Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Settlers being armed by military for attacks on West Bank protesters supporting UN statehood bid

(This Palestinian construction worker was attacked by masked settlers armed with iron bars and pepper spray - Maan Images)

Israeli settlers living in violation of international law in the West Bank have been issued stun grenades and tear gas by the Israeli military, in preparation for anticipated protests by Palestinians following the UN statehood declaration later this month.

The Israeli military has codenamed the planned attack on Palestinians "Operation Summer Seeds", which sounds much like the 2006 "Operation Summer Rains" in which 40,000 sound grenades and live missiles were dropped on the Gaza Strip over the course of the summer.

According to an internal Israeli government document leaked to the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, Israeli troops distributed maps with red lines drawn on them around Israeli settlements in the West Bank, with instructions to soldiers that if Palestinian protesters get too close to the settlements, they should be shot in the legs.

The instructions do not differentiate between non-violent demonstrations by Palestinians and violent attacks by Palestinians, instead implying that non-violent demonstrators would be subjected to being shot in the legs if they cross a 'line' whose location has not been shared with any Palestinians. more

Israel sends two warships to patrol Red Sea as Egypt hunts Sinai militants


JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel said on Tuesday it had sent two extra warships to patrol the Red Sea but it downplayed reports that they were connected to an Egyptian sweep of the Sinai peninsula for militants.

A military official said the deployment was routine but declined to say what operational duties the ships were performing.

"I can confirm that there are two naval craft in the Red Sea. This is not unusual," the official told Reuters.

Homefront Defense Minister Matan Vilnai said Israeli security forces were on very high alert in the country's south and that Egyptian troops were acting against gunmen in the Sinai.

"There is a very specific alert that an Islamic Jihad organization wants to carry out an attack on the Egyptian border and we are taking this alert very seriously. It should be emphasized that the Egyptians are also acting," he said...

...Israeli warships are regularly stationed at a naval port in the resort city of Eilat at the northern tip of the Red Sea and patrol the area to the south as part of routine procedure to secure its borders.

The two ships were thought to have passed through the Suez Canal on their way to the Red Sea, although the Israeli military declined to confirm this. The only other way to get to the Red Sea would have been around Africa, a weeks-long voyage. more

Monday, 29 August 2011

Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (18– 24 Aug. 2011)

(pic - Destruction incurred to a sewage plant belonging to the Municipality of al-Nussairat by an Israeli air strike – 19 August 2011, pchr)

IOF killed 17 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
5 of the victims are civilians, including two children and a physician.
3 workers we missing when Israeli warplanes bombarded a tunnel in Rafah.

A Palestinian resistance activist died of a previous wound in Gaza City.

14 Palestinians, including 5 children and two women, were wounded by IOF the Gaza Strip.

Israeli warplanes launched 41 air strikes against targets in the Gaza Strip.
A number of civilian buildings and 6 training sites of Palestinian resistance groups were destroyed or damaged.

IOF continued to use force against peaceful protests in the West Bank.
A Palestinian civilian was wounded and dozens of demonstrators suffered from tear gas inhalation.

IOF conducted 27 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank.
Two Palestinian civilians were wounded by IOF in Hebron and Bethlehem.
IOF arrested 77 Palestinians, including a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, two journalists, academics and social figures.

Israel has continued to impose a total siege on the OPT and has isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world.
IOF have continued to impose severe restrictions on access of Palestinians to Jerusalem during Ramadan Month.

IOF have continued settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.

Israeli settlers set fire to two cars and bear two children near Ramallah.
Israeli settlers uprooted 52 fruitful trees in Beit Ummar town, north of Hebron.

Summary

During the reporting period, IOF launched a new military offensive on the Gaza Strip, which continued for 3 days. They bombarded civilian facilities and training sites of Palestinian resistance groups, and targeted a number of activists of resistance groups. A number of Palestinian civilians, including children and women, were killed were wounded, and a number of civilian facilities were damaged. This offensive came a few hours following armed attacks in the southern Israeli city of Eilat near the Egyptian border, which left 8 Israelis and 7 attackers killed, and injured a number of other Israelis, according to Israeli media reports. more

Reports: Israel abandons plans to kill Hamas leader Ismail Haneyya after pressure from Egypt


CAIRO, (PIC)-- Israel had plans to assassinate prime minister of the government in Gaza and Hamas leader Ismail Haneyya, Egypt's Al-Ahram newspaper said Saturday.

Israel backed down on the decision after urgent intervention from Egypt upon getting word that Israel wanted to kill Haneyya over the Eilat attacks where some eight Israelis died.

The newspaper also reported, quoting what it called informed Palestinian sources, that Egyptian authorities quickly contacted Hamas in the occupied Palestinian territories to persuade it into a ceasefire with Israel.

In turn, the paper added, Hamas made efforts to persuade other Palestinian factions, the Popular Resistance Committees in particular, to uphold the ceasefire.

At the time, the PRC was planning on responding to Israeli air strikes that killed five of its leaders.

Meanwhile, Gideon Sa’ar, the Israeli Education Minister, denied the news report telling Israeli radio the news had no truth to it. more

Saturday, 27 August 2011

PFLP retaliates for Israeli killings with rocket fire aimed at Ashkelon


GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- The armed wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said its forces launched two rockets toward the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon late Friday.

The Abu Ali Mustapha Brigades said in a statement that it rejected "any truce with the occupation" and would not abandon resistance. The leftist faction called for unity and more attacks on Israeli targets.

The group took responsibility for another rocket several hours earlier. None of the most recent attacks caused damage or injuries, the Israeli news site Ynet reported. more

Friday, 26 August 2011

Palestinian lawmaker condemns Israel's 'truce with continued killing' as death toll rises


GAZA, (PIC)-- First deputy speaker of the Palestinian legislative council (PLC) Ahmed Bahr said that Israel's military escalation is aimed at imposing what he called the formula of a unilateral "truce with continued killing" in the Gaza Strip.

In a press release on Thursday, Bahr stated that the Israeli occupation state wants the Palestinian people to keep their arms folded and stay idly watching it shedding their blood.

He stressed that the Palestinian people rejects such a dysfunctional equation and that the truce must be mutual and unconditional in order to survive and last.

The occupation government wants to tailor the truce to its own desires, so that it can give itself the right to violate it at will, the lawmaker said.

"The truce proposed by the occupation is aimed to impose the terms of surrender and submission on the Palestinian people and their resistance, and this cannot be accepted in any way," he added. more

Islamic Jihad announces ceasefire agreement with Israel


BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Senior Islamic Jihad officials said the faction had agreed a ceasefire with Israel at dawn Friday, after mediation by Egypt.

Two members of Islamic Jihad's military wing were killed in an Israeli air strike in the northern Gaza Strip around 9 p.m. Thursday, prompting outraged calls to reject a truce from the Islamic faction and another group, the Popular Resistance Committees.

The attacks came as five rockets struck the western Negev Thursday night and 12 rockets in the previous 24 hours, according to the Israeli army. more

Precision 'terror targeting' by Israeli drone kills 2-year-old boy


By Alison Weir at Antiwar.com

...It’s a happy picture, the kind that makes you smile; perhaps it reminds you of funny, energetic little children you know or remember.

Until you see the next picture. It was taken on his second birthday. His name was Islam Quraiqe.
Death from a drone strike is not pretty. The small body is charred, ripped apart; internal organs are pouring out.

He had been riding with his father and uncle on a motorcycle in Gaza when the missile hit them. His 29-year-old father, a member of the Palestinian resistance, and 32-year-old uncle physician were also killed. Five bystanders, including a woman, were injured.

The missile was fired remotely by an Israeli sitting in front of a video screen and operating one of the many drones that periodically fly over Gaza and shoot Palestinians like fish in a fishbowl. The operators are usually female, the preferred group for this kind of desk job.

The drones, which look like small, pilotless jets, are equipped with precision-guided missiles.

Those operating them receive real-time video feeds from sensors located on the drone: a color nose camera, a TV lens, an infrared camera for low light and night, and a synthetic radar for looking through smoke, clouds, or haze. The cameras produce full-motion video as well as still-frame radar images.

Numerous articles extol the virtues of Israeli drones. An Aug. 17 article by David Rodman reports: “The Israel Air Force (IAF) has a rich history of employing unmanned aerial vehicles in battle with excellent results.” Rodman crows that, with the possible exception of the United States, “Israel is the country most closely identified with [drone] operations in the post-World War II period.”

Islam was the second 2-year-old to be killed by Israeli forces in two days.

The first was killed by an Israeli “precision” rocket the day before. The boy’s name was Malek Sha’at. His father was also killed. The only picture available online is of a small shrouded body.

An article at WorldNetDaily.com by reporter Aaron Klein proclaims that Israeli weapons are “capable of taking out stationary and moving targets with minimal collateral damage.”

Perhaps Klein is right. Two years of life is decidedly minimal. Intolerably so. more

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Palestinian civilian confirmed killed and many injured in Israeli airstrike on sports club


GAZA, Aug. 25 (Xinhua) -- A 22 years old Palestinian youth died Thursday morning, hours after being wounded in an Israeli airstrike at a sports club in northern Gaza Strip, medical spokesman Adham Abu Selmia said.

Israel carried out a series of raids in Gaza, which late Wednesday hit a car traveling in the Gaza city and killed an Islamic Jihad activist, and early on Thursday killed a smuggler in tunnels beneath Gaza's southern border with Egypt, and the airplanes, afterwards, bombed a sports club run by the Islamic Jihad, killing a group member.

Abu Selmia said 29 Palestinians were wounded in the three attacks. more

Five killed in Gaza over past 24 hours as Israel hits Rafah tunnels and Beit Lahia sports centre

(Maan Images)

Palestinian medical sources in the Gaza Strip reported that three residents were killed, and more than 25 were injured, as the Israeli Air Force bombarded several areas, including a sports center, on Wednesday at night and on Thursday at dawn; a total of five residents were killed, and dozens were wounded in less than 24 hours. 18 residents, including children, were killed since in one week.

The sources stated that resident Hisham Adnan Abu Harb, and another unidentified resident, were killed when the army bombarded a tunnel in Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip; three residents went missing.

Also, resident Salama Al Masry was killed, while 20 residents, including 7 children and 4 women, were injured when the army bombarded a sports center in Beit Lahia, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip; some of the wounded are in critical conditions.

The sports center was crowded as a sports event was being held when the army bombarded it; medical teams are searching among the rubble to trying to locate and save additional potential casualties.

On Wednesday at night, the Israeli Air Force assassinated a fighter of the Al Quds Brigades, of the Islamic Jihad, in Sheikh Radwan neighborhood, in central Gaza. The fighter was identified as Atiyya Maqat.

On Wednesday evening, medics located the remains of a 65-year-old resident, under the rubble of a shelled building east of the Al Boreij refugee camp, in central Gaza. Medical sources reported that the body of Ismail Amom, 65, was severely mutilated. more

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Islamic Jihad field commander killed in Israeli airstrike on southern Gaza


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli aircraft opened fire on the southern Gaza Strip late Tuesday killing a member of Islamic Jihad's military wing, medical and security officials said.

The strike in the Tal As-Sultan area killed Ismail Al-Asmar, a field commander in the Al-Quds Brigades, and injured one other person, said Gaza health official Adham Abu Salmiya.

Both were taken to Abu Yousef An-Najjar Hospital, medics said.

Israel's army confirmed in a statement that it targeted al-Asmar, who "was involved in smuggling weapons and sought the execution of terrorist activity in Sinai. A direct hit was confirmed."

The Islamic Jihad field commander "operated with terror elements in the Gaza strip which have recently made several attempts to execute terror attacks in Sinai, on the Israel-Egypt border," the army said. more

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Mounting evidence undermines Israeli claims that Eilat attackers were Gazans


From Mondoweiss
By Yossi Gurvitz

During the weekend, the news website Real News interviewed a senior IDF Spokesman officer, Lt. Col. Avital Leibovitz, who’s in charge of the IDF Spokesman with the international media. Leibowitz denied that the IDF connects the PRC to the attacks, said she was not responsible for that the prime minister said, but claimed that the attackers did come from Gaza, citing as proof the fact they were using Kalashnikov assault rifies (Sic! 2:28 and onwards in the video). I dunno how to put it to Col. Leibovitz, but Kalashnikovs are the most common light assault rifle in the world – a gift that keeps on giving from the defunct Soviet Union – and are rather easy to get all over the Middle East.

In a phone conversation with Leibovitz yesterday, she said “senior officials have already expressed themselves on the issue”, and declined to provide more information on the attackers, aside from insisting on them being Gazans. I asked her if she could provide me with the identity of the attackers killed by the IDF, which was until recently standard procedure, carried out within hours of an attack. She said this is unfortunately impossible, and repeatedly insisted they were Gazans. B’Tselem researchers in the Strip, contacted via B’Tselem today, were unaware of the identity of the attackers. Again, usually they are quickly identified and a mourners’ hut is rapidly constructed. They were killed on Thursday; if they resided in the Strip, their families would have heard of their deaths by now.

Yesterday evening the Egyptian newspaper Al Masry Al Youm reported that Egyptian security forces have identified three of the dead attackers. Egypt has a strong interest to claim the attackers were Gazans, since this would lessen its responsibility for the attacks; nevertheless, they say at least two of the attackers were known terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula. As far as I could find out, the rest of the bodies are in the hands of the IDF – which, again, does not reveal their identity.

And probably with good reason. After all, it seems Barak and Netanyahu pulled off a major disinformation campaign here, which the IDF (in the form of Colonel Leibovitz) has to cooperate with, somewhat unwillingly. They took us to a false war against the Gaza Strip. You can’t really blame Leibovitz: She’s a uniformed officer. She can’t contradict “senior officials [who] have already expressed themselves on the issue”. more

Horrific injuries to civilians as Israel tries out new weapons on people of Gaza


The head of an emergency ward in a Gaza City hospital said Monday that Israeli forces were using new, more brutal weapons against residents of the Gaza Strip.

On Thursday, Israeli forces began a four-day bombarded the coastal enclave killing 14 Palestinians and wounding dozens more in a series of airstrikes and drone attacks.

Dr Ayman As-Sahbani said patients were admitted with horrific injuries and that some bodies delivered to Al-Shifa Hospital were so badly burned they were unrecognizable. more

Video: more evidence of the rampant anti-Arab racism among Israelis


This short film, documents the Israeli side of our 2011 public opinion survey in Israel and the West Bank. For this part of the survey, we visited 5 cities: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Be'er Sheba, Herzliya, and Haifa where we spoke to 250 Jewish-Israelis. For the full report connected to this video, go to: http://electronicintifada.net/content/video-survey-racism-rampant-among-israeli-youth/10286

Monday, 22 August 2011

Egyptian hacker carries out successful attack on Netanyahu's website


An Egyptian hacker managed on Sunday to hack into the website of Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and placed a picture of Egyptian soldiers raising the Egyptian flag in Sinai during the October, 6, 1973, on the sites’ homepage.

The hack came a few days after the Israeli army shot and killed five Egyptian soldiers across the border, following the Eilat shooting. Eight Israeli soldiers were killed and 30 others were wounded when Palestinian gunmen infiltrated into Eilat and opened fire at a military bus, and a number of vehicles.

The hacker who managed to penetrate the webpage of Netanyahu wrote “Anti Zionism”; the site was then gradually taken offline.

The hack is seen as a symbolic message to Netanyahu regarding the ongoing Israeli military escalation, and illegal occupation of Palestine and Arab territory.

The hacker also wrote “Egypt is the greatest civilization, established more than 7000 years ago, but the terrorist state of Israel stole the Palestinian lands, and killed children”. more

Head of Egypt's military government blocked recall of ambassador to Israel

Field Marshall Muhammad Tantawi, head of Egypt's Supreme Council of the
Armed Forces [MaanImages]

JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- A last minute decision by Egypt's military government head Muhammad Tantawi halted the recall of Egypt's ambassador to Israel, Israel's Hebrew-language daily said Monday.

Amb. Yasser Rida, "had already packed," when Field Marshall Tantawi overruled the Egyptian Prime Minister's decision, report said.

Tantawi is head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which has governed Egypt since former President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in February.

Egypt's cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, opted to withdraw the ambassador, the report said, following the killing of five Egyptian soldiers by Israeli forces pursuing assailants in Thursday's attacks in southern Israel.

Tantawi summoned Sharaf to request overturning the decision, Maariv reported. more

Gaza infrastructure takes pounding as sewage pumps, clinic and government buildings hit


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A physiotherapy clinic, sewerage pump, civil society organizations and government buildings have been damaged in Israeli raids on the Gaza Strip since Thursday, witnesses and officials said.

Israeli warplanes have bombarded the coastal enclave for three days in what the military says is a response to a deadly attack in southern Israel on Thursday.

Fourteen Palestinians were killed and more than 40 wounded in a series of airstrikes across the Gaza Strip.

A specialist physiotherapy clinic in Gaza City funded by the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries was amongst the buildings seriously damaged in the assault, witnesses said.

The clinic was the first of its kind in Gaza and run by the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development.

An electricity generator and four water pumps for the sewerage system in An-Nuseirat refugee camp were destroyed on Friday, causing power cuts in central Gaza. more

Turkey says Israeli refusal to apologise for flotilla massacre will 'not be left unanswered'


Turkey has told the U.S. that Israel’s decision not to apologize or pay compensation for the deaths of nine Turkish activists in a raid on an aid ship last year will not be left unanswered. Ankara said Israel’s stance would only naturally lead to a further deterioration in bilateral ties.

Turkey’s message came on the eve of the publication of a U.N. inquiry report on the Mavi Marmara incident and just days after Israel said its decision not to issue a formal apology was firm. According to diplomatic sources, the message has been delivered to U.S. officials many times over the months, but Israel’s recent public statement about the issue made it essential to send it once again. “The Americans have been involved in this process for so long. We are sure they will be working until the last moment” to convince Israel to issue an apology, sources told the Hürriyet Daily News over the weekend.

The deadline is Aug. 23, the date when the U.N. panel will publish its report on the incident...

... Among the steps Turkey is considering to take if Israel rejects apologizing and paying compensation are downgrading diplomatic representation to the level of second secretary, suspending all political and economic relations. Furthermore, a visit to Gaza by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is also considered in this context, as it would further complicate breaking Israel’s blockade on the enclave. Also, Turkey is likely to be among the countries that will strongly support Palestine’s U.N. bid. more

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Israeli soldiers raid southern West Bank and kidnap 120 residents, mostly Hamas members


Israeli forces detained 120 Palestinians, mostly Hamas supporters, overnight Saturday in the southern West Bank, witnesses and officials said.

More than 100 military jeeps stormed Hebron from three directions and deployed in several neighborhoods in the largest detention campaign in the city since 2003, locals and Palestinian security officials told Ma'an.

Hamas lawmaker Muhammad Mutliq Abu Juheisha was among more than 120 Palestinians detained across the district as soldiers raided the surrounding towns of Dura, Surif, Beit Ula, Nuba, Yatta and As-Samu.

"Between 100 and 120 people have been arrested," Samira Halaika, a Hamas MP from Hebron told AFP. "In terms of size, there has never been such an arrest operation on this scale in the Hebron area before." more

Calls inside Israel for new war against Gaza rising as airstrikes and rocket attacks continue



As Palestinian militants tried to forge a tentative cease-fire agreement with Israel on Sunday, pressure was building on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to retaliate for the latest round of violence by launching a major military campaign in the Gaza Strip similar to the 22-day Operation Cast Lead in late 2008.

After visiting hospitalized Israelis who were injured by rocket attacks over the weekend, Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom said Israel should take decisive military action to discourage future Palestinian strikes.

"The deterrence of Cast Lead has exhausted itself," he said. "We're not ruling out the possibility of a ground operation."

Opposition lawmakers also urged Netanyahu to cripple the infrastructure of Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip. "You must use force against terrorism," said opposition leader Tzipi Livni, whose Kadima Party was in power during Operation Cast Lead. more

Hamas official says ceasefire agreed among armed groups to go into effect this evening



A Hamas official in Gaza says that all of Gaza's militant groups have agreed to a cease-fire aimed at ending a three-day round of violence with Israel.

The official says Egypt helped broker the cease-fire, which will go into effect this evening. He says Egypt told the groups that Israel would halt its airstrikes only if the Palestinian groups stopped shooting first, and that Hamas security personnel would enforce the agreement.

He spoke on condition of anonymity Sunday because the agreement had not officially been made public.

Earlier on Sunday, AP reported that Israeli officials arrived in Cairo. Moreover, Israeli sources confirmed that the reduced IDF strikes on Gaza in the last 24 hours was an intentional move aimed at allowing Egypt to mediate a cease-fire, as well as out of fear for the defense and diplomatic relationship with Egypt. more

Masked settler gang attacks 10-year-old Palestinian boy with iron bars


RAMALLAH, (PIC)-- A 10-year-old Palestinian boy sustained moderate wounds after he was assaulted with iron bars by some 15 masked Jewish settlers near the West Bank settlement outpost of Ramat Migron.

The boy was ambulanced to a Ramallah hospital after receiving blows to the head and other parts of the body causing deep wounds.

Israeli media outlets say Israeli police have arrested 13 youths suspected to have been involved in the incident. They said the suspects have not been cooperative with police, adding that the circumstances surrounding the incident are still unclear.

Sources said settlers in that area attacked three farmers before, leaving them with critical wounds.

Meanwhile, Jewish settlers from the Aish Kodesh settlement uprooted some 80 olive tree saplings in nearby Qasra. more

Egyptian 'spiderman' becomes national hero after removing Israeli flag from embassy


CAIRO — A lone protester became a hero to an exultant crowd of Egyptians and many more online by hauling down the Star of David flag atop Israel's embassy in Cairo after the border killing of Egyptian policemen.

More than 1,000 protesters gathered outside the Israeli embassy early Sunday and let off celebratory fireworks when the man clambered to the top floor of a high-rise housing the mission, replacing the flag with an Egyptian one...

...The man who took down the flag, identified as Ahmed Shehat, was led away by protesters after he descended, but not before some tore up the Israeli flag he carried down with him and kept bits as souvenirs.

Shehat became an instant idol with one Egyptian presidential candidate, Hamdeen Sabahi, hailing him as "the people's hero" on Twitter.

Shehat was labelled the "Egyptian Spiderman" and "Flagman" on Twitter and he trended rapidly on the social networking site as Egyptians and others worldwide expressed their admiration for his stunt.

"This is for Palestine. This is for Egypt. This is for every Arab. This is for every free person," one Twitter user posted.

"Forget Spiderman, Batman, or Superman. My kids are going to grow up wanting to be like FlagMan," wrote another.

In telephone call to a television station, Shehata said he felt "undescribable happiness" after the risky feat. more

Seven injured including three children in missiles strike on northern Gaza


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces launched another round of fierce airstrikes on the northern Gaza Strip Sunday afternoon causing explosions which rattled Gaza City.

Gaza medical official Adham Abu Salmiya said Israeli warplanes fired two missiles at a Hamas military site in Beit Lahiya injuring seven Palestinians including three children.

The attack came hours after an Israeli missile strike hit a group of children in the same area seriously injuring a 12-year-old boy, Abu Salmiya said. more

Egyptian ambassador still not withdrawn from Israel but generals dismiss 'regret' statements


Egypt welcomed a joint investigation with Israel on the killing of five Egyptian security personnel during an Israeli border operation, but said on Sunday the response was insufficient given the gravity of the situation.

"Although the Israeli statement is seemingly positive, it is not on a par with the gravity of the incident and the Egyptians' anger at the Israeli acts," the Egyptian cabinet said in a statement, quoted by the semi-official Al-Ahram president, following a crisis meeting.

Egypt said on Saturday it would recall its ambassador from Israel, insisting the killing of five Egyptian security personnel while Israeli forces were pursuing gunmen across the border was a breach of its 1979 peace treaty.

Egypt's Foreign Ministry later called in the Israeli charge d'affaires, delivered a protest and demanded a joint investigation into the deaths.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Israel regretted the deaths, which followed attacks in its border area that had killed eight people and sparked the most serious crisis in ties with Egypt since longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak's overthrow in February.

Barak also said he had instructed the Israel Defense Forces to conduct a joint investigation with Egypt.

"The Egyptian government considers the approval to conduct a joint investigation to uncover the circumstances of the incident a fundamental step to prevent the occurrence of such accidents as Egyptian blood is not cheap and the government will not accept that Egyptian blood gets shed for nothing," Egypt's state news agency MENA said.
more

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Al-Qassam Brigades warns against escalation as it ends ceasefire with Israel


GAZA, (PIC)-- Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, on Friday warned the Israeli occupation state that it would pay dearly for its crimes in the Gaza Strip and vowed to avenge the blood of civilians and resistance fighters.

In a press release, the Brigades added that Israel's persistence in its aggression against Gaza people would bring disasters on its entity and security.

The statement underlined that Al-Qassam Brigades would be in the vanguard defending the Gaza Strip and its steadfast people and would not allow the occupation to escalate its attacks without retaliation.

The Brigades strongly denounced the latest Israeli crime which happened in a neighborhood in Rafah area killing one child, four fighters from Salahuddin Brigades, and one senior official from the popular resistance committees.

For its part, the popular resistance committees warned the Israeli occupation that Salahuddin Brigades, its armed wing, would respond strongly to the killing of a senior official and fighters of the committees.

Senior official of the committees Ayman Al-Shashniya stated that such Israeli crimes would only increase the Brigades' determination to resist the occupation.

He urged all the armed wings of resistance factions to get ready to repel Israel's aggression against their people in Gaza, and called on the Israeli occupation state to prepare for the worst to come. more

More details on latest Israeli war crime - disabled child shot 10 times in head and chest, help blocked


From the Palestinian Center for Human Rights

In a New Crime, IOF Kills Disabled Child in Central Gaza
Wednesday, 17 August 2011 10:30
Ref: 83/2011

On Tuesday evening, 16 August 2011, the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) killed a Palestinian child from al-Nussairat refugee camp, who was 400 meters from the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip. The victim's family told a PCHR field worker that their child had a mental disability. The victim was in an area that had not been explicitly declared as prohibited.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 18:00 on Tuesday, 16 August 2011, Israeli soldiers stationed at the border northeast of Deir al-Balah opened fire at a Palestinian, who was nearly 400 meters from the border. As a result, he was wounded by 10 bullets in his head and chest. He was left wounded without being offered any first aid. After coordination was made with IOF, at approximately 19:20, medical crews were able to retrieve the body, which was then transferred to al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah. After four hours later, the child was identified as Sa'd Abdul Rahim Mahmoud al-Majdalwai, 17, from al-Nussairat refugee camp. He was hit by 10 live bullets mostly to the head. In his testimony to PCHR, the victim's father said that his son had been suffering from a mental disability and a speech impairment.

The Israeli radio reported that IOF observed a person approaching the security fence, and shot him. This version of events confirms that IOF could have arrested or used less than lethal force against him, especially as he was wearing civilian clothes and there was nothing to indicate that he was a non-civilian.

It should be noted that on Tuesday morning, the Gaza Strip witnessed several shooting and shelling attacks on civilian areas and military training sites. As a result of this shelling and shooting, a Palestinian resistance man was killed and two others were seriously wounded in Gaza City. A child and another person were wounded in Khan Yunis and Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip.

PCHR condemns and expresses concerned over this crime, and:

1. Asserts that these crimes are part of a series of war crimes committed by IOF in the oPt, which reflect total disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians.

2. Calls upon the international community to take immediate action in order to put an end to such crimes. PCHR further renews its demand for the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligation under Article 1, which stipulates "the High Contracting Parties undertake to respect and to ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances," as well as their obligations under Article 146 which requires that the Contracting Parties prosecute persons alleged to commit grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention. These grave breaches constitute war crimes under Article 147 of the same Convention and under Protocol I Additional to Geneva Conventions. PCHR

Egyptian Coalition of Revolutionary Forces calls emergency rally at Israeli embassy

Egyptian protest on 15 May at Israeli Embassy in Cairo (Photo: Mai Shaheen)

The Egyptian Coalition of Revolutionary forces has called for an emergency rally at the Israeli embasssy in Cairo today at 1:00pm.
The Coalition, which is made up of more than 40 revolutionary youth groups and political organisations, has called the emergency action tto protest both Israel's ongoing military attacks on Gaza and the killing of an Egyptian army officer and two soldiers yesterday in the Sinai peninsula during cross border raids against Palestinian activists.

The Coalition is calling on the Egyptian government to expel the Israeli ambassador in Cairo as a strong message to the Israelis. It has also called on the ruling military council to hand power to a civilian administration and return to its barracks in order to focus on Egypt's border security.

In recent days, the Egyptian army has deployed tanks into the Sinai peninsula for the first time since Egypt and Israel signed a peace treaty in 1979 in order to curb the influence of suspected Islamic militants in the northern part of the area. more

Gaza casualty list: 15 killed in airstrikes since Thursday


See the casualty list at end of clipping (International Middle East Media Center):
As Israel continued the bombardment of the Gaza Strip since Thursday, Palestinian medical sources in Gaza reported that the number of slain residents arrived to 15, while more than 40 others, were wounded in the last 24 hours of military escalation.

The sources stated that the Israeli Air Force fired a missile at a motorcycle driving in Ath-Thaltheen Street, in Gaza City, killing three residents, including a child. Their bodies were severely mutilated.

Adham Abu Salmiyya, spokesperson of the Higher Committee of Medical and Emergency Services in Gaza, reported that the child was only two years old, and that one woman is among the injured.

The casualties were identified as Dr. Monther Qreiqe’ and his brother Mo’taz of the Al Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad, and a two-year-old child identified as Islam. They were transporting Islam to a local hospital as he needed urgent medical care.

Abu Salmiyya added that residents Anwar Salim and Imad Abu Abda were also killed when the Israeli Air Force bombarded their motorcycle while driving near the southern entrance of the Al Boreij Refugee camp in central Gaza. The two are among the leaders of the Islamic Jihad Movement.

The latest escalation raises the number of Palestinians killed by the Israeli army in 24 hours since Thursday to 15 residents.

The Israeli army carried out at least 50 strikes targeting several areas in the Gaza Strip injuring 45 Palestinians, including 10 children, 8 women, and two elderly.

Local sources in Khan Younis reported that the Israeli Air Force fired on Friday evening at least one missile into Abasan Al Jadeeda; damage was reported, no injuries.

The Air Force also fired one missile at a motorcycle in Sheikh Zayed area, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, killing Samed Abed, 25, member of the Salah Ed Deen Brigades of the Popular Resistance Committees.

Also, several residents were injured, including a 15-year-old child who suffered serious injuries, when the army bombarded Hassanen factory near Al Wafa’ Hospital, east of Gaza city.

On Friday morning, one resident was killed and another was injured when the Israeli Air Force bombarded an area east of Gaza City. The resident, Mohammad Enaya, 22, was initially seriously wounded when the missile led to the amputation of his legs and arms, and died of his wounds later on.

The army also fired a missile, on Friday before noon, at a car driving near the Gaza Sea, west of Gaza City, no injuries were reported. The Israeli bombardment also caused a power blackout in the area.

List of the residents killed by the army since Thursday;

1. Abu Awad Al Nairab, Secretary General of the Salah Ed Deen Brigades.
2. Imad Hammad, Popular Resistance Committees.
3. Abu Jamil Shaath.
4. Khaled Al Masry.
5. Imad Nassr.
6. Malak Shaath, 2 years old.
7. Mahmoud Abu Samra, 13 years old.
8. Ashraf Azzam, 30.
9. Mohammad Enaya, 22.
10. Samed Abed, 25.
11. Anwar Islayyim, 21.
12. Imad Abu Abda.
13. Monther Qreiqe’, 32.
14. Islam Qreiqe; 2.
15. Mo’taz Qreiqe’.


more

Sit-in continues at Israeli embassy in Cairo: 'Give us guns and send us to Sinai'

(From Ahram Online - Egyptian protesters gather in front of the Israeli embassy in Cairo, Egypt, early Saturday, Aug. 20, 2011. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

Hundreds continue to sit-in before the Israeli Embassy in Cairo after a night-long protest over the killing of five Egyptian soldiers in an Israeli border attack.

The demonstrators demanded that authorities expel the Israeli ambassador and sever all ties with Israel as a response. The protesters removed the cement barriers that block the path to the building where the embassy is located and demanded that the Israeli flag be brought down and removed.

Egypt’s government did not issue a response until three hours after midnight, demanding that joint investigations start immediately and that Israel issue an official apology. The Cabinet also stated that it will recall the Egyptian ambassador from Israel as a response.

Thousands of Egyptians, angered by the killings, continued demonstrating through Friday night chanting “Egyptian blood is not cheap" and "Give us guns and send us to Sinai." more

'State of panic' as six killed in Israeli airstrikes across Gaza


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Renewed airstrikes across the Gaza Strip late Thursday killed a Palestinian teenager and injured more than a dozen others amid an escalation in violence that left some 20 people dead throughout the day.

Just after midnight Friday, Israeli warplanes launched a series of raids targeting Gaza City, the northern towns of Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahiya, and Khan Younis in the south.

Gaza medical official Adham Abu Salmiya said an airstrike on a home near the former intelligence services headquarters in Gaza City killed 13-year-old Mahmoud Abu Samra and injured 18 others.

A Palestinian was also missing in the Rafah tunnel area, medics said.

Elsewhere, Apache helicopters fired at least two missiles toward a Palestinian military site in the town of Beit Lahiya and a missile near Khan Younis landed in an open area and caused no injuries or damage.

A Ma'an correspondent described a "state of panic" across Gaza as Israel renewed bombings just hours after an airstrike killed six Palestinians in Rafah, near Egypt's border. more

Israeli invasion of Sinai killing 5 policemen and rising protests forces Egypt to withdraw ambassador


Egypt withdraws its ambassador from Israel following Israel invasion of Sinai and death of five Egyptian policemen protests continue for second day out side Israeli embassy in Cairo.
CAIRO (Ma'an) -- Egypt has decided to withdraw its ambassador from Israel to protest the deaths of five policemen killed on the border during retaliatory attacks on Palestinian militants, state television said Saturday.

"Egypt has decided to withdraw its ambassador to Israel until there is an official apology," it said.

The Egyptian government had asked "for an official apology from Israel" at the end of a crisis meeting overnight, the state-run MENA news agency reported in a statement. more

Friday, 19 August 2011

Israli air raids continue with attack on refugee camp in central Gaza


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli warplanes struck An-Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza on Friday morning in an ongoing assault which has killed at least seven Palestinians in the coastal enclave since Thursday.

One Palestinian was lightly injured as Israeli fighter jets bombed a generator near the camp, causing a power outage across the area, said Gaza medical official Adham Abu Salmiya.

Missiles also hit a training camp of the armed wing of Hamas, the Al-Qassam Brigades, witnesses said.

The Israeli military said aircraft "targeted two weapons manufacturing sites in the central Gaza Strip and a terror activity site in both the northern and southern Gaza Strip."

"This is a response to the terror attacks executed against Israel in the last 24 hours," an army statement said.

The raid came hours after Israel launched airstrikes on the Az-Zaitoun neighborhood south of Gaza City causing damage but no injuries, medics said.

Just after midnight Friday, Israeli warplanes launched a series of raids targeting Gaza City, the northern towns of Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahiya, and Khan Younis in the south.

Gaza medical official Adham Abu Salmiya said an airstrike on a home near the former intelligence services headquarters in Gaza City killed 13-year-old Mahmoud Abu Samra and injured 18 others.

Elsewhere, Apache helicopters fired at least two missiles toward a Palestinian military site in the town of Beit Lahiya and a missile near Khan Younis landed in an open area and caused no injuries or damage.

The overnight strikes followed a day of violence in which gunmen unleashed bloody mayhem on on a desert road near the Red Sea resort town of Eilat.

Six Israeli civilians, a soldier and a police officer were killed in several hours of attacks on a desert road some 20 kilometers north of Eilat.

Israel officials were quick to point the finger at Gaza, although the territory's Hamas rulers denied any connection to the attacks.

But the Israeli military said it held the Islamist group ultimately responsible for violence coming from the territory it controls.

"If Hamas wants an escalation, it will pay a high price," Brigadier General Yoav Mordechai told public radio on Friday, saying some form of ground operation in Gaza was not out of the question.

"All options are open, including a pin-point [ground] operation," he said.

Israeli warplanes responded to the attacks in Eilat immediately, attacking targets in southern Gaza which killed six people, including a two-year-old toddler and five militants from the Popular Resistance Committees -- the group it said was behind the violence.

The PRC vowed bitter revenge for the attack, which killed its leader and three other top cadres, and on Friday claimed responsibility for firing at least seven rockets and mortars into Israel.

Both sides were burying their dead on Friday, with funerals in Jerusalem for the soldier and the police officer, and a burial procession due to take place in southern Gaza for the five militants and the toddler.

As Israeli police went on high alert across Israel, the country's main newspapers painted a much clearer picture of how events unfolded on Thursday involving an estimated 15 to 20 gunmen, some wearing Egyptian army fatigues.

The first attack saw three gunmen open fire on a packed bus heading to Eilat, injuring seven people. Shortly afterwards, they opened fire on a civilian car in the same area, killing four people.

Then one of the militants detonated an explosives-packed belt he was wearing as an empty bus drove past, blowing himself up and killing the driver. Further gunfire was directed at another car, killing one man.

The soldier and the police officer were killed in two separate gunbattles with the attackers which lasted into the evening, the papers said.

Six of the attackers were killed by Israeli troops and special police forces, while the seventh blew himself up; others are believed to have fled across the Egyptian border.

In Egypt, state television said two "unidentified Egyptians" had been killed by Israeli gunfire on Thursday in an area near the site of the attacks; overnight security officials said three Egyptian policemen were also killed in the same area when an Israeli Apache fired a rocket at militants.

Egypt's state television on Thursday showed footage of rifles, grenades and army uniforms seized during an ongoing security operation in northern Sinai, while in a separate development, security officials said they had uncovered a workshop capable of producing suicide belts.


AFP contributed to this report. more

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Six killed in Israeli airstrike on southern Gaza


GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- An Israeli airstrike killed six Palestinians Thursday evening in southern Gaza, medics said.

Gaza medical official Adham Abu Salmiya said the airstrikes targeted a house in Rafah.

A Ma'an correspondent said the home belonged to Popular Resistance Committees official Khaled Shaath. His daughter was injured in the attack, the reporter said.

An Israeli military source told Ma'an that operations were underway in southern Gaza following a series of attacks in southern Israel, whose leadership has blamed Gaza. more

Israel decides to maintain its refusal to apologise to Turkey over Mavi Marmara killings


Israel will stick to its refusal to apologise to Turkey for killing nine of its citizens on a Gaza-bound ship, officials have said, a position Ankara said would sink any prospects for reconciliation.

The decision, which officials said the prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu conveyed to the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, in a telephone call, was made days before the anticipated publication of the findings of a UN inquiry into the seizure of the Mavi Marmara last year.

The so-called Palmer report was repeatedly delayed to allow for Israeli-Turkish rapprochement talks amid concern in Washington at the rift between two countries that had been strategic partners in an increasingly stormy Middle East.

"We're firm on not apologising," the Israeli official said in comments later confirmed by the foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman in an interview with an Israeli television network, in which he called it "a wise and correct decision". more

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Israeli forces shoot dead teenager in central Gaza east of Deir Al-Balah


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian teenager near the central Gaza Strip city of Deir Al-Balah late Tuesday, medical officials reported.

Medics said the Palestinian, who was not identified, suffered "more than 10" gunshots to the head and upper body after soldiers east of the Al-Masdar area opened fire.

Gaza health ministry official Adham Abu Salmiya told Ma’an that an ambulance crew transferred the teenager's body to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in central Gaza. more

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

'Miles of Smiles' aid convoy set to enter Gaza through Rafah late Tuesday, says Red Crescent


EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma’an) -- An aid convoy arrived in the Egyptian port city of Alexandria on Tuesday, head of the Red Crescent in the northern Egyptian Sinai said.

Jaber Al-Arabi told Ma'an that the "Miles of Smiles" aid convoy would enter the Gaza Strip later on Tuesday via the Rafah crossing.

Another similar convoy will be transferred to Gaza on August 26, he added. more

Political activist arrested by Hamas police after return from speaking in France


Press statement for Gaza Youth Breaks Out
WORRISOME ARREST OF YOUNG POLITICAL ACTIVIST

On August 14th 2011 Abu Yazan, a young political activist from Gaza Youth Breaks Out (GYBO) has been arrested by the Hamas authority. After returning from a trip to France, where he was invited to hold talks about the current situation of the besieged Gaza Strip, he has been called in two times for questioning, until he was finally arrested today. GYBO is a peaceful Palestinian youth movement in Gaza, which gained international attention after publishing a Manifesto in January. Abu Yazan is a leading voice in the movement that is representing a growing number of Gazan youth. The group raises, mainly through new social media like facebook, awareness about the situation under siege for young people in Gaza, and recently called for unity among the Palestinian factions with the aim to target the illegal Israeli occupation. Abu Yazan regularly takes part in demonstrations against the illegal Israeli occupation in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza. No reasons for his arrestment was given up to this time. He also was denied visits by his family and a lawyer. We call on the authorities to abide by the law.
Read more at The Electronic Intifada
GYBO Facebook page

Israeli airstrikes across Gaza leave one dead and at least five seriously wounded


Israel has carried out a series of air strikes on the Gaza Strip, after militants in the Hamas-run territory fired a rocket into southern Israel.

One Palestinian was killed and at least five others were wounded, Palestinian health officials said. Some of the pre-dawn strikes targeted an area east of Gaza City, they said.

The rocket had been fired from the Gaza Strip into the southern Israeli town of Beersheba.

No-one was hurt in that attack.

"We learned of the martyrdom of the youth Musa Shtawe, 29, who died of his injuries after a strike east of Gaza City," Adham Abu Selmiya, spokesman for the Hamas-run emergency services in the Gaza Strip, is quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

Recent weeks have seen an increase in mortar and rocket fire from Gaza after months of relative calm.

Further south, two more raids were carried out east of Khan Yunis and on a tunnel under the border with Egypt near Rafah, Palestinian sources said.

"The raid in Rafah left three people injured, including a child," Mr Abu Selmiya said. more

Monday, 15 August 2011

Israel gives green light to expansion of Ariel settlement with building of 277 new units


JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has given the green light to build 277 new homes in the Ariel settlement of the occupied West Bank, his office said on Monday.

"Defense Minister Ehud Barak last week approved the marketing of 277 housing units in the Neuman district in Ariel," it said, referring to a sprawling settlement deep inside the northern West Bank.

The announcement came days after Israel's interior minister gave approval for 1,600 new units in East Jerusalem settlement Ramat Shlomo on Thursday, with notice that 2,700 more settlement homes would be signed off in coming days. The move sparked international condemnation. more

Despite 'opening' of the Rafah crossing resentment builds at Egypt's continued restrictions


London, (Pal Telegraph) - In late April, Egypt’s acting foreign minister Nabil el-Arabi promised to ease the closure of his country’s sole border crossing with the Gaza Strip, reversing years of policy set by the regime of former president Hosni Mubarak. But Palestinians in Gaza are still waiting for that promise to materialize.

The symbolism of the announcement was inescapable. Egypt’s collusion with Israel in the isolation of Gaza contributed to the misery of Palestinians and helped fuel resentment among the Egyptian public before the uprising that toppled Mubarak in February.

The opening of the Rafah crossing was to signal a new direction in Egyptian foreign policy, the beginning of a departure from decades of alignment with Israel and the United States.

Although widely reported as a sweeping pledge to “open the Rafah crossing,” el-Arabi’s pronouncement merely resulted in a set of administrative changes to the procedures at the crossing.

Specifically the changes allowed for visa-free travel for Palestinians with Israeli-approved ID cards, with the exception of men aged 18 to 40, according to Gisha, an Israeli organization advocating greater freedom of movement for Palestinians. Young Palestinian men, this rule presumes, are an inherent security threat. Goods remain prohibited from crossing, except for rare humanitarian shipments.

However, three months after el-Arabi’s pledge, frustration is simmering over ongoing confusion and backlog at the crossing.

more

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Viva Palestina announces new convoy to arrive in Gaza on 27 dec, 3rd anniversary of Israel's attack


Viva Palestina 6: The Return Convoy, coming soon

At the Summer University of Palestine, George Galloway today announced Viva Palestina 6: The Return Convoy, which is planned to arrive in Gaza on 27th December 2011, the 3-year anniversary of Israel's attack on Gaza. more details soon

Netanyahu clamps down on any moves for talks with Palestinians after secret meetings exposed


RAMALLAH (AFP) -- President Mahmoud Abbas revealed he held four secret meetings with his Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres in a bid to revive stalled peace talks, a Palestinian official said Saturday.

He quoted Abbas as saying at a meeting of his Fatah party on Friday that: "I met Shimon Peres four times in Amman and London in an attempt to restart negotiations and the peace process on a correct foundation."

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, added that Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had thwarted those efforts. more

Friday, 12 August 2011

Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (04– 10 Aug. 2011)

(pic: Debris of a bird farm that was bombarded by Israeli warplanes in the central Gaza Strip – 05 August 2011 - pchr)


IOF wounded a Palestinian woman and killed some of her sheep in the central Gaza Strip.

Two activists of the Palestinians were wounded by IOF in the east of Gaza City.

Israeli warplanes bombarded a number of civilian facilities in the Gaza Strip.

Two bird farms were completely destroyed and a third one was damaged, 500 chickens were killed and a room was destroyed.

IOF continued to use force against peaceful protests in the West Bank.

Dozens of demonstrators suffered from tear gas inhalation.

IOF conducted 31 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank.

IOF arrested 31 Palestinian civilians, including 5 children.

17 of the detainees were arrested in Hebron.

Israel has continued to impose a total siege on the OPT and has isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world.

IOF arrested 4 Palestinian civilians, including a journalist, at military checkpoints in the West Bank.

IOF have continued settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property. more

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Israel approving 4,300 settler homes for construction in occupied East Jerusalem


JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israel's interior minister Eli Yishai has given final approval for the construction of 1,600 new settler homes in east Jerusalem, his spokesman told AFP on Thursday.

The move is likely to anger both the Palestinians and the international community, as it struggles to find a way to relaunch peace talks in a bid to head off a Palestinian plan to seek United Nations membership.

Roei Lachmanovich also said the interior minister was set to give final approval for another 2,700 settler homes in east Jerusalem neighborhoods in "a couple of days."

"He has approved 1,600 homes in Ramat Shlomo and will approve 2,000 more in Givat Hamatos and 700 in Pisgat Zeev," Lachmanovich said.

The 1,600-house construction in Ramat Shlomo has already caused a diplomatic rift between Israel and Washington. more

Gaza resistance fighter killed in yet another mysterious explosion, medical sources report


GAZA CITY: A member of Hamas' armed wing was killed Thursday in a "mysterious explosion" in the southern Gaza town of Rafah, the group and Palestinian medical sources said.

The Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades announced the death in a statement, naming the militant as 20-year-old Ali Nayef al-Haj.

"Ali Nayef al-Haj of Yebna refugee camp was martyred on Thursday in an accidental internal explosion," the group said.

The group gave no additional details, but it also made no accusations that Israel was involved in the death.

Adham Abu Selmiya, a spokesman for the Hamas-run medical services in the Gaza Strip, said only that "a citizen was killed in a mysterious explosion," adding that the man's body arrived at the Abu Yusef al-Najjar hospital "in tatters."
more

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Communication blackout leads Gazans to fear new invasion - Israeli bulldozer to blame


Late Tuesday night, residents throughout Gaza lost internet, cell phone and landline phone service, creating a communication blackout similar to one which occurred just before a massive Israeli invasion in 2008. The blackout sparked fear among Gaza residents that an Israeli invasion might be underway.

Just before the communication blackout began, residents of northern Gaza witnessed Israeli armored bulldozers mobilizing along the northern border between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

The main Palestinian cellphone company, Jawwal, told reporters with Ma'an News Agency that they were aware of problems with service, but did not know what was causing it.

During the 2008-9 invasion of Gaza, Israeli forces bombed the main power plants, plunging Gaza into a sea of darkness. Due to the ongoing Israeli siege, the electricity infrastructure of the Gaza Strip has been unable to fully recover, and fuel shortages have prevented the power plants from operating at full capacity. Since the 2008 invasion, Gazans have been on rolling electricity blackouts most of the time - in most parts of Gaza, people receive just six hours of electricity a day.

The Israeli military did not issue any statement or comment on the communication cut-off.

According to local sources, telephone landlines run by Paltel, the Palestinian Telecommunications Agency, were cut off, along with cell phone service by all of the major cell companies.

The source of the blackout is still unknown. imemc
Israeli bulldozers have been blamed for cutting the communications

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Elderly woman injured by Israeli soldiers after tanks cross border into Gaza


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A 75-year-old Palestinian woman was injured by Israeli fire on Tuesday in the central Gaza Strip, medics said.

Medical officials said the woman sustained moderate injuries after she was fired on by Israeli soldiers east of Juhor Ad-Dik.

Witnesses said Israeli army tanks crossed the border into Gaza and clashed with Palestinian fighters before retreating.

An Israeli army spokeswoman was not aware of any military activity in the area. Maan

Veoila suffers surprise loss as Palestinian-led boycott campaign hits its bottom line


BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A French multinational company at the center of a global boycott campaign announced major financial losses on Thursday, a statement from Palestinian civil society groups said Monday.

The boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign targets international companies with links to illegal Israeli settlements.

"Veolia is paying the price for its involvement in Israel’s policies of occupation and apartheid against the Palestinian people," said Jamal Jumaa, coordinator of the Stop the Wall campaign.

"The company has been losing contracts left, right and center, to the tune of billions of dollars. No matter how large, no corporation can absorb such huge and sustained financial losses."

"This is bound to trigger loud discontent among Veolia's shareholders, eventually leading to a stern demand for an immediate end to the company’s complicity in illegal Israeli projects."

Veolia announced Thursday that it would scale back its operations in several countries after a surprising first-half net loss of €67.2 million, The Wall Street Journal reported. more

Monday, 8 August 2011

Ratings agency downgrades Israeli debt in blow to its economic prospects


SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Standard & Poor's Ratings Services on Monday lowered the ratings on U.S.-guaranteed bonds issued by the Israeli government to AA+ from AAA. The downgrade comes in the wake of the ratings agency's move on Friday to strip the U.S. of its triple-A rating. However, Israel's sovereign rating is unchanged at A with a stable outlook. The decision affects about $6 billion in debt.

Hamas and Fatah strike agreement on release of all political prisoners


CAIRO (Ma'an) -- Hamas and Fatah have agreed to release all political prisoners after meeting in Cairo on Sunday to discuss the reconciliation deal signed in April, official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

The two factions also agreed to the formation of a committee to issue passports to Gaza residents before the end of Ramadan, as well as forming a task force to reopen institutions which were shut down in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as a result of political animosities.

The agreement "is important because it is a reassuring message to the Palestinian people, and it reflects the seriousness of both parties in implementing it," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zahri said in Gaza.

A committee would also be formed to "ensure the opening of closed institutions in both the West Bank and Gaza," Zahri added. more