News / Middle East

On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Israeli forces' flares light up the night sky over Gaza City on July 29, 2014.
Israeli forces' flares light up the night sky over Gaza City on July 29, 2014.
Scott Bobb

By day, except for the high hum of surveillance drones or bursts of bombs and artillery fire, parts of the Gaza Strip seem unnaturally quiet.  

Few pedestrians or vehicles move along Gaza City’s once-bustling commercial streets, with residents preferring to hunker down at home – if they have one. Donkeys and camels wander along the Israeli-Gaza buffer zone, stirring when armored tanks roll through.

Routine has been upended here since Israel began its July 8 offensive to halt Hamas militants from firing rockets at it from Gaza. Now the busiest gathering spots are the 85 sites where nearly 200,000 displaced Palestinians have taken refuge.    

By evening, anxiety rises throughout Gaza, residents say, noting Israeli airstrikes intensify at night and into the early morning.

A case in point: Just before daybreak Wednesday, Israeli artillery shells pummeled a United Nations-run school compound where as many as 3,000 had sought shelter. At least 19 people were killed and scores were wounded at the Jebaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza.

Story continues below video:

Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.

Several hours later, we surveyed the devastation. A wall had caved in on the classroom where most of the victims had bedded down, and blankets littered the floor along with traces of flesh and blood.  

Concern over arms supply

Some refugees accused the West of complicity for supplying funding that armed the Israelis. Their comments echoed those of other Gaza Palestinians, who say the weapons being used to destroy their homes and their lives come from the United States, other Western powers and multinationals. On Wednesday, U.S. defense officials said they would resupply Israeli’s military with ammunition, including grenade launchers.

These Palestinians are convinced the outside world – including Arab nations – has done too little to help or intervene. Some say they feel abandoned.

The United States has pledged $47 million in humanitarian aid, including an initial $15 million to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in response to its recent urgent appeal. Other groups, such as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, are delivering aid.    

Gaza’s Palestinians have found little relief during weeks of conflict, and they’ve grown skeptical about prospects of a temporary cease-fire.

On Wednesday, Israel had declared a four-hour humanitarian cease-fire beginning at  3:00 p.m. local time in parts of Gaza – to let Palestinians restock supplies, address medical needs and bury bodies – but explosions and artillery fire sounded less than a half hour after it began.

Israel Defense Forces said 26 rockets were fired at the Jewish state during the four-hour window, with two of them intercepted above the cities of Ashkelon and Netivot. Drones sounded over Gaza City as the clock ran out.

Each side proposes a break in the conflict when it’s convenient. Last weekend, Israel offered a cease-fire during the Sabbath; Hamas offered a cease-fire prior to Eid al-Fitr, the holiday concluding Ramadan, the Muslim month of atonement.

But the rocket fire, the airstrikes and the artillery fire continue. At night, people in Gaza don’t expect sweet dreams.  

You May Like

Video Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: yee san from: Burma
July 31, 2014 12:14 PM
" should have to detain the ego so that become the closest to have the real peace "

by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City
July 31, 2014 2:36 AM
We are very sorry to see women, kids, older and young men died. But at the same token one must place the blame on whom the blame should be place on. Hamas must be blame for the death of the Palestinians. They started this whole fight,They provoked this right, becuz they had all those tunnels under Israel and Iranians long range rockets, so they thought the time has come to destroy Israel. Hamas is to be Blame. Once again, We are sorry for the death of those innocent people. But let us face the fact, Hamas is the problem.
In Response

by: Jack from: USA
August 17, 2014 2:51 AM
despite of Hamas actions, Israel shouldn't target civilians and by the way, this time Israel committed a big mistake when it targeted civilians. I think Israel had no specific strategy to deal with Hamas and instead of using some logical way to deal with the matter , Israelis preferred to restart the conflict by targeting civilians,demolishing houses and civilian building, and conquering the villages of Gaza.

by: Walter from: USA
July 30, 2014 9:22 PM
It my belief that the UNRWA knew there were rockets hidden in their schools and hospitals. they have aided and abetted Hamas in the secreting hiding of these rockets and arms and ammunition. I believe they knew and they would never have said anything if Israel had accepted a cease fire and quit the Gaza Strip. The director of UNRWA is just as guilty as Hamas for the death of those so called 'innocent civilians', by remaining quiet when they knew the rockets and arms were there and that Hamas was planning on firing from schools and hospitals. The whole bunch from the UN Agency knew what was going on, and they allowed it and abetted it. They are just as responsible as Hamas for the death of so called 'innocents'.

by: wavettore from: USA
July 30, 2014 9:21 PM
There are only two possible Directions that originate from two opposite concepts: egalitarian or pyramidal.
Tertium non datur as the Romans used to say or there is no third possibility.

The Zionist or pyramidal concept, diametrically opposite to Equality and mutual respect, is the continuation of what we have experienced so far or the reaffirmation of the only rule of the Animal kingdom.

Instead, the egalitarian concept is at this point only an abstraction. It would require a prearranged structure for it to work and not to become a system of chaos and anarchy. The theory of this structure already exists and more than likely would lead to new values and to a new form of government like Commutalism.

In the end, Zionists will be defined as all those who do not believe in Equality. For example, those who claim superiority for themselves or others, like who believe in queens and kings or also the followers of those Religions that still today celebrate our differences and not what we have in common.

In essence the next World War is already knocking at your door and the Conflict, manipulated by excuses of Religion and other, should be defined from the beginning only pro or against Equality.
The old Animals opposed to a new Humankind.

http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/User:EttoreGreco/Commutalism

http://www.wavevolution.org/en/humanwaves.html

by: American from: America
July 30, 2014 8:50 PM
Let's see who should America support?
Israel: The only successful democracy in the Middle East that supports the USA and provides us with intelligence in the region.
Palestine: Danced in celebration when thousands of Americans died on 9/11
Hmm tough decision...
In Response

by: polarcup
July 31, 2014 2:25 AM
Once again, saying this, you're part of the propagandist. No palestinian dance celebration during the 11/9, its a lie. Some old traditional celebration images were just wrongly used by some media to play the same nasty game as you, 13y. ago.
I admit jews suffered under Nazi regime and its horrible, but Israeli gouvernment cant kill childrens and women in the name of peace and liberty. The Dove has nausea right now.

by: George Kafantaris
July 30, 2014 8:48 PM
"There may continue to be debate on the strategies of hiding tunnels and missiles among civilian structures, but there should be no debate that knowingly attacking hospitals and health facilities is not the answer. Attacks on such buildings are violations of humanitarian and human rights law and should be universally condemned.
Destroying them not only leaves no safe space for civilians in the short term, but can also disrupt access to health care for years to come, as structures are rebuilt and health care workers are recruited. This particularly affects the most vulnerable groups, including children.
Using civilian health facilities as bases for attacks is wrong; but attacking those structures knowingly is not the solution, and only worsens the problem." -- Dr. Rohini J. Haar, St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital, Department of Emergency Medicine

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Imagei
X
Marthe van der Wolf
March 03, 2015 9:03 PM
Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More