Scoop – July 19, 2011
The whole of Gaza City is under air attack with Israel Defense Force (IDF) drones and other aircraft roaming the skies firing rockets and dropping bombs on the Palestinian population.
For Scoop, Julie Webb-Pullman reports that there are swarms of strike aircraft: “There was at least one explosion, then sirens. I can still hear drones , more sirens, lots of sirens, more explosions.”
From one vantage point, she can see a lot of smoke emitting from near Gaza City’s university.
From her rooftop, Julie Webb-Pullman reports: “It looks like a massive airstrike – the city of Gaza is under a pall of acrid smoke. The drones still droning. I can’t tell where the strikes were, but definitely in the middle of town, as well as further out.”
She said one air-strike was “close-ish but when I went on the roof I saw the whole city is under a pall – the drones are still going, every so often there are More sirens.
“They sound like they’re to the south-east of Gaza City, and to the north,” Julie Webb-Pullman reports.
There appears to be an intensifying strategy being deployed by the IDF, should a rocket or an improvised explosive device be lobbed at Israel from inside the Palestinian Territories, then there is a strong retaliatory response.
“There have been strikes every day after none for several months, and on Sunday night the IDF dropped leaflets warning anyone coming within 300 meters of the border would be shot.
“There does seem to be a ratcheting up of activity from both sides – now there appear to be two militant group, neither of them Hamas, firing home-made rockets into Israel.
“They have not wounded or killed anyone at all – yet – but the Israelis have responded with their usual disproportion, injuring many and destroying a lot of civilian property,” Julie Webb-Pullman reports.
United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has just cut back on the aid provided to Palestinian people. This is placing added pressure on the population in Gaza as 80% are dependent on that aid.
The weather is also relentlessly hot, with frequent power cuts and no clean water, making daily life really hard for ordinary people.
There is a distinct Israeli pressure on the Palestine Authority and Hamas not to unify, and not to seek recognition of a Palestinian State at the United Nations General Assembly in September – they have only given the Palestine Authority 50% of the money for salaries for public servants, so they are creating an explosive situation that Israel can then use to justify attacking, arresting, and doing whatever they please to Palestinians.