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General News    H3'ed 5/13/21

Apartheid Israel faces full scale war

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Steven Sahiounie, journalist and political commentator

For the first time since the 2014 war, Palestinians in Gaza fired an uninterrupted barrage of more than 500 rockets into Israel, as the Israel Defense Forces pounded Gaza with more than 140 airstrikes through the early hours of Tuesday.

The Iron Dome, Israel's antimissile defense network, destroyed many of the rockets that reached Israeli airspace, but not the rocket that hit the oil storage reservoir at Ashkelon which burned out of control for hours. Arriving passengers at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion international airport were seen running with their luggage to take cover from the rocket attack, and busses and cars parked in Tel Aviv were destroyed.

On Tuesday morning the Shati refugee camp near Gaza City was a scene of destruction following repeated Israeli airstrikes on a residential high-rise. The roof of the building collapsed onto the apartment below, killing two people, while elsewhere nine children were among the dead in Gaza.

Palestinian Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Kidra said that Israeli strikes near a coronavirus quarantine center in southern Gaza earlier Tuesday had a "direct impact" on the ministry's ability to provide Coronavirus care to patients at the facility. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened an emergency security meeting Tuesday with Defense Minister Benny Gantz. Israeli citizens were questioning their government's actions which put Israeli neighborhoods in danger. Israeli citizens who are working for a peaceful solution for their Palestinian neighbors are wondering how many will die while their government officials act with impunity.

Citizen protests in Arab countries throughout the Middle East called to defend al-Aqsa Mosque and East Jerusalem from Israeli aggression. Similar protests spread throughout the globe, and on Tuesday pro-Palestinian protesters held a demonstration outside the Israeli consulate in New York. The demonstration was called Emergency Rally for Palestine", and thousands gathered while shouting, "Stop the killing, stop the hate, Israel is an apartheid state."

On April 27, the international group "Human Rights Watch" issued a groundbreaking report, "A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution." The following an excerpt:

"About 6.8 million Jewish Israelis and 6.8 million Palestinians live today between the Mediterranean Sea and Jordan River, an area encompassing Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), the latter made up of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. Throughout most of this area, Israel is the sole governing power; in the remainder, it exercises primary authority alongside limited Palestinian self-rule. Across these areas and in most aspects of life, Israeli authorities methodically privilege Jewish Israelis and discriminate against Palestinians. Laws, policies, and statements by leading Israeli officials make it plain that the objective of maintaining Jewish Israeli control over demographics, political power, and land has long guided government policy.

In pursuit of this goal, authorities have dispossessed, confined, forcibly separated, and subjugated Palestinians by virtue of their identity to varying degrees of intensity. Israel has maintained military rule over some portion of the Palestinian population for all but six months of its 73-year history. A number of Israeli officials have stated clearly their intent to maintain this control in perpetuity and backed it up through their actions, including continued settlement expansion over the course of the decades-long "peace process.

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I am an American citizen living permanently in Syria. I write on the Syrian crisis from first hand information. I also write in Arabic for a Lebanese media.

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