Friday, 12 April 2013

Settlers assault 60-year-old Palestinian judge

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israeli settlers on Thursday assaulted a 60-year-old Palestinian judge as he worked on his land near Ramallah, sparking violent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces.

Judge Ahmad al-Zir sustained multiple injuries, including head wounds, and was left unconscious in the attack, a Ma'an reporter said.

He was taken to the Ramallah Governmental Hospital.

Residents of Silwad headed to the al-Asour area, where the attack happened, and confronted settlers, setting fire to caravans in a nearby outpost.

Israeli forces arrived and fired tear gas and plastic-coated bullets at the Palestinians. A 16-year-old Palestinian was shot in the chest and the arm with plastic-coated bullets, medics said. more

Cuts threaten UN food aid in Gaza

GAZA (IRIN) - UN-run relief and distribution centers in Gaza, which provide food to around 25,000 people a day, reopened this week after guarantees were given about the security of staff.

The UN agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) was “forced to close its distribution and relief offices last week due to ongoing demonstrations that affected its operations, a regrettable decision that hindered the agency’s ability to provide much-needed services and relief supplies to Palestine refugees in Gaza,” the agency said in a statement.

Several hundred Palestinian refugees have been protesting outside the UNRWA office in Gaza since early last week, following cuts to a cash assistance program.

Protests against the cuts turned violent on 4 April, when demonstrators stormed the office, leading to the closure of all relief and distribution centers in the Gaza Strip, which together provide assistance to more than 800,000 people.

“Based on the assurances UNRWA in Gaza received from different local [leaders], the agency will reopen its installations across the Gaza Strip,” said the statement.

“While UNRWA understands the frustration of the population, heightened by the tightened blockade on the Gaza Strip, and respects the right to peaceful demonstrations, UNRWA must ensure the safety and security of its staff,” it continued, adding that the centers would again be closed if staff or facilities faced further threats.

The thousands of refugees who depend on food aid had been worried by the closure of the centres. more

Rights abuses by Israel prison medics 'endanger lives'

JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Human rights violations by medics working for Israel's prison service are endangering the lives of both Israeli and Palestinian inmates, especially hunger strikers, a watchdog said on Thursday.

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel strongly urged the transfer of responsibility for prisoners' health from the Israel Prisons Service to the health ministry in order to ensure detainees' health was put ahead of "security considerations".

"Medical ethics and human rights violations carried out by the IPS, specifically by prison medical practitioners... endangered the lives of prisoners and detainees on hunger strike," PHR said in a report.

The abuses it cited included "preventing independent physicians from examining and monitoring the medical condition of hunger strikers... and blocking the transfer of prisoners on hunger strike to civilian hospitals." more