Thursday, 27 July 2017

Palestinian leaders call for return to Al-Aqsa after Israeli forces remove security measures


Israeli forces dismantled security measures installed at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem late on Wednesday night, in what was celebrated as a victory by Palestinian Jerusalemites, as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian religious leaders said on Thursday that prayers could resume at the compound.

However, tensions re-emerged on Thursday afternoon after Israeli forces reportedly prevented Al-Aqsa security guards from reopening one of the gates to the compound.

Following a deadly shooting at Al-Aqsa in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem on July 14, Israeli authorities installed heightened security measures at Al-Aqsa,sparking a widespread civil disobedience campaign among local Palestinians, who have been met with violent repression at the hands of Israeli forces.

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Monday, 24 July 2017

Israeli forces attack positions in Gaza after rocket lands in Negev desert


Israeli forces attacked the Gaza Strip with tank fire overnight Sunday, causing no injuries, a short while after the Israeli army said a projectile fired from the besieged coastal enclave landed in an open area in the Negev desert without causing injuries or damages.

Locals in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip told Ma'an that several Israeli tank shells landed in the area and caused no reported injuries. However, a statement from the Israeli army said it targeted a Hamas post in the southern part of the small Palestinian territory.

Israeli officials have accused Hamas, Gaza's de facto leading party, of "preparing" for another war with Israel and have threatened retaliatory measures against the Gaza Strip as a whole, while Israeli authorities hold Hamas responsible for all attacks against Israeli targets coming from the Gaza Strip. more

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Palestinian shot dead in al-Eizariya as clashes erupt in Jerusalem, West Bank


A day after widespread violence in the occupied Palestinian territory left three Palestinians killed, hundreds of others injured, as well as three Israeli settlers killed by a Palestinian, clashes continued in certain areas in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank on Saturday, leaving one Palestinian shot dead by Israeli fire and dozens more wounded.

Israeli forces shot at least two Palestinians with live bullets, critically injuring one, in the town of al-Eizariya in the central occupied West Bank district of Jerusalem during clashes there Saturday evening, a spokesperson for the Palestinian Red Crescent told Ma'an.

The seriously wounded Palestinian succumbed to his wounds a short time later, the Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed in a statement. He was first evacuated to a hospital in Jericho with shrapnel wounds all over his body in a serious condition, and later taken to the Palestinian Medical Complex in Ramallah were he was declared dead, according to the statement. more

Friday, 21 July 2017

3 Palestinians dead in Jerusalem clashes, health ministry says


Jerusalem (CNN)Three Palestinians were killed after clashes over restrictions imposed by Israeli authorities on worshipers in Jerusalem's Old City on Friday, Palestinian officials said.

More than 100 others were injured in the clashes in east Jerusalem neighborhoods, according to Rafiq El Husseini, director of Al Maqassed Hospital, where the bodies of two of the dead were taken. It is unclear who fired the fatal shots.

Tensions were fueled by a decision by Israeli authorities to install metal detectors at entrances to a key holy site in the Old City and bar male worshipers under 50 from attending Friday prayers there. more

Thousands of Palestinians march towards Al-Aqsa to denounce Israeli measures


JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Tensions were running high in occupied East Jerusalem on Friday as thousands of Palestinians were marching towards the Old City to denounce increased Israeli security measures in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which Israeli authorities decided to maintain early on Friday, despite recommendations from Israel’s own security agencies.

The Waqf, the Islamic endowment administering Al-Aqsa, called earlier this week on all mosques in Jerusalem to be closed on Friday and for all Muslim worshipers in the city to head towards Al-Aqsa to denounce the installation of metal detectors, turnstiles, and additional security cameras in the compound after a shooting attack on July 14 left the assailants, three Palestinian citizens of Israel, and two Israeli border police officers killed. more

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

PA deflects blame for medical patients in Gaza being denied treatment


The Palestinian Authority (PA) has rejected accusations from Hamas and reports in Israeli media that it has been preventing Palestinians in the blockaded Gaza Strip from leaving the territory for medical treatment, and said Israel was responsible for denying Gazans the exit permits, which has had fatal consequences in recent weeks.

Corroborating earlier reports that the Ramallah-based government was denying culpability, head of the PA’s medical referral department in the southern district Bassam al-Badri told Ma’an that Israel was accountable for the deterioration of the medical situation in Gaza, by denying exit to thousands of patients via the Erez crossing so that they may be treated in hospitals in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.

Al-Badri said that only 50 percent of medical permits were approved as a result of the Israeli restrictions.

Health care inside Gaza has greatly suffered as part of the decade-long Israeli siege, with Israel limiting medical equipment allowed in and restricts travel for doctors seeking further medical training and specialization. more

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Hamas accuses Israel of fabricating rocket claim to justify airstrikes in Gaza


The Israeli air force launched at least two airstrikes on the besieged Gaza Strip early Tuesday, with the Israeli army saying the attacks targeted two Hamas military infrastructures and were in response to a rocket fired from Gaza late Monday, which allegedly landed in an open area in Israel's Shaar Hanegev Regional Council that borders northeastern Gaza, causing no injuries or damages.

No injuries were reported as a result of the airstrikes.

Palestinian news agency Wafa cited local sources in Gaza, saying that strikes hit multiple locations across the small Palestinian territory, including northwest of Gaza City, east of the Gaza Valley area, and Nasr neighborhood in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah.

The strikes left material damages to a number of homes, the report said.

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Monday, 26 June 2017

Claims of Israeli settlement freeze an 'attempt to fool the public'


After reports emerged Friday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised the United States government to stop marketing new settlement units for the rest of 2017, a representative from settlement watchdog Peace Now called the alleged promise “another spin of the Netanyahu government trying to fool the public.”

Israeli newspaper The Jerusalem Post had reported that the alleged freeze was discovered when settlers from the illegal Beit El settlement in the central occupied West Bank discovered that plans for 300 new settler homes -- promised to the settlers by Netanyahu in exchange for a peaceful evacuation of the illegal Ulpana outpost -- were halted.

Netanyahu then reportedly met with the settlement's regional council head Shai Alon and ensured him that the homes promised to the settlers would be excluded from the temporary settlement freeze, adding that the 300 settler homes would be advanced in September. more

Friday, 23 June 2017

Gaza's only power plant back online after two months following Egypt fuel delivery


The only electricity plant serving the two million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip has partly resumed operations after an unexpected diesel delivery from neighbouring Egypt.

Tankers brought one million litres (220,000 gallons) of fuel into the coastal enclave on Thursday, allowing engineers to partly restart the plant and ease the area’s chronic electricity shortage for the next few days.

Hamas, the militant organisation which seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, had been using Qatari and Turkish funding to buy diesel to run the plant from Israel - but has repeatedly accused the West Bank’s Palestinian Authority (PA), which coordinates delivery, of driving up prices through unfair taxation. more

Monday, 12 June 2017

Israel approves 40 percent reduction of electricity supply to Gaza


BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The Israeli security cabinet has approved a 40 percent reduction in Israel’s electricity supply to the besieged Gaza Strip, where Palestinians are already coping with a crippling power crisis and daily, hours-long blackouts, according Israeli media reports.

The approval came after Israeli authorities announced plans to make the cuts last month, upon request of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in occupied West Bank, which foots Gaza’s monthly electricity bill from Israel by subtracted from taxes collected by Israel on behalf of the PA.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had reportedly informed Israel that the PA only intended to pay 60 percent of the 40 million shekel ($11.19) monthly bill, as Hamas, the de facto ruling party in Gaza, and the Fatah-led PA continued to blame each other for a deepening crisis in Gaza.

Both Israel and the PA have accused Hamas of collecting millions of shekels in taxes from Gazans every month without transferring the money to the PA, and instead “using (the money) to dig tunnels and for the advantage of Hamas,” as the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) put it. more


Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Palestinian prisoners having difficulty standing on 23rd day of mass hunger strike


As some 1,600 Palestinian prisoners marked their 23rd day on hunger strike on Tuesday, the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners' Affairs warned that hunger strikers had entered a dangerous stage, reporting that health conditions were deteriorating considerably.

The political prisoners are calling for an end to the denial of family visits, the right to pursue higher education, appropriate medical care and treatment, and an end to solitary confinement and administrative detention -- imprisonment without charge or trial -- among other demands for basic rights.

Prisoners have started to fall due to waves of dizziness, severe pains, and weight loss, according to a statement released by the committee on Tuesday. The statement highlighted that Israeli authorities had prepared ambulances outside of every prison, and said that "the occupation’s government treats hunger strikers with such cruelty and savagery to the extent that it is willing to completely exhaust their health and lead them to death."

The committee accused the Israel Prison Service (IPS) of harassing hunger strikers on a daily basis. "The Israeli Prison Service carry out inspection raids every day using police dogs, and they spill water on prisoners instead of giving them water to drink," the statement added.

Many hunger strikers have also landed in solitary confinement or have been transferred multiple times throughout Israel’s network of prisons, faced assault, nightly cell raids, confiscation of personal belongings, subhuman cell conditions, and have even been fined hundreds of shekels as punishment for refusing meals. more

Monday, 8 May 2017

Teenage Palestinian girl 'executed in cold blood,' witnesses say


Palestinians who witnessed Israeli border police shooting and killing 16-year-old Fatima Afif Abd al-Rahman Hjeiji in occupied East Jerusalem on Sunday evening said the girl was “executed in cold blood” and did not pose a lethal threat when she was hit with some 20 bullets outside of the Old City.

Israeli police claimed Hjeiji “approached Israeli police and border guards stationed at the site, drew a knife, and tried to attack them while calling out 'Allah Akbar' in an attempt to hurt Israeli forces, who determinedly and professionally neutralized her.”

However, shortly after the shooting, an eyewitness told Ma’an that Hjeiji had been standing near Damascus Gate, more than ten meters away from a group of Israeli border guard soldiers, before she was killed.

"One of the soldiers started to shout ‘knife! knife!’ and moments after that, about five soldiers opened fire at her from every direction," he said. Another witness said the girl was first hit in the chest and fell to the ground, “but Israeli soldiers continued to fire at her back." more

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Abbas aids Israeli siege by cutting Gaza electricity payments


With the prospect looming of a Middle East peace initiative by a new U.S. administration more sympathetic to Israel, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has decided to turn the screw on the Hamas group that has kept Gaza out of his control for a decade.

Abbas's Western-backed Palestinian Authority (PA) on Thursday told Israel it would no longer pay for the electricity Israel supplies to Gaza, a move that could lead to a complete power shutdown in the territory, whose 2 million people already endure blackouts for much of the day. Israel does not engage directly with Hamas, regarding the Islamist group as a terrorist organization.

The PA declined to say why it had taken the step, but had already put pressure on Hamas by withholding the Israeli fuel that until two weeks ago powered Gaza's only generating plant, and slashing the salaries of the civil servants who are one of the mainstays of Gaza's struggling economy.

Medical workers say health services are on the verge of breakdown, while shopkeepers say they are struggling. more

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Palestinian teen shot after alleged stabbing attempt at Huwwara checkpoint


A Palestinian teenager was shot and criticially injured by Israeli forces on Wednesday afternoon after the teen allegedly attempted to stab Israeli soldiers stationed at the Huwwara military checkpoint south of Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank, according to the Israeli army and Israeli media.

Locals identified the wounded Palestinian as 16-year-old Saleh Omar Saleh from Balata refugee camp in southern Nablus. According to locals, Saleh is the cousin of 17-year-old Amjad Maher Jaafar, who was shot multiple times in the stomach at the same location less than 24 hours earlier, after he allegedly attempted to carry out a stabbing attack as well.

According to Israeli daily Haaretz, Israeli soldiers at the scene said a Palestinian was running towards them and attempted to stab them before forces opened fire on the teen. Saleh was taken by Israeli forces to the Rabin Medical Center in the central Israeli city of Petah Tikva, where Jaafar was also evacuated on Tuesday, and remained in a difficult condition as of late Tuesday night.

Overnight Tuesday, hours after Jaafar was shot, a group of Israeli settlers set fire to a Palestinian vehicle near Huwwara village. more