Monday, 20 March 2017

Palestinian officer killed, 2 gunmen injured during armed clashes in Balata


A Palestinian policeman was killed Sunday night during armed clashes that erupted in Balata refugee camp in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus, after Palestinian forces raided the camp to detain “wanted fugitives,” Palestinian security forces said.

The clashes left another policeman and at least two gunmen injured -- one of whom was detained while the other managed to escape.

Local sources told Ma’an that Palestinian security forces ambushed the camp at the eastern cemetery dressed as civilians, sparking clashes with gunmen that lasted some 15 minutes.

Governor of Nablus Akram Rujoub said that Palestinian security forces officer Hasaan Ali Abu al-Hajj was killed after being shot in the head, and was declared dead sometime later after succumbing to the injury. Rujoub noted that Abu al-Hajj was newly married, just six months ago. more

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Israeli authorities demolish East Jerusalem building under construction

Israeli authorities demolished a building under construction in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya on Tuesday morning, a local popular committee told Ma'an.

Local committee member Muhammad Abu al-Hummus told Ma'an that a large number of Israeli security forces stormed Issawiya to protect bulldozers and a Jerusalem municipality crew carrying out the demolition.

The bulldozers then tore down a two-story, 250-square-meter building under construction owned by Majdi Mustafa.

Mustafa said he had only recently started to build the structure, and had not yet obtained a construction permit from the Jerusalem municipality for it. more

Monday, 13 March 2017

Witnesses: Israeli police 'execute' Palestinian in Jerusalem over alleged attack

Israeli police shot and killed a 25-year-old Palestinian near the Lion’s Gate entrance to Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem's Old City early Monday morning after he allegedly stabbed two Israeli police officers, who were lightly and moderately injured.

The slain man was identified as Ibrahim Mahmoud Matar, a resident of the East Jerusalem neighborhood Jabal al-Mukabbir, located south of the Old City.

The shooting happened ahead of the Muslim fajr (dawn) prayers, as worshipers were headed to the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Witnesses told Ma'an they saw a dispute inside an Israeli police post located near Lion’s Gate between an Israeli policeman and a Palestinian "who was carrying a stick.” Israeli police then forced the young man outside of the enclosure and “executed” him at point blank range with with four bullets, leading to his immediate death, witnesses said.

Referring to the dispute that lead up to the shooting, eyewitnesses told Ma’an that Israeli police were “controlling the situation” and could have easily detained Matar without using lethal force. more

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Palestinian activist 'executed' by Israeli forces after 2-hour shoot-out



Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian activist early Monday morning, culminating a two-hour-long gun battle in the Ramallah area of the central occupied West Bank, after Israeli forces had been pursuing the man since he was released from Palestinian prison last September.

The raid sparked clashes, which left two Palestinians shot and injured by Israeli forces. No Israelis were injured in the incident.

Israeli police identified the slain man as Basel al-Araj, who was wanted for "planning terror attacks against Israelis."

Al-Araj was detained without charges or explanation by Palestinian security forces in April last year along with Haitham Siyaj and Muhammad Harb. The controversial case made headlines when the three men joined three other detainees in a hunger strike in Palestinian prison, amid reports of torture and mistreatment.

After being released in September, Palestinian activists had feared that Israeli forces would immediately detain the six men, as the Palestinian Authority (PA) has been widely criticized for its security coordination with Israel through what critics have called a “revolving door policy" of funneling Palestinians from PA jails into Israeli prisons. more

Monday, 6 March 2017

'Wanted' Palestinian killed by Israeli forces after 2-hour shoot out

Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian man early Monday morning, culminating a two-hour-long gun battle in the Ramallah area of the central occupied West Bank, after Israeli forces had been pursuing the man since he was released from Palestinian prison last September.

The raid sparked clashes, which left two Palestinians shot and injured by Israeli forces. No Israelis were injured in the incident.

Israeli police identified the slain man as Basel al-Araj, who was wanted for "planning terror attacks against Israelis."

Al-Araj was detained without charges or explanation by Palestinian security forces in April last year along with Haitham Siyaj and Muhammad Harb. The controversial case made headlines when the three men joined three other detainees in a hunger strike in Palestinian prison, amid reports of torture and mistreatment.

After being released in September, Palestinian activists had feared that Israeli forces would immediately detain the six men, as the Palestinian Authority (PA) has been widely criticized for its security coordination with Israel through what critics have called a “revolving door policy" of funneling Palestinians from PA jails into Israeli prisons. more

Monday, 27 February 2017

Israeli army hits Gaza with multiple airstrikes, injuring 4 Palestinians


The Israeli army targeted multiple sites across the besieged Gaza Strip with airstrikes and artillery fire midday Monday leaving at least four Palestinians injured, hours after an Israeli army spokesperson said that a rocket fired from Gaza landed in an open area in southern Israel that caused no injuries or damages.

Witnesses said Israeli fighter jets launched two missiles at a Hamas military site known as the Shuhada ("martyrs" in Arabic) post just after 1 p.m. in the central Gaza Strip, near the coast and west of Nuseirat refugee camp. Other local Palestinian news sites said five missiles were fired in the area.

Shortly after, an Israeli reconnaissance plane fired a missile at a monitoring post east of Rafah city in the southern Gaza Strip, as Israeli fighter jets fired three missiles at the Hitteen post in Beit Lahiya in the northern region of the small Palestinian territory.

A separate strike in the Nahda neighborhood of Rafah left three Palestinians moderately injured, according to local sources. Gaza's Ministry of Health later reported that a total of four people were injured in the strikes. more

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Elor Azarya sentenced to only 18 months in prison for killing wounded Palestinian


After being found guilty of manslaughter for the filmed, execution-style shooting of 21-year-old Abd al-Fattah al-Sharif, 20-year-old Israeli soldier Elor Azarya was sentenced to 18 months in prison, a year's probation, and a demotion in his military rank on Tuesday.

The prosecution had sought a three- to five-year prison sentence for the killing, with the maximum sentence for manslaughter being 20 years in prison.

The sentence was scheduled to begin on March 5, though Azarya’s defense team said it would submit an appeal to block the sentence, saying it had a “good chance” and “nothing to lose,” according to reports from Israeli media from inside the courtroom.

After al-Sharif and Ramzi Aziz al-Qasrawi, also 21, allegedly carried out a stabbing attack on another soldier in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron last March, al-Qasrawi was fatally shot, while al-Sharif was shot and left severely wounded on the ground for several minutes before Azarya stepped forward and shot him in the head, with a number of witnesses quoting him as saying "This dog is still alive" and "This terrorist deserves to die" before pulling the trigger.

Leading up to the announcement of the sentence, the panel of three judges weighed the “complexity” and “competing values” of the case; while they agreed that Azarya acted with the intent to kill and not because he felt threatened, a two-judge majority believed the “unique post-terror attack” atmosphere should work heavily in his favor. more

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Israel delivers demolition orders to 40 homes, school in Bedouin community


Israeli forces raided the Bedouin community of Khan al-Ahmar in the occupied West Bank northeast of Jerusalem on Sunday morning to deliver demolition orders to classrooms for the village's primary school, locals told Ma'an, while 40 homes in the community were also reportedly delivered demolition orders.

Locals told Ma'an that Israeli forces surrounded the school -- which has been threatened with demolition by the Israeli government for years -- as faculty and students were prevented from accessing the building.

Israeli soldiers imposed a military closure on Khan al-Ahmar before they stormed the village's school to deliver the demolition warrants, sources said.

Official Palestinian news agency Wafa meanwhile reported that Israeli authorities also issued demolition order against 40 Palestinian-owned houses in Khan al-Ahmar on Sunday morning.

Eid al-Jahalin, a witness, told Wafa that Israeli forces raided the area in the early dawn hours and notified residents that they had until Feb. 23 to leave their homes.

more

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Israeli, Palestinian officials react to Trump's shift away from 2-state solution

Following a controversial meeting held Wednesday between US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli and Palestinian leaders reacted with praise and condemnation in response to a clear shift in US policy away from backing the two-state solution.

Trump responded to a question on Wednesday regarding his administration’s position on the two-state solution during a press conference preceding the meeting, a day after a US official said that the country was not necessarily committed to the policy as the sole way out of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“I’m looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like,” Trump said, eliciting laughter from Netanyahu. “I can live with either one.”

While members of the international community have rested the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the discontinuation of illegal Israeli settlements and the establishment of a two-state solution, a growing number of Palestinian activists have criticized the two-state solution as unsustainable and unlikely to bring durable peace given the existing political context, proposing instead a binational state with equal rights for Israelis and Palestinians.

more

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Palestinian teens detail their torture at the hands of Israeli authorities


Two Palestinian teenagers held in Israel’s Ofer detention center have been shot, abused, and tortured during their detention and interrogation by Israeli authorities, according to a statement released Tuesday by the Palestinian Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs.

Lawyer for the committee Hussein al-Araj said that 17-year-old Musab Muhammad Ghuneimat from Surif in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron and 16-year-old Ayid Amr from Dura in the Hebron district told him they were tortured in Israeli custody.

Ghneimat was was shot and injured in the foot by Israeli forces on Oct. 23, 2015, after he allegedly stabbed an Israeli soldier.

He told the lawyer that after soldiers claimed he carried out a stabbing attack, they chased after him and shot him in the foot, immobilizing him. After he stopped, an Israeli soldier fired two rounds on the ground near him and a third at his wounded foot from point-blank range.

Minutes later, he added, an Israeli ambulance arrived to evacuate him. "I almost fainted, but the soldiers kept hitting me on the shoulder to keep me awake."

He said that he was then taken to Israel’s Hadassah Hospital where he was held for 18 days, saying he was interrogated before receiving treatment for his injuries. more

Monday, 13 February 2017

Israeli naval forces open fire at Palestinian fishermen in Gaza


Israeli naval boats opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of the besieged Gaza Strip on two separate occasions Sunday night and Monday morning, with no injuries reported in either case.

Fishermen told Ma’an that Israeli forces opened live fire at fishermen off the coast of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Monday evening, forcing fishermen to sail to shore who said they feared for their safety.

Separately on Monday morning, Israeli naval forces opened fire at fishermen sailing north of Gaza City.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an she would look into reports of the incidents.

Israeli army incursions inside the besieged Palestinian territory have long been a near-daily occurrence, as the Israeli army regularly opens fire on unarmed Palestinian fishermen and farmers along the border areas if they approach Israel’s unilaterally declared “buffer zone,” which lies on both the land and sea sides of Gaza. more

Sunday, 12 February 2017

NFL players pull out of Israel propaganda tour


Immediately after contributing to his team’s Super Bowl victory last Sunday, Martellus Bennett of the New England Patriots was asked what he thought about an upcoming visit to Mexico to represent the National Football League (NFL).

“Tear down the wall! Tear down the wall! That’s what I think about going to Mexico,” he cried.

Bennett then became the first of a number of Patriots players who confirmed they would skip a visit with President Donald Trump at the White House. more

Egypt opens Rafah crossing to humanitarian cases for 2nd day


Egyptian authorities opened the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the besieged Gaza Strip on Sunday morning for the second of three days during which Egypt decided to open the terminal for humanitarian cases.

According to the Palestinian borders and crossings committee, 325 passengers left Gaza to travel to Egypt on Saturday, including holders of Egyptian passports. In addition, 183 passengers arrived to Gaza from Egypt through the crossing.

The committee highlighted that two Palestinians who died in Egypt were brought to Gaza for burial via Rafah.

Egyptian authorities denied 11 Palestinians entry into Egypt on Saturday, the reasons for the denials being unknown. more

Thursday, 9 February 2017

2 Palestinians killed, 5 injured in reported airstrike on southern Gaza tunnel


Two Palestinians were killed and five were injured during a reported airstrike on a smuggling tunnel between Egypt and Gaza on Wednesday night, official Palestinian sources said.

Gaza Ministry of Health spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said on Thursday that Hussam Hamid al-Sufi, 24, from the town of Rafah, and Muhammad Anwar al-Aqraa, a 38-year-old resident of Gaza City, were killed in an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, while five other Palestinians were injured.

An Israeli army spokesperson however denied to Ma’an that the army was involved in the reported strike.

However, Israeli media stated that the alleged tunnel attack came in the wake of four rockets being fired from the blockaded Palestinian territory towards the southern Israeli city of Eilat. No casualties were reported in the incident.

The casualties came in the wake of multiple airstrikes launched by the Israeli army inside the Gaza Strip on Monday which injured two Palestinians, after a rocket that landed in an open area in the Ashkelon region of southern Israel.

The Gaza-based al-Mezan Center for Human Rights expressed concern on Tuesday that Israel could be leading up to a wide-scale military offensive. more