Israeli Occupation Forces claim Hamas has a new ‘weapon’ – TERROR BALLOONS! Yes you heard it right- balloons.
In an interview with Israel’s Channel 2, a senior IDF officer in the Southern Command said that Hamas has resolved to gather intelligence deep inside Israel, and not just on the border. To this end, the officer said, Hamas has also erected a line of poles to which they’ve attached balloons filled with helium and mounted with cameras.
The officer said that the observation balloons have alarming capability to collect intelligence on military and civilian movements in Israel. He said the IDF sees Hamas trying to expand its reconnaissance abilities to strengthen its offensive capacity, based on building its rocket arsenal and digging tunnels into Israel.
The officer said that Israel recently allowed a large shipment of helium gas into Gaza for civilian use, the transfer of which may be rescinded if the intended use is to fuel more spy balloons.
Here is a picture of the balloon they say is used for surveillance.
A Hamas observation balloon, photos of which were posted to its official Facebook page. Photo: Screenshot / Channel 2.
So Israel, who has us under lock and key, who watches us day and night from their BILLION dollar technology including drones, satellites, Apaches & F-16’s is worried over about a few balloons?
Man carries boy through sewage filled streets. Photo courtesy Reuters
I wish I could report good news as this new week starts but unfortunately I can’t. Wednesday brought with it another setback due to the current fuel crisis. Sewage treatment plants could no longer operate and raw sewage has begun to overflow in the streets. Many areas are inundated with the rank mess including Rafah, and al Sabra neighbourhood of Zaytoun. Experts say 20,000 are effected from this and possibly more in the coming weeks if the problem is not solved. This could add another more complicated and dangerous aspect of the crisis: diseases such as Cholera. Gaza also has a severe medicine shortage and hospitals are running on bare minimums due to fuel shortages affecting their generators.I wonder how they will cope if we have an outbreak? It will be disastrous.
Water outages are also more common now because the water pumping stations are operating at only a minimum. Gaza residents have large water containers on our roof-tops used to store water from the pumping station. In order to re-fill the tanks however, electricity must be on at the pumping station AND your residence and that was a difficult task to accomplish on 8 hours of electricity.Now it is even more difficult if not impossible.
Black water tanks on roof-tops store water- when thye run out our taps are dray, sometimes for days. (personal photo)
Drivers have started mixing cooking oil into their fuel now that it is nearly impossible to find gas. The streets are filled with a rank stench like French fries and falafel.This mix of fuel will ultimately injure the engine but what other choice do they have?
Nuseirat Refugee Camp, donkey’s and horses are becoing more and more plentiful on the streets since fuel crisis began. (personal photo)
Various people reporting we will be restricted to a mere FOUR hours of electricity starting today. It is currently off at my house so I am unable to confirm that at the moment. I know it will be harder to stay connected to the outside world though and I am getting increasingly nervous at the situation. We will survive this-we always do, but what toll will it take on us this time? How many lives will be lost? I am begging our politicians to find a solution to this and to think about the civilians who are suffering.
Every day I am told ‘Palestine has never existed’ yet they can never explain all of the evidence that proves we did and DO exist. Here is a small sample of pictures and maps I have collected.
1927 advertisement to visit Palestine
Fly To Palestine
Passport under the British Mandate
circa 1927 stamp
7th Century map of Palestine
Map of the Holy Land-Palestine circa 1866
1500 BC Palestine
Palestine map 1572
Arutz Sheva Israeli National News
Not so long ago the Israeli Embassy in US embarrassed itself by creating a fake LinkedIn profile for newly elected Iranian President Rouhani. My jaw dropped when I read about it. Not only is it immensely juvenile but it also borders on libel. According to Mondoweiss the fake account proclaims President Rouhani as a “nuclear proliferation expert.” The Embassy also made a scathing tweet from their Twitter account which states President Rouhani is an “expert salesman who is bullish on nuclear proliferation.”
It seems today they were at it again. They posted a photo of Iranians protesting the anniversary of the US coup in Tehran by burning flags with the caption “Imagine them with a bomb”. I am offended and disgusted at the bigotry and hypocrisy of the post. I understand the political unrest between the two countries but this is more than out of line. Embassies are supposed to be a shining example of the country they represent. What does it say about Israel if their embassy is openly hostile and bigoted? Further, what does it say about Israeli government if they allow this to happen?
Car batteries attached to converter unit
I have been asked many times how I stay connected and post when the electricity is off in Gaza. Right now we are facing 12 hour blackouts and with Israeli aggression it is important we continue to blog and tweet so our voices are heard.
I have a converter powered by a car battery and one battery reserved as a back up. I can run one light bulb, my router, and lap top for about 8 hours before I need to recharge it. The cost for this unit is 700 shekels ($200 USD) and the batteries cost another 700 shekels which might not seem like much but in Gaza even that amount is out of reach for a majority of families. We also have a gas fueled generator but as fuel is scarce we never use it. Many people have converted their gas generators to work on cooking gas instead but this is hard on the engine and the environment. Gaza has had to adapt to the fuel and electricity shortages and this has ushered in an innovative phase and we have used the challenges as an opportunity to be inventive and resourceful.
Small amount of light from one light bulb -you can barely see my cat on the sofa
Last night Israel began a new operation in Gaza and according to IOF it was in response to the tunnel they uncovered leading to Israel in early October. The attacks were concentrated in Khan Younis area and consisted of mostly tank and helicopter shelling but from the Navy and drones as well.
According to Hamas, 4 Qassam members (armed wing of Hamas) were killed while it is reported 5 Israeli soldiers were injured. All night Israeli drones hovered in the air threatening to attack and many of us lay awake in bed wondering if we would see the sun rise. This attack was small in comparison to last year but worrisome none-the-less.I dread the night coming again for fear it will bring another round. Israeli army prefers to attack us in the dead of night and it is almost sunset. I will update this as well as my twitter feed if we are attacked again. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers.
Gaza’s electricity generator powered by fuel-photo courtesy Ma’an News Agency
The electricity generator for all of Gaza shut down at 6am this morning because it ran out of fuel. Unfortunately this isn’t the 1st time it has happened and will probably not be the last. Right now we are existing on the few megawatts purchased by the PA from Egypt and Israel that will provide us with approximately 4 to 6 hours of electricity each day.Normally we receive 8 hours of electricity then have rolling blackouts of 8 hours.
This is not merely about houses being in the dark-the generator shut-down disrupts municipal services as well. Local water pumping stations will be unable to function and provide us with water. We will have to rely on reserve water tanks that hold only a few hundred liters for each home. Once the reserve tanks are out it will be nearly impossible to refill them until regular electricity supply is restored. I am not sure how long this situation will last but is time to find a better way to ensure we have fuel, electricity and water.
Waiting for cooking fuel- photo courtesy of Shehab news Agency
Also cooking fuel is still scarce. Some people are resorting to burning paper and what wood they can find in order to cook food so they can eat. It is just beginning to be cooler weather in Gaza so this situation is bound to get worse unless an alternative can be found.
All this after a night of aggression by Israeli army. I wonder how much more we can take?