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UN says Israeli aggression exasperated already dire situation in besieged Gaza Strip

A Palestinian woman, who returned to her neighborhood, cooks a meal in what remains of her home that was hit by Israeli bombardments in Gaza City, Gaza Strip, on May 21, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

The United Nations says the new Israeli aggression against Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip has deteriorated an already dire humanitarian situation in the impoverished enclave generated by nearly 14 years of an all-out blockade and recurrent hostilities.

In a statement on Sunday, UN Humanitarian Coordinator of the occupied Palestinian territory Lynn Hastings made the warning, saying Palestinians “endured unimaginable suffering” during less than two weeks of Israel’s brutal airstrikes against the densely-populated enclave.

“The ceasefire must be solidified with all avoiding provocation. There must be a political horizon with the root causes of continued conflict being addressed,’’ the UN official said, calling for ensuring support to continue addressing the current needs, including those arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Israeli regime started a 12-day war against the already Tel Aviv-blockaded Gaza Strip on May 10. As a result of the brutal aggression, at least 248 Palestinians were killed in Gaza, including 66 children, with more than 1,900 people wounded. 

Gaza’s resistance groups, including Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, responded to the aggression on the same day that it started targeting the enclave.

Throughout the offensive, the groups fired more than 4,000 rockets towards the Israeli-occupied areas. The projectiles swept the entire expanse of the territories, many flying as far as Tel Aviv, the holy occupied city of al-Quds, and even the northern-lying cities of Haifa and Nazareth.

The Palestinian rockets also killed 12 in the Israeli-occupied territories.

The Israeli regime finally gave in to a ceasefire on Friday, incapable of stopping the resistance’s rocket avalanche.

‘’Several locations that previously were key to providing basic services have been destroyed or damaged, including a medical laboratory that was testing for COVID-19,’’ further said Hastings, whose remarks were also quoted by Palestine’s official Wafa news agency

‘’Water sanitation pipelines have been damaged, threatening disease. The only primary healthcare center in the north – which had the best rate of vaccination administration – has been damaged to an extent that they are no longer able to service the community – all during a global pandemic,’’ she added.

South African workers refuse to offload Israeli cargo in support of Palestine

In a separate report Sunday, Wafa said dock workers in the South African port city of Durban refused to offload cargo from an Israeli container ship on Friday in solidarity with Palestinians and in protest against Tel Aviv’s hostilities on Gaza.

Durban dock workers, who are affiliated to the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu), had boycotted on Friday the offloading of the vessel as a statement to say no to Israeli imports, the report said.

The protest action came after a call by the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) on workers and trade unions to refuse to offload Israeli ships and goods at ports of entry.

According to the report, more than 100 supporters of Palestine, wearing T-shirts conveying messages of solidarity and chanting “Free Palestine”, participated in the protest.

It is part of a global series of actions against Zim Lines, an Israeli international cargo shipping company. 

The protest also targeted Transnet, which is a large South African rail, port and pipeline company, demanding that South African ports refuse to allow goods heading to or from the Israeli regime to pass through.

Activists hit anti-Palestinian Facebook with 1-star app reviews 

In a separate development, pro-Palestinian activists launched a coordinated campaign aimed at lowering Facebook’s app review ratings in retaliation for the social media giant’s ongoing censorship of Palestinian accounts and posts, Wafa reported on Sunday.

The campaign, now increasingly being shared across the social media, including Twitter, Facebook and Telegram, calls on subscribers to rate Facebook with a one-star review in the Apple and Google app stores.

“User trust is dropping considerably with the recent escalations between Israel and Palestine,” one senior software engineer said, pointing to the recent Israeli aggression on Gaza.

“Our users are upset with our handling of the situation. Users are feeling that they are being censored, getting limited distribution, and ultimately silenced. As a result, our users have started protesting by leaving 1 star reviews,” New York-based NBC News further quoted the individual as saying.

The Israeli war on Gaza began after weeks of the regime’s violence against Palestinians at al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem al-Quds and the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of the occupied city, where Israeli forces tried to force Palestinians out of their homes to build new illegal settlements.

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