Israel kills 7 Palestinians and orders Gaza fuel delivery halt

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Palestinian demonstrators react during a protest calling for lifting the Israeli blockade on Gaza and demanding the right to return to their homeland, at the Israel-Gaza border fence in the southern Gaza Strip October 12, 2018. (Reuters)
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Palestinian demonstrators run during a protest calling for lifting the Israeli blockade on Gaza and demanding the right to return to their homeland, at the Israel-Gaza border fence in the southern Gaza Strip October 12, 2018. (Reuters)
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Demonstrators place Palestinian flags at the Israel-Gaza border fence during a protest calling for lifting the Israeli blockade on Gaza and demanding the right to return to their homeland, in the southern Gaza Strip October 12, 2018. (Reuters)
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A wounded Palestinian boy is evacuted during a protest calling for lifting the Israeli blockade on Gaza and demanding the right to return to their homeland, at the Israel-Gaza border fence in the southern Gaza Strip October 12, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 12 October 2018
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Israel kills 7 Palestinians and orders Gaza fuel delivery halt

  • More than 200 Palestinians have been killed since protests erupted in March 30.
  • Israeli forces opened fire as thousands of protesters approached the border

GAZA CITY: The Israeli military killed seven Palestinians during protests in Gaza on Friday as the defense minster ordered an "immediate" halt to fuel deliveries to the territory.

The deaths were the latest during demonstrations along the Gaza-Israel border. More than 200 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces during similar protests since March 30.

Israel followed up Friday's killings by increasing its choke hold on the territory, which has been under a blockade for more than a decade. 

"Following the serious incidents in the Gaza Strip, the defence ministry orders the immediate halt to the delivery of fuel," Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said. The announcement comes just days after a UN-brokered deal to supply the territory with Qatari-bought fuel came into effect.

The Israeli army said five protesters were shot dead after breaking through the border fence and attacking an army post, Reuters reported.
But a spokesman for the Palestinian health ministry said seven Palestinian men were killed as thousands of protesters approached the heavily-guarded Israeli border.
Four died along the frontier east of Al-Bureij in central Gaza, one east of Gaza City and one near Rafah in southern Gaza, the spokesman said, adding that all the victims were men aged between 17 and 29.
Israeli army spokesman Jonathan Conricus said on Twitter an "organised attack" had involved around 20 Palestinians crossing the border after an explosive device destroyed a portion of the fence.
Five then tried to attack an army base and were shot, he said.
The army said approximately 14,000 "rioters and demonstrators" took part in Friday's protests.
The deaths of protesters has been a weekly occurence since the demonstrations started ahead of 70 year anniversary of the Palestinian Nakhba or "catastrophe"  surrounding the creation of Israel.
The protesters are demanding to be allowed to return to lands now inside Israel, from which their families fled or were displaced during the 1948 war.
They are also calling for Israel to end its crippling blockade Gaza.
Israel accuses the enclave's rulers Hamas of leading the protests and using them as a cover for attacks.
There had been hopes the protests would ease after a UN-brokered agreement to ease the strip's energy crisis took effect this week.
However thousands again gathered Friday in sites along the border.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniya also attended the protests east of Gaza City and hailed the ongoing demonstrations.

*With Reuters and AFP


War on militants ‘won’t end unless West tackles root causes’

Daesh militants wave flags on their vehicles in a convoy on a road leading to Iraq. (AP)
Updated 15 December 2018
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War on militants ‘won’t end unless West tackles root causes’

  • Driven from lands it once held sway over in Syria and Iraq, Daesh has returned to its origins as an underground militant outfit
  • “Beyond the tactical victories on the ground, the current strategy is failing”

WASHINGTON: Western powers fighting militant groups around the globe are condemned to a never-ending battle if they only tackle the symptoms and not the underlying causes of militant insurgency, experts say.

“Beyond the tactical victories on the ground, the current strategy is failing,” said Katherine Zimmerman, who wrote a recent report for the American Enterprise Institute.

“Every soldier and intelligence analyst that has worked on this problem understands what is happening,” Zimmerman told AFP.

“They understand that what they are doing is a temporary solution. It’s ending the immediate threat but not stabilizing or moving us forward. The problem comes down to policy and politics,” she noted.

“It’s easy to say, ‘We’re going to kill the person responsible for making the bomb.’ It is much more difficult to say that our partner government has disenfranchised this group and it’s one of the reasons why this person joins the terrorist group. And now he is the bomb maker.”

Driven from lands it once held sway over in Syria and Iraq, Daesh has returned to its origins as an underground militant outfit because the conditions that spawned it — a deep discontent among most Iraqis and Syrians — have persisted, experts say.

“The West is on the road to winning all the battles and losing the war,” warned Zimmerman.

In a report last month on the resurgence of Daesh as a clandestine guerrilla group, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) said that while the US and allied governments have weakened some groups like Daesh, “many of the underlying causes have not been adequately addressed.”

Those root causes include a “fragile state with weak or ineffective governing institutions” in areas affected by militant activity, where the extremists can establish a sanctuary, the CSIS experts said.

They took maps showing areas where Al-Qaeda and Daesh were active and compared them to maps displaying “government effectiveness,” based on World Bank statistics.

The result was clear: Most of the countries where the insurgents are active — Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Mali, Nigeria, Somalia — are also in the bottom 10 percent for government effectiveness.

At a conference this week in Washington, retired Marine Gen. John Allen — who once commanded US forces in Afghanistan and now heads the prestigious Brookings Institution — said the West had to get ahead of the issue and ask, “Where should we be looking for the next problems?”

“We should spend a great deal more time looking at those areas that are in fragile or failing states,” said Allen, who also served as presidential envoy to the international coalition battling Daesh.

“We have to recognize the hotspots where the human condition prompts the radicalization of large sectors of the population,” he added.

“Often we join the conversation when the process of radicalization has been in place for quite a long time.”

Allen noted that the problem is “a development issue, much more than a counter-terrorism issue.”