Update From Gaza: Palestine Monitor
Israel Assassinates Eight Palestinians, Amasses Troops near Gaza
Palestinians now face the possibility of a bloody Israeli ground offensive in Gaza. Israeli troops and tanks are stationed just beyond the borders of the Gaza Strip after several extrajudicial assassinations were carried out this weekend by Israel.
Prominent Israeli scholars and human rights activists warn that the latest round of escalation may presage a horrendous and indiscriminate Israeli attack on Gaza after the settlers are evacuated.
On Thursday, July 14, Israel resumed its targeted assassination policy, which had been suspended in accordance with a ceasefire deal made at Sharm el-Sheikh in February. On that day Israeli soldiers shot and killed 24-year-old Mohammad Al-Aasi in his home in Nablus. It was the most visible violation of the ceasefire by the Israeli government since February.
In Gaza City the next day, Friday, July 15, an Israeli Apache helicopter fired three missiles at a car, killing four Palestinians.
Two more Palestinians were killed and another seriously injured in a near-simultaneous Israeli missile strike in the West Bank town of Salfit.
Israelis arrested the injured Palestinian while he was in an ambulance enroute to Ramallah to receive emergency medical treatment.
A Hamas commander, Said Seyam, 32, was shot and killed by an Israeli sniper on Sunday as he sat on the roof of his house in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis.
Extrajudicial assassinations are illegal under international law, as they nullify any chance for due process. Israel has long engaged in extrajudicial assassinations, including against unarmed and defenceless prisoners. But until this weekend they had shown relative restraint with regard to targeted killings since the agreements in Sharm el-Sheikh.
Israel’s decision to attack and assassinate Palestinians in such a public and violent manner just as the Palestinian Authority was trying to bring order to Gaza undermined the authority of the PA and destroyed their chance to make a strong showing in front of their people and the international community. It serves only to bring the situation closer to crisis and internal division and the ceasefire closer to unraveling completely.
Israel has killed at least 45 Palestinians and broken the letter of the ceasefire hundreds of times since February with no consequences.
Israel’s Apartheid Wall continues to be built in violation of international law, destroying the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent Palestinians.
Closures, curfews, and violence by Israeli soldiers and settlers continue, homes are being demolished at an increasing rate, more Palestinians have been arrested than released since February, and new illegal settlements continue to be built on Palestinian land expropriated by the Wall in the West Bank. Recent incursions into Palestinian Authority-controlled cities have also contravened the ceasefire agreement, and Israel’s attempt at unilaterally annexing East Jerusalem is raising tensions dramatically.
The international community is attempting to mediate the situation in order to bring it under control before the planned Gaza pull-out on August 15.