Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Official: Farmer injured by tank fire in central Gaza

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- A Palestinian man was moderately injured by tank fire in central Gaza on Wednesday, a medical official said.

Ministry of health spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said the man was being treated at Al-Aqsa Martyrs hospital in Deir Al-Balah after coming under tank fire.

He is a farmer from Bureij refugee camp, the official said.

Witnesses told Ma'an earlier on Wednesday that Israeli military vehicles entered the Gaza Strip near Bureij. An army spokeswoman said the vehicles were conducting "routine activity" and she was not aware of the incident of tank fire. more

Israel is responsible for "price tag" attacks, not just a few settler extremists

The small Palestinian village of Burqa near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank was once again targeted by Israeli settlers this Saturday — the latest so-called “price tag” attack committed by settlers to avenge outpost demolitions by the Israeli government.

The village has been repeatedly attacked by such “price tag” militants. Last year, two cars went up in flames, and three months later the mosque in Burqa was burned, with the words “Mitzpe Yitzhar” (an outpost near Nablus) and “War” painted on its charred walls.

On Saturday, several cars were damaged and graffiti references to a Migron outpost left on the crime scene. Israeli police say they are “canvassing the area.”

Despite the widespread coverage of “price tag” violence, mainstream media outlets habitually neglect the pivotal role of the Israeli government in breeding these attacks. There is a particular tendency by outlets such as the BBC, Agence France Presse and The Financial Times to limit Israeli government responsibility for “price tag” attacks to inadequate police investigations of settler crimes. This, however, only paints half the picture.

For years, the Israeli government has provided structural financial support to its most radical settler communities. This includes funds for the construction of outposts, which even the Israeli high court has confirmed as illegal under Israeli law.

The scheduled demolition of some of these outposts triggered waves of “price tag” setter attacks that the government of Benjamin Netanyahu has chosen not to prosecute. Instead, it has opted to “retroactively” legalize outposts that face demolition and build new settlements for outpost inhabitants when an outpost demolition remains inevitable. more

Smuggling some fun: Teens sneak paintball game into Gaza

It was once the Jewish settlement of Netzarim, but now the site has been turned into the Gaza Strip’s first ever paintball park.

The arrival of the strategic action game in Gaza is offering Palestinian youths a chance to try something new.

But bringing the relevant equipment and protective clothing into the blockaded territory was no small achievement: everything had to be smuggled in through one of the 1000-metre (yard) underground tunnels that link Gaza with Egypt.

“We brought it over via a very hard route, via the tunnels from Egypt, so that we can play games that are played all over the world, so that the youth of Gaza can play games that are played around the world. This is a peaceful game and it's really, really fun. There's no danger whatsoever,” said paintball referee Rami Eid.

Palestinian youths have been teaming up for a chance to play the new game, which involves hiding behind positions laid out in a field, before jumping out to spray competitors with balls of colored paint.

“We came to play paintball today. It’s the first time I’ve played it and it’s a really fun game, a really nice game. We were a big group but it’s a nice game with suspense, preparation, action and war. Young men like us like these kinds of games. It’s a nice game and we’ve enjoyed it a lot,” said participant Ahmad Abu Ryaleh.

Paintball has become increasingly popular around the world in recent years, with national teams going head-to-head in regional and world tournaments.

Enthusiasts say it is a game of skill and team-work - something Gaza’s new participants are just discovering. more

Israel to illegally seize Palestinian land near Bethlehem

Under the pretext of “military considerations”, the Israeli army informed Palestinian residents of Al-Fordaes village, near the West Bank city of Bethlehem, that it intends to seize large areas of their lands in Al-Oqban area, the Palestine News Network (PNN) reported.

Hasan Breijieh, coordinator of the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Bethlehem, stated that the army placed the orders on the targeted lands, and added that the farmers found these orders when they headed there. Israel intends to seize dozens of Dunams in Basin 4, and the order is effective immediately.

Breijieh added that he contacted two lawyers identified as Ghayyath Nasser and Mohammad Shqeir, to follow-up on the issue and appeal the Israeli military decision, the PNN reported. more

Hamas apologizes after police beat female activists

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The Hamas government in Gaza apologized on Wednesday after reports emerged of security forces attacking female activists in Gaza City on Tuesday, a statement said.

"The government clearly apologizes for what has happened, and the Ministry of Interior will form a commission of inquiry to determine the circumstances of the incident, because what happened does not reflect the culture of the government or the Palestinian people," director of Hamas' media office Ehab al-Ghusein said.

A protest, organized by women's organizations including the general union of Palestinian women, was held outside the parliament building on Tuesday to demand national reconciliation. more