli bombing, Gaza children 'scared of dying' When an Israeli air strike targeted a security office near her home in Gaza this month, 10-year-old Zeina Dabous frantically scribbled a note and slipped it under her mother's pillow. "They're always bombing," she told AFP. After a strike hit very close, "before sleeping I wrote a note in red pen to my mother and slipped it under the pillow because I was scared I would die," she said."Mummy, my love, I am very very scared. If we all die, put us in the same grave all together so I can stay in your arms," she wrote.

Southern Israeli towns and cities have borne the brunt of the rocket and mortar fire coming from Hamas. At the height of the bombardment last week, sirens rang out every ten minutes in the region. A large proportion of the population has simply left for safer areas farther north. Schools have been closed for a week across half the country, much incoming commercial air traffic has been canceled, and natural gas platforms sitting in the Mediterranean have also needed to be defended due to the threat of rocket fire.

The only sliver of good news, perhaps, is that the intercommunal violence that erupted inside Israel last week—between Arab and Jewish citizens of the state—has seemingly been contained. The last two nights have seen a major reduction in the rioting, vandalism and attempted lynches by both Arab-Israeli youths and gangs of far-right Jewish vigilantes.

A massive police operation of fifteen thousand officers, and now including Israel’s internal security agency, Shin Bet, has so far succeeded in tamping down what even Netanyahu termed “anarchy” on the streets. Nearly a thousand arrests have been made, although both Jewish and Arab communal leaders worry that the long-term damage will take years to repair.

Arab-Israeli parliamentarian Mansour Abbas, during a tour of the hard-hit city of Lod on Sunday, condemned the burning of both synagogues and mosques during the unrest.

“The red line is violence of any kind,” he said. “We must look forward and start rebuilding our holy sites and our relations.”

Nearly 47K Palestinians Displaced by Fighting, Hundreds of Homes Destroyed: U.N.

  Nearly 47K Palestinians Displaced by Fighting, Hundreds of Homes Destroyed: U.N. U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs spokesman Jens Laerke said electricity across Gaza is available for only six to eight hours a day in the latest chapter of the conflict, which shows no signs of resolution, the Associated Press reported. Hamas and other militants have fired more than 3,400 rockets into Israel, whose response has destroyed 132 buildings and severely compromised an additional 316 housing units. Israel and Egypt have imposed a blockade on Gaza since Hamas' rise to power in 2007, a move Israel says is necessary to prevent the group from accessing arms.

A major test is upcoming on Tuesday, with a planned general strike in both the Arab-Israeli community and adjacent Palestinian cities in the West Bank. Schools, businesses, and government offices will be shuttered, leading to fears of clashes with Israeli security forces. Eleven Palestinians were killed in just such violence across the West Bank last Friday, leading to fears it would, like Gaza, explode.

Yet follow-on protests over the weekend only attracted several thousand Palestinian demonstrators across some two dozen flash points in the West Bank. An Israeli security official told The Daily Beast that, despite its harsh condemnations of Israel, the Palestinian Authority – which governs parts of the West Bank—had so far not actively joined the fray.

With the death count rising in Gaza and scenes of devastation beamed across the world, it’s an open question how long the PA can hold such a line – to say nothing of Israel.

Public figures from John Oliver to Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasia-Ortez have blasted the Israeli operation in Gaza; mass demonstrations have taken place in various European capitals; and condemnations have even been issued by friendly Arab regimes in the Middle East.

Major General Eliezer Toledano, the Israeli officer actually running the operation, told Israel’s Channel 12 on Sunday that “we’re in the middle of the campaign…the longer we [the military] are given, the better our achievements will be.”

Most analysts in Israel believe it may be a matter of days until international patience, including that of the Biden administration, is exhausted—and the fighting brought to a close later this week. False comfort for all those caught in the crossfire until then.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

Palestinian Journalists Cut Off From WhatsApp Hours after Ceasefire .
Seventeen journalists in Gaza reported to the Associated Press that they had suddenly lost access to their WhatsApp accounts following the cease-fire announcement on Friday.Many journalists use the messenger application WhatsApp to communicate with sources, editors and those outside of Gaza. The Associated Pressreported they reached out to 17 journalists in Gaza whose accounts had been blocked since Friday. By Monday, only four of the accounts, which belonged to Al Jazeera journalists, had been restored.

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