Saturday, 30 November 2013

Palestinians rally in Gaza against Israel's Prawer Plan


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Dozens of Palestinian youth demonstrated in Gaza City Saturday in protest of Israel's so-called Prawer Plan to displace Bedouin residents of Negev.

Demonstrators raised posters rejecting the Prawer Plan and other Israeli practices against the Palestinian people.

The rally was organized by Gaza Strip's Intifada Youth Coalition in conjunction with an international "day of rage" against the Prawer Plan.

"We are sending a message to our people in the Negev, asserting that they are a part and parcel of us, despite the occupation's plans to displace them and exile them from Palestine," coalition spokeswoman Shurouq Mahmoud said in a statement. more

Friday, 29 November 2013

Activists: 2 Palestinians hurt by live fire in clashes near Jerusalem


JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces shot and injured two Palestinians at a demonstration near Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank late Friday, activists said.

The protesters were demonstrating in the al-Ezeriya and Abu Dis villages against the death of Nour Mohammad Afaneh, who died in an ambulance while it was held up near a checkpoint.

Popular Committee spokesman Hani Halbiya said that clashes broke out in the Ras Kabs area and in Abu Dis village. Habliya said that snipers fired live bullets at protesters, injuring one in the chest and leg, and a second with three bullets in the lower extremities.

They were taken to nearby hospitals in critical condition, he added.

Palestinians responded by throwing rocks and closing roads with burned tires. more

Palestinian dies of injuries sustained during clashes at Qalandia checkpoint


Palestinian medical sources said that the 22-year-old Mahmoud Wajeeh Awwad died Thursday night, of injuries sustained seven months ago during clashes that erupted with the Israeli forces at Qalandia checkpoint near Ramallah.

Relative of the martyr said that Awwad has been shot in the head and entered into a coma, adding that Awwad was getting treatment in Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital in Jerusalem since his injury. more

Israeli army opens fire at farmers again, east of Khan Younis


[Friday Morning November 29, 2013] Israeli soldiers, stationed across the border with Gaza, opened fire at Palestinian farmers working in their lands, east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

Local sources have reported that the farmers were only working on their lands when the soldiers fired several rounds of live ammunition at them. Fearing additional fire, the workings ran out of their lands.

They stated that the army frequently carries out invasions targeting border areas, and repeatedly opens fire at the workers and farmers.

A few days ago, a resident of Khan Younis was shot and injured after Israeli soldiers opened fire at him as he worked in his land close to the border fence. more

UN begins distributing fuel to counter Gaza crisis


GAZA CITY (AFP) -- The United Nations on Thursday began distributing fuel in Gaza to keep critical infrastructure running as fears of a health crisis grow over accumulating rubbish and sewage, a UN official said.

"Fuel is actually coming in, as of today, through the Kerem Shalom (goods crossing with Israel), purchased by UNRWA and distributed by the UN," the organization's Middle East special coordinator Robert Serry told a news conference in northern Gaza.

"That doesn't resolve the fuel crisis in Gaza, but it does provide a safety net, we hope, for the coming two to three months for those critical installations here," he added.

Serry's announcement came as the Islamist Hamas-run Palestinian territory suffers the most serious fuel crisis in its history, with daily power outages of up to 16 hours.

Hospitals, water and sanitation plants, businesses and private homes are all being hit. more

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Israeli forces raid home to arrest 4-year-old, dad says


Does the child pictured above look like a danger to you?

He does to Israeli occupation forces in Jerusalem who woke him up in the middle of the night intending to arrest him, his dad says.
The Wadi Hilweh Information Center reports today in Arabic:

Amid their frenzied campaign of arresting children in Jerusalem, Israeli forces raided the home of Zine al-Majid in the Saadia area of the Old City last week in order to arrest his son Muhammad, who is four years old. The boy’s father told Wadi Hilweh Information Center:

“A big force raided our house at dawn on Thursday, and demanded to know the names of my children. So I told them and they said, ‘we have an arrest order for Muhammad.’ I was shocked and asked one of them if he was sure. Muhammad is only four years old! But the officer was not convinced and asked me to wake him up, and after he saw him he backed down from carrying out the arrest.

The father added: “I told the officer, ‘you want to arrest him; should I send milk and diapers with him?’”

He said that the officer questioned him about his son and his son’s friends and if he was in the neighborhood, under the pretext that an Israeli settler had been injured. He threatened to summon and interrogate the child if the accusations were established.
more

Rafah crossing remains open for second day in row


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Egyptian authorities on Thursday allowed the Rafah crossing to stay open for the second day in a row, officials said.

Crossing officials on the Palestinian side said that 553 people have left Gaza for Egypt through Rafah since Wednesday.

Egyptian authorities rejected entry to 30 people, without clarifying motives for doing so, the officials added.

The Rafah crossing has been the principal connection between Gaza's 1.7 million residents and the outside world since the imposition of an economic blockade by Israel beginning in 2007. more

Israeli forces demolish Palestinian home in Salfit


SALFIT (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces demolished a Palestinian home in Salfit on Thursday on the pretext that the home was unlicensed, a local official said.

Kamal Yousef, mayor of Deir Ballut village, told Ma'an that Israeli bulldozers destroyed the home and razed land in the surrounding area of Fusoul.

The home belonged to Ghanem Mahmoud Abed al-Karim.

Around 70 homes in the area are under threat of being demolished, Yousef added.

Researcher Khalid Maali said that Israeli forces claim the homes are unlicensed and that the area is a nature reserve.

Israel has destroyed more than 500 Palestinian properties in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since the beginning of this year, displacing 862 people, according to UNOCHA. more

Witnesses: Israeli navy detains 2 Gaza fishermen


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli naval forces detained two fishermen off Gaza Strip's southern coast on Thursday, witnesses said.

Israel's navy fired warning shots at Mahmoud and Ahmad Hassouna before detaining them off the coast of Rafah, locals said.

The two fishermen were taken to an unknown destination and their fishing boat was confiscated.

In May, the Israeli government re-extended Gaza's fishing zone to six miles, after reducing it in March following a rocket attack from the coastal territory.

The zone had been extended to six miles as part of an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire that ended an eight-day conflict between Israel and Hamas in November. more

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Report: Israel uses torture against Palestinian female prisoners


The Palestinian Center for Prisoner Studies said in a report that the Israeli occupation has been exercising all forms of torture and violence against Palestinian female prisoners in its jail.

The center's report was marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women that falls on November 25th.

The center said that the international institutions, which enact laws prohibiting torture and violence against women, have been turning a blind eye to the occupation's abuses and practices against Palestinian women and female prisoners.

Media spokesman for Palestinian Prisoners Center, researcher Riad al-Ashqar pointed out that Israel has arrested since the occupation of the Palestinian territories more than 10 thousand Palestinian women and since the Aqsa Intifada more than 1,100 women, 14 of whom are still held in Israeli jails, including 5 patients.

He added that the Palestinian women are held under harsh conditions in Israeli custody, as they are subjected to humiliating treatment and repeated attacks by jailers, in addition to the policy of strip searches.

The Israeli prison administration has also been holding Palestinian female prisoners in the solitary confinement, depriving them of education, and imposing heavy fines on them for trivial reasons.

Freed prisoner Muntaha Mahmoud al-Hih said she was tortured and severely beaten by the Israeli soldiers during her interrogation, which caused her bleeding in the kidney. She was also put in solitary confinement and was cuffed for long hours, she added. more

PA premier in Qatar to address Gaza power crisis


BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah is scheduled to discuss with Qatari officials possible solutions to end the ongoing power crisis in the Gaza Strip.

Chief of the Palestinian Power Authority Omar Kittanah told Ma'an Tuesday that the Palestinian Authority was exerting serious efforts to end the coastal enclave's power crisis which resulted from a lack of fuel to run Gaza's sole power plant.

Hamdallah arrived in Qatar Sunday for talks with Qatari officials including his counterpart Abdullah Ibn Nasser.

Palestinian news outlets reported that Hamdallah was invited by the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Ibn Hamad Al Thani to discuss possible solutions to Gaza's power crisis.

Palestinian daily al-Ayyam newspaper on Tuesday discussed two solutions Qatar is offering.

According to the newspaper, Qatar will suggest either to pay the PA money to buy fuel from Israel and deliver it to Gaza, or to ship fuel from Qatar via Israel's Ashdod port, which the PA will deliver to the coastal enclave. more

BDS campaign is erecting counter-siege on Israel


The pop star Rihanna played a gig in Tel Aviv [in October 2013], despite many requests made to her by Palestinian and solidarity activists to observe the cultural boycott of Israel. As usual, BDS campaigners tirelessly posted messages on Facebook and Twitter pages asking her to cancel her gig. She went ahead anyway, so you'd think anti-BDS, anti-Palestinian ideologues would be happy. Not so. There was a furious reaction from right-wing Israelis and other Zionist fanatics when liberal Israeli paper Haaretz misreported the gig.

The paper initially claimed that the star modified the words of one of her songs to say "All I see is Palestine." Was this a minor concession to the BDS camp, perhaps trying to please "both sides"?

It seemed highly unlikely. And Haaretz's lack of video evidence (despite the thousands of phone-cameras present at gigs these days) made the story even more unconvincing.

My suspicions were confirmed, as the paper soon had to correct its story.

However, it also seems unlikely the story was a deliberate "lie" or an attempt to mislead, as some in the right-wing Israeli press claimed. It's far more likely to have been shoddy journalism, based on rumours and hearsay.

But in my opinion, there was a further factor: Israeli paranoia. Call it Israel's "The whole world is out to get us" syndrome.

One can easily imagine the rumours that might have swirled around Haaretz's Amy Klein, in her section of the audience:
What did she say? That wasn't the usual lyric.
I think it was something about "Palestine"?
Maybe "All I see is Palestine".
OMG, I knew it, she's secretly on their side!
Cue freak-out and silly Haaretz story.
The very fact the bogus story spread around so quickly before being debunked (even making it onto popular American blog The Huffington Post) tells us something about the successes to date of the BDS campaign.

It is having a far-reaching impact amongst Israelis, showing that BDS activists are punching way above their weight, compared to their modest means. more

Medics: Israeli forces shoot, injure Palestinian in south Gaza


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian man on Tuesday in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, medical officials reported.

Ashraf al-Qidra, a spokesman for the Gaza health ministry, said that the 23-year-old man, identified only as M.Q., was shot in the right foot near the border.

He was taken to Gaza's European Hospital for treatment. more

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

3 Palestinians shot dead near Hebron by occupation forces


BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces shot and killed three Palestinians late Tuesday near Hebron in the occupied West Bank, Israeli security officials said.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told Ma'an that the Palestinians were in a car near Hebron and fired on security officers, who responded by shooting and killing the occupants.

Rosenfeld said explosive devices were found in the vehicle. He said a security operation was ongoing in the Hebron area.

The Palestinians "were members of a Salafi Jihad terrorist cell that was planning an attack in the coming days. At the moment operations are continuing in that area," Rosenfeld said.

Locals identified the killed Palestinians as Moussa Mohammad Moussa Makhamra, Mahmoud Khalid al-Najjar, and Mohammad Fouad Jamil Nairoukh.

In a statement, the Israeli army said they also planned to target the Palestinian Authority. more

Gaza government attempting to end power crisis


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The government in the Gaza Strip has been consulting local, Arab and international sides to try and bring to an end the power crisis in the coastal enclave, a Hamas official said Monday.

Basim Naim, advisor to Gaza prime minister Ismail Haniyeh, told reporters Monday that there were attempts to buy fuel from Israel through the Palestinian Authority.

“Nothing came into existence because the Ramallah government insisted on unreasonable fuel prices.”

The PA, he said, wants to treat the Gaza government as a consumer, and to raise prices unreasonably.

"We have recently been trying to find solutions through other sides, and Turkey expressed readiness to buy fuel for Gaza from Israel. Qatar is ready as well to cover fuel bought from Israel."

Naim added that his government asked UNRWA to play the role of middleman between Israel and the Gaza government.

"The Gaza government is awaiting final answer from UNRWA," he added, highlighting that the answer is likely to be positive. more

Monday, 25 November 2013

Israeli soldier on Ukrainian game show admits to killing Palestinian children


A few days ago Abir Kopty found a November episode of a Ukrainian game show where an Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) soldier nonchalantly discussed killing Palestinian children. Dual Ukrainian and Israeli citizen Elena Zakusilo explains, while sitting in an oversized chair with her feet dangling above the ground, that her enemies in the combat field were toddlers. “Barely walking” toddlers:
[We] had to fire, had to kill, because it was either they [get] us, or we – them. I can’t say I’m proud of that. It’s scary, especially when children run with Molotov cocktails, and they send children, to turn the attention to them, little kid, barely walking, 3-4 years old.
While on “Lie Detectors,” Zakusilo sat across from her mother and two sisters answering questions that according to the show’s format, are supposed to be embarrassing. She recounts training IDF attack dogs affixed with cameras and microphones that are sent into Palestinian villages as spies. “You give a command, it runs into an Arab village, runs around there like a normal dog, and films what the terrorists are doing.” And when the show asks her if she has ever killed anyone, her family’s take on it is blasé. “Not someone, apparently those she was fighting with,” said the soldier’s mother. Then Zakusilo continues, describing firing at Palestinian, but is careful to note, “it’s normal for them” to die young, because, she affirms, the children are taught to do so by their parents.

Here’s the corresponding excerpt from the video: more

Israel okays 829 new settler homes in West Bank


JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israeli authorities have given the go-ahead for the construction of 829 new settler homes in the occupied West Bank, settlement watchdog Peace Now said on Monday.

"The construction of 829 homes has been approved by a committee of the Israeli military in charge of the West Bank," said Lior Amihai, a Peace Now official.

"This is yet another move that threatens to derail the peace process," Amihai told AFP.

President Mahmoud Abbas has warned that ongoing settlement building by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territories threatens the future of the Middle East peace process.

The new homes would be built north of Jerusalem in the settlements of Givat Zeev, Nofei Prat, Shilo, Givat Salit and Nokdim, Amihai said.

The latest move comes two weeks after Israel announced its largest plan for settler homes ever, saying some 20,000 would be built in the West Bank.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancelled the order after pressure from the United States, which brought the two sides to the table in July and as the Israeli premier sought to dissuade Washington from striking a nuclear deal with Iran. more

Gaza forced to use donkeys for waste collection due to lack of fuel


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Garbage collection vehicles in the Gaza Strip stopped working on Sunday due to lack of fuel, forcing local municipalities to use donkeys in order to collect garbage and waste from cities and villages across the region.

Gaza municipality officials said that the garbage vehicles can no longer be used for waste collection because gas stations across the Gaza Strip have run out of fuel as a result of the Israeli-Egyptian siege.

Mohammad al-Farra, Gaza Minister of Local Government, said in a press conference on Sunday that there are around 70 garbage collection vehicles in the Gaza strip that have been pulled from service due to lack of fuel.

The garbage vehicles would be replaced by "primitive means such as donkeys" in order to transport 1,700 tons of solid waste from the streets of the Gaza Strip daily. more

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Several Palestinians detained in Israeli raids on West Bank and Gaza


Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Sunday at dawn and on Saturday evening, several Palestinians in different parts of the occupied West Bank, and in the Gaza Strip. Most of the invasions and arrests took place in the Hebron District, in southern West Bank.

Mohammad Awad, spokesperson of the Popular Committee against the Wall and settlements in Beit Ummar, north of Hebron, said that dozens of soldiers invaded the town, and kidnapped Montaser Abdul-Hamid Awad, 22.

He added that Awad is a former political prisoner who spent two years in Israeli prisons. He was taken prisoner, on Sunday at dawn, after the soldiers violently broke into his house, and searched it causing excessive damage.

Dozens of soldiers also invaded Doura city, southwest of Hebron, broke into a home and kidnapped one resident identified as Noureddin Mohammad Wishah, and took him to an unknown destination. more

Saturday, 23 November 2013

The water in Gaza is not only water


International Solidarity Movement, Charlie Andreasson
I was just going to make dinner when I realized the filtered water in my tank was almost done. Perhaps it would be enough if I used the last of my bottled water. But then I would have nothing to drink with my meal. And there would be no coffee, not after the food and not for breakfast. Glances at the tap, I considered diluting the filtered water with tapwater, in order to save time and to avoid having to walk two blocks to fill the tank. It was dark outside, and the shop with water might be closed.

Tapwater cannot be used for cooking, or should not be used for cooking. I avoid doing it anyway. I wash dishes in it, but do not use it to cook my rice. It’s salt. Saltwater penetrates the underground aquifier, which it is larger than the natural supply of fresh water can fill. But the seawater is not its only contaminant. According to the United Nation, chemicals and sewage also pollute it, which is not surprising when 90,000 cubic meters of untreated sewage gush out every day. Sewage, from the toilets, back in the taps. With water treatment plants, that works. But in Gaza, the problem is that there is not enough diesel to run the generators around the clock. And for those Israel has bombed, well, it also stops the import of replacement parts. Meanwhile seawater, chemicals and sewage increase in the water supply. By 2016, UN expects the water to become completely unusable. Only three years are left until then. And at 2020, no one they say, no one will be able to live here. more

2 Palestinians shot, injured by Israeli forces in Gaza


GAZA (Ma'an) -- Two Palestinians were shot and injured by Israeli soldiers east of Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip on Friday.

A spokesman for the Gaza Ministry of Health Ashraf al-Qidra said that two Palestinians in their twenties were shot.

One was shot in the thigh, and one was hit with a bullet fragment in the head, he added.

They were transferred to Kamal Adwan hospital for treatment.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said that "a riot erupted as Palestinians gathered near the security fence," and after the Palestinians "sabotaged" the fence, Israeli forces "opened fire on their lower extremities." more

Five Injured, five detained in Hebron anti wall protests


Saturday November 23, 2013] The Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, has reported that five Palestinians have been wounded during clashes with extremist Israeli settlers, while Israeli soldiers kidnapped five more Palestinians.

Coordinator of the Popular Committee, Rateb Jabour, stated that a scuffle took place between members of a Palestinian family and a group of settlers in Um Al-A’rayes area, as the family protested in its land that, illegally occupied by extremist settlers.

Jabour added that the settlers are still illegally occupying the 120 Dunams (29.65 Acres) despite the fact that an Israeli court decided to give back the land to its Palestinian owners and to compensate the residents for their losses. more

Rafah crossing shut for second day in a row


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Egyptian authorities shut down Rafah crossing for the second day in a row after opening it to traffic for two days.

Egyptian authorities closed off the crossing on Thursday evening after a few passengers were able to leave.

Thousands of Palestinians remain waiting for it to re-open so they can cross.

Hamas officials in Gaza explained that they are making calls with Egyptian officials in an effort to reopen it.

Earlier this month, Gaza government officials said that they were concerned about the closure of the crossing, accusing the Egyptian side of tightening the blockade on the Gaza Strip and worsening the humanitarian situation. more

Friday, 22 November 2013

Gaza food industry struggles from lack of electricity, fuel


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The food industry is struggling in Gaza due to the ongoing Israeli economic blockade and intermittent access to electricity, a factory owner told Ma'an Thursday.

"In light of regular power cuts, working hours have been reduced, and so the factory can't provide the Gaza market with the necessary amount of food," Mahir Alay said.

Facing issues such as lack of raw material, lack of fuel, faulty generators, and daily 12-hour-long power cuts, Alay said factories throughout Gaza have begun laying workers off.

"Production cost has increased, and so I have (been forced) to reduce the number of factory workers," he said.

Similarly, the director of production at a biscuit factory in Gaza told Ma'an that his factory has been unable to maintain market demand due to shortages of fuel and electricity. more

UN warns of deteriorating Gaza humanitarian situation


GAZA CITY (AFP) -- The humanitarian situation in Gaza has deteriorated one year after a truce that ended fighting between Israel and the Hamas rulers of the Palestinian enclave, UN officials said Thursday.

"After 12 months the initial hopes for a significant improvement on the ground have not been realized," said James Rawley, the United Nations' humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories.

"In fact I am sorry to report that situations for Gaza's 1.7 million people is worse than it was before the hostilities a year ago" between November 14 and 21, he said.

Speaking at a news conference marking the anniversary, Rawley said the fuel and energy crisis was a primary cause of the situation.

Robert Turner, head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, noted the impact of the demolition of smuggling tunnels under the border since Egypt's army ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi on July 3.

"The closures of the tunnels has led to a near total collapse of private sector constructions, as it compounded the constraints due to the pre-existing ban on construction materials from Israel for the private sector," said the UNRWA chief. more

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Video: Activists burst occupation profiteer SodaStream’s “feel-good” bubble


Want to buy a product with a “feel-good message about saving money and the planet”?

Then the advice from Wired magazine for the year-end consumption binge (also known as the “Holiday Season”) is to buy a SodaStream home carbonation machine.

Wired names SodaStream one of its 2013 “Editor’s Picks” without mentioning the fact that the soft-drink machine is manufactured in Maale Adumim, one of Israel’s illegal West Bank colonies where Palestinian workers, with few other options under brutal Israeli military occupation, have said they are treated “like slaves.”

SodaStream also managed to get its product promoted as one of the “favorite things” of celebrity Whoopi Goldberg, host of the ABC chat show The View.

But far from saving the planet, Israel’s unregulated industrial zones built illegally on Palestinian land are destroying the environment and causing sickness in nearby Palestinian communities.

SodaStream days of action

As the occupation-profiteering company steps up its aggressive marketing, activists are also gearing up for the Boycott SodaStream Days of Action from 29 November to 10 December. more

Islamic Jihad warns Gaza ceasefire could come to end


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Islamic Jihad's military wing, the Al-Quds Brigades, on Thursday warned that the ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian factions in Gaza could come to an end in light of ongoing Israeli violations.

Abu Ahmad, a spokesman for the group, said in a statement that Israeli incursions into Gaza and airstrikes against civilian and military sites could mark the beginning of the end of the ceasefire agreement.

"Palestinian resistance has the right to confront Israeli incursions by all possible means," the statement added.

An Egyptian mediated ceasefire agreement was reached last November between Palestinian factions and Israel to end over a week of fighting which left over 170 Palestinians dead and thousands injured. more

Egypt closes Rafah crossing due to 'technical fault'


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Egyptian authorities closed the Rafah land crossing with the Gaza Strip on Wednesday due to a technical problem with computers at the terminal.

Gaza's Interior Ministry spokesman Islam Shahwan told Ma'an that Rafah was closed after only one bus carrying around 60 passengers had been allowed to cross.

Egyptian authorities did not inform Gazan authorities about the sudden closure, he added.

The Palestinian ambassador to Cairo, Barakat al-Farra, said Sunday that the crossing would open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

It had previously been closed for ten consecutive days. more

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Aid convoy enters Gaza via Rafah for first time since June


EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma'an) -- An aid convoy entered the Gaza Strip via the Rafah crossing on Tuesday for the first time since the June 30 events which overthrew Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi.

Director of the Egyptian side of the terminal Sami Mutwalli told Ma'an that the convoy consisted of 100 tons of medicine, medical equipment and canned food.

The aid was donated by the international Rescue committee and to delivered to Gaza under the supervision of the Egyptian Red Crescent Association.

The Rafah crossing has been the principal connection between Gaza's 1.7 million residents and the outside world since the imposition of an economic blockade by Israel beginning in 2007. more

Israeli air force carries out seven airstrikes against Gaza


Israeli war jets carried out seven air strikes targeting different areas in the northern and the southern parts of the Gaza Strip.

Israeli military sources alleged that the attacks were carried out after Palestinian armed groups fired a number of mortars targeting armored vehicles invading Khan Younis, in the southern part of the coastal region.

Local sources in Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, have reported that the army fired missiles targeting two chicken farms that belong to the Esleih family in the Al-Manara neighborhood in Khan Younis.

The chicken farms were completely destroyed, and around 4000 chicks and some sheep were killed. No human casualties have been reported.

The Israeli Air Force also fired a missile into an area, nearly 250 meters from the border fence, east of Khan Younis.

The attacked area is where three Palestinian fighters, members of the Al-Qassam Brigades of Hamas, were killed, and four Israeli soldiers were injured, during a recent Israeli invasion into the area. more

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Struggling against death in Gaza: PCHR on the plight of rheumatoid arthritis and Leukemia patients


On Tuesday, 26 October 2013, the Economic and Social Rights Unit at the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) organized a workshop titled ‘Patients Struggling against Death in Gaza: The Case of Rheumatoid Arthritis and Leukemia Patients.’ The workshop was held in PCHR’s head office in Gaza City. Specialists representing the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO), a number of rheumatoid arthritis and leukemia patients and representatives of civil society organizations, especially health ones, participated in the workshop.

Dr. Riyad al-Za’noun, Former Minister of Health and Chairman of PCHR’s Board of Directors, opened the workshop, noting that it was organized as part of the cooperation and coordination between PCHR and organizations concerned with local and international health services in the Gaza Strip. Al-Za’noun added that the workshop aimed to discuss the shortage of medicines for rheumatoid arthritis and leukemia patients in the Gaza Strip, noting that Israel’s closure of the Gaza Strip, imposed since mid 2006, and the political division between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are the main obstacles that lead to the shortage of such types of medicine. Patients are at the same time facing difficult economic conditions and cannot afford the prices of medicines which are too high for them. Dr. al-Za’noun stressed for the need to overcome the tragedy of the Palestinian political division, and called for urgent talks and coordination between both Health Ministries in Gaza and the West Bank.

Khalil Shahin, Director of PCHR’s Economic and Social Rights Unit, gave a presentation titled ‘Patients Struggling against Death in Gaza,’ in which he outlined that health conditions of rheumatoid arthritis and leukemia patients in the Gaza Strip have deteriorated in an unprecedented manner due to the shortage of the medicines they need for several consecutive months. Shahin wondered about the reasons that impede access to medicines regularly in the Gaza Strip, which leads to the deterioration of patients’ health conditions. He also wondered about the role of both Ministries of Health in the West Bank and Gaza in providing medicines in a timely manner. Shahin called for uniting efforts of both Ministries to prioritize the interest of patients in the Gaza Strip and provide them with the needed medicine and medical treatment.

Dr. Abdel Nasser Subuh, a representative of WHO, gave a presentation titled ‘WHO’s Role in Providing Rheumatoid Arthritis and Leukemia Patients with Medicines,’ pointing out that access to medicines for rheumatoid arthritis and leukemia patients constitutes a great challenge for the health organizations in the Gaza Strip, and that the Ministry of Health is responsible for providing the Gaza Strip with all medicines and medical supplies, adding that the financial crisis facing the Ministry made it unable to meet the needs of patients in

the Gaza Strip. Subuh added that WHO and international health organizations implemented two projects to buy medicines and medical supplies for rheumatoid arthritis and leukemia patients. Subuh warned of the continuing crisis of shortage of medicines and its impact on patients’ conditions, as any regularity delay in medicine leads to the deterioration of patients’ health conditions and may also lead to death. more

Ma'an office in Gaza re-opens


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Authorities in the Gaza Strip re-opened Ma'an News Agency's Gaza City office on Tuesday, after four months of closure.

The public prosecutor in the Hamas government handed the keys over to the head of the news agency's Gaza City office and its attorney.

On Saturday, Gaza premier Ismail Haniyeh issued a decision to re-open the office.

The decision was welcomed by Ma'an's administration.

The government in Gaza also announced Tuesday it would re-open Al-Arabiya TV's offices in the Gaza strip.

Al-Arabiya was closed along with Ma'an on July 25.

On Monday, Paris-based Reporters Without Borders welcomed the Hamas government's decision to let Ma'an re-open its Gaza City office. more

Israeli navy opens fire a fishing boats in Gaza


Israeli navy boats opened fire, on Tuesday at dawn [November 19, 2013] at a number of Palestinian fishing boats near the Gaza coast causing damage but no injuries.

Eyewitnesses said that the fishermen had to sail back to the shore fearing additional assaults by the army.

Palestinian fishermen in Gaza are subject to frequent violations and assaults by the Israeli navy that attacks them even within the six miles allotted to them. The attacks led to dozens of casualties, arrests and significant damages to the boats.

In related news, a number of armored Israeli military vehicles, including six military bulldozers, carried out a limited intrusion into an area east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. more

Gaza fighter killed, four injured in accidental explosion


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian fighter was killed and four others were injured Tuesday morning in an explosion in Tal al-Hawa neighborhood of Gaza City.

Gaza medical sources confirmed to Ma'an that Muhammad al-Bahloul died shortly after he was evacuated to Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

Medics added that four other fighters sustained minor to moderate wound.

Security sources in Gaza confirmed that the explosion was accidental and not an Israeli strike. more

Monday, 18 November 2013

Hamas blames Arab and European intelligence agencies for Gaza's 'Tamarod movement'


The Hamas-led Palestinian government in the Gaza Strip has accused Arab and European intelligence agencies of being behind the formation of the so-called "Tamarod (rebellion) movement" in the territory. According to Hamas, Gaza's Tamarod is a figment of the intelligence world's imagination.

In an exclusive statement to Jordan's Al-Sabeel newspaper, party spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that the Tamarod movement has been created to try to reproduce a state of chaos in Gaza. He went on to deny the group's existence in the Strip: "There is nothing in Gaza known as the Tamarod movement."

Abu Zuhri accused unnamed Arab and European intelligence agencies of being behind this "party", claiming that it is a conspiracy against the Islamic Resistance Movement in Gaza. "It will only lead to failure," he added.

As evidence, the Palestinian government in Gaza presented a video of an individual with his face covered who admitted to collaborating with Israel's occupation forces as well as various security officials on the Tamarod plan. The intention, he said, was to cause rebellion and bloodshed. The Ministry of the Interior claimed that it has since discovered this person's identity and placed him in custody; detailed plans for Tamarod were also obtained.

more

5 injured after explosion in Gaza City


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Five people were injured in an explosion at a military site south of Gaza City on Sunday, a Ma'an reporter said.

The explosion occurred at the Abu Jarad military site as a result of a fire. The explosion was heard throughout the city, and a black cloud was seen overhead. more

Egypt to open Rafah crossing for 3 days


CAIRO (Ma'an) -- The Rafah crossing will be opened for three days this week after over 10 days of closure, the Palestinian ambassador to Cairo said.

Barakat al-Farra said Sunday that the crossing would open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. more

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Rafah crossing closed for tenth day in a row


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The Rafah land crossing, which connects Egypt and the Gaza Strip, has been closed by Egyptian authorities for ten days in a row, officials said on Sunday.

Officials from the Palestinian side said that the crossing is still closed and that although they have been communicating with the Egyptian side in order to re-open it, they has had no success so far.

Gaza government officials said that they were concerned about the closure of the crossing, accusing the Egyptian side of tightening the blockade on the Gaza Strip and worsening the humanitarian situation.

The Gaza government also called on Arab and regional countries to intervene and find a solution to this crisis, denouncing Egypt's "disregard for the lives of the Palestinian people," and pleading for the immediate re-opening of the crossing. more

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Sewage floods Gaza streets as lack of fuel plunges strip into darkness


BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Sewage has flooded the streets of a central Gaza City neighborhood as an ongoing fuel shortage and the shutdown of the besieged region's sole functioning power plant has caused the failure of the Strip's main waste water treatment plant.

Residents of the al-Sabra neighborhood in al-Zaytoun in central Gaza City were surprised Wednesday night to find the streets of their neighborhood flooded with refuse and waste, compounding the suffering of Gaza residents amidst escalating power outages.

Fuel shortages have caused daily life in the Gaza Strip to grind slowly to a halt, as power plants and water pumps are forced to shut down, cutting off access to basic necessities for Gaza residents.

Even transportation across the 41-km long territory is becoming impossible, as drivers wait for hours at a time for access to small amounts of gasoline.

But the flood of sewage through central Gaza has made even crossing the street a nightmare for local residents. more

Friday, 15 November 2013

14 injured as Israeli forces disperse West Bank protests


JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces dispersed a weekly nonviolent protest in the Qalqiliya village of Kafr Qaddum on Friday, injuring at least 14 Palestinians.

Four people were hit by rubber-coated bullets and dozens of people suffered smoke inhalation after Israeli forces fired tear gas at villagers, locals said.

Eight people were injured after being hit directly by tear gas canisters.

Akef Joma, 50, Nauef Ishtewi, Qais Ishtewi, Rifat Barham, Naser Joma, Abdulmajid Obeid, Khalid Murad, 8, and Palestine Satellite channel cameraman Mohammad Inaya were identified as those injured. more

Qassam member dies in operation accident


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A 22-year-old man died as a result of an accident during a militant operation in Gaza on Thursday, medics and a military group said.

Hamas' military wing al-Qassam Brigades announced the death of one of its members, Foad Muhammad al-Siqli, who medics said arrived to the hospital in critical condition and soon passed away. more

Palestinians mark first anniversary of Israeli war on Gaza that killed 171 Palestinians


GAZA, (PIC)-- Palestinian people in the Gaza strip on Thursday marked the 1st anniversary of the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip that lasted for eight days, during which Palestinian resistance topped by Qassam Brigade achieved a historical victory by shelling "Tel Aviv".

The aggression started with the Israeli assassination of Ahmed Aljaabari, the senior military leader of Qassam brigades, Hamas's military wing.

Israel launched an eight-day attack on the besieged Gaza strip which it codenamed “pillar of defense”, whereas the Qassam brigades called the battle with Israeli forces ''Shale Stones''.

According to the Palestinian Human Rights Center (PHRC), Israeli forces carried out in the period from 14 to 21 November 2012 thousands of airstrikes, attacks by gunboats, and artillery shelling.

Missiles with warheads weighing more than 1,000 kilograms were used in attacks on residential areas, flattening multi-storey homes and killing residents within the buildings. The extensive attacks targeted civilian facilities throughout the Gaza Strip, including civilian governmental institutions located in densely-populated areas. The impact of these attacks on property and victims, especially women and children, increased manifold, due to the targeting of civilian areas.

Hundreds of airstrikes were launched at open spaces in residential areas to terrify civilians. In the last four days of the offensive, a marked increase in attacks on civilian places led to a corresponding increase in the proportion of civilians among the victims.

Throughout the period of the offensive, Palestinian civilians lived under extreme fear and threats to their lives due to direct attacks on civilians and their property throughout the Gaza Strip. There was no safe place and the threat of death was felt by everyone with no exceptions.

The situation became more tragic when Israeli forces dropped leaflets onto Palestinian communities in the northern Gaza Strip and Gaza City ordering civilians to leave their homes. Palestinian civilians were extremely terrified and thousands of them had shelters in UNRWA schools.

During the eight-day offensive, 171 Palestinians were killed. Of the victims, 102 were civilians, comprising 60% of the total number of victims. 35 of the civilian victims, or 34%, were children, while 14 of the civilian victims, or 14%, were women. The total number of people wounded was 648. Of the wounded, 625 were civilians, including 214 children and 93 women. Among the wounded civilians were 16 people with various disabilities. more

Israel strikes 2 targets in northern Gaza


BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli warplanes struck two targets in the northern Gaza Strip on Thursday, Israel's army said.

"Earlier this afternoon an IAF aircraft targeted two concealed rocket launchers in the northern Gaza Strip. Since yesterday two rockets have hit Israel," a statement said.

An Israeli army spokeswoman told Ma'an that one rocket hit southern Israel on Wednesday and one on Thursday, with no injuries or damage reported.

On Thursday, Palestinians in Gaza commemorated the 1st anniversary of Israel's 2012 war on the coastal territory, which killed over 170 people and injured at least 1,000. more

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Electricity shortages in Gaza cause sewage overflow


The ongoing electricity shortage in the Gaza Strip caused sewage from a waste treatment plant to overflow onto the streets, Press TV reports.

Saed al-Atbash, of the Gaza City wastewater department said the spillage could affect some 20,000 people, and be harmful to the natural environment. more

Israeli forces shoot, injure man in Gaza


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A man was shot and injured by Israeli soldiers east of al-Maghazi refugee camp in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday evening, medics told Ma'an.

Mahmoud Abd al-Issa, 25, was shot in the chest by Israeli forces and taken to al-Shuhada hospital before being moved to al-Shifaa hospital, medical sources said.

Al-Issa is reportedly in a moderate condition. more

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Israeli army incursion into southern Gaza, no injuries reported


A number of armored Israeli military vehicles and bulldozers carried out a limited invasion into Palestinian lands near khuza’a town, east of Khan Younis in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

The Maan News Agency quoted eyewitnesses stating that six armored bulldozers and several tanks, advanced dozens of meters into the area, while Israeli drones hovered overhead.

The bulldozers then uprooted Palestinian farmlands, while a number of soldiers fired dozens of rounds of live ammunition; no injuries have been reported.

In related news, Israeli Navy boats fired rounds of live ammunition at a number of Palestinian fishing boats in Palestinian territorial waters, in southern Gaza, forcing them back to the shore.

The attacks are part of ongoing violations against the Palestinian and their lands, especially in areas close to the border, in addition to frequent attacks against the fishermen. more

Israeli soldier killed in stabbing attack


JERUSALEM (AFP) -- An Israeli soldier died on Wednesday after a Palestinian youth stabbed him on board a bus in the north of the country, police said.

"The Israeli soldier who was stabbed this morning by a Palestinian on a bus at the Afula bus station has died of his wounds in hospital," Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP.

Earlier, police had said he was in "critical condition" in hospital after the attack.

The 16-year-old Palestinian from Jenin in the northern West Bank was detained by passengers and security forces on the bus, Rosenfeld said.

"We consider this incident to be a terrorist attack motivated by nationalism," he added. more

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Israel 'plans 20,000 new settler homes in West Bank'


JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israel plans to build 20,000 new settler homes, the biggest batch of tenders it has ever issued in the occupied West Bank, settlement watchdog Peace Now said on Tuesday.

"The housing ministry announced tenders for the planning of 20,000 settler homes," Peace Now director Yariv Oppenheimer told AFP.

"This is a record," he added.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office stressed he had opposed some 1,200 of the homes slated for construction in the highly contentious area of the West Bank known as E1.

But Oppenheimer said the fact that the government was pressing ahead with the tendering process for the remaining 18,800 units -- at a cost the Haaretz newspaper put at $13 million -- showed the government's commitment to the wider settlement project. more

'Doctor' of Israeli spin omits key facts in tour of Scotland


Propagandists seem determined to find new ways of presenting a “positive image” of Israel in Scotland — a country where they have encountered a frosty response on several occasions.

In October last year, Israeli ambassador Daniel Taub’s talk at the University of Edinburgh was disrupted by a crowd of 200 protestors, and ended up with the ambassador fleeing to his car. Just a few hours before that talk, Taub was voicing concern over “elements of extreme hostility to Israel in parts of Scottish society” during a meeting with the Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond.

The same thing happened a year earlier when Israeli diplomat Ismail Khaldi was invited to give a talk to students at Edinburgh University; his event was disrupted and shut down due to protest.

When politicians and diplomats failed to sell Israel as the one and only democracy in the Middle East, a medical center’s public relations officer seemed keen to give it a shot. American-born Larry Rich, director of development at the Emek Medical Center in Afula — a city in present-day Israel — gave several talks recently titled “Israel at eye-level, through the prism of a medical institution.”

His tour — which included visits to Edinburgh and Dundee — took place in early November.

An email promoting it read:
You are cordially invited to a free illustrated talk by Larry Rich, director of development and international public relations, affiliated to the Emek Medical Center, in Afula, Israel

Mr. Rich will present a positive image of today’s Israel, with no political or religious bias, simply elaborating on co-operative achievements and everyday ground-level realities that seem light-years beyond what the media reports. Israel is a tiny, beleaguered nation sharing life-saving knowledge and cutting-edge technology with neighbors, some of whom look upon Jewish people as their enemy. The reality is that much is wrong with the image presented by the international media. The land of Israel truly lives the deeply-felt Jewish vision of mip’nei tikkun ha-olam — ‘for the sake of the world.’
Students at the University of Dundee devised a statement calling upon their university to refuse to give a platform to Larry Rich; labeling him an apologist for illegal wars, human rights abuses, and the expulsion of the indigenous people of Palestine. In less than 12 hours, students collected signatures in more than ten of the university’s most active student societies, including those affiliated to the Labour Party and Scottish Nationalist Party.

However, the predictable response from the university’s secretary was a refusal to take action, based on the university’s principle of supporting academic freedom and the ideals of free expression and debate.

Rich’s event at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh was faced with interruptions inside the hall, as well as a small protest outside the event. The event was organized by Ken Macintosh, a member of the Scottish Parliament for the Scottish Labour Party. Macintosh had been proven — by police checks — to have previously lied when he claimed to The Jewish Telegraph that a leaflet distributed by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign was “anti-Semitic.” more

Global Palestinian 'Right to Education Week' kicks off at Birzeit


BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A week of events focusing on the Palestinian Right to Education kicked off Monday afternoon at Birzeit University as part of a global campaign in solidarity with Palestinian students.

Right to Education Week at Birzeit University commenced Monday with a workshop on the education of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli occupation jails.

Events will be held on campus throughout the week highlighting the obstacles faced by Palestinians under occupation in their pursuit of education.

Sundos Hammad, coordinator of the campaign at Birzeit, stressed the importance of education for Palestinians living under Israeli occupation.

"Education is our tool to resist occupation. It is important to keep our Palestinian heritage and to resist the narrative of the occupier," she told Ma'an. more