Israel bombs Gaza home of Hamas leader, destroys office of AP news agency

Israel bombed the Gaza Strip with airstrikes, in a dramatic escalation that included bombing the home of a senior Hamas leader, killing a family of 10 in a refugee camp — most of them children — and pulverizing a high-rise that housed The Associated Press and other media.

The Hamas militant group continued a stream of rocket volleys into Israel, including a late-night barrage on Tel Aviv. One man was killed Saturday when a rocket hit his home in a suburb of the seaside metropolis.

With a U.S. envoy on the ground, calls increased for a cease-fire after five days of mayhem that have left at least 145 Palestinians dead in Gaza — including 41 children and 23 women — and eight dead on the Israeli side, all but one of them civilians, including a 5-year-old. President Joe Biden, who has called for a de-escalation but has backed Israel’s campaign, spoke separately by phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Still, Israel stepped up its assault, vowing to shatter the capabilities of Gaza’s Hamas rulers. The week of deadly violence, set off by a Hamas rocket Monday, came after weeks of mounting tensions and heavy-handed Israeli measures in contested Jerusalem.

Early Sunday, Israeli warplanes struck several buildings and roads in a vital part of Gaza City. Photos circulated by residents and journalists showed the airstrikes created a crater that blocked one of the main roads leading to Shifa, the largest hospital in the strip.

The Health Ministry said the latest airstrikes left at least two dead and 25 wounded, including children and women. There has been no immediate comment from the Israeli military.

On Saturday, Israel bombed the home of Khalil al-Hayeh, a senior figure in Hamas’ political branch, saying the building served as part of the group’s “terrorist infrastructure.” There was no immediate report on al-Hayeh’s fate or on any casualties.

The bombing of al-Hayeh’s home showed Israel was expanding its campaign beyond just the group’s military commanders. Israel says it has killed dozens in Hamas’ military branch, though Hamas and the smaller group Islamic Jihad have only acknowledged 20 dead members.

Since the conflict began, Israel has leveled a number of Gaza City’s tallest office and residential buildings, alleging they house elements of the Hamas military infrastructure. On Saturday, it turned to the 12-story al-Jalaa Building, where the offices of the AP, the TV network Al-Jazeera and other media outlets are located, along with several floors of apartments.

“The campaign will continue as long as it is required,” Netanyahu said in a televised speech on Saturday evening. He alleged that Hamas military intelligence was operating inside the building. Israel routinely cites a Hamas presence as a reason for targeting certain locations in airstrikes, including residential buildings. The military also has accused the militant group of using journalists as human shields, but provided no evidence to back up the claims.

The AP has operated from the building for 15 years, including through three previous wars between Israel and Hamas, without being targeted directly. During those conflicts as well as the current one, the news agency’s cameras from its top floor office and roof terrace offered 24-hour live shots as militants’ rockets arched toward Israel and Israeli airstrikes hammered the city and its surroundings.

In the afternoon, the military called the building’s owner and warned a strike would come within an hour. AP staffers and other occupants evacuated safely .

Soon after, three missiles hit the building and destroyed it, bringing it crashing down in a giant cloud of dust.

“The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what happened today,” AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt said in a statemen t. “We are shocked and horrified that the Israeli military would target and destroy the building housing AP’s bureau and other news organizations in Gaza.”

“This is an incredibly disturbing development. We narrowly avoided a terrible loss of life,” he said, adding that the AP was seeking information from the Israeli government and was engaged with the U.S. State Department to learn more.

Mostefa Souag, acting director-general of Al-Jazeera Media Network, called the strike a “war crime” aiming to “silence the media and to hide the untold carnage and suffering of the people of Gaza.”

Later in the day, White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted that the U.S. had “communicated directly to the Israelis that ensuring the safety and security of journalists and independent media is a paramount responsibility.”

In the early hours Saturday, another airstrike hit an apartment building in Gaza City’s densely populated Shati refugee camp, killing two women and eight children.

Mohammed Hadidi told reporters that his wife and her brother’s wife had gathered at the house with their children to celebrate the Eid al-Fitr holiday ending the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. The only survivor was Hadidi’s 5-month-old son, Omar.

The blast left the children’s bedroom covered in rubble and smashed the salon. Amid the wreckage were children’s toys, a Monopoly board game and, sitting on the kitchen counter, unfinished plates of food from the holiday gathering.

“There was no warning … You filmed people eating and then you bombed them?” a neighbor, Jamal Al-Naji, said, referring to Israel’s surveillance over the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli military did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In his call with Netanyahu, Biden expressed his “strong support” for Israel’s campaign but raised concern about civilian casualties and protection of journalists, the White House said.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin tweeted Saturday that he had spoken again with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz and reaffirmed Israel’s right to defend itself and condemned “Hamas’ deliberate targeting of Israeli citizens.” Austin added: “I also expressed my hope that calm can be restored soon.”

The bombings took place a day after U.S. diplomat Hady Amr arrived in Israel as part of Washington’s efforts to de-escalate the conflict. Israel turned down an Egyptian proposal for a one-year truce that Hamas rulers had accepted, an Egyptian intelligence official said Friday on condition of anonymity to discuss the negotiations.

Mediators from Egypt, which works closely with Israel on security issues and shares a border with the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, appeared to be growing alarmed. The intelligence official said Egypt hopes the U.S. intervention could halt the Israeli assault. The U.N. Security Council was set to meet Sunday.

The tensions began in east Jerusalem earlier this month, when Palestinians protested attempts by settlers to forcibly evict a number of Palestinian families from their homes and Israeli police measures at Al-Aqsa Mosque, a frequent flashpoint located on a mount in the Old City revered by Muslims and Jews.

Hamas fired rockets toward Jerusalem late Monday, triggering the Israeli assault on Gaza. Since then, Hamas has fired more than 2,000 rockets, though most have either fallen short or been intercepted by anti-missile defenses. Israel’s warplanes and artillery have struck hundreds of targets around blockaded Gaza, where some 2 million Palestinians live.

The turmoil has also spilled over elsewhere, fueling protests in the occupied West Bank and stoking violence within Israel between its Jewish and Arab citizens, with clashes and vigilante attacks on people and property.

Palestinians on Saturday marked the Day of al-Nakba, or “the Catastrophe,” commemorating the estimated 700,000 people who were expelled from or fled their homes in what was now Israel during the 1948 war surrounding its creation. Thousands of Arab Israelis marched in a Nakba rally in the northern Israeli city of Sukhnin, and scattered protests took place in the West Bank.

Palestinian health officials reported the deaths of two Palestinians by Israeli fire in the West Bank on Saturday. One of the shootings occurred when the army said it thwarted an alleged car ramming.

2 Comments

  1. Russian Press Condemns Israel. Israel has yet to commit ground troops to Gaza.

    UN chief ‘deeply disturbed’ by civilian casualties & IDF bombing of Gaza media building. Eva Bartlett, a Canadian independent journalist and activist declares: “The destruction of two important Gaza buildings housing 20 media outlets was both shocking and predictable.” According to her unbiased speculations, this Arabist declares the purpose and intent of bringing down these two buildings – “Israel is deliberately obliterating media buildings in Gaza to cover up the war crimes that will follow.” However, this Arabist concedes the key point that Israel gave the inhabitants of in both buildings both warning and time to evacuate the premises to avoid civilian casualties. Interesting Gaza leadership has fired thousands of missiles at Israeli populated cities, has never given any warning what so ever … but Israel, (that Pariah State), will in the future, commit war crime atrocities!

    An Israeli military spokesman told the media that the tower was targeted because it housed “Hamas military intelligence.” Hamas uses “civilian media” as “human shields,” the IDF also said in a statement on Twitter. The Palestinian militant group “deliberately places its military assets in the heart of the civilian population in the Gaza Strip,” the post added. Yet the Russian Arabist Press gave priority to Eva Bartlett’s evil eye of the Jewish State’s response to stateless Arab refugees firing missiles into Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and targeting, with their missiles, most of the populated cities across Israel – Israel, that tiny speck of a country. The Arabist Russian Press Head Lines: Israeli airstrike levels Gaza tower housing AP, Al Jazeera & other international media.

    Clearly foreign imperialist governments seek to promote their agenda: to divide the tiny Jewish state. Jesus son of Zeus once taught: (divide and conquer), a nation divided against itself cannot stand. These foreign jackal nations, in all their innocence and piety, seek to promote Civil War within Israel. It means nothing to these hostile powers, who dub themselves – ‘the Quartet’, that 57 Arab and Muslim countries cover the Middle East, Africa and the former Soviet Union empire.

    No they demand that Israel, about the size of New Jersey, MUST surrender the miraculous victory of the 1967 Six Day War. That only then can peace bless the Middle East! Interesting, Arab control of these recaptured territories which Israel reconquered, prior to that short war, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia fought 2 previous wars against Israel – with the objective – to obliterate the Jewish state. President of Egypt, Nasser, promised prior to the June war of ’67, that Arabs would in this war accomplish what they failed to achieve in 1948, to throw the Jews into the Sea, and thereby complete the Nazi Holocaust.

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  2. War as a trauma, defines the term T’shuva. טוב

    What connects the pains of labor childbirth to tzar’at/leprosy?
    אתה חונן לאדם דעת ומלמד לאנוש בינה, חננו מאתך דעה בינה והשכל. ברוך אתה ה’, חונן הדעת.
    The toldoth generations of Man compares the plagues which HaShem brought upon the hardened heart of Par’o and Egypt. Learning, whether Talmudic or T’NaCH, requires comparing similar cases. Oral Torah operates through the medium of Common Law. Common Law stands upon the יסוד of precedents. Herein explains the commentary made by the Baali Tosafot upon the whole of the Sha’s; it reflects how the Gemara learns every Mishna in the Talmud. Persons who study Talmud and fail to develop the logic required to compare Case studies of halacha, never learned how to learn Talmud.

    Knowledge holds positive and negative aspects. When the sons of Shem first called upon HaShem, our sages learn that the sons of Shem called upon tuma avoda zara. Knowledge requires the understanding which can discern between like and like, between tohor and tuma. The exile of Adam HaReShon from the garden teaches a powerful mussar, a mussar יסודי. When Adam hid himself from the Spirit of HaShem due to his shame, this quality passed from generation to generation to generation to generation etc.

    Plagues affected Par’o. Par’o trusted advisors declared these plagues “the finger of G-d”. Yet Par’o hitched his chariot and pursued after Moshe and Israel. And subsequently his entire army drowned in the Sea of Reeds. Par’o could not see “the finger of G-d” in his life! All the generations of Adam HaReShon, they too, blind to “the finger of G-d” in their lives. Hence the entire T’NaCH and Talmud spins around awareness of tohor and tuma spirits. All the translators of the Xtian Bible lacked this awareness; they translate tohor and tuma as clean and unclean — pure or impure. There theology of Creed and Dogmatism, belief replaced awareness of “the finger of G-d” in their lives.

    Why does the Talmud emphasize observance of halacha? Not because halacha defines the Will of God. Rather the framers of the Talmud edited the Sha’s Bavli to teach mussar woven into the fabric of ritual halachic observances. All T’NaCH prophets command mussar. Mussar teaches “the finger of G-d” in our lives, the holy dedication unto HaShem to walk/אמת in tohor. The framers of the Talmud mixed halacha with aggadita with the k’vanna that a Yid observes halachic mitzvot to perceive “the finger of G-d” in their lives. Herein explains the entire Sha’s Bavli limited to a few paragraphs.

    In a few hours Israel accepts the revelation of the Torah at Sinai. Herein explains the counting of the Omer – to remove avoda zara from the midst of Israel prior to receiving the Torah at Sinai, while breathing tohor spirits. The objections raised by Isaac Mayer Wise, one of the founders of the Reform abomination who declared halacha as antiquated, and unnecessary, and irrelevant stand, at least to my mind, totally refuted and completely false.

    Development of tohor awareness learns from the contrast of tuma: the hardened heart of Par’o; blind to “the finger of G-d” in his life. All the toldoth generations of Adam HaReshon, lived their long lives completely unaware of “the finger of G-d” … the mussar of tohor, in their lives. Halachot serve as a fence around the Torah. Avodat HaShem requires tohora. Tohora, defined as the awareness of “the finger of G-d” within our lives.

    The Irish, they serve as a specific example of the tuma mentality of all Europe. They condemn Israel for being the Jewish state. They demand the right of return apply to stateless Arab refugees of 1948! That pretty much sums up the regret of Europeans for Israel winning its national independence. The enemy of my people, Europe, desperately seeks to negate not just the ’67 miracle victory – which they euphemistically call ‘the 2 State solution, land for peace’ – but they seek to complete the Nazi ‘Final Solution’, or at least return Jews to our previous status as g’lut exiles: a People having no country of our own.

    This current conflict, only on the surface pits Israelis against Balestinians – an imaginary people comparable to Jesus son of Zeus, an imaginary man. The Jewish state proves 2000 years of church propaganda as false narishkeit. As it stands today, with the Jewish state, the Xtian church stands disgraced by the Shoah and exile has turned the fallen church upon it’s head. The church moans for the 2nd coming of Jesus. That disgraced and exiled ‘religion of love’ has collapsed as the faith of hope, the salvation of fallen mankind, as previously understood based upon the New Testament Bible theology taught by the Apostle Paul. Herein explains the need among European governments to push for their 2 State solution, the extension of their previous ‘Final Solution’, which European governments either actively or passively imposed. The Jewish state exposes the guilt and barbaric true nature of Europe as a third rate inferior race among mankind.

    השיבנו אבינו לתורתך, וקרבנו מלכנו לעבודלך, והחזירנו בתשובה שלמה לפניך. ברוך אתה ה’ הרוצה בתשובה.

    The bait and switch of the curse of the אלהים upon Adam HaReshon occurs with the sign of the rainbow; HaShem ceases to curse mankind, but Noach imposes an eternal curse upon the seed of Ham who witnessed the ערוה tuma nakedness of his father. The language of ערוה implies sexual perversion such as incest or homosexuality. The language of ערוה defines the spirit of tuma within the heart of all mankind. The story of Yaacov wrestling with the Angel of Esau teaches the mussaar that Man as a species for ever struggles and contends with the tuma Yatzir. Esau hates Yaacov. The sages of Israel refer to Europe by the metaphor of Esau.

    The Pesach story of the korban offered in Egypt explains the k’vanna of the High Holy Day of Yom Kippur. Par’o demanded that Israel offer a korban while in the land of Egypt. Moshe refused Par’o, saying ‘shall Israel publicly make a korban dedication before the eyes of the Egyptian people which they hold as an abomination? They would stone us! Yet the korban Pesach boldly public declares with blood painted upon the door posts of the houses of Israel, comparable to the existence of the State of Israel today in the eyes of Europe, and destruction came upon all Egypt!

    The t’shuvah of the Cohen people for all eternity, do we reject the Will of the tuma Yatzir within our hearts. Herein defines the sealing of Yom HaDin upon the Brit, as expressed through the mitzva of Yom Kippur. The anointing of the House of Aaron as Moshiach, dedicated to do avodat HaShem while tohor. This moshiach dedication learns from the sanctification from tuma of the eish tzar’at, dedicated in the exact same way as Moshe dedicated the sons of Aaron as Moshiach. As tefilla stands in the place of korbanot, כלל ישראל bears the dedication to HaShem to walk in the path/אמת of tohor middot. This defining quality trait, the Torah calls avodat HaShem. From this Torah source the Gemara of Sanhedrin teaches that כלל ישראל, that we live as the Moshiach in all generations. The Midrash teaches a powerful mussar concerning the Moshiach; it employs the metaphor which describes the Moshiach as an eish tzar’at, a man afflicted with leprosy.

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