Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Israeli airstrikes flatten Gaza cultural centre


By Marc Henry - August 13, 2018
TAGS:
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Gaza] [culture] [Israeli violence] [Hamas]

A series of Israeli airstrikes, on August 9, completely destroyed the Said Al-Mishal cultural centre in the al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza City. According to Gaza’s Health Ministry, at least 18 Palestinians were injured in the airstrike. 

The five-floor building, which was one of the last cultural spaces left for Palestinians in Gaza held a theatre, a library, offices for cultural associations, and hosted an office for Gaza’s Egyptian community.
 
The attack was carried out in response to the rockets Hamas fired at Israel. As so, the Israeli Defence Force claimed that the Al-Mishal building was a used for military purposes by Hamas.
 
“Earlier today, IDF fighter jets targeted a 5-story building in Rimal, northern Gaza. Hamas’ interior security forces used the building for military purposes,” the IDF said on Twitter.
 
However, according to one of the centre’s theatre directors, Idrees Taleb, 27, this was not the case.
 
“Israel says its forces targeted the building because part of it was used by Hamas. But I have been there for more than eight years, there has never been anything related to any political party. Not in the past, and not recently,” Taleb told Middle East Eye.
 
Following the bombings, the Palestinian Ministry of Culture in Gaza held a press conference on the ruins of the Said Al-Mishal on Friday morning to condemn the Israeli targeting of the cultural centre. The press conference was followed by a 15 minute concert by al-Anqaa (the Phoenix) playing three national songs.
 
According to the manager of the band, Eid Musabbeh, 28, the bombing of the Said al-Mishal is a clear signal from Israel.
 
“Israel’s message is clear. Destroying such a prominent cultural building in Gaza only has one meaning; that its war is not only against armed factions and Palestinians but also against anything that has to do with the Palestinian identity,” he told Middle East Eye.
 
The bombing of the Said al-Mishal has not only destroyed one of the last cultural centres in Gaza, but also an organisation providing services to Egyptian women married to Palestinian men in Gaza was also affected.
 
Hamas spokesman Hazem Kassem said: “The occupation planes destroyed the cultural centre, which houses the Egyptian, with barbaric behaviour and an attempt to sabotage Egyptian efforts in the Gaza Strip.”
 
Shortly after Israel bombed the al-Mishal Cultural Center, several reports of a ceasefire emerged. A Palestinian official reportedly confirmed that Egyptian efforts had restored calm between Palestinian factions and Israel. However, Israeli officials denied the claim both sides had reached a ceasefire.

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