Monday, September 25, 2017

Conflicting narratives persist over fate of allegedly kidnapped Israeli soldier


By Lynda Franken - July 22, 2014
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Section: [Main News] [Life under Occupation]
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Explosion in Gaza Strip | Palestine Monitor

 

 

Hamas claimed on Sunday to have kidnapped 21-year old Oron Shaul, a sergeant in the Israeli military. Israeli officials denied Shaul was kidnapped, classifying him as missing and presumably dead.

 

“Shaul Oron is in our hands”, said Senior Hamas leader Husam Badran today, without stating he was captured dead or alive. Hamas spokesperson Mushir al-Misri stated today that if Israel wants to see a picture of the captive soldier, it will have to “pay a price”, thought it is not clear what exactly that means. Hamas issued the number of his military tag and ID card last Sunday.

 

An Israeli spokesperson stated earlier today that “a vehicle carrying 7 soldiers was attacked July 20. We have identified 6 of their bodies. Efforts to identify the 7th soldier are ongoing”, referring to the missing soldier. The six soldiers were killed during the attack on Shuja’iya Sunday. The Israeli military believes Shaul was also killed and Hamas at most has part of his body or his uniform, according to Al Jazeera reports. 

 

News of the allegedly kidnapped Israeli soldier has sparked celebration throughout the occupied West Bank. In 2011, over a 1,000 Palestinian prisoners were released in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. During Operation Brother’s Keeper last June, dozens of them have been re-arrested

 

Working toward a ceasefire

 

News on a renewed five-hour humanitarian cease-fire circulated this morning with Senior Hamas official Mohammed Nazzal stating that Hamas “will agree to hours-long humanitarian ceasefires, but not to a long-term truce”. The potential humanitarian cease-fire was formally rejected by Israeli official Yoav Mordechai a few hours later, who informed UN envoy Robert Serry they did so due to “security reasons”. 

 

UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon arrived in Tel Aviv today to talk to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon. His message was to “stop fighting, start talking and (…) address these underlying issues, including occupation.” He is expected to leave for Ramallah tomorrow for meetings with Palestinian Authority officials. 

 

This evening, a draft UN resolution was presented to the Security Council by the Palestinian UN envoy. An early version of the document obtained by The Associated Press calls for “an immediate, durable (…) cease-fire including the withdrawal of Israeli occupying forces from the Gaza Strip.” 

 

Continuing warfare

 

Shelling continued throughout the day in Gaza. Hospitals and schools remained in the line of fire. Stefanie Dekker of Al Jazeera reportedof evacuation after two “very precise shots were fired straight into our building”. The Israeli military confirmed to have fired two warning shots into the Gaza office building. 

 

The practice, called “knock on the roof”, is meant to signal the severity of the situation so that inhabitants of the targeted building leave immediately. The warning shot is often given minutes before a bomb is dropped, reducing the targeted structure to rubble. 

 

Hamas rockets hit an empty schoolyard at Ashdod early Tuesday morning and Tel Aviv beach was closed Tuesday afternoon after rockets landed in the sea. 

 

The death toll in Gaza surpassed 600 today, with over 3,700 injured. The number of Israeli deaths reached 30 today with 123 Israeli troops hospitalized

 

Mourning in solidarity 

 

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared three days of national mourning in solidarity with the victims of Shuja’iya on Sunday, ordering a complete closure of business and institutions throughout the West Bank on Monday.

 

Demonstrations throughout the occupied West Bank have been ongoing for two consecutive nights. During a demonstration last night, Mahmoud Hatem Shawamra, 21, was shot by an Israeli settler. Shawamra was throwing stones at the settler’s car, Palestinian security sources told AFP. The incident happened between Ar-Ram and the Hizma checkpoint, near Ramallah. The Israeli military police reports it is looking into the event.

 

That same evening, an unnamed Israeli civilian was found seriously injured at the Rehelim junction, south of Nablus. The IDF spokesperson said on Twitter that a “Palestinian terrorist” shot the man and  “IDF Forces (were) searching the area” for the attacker.

 

 

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