Posts Tagged ‘gaza wars’

Israeli President Shimon Peres (right) with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon prior to their meeting at the president's residence in Jerusalem

Israeli President Shimon Peres (right) with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon prior to their meeting at the president's residence in Jerusalem

More on Israel’s offensive on Gaza ploughed on into its 21st day on Friday after new deadly strikes that set ablaze the enclave, according to The Agence France-presse(AFP) while diplomatic efforts gathered pace and Hamas offered a conditional truce.

The Israeli army said it will lock down the occupied West Bank for 48 hours as Hamas called for a day of ‘wrath’ on Friday against the offensive on Gaza, as the death toll soared.

Gaza medics said that 1,105 Palestinians have been killed since Israel launched Operation Cast Lead on December 27, including 355 children, with at least 5,130 people wounded.

At least 50 Palestinians were killed in fighting on Thursday, including a top Hamas leader, as tanks pressed into the heart of Gaza City setting landmark buildings ablaze, including a hospital filled with refugees.

Said Siam , interior minister in Gaza’s Hamas government, was slain along with his brother and son in an air strike on the brother’s house north of Gaza City, Hamas said, as its armed wing vowed to avenge his death.

A Hamas hardliner, Siam had created the Executive Force, a militia that played a key role in the Islamist takeover of Gaza in June 2007. He is the highest-ranking Hamas official killed since Israel unleashed its offensive.

He was killed in a day of fierce fighting in which Israeli tanks rolled into the centre of Gaza City and forces struck a hospital, a media building and a UN compound , setting ablaze a warehouse filled with food aid.

A tide of terrified civilians , many gripping wailing children, fled the advancing Israeli troops as warplanes pounded the impoverished enclave in a bid to stem Palestinian rocket fire.

Hundreds of people took shelter in the Al-Quds Hospital in Gaza’s Tel al-Hawa neighbourhood but after nightfall they were forced to flee the facility engulfed in flames.

Patients who had been wounded in the fighting could be seen struggling to get out of their beds only to head out into an icy night pierced by gunfire, according to an AFP photographer.

At least three babies in incubators and three people on life support were wheeled out into the flame-lit streets.

Despite the onslaught, Gaza militants continued to rain rockets and mortar rounds on southern Israel, where 25 projectiles crashed on Thursday wounding five people, one of them seriously, the army and medics said.

On the diplomatic front, Egypt pressed ahead with Western-backed efforts to end the war in which an estimated 600 Palestinian civilians have been killed.

Israeli negotiator Amos Gilad held four hours of talks with Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman on Cairo’s plan for a truce on Thursday before heading back home to report to the Israeli leadership.

In what could be a major breakthrough, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni would travel to Washington to sign a memorandum on joint efforts to halt smuggling beneath the Gaza-Egypt border.

Shutting down the hundreds of tunnels beneath the frontier that form Hamas’s main resupply route was one of Israel’s chief war aims.

Olmert’s office also announced that top negotiator Gilad was going back to Cairo on Friday for more talks with Egyptian authorities on a truce plan.

Egyptian officials said earlier that Gilad responded ‘favourably’ to Cairo’s plan for a ceasefire.

The Damascus-based deputy head of Hamas’s powerful politburo, Mussa Abu Marzuk, also told AFP the Islamists were ready to accept a one-year renewable truce if Israel pulled its troops from Gaza.

Hamas was waiting for the Israeli reply, Abu Marzuk said, adding that the offer was also conditional on Israel’s lifting of the crippling blockade it has imposed on Gaza since the Islamists took control of the enclave in 2007.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon arrived in Israel on Thursday just before an Israeli tank shell hit the UN refugee agency’s main Gaza compound, wounding three employees and torching a warehouse filled with tens of millions of dollars worth of aid.

Ban, who is on a regional tour to push for a ceasefire in Gaza, conveyed his ‘strong protest and outrage’ amid a chorus of international condemnation.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also said she spoke to the Israeli leadership about the ‘difficulties’ caused by the shelling of the UN compound and described the incident as ‘unfortunate.’

Olmert said that Israeli troops had shelled the UNRWA compound in Gaza in response to fire coming from the building -charges denied by the UN refugee agency.

Israel also came under fire at an emergency UN meeting. ‘Gaza is ablaze. It has been turned into a burning hell,’ said Nicaragua’s Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, president of the 192-member UN General Assembly.

‘The violations of international law inherent in the Gaza assault have been well documented: collective punishment; disproportionate military force; attacks on civilian targets, including homes, mosques, universities, schools.’

Israel says 10 of its soldiers and three civilians have died as a result of combat or rocket fire since December 27.

P/S: JUST TELL US WHEN IS THIS ‘HELL-WORLD’ GOING TO END ALREADY! TOOK OFF THE FREAKIN PRIDE AND JUST EXCEPT WHAT YOU HAVE! AAARRRGH!

Hamas leader killed

Confirmed: Hamas leader killed

Hamas officials confirmed the death of Interior Minister Saeed Seyyam.

A top aide, Seyyam’s brother and his brother’s family were also killed in the attack on a house in the Jabalya refugee camp, as reported on SkyNews.

It comes as Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said the shelling of the UN headquarters in Gaza had been ‘a grave mistake’ which was being taken ‘very seriously’.

Diplomatic efforts to broker a deal to end the fighting are continuing in Cairo tonight.

Hamas has told Egyptian mediators it would agree to a year-long renewable ceasefire in Gaza if Israel pulls out all its forces within five to seven days and reopens border crossings immediately, sources said.

In its proposal to Israel, Hamas demanded the opening of all of Gaza’s border crossings be guaranteed by Egypt and the international community.

Hamas told Egypt it was open to the deployment of Turkish monitors but objected to a proposal that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ presidential guard be stationed at the Rafah crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.

An Israeli official said the country’s leaders would decide on their next move following a briefing by their envoy, senior Israeli defence official Amos Gilad, who has met Egyptian mediators in Cairo.

Hamas’ armed wing has vowed to avenge the death of Seyyam, an interior minister who was in charge of 13,000 police and security officials, and a Hamas official in Damascus, Mohammed Nazzal, insisted the killing of its leaders will not make the militant group budge on its tough stance toward Israel.

The Israeli army has confirmed the airstrike.

Israel has said it attacked the United Nations building after coming under fire from Palestinian militants within the compound.

The Israeli artillery attack set the compound on fire, destroyed tons of food and humanitarian supplies and forced hundreds of refugees sheltering inside to flee.

Israel says it does not target UN buildings or personnel but a senior military officer has said Israeli troops opened fire after militants shot anti-tank weapons and machine guns from inside.

Throughout its 20-day offensive in Gaza, Israel has accused Hamas militants of hiding in civilian areas to stage attacks.

But UN official John Ging, who was in the compound at the time, called the Israeli account ‘nonsense’.

And Chris Gunness of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) told Sky News hundreds of people were taking refuge inside the compound when it was hit by ‘three white phosphorus’ shells.

The chemical weapons cannot be put out by fire extinguishers and are banned from use in wars in civilian areas under the 1980 Geneva protocol.

UN chief Ban Ki-Moon said he was outraged by the Israeli strike.

‘I have conveyed my strong protest and outrage and demanded a full explanation from the defence minister and foreign minister,’ Mr Ban told reporters in Tel Aviv.

Mr Ban said Defence Minister Ehud Barak had assured him the incident had been ‘a grave mistake’ which was being taken ‘very seriously.’

‘He assured me that extra caution will be given to UN facilities and staff and that this will not be repeated,’ he said.

Mr Barak pointed the finger of blame at Hamas.

‘Hamas uses Palestinian civilians as human shields and fires at IDF (Israeli Defence Forces) soldiers from sites adjacent to UN complexes,’ he was quoted as saying.

The headquarters of several media organisations have also reportedly been hit, injuring two cameramen.

The number of dead in Gaza has reached an ‘unbearable point’, he said, insisting elements are in place for the fighting to end ‘now’.

Mr Ban said he expected Israel to make an important decision on Thursday on whether to stop firing in the Gaza Strip.

Israel has said it will not agree to a truce which would allow Hamas to regroup and rearm. It is trying to stop Hamas firing rockets into Israel.

According to Gaza’s health ministry, more than 1,000 Palestinians -around half of them civilians- have been killed during the fighting.

Thirteen Israelis have also been killed -10 soldiers and three civilians hit by Hamas rocket fire.

P/S: 1,000 Palestinians to 13 Israelis. You do the calculation as to what is fair and who’s the real bully here. . .

UN building in Gaza shelled

The ITN has reported that witnesses and UN officials said the United Nations Relief and Work Agency building was being used as a shelter for civilians fleeing the bombardment of the Palestinian enclave when it was struck.

UN spokesman Chris Gunness said: ‘Our compound in Gaza has now received three hits, reportedly of white phosphorus.

‘Buildings in the compound are on fire, there are loaded fuel tankers nearby. Three people have been injured.

‘It is not clear at this stage if they are UNWRA staff or some of the 700 or so civilians who have taken refuge in our compound.’

The use of white phosphorous, which causes horrific burns on contact with skin, was banned as a weapon of war in civilian areas under the 1980 Geneva protocol.

An explosion in a Gaza City tower block housing the offices of the Reuters news agency and other media organisations was also blamed on an Israeli shell.

Witnesses said the southern side of the 13th floor of the Al-Shurouq Tower in the city centre had been struck by an Israeli missile or shell and a journalist for the Abu Dhabi television channel was injured.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon said the number of deaths in the Gaza Strip after 20 days of fighting had become ‘unbearable’.

The Palestinian death toll has risen to at least 1,024, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza. A Palestinian rights group said 670 were civilians. Thirteen Israelis -ten soldiers and three civilians- have been killed.

An Israeli envoy is meeting Egyptian mediators in Cairo as efforts to arrange a ceasefire with Islamist militants Hamas intensify.

Spain’s Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, a former EU Middle East envoy, said: ‘My perception is we are very close to reaching a ceasefire. They are very close but still there is some work to be done.’

P/S: Not close enough. . .just another ‘comforting’ statement I’d say.

Strange Brew

'Are you sure we're allowed to have those here?'

P/S: I bet the Israelis think there’re air-conds in hell when they’re dead. They wish, stop the brutality killings already!

Don't blindly boycott U.S goods

Don't blindly boycott U.S goods

The people have the rights to boycott American goods although the government may not do so, said principal fellow with the Faculty of Economics and Management, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Datuk Muhammad Salleh Majid to Berita Nasional Malaysia(Bernama).

He said if the people were to do so, they should know the reasons for the boycott, otherwise it would serve no purpose.

‘They should not do it blindly and they should also be prepared for the consequences. The intention must be firm and clear,’ the former president of the then Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange (now Bursa Malaysia) told Bernama today.

Muhammad Salleh said Malaysia was capable of boycotting American products just like in the early 1980s when former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad launched the “Buy British Last” campaign.

‘Likewise, we can do a similar campaign or stop using the USD and switch to Euro.

More in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia;-

‘There are 1.5 billion Muslims around the globe compared to 14 million Jews and we ought to stick together to fight them,’ said Muhammad Salleh.

On the United Nations’ resolution on the Israeli invasion of Gaza, he said, ‘the UN is a lame duck. Too much belong to the Jews… Hollywood, the media… the list goes on and on. We must not touch, buy or use Jewish products.’

Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM) secretary-general Datuk Dr Ma’mor Osman said the people should boycott American products although it was their choice.

‘We should detest the dehumanisation and incursion which threaten world peace. Those devoid of human norms do not care the pain inflicted on others,’ he said.

Malaysian should continue develop food chains and products while the people should give preference to local products, he said, adding that Malaysians should emulate South Koreans and Japanese who support local goods.

 

P/S: There are real foods in containers and packets that you can get instantly at vending machines in Japan. Certain foods doesn’t even require you to add any sauce but it tastes as delicious as real ones. Despite our tries on the sandwich vending machines a while back, maybe the aspiring inventors in Malaysia can learn a thing or two from the Japanese to invent something other and attract more people to support Malaysian local products. 

To know more about various kinds of vending machines in Japan, you can click here.

People look at the bodies of Palestinians killed during Israel's offensive, at Shifa hospital in Gaza January 11, 2009. (Suhaib Salem/Reuters)

People look at the bodies of Palestinians killed during Israel's offensive, at Shifa hospital in Gaza January 11, 2009. (Suhaib Salem/Reuters)

Israeli ground troops battled Palestinian militants in the streets of a densely populated Gaza City neighborhood early Tuesday, destroying dozens of homes and sending terrified residents running for cover as gunfire and explosions echoed in the distance.

Israel’s push into Tel Hawwa neighborhood was the farthest it has moved into Gaza City during its 18-day offensive against Hamas militants, and brought Israel’s ground forces within a mile of the crowded city center. According to The Associated Press(AP), Palestinian hospital officials say more than 900 Palestinians, half of them civilians, have been killed.

Israel launched the offensive on Dec. 27 to end years of Palestinian rocket attacks on its southern towns, and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has vowed to press forward with an ‘iron fist,’ despite growing international calls for an end to the fighting. U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon was headed to the region Tuesday to press for a cease-fire.

Palestinian witnesses said the Israeli forces moved overnight about 300 yards into Tel Hawwa, a neighborhood of high-rise buildings on the southeastern edge of Gaza City. Palestinian medical officials reported at least 16 people killed in fighting, though the Israeli army suggested the number could be much higher.

One resident, Khader Mussa, said he fled his house while waving a white flag as the Israeli forces advanced. He spent the night huddling in the basement of a relative with 25 other people, including his pregnant wife and his parents.

‘Thank God we survived this time and got out alive from here. But we don’t know how long we’ll be safe in my brother’s home,’ Mussa, 35, told The Associated Press by telephone.

Several buildings were on fire, witnesses said, including a lumberyard. Sounds of the battle could be heard clearly around the city of 400,000 as the Israeli forces, backed by artillery and attack helicopters, moved into neighborhoods east and south of Gaza City. Israeli gunboats shelled the coast from the west.

The Israeli military said it carried out some 60 airstrikes overnight, hitting groups of Hamas militants holed up in a hotel, a house and a mosque. It said it also struck 15 squads of gunmen, rocket launching sites and 15 smuggling tunnels along the Egyptian border.

The army said it had killed or wounded about 30 militants, and that three soldiers were wounded in overnight fighting. Among them was an officer who was seriously wounded when a bomb exploded in a northern Gaza house that he was searching. Weapons, including a machine gun, were later found in the house, the military said.

Dr. Moaiya Hassanain, a Palestinian Health Ministry official said dozens of calls for ambulances had been received, but they could not be dispatched because of the fighting.

The Gaza fighting has raised tensions around the region and galvanized anger toward Israel throughout the Arab world. On Tuesday, at least one gunman opened fire at an Israeli army patrol along the desert border between Israel and Jordan, the military said. There were no casualties, and Jordan said the claim was ‘baseless.’

There was a similar shooting incident on the Israel-Syria border on Sunday, and last week militants in Lebanon fired rockets into an Israeli town in an apparent attempt to draw Israel into a second front.

The Israeli military has tightly controlled information from the battlefield, but indications have been that Hamas has not put up a serious fight. Of the nine Israeli soldiers killed during the offensive, four were killed in ‘friendly fire incidents,’ a military inquiry concluded. Repeated Hamas claims of spectacular attacks on the Israelis have turned out to be false.

Speaking in parliament on Tuesday, Israel’s military chief said his troops have achieved a lot but ‘still have work to do’ in fighting Hamas in Gaza.

‘The soldiers are doing exceptional work, with many achievements in inflicting damage on Hamas, its infrastructure, its government and military wing,’ he said.

Palestinian rocket fire has been greatly reduced, but not halted altogether, since the offensive was launched.

As diplomats struggled with the truce efforts, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Israel would end the military operations only when Hamas stops rocketing Israel and halts weapons smuggling across the porous border.

‘Anything else will be met with the Israeli people’s iron fist,’ Olmert said.

He spoke Monday in the town of Ashkelon, where life has largely been paralyzed by rocket fire from Gaza.

Later, he tempered his tough talk, saying: ‘I really hope that the efforts we are making with the Egyptians these days will ripen to a result that will enable us to end the fighting.’ Egypt, which often mediates between Israel and Hamas, and international diplomats have been furiously working toward a solution that would stop the fighting.

In a speech broadcast on the group’s Al Aqsa TV station, Hamas’ prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, claimed his group would continue fighting, but said it was pursuing diplomacy to end the conflict. He said any truce would require an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and the opening of the territory’s blockaded borders.

‘As we are in the middle of this crisis, we tell our people we, God willing, are closer to victory. All the blood that is being shed will not go to waste,’ Haniyeh said.

Like other Hamas leaders, Haniyeh is in hiding, and it was not clear from where he was speaking.

Inside Gaza on Monday, an Israeli battalion commander identified only as Lt. Col. Yehuda said troops had not met significant resistance. He said troops found several houses booby-trapped either with regular explosives, or by sealing the windows and doors and opening cooking gas valves.

‘A couple of days ago, an armed squad popped up from a tunnel that was concealed by a nearby building. We took them out with tank fire and a bulldozer,’ he said.

The officer’s comment was approved by Israeli military censors. He spoke to a small group of reporters who accompanied Israeli units inside Gaza. Israeli forces have not allowed journalists to enter Gaza to cover the war.

Much of the diplomacy focuses on an area of southern Gaza just across the Egyptian border that serves as a weapons smuggling route, making Egypt critical to both sides in any deal.

Israel wants smuggling tunnels along the border sealed and monitored as part of any peace deal, and has been bombing the tunnels throughout the campaign.

The U.N. Security Council has already passed a resolution calling for a cease-fire. Ban was headed to the Mideast on Tuesday to enforce the measure.

Speaking at U.N. headquarters in New York on Monday, Ban said he has been on the phone constantly with top officials in the Middle East, Europe and the United States promoting the cease-fire. But he said phone calls are not a substitute for direct talks with leaders who have influence on the parties.

‘To both sides, I say: Just stop, now,’ the U.N. chief said.

‘Too many people have died. There has been too much civilian suffering. Too many people, Israelis and Palestinians, live in daily fear of their lives.’

The secretary-general said he plans to meet senior officials in Egypt and Jordan on Wednesday, then head to Israel, the West Bank, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria and Kuwait.

The fighting has raised concerns about a looming humanitarian disaster in Gaza, where hundreds of thousands of people are without power and running water. The Israeli army said about 100 truckloads of humanitarian aid, including wheat, flour and medical supplies, were expected to be let into the territory on Tuesday.

P/S: *sighs~ if only I have more money and power. . . then I can help our fellow Palestinians more. I feel helpless as it is. . . *praying. God, please save the Palestinians as they are just the victims of life. . .Amiiin~

Smoke is seen from an explosion after an Israeli strike in Gaza City, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2009. Israeli troops battled Palestinian gunmen in a suburb of Gaza City on Sunday morning, waging one of their fiercest ground battles so far as Israel's military inched closer to Gaza's main population centers and residents braced for an expansion of the offensive. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

Smoke is seen from an explosion after an Israeli strike in Gaza City, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2009. Israeli troops battled Palestinian gunmen in a suburb of Gaza City on Sunday morning, waging one of their fiercest ground battles so far as Israel's military inched closer to Gaza's main population centers and residents braced for an expansion of the offensive. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

Israeli troops battled Palestinian gunmen in a suburb of Gaza City Sunday in one of the fiercest ground battles so far as Israel’s military inched toward Gaza’s population centers and residents braced for an expansion of the offensive.

The fighting in the Sheikh Ajleen neighborhood erupted before dawn and continued through the morning as Israeli infantrymen and tanks advanced toward Gaza City and its approximately 400,000 residents, Palestinian witnesses said to The Associated Press(AP) today. Hamas and the smaller militant group Islamic Jihad said they ambushed the Israelis, leading to some of the heaviest fighting since Israel sent ground forces into the coastal territory on Jan. 3.

Gunfire subsided in the early afternoon, with the Israelis in control of buildings on the neighborhood’s outskirts.

Israel launched its offensive against Hamas on Dec. 27 in an attempt to halt years of rocket fire from Gaza at Israeli towns. Gaza health officials have counted more than 820 Palestinians dead and say at least half are civilians. The Israeli military says troops have killed some 300 armed fighters since the ground offensive began and that many more were killed in the week of aerial bombardments that preceded it.

Thirteen Israelis have died, three of them civilians.

‘Israel is nearing the goals which it set itself, but more patience, determination and effort is still demanded,’ Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said ahead of his government’s weekly meeting Sunday.

The U.N. Security Council called for an immediate cease-fire Thursday, but Olmert said Israel ‘never agreed that anyone would decide for us if it is permissible to strike at those who send bombs against our kindergartens and schools.’

Hamas, the Islamic group whose government controls Gaza but is not recognized internationally, likewise has ignored the resolution, complaining that it was not consulted.

Israeli defense officials say they are prepared for a third stage of their offensive, in which ground troops would push further into Gaza, but are waiting for approval from the government. Israel dropped leaflets on Gaza on Saturday warning of a wider offensive.

The first phase was the massive aerial bombardment, and the second saw ground forces enter Gaza, seize open areas used to fire rockets and surround Gaza City. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because military plans have not been made public, said the army also has a contingency plan for a fourth phase -the full reoccupation of Gaza and toppling of Hamas.

At least 14 people were killed in Sunday’s fighting in and around Sheikh Ajleen, Palestinian health officials said. How many were militants and how many civilians was not immediately known. There was no word on Israeli casualties.

‘We are safe, but we don’t know for how long,’ said Khamis Alawi, 44, who huddled with his wife and six children in their kitchen overnight. He said bullets riddled his walls and several came in through the windows.

Hamas militants launched barrages of rockets at the Israeli city of Beersheba and at the town of Sderot. Hamas has been hard-hit by the Israeli offensive, but continued to fire rockets from Palestinian residential areas, paralyzing much of southern Israel.

Open areas in northern Gaza from which militants once launched many of their rockets are now in Israeli hands.

Israeli warplanes bombed targets along the Egypt-Gaza frontier near the town of Rafah early Sunday, shattering windows at the border terminal. The area is riddled by tunnels used to smuggle weapons and supplies into Gaza, and has been repeatedly bombed throughout the Israeli offensive.

At least 20 Palestinians had been killed across Gaza by midday Sunday, according to Gaza health officials. Most were noncombatants, they said, including four members of one family killed when a tank shell hit their home near Gaza City.

The military says Hamas fighters are wearing civilian clothes and endangering civilians by operating out of heavily populated residential areas.

Palestinian witnesses said Israeli forces fired phosphorus shells early Sunday at Khouza, a village near the border, setting a row of houses on fire. Hospital official Dr. Yusuf Abu Rish said a woman was killed and more than 100 injured, most suffering from gas inhalation and burns.

Israeli military spokesman Capt. Guy Spigelman denied the claims. One of the main uses of phosphorous shells is to create smoke and mask ground forces, which is legal under international law, but the chemical can be harmful if used in densely populated areas.

Damascus-based Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal made a fiery speech on Arab news channel Al-Jazeera, describing the Israeli assault as a ‘holocaust.’ Still, Hamas teams were in Cairo to discuss a cease-fire proposed by Egypt.

Israel wants a guarantee that any cease-fire would end Hamas rocket fire and weapons smuggling from Egypt. Hamas is demanding that Israel open Gaza’s blockaded border crossings. Israel is unlikely to agree to that condition because it would hand Hamas a victory and allow the group to strengthen its hold on the territory it violently seized in June 2007.

Struggling to keep peace efforts alive, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has urged Israel and Hamas to agree to a truce. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier was set to hold talks with Israeli leaders Sunday in Egypt in an attempt to advance the Security Council’s cease-fire call.

‘Israel must be persuaded to let the firearms rest now,’ Steinmeier told reporters Sunday.

One of the deadliest single incidents since the offensive began was an Israeli strike near a U.N. school Tuesday that Gaza health officials said killed 39 Palestinians. On Sunday, Israeli defense officials said an investigation by the military concluded that an Israeli mortar shell missed its target and hit near the school.

The Israeli investigation concluded that troops fired three mortar shells at Hamas militants who had just launched a rocket, the officials said. Two shells hit the target, but a third missed by about 30 yards, striking near the school and killing bystanders. The Israeli military believes the number of casualties was inflated by Hamas.

The defense officials spoke Sunday on condition of anonymity because the investigation has not been made public, and there was no official comment from the military.

The U.N. agency in charge of Palestinian refugees has resumed its operations after suspending them because of Israeli attacks on its convoys. U.N. Relief and Works Agency spokesman Christopher Gunness said nine aid convoys were planned Sunday, but that the Israeli military had to ‘stand up and deliver’ on its promises to allow aid to reach Gaza civilians.

But the international Red Cross said Sunday it was halting its service of escorting Palestinian medical teams after one of its ambulances came under fire on Saturday during a three-hour lull declared by Israel to allow aid groups to do their work in besieged areas.

Red Cross spokesman Iyad Nasr said his organization is still investigating the source of the fire.

The Red Cross escorts are meant to provide extra protection to Palestinian ambulances and guarantee that all occupants are civilians. In the past Israel has charged that ambulances have been used to transport militants and arms.

P/S: A miss? how about that? are ALL the bombs and bullets that killed up to 800 palestinians now was a miss too? I just don’t believe it.

One of the banners at the protest, the feelings of a human being towards humanity however doesn't occur on the Israelis.

One of the banners at the protest, the feelings of a human being towards humanity however doesn't occur on the Israelis.

The Associated Press(AP) has reported today that some 3,000 Malaysians protested on Friday against Israel’s invasion of Gaza, burning Israeli flags and effigies of President George W. Bush.

The mainly Muslim protesters, waving Palestinian flags and chanting anti-Israel slogans, marched to the U.S. Embassy in downtown Kuala Lumpur from a nearby mosque after Friday prayers.

They called on the U.S. to use its influence to stop Israel’s military offensive on Gaza, which has left more than 750 people dead -at least half of them civilians, according to Gaza health officials. Thirteen Israelis have died.

Israel has defended its two-week operation, saying it wants to stop rocket attacks from Hamas-controlled Gaza into Israeli territory.

‘The killing continues. … We are urging the American government to demand that Israel withdraw from Gaza,’ said Adnan Mohamad Tahir, an activist.

The protesters, who burned two Israeli flags and effigies of Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, dispersed after an hour.

The United States abstained from a U.N. Security Council resolution passed Thursday that called for a cease-fire.

Malaysia’s government, which has no diplomatic ties with Israel, has condemned Israel’s ground offensive as a ‘an act of total war.’ On Thursday, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi called for international sanctions on Israel.

In Hong Kong, several hundred people outside a mosque chanted slogans and held placards reading, ‘Stop the Israeli Attacks on Gaza’ and ‘Stop Killing Children and Innocent.’

P/S:  The protest is still going on today in Selangor, Malaysia at The  Melawati Stadium. FREE PALESTINE!