Calm Subsides in Gaza
By Sameh Akram Habeeb, MMNS Gaza Correspondent
Gaza Strip, 20, December, 2008-MMN- Following the collapse of calm between Israel and Palestinian factions, the level of tension and violence dramatically increased within two days. Another Palestinian killed and four injured including two children Saturday morning as Israeli artillery shelled the northern areas of Gaza Strip; towns of Beit Lahiya and Beit Hanoun.
Two days ago, a Palestinian was killed in an Israeli raid north of Gaza strip which is a real hotbed for the erupting firing actions between the two sides.
Today morning started by firing 2 ground-to-ground missiles fired by the Israeli army at a group of Palestinian fighters killing 25-year-old Ali Hijazi a faith affiliated member and injuring two others. Hijazai was preparing for his wedding which is due after two days. He invited his friends, relatives and family. However, things went out of his way as he was killed by Israeli army Saturday morning. His body was â€œtorn to pieces.â€ Due to the direct shell hit him.
Palestinian factions promptly retaliated on the Israeli military actions by firing projectiles and light homemade rockets on a number of Israeli towns and villages. Al-Qassam brigades linked to Islamic Hamas Movement fired six homemade shells on two Israeli military posts in Sufa south of Gaza Rafah City and the a military intelligence too.
Later mid Saturday Israeli tanks shelled the same area north of Gaza leaving two children injured by the shrapnel of an Israeli shell fired from an nearby military post in the Israeli areas. Palestinian medical sources reported that the two were moderately injured and were transferred to Kamal Adawan Hospital. One of the injured was a child aged 7.
The clashes erupted few minutes after the arrival of a Qatari aids boat from Cyprus to Gaza. The Qatari vessel, the SS Dignity, arrived Gaza Port at 7:40 am. According to Free Gaza Movement FGM, Israeli authorities requested the evacuation of two Israeli peace activists visiting Gaza in solidarity of besieged people.
â€œWe know you have Israelis on board, so either turn back, or we will board and take them off,â€ said a voice on the shipâ€™s radio, the Free Gaza Movement said in a statement.
â€œWe are going to Gaza,â€ Huwaida Arraf, the delegation leader, reportedly replied.
Neta Golan, one of the Israelis on board and a co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement stated, â€œCountries that commit crimes against humanity often hide those crimes from their own people. Israel is doing exactly that by not allowing Israelis to come in to witness what they are doing in our name.â€
The boat carried a Qatari delegation and a ton of Medical supplies for Gaza hospitals which is in bad need for prompt intervention to end medical siege and ban. â€œThis is just the beginning. We are delighted that we are finally able to see the shores of Gaza and be the first Arab envoys to arrive. We will see how we can work together to help relieve this terrible situation in Gaza,â€ said Alaze Al-Qahtani.
â€œEveryone said it couldnâ€™t be done, that we would never be able to get to Gaza. But we have now arrived for the fifth time,â€ Darlene Wallach said.
â€œNow, other ships, especially cargo ships, need to follow in our wake,â€ Wallach added.
More boats are in way to Gaza in a practical step to end Gaza siege. A Lebanese boat is due by early January. It would carry 800 tons of medical and food aids as well as journalists, peace activists. Additionally, another boat carrying Arabic and Islamic lawmakers would set sail to Gaza.
Out of Gaza, Ramallah in Offar prison violence took place between Israeli jailers and 1000 Palestinian prisoners. The confrontation resulted in injuring 8 prisoners and two wardens during. Palestinian prisoners were protesting an earlier search of prisoner property which damaged the living quarters of the prisoners.
Israeli soldiers fired rounds of rubber coated bullets and gas canisters on the prisoners, igniting some of the tents.
In regard of Gaza siege more Arab moves and stances are growing. Thousands of Lebanese protested Friday in opposition of Gaza Siege. An Arab siege coalition is to be formed shortly vowing of more popular actions.
Egyptian foreign affairs official, Husam Zaki, said that ongoing talks to renew calm are being held between the rival parties to prevent deteriorations on the ground. He said that Egypt would pursue efforts to relive conditions for Palestinian civilians.