Friday, 4 September 2015

Israeli forces shoot, injure child of fisherman in Gaza

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian child near the shores of the Beit Lahiya village in the northern Gaza Strip, medics said.

Medics told Ma'an that Bilal Abu Amro, 11, was shot in the thigh while he was with his father, a fisherman.

He was taken to Kamal Adwan hospital for treatment.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an they were unaware of the incident.


Thursday, 3 September 2015

Israeli forces bomb Hamas military site in Gaza

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces launched an air attack early Thursday on a military site of the Hamas movement's armed wing in the northern Gaza Strip, local sources told Ma'an.

Israeli forces fired two rockets at an al-Qassam Brigades military site known as Falasteen, causing damages.

No injuries were reported.

Israeli forces said the attack was in response to alleged sniper fire from the Gaza Strip, which hit a house in the Netiv Hatsra neighborhood, adjacent to the besieged territory.

An Israeli army statement released early Thursday said shots were fired from the Gaza Strip on Wednesday and that "in response to the shooting, an IAF aircraft targeted a Hamas military post in the northern Gaza Strip, from where the shots were fired."

The army could not say whether the shots from Gaza had been deliberate or stray fire from the Hamas position, identified in Israeli media as a training base.

No group has taken responsibility for the alleged sniper fire, but the Israeli government holds Hamas, as the elected ruling party, responsible for any activity within the enclave.

Some sporadic rocket fire towards Israel from Gaza in recent months has been claimed by a small extremist groups in the strip allegedly aiming to challenge Hamas' rule.

Hamas has denied involvement in past attacks and has attempted to vamp down on armed activity by smaller political groups reportedly growing more active.

Last month Israeli forces injured four Palestinians during a bombing near Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. more

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Israeli forces shoot, injure Gazan 'after crossing border'

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian man near the Gazan border Wednesday morning after they said he crossed the border into Israel.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said that soldiers went to the scene after they "identified a suspect infiltrating Israel from the sea."

She could not confirm how he crossed the border, but said he reached the Israeli side.

She said that soldiers fired warning shots and ordered him to halt. When he "did not comply," she said that they fired "at his lower extremities" and a hit was confirmed.

She said the Palestinian "was evacuated for medical treatment in an Israeli hospital."

Sources at Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon told Ma'an that the Gazan had been brought to them. They said he had been hit in the leg and was in a stable condition. more

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Erez border crossing closed after Gaza 'rocket fire'

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities Tuesday briefly closed the Erez border crossing into Gaza after a rocket was allegedly fired toward Israel from the coastal enclave but fell short of the border.

The Israeli army said that rocket sirens sounded in southern Israel early Tuesday morning, but it was believed the rocket "fell short inside the Gaza Strip."

An Israeli army spokeswoman said that Israeli forces were searching the border area.

The Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) later closed the Erez bording crossing between Israel and the northern Gaza Strip, allowing only "humanitarian cases" to pass.

A COGAT spokeswoman said that the crossing was closed between 8 and 10 a.m., "because the army had to search the place, because last night rockets were fired close to the Erez crossing."

She said that Israeli soldiers "had to check that there was no danger."

She added that Palestinian fighters "cannot shoot rockets everywhere and expect the crossing to be open," adding that the rockets posed a danger to both Palestinians using the crossing and the staff working there. more

Monday, 31 August 2015

Soldiers open fire on farmers and homes in southern Gaza

Israeli soldiers, stationed across the border fence, opened fire on Monday morning at a number of Palestinian farmers, on their lands, and at several homes, east of Khan Younis in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

The WAFA News Agency has reported that the soldiers fired dozens of rounds of live ammunition targeting farmers and homes, east of Khuza’a border town, causing anxiety attack among several children.

The Palestinians had to leave their lands, and try to seek shelter in their homes that also came under Israeli army fire. more

6 Palestinians detained without trial continue hunger strike protest

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Six Palestinian prisoners entered their 13th day on hunger strike Monday in protest against being held under the Israeli policy of administrative detention in solitary confinement, a prisoner rights group said.

Nidal Abu Aker, 48, Shadi Maali, 39, Ghassan Zawahreh, 32, all from Bethlehem, and Badr al-Ruzza and Munir Abu Sharar from Hebron began a hunger strike on Aug. 18 to protest their detention without trial, the Palestinian Prisoner's Center said.

The detainees -- who are being held in isolation at the Negev jail -- have given Israel's Prison Service until Sept. 1 to respond to their demands, at which point they will stop taking fluids and boycott Israeli military courts.

Another detainee, Kayid Fawzi Abu al-Rish, 42, from Nablus, entered his 26th day on hunger strike Monday to protest his detention without trial, which has been renewed twice for a period of six months.

He is currently being held in isolation in the Megiddo jail.

Administrative detention allows for internment without trial or charge for six-month intervals that can be renewed indefinitely. The policy has been strongly criticized by the international community as well as both Israeli and Palestinian rights activists. more

Friday, 28 August 2015

PLO present resolution to raise Palestinian flag at UN

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) -- The PLO on Thursday asked the United Nations to allow their flag to be raised at the world body ahead of next month's meeting of heads of state.

The move comes as the Palestinians seek to bolster their bid for statehood despite fierce opposition from Israel.

A draft resolution was presented to the General Assembly requesting that the flags of the state of Palestine and the Holy See be hoisted alongside those of the 193 member states.

The Vatican and the Palestinians both have non-member observer status at the United Nations.

The resolution, co-sponsored by 21 countries including Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan, could come up for a vote before September 15.

The Israeli mission to the United Nations did not respond to requests for comment. more

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Israeli fighter jets strike Hamas 'weapons facility' in Gaza

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces launched an air attack on the Gaza strip during the early hours of Thursday morning, an official Israeli statement said.

The statement said the airstrikes "targeted a Hamas weapon manufacture facility located in the Central Gaza Strip."

No injuries have been reported.

Israeli authorities said the airstrikes followed a rocket allegedly fired from the strip, which landed in Israel's Eshkol Regional Council, but caused no injuries or damage.

"The rocket attacks emanating from the Gaza Strip put Israeli civilians in harm's way and endanger entire communities. The IDF does not tolerate any attempt to undermine the security of Southern Israel. The Hamas terror organization is responsible for today's attack against Israel," Israeli army spokespersonPeter Lerner, said in the statement.

No group has taken responsibility for the alleged rocket fire, but Israeli authorities have previously expressed that the Israeli government holds Hamas, as the elected ruling party, responsible for any activity within the enclave.

Earlier this month Israeli forces injured four Palestinians during a bombing near Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. more

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Aid groups appeal for end to Gaza blockade

PARIS (AFP) -- Some 35 aid groups from around the world, including ActionAid and Oxfam, launched a joint call Wednesday to end Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip, which is in dire need of reconstruction.

Last summer's devastating war in Gaza caused mass casualties, killing 2,251 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including more than 500 children. Seventy-three people were killed on the Israeli side, including 67 soldiers.

"For a whole year the Israeli government has restricted basic and essential construction materials from entering Gaza," said a statement signed by the NGOs and posted on the site of activist group Avaaz.

"Not one of the 19,000 homes that were bombed and destroyed has been fully rebuilt.

"One year on, around 100,000 Palestinians in Gaza are still homeless, hospitals and schools still lie in ruins, and whole neighborhoods have no access to running water."

Over 35,000 meters of water and sewage pipelines were damaged or destroyed during the war and 120,000 Gazans have no access to the water network.

At least 11 schools and universities were totally destroyed, with 253 severely damaged. Over 81 hospitals and clinics were also damaged or destroyed.

“With sewage spewing onto pavements, electricity and water supplies still severely limited and schools that look more like bomb-sites than places children get an education, hope is dwindling and Gaza’s future looks bleak,"William Bell, Christian Aid's Policy and Advocacy Officer for Israel/Palestine said.

Israel imposed its blockade on Gaza in 2006 after Hamas captured an Israeli soldier, and tightened it a year later when Hamas won Palestinian elections. more

Israeli forces demolish 2 homes, 7 stores in al-Eizariya

JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Wednesday morning demolished nine tin shacks, including two homes, in the town of al-Eizariya, east of Jerusalem, on land Israeli authorities have earmarked for construction of the separation wall, locals said.

A popular resistance committee spokesperson, Hani Halabiya, told Ma'an that large numbers of Israeli troops escorted bulldozers and Israeli Civil Administration inspectors into the town.

The bulldozers then demolished nine shacks without any prior warning, saying that they had been built without the necessary licenses, he said.

Halabiya said that some of the structures belonged to Sami Abu Ghaliya, a local Fatah official representing Bedouin tribes on the outskirts of Jerusalem, while the others were being rented by Palestinians from Jerusalem, Hebron, al-Eizariya, and the Bedouin al-Jahalin tribe.

Two of the structures served as homes and seven as commercial stores, including a grocery store, a car wash, and shops selling brassware and used furniture, Halabiya said.

He said that the same structures had been demolished five times, and added that they would be rebuilt as soon as possible, "in order to prevent construction of a section of the separation wall in the area." more

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

US judge orders Palestinian deposits over attacks

NEW YORK (AFP) -- A US judge Monday ordered Palestinian authorities to post $10 million in cash or bond while they appeal a ruling to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to American victims of attacks.

Judge George Daniels said the Palestinian Authority and Palestine Liberation Organization must also deposit $1 million every 30 days, pending appeal of the February verdict.

A New York jury found the PA and PLO liable for six attacks in Jerusalem between 2002-2004, awarding American victims and their families damages that amounted to $655.5 million.

Daniels said the judgment in favor of the plaintiffs would be entered in the next 60 days, but would be stayed pending appeal as long as the deposits were made with the clerk of the court.

Two weeks ago, the Obama administration urged Daniels to "carefully consider" the PA's precarious finances in deciding whether to impose a bond requirement.

Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken raised "significant concerns" about what could happen if a bond "severely compromised the Palestinian Authority's ability to operate as a governmental authority."

He said that depriving the PA "of a significant portion" of its revenue would "severely compromise" its ability to operate and warned that any collapse of the PA would "undermine" US foreign policy and "add a new destabilizing factor to the region." more

Monday, 24 August 2015

UNRWA staff in Gaza announce strike on 1st day of school year

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Around 225,000 Gazan schoolchildren were forced to return home on Monday after local staff at the UN agency for Palestinian refugees in Gaza went on strike on the first day of the new school year.

The strike comes amid a financial crisis in the agency that earlier threatened to delay the start of the school year.

"We didn’t want to suspend classes, but the administration of UNRWA pushed us to take that step," secretary general of the union of UNRWA employees, Raafat Hamdouna, said.

The union met with UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl on Sunday and said the "atmosphere wasn’t positive."

The union is protesting against overcrowding at UNRWA schools and unpaid vacations. At present, there are over 50 children in each classroom, with employees urging the agency to reduce the maximum capacity to 38.

Hamdouna said union members will protest in five locations across Gaza, including a sit-in strike inside UNRWA's Gaza City headquarters to be attended by 13,000 employees. more

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Hamas fighter wounded in 2006 dies in northern Gaza

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) – A member of Hamas’ military died on Sunday morning, sources in Gaza told Ma'an.

The sources said 30-year-old Ibrahim Ihsan Dmeida from Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip went into coma late on Saturday night shortly before he passed away.

Dmeida was being treated of wounds he sustained previously when an an explosive device went off severing his foot and hand in 2006. During 2006, Israeli Security Forces fired some 14,000 artillery shells into the Gaza Strip. more

Video: Israelis celebrate child slaughter outside hunger striker’s hospital

From the Electronic Intifada - This video shows Israeli police and right-wing extremists violently attacking and assaulting Palestinians who had gathered outside the hospital where a Palestinian hunger striker is gravely ill.

Flag-waving Israeli extremists sing songs celebrating and calling for the slaughter of Palestinians, especially children.

The events occurred on Sunday, when hundreds of Palestinians and supporters protested in Askalan (Ashkelon) in the south of present-day Israel in solidarity with Muhammad Allan, the Palestinian who has been on hunger strike for two months against his “administrative detention” – without charge or trial – by Israel.

As Allan struggled for his life, his supporters arrived aboard buses from Jerusalem, Jaffa and the north to hold a vigil outside Barzilai Medical Center where he is being treated and detained.

“Allan come and see, your people are supporting you openly,” the supporters call out in the video before they are attacked.

An Israeli police officer shouts through a megaphone: “This is an illegal gathering.”

Police assault protestors, dragging them away and confiscating Palestinian flags, and use a water cannon and pepper spray.

Genocidal songs

Haneen Zoabi, a Palestinian member of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, who tries to intervene to prevent the police violence, says: “The police are beating people, young women and men.”

At the same time, extreme right-wing Israeli Jews can be seen assaulting protestors without police intervention and indeed with police protection.

“Zoabi, you are whore! You are a terrorist,” one of the right-wing demonstrators shouts at her. The mob then starts to chant “Zoabi is a terrorist! Death to terrorists!”

Many openly declare support for Meir Kahane, the founder of the violent anti-Palestinian organization Kach.

They chant anti-Arab slogans including a song celebrating the mass killing of children in Gaza: “Why is there no studying in Gaza? Because there are no children left there.”

“Gaza is a cemetery,” they sing, and “Death to reporters!”

These same genocidal songs were heard on Israel’s streets during last summer’s 51-day assault on Gaza that killed more than 2,200 Palestinians, including 551 children. more

Video by Keren Manor, Faiz Abu Rmeleh and Oren Ziv of the ActiveStills collective.