Hamas threatening journalists in Gaza who expose abuse of civilians

media-outlet-collageReporters are bullied, have equipment confiscated, barred from sensitive sites… but they don’t report it. ‘They’re too scared,’ says Israeli official, lamenting capitulation to harassment

Several Western journalists currently working in Gaza have been harassed and threatened by Hamas for documenting cases of the terrorist group’s involvement of civilians in warfare against Israel, Israeli officials said, expressing outrage that some in the international media apparently allow themselves to be intimidated and do not report on such incidents

The Times of Israel confirmed several incidents in which journalists were questioned and threatened. These included cases involving photographers who had taken pictures of Hamas operatives in compromising circumstances — gunmen preparing to shoot rockets from within civilian structures, and/or fighting in civilian clothing — and who were then approached by Hamas men, bullied and had their equipment taken away. Another case involving a French reporter was initially reported by the journalist involved, but the account was subsequently removed from the Internet.

Continue reading at the Times of Israel.

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Babies Under Fire

BarzilaiKeeping fragile newborns safe under bombardment from Gaza is no easy matter.

Booming missile fire and wailing air-raid sirens are the “lullabies” reaching the tender ears of newborns at Ashkelon’s Barzilai University Medical Center these days. Rockets are falling on the Ashkelon area at a furious pace, up to 200 every day.

“We hear bombs all the time,” says Dr. Shmuel Zangan, head of pediatrics and neonatology at Barzilai, speaking to ISRAEL21c on Monday morning moments after yet another bombardment.

The infants are out of harm’s way, in the hospital’s protected rooms.

Zangan says the newborn nursery and neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) have been moved seven times since 2006 in response to intensified bombardments from Hamas terrorists in Gaza. The most recent transfer took place on July 8.

Zangan explains that transporting fragile newborns carries great risk for brain injury, so the decision is not taken lightly. Furthermore, because Barzilai has limited sheltered spaces, he is forced to discharge many newborns earlier than he normally would.

“Our hospital serves more than half a million civilians, and we do 4,500 deliveries per year,” he says.

Like in any other modern hospital, about 10 percent of newborns at Barzilai arrive prematurely. The medical center has a 22-bed NICU and a 40-bed newborn nursery. Only a fraction of these babies can be accommodated in the protected rooms.

“As a result, the capacity for treating babies here has shrunk 40-50%. In order to be able to treat those babies who really need it, I have to discharge preterm babies a few days early, and full-term babies after 36 hours,” says Zangan.

“The other problem is that the remaining babies are very crowded in the sheltered areas and that’s a risk factor for cross infection. We urgently need more sheltered spaces, and we’re working on that.”

He points out that in Gaza, just seven miles from Ashkelon, hospital shelters are expropriated by Hamas operatives for their own safety.

“While we are doing all we can to use our shelters to give life, we know our neighbors are using shelters to protect leaders of Hamas,” says Zangan. “If you want to figure out who are the good guys and who are the bad guys, look at how they use their sheltered areas in hospitals. That is the litmus test.”

Continue reading at Israel21c.

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Behind the lines, Israelis help out with the war effort

Image 1It’s taken a war for Israelis to reach out and help one another, but once motivated, they’ve been coming through in a range of creative ways

Communities have been packing boxes of food, underwear and other necessities, and shlepping them down to soldiers on the frontlines.

In central Jerusalem on Thursday, an initiative by a local real estate agency raised donations of several thousand dollars and prepared 300 care packages for soldiers — boosted by goods supplied cost-price by some local traders and free of charge by others.

A crew of parents headed down south the other day; they set up grills and cooked kebabs, stuffing them into fresh rolls for the troops.

A plumber in the south has been setting up a mobile shower each day for soldiers on a break from the fighting, washing 300 towels overnight.

Shops all over the country have been offering free felafels, coffee and drinks to soldiers.

Continue reading at the Times of Israel.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Statement on Operation Protective Edge

Binyamin_Netanyahu_IsraNetanyahu says attempts at calm rebuffed by Hamas, campaign to end rocket fire may take time

In a statement Tuesday evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the campaign against terror groups in Gaza would continue until rocket fire from the Strip ceases, and accused Hamas of rebuffing all recent attempts at restoring quiet.

“The State of Israel is in the middle of a campaign to bring back quiet and security for our citizens,” Netanyahu said in the statement. “We won’t tolerate rocket fire on our cities and towns. So I have ordered a dramatic widening of the IDF operation against the Hamas terrorists and against the terrorists of all other terror groups in the Gaza Strip.”

The escalation was ordered “only after all attempts to bring back quiet went unanswered, and Hamas chose escalation,” he said. “We do not go joyfully to battle, but the security of our citizens and our children comes first. We will do everything it takes so that the quiet that existed here in recent years will continue.”

IDF operations “are directed at Hamas terrorists, not against innocent civilians,” he added, “while Hamas intentionally hides behind Palestinian civilians, so it bears the responsibility when they are accidentally hurt.”

Read more at The Times of Israel.

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