Jul 21 2014
At least 120 people were killed in air strikes over the weekend in the Gaza suburb of Shuja’iyya. Forty of those were children. The International Red Cross, which is usually careful to not make political statements, said “This sharp increase in the intensity of fighting and the resulting human cost is a matter of grave concern.” The raid took place alongside on-going ground operations with Israeli troops pushing through the North and East. More than 60,000 displaced Palestinian civilians are attempting to find shelter at UN facilities. The refugee population has reportedly surpassed that of the 2009 Operation Cast Lead.
The overall death toll among Palestinians is more than 500, at least 100 of which are children. Thousands have been injured. The UN has held an emergency session over the situation in Gaza while US Secretary of State John Kerry flies to Cairo with the stated goal of negotiating a ceasefire.
Meanwhile, as Gaza burns, and Iraq is taken over, and Syria implodes, Libya has also been falling apart. At least 40 people have been killed in a battle over the international airport in Tripoli in recent days. About 90% of the planes at the airport have been destroyed. The battle is taking place between what are be called “Islamist gunmen from the city of Misrata,” and “anti-Islamist fighters from the city of Zintan.”
The groups have dominated parts of Libya since the NATO backed overthrow of Moammar Qaddafi three years ago. Despite a truce over the airport earlier last week, fighting broke out again on Friday. It comes weeks after of the assassination of a well known female activist, Salwa Bugaighis, who had come to be known as one of Libya’s leading revolutionaries during the 2011 Arab Spring rebellion.
Libya’s Foreign Minister has asked the United Nations for security help. The on-going violence there has led many to predict a civil war in Libya. UN staff have temporarily relocated out of Libya over safety concerns. US officials including Secretary of State John Kerry, have expressed fears that the violence in Libya could spread.
GUEST: Vijay Prashad is the George and Martha Kellner Chair in South Asian History and Professor of International Studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, currently the Edward Said Chair of American Studies at American University of Beirut (AUB). He has written many books including Arab Spring, Libyan Winter, and The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World