Sunday, 26 February 2012

Abbas: Israel carrying out 'ethnic cleansing' in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM (Reuters) -- President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel on Sunday of trying to erase any Arabic identity from Jerusalem, drawing a strong response from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Abbas, speaking at a conference in Qatar, said that for the past few years Israel has been waging a "final battle" aimed at erasing the Arab, Muslim and Christian character of East Jerusalem, which Israel captured from Jordan during the 1967 Middle East war.

Abbas said that through settlement building in the West Bank and Jerusalem, Israel is carrying out an "ethnic cleansing, in every sense against the Palestinian residents in order to turn them into minorities in their own city." more

Palestinian female detainee Hana’a Shalabi on tenth day of hunger strike

Detained young woman Hana’a Shalabi has entered her tenth day of hunger strike protesting her administrative detention despite being released late last year in the prisoners’ exchange deal between Hamas and Israel.

Attallah Abulsabh, the minister of prisoners in the Haneyya government, said that Hana’a, 28, is the first freed captive to be re-arrested and sentenced.

The minister said that Hana’a is following the path of Khader Adnan who went on hunger strike for 66 days before the Israeli occupation authority finally submitted and agreed to end his administrative detention.

He said that the health condition of Hana’a was deteriorating and that the Israeli Hasharon prison administration had moved her to solitary confinement and threatened to transfer her to the ward of Jewish homicide convicts in Ramle jail if she continued in her hunger strike.

Abulsabh asked the Egyptian intelligence chief Murad Muwafi to personally intervene to put an end to Israel’s re-arrest of freed prisoners in the exchange deal and to improve the incarceration conditions of all Palestinian prisoners since the deal was brokered by the Egyptian intelligence apparatus. more

European convoy arrives in Gaza through Rafah crossing

GAZA, ( A European aid convoy has arrived in Gaza Strip on Sunday through the Rafah border crossing.
Organizers of the convoy said that the 75 members of the convoy from Holland, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Austria, Denmark, Britain, and France have started to arrive in Cairo as of Friday.

They said that the European coordination of Palestinian humanitarian assistance was the one organizing the convoy, which is also co-organized by charitable societies in Europe.

The convoy aims at alleviating the suffering of the Gaza people who have been under siege for six years. more

Weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the OPT (16–22 Feb)

(Clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian civilians in Nabi Saleh village, northwest of Ramallah)

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Continue Systematic Attacks against Palestinian Civilians and Property in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT)

IOF have continued bombardments and shootings in the Gaza Strip.
IOF implemented 5 airstrikes and fired 9 missiles.
14 civilians, including 2 women and 3 children, sustained bruises and wounds by glass shrapnel.
A metal workshop was destroyed and several houses and civilian establishments were damaged.

IOF have continued to use force against peaceful protests in the West Bank.
7 protesters, including an Israeli peace activist, were wounded.
5 of the wounded were participating in Kafr Qaddoum protest and 2 of them were participating in al-Nabi Saleh protest.

IOF have used force against protests in support of Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan.
4 protesters were wounded in front of 'Ofer prison, southwest of Ramallah.

IOF conducted 74 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and a limited incursion into the south of the Gaza Strip.
IOF arrested 21 Palestinians in the West Bank.
The arrested Palestinians include 4 Palestinians who were released from Israeli jails in the recent prisoner swap, and including the wife and daughter of a Palestinian who was released from Israeli jails in the recent prisoner swap and who was arrested again during the reporting period.
IOF undercover units implemented arrests in al-Bireh city and in 'Anabta village.
IOF raided houses of PLC members and the office of PLC members of Hamas Change and Reform Bloc.
IOF arrested 2 Palestinians in the south of the Gaza Strip while getting ready to hunt birds.

Israel has continued to impose a total closure on the OPT and has isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world.
IOF arrested 3 Palestinians at checkpoints in the West Bank.
IOF held a Palestinian patient at Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing for several hours as he was on his way to al-Maqased hospital for treatment. more

Palestinian refugees to protest UNRWA''s service reduction plans

GAZA, Feb 25 (KUNA) -- The popular committees of the Palestinian refugees in camps in Gaza Strip said Saturday they would stage wide-scale sit-ins in protest of UNRWA's decision to reduce services.

The committees said in different statements the sit-ins would be held in front of the food supply centers of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in six out of eight refugee camps in Gaza.

The sit-ins are in protest of UNRWA's "arbitrary policy aims at stopping financial and material aid to many of our refugee (Palestinian) people here in camps in Palestine and there in camps in diaspora." The committees called on all Palestinians in Gaza to participate in the sit-ins, to remind UNRWA of its commitment to help the Palestinians who were forced out of their homes and lands by Israel in 1948.

During the sit-ins, the protesters will call for "no starvation policy," "no humiliation" and "give us our rights and return us to our lands and houses" in line with UN resolution 194.

Meanwhile, director general of the Camps Affairs Department at the PLO Jawdat Judeh said there were rising concern among the Palestinian refugees in Gaza following UNRWA's decision to reduce its services to refugees. more

IDF pushes law to give settlers another way of grabbing land– unpaved roads

(US AID funded settler road. Photo: Innovative Minds)

The Israeli military is pushing legislation allowing settlers to bypass the state’s convoluted building permit system in the occupied West Bank. The new law would allow settlers to create unpaved roads without a permit. If the law passes, these settlers would be the only Israeli citizens able to build roads in this manner. Currently, only the military is able to build roads without a permit.

Under the proposed legislation, Israeli-only roads in the West Bank will begin to take on a different function. This network of roadways currently exists to speed travel between the settlements and create physical barriers between Palestinian villages. The new law would treat roads as something similar to the caravans in illegal settler outposts - a means of pushing Palestinians off their land. The Civil Administration confirms the land grabbing function of the bill, stating: "the request did not deal with the paving of roads for vehicular traffic to preserve this land." more

Israeli air strikes hit tunnels in southern Gaza, government ministries evacuated

The Air Force bombed several targets in the Gaza Strip after three Qassam rockets were fired at Israel Saturday, Palestinian sources told Ynet early Sunday.

According to other reports, Hamas security officials decided to evacuate all headquarters in the Strip for fear of further Israeli strikes.

According to Gaza sources, IDF aircraft bombed an open area west of Rafah, just hundreds of meters away from the Egyptian border, around midnight. Rescue services in the Strip reported no injuries in the strike but said several structures in the area were damaged.

A short time later, the Palestinians reported that the Air Force struck a tunnel in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip. No injuries were reported in the second attack but the tunnel was damaged.

The IDF confirmed the strikes and added that the army targeted a weapons factory and a terrorists' smuggling tunnel. more