With the gaze of the world’s media fixed on Lebanon, Israel’s onslaught on the Palestinians continues. The Gaza Strip has been under siege for a month and, on 19 July, an assault on the West Bank city of Nablus began.
Israeli tanks rolled into the city as part of a four day siege operation aimed at assassinating a leading member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade from Belata refugee camp in Nablus.
Israel Defence Forces (IDF) troops took over the buildings and hills surrounding the main local government compound, which they destroyed using bulldozers and tank shells. Everyone was ordered out of the old city.
People were forced to walk straight through IDF gunfire. Five Palestinians were killed.
A member of Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade from the refugee camp said, “Every week since 2002 we have had Israeli soldiers in our camp or in the old city.
“Every family in this camp has sons either killed or arrested by the Israelis. I have been shot three times, and the Israelis killed my cousins. Any time there is a suicide bomber from Belata, they bulldoze their family’s house.”
A member of Islamic Jihad from Nablus explained how last year Israeli tanks entered the old city, bulldozing a part of it in order to gain sniper positions.
He showed Socialist Worker the places where civilians had been shot in the killed by the IDF.
Meanwhile, the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip are continuing to face up to the Israeli siege.
Doctor Mona El Farra, who works at the al-Awda hospital in Jabalia refugee camp, said, “Israel launched a big assault against Gaza last week in the east. Thirty two people were killed in two days.
“Most of these were civilians, with children among them. There was also a lot of damage done to the infrastructure.
“Israeli intelligence has been ringing people and saying, ‘We are going to launch a rocket attack on your home. You have 15 minutes to leave.’
“This has happened in many places across Gaza.
“Israel shelled a home in Jabalia and killed a mother and her two daughters. Entire families are being killed by Israeli shelling. Israel is taking advantage of the media silence on Gaza while everyone is concentrating on Lebanon.
“There are rumours that Israel is preparing for a new assault on Gaza. There are things happening all the time - gunboats firing on people, assaults on refugee camps.
“There is a mood among the population of tiredness and being without hope. But we are not giving up. We feel empowered when we hear of the support for us and solidarity demonstrations around the world.”
Birmingham delegation deported
A solidarity delegation from Birmingham was prevented from entering Palestine last week by Israeli authorities.
Respect member Salma Iqbal was on the delegation. She said, “We had raised funds to set up a library in a refugee camp in Ramallah and were taking children’s books there.
“We had gone to great lengths to inform Israel about our trip, where we were going and what we were doing.
“The authorities at Tel Aviv airport allowed left Labour MP Lynne Jones and a woman trade unionist through, but then they stopped a Muslim woman. They held us for hours before deporting us.”
Lynne Jones and other delegation members refused to enter the country in solidarity with those stopped at the airport.