Friday, 19 September 2014

Israeli police brutally assault Jerusalem youth


Israeli police assaulted, this past Wednesday, 16-year old Shadi Raed Ghurab as he was walking along Nablus Street, in occupied East Jerusalem.

Police severely beat the boy with batons while being detained in the interrogation room, at the Salah Eddin Street police station, according to Jerusalem's Wadi Hilweh Information Center. The Center noted that he suffered fractures in his arm and leg, as seen in the photo.

Shadi explained that an officer detained him on Nablus Street and, then, took him to Salah Eddin Street police station. After the interrogator entered the room, he mocked the child for being a resident of the Al-Thori neighborhood, which resulted in a number of verbal altercations.

Additionally, according to the boy's testimony, the interrogator then transferred him to a different room which did not have any cameras, upon which he was assaulted by not one but three officers. more

What's in the UN's Gaza reconstruction agreement?


GAZA CITY (IRIN) -- On Sept. 16, the United Nations announced a new deal that is supposed to ease restrictions on the Gaza Strip.

In his public statement on the day, Robert Serry, the UN envoy for the Middle East, gave few specific details about the deal but said it would "enable work at the scale required in the Strip, involving the private sector in Gaza and giving a lead role to the Palestinian Authority in the reconstruction effort."

Why is the agreement necessary?

Following the 50-day war between Israel and Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza, much of the enclave is in ruins. At least 18,000 homes were destroyed as Israel dropped thousands of bombs on the heavily populated area, while key infrastructure including power plants and water networks were also badly damaged.

Rebuilding efforts are made even more challenging by a pre-existing blockade. Since 2007 Israel and Egypt have limited or banned many basic goods from entering the Strip. Among those that Israel restricts are fertilizers, cement, steel cables and even some fabrics.

Tel Aviv defines such goods as "dual use" -- meaning that while they are needed for the civilian population, they could also potentially be used by militant groups in attacks.

With the catastrophic level of destruction and ongoing humanitarian crisis, rebuilding without easing the blockade is nearly impossible. A key housing group has estimated that without lifting the restrictions on cement and other dual-use goods, restoring Gaza just to the level it was before the war could take 20 years.

As such, the UN, the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority have reached a deal that seeks to increase access while aiming to assure Israel that none of the goods will fall into the hands of Hamas or other groups that it labels terrorists.

What are the terms?

Not all the terms have been ironed out yet and agreements on specifics -- such as cement -- have not been made public. Indeed both Israeli and Hamas officials IRIN spoke to were hesitant to talk about the exact terms of the deal.

What is known so far is that there are two main areas of works that this applies to -- UN projects and private Palestinian projects. The former have been subject to fewer restrictions in recent years, but a new deal has been agreed whereby the Israeli government will approve UN projects upon receipt of only basic information and their general locations. This, in theory, should speed up UN operations.

The second category -- Palestinian projects -- is the more contentious issue. Under the new rules, Palestinian businesses trying to bring in "dual-use" goods must first register with a database run by the Palestinian government in the West Bank, not Gaza. This online database will register the import and transfer of items.

There will be two different monitoring procedures -- one for small-scale works such as people rebuilding their homes and another for larger private construction projects. Both of these involve UN monitoring teams overseeing the projects. more

2 killed, 3 injured by unexploded Israeli ordnance in Shujaiyya


Two Palestinians were killed and three were injured on Friday when an unexploded Israeli bomb blew up in the al-Shujaiyya neighborhood of eastern Gaza City.

A Ma'an reporter in Gaza said that a huge explosion was heard in the al-Shujaiyya area and ambulances rushed to the area immediately.

Spokesperson for the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza Ashraf al-Qidra said that two Palestinians were killed in the explosion.

Al-Qidra identified the two as Ayman Ziad Abu Jibba, 23, and Abdullah Jibril Abu Aser, 23, and said that their bodies were taken to al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City.

In mid-August, six people were killed in a similar explosion, and watch groups have warned that the ordnance is a particular threat to children, who often think the bombs are toys. more

Saudi Arabia promises $500 million for Gaza rebuilding


GAZA: Saudi Arabia has pledged $500 million to help rebuild Gaza, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami al-Hamdallah said Thursday, with the full cost of postwar reconstruction expected to be around $4 billion over three years.

Saudi Arabia’s commitment comes ahead of a conference in Cairo on Oct. 12 when Palestinian leaders hope other donors, including Turkey, Qatar, the European Union and United States, will step forward with promises of support.

“ Saudi Arabia has initiated donations by pledging $500 million,” Hamdallah told reporters in Gaza, speaking via video conference from the West Bank. He said he hoped further pledges would cover the full cost of reconstruction in time.

An estimated 18,000 homes were destroyed during the seven-week war, while a further 40,000 were extensively damaged. more

Israeli bulldozers enter border area in southern Gaza


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Several Israeli bulldozers entered the southern Gaza Strip on Friday and leveled Palestinian land, locals said.

Witnesses told Ma'an that bulldozers entered some 150 meters into the al-Qarara area near Khan Younis and razed local land.

The incursion is considered a violation of the ceasefire agreement signed in August.

Last week, four Israeli bulldozers entered the al-Qarara area and demolished private land.

Since the signing of a ceasefire agreement that ended 50 days of fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants in Gaza on Aug. 26, the Israeli navy has fired at Gaza fishermen multiple times under the pretext that they had surpassed fishing zone limits. more