Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Palestinian man crushed to death inside overcrowded Israeli checkpoint


A Palestinian man from the northern West Bank village of Farun died Wednesday morning after he was crushed to death inside an Israeli checkpoint near Tulkarem as he was trying to get to work.

Witnesses said 39-year-old Ahmad Samih Bdeir, who was on his way to a construction job inside Israel, choked to death in extreme overcrowding amid large numbers of people trying to cross the al-Tayba checkpoint, also called Shaar Efrayim.

The witnesses said the crush occurred because of the extremely slow pace at which inspection procedures were carried out by the Israeli soldiers staffing the facility.

The death is the second at al-Tayba this year, after 59-year-old Adel Muhammad Yakoub died in early January as a result of extreme overcrowding at the checkpoint as well.

Inspection procedures at the checkpoint typically take hours as every person must pass through metal turnstiles one-at-a-time.

The turnstiles in turn are controlled by Israeli soldiers from hidden posts, and workers frequently complain about unnecessary delays caused by the soldiers staffing the checkpoints, who are typically 18- or 19-year-old conscripts finishing their compulsory military service. more

Israeli settlers torch Palestinian home near Hebron


A Palestinian family from a village east of the town of Yatta, near the southern West Bank city of Hebron, narrowly escaped death on Wednesday at dawn, when a number of fanatic Israeli settlers hurled Molotov cocktails into their home as they slept.

The head of the Yatta City Council Mousa Makhamra told the Maan News Agency that the attack is a very serious and dangerous escalation, adding that it is an attempt to annihilate a family of seven; five children and their parents.

Makhamra added that the fanatic settlers, from Karmiel illegal settlement, infiltrated into ad-Deerat village, east of Yatta, at approximately 3 am, and throw the Molotov cocktails into the Palestinian home after writing racist graffiti on its outer walls.

Makhamra further stated that the family woke up in time, and their neighbors rushed in when they saw the house on fire, and rescued the family.

The fires consumed the furniture in the living room, but was controlled before it spread.

The settlers wrote racist anti-Arab graffiti, including the infamous statement “Death To Arabs”, and other graffiti. more

Jewish settler runs over Palestinian child walking to school in Tuqu


BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A 10-year-old Palestinian boy was injured after an Israeli settler ran him over on the main road of the Palestinian village of Tuqu south east of Bethlehem early Wednesday.

Bethlehem region emergency services official Muhammad Awad told Ma'an that Amir Majed Ahmad Suleiman, 10, received a number of bruises after being hit by an Israeli settler's car as he was heading to school in the town.

Awad said that the settler immediately fled the area despite the fact that Israeli forces were deployed on the main road of the village.

He added that Suleiman was taken to the Beit Jala Governmental Hospital in Bethlehem for treatment.

The incident comes only three days after an Israeli settler ran over an seven-year-old Palestinian boy from the village of Zif south of Hebron. more

UN Security Council rejects Palestine statehood resolution


UNTED NATIONS (AFP) -- The UN Security Council failed to adopt a resolution on Palestinian statehood that was strongly opposed by the United States on Tuesday.

China, France and Russia were among the eight countries that voted in favor of the text, but the resolution fell short of winning the nine "yes" votes necessary morefor adoption in the 15-member council.

Australia and the United States voted against, and five other countries abstained, including Britain.

The resolution drafted by the Palestinians and backed by Arab countries would have paved the way to a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

It set a 12-month deadline for Israel to reach a final peace deal with the Palestinians and called for a full Israeli withdrawal from the Palestinian territories by the end of 2017.

Security Council member Jordan had requested the vote despite opposition from the United States, which argued that the resolution did not address Israel's security concerns and set arbitrary deadlines.

"This resolution sets the stage for more division, not for compromise," US Ambassador Samantha Power told the council. "This text addresses the concerns of just one side."

Power defended the US position in favor of direct talks, saying "peace will come from hard choices and compromises that must be made at the negotiating table."

US Secretary of State John Kerry had lobbied in the days leading up to the vote, calling 13 foreign ministers to explain the American opposition. more