Thursday, 31 January 2013

UN: Israeli settlements violate Palestinian rights


Israeli settlements in the occupied territories violate Palestinians' human rights in ways designed to drive them off the land, a UN report states.

The report says settlements displace Palestinians, destroy their crops and property, and subject them to violence.

It is likely further to damage relations between the UN Human Rights Council and Israel, analysts say.

Israel refused to co-operate with the inquiry by three UN researchers, and says the UN body is biased.

The French, Pakistani and Botswanan fact-finders said Israel was "committing serious breaches" of humanitarian law and demanded the government of Israel cease all settlement activities. more

Medics: Family of 6 dies in Gaza house fire


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Six family members, including four children, died early Thursday in a house fire east of Gaza City, medics said.

Hazem Mahmud Dahier, 32, his wife Samar, 30, and their children, 4-month-old Qamar, Farah, 3, Nabil, 5 and Mahmud, 6, were killed in the fire, medics said. more

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Palestinians face growing food crisis


RAMALLAH (IRIN) -- Fluctuating prices, poverty and border restrictions mean growing numbers of Palestinians are facing food insecurity this year -- one of the key priorities in the humanitarian community’s annual appeal for the occupied Palestinian territory.

This year’s Consolidated Appeal Process is for $401.6 million, a slight decrease on last year’s $416.7 million, only 68 percent of which was financed.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, which helped coordinate the CAP, estimates that 1.3 million Palestinians do not have enough food.

The latest figures show the number of households without sufficient access to food has risen by 7 percent since 2011, a trend which -- if continued -- would have left an estimated 41 percent of Palestinians without the necessary resources to get sufficient, safe and nutritious food at the end of 2012. more

Elections commission arrives in Gaza


On Wednesday 30th January, a delegation from the Central Elections Commission (CEC) headed by its chairman Hanna Nasser arrived in Gaza to re-start voter registration suspended since July.

Hamas leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, invited the commission members to resume their work in the Gaza Strip following an agreement between President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal two weeks ago to restart steps for reconciliation. more

Israel to give $100 million in withheld Palestinian funds


JERUSALEM (Reuters) -- Israel will give President Mahmoud Abbas's administration around $100 million in tax revenues that had been withheld in retaliation for his statehood bid in the United Nations, Israeli officials said on Wednesday.

They described the handover as a one-time deal, signalling rightist Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had not formally scrapped sanctions that have hurt the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank and worried world powers.

But the decision follows surprise setbacks for Netanyahu in a national election this month that, while giving him enough of a lead to head the next Israeli government, also set the stage for more moderate statecraft by boosting centrist challengers whom he must now consider as coalition partners.

Under interim peace deals, Israel collects some $100 million a month in duties on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, money Abbas badly needs to pay public sector salaries. It began withholding the funds as punishment for the UN's acceptance of Palestine as a non-member state in November. more

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Medics: Israeli forces shoot, injure man in north Gaza


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces shot and injured a man in north Gaza on Tuesday, medics said.

Medical sources told Ma'an that Israeli soldiers stationed near the border opened fire at a laborer collecting scrap metal near Beit Hanoun.

The man was transferred to hospital for treatment.

An Israeli army spokeswoman did not return a call seeking comment on the incident.

On Jan. 14, Mustafa Abu Jarad, 21, was shot in the head by Israeli soldiers in north Gaza and died the following day. more

Relatives of hunger strikers call for solidarity


RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Relatives of Palestinians on hunger strike in Israeli jails on Monday called for solidarity at a protest in Ramallah.

"I will not forgive any human who was able to help my brother and didn't. History will record that," said the brother of Tareq Qaadan at a demonstration outside the Red Cross office.

Tareq Qaadan, Jafar Azzidine and Yousef Yassin have been on hunger strike for 62 days in protest at their detention without charge or trial.

"I can't describe my family's situations," Qaadan's brother told demonstrators, adding that the prisoner's child was questioning his absence. more

Monday, 28 January 2013

Essential legal resource for activists in the US: The Palestine Solidarity Legal Support Initiative


Palestine solidarity activists now have the backing and support of major civil rights and legal organizations if they are harassed, intimidated, singled out, or pressured to shut down activism campaigns across the US.

The Center for Constitutional Rights, in conjunction with the National Lawyers’ Guild and the Student Speech Working group coalition, has launched the Palestine Solidarity Legal Support Initiative (palestinelegalsupport.org) that is geared to “track incidents of repression and provide legal support to advocates facing legal and other challenges to their activism,” according to a press release.

In addition, the Center for Constitutional Rights says that “Attorneys familiar with the issues that activists face will respond to questions related to Palestine solidarity organizing and to requests for advice and legal assistance. The initiative also provides advocacy support, as well as trainings and other resource materials.” more

Qatari fuel for Gaza halted due to Egypt unrest


EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma’an) -- Qatari-donated fuel to Gaza has again been suspended due to the security situation in Egypt, security sources said Sunday.

Officials said the last delivery, of 235,000 liters of fuel, crossed on Wednesday, but transfers were since halted until further notice.

Unrest in Port Said, Suez and Ismailiya caused the suspension in deliveries, the security officials said. There is also a financial dispute between the Egyptian border authority and Egypt's petroleum authority over the payment of truck delivery fees, the officials added. more

Official: Gaza security to release detained journalists


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The public freedoms committee, a body set up to implement national reconciliation, has secured agreement from Gaza's security services to free journalists recently detained in the coastal strip, a representative said Monday.

The detention of six reporters in Gaza over two days last week raised concern about a setback in the reconciliation process.

As part of the 2011 deal, Hamas in Gaza and the Fatah-led government in the West Bank agreed to stop media harassment and politically-motivated arrests.

The committee of public freedoms held a meeting in Gaza City Monday morning for the first time in around a year.

Committee representative Khalid al-Batsh, who is also a senior leader in the Islamic Jihad movement, said Gaza’s internal security service had agreed to release the jailed journalists. Some were already released on Sunday night, he said. more

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Video: Father cries over daughter murdered by Israeli settler


On Wednesday 23rd January, the 21-years-old young Palestinian woman from Bethlehem, Lubna Hanash, was shot and killed by settlers riding in a car near Aroub refugee camp which is on the road between Bethlehem and Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank.

Hanash was a fourth-year political science student at Al-Quds University, and had been visiting her sister in Aroub camp.

A video by PNN, shows footage from al-Ahli hospital in Hebron, including shots of confrontations erupted with Israeli soldiers following the passage of Lubna's body, then shots of Hanash on a stretcher with a heavily bandaged head and her father wailing his daughter's death.

"She didn't do anything, she is only a citizen, she's Innocent," cried her father, "Why did the settlers kill her? .....enough torture." more

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Clashes break out at new protest village in Jenin


JENIN (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces assaulted a Palestinian official on Saturday during clashes at a newly erected protest village in Jenin, witnesses said.

Dozens of Palestinian activists set up the Al-Asra, or prisoners, protest village in the village of Anin, northwest of Jenin, on Saturday, Palestinian Authority Minister of Prisoners Issa Qaraqe announced during a press conference.

Anin village is located next to Israel's separation wall.

The governor of Jenin Talal Dweikat and member of the Palestinian Legislative Council Jamal Hwail attempted to enter the village with activists, but were prevented from doing so by Israeli forces.

Physical clashes ensued, and Israeli soldiers assaulted Hwail and fired tear gas at the activists, witnesses said, causing several injuries. more

Medics: Gaza man hurt by Israel gas canister


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A 20-year-old Palestinian was hit in the face by a tear gas canister fire by Israeli forces in the northern Gaza Strip, medics said.

Adham ad-Dabaji was wounded when Israeli forces fired high-velocity tear gas canisters at a group of Palestinians north of Beit Lahiya.

He is being treated at the Kamal Udwan Hospital. more

Islamic Jihad member killed in central Gaza 'mission'


GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- A member of Islamic Jihad's armed wing died Saturday in a "mission" in the central Gaza Strip, the group announced in a statement. more

Friday, 25 January 2013

Islamic Jihad warns Israel on end to ceasefire over prisoners


GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Islamic Jihad in Gaza said on Friday it will not continue a ceasefire with Israel while Palestinians jailed in Israel die from medical negligence.

On Monday, Ashraf Abu Threa died from ongoing health complications, just months after his release from Israeli jail.

At an Islamic Jhad rally for prisoners in Gaza City, Jihad leader Khalid al-Batsh warned: "Those who count on resistance movements to be too patient are mistaken."

"We will never agree to bargain over the blood of our prisoners jailed by Israel," he continued. more

Official: Gaza facing domestic gas shortage


GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Gaza is facing a shortage of cooking gas, an official said Friday, calling for more deliveries through an Israeli-controlled crossing.

Samir Hamada, from Gaza's society of petrol companies, said suppliers of gas for domestic use have almost run out of fuel.

He said Gaza's daily gas requirements is 250 tons, while on average around 150 tons are being delivered through the Israeli-controlled Kerem Shalom crossing each day.

The official called for expansion of the fuel transfer capacity at Kerem Shalom. more

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Witness: Israeli soldier killed woman 'in cold blood'


HEBRON (Ma'an) – "I saw an Israeli soldier on the main road firing gunshots haphazardly, so I put my left hand on Lubna's back, and grabbed her to try and run backward. A gunshot hit my hand, and I shouted as I ran.

"I thought Lubna was running behind me until I reached the security guards of Al-Arrub College who took me to a clinic in the camp before an ambulance arrived and took me to hospital."

This, says Suad Jaara, 28, is what she witnessed Wednesday afternoon when Israeli officers near al-Arrub refugee camp shot her and her friend Lubna al-Hanash. Lubna, 22, died hours later.

Speaking to Ma'an, Jaara said Thursday that she and Lubna were walking on the campus of Al-Arrub College about 100 meters from the main road when they came under fire.

"An Israeli soldier was shooting from his rifle while a white car was parked on the roadside. There was nobody in the area except Lubna and I. He was a criminal ... yes, a criminal who opened fired at us in cold blood killing Lubna and injuring me.” more

Gaza security launch crackdown on Palestinian media


BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian human rights groups say internal security services in the Gaza Strip have stepped up harassment of journalists in the Gaza Strip over the past 48 hours.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights distributed a list of media workers it said had been arrested since Monday and condemned the seemingly coordinated campaign, which Hamas officials quickly challenged.

According to the PCHR, internal security officers arrested al-Katab satellite channel employee Ashraf Jamal Abu Khseiwan and journalist union official Monir Joma al-Monirawi on Monday in Deir al-Balah.

The same day, forces arrested Fatah Youth website employee Mostafa Mohammed Meqdad and Joma Adnan Shawamra, a journalist who works for al-Hurriya radio, in the Gaza City area, the group said.

On Tuesday internal security officers arrested Omar Mohammed al-Dahoudi outside his office in Tal al-Hawa, the PCHR said.

On Wednesday, the group said, security forces detained Hussein Abdul Jawwad Karsou of the Aswar press website and Abdul Karim Fathi Hejji, after summoning them to the Ansar military compound west of Gaza City where they were questioned about their political affiliations. They were released but given another summons.

Meanwhile internal security officers detained Majdi Abdul Aziz Isleem in Gaza City. more

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Israeli forces kill woman near Hebron


HEBRON (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces shot and killed one person and injured another in the Hebron district on Wednesday, medics said.

Witnesses told Ma'an that Israeli soldiers traveling in a civilian car opened fire at a group of people at the entrance to al-Arrub refugee camp south of Bethlehem.

Lubna Munir Hanash, 22, was shot in the head and died from her injuries, medics said.

Suad Yusuf Jaara was shot in the hand and transported to Ahli hospital in Hebron.

Witnesses told Ma'an that after the shooting Israeli soldiers prevented an ambulance from arriving at the scene for around 10 minutes.

Locals said there were no clashes in the area at the time. more

Hamas official: No dispute over Abbas heading unity govt


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- There is no disagreement within Hamas about Mahmoud Abbas heading a unity government to be formed later this month, deputy head of Hamas politburo Mousa Abu Marzouq said Tuesday.

"We have agreed to the next government, headed by President Abbas, but the process of its formation and the selection of its members will be discussed further, because we all want a government that supports and strengthens reconciliation," Abu Marzouq said during an interview with Palestine TV.

"We want the incoming government to work on re-constructing the Gaza Strip, and to carry out all issues agreed between Fatah and Hamas," he added.

Internal Hamas elections have been delayed for technical reasons, Abu Marzouq said, adding that there are no internal disputes. Elections were expected at the end of last year, a Hamas official said in December, with Hamas' chief-in-exile Khaled Mashaal stating that he would not run for re-election as leader of the Islamist movement. more

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Ghada Karmi: 'If you care about Palestinians, Sign the e-Petition'


Ghada Karmi, author 'In Search of Fatima' urges UK Citizens/Residents to sign an e-petition to call Britain to acknowledge publicly that British policy and actions in Palestine from 1917 to 1948 led to catastrophe for the Palestinian people.

Please sign and share the petition widely! http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/42768

The campaign was created and launched by Ghada Karmi leading Palestinian activist, academic and writer, Kamel Hawwash, British Palestinian academic, John Rose, campaign activist for the liberation of Palestine; Karl Sabbagh, Palestinian-British writer, journalist and television producer and Tim Llewellyn former BBC Middle East correspondent following a successful event on 2 Nov 2012, a commemoration of Balfour Declaration.

We need 10k signatures before the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of UK will respond and 100k signatures so this e petition about the impact of the Balfour agreement and the Right of Return for Palestinians could be debated in the House of Commons.

Please join our FB event at http://www.facebook.com/events/475264465844119/ http://www.facebook.com/hjfp.Aizaria Twitter: @hjfpAizaria

More info on the campaign at:
http://www.hjfp.org.uk
http://www.br1917.org.uk
http://www.balfourproject.org.uk

G4S nominated for annual 'worst company' award over role in occupied Palestine


BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The British security firm G4S has been nominated for the Public Eye Awards, a recognition handed out to the world's "worst" companies each year at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos.

The firm, which has been nominated for "countless cases of violations of international law and human rights abuses" -- particularly in the occupied Palestinian territories -- was in third place Tuesday a day before polls closed.

Leading were Shell and Goldman Sachs, according to the Public Eye Awards, a project of Berne Declaration and Greenpeace to remind the "corporate world that social and environmental misdeeds have consequences".

The project's website says G4S was nominated for its role in the occupied territories.

"G4S is present in the occupied Palestinian territories -- manning checkpoints and managing prison security for Israel and is thus complicit in Israel's illegal settlement policy and the torture of Palestinians in Israeli prisons," it says.

The nomination also cites G4S' "badly trained and paid" security forces, many with criminal records, and their responsibility for deaths in forcible deportations as well as their complicity with repressive regimes in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

Online voting closes Wednesday, and the winner will be announced a day later in Davos.

BDS target G4S is the target of a strategic campaign by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which was initiated in 2005 by Palestinian civil society to compel Israel to comply with international law and Palestinian rights. more

Protests continue against PA detentions in Nablus camp


NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Demonstrators burned tires at a Nablus refugee camp on Monday in protest against the Palestinian Authority's continued detention of Fatah members.

At Balata camp, protesters accused the PA of escalating measures against Fatah gunmen who gave themselves in to PA security services on Thursday.

PLC deputies Jamal Hwail and Jihad Tamliyeh have requested permission to visit the detainees and Junaid prison in Nablus, but PA security forces have not yet responded to the request, and the detainees' mobile phones have been confiscated.

Sources in the camp told Ma'an that efforts were underway to contain the crisis, particularly by those who were involved in the surrender of the Fatah members. more

Monday, 21 January 2013

Medics: Israeli forces shoot man near Gaza border


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian worker near the Erez crossing in north Gaza on Monday, medics said.

Adbullah Maaroof, 19, was shot in the leg by Israeli forces and taken to the Kamal Udwan hospital for treatment, Palestinian medics said.

Israeli military sources said the army fired warning shots at Palestinians gathered near the border, and after they returned several times troops fired towards one person who was damaging the border fence.

Three Palestinians have been shot dead by Israeli soldiers along the border since the end of an eight-day offensive in November. Over 40 people have been wounded in the incidents, Gaza officials say. more

Israeli Elections: apathy in Gaza, apprehension in West Bank



“Apathy and apprehension.” That’s one way to describe the mood in Gaza and the West Bank just days before the Israeli elections. Today, more than ever, it is obvious to the Palestinians that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Bar Ilan speech, which focused on the “two-state solution,” was little more than a historical footnote. Just looking at the lists of candidates presented by Likud Beiteinu and Naftali Bennett’s party, the only conclusion they can reach is obvious: There is no commitment on the horizon to a political solution to the conflict. If, in the previous Knesset, Netanyahu was forced to deal with internal opposition to negotiations from members of his own party such as Tzipi Hotovely, Yariv Levin, and Zeev Elkin (who lent his name to this group of parliamentarians, known collectively as the “Elkins”), in the next Knesset they will be joined by Moshe Feiglin, Naftali Bennett and Orit Struk. The Palestinians are well aware of what that means for them.

The Hamas movement in Gaza has absolutely no interest in the Israeli elections. The local leadership there has no plans whatsoever to reach a long-term political agreement with Israel, and in Gaza, unlike the West Bank, it is impossible to build settlements. The government there knows that Israel will not conquer the Gaza Strip again, and this knowledge, compounded by Hamas’s unchallenged rule, result in a sense of apathy toward Israel’s electoral process, regardless of the outcome. It seems as if the only emotion that Hamas has left for Israel is the feeling of victory, which has resonated among the group’s leaders ever since Operation Pillar of Defense. As far as they are concerned, they sent Israel just the right message. It lies within their power to send the people of Tel Aviv scuttling for their bomb shelters. more

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Israeli forces raid Jerusalem protest village


BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Dozens of people were lightly injured on Sunday as Israeli forces raided a newly erected Palestinian protest village in northwest Jerusalem, activists said.

Local activist Nabil Habana said Israeli forces raided the al-Karamah (Dignity) village in Beit Iksa and issued demolition and evacuation orders.

Activists tried to prevent soldiers from reaching their tents, with soldiers firing tear gas canisters and sound bombs at the protesters, Habana added.

Earlier, Israeli troops entered the al-Karamah village at around 7 a.m., photographing the structures and preventing more protesters and supporters from arriving.

It was the third time troops had entered the area. more

Veolia Withdraws from California Water Contract Bidding Following Outcry Against its Abuses of Palestinian Rights


Davis, California – The Davis Committee of Palestinian Rights (DCPR) is happy to report that Veolia Water North America has withdrawn as a prospective bidder on a $325 million dollar project that would provide treated water from the Sacramento River to residents of Woodland and Davis in Yolo County, California. The announcement came at the December 20, 2012 meeting of the Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency (Water Agency), a joint powers authority between the University of California – Davis and the cities of Woodland and Davis. Veolia’s withdrawal followed efforts by citizens of Yolo County to prevent Veolia’s bidding due to the company’s involvement in the violation of Palestinian human rights.

Members of DCPR first contested the participation of Veolia Water as a prospective bidder in June 2011. Appearing before meetings of the Water Agency Board of Directors, DCPR provided substantial documentation of Veolia’s history of profiting from Israel’s illegal occupation and apartheid policies in Palestine, as well as the dissatisfaction of public agencies throughout the U.S. for Veolia’s mismanaged operations and poor performance, environmental permit violations and fines, and failure to make good on promised improvements.

On April 19th, 2012, DCPR testified before the Board charging that Veolia did not meet the Water Agency’s ethical criteria. Veolia’s involvement in the Jerusalem Light Rail Transit system, its operation of settler-only buses on segregated roads in the occupied West Bank for inhabitants of illegal Israeli settlements, and its operation of a landfill on land confiscated from Palestinians have been contested by Palestinians and international human rights activists throughout the last decade. Veolia has suffered the loss of more than $20 billion in contracts to date following this global outcry.

Within the U.S., the Friends Fiduciary Corporation, which handles investments for hundreds of U.S. Quaker institutions, recently divested from Veolia following requests by Quakers concerned about the violation of Palestinian rights. In December 2012 the City of St. Louis voted to suspend approval of a contract with Veolia Water until it completed an investigation of Veolia’s controversial labor, environmental, and human rights practices. There are ongoing campaigns protesting Veolia Transportation public contracts in Sonoma County and Los Angeles, CA; Baltimore, MD; Boston, MA; and beyond. The state-wide California Israel Divestment Campaign calls on CalPERS public pension system to divest from Veolia Environnement, Caterpillar and Elbit Systems. more

Another killed in Gaza tunnels as rights group urges action


GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- A Palestinian man was killed and two others are missing after a tunnel under Gaza's border with Egypt collapsed, medics said Saturday.

Ibrahim Abu Mour, 19, was found dead after the tunnel caved in near Rafah, in south Gaza, they told Ma'an.

After a week of stormy weather, Gaza's tunnel network became unstable, and at least three people have died in the tunnels over the past week.

Gaza's border authorities said on Monday it would shut down all the tunnels for safety reasons. more

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Hamas political bureau member Ezzet Al-Resheq's page deleted by Facebook


BEIRUT, (PIC)-- Political bureau member of Hamas Ezzet Al-Resheq has denounced the administration of the Facebook social network for removing his page without giving any reasons.

He described the step in a statement on Saturday as “unjustifiable and unethical”.

Resheq charged the Facebook administration with “bias” and “unprofessionalism” when it comes to Palestinian legitimate rights.

He affirmed that removing his page would not succeed in silencing him or cutting his communication with others.

Facebook activists had noticed that Resheq’s page, which enjoys 27000 likes, was abruptly removed from the social network for the second time in a year. more

Malaysian premier to visit Gaza Monday


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Malaysian Prime Minister Muhammad Najib Abdul Razak will visit the Gaza Strip on Monday, Palestinian sources told Ma'an.

The prime minister will be accompanied by his wife and foreign minister, the sources said. A delegation will arrive in Gaza on Saturday to prepare for the delegation.

Abdul Razak is set to spend ten hours in the Gaza Strip, during which he will inaugurate a school and other Malaysian-supported projects in Gaza.

He will be received by an official delegation at the Rafah border with Egypt, and meet with Gaza premier Ismail Haniyeh during his trip, the sources said.

In October last year, the Emir of Qatar made a historic visit to the Gaza Strip, the first head of state to enter Gaza since 1999. more

Friday, 18 January 2013

Israeli forces 'shoot, injure man in north Gaza'


GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- A Palestinian man was shot and injured by Israeli soldiers in the northern Gaza Strip on Friday, medics said.

Paramedics told Ma'an that the man was hit in the foot by gunfire in the al-Ghoul area north of Beit Lahiya.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said Palestinians rioted near the border in northern Gaza, and that Israeli soldiers acted in accordance with the army's rules of engagement. more

Elections commission awaiting authorization for Gaza work


BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The head of the central elections commission said Friday the organization is ready to start work in the Gaza Strip as soon as it receives authorization from the government.

Hisham Kuhail told Ma’an the electoral body had almost finished preparing the voter register in Gaza when its work was blocked at the last minute in July.

According to a deal with Hamas outlined by Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad on Thursday, the commission should resume work by Jan. 30. more

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Reports: Israel to apologise to Turkey over Mavi Marmara


On Thursday 17th January, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister, Danny Ayalon, confirmed that Israel is ready to send an apology letter to Turkey over Mavi Marmara incident, such as the one Washington sent to Pakistan over the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers.

According to Daily HURRIYET Turkish newspaper, that after 32 months of the Mavi Marmara incident, Ayalon said that he was seeing some kind of improvement opportunities in Turkey-Israel relations and that Israel was ready to apologize. more

Egyptian man found dead after Rafah tunnel collapse


GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Another man was found dead on Thursday after a smuggling tunnel collapsed under Gaza's border with Egypt last week.

The body of Salem Musa Samaha, an Egyptian citizen, was pulled out of a tunnel near Rafah, civil defense spokesman Khalid Al-Ajrami told Ma’an.

He was missing since last week, when the tunnel was among several that fell in amid heavy rainfall.

Another worker, Bassam Khader Shahin, was found dead in the same incident on Wednesday, and two others were earlier rescued. more

Israel razes Bab al-Shams protest village


BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces tore down tents in the Bab al-Shams protest village overnight Wednesday following an Israeli high court ruling, activists and police said.

Activist Ali Abedat told Ma'an that Israeli forces deployed heavily in the area on Wednesday, sealing entrances to the village with cement blocks.

Overnight, four Israeli bulldozers, several military vehicles and dozens of settlers raided the village and tore down the tents, Abedat said.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said all tents had been cleared from the area. "There were no disturbances," he added.

Bab al-Shams village council member Mahmud Zawahra told Ma'an that activists would rebuild the village soon. more

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Report: Israel approves 198 new settlement homes


TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma'an) -- Israel's housing ministry released government tenders for the construction of 198 new settlement units in the occupied West Bank, Israeli media reported Wednesday.

Noting the timing before national elections, Israel's Ynet news site reported that the announcement invited developers to bid on two projects in Efrat and Kiryat Arba.

Both settlements are in the Hebron area of the occupied Palestinian West Bank and considered illegal under international law.

The announcement came two weeks ahead of an Israeli election the incumbent prime minister's joint party list is expected to win. Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly promised to hold on to settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and expanded them during his term.

A centrist challenger, former Foreign Minister and peace negotiator Tzipi Livni, has made Israel's international isolation under Netanyahu the focus of her campaign.

Israeli anti-settlement group Peace Now said meanwhile that approval for construction in 2012 far exceeded by a "record level" the counts for the previous two years. more

Man found dead in Gaza tunnel


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The body of Bassam Khader was recovered from a tunnel under the Gaza-Egypt border on Wednesday, after an 8-day search, relatives said.

Khader, 42, was last seen working in a smuggling tunnel in Rafah which was thought to have collapsed during extreme weather conditions last week.

On Sunday, Ali al-Fadi, 20, died and three others were wounded when a tunnel partially caved in near Rafah, civil defense spokesman Muhammad al-Maathneh said. more

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Medics: Israeli army kills teen in Budrus clashes


RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian teenager on Tuesday during clashes in Budrus near Ramallah, medics said.

Samir Ahmad Abdul-Rahim, 17, sustained four bullet wounds to his head, chest and leg and died shortly after arriving at the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah.

The head of Budrus village council, Mohammad Marar, said Israeli military jeeps approached the village high school during a raid. Students were leaving the school after taking final exams and threw stones at Israeli forces, Marar told Ma'an.

Israeli soldiers responded with live ammunition, fatally wounding Abdul-Rahim, Marar said.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said several Palestinians had damaged Israel's wall in Budrus "attempting to infiltrate Israel." more

Medics: Man killed in northern Gaza


BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A man shot by Israeli forces in north Gaza died late Monday, Palestinian medics said.

Mustafa Abu Jarad, believed to be a farmer, was shot in the head in the town of Beit Lahiya on the border with Israel, Gaza's health ministry said earlier Monday.

The 21-year-old was taken to Shifa hospital but died later, said doctors.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said officials had checked "and apparently the incident is not related to the Israeli army". more

Monday, 14 January 2013

Egypt resumes Qatar fuel shipments to Gaza


EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma'an) -- Egyptian authorities have resumed shipping Qatari fuel into the Gaza Strip via an Israeli-controlled crossing after unrest blocked the delivery route for over two months, a Palestinian official said Monday.

Amr Hadhoud, the Palestinian representative at the Al-Auja crossing, said all obstacles to the shipments have been overcome.

Violent clashes between Sinai armed groups and Egyptian forces in November led to a suspension in deliveries. more

Gaza shuts down border tunnels citing safety


GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Gaza's border authorities decided on Monday to shut down all smuggling tunnels between the coastal enclave and Egypt until further notice.

A spokesperson of the border authorities told a Ma'an reporter the decision was precautionary after several tunnels have collapsed in the past week as a result of heavy rain and stormy weather.

Palestinian civil defense crews are still searching for two workers who went missing last week after a tunnel collapsed in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip as a result of heavy rain. more

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Disturbing new video of Israeli Jews assaulting Africans in Tel Aviv on New Year’s Eve



A disturbing new video by David Sheen shot on New Year’s Eve on the streets of Tel Aviv shows Israelis rallying against Africans and then Jewish youths assaulting, insulting and humiliating African people – presumably identifiable only by the color of their skin.

A rally speaker called for buses to be brought to Tel Aviv to transport 12,000 Africans to a desert internment camp.

After the rally a group of Israeli Jewish youths went through the streets assaulting and abusing Africans as police followed them doing nothing. One man, apparently a rally participant, is seen assaulting Sheen and threatening him with further violence.more

Man killed, 3 wounded in Gaza tunnel collapse


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian man was killed when a tunnel under Gaza's border with Egypt collapsed on Sunday morning, rescue services said.

Ali al-Fadi, 20, died immediately and three others were wounded when the tunnel partially caved in near Rafah, south Gaza, civil defense spokesman Muhammad al-Maathneh said.

He said two tunnel workers who went missing in another tunnel collapse on Friday are still missing. On Saturday, one Palestinian was man was pulled out alive from the rubble. more

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Official: Israeli forces kill man, wound another in Gaza


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces fired at the northern Gaza Strip on Friday, killing one man and injuring another, medics said.

Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra told Ma'an that Anwar Muhammad al-Mamlouk, 22, was killed by Israeli fire east of Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza.

Another man was seriously wounded and taken to the Kamal Udwan hospital by paramedics.

The incident happened near a cemetery by the refugee camp, al-Qidra said.

Al-Mamlouk was in an outdoor area studying for an exam when he was killed, according to his brother Hani, who was not harmed in the incident.

Israel moves to shut down E1 protest, activists vow to remain


BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces moved to shut down protest tents in the E1 area of East Jerusalem on Saturday as Palestinian activists vowed to remain on the land.

Israel's military handed evacuation orders to activists in the Bab al-Shams, or 'Gate of the Sun', protest village on Saturday, stating that the military intends to move protestors by force, local activist Abdullah Abu Rahma said.

Israel's military has also prevented activists from neighboring areas access to the protest village since Friday.

"We only have our determination, and it will not be easy to expel us from our homes. We will use our experience and skills to remain on the land," Abu Rahma said.

Palestinian activists erected over 25 tents and a medical center in the E1 area of East Jerusalem on Friday to protest Israeli settlement plans and protect Palestinian land from annexation.

Senior Fatah official Saeb Erekat said during a meeting Saturday that the Bab al-Shams protest movement is attempting to save the two-state solution at a time when Israel is determined to build settlements and undermine the very principles of two states. more

Friday, 11 January 2013

Thanks, Stanley Jordan, for pulling out of Israeli jazz fest


It appears that the movement for a cultural boycott of Israel can claim another victory. On Saturday (5 January) guitarist Stanley Jordan announced he will not be performing at the winter installment of Israel’s Red Sea Jazz Festival. In a brief statement on his Facebook page, Jordan stated: “My performance at the Red Sea Jazz Festival has been cancelled. I apologize for any inconvenience to anyone.” Jordan, an acclaimed an innovative guitarist, had been billed as a headliner at the festival.

The outpouring of gratitude has been substantial. A lengthy stream of comments thanked Jordan for standing with human rights and against occupation, and recognizing that for a working artist to pull out of a show is not an easy decision. Anyone who has had the displeasure of wading through the cesspool of racism and abuse that hardcore Zionists are wont to leave on even vaguely pro-Palestinian Facebook pages can surely appreciate the love and positivity that’s been shown to Jordan. more

Official: 2 workers trapped in Gaza tunnel collapse


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Two workers were trapped in a Gaza smuggling tunnel on Friday as heavy rain caused several underground passages to collapse, civil defense crews said.

Muhammad al-Maydneh, spokesman for civil defense crews in Gaza, told Ma'an that the Palestinian side is communicating with Egypt in order to save the two workers.

An Egyptian security official told Ma'an on Thursday that many of the tunnels under Gaza's border with Egypt are flooded or collapsed, after 3 days of heavy rainfall. more

Official: Settlers destroy over 200 olive trees in Nablus


NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Settlers destroyed over 200 olive trees in a Nablus village on Friday, an official said.

Dozens of settlers from the illegal outpost of Esh Kodesh raided the village of Qusra early Friday and uprooted at least 210 olive trees, settlement monitoring official Ghassan Daghlas told Ma'an.

The trees were owned by Gamal Abdel-Aziz, Abdul Hassan, Abdul Ahmed and Noman Abu.

The village of Qusra has been subject to several violent attacks in recent weeks by settlers from nearby outposts.

On Thursday, settlers from the Esh Kodesh outpost fired on Palestinians in the village, shooting Samer Masameer, 26, in the leg. more

Thursday, 10 January 2013

UAE donates $50 million to 'prisoner city' in Gaza


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Gaza's housing minister said Thursday that the United Arab Emirates has donated $50 million to build a housing project for Palestinians released from Israeli jails.

The "prisoners city," which will be located in central Gaza, will be named after the UAE leader Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, minister of public works and housing Yousef Subhi Al-Ghariz said. more

Egyptian official says Gaza tunnels flooded, collapsed


EL ARISH, Egypt (Ma'an) -- After three days of intense rainfall, many of the tunnels under Gaza's border with Egypt are flooded or collapsed, an Egyptian security official told Ma'an.

The underground trade has halted during the stormy weather due to concerns that many tunnels remain unstable, the official in Egyptian Rafah said. more

Egypt says Fatah, Hamas agree to enact unity deal


CAIRO/GAZA (Reuters) -- An Egyptian official said the leaders of Hamas and Fatah factions had agreed at talks in Cairo on Wednesday to implement a long-delayed reconciliation pact, although it was unclear if the deal would extend beyond holding more talks.

President Mahmoud Abbas of the Fatah movement based in the West Bank and Khaled Mashaal of the Hamas group that controls the Gaza Strip met face-to-face for the first time in over a year to discuss how to implement their 2011 deal.

The rivals fell out badly when Hamas seized control of Gaza from Fatah by force in 2007. But they have drawn closer since Israel's assault on Gaza in November, in which Hamas claimed victory, and a diplomatic win by Abbas the same month in which the United Nations voted to recognize Palestine as a "non-member state".

"It was agreed that sides would begin immediately to implement the previously agreed mechanism of the agreement signed," a senior Egyptian official involved in the talks, who declined to be named, told Reuters by phone from Cairo. more

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Abbas, Mashaal to meet during Cairo visit


CAIRO/GAZA (Reuters) -- Egyptian President Muhammad Mursi plans to meet the leaders of Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah on Wednesday in a renewed effort to help them heal their five-year-old feud, Palestinian and Egyptian officials said.

The officials said Mursi would meet individually with President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah and Khaled Mashaal of Hamas to discuss a stalled reconciliation deal the two agreed in Cairo last year.

Egyptian mediators had hoped to coax them into the same room, but a Palestinian source told Reuters the two will meet later in the evening, without the Egyptian president.

Abbas is reluctant to any format which would imply giving the Hamas leader a status equivalent to his own.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri downplayed the talks in Cairo, describing them as "exploratory."

"Egyptian officials aim to explore where things stand and look into the best ways to activate reconciliation efforts," he told Reuters. more

Boat teams rescue families from Gaza floods


GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Rescue crews used fishing boats to help 25 families trapped in a flooded plain in the southern Gaza Strip on Wednesday, amid icy storms have in the region this week.

Civil defense spokesman Muhammad Al-Maathaneh said a low plain in Rafah was under water, and 300 homes were at risk of flooding. more