Updates

Since the recent bout of fighting in Gaza began, the internet has been inundated with footage of the fighting and its results. It is often difficult to determine the reliability of this footage as well as the context in which the images were shot. Our blog will present footage we collected from various online sources. We do not have full information regarding most of the items, so we appended explanatory notes for context. We also provided links to related media reports and cited details of information still missing. Please note: Most of the clips contain graphic content.

July 27

"I was sitting reading the Quran when suddenly I heard a loud explosion. At first, I thought it was in the street or in a neighboring house. But I quickly realized it actually came from the roof of my house. I couldn't believe my house had been bombed. I ran up the stairs to the roof. Everything was full of dust and smoke. When they settled, I saw a terrible sight: a pile of five children lying one on top of the other... on the way to the hospital, Afnan passed away in my arms. I fainted. When I came to, we were at the hospital... they told me that two of my brother 'Issam's kids were dead too."

July 27

"I decided to walk to my sister's house in a-Rimal neighborhood. It was very dangerous. We walked single file, one after another. I carried 'Abd a-Rahman and he held on to me tightly. We walked hugging the walls of buildings and the doors of closed shops, and tried to take cover under trees and light shelters. It felt like we were walking through a ghost town. We were surrounded by death... I prayed to God that He protect my children and me. I kept walking until we reached the hospital in Beit Hanoun. I met my husband there. I hadn't seen him since the war began, because he was at work all the time... We took a taxi from there to my sister's house in a-Rimal neighborhood. She was already hosting three other families, relatives of ours who had also fled the bombings. All told, we were 31 people. I was still scared, because no place is safe."

July 27

According to B'Tselem's initial figures, at least 686 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip and Israel in the time between early Tuesday, 8 July 2014, when Operation Protective Edge airstrikes on Gaza began until 23 July at 8:00 P.M. The fatalities include: 163 minors (one minor participated in the hostilities), 69 women (under age 60), 38 senior citizens (aged 60 and over). Initial findings indicate that 153 of the people killed participated in the hostilities.

Two Israeli civilians, one foreign national and 32 Israeli soldiers were killed in the Gaza Strip and Israel during the same time frame.

July 24

Joint letter by Human Rights Organizations to Minister of Defense and Chief of Staff concerning the absence of any secure area in the Gaza Strip to which civilians can escape to protect their lives and ensure their safety and that of their families. We demand the immediate opening of an escape route for civilians to escape the battle zone.

July 24

More than 600 Palestinians have been killed during the fighting in Gaza so far, including more than 150 children. Yet Israeli media is barely covering the story, other than mentioning the number of casualties. To encourage public debate in Israel on the issue, B’Tselem asked to purchase a spot on IBA Radio in order to have the names of some of the children killed read out. The radio refused, on the grounds that reading out the names of Palestinian children killed in Gaza is politically “controversial”. Yet the refusal is, in itself, far from neutral: it is a powerful statement in favor of silencing public debate over the massive price that Gazan civilians are paying for this operation.

July 24

“My wife and I were afraid something bad would happen to Yasmin and Usamah. We thought my sister Kawthar’s home would be safer… It’s usually quiet there, and the bombings haven’t reached them... my cousin called from Khan Yunis. He said a missile had been fired at my sisters’ house and asked me to come quickly because my kids had been hurt... I ran like a maniac to Kawthar’s house. When I got to the front door, I realized something terrible had happened. People inside the house came up to me. They told me that my two children had been killed... I yelled and cried hysterically.

July 24

In an urgent letter to Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, 12 human rights organizations demand today that Israel fulfil its obligations and ensure that the humanitarian needs of the civilian population of Gaza are met, particularly with respect to the dwindling supply of water and electricity. More than half of Gaza’s population, 1.2 million people, currently were affected by lack of adequate access to water and sanitation services. Hundreds of thousands are completely without power, while additional hundreds of thousands are rationed up to 5 hours of electricity per day. These acute shortages are the result of severe damage to civilian infrastructure caused during the hostilities.

July 23

"It was the third time a Qassam rocket directly hit our family. The first was about five years ago, when a rocket hit my brother's house. Three years ago, a rocket hit my parents' house. I'm lucky that the damage to my house was relatively minor... my beeper started sounding the alarm and I went into the safe room ... I heard the rockets land very loudly, and it was so strong that the safe room shook... I was shaking and couldn't move. When I went out, I saw that the blast had blown the door in. I was shaking and couldn't move. When I went out, I saw that the blast had blown the door in. Bits of glass and shrapnel and plaster were scattered everywhere."

July 23

"The family sat out on the porch, enjoying the atmosphere after breaking the fast. Despite the general sense of fear because of the war... things in the area felt normal at the time... Musa, my four-year-old, was sitting in my lap. My wife was holding Hazem, the baby.... Suddenly, two missiles landed on us... Everyone was hysterical and it was a huge mess. It's hard to describe the moments after the explosion. I saw some members of my family lying on the ground. Some of them weren't moving. They had blood on their faces and clothes. The little children were crying."

July 23

"The fire from the first missile reached inside our homes, the explosion was so strong. It terrified us. Everyone panicked, especially the women, children and elderly people. Not all the families in the area left at once. We did it in stages. I saw my little grandchildren and the children of neighbors and relatives paralyzed with fear, and I could see in their eyes that they were shocked. They were trembling with fear. We had to evacuate our home and leave all our belongings behind. We only took a change of clothes, documents, money and jewelry. We left everything else behind: furniture, dishes, equipment. That really hurt. We left in a hurry after the last warning this morning, because we were very afraid of being bombed."

July 22

According to B'Tselem's initial figures, at least 505 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip and Israel in the time between early Tuesday, 8 July 2014, when Operation Protective Edge airstrikes on Gaza began until the 21 July at 9PM. The fatalities include: 140 minors (one minor participated in the hostilities), 56 women (under age 60), 28 senior citizens (aged 60 and over), Initial findings indicate that 102 of the people killed participated in the hostilities.

Two Israeli civilians were killed within Israel during this time, and 27 soldiers were killed in the Gaza Strip and Israel.

July 22

Millions of Israeli citizens, many of whom are children, have been living under the threat of rocket fire for more than two weeks. For hundreds of thousands of Israelis living in the south of the country, this terrible situation is part of an ongoing routine. The unrelenting attacks have disrupted their lives, denied their right to live in security and hurt their ability to make a living. Every venture outside – to work, school, or a recreational activity – is attended by a sense of danger. Some residents have even decided to relocate for fear they or their loved ones would get hurt. The photographs presented here were taken by Dudu Greenspan from Be'er Sheva, by Activestills, and by Reuters photographers.

July 22

"The children were very scared and wanted us to move to schools, where they thought we would be safer. My son Muhammad, who is 18, cried and told me, “You want us to die, like you did with Matar.” Our son Matar was 17 when he was killed in the 2009 war [Operation Cast Lead]. He was killed together with his cousin Muhammad, who was 12, while they were trying to escape the bombardments… After I lost him, I was in a very bad state and couldn't function for some time... My husband, my parents and I thought about it until the morning and decided to leave."

July 22

The organizations demanded that the Attorney General instruct the government to refrain from violating the laws of war and re-evaluate its aggressive policy and rules of engagement. The organizations seek to clarify whether the Attorney General critically evaluated the legal advice supplied to the Military Advocate General that underpins 'Operation Protective Edge', and calls on him to establish an external, independent and effective investigatory mechanism to examine the decision making of the political and operational establishment as required by international law and supported by the rulings of the High Court of Justice.

July 21

"The room was dark and full of smoke. We found my sister, Rawida. She was badly wounded from big pieces of shrapnel, but she was still alive. We got her out from under the rubble. One of the rods that support the roof was stuck in her hip. We pulled it out of her body. We carried her out to the street. Then we found my mother. She was lying in a corner of the room covered in blood and crying in pain. She was having difficulty breathing, but her injuries looked less dangerous. Another of my sisters, Hanan, was badly hurt in her abdomen and chest. She was still breathing. My brother, Marwan, was also hurt. The neighbors helped us carry them outside."

July 21

Horrific developments in Gaza have reached intolerable heights: Israel is bombing houses with people in them, entire families have been buried under rubble, and streets lie in ruins. Hundreds have been killed so far, dozens in the last 24 hours only, many of them women and children. Hamas makes no pretense to follow the laws of war. Israel does, but holds Hamas responsible for its own. Unlawful actions by one party cannot justify unlawful actions by the other. The horrifying reality on the ground makes it impossible to further countenance Israel’s cynical use of legal terms such as “proportionality”, “distinction” and “due caution”.

July 21

"Just as I was about to leave, I heard two loud explosions very close by. I went outside. Everything was full of dust. When the air began to clear, I saw my wife running down the street. I ran over to her and saw her pick up a little boy and scream. When I got there, I saw she was holding Saher. He was dead."

July 21

On 20 July Israeli forces bombed the four-story building that was home to the extended Jame' family: the matriarch, Fatmeh Abu Jame', her four sons, and their wives and children. B’Tselem’s initial findings indicate that the likely target of the attack was Ahmad Suliman Sahmoud, a member of Hamas’ military wing, who was visiting a member of the family. Everyone who was in the house at the time was hurt: 25 members of the Abu Jame' family were killed, as well as Hamas operative Sahmoud. The rest were injured. Information B’Tselem has at this stage indicates that no warning was issued and no warning missile was fired prior to the attack

July 21

"I keep thinking about my children and what might happen to them. I keep checking the different spaces around the house, looking for a safe room, but there isn’t one. All the rooms have large windows that look out over the street except the kitchen, which is in the center of the apartment. So we decided to sleep in the kitchen. My son Diaa insisted on sleeping in his bed, but when he heard the bombings he came running into the kitchen with his mattress and blanket to sleep with us. There was no room in the kitchen for another mattress so he slept between the other two kids. They slept right up against each other – that is, when we finally managed to sleep, because the bombings just don’t stop, day and night."

July 21