Tutu, Chomsky, Waters, Pappe, others accuse country of ‘war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.’
Sixty-four public figures, including seven Nobel Peace Prize winners, have called for an international arms embargo on Israel for its “war crimes and possible crimes against humanity” in Gaza. The statement came in a letter published in Britain’s The Guardian on Friday.
"Israel has once again unleashed the full force of its military against the captive Palestinian population, particularly in the besieged Gaza Strip, in an inhumane and illegal act of military aggression. Israel’s ability to launch such devastating attacks with impunity largely stems from the vast international military cooperation and trade that it maintains with complicit governments across the world," read the statement.
"We call on the UN and governments across the world to take immediate steps to implement a comprehensive and legally binding military embargo on Israel, similar to that imposed on South Africa during apartheid," the letter concluded.
Among the signators were Nobel peace laureates Desmond Tutu, Betty Williams, Federico Mayor Zaragoza, Jody Williams, Adolfo Peres Esquivel, Mairead Maguire and Rigoberto Menchu.
Also signing were academics Noam Chomsky and Rashid Khalidi, filmmakers Mike Leigh and Ken Loach, musicians Roger Waters and Brian Eno, writers Alice Walker and Caryl Churchill, and journalists John Pilger and Chris Hedges. Two Israelis, academics Ilan Pappe and Nurit Peled, signed the letter as well.
Quite soon I am going away from here. In a few days we’ll be leaving Jerusalem, leaving the country. Yesterday we bought little suitcases for the kids. No need to take a lot of clothes, we’ll leave our winter clothes; in any event they won’t be warm enough given the cold of southern Illinois, USA. We’ll just need a few things until we get settled. Perhaps the kids should take some books, two or three in Arabic, and another few in Hebrew, so they don’t forget the languages. But I’m already not sure what I want my kids to remember of this place, so beloved and so cursed.
The original plan was to leave in a month for a year’s sabbatical. But last week I understood that I can’t stay here any longer, and I asked the travel agent to get us out of here as fast as possible, “and please make them one-way tickets”. In a few days we’ll land in Chicago, and I don’t even know where we’ll be for the first month, but we’ll figure it out.
I have three children, a daughter who is already 14 years old, and two sons, aged nine and three. We live in West Jerusalem. We are the only Arab family living in our neighbourhood, to which we moved six years ago. “You can choose two toys,” we said this week in Hebrew to our little boy who stood in his room gazing at boxes of his toys, and he started to cry despite our promises that we will buy him anything he wants when we get there.
I also have to decide what to take. I can choose only two books, I said to myself standing in front of shelves of books in my study. Other than a book of poetry by Mahmoud Darwish and another story collection by Jubran Khalil, all of my books are in Hebrew. Since the age of 14 I have barely read a book in Arabic.
When I was 14 I saw a library for the first time. Twenty-five years ago my maths teacher in the village of Tira, where I was born, came to my parents’ home and told them that next year the Jews would be opening a school for gifted students in Jerusalem. He said to my father that he thought I should apply. “It will be better for him there,” I remember the teacher telling my parents. I got in, and when I was the age of my daughter I left my home to go to a Jewish boarding school in Jerusalem. It was so difficult, almost cruel. I cried when my father hugged me and left me at the entrance of the grand new school, nothing like I had ever seen in Tira.
I once wrote that the first week in Jerusalem was the hardest week of my life. I was different, other; my clothes were different, as was my language. All of the classes were in Hebrew – science, bible, literature. I sat there not understanding one word. When I tried to speak everyone would laugh at me. I so much wanted to run back home, to my family, to the village and friends, to the Arabic language. I cried on the phone to my father that he should come and get me, and he said that only the beginnings are hard, that in a few months I would speak Hebrew better than they do.
I remember the first week, our literature teacher asked us to read The Catcher in the Rye by Salinger. It was the first novel I ever read. It took me several weeks to read it, and when I finished I understood two things that changed my life. The first was that I could read a book in Hebrew, and the second was the deep understanding that I loved books.
Very quickly my Hebrew became nearly perfect. The boarding school library only had books in Hebrew, so I began to read Israeli authors. I read Agnon, Meir Shalev, Amos Oz and I started to read about Zionism, about Judaism and the building of the homeland.
During these years I also began to understand my own story, and without planning to do so I began to write about Arabs who live in an Israeli boarding school, in the western city, in a Jewish country. I began to write, believing that all I had to do to change things would be to write the other side, to tell the stories that I heard from my grandmother. To write how my grandfather was killed in the battle over Tira in 1948, how my grandmother lost all of our land, how she raised my father while she supported them as a fruit picker paid by the Jews.
I wanted to tell, in Hebrew, about my father who sat in jail for long years, with no trial, for his political ideas. I wanted to tell the Israelis a story, the Palestinian story. Surely when they read it they will understand, when they read it they will change, all I have to do is write and the Occupation will end. I just have to be a good writer and I will free my people from the ghettos they live in, tell good stories in Hebrew and I will be safe, another book, another movie, another newspaper column and another script for television and my children will have a better future. Thanks to my stories one day we will turn into equal citizens, almost like the Jews.
Twenty-five years of writing in Hebrew, and nothing has changed. Twenty-five years clutching at the hope, believing it is not possible that people can be so blind. Twenty-five years during which I had few reasons to be optimistic but continued to believe that one day this place in which both Jews and Arabs live together would be the one story where the story of the other is not denied. That one day the Israelis would stop denying the Nakba, the Occupation, and the suffering of the Palestinian people. That one day the Palestinians would be willing to forgive and together we would build a place that was worth living in.
Twenty-five years that I am writing and knowing bitter criticism from both sides, but last week I gave up. Last week something inside of me broke. When Jewish youth parade through the city shouting “Death to the Arabs,” and attack Arabs only because they are Arabs, I understood that I had lost my little war.
I listened to the politicians and the media and I know that they are differentiating between blood and blood, between peoples. Those who have become the powers that be say expressly what most Israelis think, “We are a better people than the Arabs.” On panels that I participated in, it was said that Jews are a superior people, more entitled to life. I despair to know that an absolute majority in the country does not recognise the rights of an Arab to live.
After my last columns some readers beseeched that I be exiled to Gaza, threatened to break my legs, to kidnap my children. I live in Jerusalem, and I have some wonderful Jewish neighbours, and friends, but I still cannot take my children to day camps or to parks with their Jewish friends. My daughter protested furiously and said no one would know she is an Arab because of her perfect Hebrew but I would not listen. She shut herself in her room and wept.
Now I am standing in front of my bookshelves, Salinger in hand, the one I read 14 years ago. I don’t want to take any books, I decided, I have to concentrate on my new language. I know how hard it is, almost impossible, but I must find another language to write in, my children will have to find another language to live in.
"Don’t come in," my daughter shouted angrily when I knocked on her door. I went in anyway. I sat down next to her on the bed and despite her back turned to me I knew she was listening. You hear, I said, before I repeated to her exactly the same sentence my father said to me 25 years ago. "Remember, whatever you do in life, for them you will always, but always, be an Arab. Do you understand?"
"I understand," my daughter said, hugging me tightly. "Dad, I knew that a long time ago."
"Quite soon we’ll be leaving here," as I messed up her hair, just as she hates. "Meanwhile, read this," I said and gave her The Catcher in the Rye.
A week of ceasefire calls, efforts and proposals has not stopped Israel from launching a ground invasion of Gaza in tandem with its aerial and naval bombardments. Developments suggest that Israel, while accepting an Egyptian proposal, used it as a pretext to intensify and widen its offensive. Cairo, which since the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi last summer is as hostile to Hamas as Israel is, may have enabled such a plan, deliberately or otherwise.
Hamas, which has roots in Egypt’s outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, said it was never consulted about Cairo’s ceasefire proposal, having learned of it from media reports. It is extraordinary that a supposed mediator between two warring parties would exclude one of them from the process.
This would almost ensure that party’s rejection, regardless of the proposal’s content, because it would be humiliating to accept something presented as a fait accompli. As such, Hamas’ rejection was hardly surprising, describing the initiative as one of “bowing and submission”.
A ceasefire trap?
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s statement that “the Egyptian proposal gives the opportunity to address the disarmament” of Gaza was likely intended to ensure rejection by Palestinian militants there. After all, this was not stipulated in the plan, as described in media reports. Netanyahu said Hamas’ rejection “leaves us no choice but to expand and intensify the campaign against it” and to do so with “international legitimacy”.
Given the regular contact between Israel and Egypt, it is not outlandish to suspect that this was a trap designed to ensnare Hamas. The latter rejected Cairo’s proposal “in its current form” - not outright - and notified it of desired changes. However, there has been no attempt by Egypt to modify its plan. Indeed, Cairo had been criticised from the outset for the sluggish nature of its mediation, leading to speculation that it was happy to see Israel deal a decisive blow to Hamas.
If the Palestinian faction was uninterested in a ceasefire, it would not have subsequently floated its own proposal for a 10-year truce. This was announced on Al Jazeera and reported by Israeli media. If Netanyahu genuinely sought an end to hostilities, he would have taken Hamas’ plan into consideration.
He did not even respond - nor did Egypt - despite the terms being eminently reasonable. They include lifting the siege of Gaza, economic development of the territory, UN supervision of borders, crossings, the airport and seaport, easing conditions for permits to pray at Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa mosque, respect for the national reconciliation deal, and the freeing of Palestinians detained since the abduction and killing of three Israeli teenagers last month.
The problem for Hamas is that in terms of accepting the Egyptian proposal, it would have been damned if it did and damned if it did not. One of its primary objections was negotiating longer-term issues after a ceasefire was agreed, preferring instead to do both simultaneously.
This thinking was borne out of the experience of the last ceasefire agreement in 2012. The terms stipulated that after 24 hours, talks would begin on opening crossings into Gaza and allowing free movement of people and goods. That did not happen, and the two sides disagreed on what that meant. Hamas said the deal covered the opening of all Gaza’s border crossings with Israel and Egypt, but Israel said it would not lift its blockade.
A repeat of this would mean Hamas not having anything tangible to show the Palestinians of Gaza for all the death and destruction Israel is inflicting on them. This could undermine its popularity and its image as an effective resister of Israeli aggression.
However, agreeing short- and longer-term issues simultaneously would provide no guarantee of Israel’s abidance. Indeed, it has left behind a trail of violated deals. Within just a week of the 2012 ceasefire taking effect, Israel had killed a Gaza Palestinian civilian, injured at least 15, arrested nine fishermen at sea, and sunk several fishing boats, not to mention numerous provocations in the West Bank. No Palestinian factions responded to these clear violations.
A fundamental difficulty facing Hamas is that Israel feels no need for comprehensive negotiations. The latter has maintained its siege of Gaza without international repercussions, and is being aided and abetted by Egypt. International calls for a ceasefire have largely ignored the underlying issue of the blockade.
In addition, Hamas’ current domestic and regional positions are weak. At home, in Gaza, it has failed to improve the lot of Palestinians or bring them any closer to statehood. It is also openly at odds with the Palestinian Authority despite the reconciliation deal, which now exists in name only. Regionally, it has lost an ally in Morsi, as well as backing from Damascus and Tehran due to its support for the Syrian revolution. It is also viewed unfavourably by certain Gulf states.
As such, it is unlikely to be able to push for better terms from Israel. Neither can Hamas indefinitely sustain an onslaught from a much more powerful enemy. For all the rockets it has fired, and their increased range, the vast majority have been intercepted, and they have only managed to kill one Israeli.
Contrast this with more than 300 Palestinian deaths and almost 2,000 injuries (the vast majority civilians), tens of thousands displaced, more than 15,000 homes partially or totally destroyed, and the water, health, sewage, electricity and education systems in ruins. Such death and destruction will skyrocket now that a ground invasion is under way.
Many Palestinians in Gaza say they refuse to go back to the status quo ante. Such sentiments are understandable given their miserable existence in what is the world’s largest open-air prison. As UNRWA’s Gaza director Robert Turner said: “A return to ‘calm’ is a return to … confinement,” with “no external access to markets, employment, or education - in short, no access to the outside world”.
However, it would be highly risky for Hamas to base its defiance on that of the civilian population - given that the latter are bearing the brunt of Israel’s onslaught - because it would not want to be seen as callous with Palestinian life. Meanwhile, the more iron-fisted Netanyahu’s policies, the more domestic popularity he seems to gain.
Hamas may be counting on increased international condemnation putting a stop to Israel, however, by the time that happens, Gaza Palestinians’ losses - and those of Hamas - may dwarf what they have already endured.
The Palestinian faction is in an unenviable, perhaps impossible, situation, and Israel is taking advantage of this. As if Netanyahu’s actions are not shameful enough, regional positions and circumstances are helping him wage a war whose primary target, despite the rhetoric, is Gaza’s captive civilian population. Unfortunately, it is he who will decide how long this conflict lasts and at what cost to the Palestinian people.
As Israeli government violence against the Palestinians in Gaza intensifies (the latest news being an aggressive ground invasion), I saw a discussion on-line about whether Israel has become more brutal or the brutality has simply become more visible to the public.
I remembered listening to Benjamin Netanyahu when he was at MIT in the 1970’s. He called himself Bibi Nitai and said he was in self-exile until the Labor Party, which he despised, was out of power. He spoke contemptuously about Arabs, and predicted he would be the leader of Israel someday and would protect the Jewish state in the way it deserved. The immediate response many of us had was: “Heaven help us all if he ever gets into power in Israel.”
I also remember the many Israeli leaders I met in the 1970’s from Labor and Mapam and from smaller parties on the “Zionist left” who seemed kind and caring and markedly different from Benjamin Netanyahu—and in many ways they were, not just in their political rhetoric (they all said they were socialists) but as human beings, or so it seemed. But when I finally dug a little deeper and read my history, I learned how they, too, were participants—in fact, often leaders—in the plan to drive the Palestinians out of their homes and off their land. Nothing very kind or caring about that, to say the least.
The bottom line: Israel was created based on the expulsion of over 700,000 Palestinians from their land and from their homes (what Palestinians call the Nakba, the catastrophe). This is the heart of the problem.
In some circles, particularly among “progressive” Zionists, the terrible injustice done to the Palestinians is acknowledged, but as awful as the Nakba was, they say, it was what had to be done to create and ensure the security of the Jewish state. (The most recent proponent of this position is Israeli writer Avi Shavit.) It was a terrible price that had to be paid, he and others concede. To be clear, the price was paid by the Palestinians—that is, the killing and expulsion of Palestinians for the sake of Jewish safety. And quite simply, the only way you can think that – that you can excuse the Nakba– is to believe that Jewish lives matter more than Palestinian lives.
And isn’t that what we are seeing today? If Jewish lives matter more than Palestinian lives—if, as the argument goes, the Nakba had to happen so that Jews could be “safe”—doesn’t the brutal violence we see so casually inflicted on the people of Gaza by the Israeli government follow from, in fact, isn’t it embedded in, that history? (And it’s ironic to note that large numbers of the Palestinians in Gaza are from families that fled there during the Nakba in 1948 as refugees from cities and villages in what became Israel.)
That is why I believe those of us working in our own communities—in my case, the Jewish community—need to make sure everyone not only knows about the Nakba but understands that this is the heart of the issue. And that central to the achievement of the “Zionist dream” has been that Jewish lives matter more than Arab lives. That so much attention was paid in Israel to the three kidnapped Israeli boys, in contrast to the total contempt and disregard for the large numbers of Palestinian youth killed and languishing in Israeli prisons for the crime of being Palestinian, brings this point home.
Finally, our understanding of the Nakba cannot end there. We cannot use the acknowledgement of injustice to excuse ourselves from doing anything to end it. We have to take the next step—to think about solutions; to work to hold Israel accountable to basic principles of human rights and self-determination; to recognize the rights of those who have been expelled from their homes. Sometimes the problem is understood as beginning with “the occupation” of 1967, but the root cause goes back to the Nakba and the refusal to allow the return of the refugees in contradiction of UN general assembly resolution 194. In the Palestinian-led call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS), which has reverberated across the globe, the principles are laid out clearly: 1. Ending the Israeli occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall; 2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and 3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194. That is what is needed to address the problem at its core.
Central to the achievement of the “Zionist dream” is the notion that Jewish lives matter more than Arab lives.
Dr. Mordechai Kedar, an Israeli scholar of Arabic literature and lecturer at Bar-Ilan University, declared Monday that raping the wives and mothers of Palestinian combatants would deter attacks.
"The only thing that could deter a suicide bomber is knowing that if caught, his sister or his mother would be raped," said Kedar during a radio talk show.
Listen to Hebrew-language radio show ; Kedar’s comment begins at 1:35:00:
Kedar, who is an academic expert on the Palestinian population within Israel, served for twenty-five years in the military intelligence, where he specialized in Islamic groups.
He is a researcher at the right-wing Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies of Bar Ilan University, as well as the founder and current director of the Israel Academia Monitor, a neo-McCarthyst website that follows alleged “anti-Israel activities of Israeli academics”.
During the interview on the Hakol Diburim national daily talk programme of Israel Radio Bet, the interviewer, Yossi Hadar, responded that Kedar’s proposal “sounds bad […] We can not of course take such measures.”
These remarks did not deter Kedar, who responded that “it is culture…” and “this is the Middle East”, before adding that “I did not speak about what we are doing or not doing. I am speaking about the reality: the only thing that will deter a suicide bomber - if he knew that if he pulls the trigger, his sister will be raped.”
Bar Ilan University is a Jewish religious university situated in a Tel Aviv suburb. In November 1995, Yigal Amir, a student at the institution, assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
"Not in my name"
Jews at the protest in San Francisco condemning Israeli military strikes on Palestinians
War crime: video shows sniper killing of wounded Gaza civilian
A video has emerged of the targeting and killing by a sniper of a Palestinian civilian in Gaza City’s Shujaiya neighborhood where Israeli shelling killed dozens of civilians and caused massive destruction early on Sunday morning.
The Israeli military just shot a Gazan man trying to reach his family, during an announced ceasefire. He was with a group of municipality workers and international human rights defenders who were attempting to retrieve injured people in the Shujaiya neighborhood.
“We all just watched a man murdered in front of us. He was trying to reach his family in Shujaiya, he had not heard from them and was worried about them. They shot him, and then continued to fire as he was on the ground. We had no choice but to retreat. We couldn’t reach him due to the artillery fire and then he stopped moving.” Stated Joe Catron, US International Solidarity Movement (ISM) activist in Gaza. “Shajiya is a smoking wasteland. We just passed two bombed out ambulances.”
The Israel military has also shelled Red Crescent ambulances as they attempted to retrieve injured people in the Shujaiya neighbourhood, east of Gaza City. A ceasefire was announced, during which injured and dead people, could be evacuated from the area, in which at least 60 people have been killed today.
“They said we would be able to evacuate the injured from the disaster zone, but they have been shelling ambulances,” stated Dr Khalil Abu Foul of the Palestinian Red Crescent, speaking from Shujaiya.
Now, the international volunteers, including some from the US, the UK, and Sweden, are in a rescue centre on the outskirts of Shujaiya.
Catron is also a frequent contributor to The Electronic Intifada.
This photo taken by Joe Catron shows the group of human rights defenders wearing yellow vests, and a young man in jeans and a green t-shirt. The same young man appears in the video above, shot.
Israeli war crimes have been documented on video with depressing frequency, including the 15 May sniper killings of two Palestinian teens in the occupied West Bank town of Beitunia.
However even such evidence rarely results in justice or accountability, due to the systematic impunity Israel affords perpetrators of crimes against Palestinians.
Relentless slaughter continues
Israel’s relentless slaughter continued on Monday for the fourteenth consecutive day, killing multiple members of three extended families as the death toll rose to over 500,Ma’an News Agency reported.
In Khan Younis, at least 26 members of the Abu Jami family were killed by Israeli shelling in the largest single atrocity so far. Democracy Now reporter Sharif Kouddous in Gaza captured these photos of the massacre’s aftermath.
Iran’s Health Ministry says the country’s hospitals are fully prepared to admit the Palestinians injured in Israel’s escalating offensive against the blockaded Gaza Strip.
In a statement issued on Monday, Iran’s Health Minister Seyyed Hassan Qazizadeh Hashemi condemned fresh Israeli assaults on the impoverished Gaza Strip and said the Islamic Republic was ready to supply the injured Palestinians with medicine and medical equipment.
“The hospitals of the Islamic Republic of Iran are prepared to receive the wounded [Palestinians] who are in need of medical care and complex surgeries,” added the statement.
Hashemi further said Israel has prevented the convoys of food and medicine from entering Gaza while continuing to target medical teams, rescue workers, hospitals and ambulances.
Denying defenseless Gazans their basic humanitarian needs amounts to violation of human rights, he added.
“It is necessary that international organizations take action to halt these inhumane crimes immediately and pave the way for sending aid to the besieged people of Gaza,” added the Iranian minister.
The Iranian health minister also wrote separate letters to his counterparts in Muslim countries, expressing concern over the deteriorating situation in Gaza, which he said, could lead to a “major humanitarian catastrophe.”
It is the “common duty” of all international bodies and Islamic countries to dispatch emergency medical supplies to the oppressed Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip, he highlighted in his letters.
Israeli warplanes began pounding the impoverished Gaza Strip on July 8. The Israeli military also launched a ground offensive against the blockaded coastal sliver on July 17. More than 505 Palestinians have been killed in the onslaught. 18 Israeli soldiers have also been killed in the war.
This photo of a boy injured in an Israeli strike clinging to a medic at al-Shifa hospital went viral on the Internet.
Thursday night, 17 July, was the heaviest yet since Israel’s bombardment of Gaza began almost two weeks ago.
Dozens of people arrived to Gaza City’s al-Shifa hospital, where I was on shift that night. Some arrived torn to pieces, some beheaded, some disfigured beyond recognition, although still alive and breathing.
Seemingly indiscriminate artillery fire, a new element in Israel’s assault, had exacted a heavy toll on civilians.
The medical staff were lucky to get a break of less than half an hour. Some spent it watching the flares and bombs Israel was raining on the eastern neighborhoods of Gaza City, while others refueled with coffee or lay down for a few moments.
The relative calm did not last long. At around 3am, about eight or nine casualties arrived at the emergency room all at once. The last to come in were four siblings — two of them little children, both about three years old, with relatively superficial wounds. But it was clear they were pulled from under rubble, their faces and clothes covered in dirt and dust.
Then came the older of the four siblings, a boy in his early teens. His head and face were covered in blood and he was pressing a rag to his head to stanch the flow. But his focus was on something else: “Save my little brother!” he kept screaming.
The last to arrive was his brother, the child in the above photo that circulated around the world.
“I want my father!”
He was carried in by a paramedic and immediately rushed to the intensive care unit, which is right next to the ER. He clung to the paramedic, crying, “I want my father, bring me my father!” until he had to be forced to let go.
As I stood by, alert for orders, a group of four medical personnel immediately started to treat the boy. But he kept kicking and screaming and calling for his father.
His injuries were serious: a wound to the left side of his head which could indicate a skull fracture and a large piece of shrapnel in his neck. Another piece of shrapnel had penetrated his chest and a third had entered his abdomen. There were many smaller wounds all over his body.
Immediate measures had to be taken to save his life; he was sedated so the medics could get to work.
Upon carefully examining the wounds, it appeared that the explosion from the artillery round sent flying small pieces of stone from the walls of his house, and that some of his wounds were caused by these high-velocity projectiles.
He was extremely lucky: his neck injury was just an inch away from a major artery, his chest injury penetrated all the way through but failed to puncture his lung, and his abdomen was struck by shrapnel that just missed his bowel.
He had a stroke of luck denied to many that night.
The medics performed heroic measures in a remarkably short time, and the little boy’s life was saved.
Meanwhile in the emergency room, the elder brother was stitched up and the younger two siblings were washed and thoroughly examined for possible hidden injuries.
Somehow, despite the horror and the pain, they were sleeping. I don’t know how they did it, but I felt envious and grateful for the divine mercy that found its way to them.
Their brother with the most serious wounds will almost certainly survive, but with many scars and a difficult recovery period, both physical and psychological.
Too many casualties came in that night, too many for me to get this boy’s name, to know whether he was reunited with his father, or even what became of the rest of his family.
But there’s one thing that I know for sure, which is that hundreds of children just like him suffered similar or worse injuries, and up to the moment of this writing, nearly eighty children just like him have been killed as Israel’s merciless attack goes on.
Al Aqsa hospital shelled earlier, killing at least 4 people.