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Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for Thursday, March 24, 2011.
Palestinian news sources report two waves of air-strikes hitting the Gaza Strip. The first took place at night and the second this morning. One person was injured during the second strike.
At approximately 2am on Thursday, the Israeli Air Force attacked several areas in the Gaza Strip. They targeted a tunnel, a site allegedly connected to Hamas’s armed wing, the al-Qassem Brigades, and a power station. The attack on the power station caused blackouts in Gaza City.
No injuries were reported from this attack, although it is said to have caused panic in large portions of the Gaza Strip. The Israeli government stated that the attack was in response to a recent series of rockets fired from the Strip into southern Israel.
A second attack on a group of men by a gas-station, near Jabaliya refugee camp, caused one injury and took place at approximately 8.30 am. Israel claims that the group of men were ‘terrorists preparing to launch rockets at Israeli territory’, although no evidence has yet been provided to substantiate this claim.
Israeli sources reported Wednesday that Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, approved a series of strikes in the Gaza Strip before he headed to Russia.
The decision came during a meeting he held at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, with Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, Deputy Defense Minister, Matan Vilnai, Army Chief of Staff, Benny Gantz, and Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin.
The meeting focused on evaluating the current situation following the recent escalation in the Gaza Strip and the Wednesday bombing in Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, Egypt issued a statement warning Israel not to rush into military offensives targeting the Gaza Strip. Foreign Minister, Nabil Al Arabi, stated that such an offensive will only lead to further tension and escalation.
In international news, one of South Africa’s most prominent universities has announced that it will cut all financial and academic ties with Israel’s largest university, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, due to the institution’s ‘collaboration with military, occupation and apartheid practices.’
The decision to join the academic boycott, which was called for by Palestinian academics in 2005, came just one week after a group of academics from across South Africa published a report called “Findings on Ben-Gurion University of the Negev: Institutional Complicity and Active Collaboration with Israeli Military, Occupation and Apartheid Practices.”
The two universities had partnered in a water research project, and some Israeli critics have claimed that South Africa’s water quality will suffer as a result of the boycott.
The South African university joins hundreds of other universities, colleges, trade unions and churches worldwide, including South Africa’s largest trade union, COSATU, which have divested economically and boycotted Israeli institutions and companies involved in the military occupation of Palestinian land.
That sums up our news for today, thank you for joining us from occupied Bethlehem. You have been listening to Palestine Today, from International Middle East Media Center. For more updates, please visit our website at www.imemc.org. This report has been brought to you by Husam Qassis and Circarre Parrhesia.