Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Israel approves 2,200 units in Jerusalem settlements

The Israeli “Planning and Construction Committee” in occupied Jerusalem has approved, Tuesday, the construction of 2200 illegal settlement units in ‘Arab as-Sawahra neighborhood, in the Sawahra area, between Jabal al-Mokabber and Abu Dis, east of Jerusalem.

The Israeli Radio said the new plans aims at “legalizing” homes that were built without permits, and to construct what it called “public facilities.”

On Monday, the Committee approved the construction of 142 new units in Har Homa (Jabal Abu Ghneim) illegal settlement, built on Palestinian lands.

The new decision, and approval, allows the actual construction to start in the near future. more

Israeli forces shoot, injure 3 Palestinians in southern Gaza

Three Palestinians where shot and injured by Israeli forces in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, a medical official said Monday.

Ministry of Health spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said two youths were shot east of Khan Younis and were taken to the European Hospital for treatment of moderate injuries.

A third Palestinian was shot earlier in the Absan area east of Khan Younis, where Israeli forces opened fire and shot tear gas at Palestinians, witnesses said.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said Israeli forces fired toward one Palestinian who she called a "main instigator" of a violent riot in southern Gaza.

She said Palestinians rolled burning tires and hurled rocks at troops.

Forces fired warning shots before aiming at the participants' lower extremities, she added.

The incident came the same day as Palestinians across the West Bank and Gaza took part in marches to mark the 39th anniversary of Land Day, commemorating Palestinian protests against Israeli land seizures that were violently suppressed on Mar. 30, 1976. more

Monday, 30 March 2015

On Land Day: Israel controls more than 85% of historical Palestine

The Palestinian people, from the river to the sea, today celebrate the annual earth day, and demonstrate against the confiscation of more than 21 thousand dunums of land. The day has been in memory on the 30th of March since 1976, when Israeli forces killed six Palestinian demonstrators on the same day.

On the occasion of Land Day, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) published a statistic showing that Israeli occupation now controls more that 85% of historical PAlestine.

Jerusalem; Systematic Judaization:

The Israeli occupation authorities demolish Palestinian houses and impose obstacles and constraints on building licenses for Palestinians. According to Al-Maqdisi Institute, during 2000 - 2013, the Israeli authorities demolished 1,230 buildings in East Jerusalem (the areas annexed by Israel in 1967). This has resulted in the displacement of 5,419 people, including 2,832 children and 1,423 women.

The estimated losses to Palestinians of the demolition of buildings in Jerusalem total around three and half million US dollars. (This does not include the large fines imposed on so-called construction violations.) Data indicate an increase in cases where residents have to demolish their own houses: 320 people have been forced to demolish their own homes since 2000.

The highest rate of self-demolition was recorded in 2010 with 70 demolitions compared to 49 in 2009.

Data indicate that the total area of residential houses demolished in Jerusalem during 2013 increased in comparison with 2012. A total area of 6,196 m2 was affected during 2013: the area of non-residential establishments demolished totaled 1,150 m2.

Data from Israeli human rights organizations indicate that more than 25 thousand houses have been demolished in Palestine since 1967.

Half of Israeli settlers live in Jerusalem governorate

There were 482 Israeli locations in the West Bank (including settlements, outposts and military bases) by the end of 2013. Data indicate that the total number of settlers in the West Bank was 563,546 at the end of 2012; 277,501 settlers live in Jerusalem governorate and constitute 49.2% of all settlers occupying the West Bank: 203,176 of them live in areas of Jerusalem annexed by Israel in 1967. In demographic terms, the proportion of settlers to the Palestinian population in West Bank is around 21 settlers per 100 Palestinians compared with 69 settlers per 100 Palestinians in Jerusalem governorate.

Israeli settlers use 50 million m3 of stolen water from the Palestinians to cultivate the land seized by the Israeli occupation. more

Report: PA will not file charges against Israel in International Court

A new report by the Israeli newspaper 'Jerusalem Post', based on unnamed sources within the Palestinian Authority, claims that the PA has agreed to pursue no formal charges against Israel in the International Criminal Court (ICC), in exchange for the release of tax money that had been illegally seized by Israeli authorities.

The report came after an announcement on Friday by the Israeli government that they would return to the Palestinian Authority some of the $500 million that they had illegally seized since January, but would not return the entire amount - instead subtracting from the total an arbitrary charge for electric, water and hospital bills.

This amount will also not include the tax monies from the month of March, just January and February. So far the Israeli government has not made any statement on whether or when it will release the March tax funds. These are taxes collected by Israel on goods imported into the Palestinian Territories - since the PA does not control any borders, Israel has complete control over all imports and exports. Despite the fact that these taxes are supposed to be directly transferred to the PA, Israeli authorities regularly withhold and seize these funds. more

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Israeli forces open fire on protest at Gaza border

Israeli forces opened fire on dozens of protesters marching on the eastern border of the Gaza Strip near Khan Younis on Sunday.

Witnesses said that Israeli forces opened fired on the protesters as they neared the border, adding that no injuries were reported.

The protest was called in opposition to the Israeli-administered blockade of the coastal strip as well as to delays in reconstruction.

Protesters were also commemorating the 39th Palestinian "Land Day."

Adham Abu Salima, spokesman for a local activist group, the National Committee for Breaking the Siege and Reconstruction, told Ma'an the protest had been called to mark "refusal" of the blockade and to stand up for Gazan families whose homes are in ruins. more

Settlers destroy 1,200 Palestinian olive trees near Hebron

Israeli settlers on Saturday destroyed more than 1,000 olive trees near the village of al-Shuyukh north of Hebron, in the third such attack on the villagers' livelihood in recent memory.

Local activist Ahmad al-Halayqa told Ma'an that Israelis from the nearby settlement of Asfar, also known as Metzad, attacked the village and destroyed 1,200 trees.

He said that all of the destroyed trees had been recently planted following a similar attack by individuals from the same settlement which had destroyed trees in the area last month.

He said that the trees in the area belonged to local Palestinian farmer, Muhammad Abu Shanab al-Ayaydah as well as the children of Abd al-Qader Abu Shanab al-Ayaydah and Mousa Abu Shanab al-Ayayadah.

Al-Halayqa told Ma'an that the settlement of Asfar is located on land confiscated by Israeli authorities from Palestinian residents of al-Shuyukh, and now they hope to expand the land under their control by taking over the area where the olive trees were targeted.

Attacks on olive trees are a key way that Palestinians are forced out of their homes and their lands confiscated for settlement construction, as the loss of a year's crop can signal destitution for many. more

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Palestinian leadership gains wide support for 3 resolutions at UNHRC session

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) approved three resolutions regarding occupied Palestinian territory and Palestinian rights during the 28th regular session.

The month long session ended yesterday, bringing praise from PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi for widespread support from the majority of member states for the resolutions.

The resolutions called for the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, "including their right to live in freedom, justice and dignity and the right to their independent State of Palestine," confirmed Palestinian right to sovereignty over natural wealth and resources, and condemned the continuation of all settlement activities in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The United States was the only UNHRC member to vote against the three resolutions, drawing criticism from Ashrawi. more

Friday, 27 March 2015

Israeli forces open fire at Gaza border near Rafah and Khan Yunis

Three Palestinians suffered excessive tear gas inhalation after Israeli forces fired tear-gas canisters at a group of Palestinians east of Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip, medics said.

Israeli forces also opened fire on agricultural lands east of Khan Yunis and east of Rafah, witnesses said.

Israeli forces have repeatedly opened fire on Palestinian civilians near the border since the ceasefire agreement signed Aug. 26, 2014, that ended a more than 50-day assault on Gaza, termed by Israel Operation Protective Edge, that left around 2,200 dead and 11,000 injured. more

Israel to stop withholding Palestinian tax revenues

JERUSALEM — Israel says it will resume the transfer Palestinian tax revenues that it has been withholding as punishment for unilateral Palestinian actions.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said Friday the decision was made following the recommendation of Israel’s security establishment and because of humanitarian considerations.

Earlier this year, Israel withheld tax transfers it collects for the cash-strapped government of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas after he joined the International Criminal Court — a move potentially paving the way for a war crimes investigation of Israel. more

Palestine Marathon defies Israeli restrictions on movement

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Thousands of Palestinians and internationals took to the streets of Bethlehem on Friday, winding past historic churches, refugee camps, and Israeli military infrastructure to compete in the third annual marathon hosted by the ancient Palestinian city.

Conceived in 2013 under the theme of 'Right to Movement' by Danish aid workers Signe Fischer and Lærke Hein, the race is now a concrete fixture on the social calendar and provides a whirlwind tour of the impact of conflict and military occupation on the city.

Starting opposite the Church of the Nativity – the alleged birthplace of Jesus Christ – runners sped past a section of Israel's 708 kilometer long separation wall, which entirely surrounds the city's northern and western sides, before passing Duheisha refugee camp, and the town of al-Khader, near the Gilo military checkpoint.

Due to a matrix of restrictions affecting Palestinian movement and access across the West Bank -- there are 99 fixed checkpoints and hundreds of physical obstructions -- race organizers were unable to find a contiguous stretch of 42 kilometers for the race and instead runners do loops of an 11 kilometer track.

Indeed, 85 percent of the Bethlehem district is classified as Area C, under full Israeli control, and organizers wanted to limit any risks and stay within Palestinian Authority controlled Area A.

Despite the restrictions, the marathon is growing in size, and this year an estimated 3,100 people from 51 countries took part in the event, compared to 687 in 2013. more

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Al-Qassam fighter killed during training in Khan Younis

A fighter of the al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas movement, was killed on Thursday during training in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.

The Brigades said in a statement that Ahmad Nimr al-Ghazzawi, 21, had been killed during the training but did not provide any more information regarding the details of his death.

Training by the al-Qassam Brigades has continued despite Israeli threats and the recent classification of Hamas as a terrorist organization by neighboring Egypt.

Earlier this month the group's official website reported that it had rebuilt a number of military bases near the Israeli border in the Gaza Strip, asserting that it had recovered from Israel's summer offensive and was "not afraid" of confronting the occupation again. more

Unity govt meets in Gaza amid public employee protests

Dozens of Palestinian civil servants protested Thursday in front of the government's headquarters in the Gaza Strip demanding paychecks they have not received for several months, as Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah finished a rare visit to the coastal enclave.

Prime Minister Hamdallah pledged that Palestinian factions would "work fast" to find solutions to issues facing Gaza on Thursday, on the second day of what is only his second visit to Gaza since the formation of a national unity government between Fatah and Hamas in June.

As Hamdallah and his accompanying delegation left Gaza Strip on Thursday evening, spokesman Ehab Bseiso emphasized that future solutions discussed during the short trip will be comprehensive, including electricity, employment, and reconstruction.

Hamdallah vowed yesterday in Gaza that civilian workers of Hamas' de facto administration in Gaza would be enlisted to the payroll of the Palestinian Authority.

Head of the employees' union, Muhammad Siyam, said that the union will continue to demand the employees' rights, adding that a meeting between the employees' representatives and Hamdallah will be held on Thursday to discuss solutions for the crisis. more

UN says Palestinian death toll highest since 1967

JERUSALEM (AFP) -- The long-running conflict with Israel claimed the lives of more Palestinian civilians in 2014 than any year since 1967, the United Nations said Thursday, in a damning report on the humanitarian situation.

Meanwhile, rights group Amnesty International criticized the "flagrant disregard" by Palestinian armed groups for the lives of Israeli civilians, fingering the Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip as a culprit.

In 2014, Israel and Hamas fought a devastating war in Gaza that killed nearly 2,200 people, while intense violence in East Jerusalem and the West Bank killed dozens of Palestinians and several Israelis.

A report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) entitled "Fragmented Lives" called for more restraint on both sides.

"All parties to the conflict... must fulfill their legal obligations to conduct hostilities in accordance with international law to ensure the protection of all civilians and to ensure accountability for acts committed," it said.

"Palestinian civilians continue to be subject to threats to their life, physical safety and liberty," with 2014 witnessing the "highest civilian death toll since 1967," OCHA said.

"In the Gaza Strip, 1.8 million Palestinians endured the worst escalation of hostilities since 1967: over 1,500 Palestinian civilians were killed, more than 11,000 injured and some 100,000 remain displaced."

More than 550 children were among the dead, it added. more

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

PA prime minister Hamdallah to arrive in Gaza today

Palestinian prime minister, Rami Hamdallah is expected to arrive in Gaza today at 1:00 PM for a two-day visit, to look into the issues in Gaza, including the employees crisis, the halted reconstruction process and the electricity cuts.

A press conference will be held upon his arrival in hotel on Gaza shore, where he will meet with Fatah and Hamas leaders.

PA spokesperson, Ihab Bseiso said this will be the first visit to Gaza since last October. Hamdallah was supposed to visit Gaza on 8 November of last year, however the visit was cancelled after the bombardment of Fatah leaders' homes in Gaza. more

School students use sewage channels to reach school

Palestinian students are being forced to cross through sewage channels to reach a high school in western Ramallah district after a settlement road cut off the only other means of access, residents told Ma'an.

Up to 200 students from the villages of al-Tira and Beit Ur al-Fuqa now reach the school using a four kilometer route that runs along the separation wall, where armed settlers, as well as Israeli soldiers, almost daily interrupt their commute.

The route passes through sewage channels and regularly takes students up to 40 minutes to reach their school, as the channels are filled with rainwater in the winter and snakes in the summer.

Students told Ma'an that Israeli soldiers regularly fire tear-gas canisters at them on their way back.

The al-Tira Beit Ur al-Fuqa high school is now enveloped by the Israeli separation wall on three sides at a point where the wall extends more than five kilometers inside the 1949 Armistice Line.

The wall separates the villages from the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit Horon as well as an Israeli military training camp. On the school's fourth side, a road was opened exclusively for settlers going from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv.

The school principle, Samer Bader, said that when the sewage channels are filled with wastewater in the winter it is particularly difficult for children to reach the school and sometimes they are not able to make the passage at all. more

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Light sentence for Zionist thugs shows UK double standards on extremism

Two thugs affiliated with the Jewish Defence League UK were sentenced Monday to 150 hours of community service each and £1,140 ($1,700) in fines between them.

Roberta Moore and Robert De Jonge assaulted two people at a Palestine literary festival in London in September.

Last month a judge found Moore guilty on two counts of assault, and one count of possession of an offensive weapon. De Jonge was found guilty of assault.

In addition to the unpaid work, the two must pay compensation to their victims: Andy Simons, an organizer of the festival, and Simon Assaf, who had been running a socialist bookstall that day.

The video below was presented as evidence during the two-day trial in February.

Attack at the Palestine Literature Festival 2014

The relatively light sentence raises questions about the limited scope of the Crown Prosecution Service’s case against the two. A custodial sentence was never likely for a first offense of common assault that caused no lasting physical injury.

But a violent assault by armed extremists invading the platform at a cultural/political event organized by those they see as their enemies raises serious questions about radicalization and prevention of religious extremism.

It is impossible to imagine that, had there been a similar incident involving extremist Muslims assaulting their ideological enemies, officers from Prevent – the UK government’s Islam-obsessed “anti-terrorism” unit – would not have been brought in. more

Gazans protest power outage in front of distribution company

Dozens of Gazans protested in front of the Khan Younis district headquarters of the Gaza Electricity Distribution Corporation (GEDCo) in the Gaza Strip late Monday.

Protesters attempted and failed to reconnect power lines feeding electricity into the city of Khan Younis. Their earlier disconnection caused a blackout across the entire city.

A pregnant woman identified as Azza Youssef Najjar was injured and taken to a hospital during the protest, though it is unclear how she was injured.

GEDCo, which oversees electricity distribution across the West Bank, redirects power supplied by a power station inside Gaza, the Egyptian electricity grid and the Israeli electric company.

However, these supply lines fall far short of the Gazan population's needs. While they provide 230 MW of electricity, Pal-Think, a Gaza-based think tank, has estimated that the Gazan people require 350 to 450 MW.

GEDCo describes itself as a privately owned company, jointly owned by the Palestinian Authority and local authorities.

It lists its responsibilities at the collection of bills as well as the technical supervision, maintenance and improvement of the electricity distribution network.

However, the company has been plagued by supply problems due to the Israeli blockade, in place since 2007 and upheld by Egypt, as well as devastation caused by war. more

Video: Continuing harassment of activists in Palestine

From the International Solidarity Movement - On an almost daily basis Israeli forces in Al Khalil harass and arrest local and international human rights activists as they try to do their tasks. The activists document violence towards Palestinians and act as a protective presence around children who are on their way to school. The volunteers’ feel that accompanying children on their way to school, through various checkpoints, is important because of the risk they face. In the past the children of Al Khalil have routinely detained, searched, arrested or attacked with tear gas, stun grenades and rubber coated steel bullets, shot at them by Israeli soldiers and border police.

Throughout Palestine in general, and in particular Al Khalil, volunteers play an important role documenting day to day life under occupation. With illegal settlements in the heart of the city and daily violence from settlers under the protection of the Israeli forces, the only word to describe life here is ‘apartheid’.

Israeli forces have detained and arrested volunteers many times without reason, declaring only that they wish to prevent them from documenting these human rights abuses. The internationals’ accessibility to city areas are also being restricted by soldiers prohibiting them to pass through checkpoints. more

Farmers again attacked by Israeli soldiers in central Gaza

Israeli occupation forces, Monday morning, opened fire towards Palestinian farmers and agricultural lands east of the central Gaza Strip.

Witnesses told Safa news agency that Israeli soldiers and military vehicles that were stationed along the border and in military towers east of the central of Gaza strip, fired tear gas and live ammunition towards the farmers.

They pointed out, according to Al Ray, that the farmers tried to reach their agricultural lands near the border and that Israel prevented them by opening fire, with no causalities reported. more

Monday, 23 March 2015

84 Palestinians in Gaza visit relatives jailed in Israel

Dozens of Palestinians from Gaza visited relatives jailed in Israel on Monday, the International Committee of the Red Cross said.

Eighty-four Palestinians, including 32 children, crossed into Israel via Erez to visit 42 jailed relatives.

The visits are coordinated with the ICRC.

There are some 450 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip in Israeli jails. Israel denied Gaza prisoners family visits when Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, but in July 2012, family visits resumed. more

Israel 'boycotts' UN rights council session on Gaza war

Israel's representative was conspicuously missing when the UN Human Rights Council started a special session Monday on the situation in the Palestinian territories and the 2014 Gaza conflict.

"I note the representative of Israel is not present," said council president Joachim Ruecher.

Israel provided no immediate explanation for their absence at the session dedicated overwhelmingly to discussion of its policies and alleged abuses, but a source close to the council said it clearly amounted to a boycott.

"We won't comment on that," a spokeswoman with the Israeli mission in Geneva told AFP.

The United States was also absent from Monday's discussions.

Asked to explain why the United States was not taking part, a spokesman said only that the US ambassador to the council Keith Harper was in Washington.

Monday's session had originally been scheduled to discuss a probe on the 50-day war in Gaza last year, but the investigators obtained a delay after the head of the team quit under Israeli pressure.

"The process cannot be rushed," former New York judge Mary McGowan Davis, who has taken over as head of the team, told the council.

Canadian international law expert William Schabas resigned as chair of the Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza conflict last month after Israel complained he could not be impartial because he had prepared a legal opinion for the PLO in October 2012.

Schabas strongly denied that he was beholden to the PLO but said he was reluctantly stepping down to avoid the inquiry into the July-August conflict -- commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council -- being compromised in any away. more

Israel issues demolition orders to 5 Silwan homes

JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli municipality officers issued five demolition orders in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on Monday, a local group said.

The Wadi Hilweh Information Center said Israel's Jerusalem municipality attached five demolition orders to properties in the neighborhood, with owners given 30 days to appeal to Israeli courts.

Some of the buildings are under construction, while one property was built 45 years ago, the center said.

Israeli municipality officers, accompanied by armed forces, also took pictures of the properties.

One of the owners, Walid Ahmad Abed al-Razzaq, said his home was built 45 years ago and no new structures have been added. Nine members of his family currently live in the property.

Silwan has been a repeated site of Israeli settler incursions and attempts to evict Palestinian locals. more

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Palestinian prisoners with cancer face death due to lack of treatment in Israeli prisons

Fifteen Palestinians being held in Israeli prisons are suffering from cancer and are at risk of dying, the Hossam Association of Palestinian Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners has said.

The organization said in a statement, according to Ma'an, that they believed the number was in fact higher, as the 15 include only those who have been diagnosed with cancer, but many others have tumors whose malignancy is not known because Israeli prison authorities have limited their access to tests.

The organization blamed Israeli authorities for contributing to an environment in which Palestinian prisoners faced a heightened risk of cancer due to high levels of radiation inside prison cells.

The group said that Israeli authorities set up devices to jam satellite and telephone signals near rooms where Palestinians are being held. They also pointed to the use of radiation in security scanners that prisoners are forced to go through during frequent searches and examinations.

The statement also said that a number of prisons are located near the Dimona nuclear reactor as well as toxic waste dumps in the Negev Desert, another factor which it said contributed to the high incidence of cancer.

The association said that Israel is violating international and humanitarian laws by keeping these prisoners and other sick prisoners in detention as their lives are in danger and they do not pose any danger or threat to Israel.

It claimed in the statement that a total of 1,500 Palestinian prisoners are suffering from some kind of illness, out of a total of around 5,500 Palestinians being currently held in Israeli jails.

The association called upon the international community to uphold its legal and humanitarian responsibilities towards the prisoners and their rights.

The association listed a number of the most pressing cases it was aware of inside Israeli prisons.

The case of Mutasem Radad from Tulkarem is one of the most critical among these, it said, as he has reached an advanced stage of cancer and has undergone several surgeries. They also highlighted Yusri al-Masri from the Gaza Strip who suffers from a malignant tumor in his thyroid and underwent surgery to remove the tumor in December 2013. more

Video: An American translation of Netanyahu’s racist get out the vote speeh

From Mondoweiss - In the video below Katie Halper “translated” Netanyahu’s racist emergency election appeal to get out the vote. Titled “An American Translation of Benjamin Netanyahu’s own words”, she noted in the video all the words are Netanyahu’s with a few changes:

The only changes were replacing:
“Arab” with “Black”
“right wing” with “Republican”
“Likud” with “Republican”
“Labor” with “Democrats”
“Israel” with “United States”

The alarmingly racist appeal has been cited as being responsible for a surge in the polls for Likud. Let’s watch the video:


Jewish settlers tour al-Aqsa compound, assault Palestinian women

Dozens of ultra-Orthodox Jews toured the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem on Sunday morning under the protection of Israeli forces, while Israeli police detained Palestinians even as groups of settlers reportedly assaulted worshipers nearby.

A spokesman for the Jerusalem office of the Palestinian Ministry of Endowments told Ma'an that 127 "extremist Jewish settlers" entered the compound via the Moroccan Gate in groups.

Witnesses said that the first group of settlers toured the courtyard of the Dome of the Rock "in a provocative manner," before touring the rest of the compound and exiting via the Chain Gate.

One of the settlers tried to "tear off his clothes inside the compound before security guards intervened and stopped him," said an eyewitness, who told Ma'an he believed the act was part of religious ritual.

Israeli police officers, who entered the compound to protect the settlers, chased Palestinian worshipers including children and women.

Witnesses said the officers detained a woman near al-Ghawanma gate in addition to two men who were identified as Muhammad Abu Gharbiyya and Ribhi Abu al-Hummus. They were reportedly taken to an Israeli police station outside the Chain Gate. more

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Egypt denies Qatar access to Gaza, so Doha turns to Israel

From the Middle East Monitor - President of the Qatari National Committee for the Reconstruction of the Gaza Strip, Ambassador Mohammed Al-Emadi said he entered the Gaza Strip for the first time in two years through Israel after the Egyptian authorities refused to grant him permission to cross through its territory.

Al-Emadi said the situation in Gaza is much harder than it was two years ago because of the accumulated problems caused by the Israeli blockade and aggression.

He pointed out that the Egyptian decision to prevent entry of building materials to reconstruct the enclave through the Rafah crossing not only delayed completing the projects but has increased their overall costs to three times more than their actual value after his country was forced to purchase them from Israel.

Al-Emadi revealed that although the Qatari-sponsored reconstruction projects stopped for six months because of the Israeli aggression and the closure of the Rafah crossing, progress is going well.

The Qatari ambassador expressed optimism over the speed of reconstruction; especially after the international community responded to calls to rebuild Gaza.

He pointed out that Qatar has been actively seeking to urge Arab and Western countries to expedite the start of reconstruction projects.

Qatar's reconstruction projects in the enclave will be completed in two years, he explained, and they will change the face of Gaza and affect the Palestinians' lives. more

Friday, 20 March 2015

2 children shot during clashes with PA security forces

Two Palestinian children were injured, one seriously, in clashes with Palestinian security forces near Balata refugee camp in eastern Nablus on Friday.

Locals told Ma'an that Mohammad Rakiz Abu Assab, 10, was shot in the stomach and taken to Rafidia hospital in a serious condition, while Mohammad Raed al-Hajj, 11, was shot in the foot and taken to al-Ittihad hospital.

Security sources told Ma'an that clashes broke out between security forces and dozens of youths on al-Quds street near the refugee camp after the young Palestinians closed the road and began throwing rocks on the street.

Palestinian Legislative Council Member Jamal al-Tirawi told Ma'an that responsibility lay with President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah to prevent the situation in Balata from deteriorating further. more

Israeli forces shoot, injure 2 Palestinians near Gaza border

Israeli forces shot and injured two Palestinians in the town of Absan east of Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip on Friday.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Health, Ashraf al-Qidra, said Israeli forces shot the two young men in the lower extremities, moderately injuring them near the southern Gaza border.

An Israeli army spokeswoman told Ma'an she didn't have immediate information on this specific incident but would look into it.

On Wednesday, Israeli forces opened fire on farmers east of al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, and at farmers near the town of Khuzaa in the southern Gaza Strip. more

Israeli military exercises to take place along Gaza border

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces will conduct military exercises along the border with the Gaza Strip on Sunday, Palestinian liaison officials said.

Israeli officials informed the Palestinian liaison office of the exercises, which will take place from the Erez crossing in the north until Rafah, in southern Gaza.

The exercises will include planes, tanks, jeeps and ground forces. more

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Egypt rations electricity to Gaza's Rafah

The Egyptian Electricity Company has started to ration the amount of electricity feeding the Palestinian city of Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip, a source in the Palestinian electricity distribution company told Al-Resalah reported.

A source who spoke to Al-Resalah on condition of anonymity said that one of the three electricity lines feeding Rafah has been completely suspended since Friday, while the electricity supplied through the two other lines has now been rationed.

According to the source, only 14 megawatts enter Rafah currently in comparison to 30 megawatts that were supplied previously. This has disrupted the electricity schedule, so the electricity is now available for 12 hours and cut for six hours only. more

Israeli bulldozers enter Rafah area, navy fires at fishermen

Four Israeli bulldozers and a military vehicle entered Palestinian land near Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Thursday, witnesses told Ma'an.

The incident marks the continuation of high activity in densely populated Rafah, as the Egyptian army demolished 1,020 houses Tuesday in the second stage of the establishment of a buffer zone along the border with the Gaza Strip.

In a separate incident Thursday, Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian fishermen across the al-Sudaniyya shore off Gaza City.

Palestinian sources reported one fishing boat was damaged.

An Israeli army spokeswoman told Ma'an that the bulldozers were stationed adjacent to the security fence in response to suspected activity in the area.

She did not have any immediate information about the shooting incident at sea. more

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Thousands pledge to boycott Hewlett Packard on eve of its AGM

The signatures of nearly 14,000 people pledging to boycott Hewlett Packard products were delivered to the company’s London headquarters today, on the eve of its annual general meeting.

Hewlett Packard (HP) supplies IT infrastructure to the Israeli navy and computers to the Israeli army. It also develops and maintains hand and facial recognition scanners at Israel’s checkpoints in the West Bank, the data from which is used by Israel to monitor and control the movement of Palestinians.

Hugh Lanning, Chair of Palestine Solidarity Campaign, delivered the signatures, which were contained in a letter to HP UK’s Managing Director, Andy Isherwood, and on a public pledge to boycott HP. Both had been signed by thousands of members of the public.

Mr Lanning said: “HP has a comprehensive human rights policy which includes avoiding complicity in human rights violations and regularly assessing human rights risks in the countries in which it operates.

“By aiding Israel’s army and navy, which combined to devastate Gaza last summer, HP is not only in breach of its human rights policy but also risks being seen as complicit in Israel’s war crimes.”

Mr Lanning added: “Companies which aid Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land and its blockade of Gaza should urgently reconsider their business links with Israel, and we call on Hewlett Packard to divest from its Israeli military contracts. more

Video: Israeli soldiers attack peaceful gathering in commemoration of Rachel Corrie

Young Palestinians in Qaryout, near Nablus, today, were planting olive saplings to commemorate the 12th anniversary of the murder of activist Rachel Corrie. They then sat down for a peaceful picnic. Watch what happens next...
Those present were planting trees, cooking food and singing before the soldiers rushed in with their guns to disperse the peaceful gathering.

One man can be seen to faint, during the raid, and is carried to patch of land on a stretcher as soldiers threaten with their weapons and shove participants this way and that.

What happens next is unclear, as a panic begins to surface within the crowd, the camera shaky. An argument is heard to erupt over what is to become of the fainted man.

The scene ends with the young soldiers carrying the man away and, then, dropping him to the ground. more

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Israeli troops fire at Gaza farmers along border

Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian farmers working in their fields along the border area between Israel and the Gaza Strip Tuesday morning.

Witnesses told Ma'an that gunfire came from Israeli watchtowers commanding the border area opposite to Shujaiyya, Zaytoun and Juhr al-Dik neighborhoods. All farmers were forced to leave their fields following the incident.

Separately, Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian Khalid Saad al-Din's car near the northern borders of the Gaza Strip while he was on the way to his agricultural land 400 meters from the border.

Al-Din's car was set ablaze following direct hits from Israeli live fire, but he was able to safely flee his burning vehicle, according to witnesses.

No injuries have been reported in either incident. more

United Nations: 100,000 Gazans still homeless since summer attack

The official UN death-toll for the 2014 war shows that 1,549 Palestinian civilians were killed in comparison to four Israelis, and 504 Palestinian children were killed for one Israeli child.

PNN reports that, in the Gaza Strip, the seven weeks of hostilities between Palestinian armed groups and the Israeli military, during July and August 2014, resulted in an unprecedented level of loss and human suffering, which aggravated the already fragile situation that preceded the conflict.

A total of 1,549 Palestinian civilians, a third of them children, were killed and around 11,000 people were injured; 13 per cent of the housing stock was damaged or destroyed, including some 20,000 homes totally destroyed or rendered uninhabitable, leaving over 100,000 people displaced; unexploded ordnance spread over Gaza pose a serious threat to the life of Palestinians and humanitarian workers; and access to already insufficient basic services has been further undermined. Four Israeli civilians were killed during the hostilities and hundreds injured.

Gaza remains in crisis, with most of the 100,000 made homeless by last year's war still homeless. The United Nations has had to suspend assistance to families made homeless by the war because of a $600 million shortfall in promised donations.

The ban on exports has no plausible justification on grounds of Israel's security. It leaves factories idle and most Gazans dependent on food aid.

The ban on import of construction materials causes huge hardship (most of the 100,000 made homeless by the war are still homeless).

The restrictions on humanitarian aid (running at half the pre-blockade levels) is another form of collective punishment.

It's true that some building materials can be used for military purposes, but this is a vicious circle. The more the Israelis attack Gaza, the more that Palestinians in Gaza want to be defended. The result can be that it strengthens rather than weakens support for Hamas.

In any case what is the alternative? The West Bank has been demilitarised for more than 10 years with the Palestine Authority police enforcing a strict ban on arms of all kinds, but what has been their reward? This has just eased the way to the Israelis stealing more land to build settlements, ransacking and demolishing homes, turning a blind eye to settler violence, putting peaceful demonstrators in jail and killing hundreds of Palestinians. The Gazans see what has happened in the West Bank and do not want to be defenceless.

The Palestine Liberation Organisation renounced violence nearly 30 years ago but their strategy of non-violence only makes sense if it is backed by international action to put pressure on Israel to end settlement-building and land theft and allow an independent Palestinian state within viable and secure borders. It is our failure to deliver our part of the bargain that is the trouble.

Read the Gaza debate in full Latest report from UN OCHA Latest appeal from UNRWA

Israeli naval forces shot and killed a Palestinian fisherman who was fishing west of Gaza city, in unclear circumstances. On another 30 occasions, Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian boats sailing near the Israeli-imposed 6 nautical mile fishing limit, including one incident resulting in the injury to two fishermen and in damage to their boat, and another in the detention of six fishermen.

Two Palestinians were injured by explosive remnants of war (ERW) in Gaza, including a farmer northwest of Rafah city and a man in his house in Nuseirat Refugee Camp. Since the ceasefire of August 2014, 11 Palestinians, including a child, were killed in ERW incidents, and another 42, including 16 children, were injured.

The Egyptian authorities opened the Rafah crossing in both directions for one day (9 March), allowing 361 Palestinians, mainly patients and students, to leave and 956 people to cross into Gaza. The crossing has been continuously closed since 24 October 2014, following an attack in Sinai, except for 12 days on which it was opened, but with restrictions. more

Method Man: a trailblazer of hip-hop solidarity with Palestine

From the Electronic Intifada - The Wu-Tang Clan was once described as “the most innovative force in hip-hop” by The New York Times. But it wasn’t only the gritty and dark soundscape created by the group that was original. Less well-known is that Method Man, one of the combo’s rappers, may have been the first exponent of his genre to express solidarity with the Palestinians.

The bass-heavy track “PLO Style” appeared on Tical, Method Man’s 1994 debut solo album. Declaring that “the street life is the only life I know,” its lyrics appear to be more of a commentary on the Meth’s direct experiences of Staten Island’s housing projects than on Middle Eastern politics. But when I interviewed him recently, Meth made clear that the PLO referred to in the title is the Palestine Liberation Organization (watch the interview above).

“Fighting for our freedom”

“The same way Wu Tang respected how the kung fu dudes was doing their thing and shit, we respected how the PLO got down,” he said. “They’re freedom fighters and we felt like we were fighting for our freedom every day, too, where we lived at.”

Meth indicated that the track was inspired by images of Palestinian resistance fighters he used to see in a New York City store.

As well as on Tical, “PLO style” was a phrase that both Meth and his bandmate Ghostface Killah used on the tracks “Wu-Tang: 7th Chamber - Part II” and “Bring Da Ruckus” off the group’s debut LP Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).

Released in 1993, it has been listed as one of the 500 best albums in history by Rolling Stone. According to the magazine’s rankings, it was better than The Beatles’ Let it Be.

Another rap group, Mobb Deep, has used the phrase “PLO style” on “I’m going out” — a track from their album Murda Muzik. And, of course, numerous other hip-hop artists have voiced support for the Palestinians in more recent years.

Wu-Tang’s PLO references are some of the biggest moments of Black-Palestinian solidarity in the history of music. Such an act of solidarity is an inherently political statement without being forced. And this was 22 years ago, way before anyone else was rapping about Palestine.

I couldn’t let Method Man go without telling him that my aunt is an executive committee member of the PLO. “Oh, word,” he replied. “Tell your aunt I said ‘peace.’” more

Monday, 16 March 2015

Hamas says videos reveal PA collaborators who helped Israel kill resistance fighters

Hamas on Saturday released a series of videos which it says contain confessions by agents working for the Palestinian Authority who passed information to Israel that was used to attack the Gaza Strip.

In at least one case, Hamas says that information a collaborator passed to his PA handler was used by Israel to target and kill one of its members.

One of the videos contains what Hamas says are confessions from PA officers that they were behind a recent series of car burnings that were intended to sow chaos and instability in Gaza.

The Palestinian Authority in Ramallah has dismissed the Hamas claims.

Confessions of a collaborator?

One video shows a person who is described as “one of the spies collaborating with the Preventive Security who was arrested due to his suspicious behavior of monitoring resistance fighters” during last summer’s Israeli assault on Gaza.

The Preventive Security is one of the intelligence agencies of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas.

The man’s face is obscured and his name is not given in order to protect his family, the video states.

There is an enormous stigma attached to having a family member accused of collaboration in tight-knit Gaza, as in other occupied territories throughout history.

(In August, in the midst of Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, Hamas executed a number of individuals it said were collaborators, prompting condemnation from local and international human rights organizations.)

The unnamed suspect does however name his handler as Preventive Security officer Ahmad Abd al-Halim Abu Shawqa.

“Ahmad [Abu Shawqa] got in touch with me during the war,” the suspect says. “He used to ask me for information about where rockets were being launched from.” He adds that he was asked to look out for weapons, especially rockets and anti-aircraft missiles.

The man also says he was asked about who frequented the local mosque and to find out who had recently been recruited into the Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas.

He says that he passed on information about one Abdallah Arafat Eid Shamaligh, a resident of the Sheikh Ajlin district of Gaza.

According to the video, Shamaligh, a 37-year-old father of five who was a member of the Qassam Brigades, “was killed after he was informed on by this spy.”

The video claims that Hamas was able to match many instances of information accused collaborators say they provided their handlers with actual Israeli attacks. more

Just 6 months after war, Hamas says Gaza bases near border rebuilt

The military wing of Hamas on Saturday said that it had rebuilt a number of military bases near the Israeli border in the Gaza Strip, asserting that it had recovered from Israel's summer offensive and was "not afraid" of confronting the occupation again.

"No sooner has the war come to an end, than the al-Qassam Brigades started a new stage of the conflict in preparation for the battle of liberation," a report on the official website of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades said.

The report said that fighters from the group had rebuilt military training sites near the border in the north, east, and west of the Gaza Strip, giving lie to Israeli claims that "Operation Protective Edge" in July-August 2014 had caused the group serious damage.

Israel's aim in the operation had been to end rocket fire from Gaza, which Hamas says comes in response to Israel's continued occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

But at the end of 50 days of warfare, Palestinian militant groups continued firing rockets into Israel. They also managed to confront Israeli forces in a number of battles across Gaza after the military launched a ground invasion. more

Sunday, 15 March 2015

3rd time in 4 days: Israeli troops open fire at Gaza farmers

Israeli troops stationed along the border with the Gaza Strip on Sunday morning opened fire toward Palestinian farmers working on their lands on the eastern outskirts of Khan Younis, witnesses told Ma'an.

The soldiers fired gunshots and smoke bombs at agricultural lands and into residential neighborhoods from military watchtowers east of the village of Khuzaa, forcing farmers to leave their fields.

No casualties were reported as a result of the attack, which is the third such incident in the area since Thursday.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said she was "unfamiliar" with the incident.

Khuzaa is a small agricultural town that was severely damaged by Israel during the summer assault, when more than half of the village's homes were destroyed and dozens of civilians reportedly killed in three days of intense shelling.

Israeli forces have repeatedly opened fire toward Palestinian civilians near the border in the five months since the signing of a ceasefire agreement that ended a more than 50-day assault by Israel on Gaza that left around 2,200 dead and 11,000 injured. more

Hamas official blasts PA failure to hold new elections

Senior Hamas official Mahmoud Zahhar on Saturday accused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of failing to fulfill his promise to hold elections for the Palestinian parliament.

In a televised interview with the Hamas-affiliated al-Aqsa TV channel aired Saturday evening, Zahhar rejected Abbas' invitation to Hamas to sign a document pledging to take part in presidential and parliamentary elections.

He demanded that instead of asking Hamas to sign new agreements, the president uphold his own responsibilities to hold the elections as outlined by the Cairo agreement signed between Fatah and Hamas in 2012.

The statement signals ongoing disagreements between the two largest Palestinian parties regarding the future of the government of national unity currently in place, less than a year after it's formation was agreed upon to much fanfare.

In 2011, Hamas and Fatah signed an agreement in Doha in which Abbas pledged to lead an interim government of technocrats before elections to be held in May 2012.

The elections were never held, but in 2012 in Cairo Abbas recommitted himself to holding elections. Since then, however, political disputes and Israeli offensives against the Gaza Strip have sidelined elections. more

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Hamas launches #AskHamas informational Twitter campaign

Hamas launched a campaign on Twitter Friday aimed at improving transparency and reaching out to English social media users.

The movement said its English-language initiative #AskHamas was designed so officials could answer questions from social media users.

The campaign was timed to coincide with the deadline for a European Union appeal against removing the group from the EU's terror list, Hamas said.

A European court in December ordered the removal of Hamas from the bloc's terror list, but the European Union said it would appeal the decision within three months. more

Israeli forces open fire at fishermen off Gaza coast

Israeli warships on Saturday morning opened fire at a group of Palestinians fishing in boats off the northwest coast of Gaza City, only a week after killing a fisherman in a similar incident.

Eyewitnesses said that Israeli forces opened fire at the fishermen when they were at a distance of four miles off the coast of the al-Sudaniya area.

One of the vessels suffered damage as a result of the attack, though no injuries were reported.

The eyewitnesses said that the attack appeared to be intended to force the fishermen to come closer to shore.

An Israeli military spokeswoman did not immediately return a request for comment. more

Friday, 13 March 2015

Israeli soldiers fire on Palestinians across Gaza border

Israeli forces, Thursday evening, opened fire at Palestinians on land east of the city of Khuzaa, in the southern Gaza Strip.

Witnesses told Ma'an News Agency that Israeli soldiers deployed at the border opened fire on individuals who were on private Palestinian land east of Khan Younis.

They said that no injuries were reported as a result of the attack.

An Israeli military spokeswoman did not return a request for comment.

Israeli forces have repeatedly opened fire toward Palestinian civilians near the border, in the five months since the signing of the ceasefire agreement that ended a summer-long assault on Gaza that left around 2,200 dead and 11,000 injured.

Related video: Gaza City's Devastated Al-Shuja'eyya Suburb

The attacks come despite Israeli promises at the end of the ceasefire that restrictions on Palestinian access to the border region would be lessened. more

Injured Gazans rally to support victims of Israeli offensive

Hundreds of Palestinians injured during Israel's summer offensive on the Gaza Strip on Thursday protested in Gaza City against what they say is official inaction for Palestinians disabled by Israeli warfare.

Participants in the protest called upon officials to form committees specializing in the affairs and rights of the wounded and to improve Palestinians' access to medical care and medications, which are severely limited by the Israeli blockade of Gaza.

Protester Rami Dabbour told Ma'an that the number of injured Palestinians in Gaza reaches into the tens of thousands, estimating that around 74,000 Gazans live with some form of physical injury or disability as a result of Israeli attacks on the enclave of 1.8 million people.

Around 11,000 Palestinians were injured in Israel's offensive in July-August 2014, adding to the tens of thousands previously injured in Israeli assaults in 2012, 2008-9, and on a weekly or daily basis in or near the border.

Thousands more still suffer complications from injuries sustained before 2006, when the Israeli military directly occupied Gaza. more

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Israeli navy opens fire on Palestinian fishing boats in Gaza waters

Israeli navy ships opened fire, on Thursday morning, on a number of Palestinian fishing boats in Gaza territorial waters, in the Sudaniyya Sea area, northwest of Gaza City.

Local fishers said the navy fired dozens of rounds of live ammunition towards a number of fishing boats less than four miles off the coast.

The fishers had to sail back to shore in order to avoid further Israeli escalation; no injuries were reported.

Gaza fishers are subject to daily attacks and violations in Palestinian territorial waters within the six nautical miles the Palestinians are allowed to sail in and fish.

The Navy even attacked fishing boats, and fishers, while the boats were docked on shore.

Dozens of thousands of families in the besieged coastal region depend on fishing as their only sources of livelihood.

The repeated Israeli violations against the fishers led to dozens of casualties, including several fatalities, while scores of fishers have been kidnapped and their boats were toad to Israeli shores. more

Hamas: Israel hinted at Gaza airport, seaport for long-term truce

Senior Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzouq said Wednesday that Israeli army commanders told Palestinian businessmen and independent figures that they would allow a seaport and airport in Gaza in return for a long-term ceasefire. "Some people conveyed ideas about an airport and seaport in Gaza to separate it from Israel and consequently from the West Bank for lack of geographic contiguity, and so the Gaza Strip could have access to the outside world without the restrictions of the Rafah crossing and Israeli policies," Abu Marzouq wrote on his Facebook page. Hamas discussed the idea with the Palestinian national consensus government twice, and multiple times with individual ministers, according to Marzouq. The suggestions by top Israeli officials were designed to isolate the Gaza Strip from the West Bank, he said. more

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Tourist ad falls foul of UK watchdog for claiming Jerusalem belongs to Israel

The UK’s advertising watchdog has banned the Israeli Government Tourist Office from using an ad which implies that Jerusalem’s Old City is part of Israel.

The ad shows a panoramic photo of the Old City with the caption “Israel has it all.” It appeared in a brochure produced by the Israeli Government Tourist Office (IGTO).

Last week, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld a complaint made by a member of the public against the ad and banned it from appearing again in its current form.

However, this is not the first time that the IGTO’s advertising campaigns have fallen foul of the watchdog.

This branch of the Israeli government has a track record of producing ads which either wipe the occupied West Bank and Gaza off the map or eliminate any trace of Palestinian history, heritage and culture from the land in order to promote Israel as a travel destination.

The IGTO’s latest publication is a glossy 32-page brochure, titled Taste of Israel, which was distributed in February by the supermarket Waitrose. more

Gaza vegetables to be shipped to Israel for first time in 8 years

Vegetables harvested in the Gaza Strip will be exported to Israel for the first time in eight years on Thursday.

A Gaza merchant, Salim Abu Samra, told Ma'an that four truckloads of Gaza tomatoes and eggplants would be shipped from the coastal enclave.

He confirmed that it would be the first shipment of its kind since Israel imposed a military blockade on Gaza in 2007 when Hamas came to power.

Before 2007, Gazan farmers used to regularly export carnations and strawberries to markets in the Middle East and in Europe.

However, agriculture in Gaza has been heavily affected by the blockade.

According to a 2013 American Near East Refugee Aid report, 46 percent of agricultural land in Gaza has been made inaccessible or unusable due to destruction caused by the "security buffer zone" as well as recent military conflicts. more

Egypt shuts down Rafah crossing after 2 days

Egyptian authorities shut down the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip on Wednesday after it was opened exceptionally on Monday and Tuesday for humanitarian cases.

The crossings and borders department of the Gaza Ministry of Interior said in a statement that 1,010 passengers managed to leave the Gaza Strip for Egypt in two days, while 1,433 traveled into the coastal enclave.

Those who were given priority to leave to Egypt were patients receiving treatment abroad, holders of foreign visas and holders of Egyptian and foreign passports.

The statement added that 63 passengers were denied entry to Egypt without being given explanations.

Thousands of passengers are still on a waiting list hoping that Egypt will reopen the crossing again. more

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Israel navy fires on Gaza shore, ground forces shoot at farmers

Israeli naval boats fired several shells at the shores of Gaza City on Tuesday, while Israeli ground forces opened fire on farmers in the eastern Gaza Strip, witnesses said.

Locals told Ma'an that Israeli war boats fired five shells near the al-Zahra area. No injuries were reported.

Meanwhile, Israeli military vehicles deployed east of Gaza City opened fire on farmers working on their land near the the border.

The al-Mezan Center for Human Rights reports that Israeli forces have opened fire at the Gazan border 29 times since the Aug. 26 ceasefire agreement between Israel and Palestinian militant groups, killing at least two Palestinians and injuring 35, including nine children. more