Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Video: Settlers attack farmers, volunteers at olive harvest

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem on Wednesday released video footage and photos of an Israeli settler attack on Palestinian farmers.

B'Tselem said in a statement that on Oct. 26, masked Israeli settlers approached the Palestinian village of al-Mughayir and attacked the Na'asan family with stones while they were harvesting olives.

"The family responded by throwing stones back," the statement said.

"The settlers then assaulted 75-year-old Ghatib Na'asan and his nephew, Yasser Na'asan, who tried to protect him. The latter, a volunteer..., was hit with an iron bar and broken glass. His head and hand were injured." more

Israel announces 1,500 new settler homes in East Jerusalem

RAMALLAH (AFP) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Interior Minister Gideon Saar agreed to build 1,500 new homes in the East Jerusalem settlement of Ramat Shlomo early Wednesday, army radio said, hours after 26 Palestinian prisoners were released from jail.

Last week, an Israeli official said new tenders were to be announced in the large settlement blocs and in East Jerusalem "in the coming months" as part of "understandings" reached with both the Palestinians and Washington.

Speaking before the army radio's report, Abbas reiterated the Palestinians' denial that the prisoner release was part of an agreement to allow Israel more settlement building.

"There are some living among us who say that we have a deal (to release prisoners) in exchange for settlement building, and I say to them, be silent." more

Israel frees 26 veteran prisoners

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israel freed 26 veteran prisoners to the occupied West Bank and Gaza on Wednesday, alongside US-brokered peace talks.

Twenty-one prisoners arrived in Ramallah shortly after 1 a.m. Wednesday, after Israel released them in a gesture to support the peace process. Five others crossed into their native Gaza.

The 21 former prisoners from the West Bank arrived by bus to President Mahmoud Abbas' compound in Ramallah, where they were met by dignitaries and supporters.

The release of the 26 prisoners was part of a four-stage deal to coincide with the PLO's return to peace negotiations in July.

All 26 were convicted of killing Israelis, with most of the attacks occurring before the 1993 Oslo Accords. A first group of 26 prisoners was freed on Aug. 13.

In Ramallah, freed prisoner Riziq Salah from al-Khader near Bethlehem said his happiness to be free was overshadowed by a deep sadness for cellmates who were left behind. more