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Innocent civilians seek shelter from Israeli-Hamas violence

By: Bridget Creel, Special Report Summer Associate

Right in between the surge of rockets from Islamic extremist group Hamas and ground offensives from Israeli forces, innocent inhabitants of Gaza City turn to other options for shelter and safety. The Gazans run into one problem: they are literally trapped.

The rectangular geography of the Gaza Strip poses implications for those wishing to relocate. The Gaza Strip, which is 25 miles long and between three and seven miles wide, has concrete walls and fences along the perimeter of the eastern and northern boundaries. Israel and Egypt can be found at the southern end of the strip and the western side of the strip borders the Mediterranean Sea, leaving the Gazans immovable.

Due to the travel restrictions on Gazans from Egypt and Israel, Gazans are forced to seek out new living situations within the unsafe area. Those along the border have fled to relatives’ homes and those with nowhere else to turn have looked to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency’s (UNRWA) emergency shelters for accommodation.

Beginning on July 7, UNRWA issued a state of emergency in all areas within the Gaza Strip.

Early this morning, UNRWA tweeted, “More than 83,000 people are now taking refuge in UNRWA schools in #Gaza. Numbers are growing.”

Despite consistent efforts to keep up with the rising number of inhabitants, the UNRWA has run into several difficulties, some more unexpected than others. Last week, 20 rockets were found in one of the agency’s abandoned schools. Following the discovery, the agency issued a statement that prohibited the storage of the Gaza militants’ harmful rockets in their facilities.

UNRWA continues to distribute food and water to the shelters but the combat has disrupted the delivery of the supplies. The agency runs into numerous other problems, such as the destruction of schools, as the conflict escalates.

In the past 24 hours, numbers released by the UNRWA revealed a devastating loss for both sides. Innocent Palestinian and Israeli citizens are facing the repercussions of the battle.

This morning, President Obama said Israel has the right to defend itself against Hamas but that the United States has “serious concerns about the rising number of Palestinian civilian deaths and the loss of Israeli lives.”

He went on to say that the focus should be “a cease-fire that ends the fighting and that can stop the deaths of innocent civilians, both in Gaza and in Israel.” 

Inside United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) on July 18, 2014 in Gaza City. Israel launched a Gaza ground campaign after 10 days of bombardments from the air and sea failed to stop militants' rocket attacks, stepping up an offensive that already has taken a heavy toll in civilian lives.(Photo by Momen Faiz/NurPhoto/Sipa USA) (Sipa via AP Images)

President Obama Proposes $500 Million To Aid Syrian Rebels

The White House sent Congress a $500 million request Thursday for a Pentagon-run program that would significantly expand previous covert efforts to arm rebels fighting both the Sunni extremists and forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad.

If approved by lawmakers, the program would in effect open a second front in the fight against militants spilling over Syria's border and threatening to overwhelm neighboring Iraq.

President Obama has long been reluctant to arm the Syrian opposition, in part because of concerns that weapons may fall into extremist hands. But administration officials say the U.S. has grown increasingly confident in recent months about its ability to distinguish the moderate rebels from the more extremist elements that include the al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which has stormed into Iraq and captured much of the northern part of the country.

Jennifer Griffin has more tonight on Special Report

Many states taking a stand against Common Core

Many parents in New York State are refusing to allow their children to participate in the nation's first round of tests under the Obama Administration's controversial new standards system.
 
Correspondent Mike Tobin reports states are already dropping out just as the program is ramping up.
 

Crimea

Well Wishes for Barbara Bush

Former First Lady Barbara Bush, 88, remains hospitalized for respiratory related issues, but her family says she is in "great spirits" and receiving "fantastic care." 

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama sent their thoughts and prayers to the Bush family.

“Michelle and I send our best wishes to Mrs. Bush for a speedy recovery. Barbara is blessed to have both a loving, supportive family by her side and a vibrant spirit that we hope will have her feeling better soon. I know I speak for Americans everywhere when I say that our thoughts and prayers are with Barbara and her family on this New Year’s Day."

Former President Bill Clinton also tweeted this message:

Former President George HW Bush even took to Twitter to say thank you--

President Obama's disapproval rating rises among California voters

By Special Report Intern/ Gabriella Morrongiello

President Barack Obama has seen a significant decline in support since the botched rollout of his legacy healthcare legislation and voters in one of the country's bluest states have proved no exception.

According to a new Field Poll, 43 percent of California voters now disapprove of the President's performance-- an 8 percent increase since July. Furthermore, just one-third of poll participants believe the country is headed in the right direction.

The poll's director, Mark DiCamillo, believes the poll is a "much more deflating reflection of how people view the leadership of Obama."

"At the beginning of the year, after his re-election, they felt great. They are not feeling that way anymore. They think the country is moving in the wrong direction even with their Democrat in the White House," DiCamillo told The Sacramento Bee.

The California Field Poll reflects growing trends in the President's disapproval rating throughout the country.

Harvard's Institute of Politics released a recent poll revealing the President's approval rating at just 41 percent among young Americans ages 18 -  29-- the lowest level reported since the beginning of his presidency. Of that same age group, 47 percent would vote to recall President Obama today if it were possible.

California's own state exchange, Covered California, has operated relatively smoothly  in comparison to the  national Health Insurance Marketplace, however the messy Obamacare rollout - defined by widespread policy cancellations and an unpredictable website - has influenced the opinions of California voters nonetheless. Half of California voters now disapprove of President Obama's handling of healthcare, according to the Field Poll.

Moreover, the poll reveals a shocking increase in disapproval ratings among some of President Obama's largest and most loyal supporters: 16 percent among Latinos, 18 percent in union households and 13 percent among women in California, the poll showed.

During a recent interview with Barbara Walters, President Obama commented on his approval numbers saying, "The good thing about when you're down is that usually, you've got nowhere to go but up."

The Field Poll surveyed 766 registered voters in California from Nov. 14 to Dec. 1 with a margin of error plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

 

Senator Saxby Chambliss on Special Report!

Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, will join Bret Baier on set for an exclusive interview tonight. 

They will discuss today’s meeting on Iran between President Obama and a bipartisan group of Senators. We will also ask Senator Chambliss about the reported letter the President plans to send the Afghan people acknowledging mistakes made during the 'war on terror' to be presented ahead of a key vote by tribal elders later this week.

Don't miss Special Report w/ Bret Baier tonight at 6pmET on Fox News Channel! What would you ask Senator Chambliss? Tweet us @BretBaier or share with us on Facebook at facebook.com/bretbaiersr and your name and question might just end up on our air! 

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