RAW: Huge smoke clouds from IDF airstrikes cover the sky in Gaza

Almost a dozen Palestinians and three Israelis have been killed as well as scores injured on both sides in an ongoing spate of violence that saw hundreds of rockets launched by Gaza militants and massive air strikes by Israel.

At least nine Palestinians, including seven civilians and two militants, have died in the Israeli strikes targeting the Gaza Strip since Saturday, the Gaza Health Ministry said, adding that dozens more have been injured. A pregnant woman and her 14-month-old baby were among those killed.

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Israeli death toll rises to three following strikes from Gaza

Almost a dozen Palestinians and three Israelis have been killed as well as scores injured on both sides in an ongoing spate of violence that saw hundreds of rockets launched by Gaza militants and massive air strikes by Israel.

At least nine Palestinians, including seven civilians and two militants, have died in the Israeli strikes targeting the Gaza Strip since Saturday, the Gaza Health Ministry said, adding that dozens more have been injured. A pregnant woman and her 14-month-old baby were among those killed.

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RAW: Strikes destroy building in Gaza as Israeli attacks continue

Explosions rocked the Al-Shojaeya neighborhood east of Gaza City, Sunday, with heavy smoke seen rising above the streets, as a four-story building was reportedly hit and destroyed by an Israeli airstrike.

Israeli forces have been conducting raids on alleged Hamas targets in Gaza, claiming it to be a response to hundreds of rockets fired on Israel from the enclave.

At least eight Palestinians and three Israelis have reportedly been killed in the attacks conducted by both sides during the weekend.

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Israel’s Netanyahu slams anti-Semitism at Holocaust ceremony

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounce a rise in anti-Semitism around the world, at a ceremony on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, pointedly referring to Saturday’s shooting in a California synagogue that killed one person and wounded three others, two of them Israelis.

Collective punishment? IDF demolishes house of Palestinian who killed 2 Israelis

The Israeli military says its forces have demolished the home of a Palestinian who killed two Israelis in a shooting and stabbing spree last month.

Israel says 19-year-old Omar Abu Layla stabbed a soldier to death and shot another dead while wounding others near the settlement of Ariel in March. He was killed by Israeli troops after a massive three-day manhunt.

Israel often demolishes homes of alleged Palestinian assailants or their families, saying it deters future attacks. Rights groups say the demolitions amount to collective punishment.

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Israel at the polls for high-stake election

Israelis are voting in a high-stakes election that will decide whether to extend Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s long right-wing tenure or to replace him with ex-military chief Benny Gantz. The newcomer has mounted a strong challenge to the veteran prime minister by brandishing his security credentials while pledging to undo damage he says Netanyahu has inflicted on the country with divisive politics.

Israelis Head To The Polls With A Choice: Right Or Righter (HBO)

Eyal Hajbi has been on high alert since a rocket launched from Gaza landed near Tel Aviv two weeks ago. As the official responsible for the security of the 25,000 people living in Sderot, a village less than a mile off the fence with Gaza, rockets are virtually all Hajbi has thought about.

Well, rockets and Israel’s upcoming elections this Tuesday. And like a lot of Israelis here, Hajbi has already made up his mind: he’s voting for Likud, the party of four-term prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He supports Netanyahu’s tough stance toward Palestinians and security, and his increasingly right-wing views about the future of Israel.

“I love how he represents us in the world,” Hajbi told VICE News. “I have only one view: One state. The whole land of Israel. We shouldn’t give up on any part of it.”

But Israelis like Hajbi that live close to Gaza are far from the only ones turning out for Netanyahu. Despite mounting bribery and corruption charges, and a recent alliance with outwardly racist politicians, Netanyahu enjoys overwhelming support across the country ahead of Tuesday’s elections.

His party’s only real challenger is from a newly-formed centrist alliance called Blue and White, led by Benny Gantz, who’s framing himself as Bibi but without the baggage. “I think we will be able to unify the country by far more than what Netanyahu is doing right now,” Gantz told VICE News.

But don’t mistake Gantz for a left-wing alternative to Netanyahu’s increasingly right-wing rule. At an event for English-speaking voters in Tel Aviv last week, Gantz suggested Blue an White would try to copy the four-term prime minister’s strategy, and partner with hardline right-wing religious parties to form a governing majority.

As for the traditional left, it’s been conspicuously absent from the conversation. There’s a reason for that: Only 12 percent of Israelis now identify as left-wing, according to a recent survey.

“He was a good soldier, a good officer, sometimes I think if I had convinced him to stay in the military, maybe he would have done a lot less damage to Israel.”

For the country’s last bonafide left-wing prime minister, Ehud Barak, this is a frustrating development. Barak’s concerned about what the absence of a strong left has done to Israel’s national politics, including the effect it’s had on Netanyahu, a politician he once served beside in the army.

“He was a good soldier, a good officer, sometimes I think if I had convinced him to stay in the military, maybe he would have done a lot less damage to Israel,” Barak told VICE News.

Barak was the last prime minister candidate to oust Netanyahu out of office in 1999. But since then, Bibi has held onto power, in part by moving Israeli politics further and further to the right. Most recently he formed an alliance with an ultra-nationalist extremist right wing party called Jewish Power, that was inspired by Meir Kahane who advocated for the forced removal of Palestinians.

“Bibi, under the pressure, and because of his own interest, finds himself in a situation where those zealots, crazy racist zealots are dictating to him how to run the government and they are blocking the democratic life of Israel, and that should be rejected by the people.”

Now more than ever, as Israel continues to move more and more to the right, Barak says a strong opposition is necessary to start a difficult conversation, even if they can’t defeat Netanyahu’s coalition.

“Sometimes the people are wrong. Someone has to help them to open their eyes. It is usually the opposition.”

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Hopefuls step up anti-Palestinian posturing as Israeli PM race looms

Israelis are gearing up to elect their next PM.

As polling day looms, one predominantly Arab party is begging voters not to elect those who have blood on their hands – something some contenders are boasting about in their campaign videos.

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Israelis fire tear gas to protesters at fence

Tear gas was fired as crowds of Palestinians demonstrated Saturday near the Israeli border fence to mark one year of weekly protests in the Gaza Strip. (March 30)

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