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.

more

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

Monday, 17 April 2017

Hundreds of Palestinians in Israeli prisons launch open-ended hunger strike


More than 1,600 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody launched an open-ended mass hunger strike Monday morning on Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, led by imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouthi, under the banner of "Freedom and Dignity" for prisoners.

Sources told Ma'an that prisoners had purged all food products from their cells and shaved their heads in Israel prisons from the north to the south, namely in the Gilboa, Hadarim, Ashkelon, Ktziot, Nafha, and Ramon prisons.

In the southern occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, a number of activists in al-Duheisha refugee camp shaved their heads in solidarity with the hunger strikers, while a rally took place Sunday marking prisoners’ day in the nearby Aida refugee camp that honored current and former prisoners from the camp.

Initially called for by Fatah-affiliated prisoners, Palestinian prisoners from across the political spectrum have since pledged their commitment to undertake the strike, which by some estimates, exceeded 2,000 participants when it began after midnight Monday morning. more

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Israel expresses concern, blames Palestinian leadership for Gaza water crisis


Israeli authorities -- which have maintained a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip for nearly ten years -- have contacted international organizations to urge them to address the deteriorating water situation in the small Palestinian enclave, Israeli media reported on Sunday.

A United Nations report warned in 2012 that water from Gaza’s sole aquifer would become completely undrinkable by the end of 2016, with damages becoming irreversible by 2020. In November, the World Bank stated that only 10 percent of the population in Gaza had access to safe drinking water.

According to the Army Radio, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the Israeli agency responsible for implementing Israeli policies in the occupied Palestinian territory, contacted the Israeli Foreign Ministry and international representatives -- including United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov -- on the issue in the past week.

For the second time in the span of six months, the Times of Israel reported, COGAT head Yoav Mordechai called on international aid organizations to advance projects to build desalination plants in Gaza to alleviate the water crisis.

more

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Palestinian critically injured with live fire during clashes in al-Duheisha refugee camp


A 23-year-old Palestinian was critically injured with live fire during clashes Wednesday before dawn in the al-Duheisha refugee camp in the southern occupied West Bank Bethlehem district, as Israeli forces conducted a detention raid in the camp.

Local sources told Ma’an that Israeli forces raided several houses in the camp, causing clashes to erupt between Palestinian youth of the camp and Israeli forces who opened live fire at youth, injuring Akram al-Atrash with three bullets.

Sources said that al-Atrash sustained critical injuries and was transferred to the Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem.

During the raid on the camp, Israeli forces detained three Palestinians identified by locals as Mutasem Raqban, Ahmad Sarar and Ahmad al-Sarawi.

Any Israeli army spokesperson confirmed the reported to Ma’an, saying that “during operational activity in the al-Duheisha camp earlier this morning, a Palestinian threw a molotov cocktail and rocks at Israeli army forces. In response to the immediate threat, soldiers fired shots towards the main instigator and a hit was confirmed.” more

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Israeli forces shoot Palestinian teenager in Ramallah-area village


Israeli soldiers shot a 15-year-old Palestinian Friday evening with a live bullet near the village of Nilin in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah for allegedly throwing a Molotov cocktail at an Israeli settler's vehicle near an Israeli bypass road in the territory.

The boy was identified as Utayba Jiyad Hussein Amireh. The details of his injury were not yet known as of Saturday.

Israeli media reported that the youth had allegedly thrown a Molotov cocktail at an Israeli settler vehicle on a nearby bypass road - roads cutting through occupied Palestinian territory connecting Israel's illegal settlements to Israel and Jerusalem.

Israeli soldiers sealed the area following the shooting and prevented people and Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances from approaching the wounded teenager, according to locals.

Amireh was detained and transferred to an unidentified location. more

Israeli forces open fire at Palestinian lands in southern Gaza


Israeli forces opened fire on Palestinian lands in the southern Gaza Strip on Saturday morning, according to locals.

Witnesses told Ma’an that Israeli forces deployed behind the border fence in eastern Rafah city opened fire at Palestinian agricultural lands in the area.

No injuries were reported.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an she would look into reports on the incident. Israeli army incursions inside the 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

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Palestinian woman shot, killed after alleged attempted stabbing in East Jerusalem


Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian woman in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem on Wednesday afternoon after she allegedly attempted to carry out a stabbing attack, Israeli police said.

Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri initially said in a statement that the woman attempted to stab police officers at the Old City's Damascus Gate, only to be "neutralized" by the Israeli forces -- a term commonly used by Israeli officials to indicate that an alleged attacker has either been wounded or killed.

Moments later, the spokeswoman confirmed that the Palestinian woman had been killed. Al-Samri added that no Israeli officers had been injured in the altercation.

more