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Gaza: UN sees rise in Israeli violence as state complains of "rockets"

Oct. 3, 2009 9:07 A.M. (Updated: Oct. 3, 2009 6:16 P.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - After Palestinian representatives postponed discussion of the Goldstone report Friday, the Israeli delegation to the UN submitted an official complaint to the body's Security Council and secretary general over what it called "escalating rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip."

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)'s weekly Protection of Civilians Report Gaza militants “continued to fire sporadic rockets and mortar shells towards southern Israel, including military bases.” The past week saw at least two unsubstantiated Israeli announcements of projectile fire, with no damages, no injuries, and no evidence of the launch or an impact. Israeli media cited sources alleging the projectiles landed somewhere in the Negev desert.

Friday night marked the first time in five days Gaza militant factions claimed to have launched projectiles at Israeli targets, while Israeli forces have claimed projectiles have landed in the Negev four times in the same period.

Moreover, OCHA statistics for 16-29 September said Israeli violence against Gazans escalated, with five killed during the two-week period, including the injury of two children when an Israeli tank shell hit a civilian home. The report said all those killed were armed, two were near the border with Israel, and three were in a car in central Gaza when a targeted Israeli airstrike hit the vehicle. According to OCHA, "This is the first Israeli air strike targeting a militant’s car since the end of the 'Cast Lead' offensive on 18 January 2009."

The UN report also cataloged five incidents of Israeli warships firing on fishermen, and one incident where five boats were confiscated and the fishers detained.

Gazans continue to support the recommendations of the Goldstone report, which asks that the International Criminal Court investigate findings of war crimes and crimes against humanity carried out by Israel in the lead-up and execution of their winter offensive.

Since the end of Israel's Operation Cast Lead, according to OCHA, "a total of 49 Palestinians and one Israeli have been killed, and 104 Palestinians and seven Israelis injured, in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Gaza and southern Israel."

At the same time OCHA found the "weekly average of imported truckloads [to Gaza] remain below needs."

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