Skip Navigation
NPR News

Israeli PM Netanyahu Says Gaza War Will Be 'Prolonged'

by Eyder Peralta
Jul 29, 2014

Share this


Explore this

Reported by

Eyder Peralta

Despite calls from the United Nations for a cease-fire, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned his country to prepare for a "prolonged" war.

Netanyahu made the comments during a televised address on Monday. As NBC News reports, Netanyahu also defended its offensive in Gaza as just.

"We will continue to act aggressively and responsibly until the mission is completed to protect our citizens, soldiers and children," Netanyahu added.

With that, here's what you need to know as the conflict enters its 22nd day:

— The Death Toll:

Israel had its deadliest day on Monday. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports that at least five soldiers guarding a kibbutz were killed by Hamas militants who used tunnels to burrow into Israel.

According to a New York Times count, that brings total Israeli deaths to 51.

The death toll in Gaza also keeps climbing: It's more than 1,110; 15 people were killed overnight.

— Attacking Gaza's Only Power Plant:

Reporting from Gaza, NPR's Emily Harris said last night saw the "longest, loudest and closest attacks so far."

At least one shell struck Gaza's only power plan, the head of Gaza's electricity company told Emily.

"It started a blaze that destroyed the storage tanks," Emily tells us. "He says the plant is no longer producing. Combined with downed lines from Israel, Gazan homes are getting something around less than four hours of electricity a day. This affects water as water needs pumps."

— A Stunning Time-Lapse:

Buzzfeed's Sheera Frankel describes the video below like this: "Time lapse shows entire neighborhood in Gaza being flattened by air strikes over the course of one hour."

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Missing some content? Check the source: NPR
Copyright(c) 2014, NPR

N.H. Promises To Let D.C. Residents Buy Booze There

Jul 29, 2014 (Morning Edition)

Hear this

This text will be replaced
Launch in player

Share this


Explore this

Reported by

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Missing some content? Check the source: NPR
Copyright(c) 2014, NPR
A volunteer at a Christian church in Qosh, Iraq, loads aid onto a handcart Monday for delivery to displaced Shiites who are sheltering there. (NPR)

For Iraqis In Crisis, Dividing The Country Seems A Poor Solution

Jul 29, 2014 (Morning Edition)

See this

Iraqi children play on swings during an Eid al-Fitr celebration in the city of Mosul on Monday.

Hear this

This text will be replaced
Launch in player

Share this


The muscular farmer sits in the basement kindergarten of the church, perched on a tiny chair intended for a child. He and his family are spending the holiday here, after being forced to flee from extremists.

"Our village is more than 300 years old," Ahmed Ali says of Shreikhan, near Mosul, "and we never had any such problems."

For most Muslims around the world, Eid is a time for gifts, feasts and visiting relatives. But for him and others in a militant-controlled swath of northwest Iraq, it's a strange and unhappy holiday.

He and his family, Shiites who left their homes when extremist Sunnis took over Mosul, are spending the holiday in Qosh, a nearby Christian village. They have been living for a month in a kindergarten with Santa Claus and snowmen painted on the walls.

"There's no mosque here," he says, "just a church."

His family had been in Shreikhan since it was founded and are so long-tenured that he described his house as historic.

He says that relations were so good with the Sunni village down the hill that, two months ago, he married one of its daughters. And as evidence of the peaceful coexistence in this mixed area, he says the Christians here in Qosh have welcomed him. Men at the Chaldean Mar Mekha church pile boxes of aid onto handcarts and into trucks to deliver to families sheltering there.

"The church is very helpful; they give us food," he says. "And even the people from the town, they gave us everything we have here."

But some wonder whether it's time to partition Iraq along religious and ethnic lines. Fueled by the war in Syria, new waves of highly sectarian Sunni and Shiite militias are threatening civilians, and both sides scare the Christians. Meanwhile, the ethnic Kurds' calls for independence in the north are growing louder.

Already Ali says most of the Shiites from his village have moved to Shiite-dominated southern Iraq. But for Ali, a divided Iraq wouldn't be the country he loves.

"If that happens it will be something very, very painful," he says. "I'm a farmer. I have 50 tonnes of potatoes in cold storage. It's my home; it's my place."

Around the corner, a government building is sheltering an extended Sunni family from Mosul. The paterfamilias, Saad Mahmoud, says he fears that the extremists will target him because he worked for the government. Usually at Eid, he pays calls to his neighbors: Shiites, Christians and other minorities among them.

"If you did this partition, I would consider it a tragedy," he says. "Because we're a family, it's like somebody came to your house and took away one of them."

At the church, aid co-ordinator Fadi Youssef also says that Iraq — the land of the two rivers, he calls it, as Iraqis do when feeling proud — should be a place of diversity and co-existence, not a split state with no place for minorities.

Iraq's deputy minister for the displaced, Asghar al Moussawi, echoes that sentiment. Visiting the church for Eid, he says he sees the signs of Iraq breaking up into segregated regions. But so much of Iraq — including this area around Mosul — is so mixed, he says, it's impossible to divide.

"As an Iraqi, I wouldn't wish for Iraq to be divided or even head in that direction," he says. "Especially because that division would happen on the basis of ethnicity and sect."

For many Iraqis, commitment to a united Iraq is part of their identity — and something their leaders insist they believe in. The deputy minister even says Western countries shouldn't offer asylum to Iraqis — which might encourage them to leave — but rather give aid with the aim of helping them stay where they are.

But such assistance would need to arrive swiftly.

Youssef, the church aid coordinator, says the church waited until after Eid to tell the displaced families that they can't live in the kindergarten forever.

He thinks they'll probably end up in Shiite-dominated southern Iraq, with the rest of the Shiites from their village.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Missing some content? Check the source: NPR
Copyright(c) 2014, NPR
A volunteer at a Christian church in Qosh, Iraq, loads aid onto a handcart Monday for delivery to displaced Shiites who are sheltering there. (NPR)

Venezuelans Celebrate Chavez With A Focus On His Handwriting

Jul 29, 2014 (Morning Edition)

See this

Iraqi children play on swings during an Eid al-Fitr celebration in the city of Mosul on Monday.

Hear this

This text will be replaced
Launch in player

Share this


Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Missing some content? Check the source: NPR
Copyright(c) 2014, NPR
Hall sits in a sunny bay window to write. "My first drafts are always in long hand, on legal pads," she explains. "I love putting pen to paper." (Andre Ellis)

Crime Writer Creates A Hero For Her Beloved, Much-Maligned South LA

Jul 29, 2014 (Morning Edition)

See this

Many streets boast a panoramic view of the Los Angeles skyline from the Baldwin Hills and Rachel Howzell Hall's View Park neighborhood.

Hear this

This text will be replaced
Launch in player

Share this


Rachel Howzell Hall is easing her big, laurel green Mercedes sedan through the streets of Los Angeles. A slim woman with big eyes, Hall says this Benz is her dream car, the thing she'd planned to buy for herself once she'd become a successful writer, probably around age 50.

But something happened to speed up her schedule.

"When I was 33 years old," Hall says, "I was diagnosed with a rare type of breast cancer. And I was pregnant. And it was terrifying."

She was two months pregnant with her much-desired first child. And she and her husband, David, were stunned. With Hall's doctors, they worked together to beat the disease.

"I made it through, I survived," says Hall. "And I realized that life is not guaranteed, and that I don't want to wait until 50 to get a car that I want; because I may not make it to age 50. You never know, " she shrugs. "And so now, I'm driving the car I always wanted."

Surviving cancer also freed Hall to write her first mystery. Before that, she had wanted to write a detective novel but was afraid to because she wasn't a cop. What if she got something wrong? Facing her mortality changed everything.

"Having faced that, that's the biggest fear anyone could have," she says. "It's like, 'OK, you're writing a book? That's not scary. I can do that.' And that's when I started Land of Shadows."

The book was published last month in the U.S., and earlier this year in the U.K. Its heroine is Elouise "Lou" Norton, a scary-smart and fiercely ambitious homicide detective — and the only woman and African-American on her Los Angeles police homicide detail.

The book opens when Lou is called to a new condominium complex in South LA to investigate a teen Jane Doe who was found hanging in a closet. Lou suspects the real estate mogul building the complex is involved, and may also have ties to the unsolved disappearance of Lou's own sister two decades earlier. Whether she can detach herself from her personal past to effectively investigate the current murder drives the plot.

'The Tall, Black Girl From The Jungle'

During a reading at Eso Won, a well-regarded bookstore in the cultural heart of black LA, Hall tells the audience that Lou reminded her of a character from the 1991 movie Silence of the Lambs. She says Jodie Foster's FBI agent, Clarice Starling, and Lou are both poised and confident, but they come from hard beginnings, which can be a sore spot.

Hall says that, while she was writing Lou, she kept thinking of a scene from the film in which Hannibal Lecter quickly deconstructs Starling while she's trying to profile him: "You know what you look like to me, with your good bag and your cheap shoes?" he says. "You look like a rube. ... Good nutrition's given you some length of bone, but you're not more than one generation from poor white trash, are you Agent Starling?"

"I wanted ... [Lou] to have some of that 'Yes, you overcame ... but you're still the tall, black girl from the Jungle,' " Hall says.

The Jungle, as both residents and cops sardonically call it, is the neighborhood Lou comes from, and the name has myriad meanings. Hall reads from Lou's description of the Jungle for her audience, as they nod in recognition:

Baldwin Village was the government name for my old neighborhood. But regular people knew it as the Jungle, a used-to-be-nice-place-to-live back in the Sixties, a neighborhood boasting twisty streets lined with banana palms, roomy apartments and swimming pools.

Hall is able to describe Lou's childhood neighborhood so accurately because it was her neighborhood, too. She grew up in a second-story Jungle apartment across the street from sunny Jim Gilliam Park. She says the neighborhood was nicknamed "the Jungle" in the '60s because of the lush tropical foliage that surrounded each of the area's apartment buildings. "And then [in the] late '70s came PCP and gang members, and it took on a whole new, different name of Jungle. And it got a little wild because of drug dealing and gang banging and all the rest of it."

Hall's parents kept a very close eye on her and her three siblings, filling their time with church, music lessons and academic competitions. They were the Cleaver family, only black and in a Section Eight neighborhood — the same neighborhood Lou patrols.

"Lou has that same kind of duality," Hall says. "She's very much from the neighborhood, but she's not of the neighborhood." Not anymore, at any rate.

There Are Heroes In South LA, Just As There Are Villains

Hall knows people think certain things when they think of South LA: black, poor, crime-ridden. One of the main reasons she wanted to write about the area is to show it has more facets than outsiders commonly assume.

"I want people to realize that, one, there's a story in this part of Los Angeles and that there are heroes in this world, just as there are villains," she says. "And a lot of times, [in] LA, you see Echo Park, you see Hollywood; but you don't see Southwest Los Angeles, and you don't see cops who have great compassion, like Lou does, and cops who come from the areas in which they patrol. So I want people to not make assumptions about this city and about the people who live here."

Hall herself lives in South LA, about a 10-minute drive away from the Jungle in the mostly unknown neighborhood of View Park. Here, large houses nestle in the hills just above her childhood home. She says she used to look up at them through her kitchen window and dream while she washed the dishes.

"I grew up in the Jungle looking at, you know, very big homes on the hills," she says. "And l knew black folks lived there and I knew that they were wealthy and I aspired to that. I wanted to be up that hill."

And now she is. Her butter-yellow living room is hung with family portraits — her siblings, her parents, her wedding pictures and a photo of her and her husband, David, in the delivery room, beaming as they display their just-born daughter, Maya. There's a piano she plays when she wants to relax and a window seat she likes to sit in when she writes.

"I start my drafts in longhand; I write on legal pads," Hall says. "I love pencils and pens."

Rachel Howzell Hall never gets writer's block — she knows better than most that time is not a given. Instead, she spends her time on what she thinks counts, like enjoying her family and her friends, and writing novels that show a more complete view of her beloved Los Angeles — the city that people often drive by on the freeway, but have never bothered to investigate.

"I love Los Angeles and everything that it has to offer. The houses, the weather, the diversity," Hall says, making a big arc with one arm. "And I'm looking forward to sharing it with anyone who wants to read about it in my books."

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Missing some content? Check the source: NPR
Copyright(c) 2014, NPR

Visitor comments

on:

NCPR is supported by:

This is a Visitor-Supported website.