Thursday, 30 April 2015

700 truckloads of goods allowed into Gaza Strip

Israeli authorities opened the Kerem Shalom crossing into the Gaza Strip Thursday, allowing 700 truckloads of goods to enter the besieged enclave.

Head of the Commission for the Coordination of Goods into Gaza Strip Raed Fattouh said that among the good entering the strip were construction materials for internationally-funded projects, fuel, and materials to improve the strip's infrastructure, particularly roads.

Thursday's entrance of diesel, building materials, aid, and supplies through the Kerem Shalom crossing came after a series of closures due to Israeli national holidays.

The crossing is scheduled to be closed again Friday and Saturday for the weekend.

Severe border restrictions on imports and exports into Gaza by Israel and Egypt over the past eight years have led to a collapse of the tiny coastal enclave's economy, but small amounts of goods are allowed in through Kerem Shalom. more

Israeli police detain, interrogate 7-year-old in Jerusalem

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Undercover Israeli operatives detained and interrogated a 7-year-old Palestinian boy and his twelve-year-old brother in occupied East Jerusalem Tuesday.

The boy and his older brother, from the Zaatari family in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi al-Joz, were detained by the operatives while walking in the street around 7:30 p.m., Israeli media Haaretz reported.

The Zaatari family has had four children deatined this week, Ihab Ahmed Zaatari, 7, and Muhammad Mahdi Zaatari 12, detained on Tuesday just one day after Alaa Magdy Zaatari, Mehdi Barakat Zaatari, both 15, were detained Monday.

An Israeli police spokesperson did not immediately return Ma'an's request for information on the incident, but told Israeli media the children were detained after throwing rocks at a bus.

The 7-year-old was reportedly interrogated for nearly eight hours.

The children were taken in a squad car to National Police Headquarters, where family members saw them in the vehicle in the parking lot. At 11:30 p.m. the children were taken to the Shalem police station and the 6-year-old was not released to his parents until 3:30 a.m, Haaretz reported.

In response to Tuesday's events, Defense for Children International- Palestine advocate Olivia Watson told Ma'an that "In East Jerusalem, Palestinian children are being detained arbitrarily and, in this case, illegally, since children under 12 years of age are below the age of criminal responsibility." more

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

One person shot at protest against cancer-causing chemical plants in Tulkarem

Around fifty Palestinians and international activists gathered today in Tulkarem, east of Nablus, to protest the presence of 11 Israeli chemical plants located in the city. The protest took place outside the Gishuri chemical plant on what is locally referred to as the “death road” due to the health problems caused by the Israeli plants.

The protesters were carrying signs demanding a clean environment and an end to the Israeli occupation, while Israeli soldiers deployed to guard the plant quickly responded with stun grenades and tear gas.

On one occasion Israeli soldiers fired tear gas canisters aimed directly at peaceful demonstrators and the press. As the protest continued, a 22-year old Palestinian man was shot by a rubber-coated steel bullet, hitting him in the abdomen. He was later taken to the local hospital and appeared to have suffered superficial damages only, although he was in great pain. The protest quickly subsided after this event. more

Palestinians in Israel stage general strike over home demolitions

JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Palestinian citizens of Israel observed a general strike on Tuesday that was to climax with a rally in Tel Aviv to protest against a wave of demolitions of Palestinian homes.

In Palestinian towns in the north of Israel, schools, colleges, public institutions, banks and most shops were closed, media outlets reported. The Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, which represents Palestinian communities in Israel, said the strike was a protest against growing racism as well as the acceleration of house demolitions.

"This strike is a response to the increased action by the Israeli authorities against Arab homes and the ongoing harsh policy of incitement to hatred against Arabs which was launched by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the elections," it said.

It was referring to an incident on March 17 when Netanyahu warned right-wing Jewish voters to turn out because Palestinian citizens of Israel were going to the polls "in droves."

The remarks from Netanyahu -- who won a surprise victory in the polls -- drew a rebuke from US President Barack Obama and were widely criticized in Israel and abroad.

The decision to hold a rally in Tel Aviv rather than in one of the Palestinian cities was aimed at bringing the crisis to the attention of Jewish Israelis.

The demonstration was to take place in Rabin Square from 1400 GMT. more

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

14-year-old shot by Israeli forces in Gaza Strip in critical condition

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A 14-year-old Palestinian is in critical condition and has been transferred to Ramallah for treatment after he was hit by a stray Israeli bullet on Friday at his home in the central Gaza Strip, his family said Tuesday.

The family of Fadi Abu Mandil, 14, said that the teen will undergo surgery in his spine as he is currently unable to walk.

His uncle told Ma'an that the child was hit with a stray Israeli bullet while studying at his home when Israeli forces opened fire on Palestinian farmers.

On Friday medical sources said that the 14-year-old from al-Mughazi refugee camp had been transferred to Shuhada al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah city.

Israeli forces were again firing on Gazan farmers on Tuesday, damaging property and forcing farmers to flee their land, and on Sunday, they shot and injured a 37-year-old man. more

Critically injured Palestinian youth dies of his wounds

Palestinian medical sources have reported, on Tuesday at dawn that the young man who was shot and critically injured on Monday evening, near the northern West Bank city of Jenin, died of his wounds.

The sources said Mohammad Murad Yahia, 21 years of age, died in a hospital in the northern West Bank city of Nablus. Eyewitnesses said Israeli soldiers shot the young man, while standing near the Annexation Wall section in al-‘Arqa village, without any provocation or prior warning.

Resident ‘Asef Wakid said Yahia and his cousins, Aymad and Emad, were in their families' orchards, close to the “Shaked” illegal Israeli colony, when the soldiers shot and killed Yahia in cold blood.

Wakid stated that a soldier fired one round at Yahia causing a serious injury, before the army kidnapped his cousins Ayman and Emad.

The Palestinians were walking and picnicking in their orchard with the soldiers killed Yahia, eyewitnesses confirmed. more

Israel responsible for Gaza strikes on UN schools and shelters, inquiry finds

br> From The Guardian - Israel was responsible for striking seven United Nations sites used as civilian shelters during the 2014 Gaza war in which 44 Palestinians died and 227 others were injured, an inquiry ordered by UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon has concluded.

Releasing the report on Monday, Ban condemned the attacks “as a matter of the utmost gravity” and said “those who looked to them for protection and who sought and were granted shelter there had their hopes and trust denied”.

Ban insisted that UN locations were “inviolable”.

The issue is particularly sensitive as the locations of all UN buildings – including schools used as shelters – are routinely provided to the Israeli military and updated in times of conflict.

Ban’s criticism was contained in the published summary letter of a confidential internal report, commissioned by the secretary general in November, running to 207 pages. more

Monday, 27 April 2015

Palestinian dies in Gaza tunnel collapse

A Palestinian worker died on Monday when a tunnel collapsed in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, a health official said.

A Ministry of Health spokesperson Ashraf al-Qidra told Ma'an that Muhammad Khalid al-Najjar, 27, was killed in the incident.

His body has been taken to the Abu Youssef al-Najjar hospital.

Last week, Ahmad Majed Salim al-Saqqa, 19, from Khan Younis died after he was electrocuted in a tunnel beneath Rafah, while another Palestinian from Khan Younis, Ibrahim Fathi Isleih, 21, died a week before in similar circumstances.

The smuggling tunnels are notoriously dangerous, and workers are frequently killed working inside them.

The Institute for Palestine Studies reported in 2012 that Hamas authorities had counted 160 deaths inside the tunnels since the Israeli blockade began. more

Hundreds attend funeral of Jerusalem teen killed at checkpoint

JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Hundreds of Palestinians took part in the Jerusalem funeral of teenager Muhammad Abu Ghannam, 17, on Monday, defying restrictions imposed by Israel authorities.

Israel had previously said they would only allow 70 people to attend his burial at a cemetery close to his home in al-Tur, but hundreds turned out waving Palestinian flags and chanting slogans in support of protecting Jerusalem.

Israel had delayed delivering the body of the slain teenager until 2 a.m. on Monday in a bid to impose size restrictions on the funeral.

Clashes broke out at the burial between mourners and Israeli forces and spread to al-Tur's main streets, where soldiers fired tear gas canisters and rubber-coated steel bullets.

Abu Ghannam was shot dead by Israeli forces at a checkpoint in occupied East Jerusalem after allegedly attempting to stab checkpoint officers just before midnight on Friday. more

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Video: Indie singer's haunting tribute to Gaza children killed while playing football

A new song from the British indie rock singer and songwriter John Donaldson (formerly of Levellers 5 and Calvin Party, now performing as JD Meatyard) is a hard-hitting commemoration of the four young boys killed by an Israeli shell as they were playing football on a beach during Israel’s massive 2014 attack on Gaza.

The shelling, which took on global notoriety after international journalists witnessed it from their beachfront hotel, killed Ahed Atef Bakr and Zakaria Ahed Bakr, both ten years old, Muhammad Ramiz Bakr, eleven, and Ismail Muhammad Bakr, aged nine, as well as injuring a number of other children.

“Four Kids Playing on a Gaza Beach” combines sampling of a single voice uttering the words “it’s insane” with a folk tune which is itself a memorial to the Irish socialist and freedom fighter James Connolly, who was executed by the British authorities for his role in the 1916 Easter Rising.

Described as “an important song … as direct as a political song gets and is ever more powerful as a result. What else needs to be said than ‘four kids blown .. they’re blown to pieces?’” by one reviewer, the track’s sparse instrumentation and spare, repeated lyrics are haunting and disturbing, eschewing overt statements, and instead leaving the listener to envisage the horror of the scene. more

Israeli forces shoot, injure Palestinian in northern Gaza Strip

Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian man east of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip on Sunday.

A Ministry of Health spokesman, Dr. Ashraf al-Qudra, said that the 37-year-old man had been shot in his right foot in the Abu Safiya area east of Beit Hanoun.

Al-Qudra said the injured man had been moved to Kamal Adwan hospital for treatment, and described his condition as moderate. The injury came as Israeli forces opened fire on fishermen and farmers across the Gaza Strip.

Witnesses reported that Israeli naval forces fired on fishing boats four miles off the coast, damaging the boats and forcing the fisherman to return to land.

Meanwhile, Israeli border forces fired smoke bombs at farmers' land east of Maghazi refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip.

Israeli forces have repeatedly opened fire on Gazans since the ceasefire agreement signed Aug. 26, 2014 that ended a devastating 50-day war between Israel and Hamas.

In March alone, there were a total of 38 incidents of shootings, incursions into the coastal enclave, and arrests, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR). more

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Israeli forces shoot, injure Palestinian near Khan Younis

A Palestinian was shot and injured when Israeli forces opened fire east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.

Witnesses said that Israeli forces deployed along the border opened fire on Palestinian farmland, hitting one Palestinian man.

He has been taken to a hospital for treatment.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said she was looking into the incident.

Israeli forces have repeatedly opened fire on Palestinian civilians near the border since the ceasefire agreement signed Aug. 26, 2014 that ended a devastating 50-day war between Israel and Hamas.

In March alone, there were a total of 38 incidents of shootings, incursions into the Strip, and arrests, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR).

That was up from 26 incidents through February, and left seven Palestinians injured and one dead. more

17-year-old shot dead at checkpoint in occupied East Jerusalem

JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- A 17-year-old Palestinian was shot dead at the Al-Zayyim checkpoint in occupied East Jerusalem after allegedly attempting to stab checkpoint officers just past midnight on Saturday.

Ali Mohammed Ali Said Abu Ghannam began running toward a number of police officers at a checking station "wielding a large knife," according to statement issued by Israeli police. After being pushed back by an officer, Abu Ghannam ran in the direction of the crossing. Those guarding the checkpoint saw the youth running towards them and shot him, the statement said. Abu Ghannam was confirmed dead.

Abu Ghannam's father Muhammad told Ma'an that Israeli intelligence and security forces summoned him to the al-Zayyim checkpoint to identify his son's body, and then was taken to the Russian Compound police station in West Jerusalem.

Muhammad Abu Ghannam added that after identifying his son's face, he was prevented from seeing his son's body and not able to see where or how many times he had been shot.

He said that Israeli intelligence informed him that his son's body will be delivered to the family on condition that only 20 people attend the funeral, but that he refused these conditions and demanded that his son's body be delivered to the family without any conditions.

Head of a local committee in the al-Tur village, Mufid Abu Ghannam, said that Israeli forces raided the Abu Ghannam home early Saturday, assaulted residents and pepper sprayed them. He added that Ali's room was specifically searched and his personal belongings confiscated. more

Friday, 24 April 2015

Israel denies entry visas to South African minister, leftist leader and officials

The South African Communist Party (SACP) issued a statement strongly condemning the Israeli decision to deny entry visas to South Africa’s Minister of Higher Education and Training, South African Communist Party Secretary General, Cde Blade Nzmande, along with his team of officials.

“The South African Communist Party (SACP) is appalled by, and condemns in strongest terms possible, the apartheid Israeli regime's decision to deny our Minister of Higher Education and Training and SACP General Secretary Cde Blade Nzmande and his team of officials with an entry visa into Palestine, “the SACP said in a statement.

The SACP stated that Nzmande was officially invited by his Palestinian counterpart, Dr. Khawla Shakhsheer, to visit Palestine from 25-29 April 2015.

The South African Department of Higher Education and Training, said the visit follows a visit by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2014, in which an agreement between South Africa and Palestine was singed.

The “justification” Israel provided for denied visas was because the South African Minister “criticized the Israeli government.”

“The SCAP said it will not allow any foreign government to decide for us what to think, say and do,” the SCAP said, “South Africans should take their cue and defend our inalienable right to freedom of speech and international solidarity with the oppressed people in any part of the world.”

In its statement, the SCAP said it will intensify its Boycott, Divestment and Sanction against Israel until it full withdrawal from the occupied Palestinian territories, and until the Palestinians have their own independent and sovereign state, with East Jerusalem as its capital. more

Israeli tanks shell northern Gaza following rocket fire

Israeli tanks fired three shells at the northern Gaza Strip late Thursday after a rocket was fired from the coastal territory, witnesses and Israel's army said.

The artillery fire struck a site belonging to Hamas' military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, east of Beit Hanoun, locals told Ma'an.

Ministry of Health spokesperson Ashraf al-Qidra said no injuries were reported.

Israel's military said in a statement that it targeted a "terrorist" site in response to a rocket fired at southern Israel which landed in an open area in the Shaar Ha Negev regional council.

No militant group in Gaza has claimed responsibility for the rocket. more

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Hamas student list victorious in Birzeit University elections

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- A student list affiliated with Hamas on Wednesday came out on top in the closely-watched student elections at Birzeit University near Ramallah.

A day after thousands turned out for a student debate between Fatah, Hamas, and the leftist parties participating, the Islamic List emerged victorious with 26 seats, while the Fatah-affiliated list trailed with 19. The leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine list emerged with five, while an alliance of three smaller leftist parties – the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Palestinian People’s Party, and Fida -- took one seat.

Voter turnout was reported at 77 percent of all undergraduate students entitled to vote, who numbered around 9,000.

The victory for the Islamic List at the historically staunchly pro-Fatah campus took observers by surprise.

In the absence of regular national elections, university elections are seen as important indicators of public opinion by political commentators in Palestine and Birzeit is considered to be the most important campus in the yearly political contests.

The Hamas victory came after a year in which the Fatah-affiliated list dominated student politics, having earned 23 seats compared to the Hamas list's 20 seats.

University president Khalil Hindi praised the participation of students and their commitment to the democratic process.

He said that the elections were carried out in a peaceful environment that reflected student interest in voting.

The Birzeit student elections are closely watched by political observers across the country, as the university is considered to be the West Bank’s most prestigious center of higher education and a hub of political activism. Although outside political parties do not take part directly in the contest, each list is closely affiliated with a political party as are the students involved in the campaigns. more

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Israeli bulldozers raid Gaza, level land

Sources told Ma'an News Agency that four Israeli vehicles and two bulldozers raided and leveled Palestinian farming lands in eastern Deir al-Balah, central Gaza.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said that Tuesday's incursion was "routine activity along the security fence."

Israeli forces regularly enter land in the Gaza Strip falling within the "security buffer zone." The zone is enforced by Israel on both land and sea borders of the Gaza Strip on the pretext of security, however its exact limits have historically fluctuated and have had a detrimental impact on the Palestinian agricultural and fishing sectors.

Forces open fire on Palestinian farmers whose agricultural land allegedly falls within the zone, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights. The group reported 16 incidents of shooting and four incursions along the Gaza-Israel border in March alone.

Such occurrences of live fire deter farmers from accessing their farmland, worsening agricultural production in Gaza, where over 80 percent of the population is food insecure, according to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. more

Palestinian teen injured in Gaza explosion

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian teenager was injured on Tuesday evening in an explosion caused by an unknown object in al-Shati refugee camp in western Gaza.

Spokesman for the ministry of health in Gaza Ashraf al-Qidra told Ma'an that a 15-year-old was lightly injured in the explosion, and taken to al-Shifa hospital for treatment. more

Report: Israeli forces directly targeted children in Gaza

Evidence suggests that Israeli forces directly targeted children during last summer's war, reported childrens' rights group Defense for Children International- Palestine.

Evidence and testimonies collected by DCIP reveal several locations that should have provided children with shelter and safety were, in practice, not immune from attacks by Israeli forces.

"Missiles dropped by Israeli warplanes killed 225 children while they were in their own homes or seeking shelter, often as they sat down to eat with their families," DCIP reported.

Just under half of the children who died during the offensive lost their lives in aerial attacks on residential buildings.

The fighting between Palestinian militant groups and Israel that resulted in an offensive which Israel dubs "Operation Protective Edge" killed 547 Palestinian children, 535 of them as a direct result of Israeli attacks. Another 3,374 children suffered injuries in attacks, "including over 1,000 children whose wounds rendered them permanently disabled," as documented by DCIP.

DCIP also estimates at least 164 children were killed in drone attacks, noting Israel as the world’s largest exporter of aerial drones.

"In one such case Rawya Joudeh, 40, and four of her five children were killed by an Israeli drone fired missile as they played together in the family’s yard in Tal alZatar, Jabalia refugee camp, North Gaza, on the afternoon of August 24. "The children were aged between 6 and 14." more

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Imprisoned Voices: corporate complicity in the Israeli prison system

This briefing was published on 17 April 2015 to coincide with the annual day of solidarity with Palestinian prisoners.

It collects the memories of the pain, suffering and resilience of Palestinians who have been imprisoned by Israel.

In 2013, Corporate Watch visited the West Bank and Gaza Strip and interviewed released prisoners about their experiences. The 11 accounts give a glimpse of the struggles of Palestinian prisoners.

They have been collected together here to inspire readers to take action in solidarity with them and against the companies profiting from their suffering.

The first part of this briefing compiles interviews with prisoners from the Gaza Strip. The second part focuses on the West Bank. The final part summarises the companies providing equipment and services that aid the arrest and imprisonment of Palestinians and gives detailed profiles of two of the biggest culprits: G4S and Hewlett Packard.

We dedicate this briefing to all those who remain imprisoned.

The briefing is currently published online and can be read here or downloaded here. It will be available to buy in the coming weeks from

Palestinian ministers cut short Gaza visit over dispute with Hamas

(Reuters) - Palestinian cabinet ministers from the occupied West Bank cut short a visit to Gaza on Monday over disputes between the Western-backed Fatah movement and Islamist group Hamas which dominates the territory, officials said.

The truncated visit reflected tensions threatening a year-old "unity" government, harming internationally-backed efforts to rebuild the Gaza Strip after a war with Israel and complicating Palestinian statehood ambitions.

Palestinians in Gaza had hoped Fatah, headed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and Hamas could resolve a crisis over salaries owed to about 40,000 public servants hired by Hamas in the past eight years it has dominated the Gaza Strip.

Resolving the issue is crucial to Western hopes of Abbas's government taking control of Gaza crossings and facilitating an effort to rebuild tens of thousands of buildings destroyed during the five-week July-August war.

An official close to the 11-member West Bank delegation accused Hamas-controlled security officers of barring ministers from heading from a Gaza beach-front hotel to their offices during what was to have been a week-long stay, which was cut to 24 hours.

"Hamas has thwarted the visit, they didn't allow ministers to implement the plan they came for and help alleviate problems in Gaza," said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Ali Abu Dyak, secretary-general of the Palestinian government, charged in a statement published by the official WAFA news agency that Hamas had obstructed their work. "Hamas does not respect the law," Dyak alleged.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri denied the allegations and countered that the West Bank ministers had sought to meet with senior employees at the hotel instead of going to their offices.

Abu Zuhri also said his group had not been consulted over the make-up of the committee set up to resolve the salaries issue, which he said was dominated by Fatah.

"We urge the government to continue to bear its responsibility towards Gaza employees without discrimination," he said. more

Video: Israel strangles a Palestinian village

From the Electronic Intifada - The Palestinian village of Nabi Samwil is being strangled by Israel. Within a few years, it could disappear altogether.

Nabi Samwil overlooks occupied East Jerusalem on one side and Ramallah on the other. With approximately 300 people in no more than a dozen houses, the village is located in the “seam zone” — an area separated from the rest of the occupied West Bank by Israel’s apartheid wall.

About 7,500 Palestinians were living in the “seam zone” in 2012, according to the UN monitoring group OCHA. The current figure is likely to be higher.

The residents of Nabi Samwil are enclosed by settlements, the wall and by an Israeli park that is encroaching onto their land.


The national park comprises an archaeological site, which includes the tomb of the Prophet Samuel, an important religious figure for Christians, Jews and Muslims alike. The tomb is surmounted by a mosque which Palestinians can only access on Fridays. It can be closed at any moment to let Israeli settlers access the tomb.

The inhabitants are considered West Bank residents and even though they are on Jerusalem’s side of the wall, they are only allowed to go to the nearest West Bank city, Ramallah, for necessary activities such as buying food or accessing medical care.

Required to submit to a tight regime of permits, everything in their lives is monitored: from the quantity of groceries they bring to the village to the people visiting. Each and every movement of people or products is being controlled by an Israeli “liaison office.” more

Health ministry : 62% of Gaza's supply of medicines and disposables used up

The Palestinian Ministry of Health has announced that the crisis of shortage in medicines and medical disposables has been critically aggravated because of the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip for more than eight years.

Director General of Pharmacy, Ashraf Abu Mahady, said that the Ministry is now totally lacking 118 kinds of medicines (25%) and 334 kind of medical disposals (37%), according to a report by Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency.

He pointed to the significant lack of medical disposables for cardiac catheterization and open heart surgeries, which has reached 80% , and which will lead to the increase of cases needing medical treatment and transfers abroad.

He explained that there are several services affected by the shortage of medicines, mainly the complete lack of 32% of primary care drugs, in addition to 54% of the immunological drugs and 30% of oncology drugs, which will have grave impact on chronic conditions suffered by patients in the region. more

Monday, 20 April 2015

Israeli forces open fire at fishermen, farmers in Gaza

Israeli military forces opened fire at Palestinian fishermen and farmers in the Gaza Strip on Monday, locals said.

Witnesses told Ma'an that naval forces opened fire at fishermen in the northern Gaza Strip near al-Sudaniyya, while soldiers stationed at the border fired at farmers east of Khan Younis in southern Gaza.

No injuries were reported.

Israeli authorities maintained a fishing limit of three nautical miles on all fishermen in the Gaza Strip until August, when Hamas negotiated a six-mile limit as part of the ceasefire that concluded Israel's two-month summer assault that left 2,200 dead.

But Israeli authorities have frequently shot at Palestinian fishermen inside the limit, and three have been killed since then. more

Israeli stabs Palestinian worker near Tel Aviv

An Israeli man stabbed a Palestinian worker on a construction site north of Tel Aviv on Monday, Israeli police and media reported.

The victim, a Palestinian worker for the Herzliya Municipality, told police that a man with a Russian accent shouted "Death to Arabs" before stabbing him in the shoulder.

The worker was transferred to hospital for treatment.

Israeli police are searching for the suspect, who fled the scene of the attack.

Anti-Palestinian attacks in Israel are frequent and often involve the desecration of holy sites in addition to physical assaults. more

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Israeli navy opens fire on fishing boats in Gaza

Israeli Navy ships opened fire, on Saturday morning, on a number of Palestinian fishing boats in Gaza territorial waters, causing damage but no injuries.

Eyewitnesses said the navy fired dozens of rounds of live ammunition on the boats and near them, causing excessive damage to a number of boats.

They added that the boats were close to the shore, within the six nautical miles allotted for the Palestinians to use.

There have been dozens of similar Israeli attacks, and violations, against the fishers in Gaza waters, and even while on shore, an issue that caused several casualties, including fatalities, and dozens of arrests, in addition to property damage. more

Qassam fighter killed by bullet 'on duty'

The al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas movement, said Saturday that a fighter was killed while on duty.

The brigades said in a statement that Nafeth Said al-Mughni from Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip was killed after being hit with a bullet in an accident, but did not give further details surrounding his death.

Training by the al-Qassam Brigades has continued since the end of last summer's war between Israel and Palestinian militant groups.

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

Israel's alleged objective in the summer offensive had been to end rocket fire from Gaza, which Hamas said came in response to Israel's continued occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. more

Friday, 17 April 2015

Israeli forces open fire east of Khan Younis, injure 3 Palestinians

Israeli forces shot and injured three Palestinians east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on Friday.

Witnesses said that Israeli forces deployed along the Gazan border opened fire on the Palestinians in the al-Sanati area in Khan Younis.

The three injured have been taken to the European Hospital in Khan Younis for treatment.

Israeli forces have repeatedly opened fire on Palestinian civilians near the border since the ceasefire agreement signed Aug. 26, 2014 that ended a devastating 50-day war between Israel and Hamas.

In March alone, there were a total of 38 incidents of shootings, incursions into the Strip, and arrests, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR). more

Child detainee, Khaled Sheikh, released; two more children kidnapped

The Israeli Authorities released on Thursday at night child detainee, Khaled Sheikh, 14, from Beit ‘Anan in occupied Jerusalem, while his family and scores of residents waited, and welcomed him. Israeli soldiers earlier stormed the Betunia nearby town, and kidnapped two children.

The released child, who suffers from anemia and other health issues, said that he did not receive any medications related to his illness, and that the only meds he received were painkilling pills.

“They give the ailing detainees those pills to silence them, and reduce the symptoms instead of providing us with the medical treatment we urgently need,” he said.

The child’ mother told Palestine TV that she is very happy for his release after the four months he spent in ‘Ofer Israeli prison, facing constant violations and difficult living conditions.

“Am so happy he will fill our house with his presence and pleasant spirit” the mother said, “My wish is for all detained children, and every imprisoned Palestinian, to be released and return to their families.

His family was never allowed to visit him, and were granted a permit dated after his scheduled release. more

Haniyeh: Hamas will continue armed resistance

Deputy Head of Hamas Ismail Haniyeh said Thursday that his movement would continue to use armed resistance against the Israeli state.

"Hamas negotiates with the enemy with arms, not talks," the senior official said during a press conference commemorating Palestinian Prisoner's Day and the death of Hamas co-founder Abd al-Aziz al-Rantisi.

Al Rantisi was killed by Israeli forces in 2004 along with his 27-year-old son, a body guard, and four bystanders in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas is committed to its principles and visions and prisoners will not be forgotten, Haniyeh added.

His remarks came as Hamas official Khalil al-Haya called for the abduction of Israelis, who could be swapped for Palestinians held by Israel. more

Thousands of Palestinian homes threatened with demolition

"Where will we go," asks eight-year-old Tiba Qeren, saying goodbye to the family home that, like those of many other Palestinian citizens of Israel, is condemned to demolition for failing to meet planning rules.

"I'm afraid," she tells AFP. "I know that they are going to destroy our home as they have others in Ramle," the mixed Palestinian and Jewish town where they live, about 18 kilometres (11 miles) from Tel Aviv.

"I'm annoyed because I tell myself: who gives them the right to destroy our house," she says, her young voice shaking with anger.

"The land is not theirs, it belongs to my family and the house is not theirs because it is my family who built it!"

The Ramle community still exists today as rooted from the 160,000 Palestinians who stayed on their land after the creation of Israel in 1948.

During the establishment of the state, an estimated 700-800 thousand Palestinians were forcibly removed from their homes or fled, many of whom still live in refugee camps throughout Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Today, those who remained on their land in 1948 and their descendants number over 1.3 million.

While Israeli law guarantees Palestinians the same equality as other citizens, in practice there are claims of discrimination in government funding and a raft of other issues.

Israeli Palestinian rights group Adalah says only 4.6 percent of new homes built in Israel are in Palestinian towns and villages, despite the fact that Palestinians make up over 20 percent of the population.

Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, who number around 580,000, receive four times as many housing units as Palestinian citizens Israel, the group's website says. more

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Tunnel detection system to span Gaza border

Israeli defense company Elbit Systems developed a sensor-based tunnel detection system to be implemented alongside the entirety of the Gaza border, Israeli media reports.

The new detection system is designed to block infiltration of "Hamas terrorists" into Israel, by enabling the identification of tunnel building activity and its location without false alarms, Israeli news site Ynet reported.

Ynet cited Alon Shuster, head of the Shaar HaNegev regional council, who praised the Israeli defense ministry for such headway.

"From what we know, these are the fruits of that labor. There is no doubt that the aggressive operations this past summer limited the threat in a significant way for Israel and this advancement gives an additional layer of security for the residents," he said to Ynet.

While the system is designed to prevent attacks by militant groups inside Gaza by targeting the many tunnels snaking under the Israel Gaza border, destroying such tunnels also means cutting off the Gaza residents who rely on them from receiving much needed materials and goods they otherwise cannot obtain due to the ongoing Israeli-Egypt blockade of the strip.

The system has already been implemented on parts of the border, and is planned to expand alongside the entire Gaza Strip after receiving approval from Israeli security apparatus. more

17th April is Palestinian Prisoners Day - show your solidarity

April 17 is Palestinian Prisoners Day, the day of National, Arab and international solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners, held by Israel and facing serious, continuous (and escalating) Israeli violations.

Marking this important day, the Palestinian Detainees’ Committee issued this comprehensive report to document the ongoing suffering of the detainees, and to highlight their cause around the world.

The Palestinian National Council, the highest authority of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), held a meeting on April 17, 1974, and decided to declare this day a day of solidarity with all detainees, to support their struggle, and to act in solidarity with the detainees and their constant battle for freedom.

The day is also meant for solidarity with the families of the detainees, and their own ongoing suffering.

Since then, April 17 has become Palestinian Prisoners Day, marked in Palestine and in various places around the world, in cooperation with human rights activists.

This year, April 17 comes amidst escalating Israeli violations, increasing abductions of Palestinians in different parts of occupied Palestine, and during every hour of the day and night.

The arrests target every segment of Palestinian society, while Israeli soldiers have kidnapped, since 1967 until April of 2015, around 850,000 Palestinians, including 15,000 women and thousands of children. more

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Thousands of civil servants strike in Gaza over PA non-payment of salaries

Thousands of government employees in the Gaza Strip are on strike Tuesday in protest of the Palestinian Authority's continued violation of their rights as civil servants, including payment of salaries.

Gazan workers in the ministries of labour, justice, public works and women's affairs are conducting a one day strike, warning of future actions should their rights continue to be violated.

The Union of Government Employees further conducted a protest in front of the Legislative Council headquarters in Ramallah.

The Union has denounced recent visits of Palestinian Authority ministers to Gaza, claiming the visits are symbolic and do not address the problems of government workers in Gaza. more

Israeli navel forces open fire at Gaza fishermen

Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of Gaza City Wednesday morning.

Fishermen told Ma'an that Israeli forces had fired at several fishing boats working in the area, and that no injuries were reported.

Witnesses added that Israeli F16 warplanes were flying at low altitude at the time.

An Israeli army spokeswoman did not have immediate information and told Ma'an she would look into the incident.

Wednesday's incident comes just one week after Israeli forces shot and injured Palestinian fisherman Khalid Zayid with a rubber-coated steel bullet while he was working off the coast of Beit Lahiya.

Palestinian fishermen continue to be targeted by Israeli forces, facing near daily harassment and interference with their work. As part of last summer's ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militant groups, Israel agreed to expand the fishing zone off Gaza's coast, allowing fishermen to sail as far as six nautical miles from shore, and to continue to expand the area gradually. more

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Egyptian forces injure Palestinian with live fire on Gazan border

A Palestinian was injured when Egyptian army forces open fire on him using live rounds on the Gazan border on Tuesday, security sources said. Sources said the Palestinian was shot in the left shoulder by Egyptian forces as he emerged from a tunnel leading into Egypt. Sources added that he has since arrived at Rafah Public Hospital for treatment. Egypt helps maintain an Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip that has been in place since 2007. The blockade has led to frequent humanitarian crises and hardship for Gazans. In February, Egyptian forces opened fired on Palestinian military posts inside Gaza near the border fence, and in January, a Palestinian fisherman was shot in the stomach after he entered Egyptian territorial waters near Sinai. Egypt accuses Hamas of supporting anti-government militant groups operating in the northern Sinai, and has gone to great efforts to create a 1 km-wide buffer zone along the border. Hamas, which denies Egyptian accusations, has suffered poor relations with the Egyptian government ever since the democratically-elected Muslim Brotherhood, with whom they were closely allied, was thrown out of power in July 2013. more

Monday, 13 April 2015

Aid groups urge world to push for end to Gaza blockade

A coalition of international aid groups urged the world Monday to deliver on aid promises for Gaza reconstruction and pressure Israel to lift its blockade of the territory, where rebuilding efforts have stalled since last summer’s Israel-Hamas war.

Donor countries pledged $3.5 billion six months ago for rebuilding thousands of homes and businesses destroyed in the war, but reconstruction has barely begun and living conditions in the territory of 1.8 million people have only worsened, according to a report by the Association of International Development Agencies.

The report, signed by 46 aid groups, said only open borders and a durable Israel-Hamas cease-fire can bring economic, social and political stability to Gaza. Otherwise, “a return to conflict — and the cycles of damage and donor-funded reconstruction that accompany it — is inevitable,” the report said.

The groups said the international community should adopt a new Gaza policy, including by pressuring Israel to lift what they said is an illegal blockade. The report said most donors have been trying to work around the border restrictions, rather than challenging them.

Israel and Egypt have been enforcing tight access and trade restrictions since the Islamic militant group Hamas seized Gaza in 2007. Under the closure rules, the vast majority of Gaza residents cannot travel or export, though Israel permits imports of consumer goods to the territory.

Israel and Egypt say they need to maintain the closure because Hamas, shunned by much of the world as a terror group, poses a security threat. Israel has fought three wars with Hamas in the past six years, in part to try to halt Gaza rocket fire on Israeli towns.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon dismissed the report as “hostile and one-sided.” more

NGOs condemn donors over slow Gaza reconstruction

Six months after donors pledged billions of dollars for devastated Gaza, most of the money remains blocked, and reconstruction efforts are painfully slow, a coalition of aid groups said Monday.

The report also condemned the international community for failing to help open the blockaded Palestinian territories up to each other, to broker a lasting ceasefire with Israel and to hold the two sides accountable.

"If we do not change course now to address these core issues the situation in Gaza will only continue to worsen," Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA) said.

"Without economic, social and political stability, a return to conflict -- and the cycles of damage and donor-funded reconstruction that accompany it -- is inevitable," the coalition added.

The report comes six months after participants in the Cairo donor conference pledged about $5.4 billion in aid for Gaza, flattened by a 50-day war that killed 2,200 Palestinians and 73 Israelis.

"Six months later, reconstruction and rehabilitation have barely kicked off," said the report, written by major charities including CARE International, Oxfam, Save the Children and the Norwegian Refugee Council.

"Donors should make good on the pledges made at the Cairo conference and move forward with reconstruction and recovery projects for Gaza," it said, adding that funding should immediately be made available to allow housing repairs.

According to the report, the war completely destroyed 12,400 houses and damaged over 160,000 homes.

Yet "there has been no accountability to address violations of international law, only 26.8 percent of the money has been released, reconstruction and recovery have barely begun, and people in Gaza remain in dire straits", AIDA said.

The war displaced more than a quarter of Gaza's population of 1.7 million and left 100,000 people homeless. more

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Flooding hits Gaza Strip following heavy rain

Heavy rain has flooded low-lying areas across the Gaza Strip, including Khazaa and Beit Hanoun where thousands of Gazans displaced by the Israeli offensive last summer are living in caravans.

Civil Defense spokesman Muhammad al-Midana told Ma'an that a number of homes in the neighborhood of Kunz Street and Shabia Street in Gaza City had been flooded, and that the Civil Defense had removed swamped cars inside the city and the northern Gaza Strip.

He also said that Civil Defense crews evacuated a school when water levels rose sharply in the surrounding area, putting the school at risk of flooding.

He said that there had been no reported injured.

Meanwhile, witnesses in the low-lying area of Khazaa east of Khan Younis said that a number of caravans housing displaced Gazans had been swamped. There were similar reports from Beit Hanoun.

Gaza has been hit by severe flooding in the past. more

Saturday, 11 April 2015

12 injured as Israeli forces open fire in Jalazun camp

Israeli forces injured 12 Palestinian youths after firing live and rubber-coated bullets during clashes in al-Jalazun refugee camp north of Ramallah on Friday.

Three Palestinians were injured with live fire and a further nine with rubber-coated steel bullets. They were taken to a Palestinian medical complex with light to moderate injuries.

The clashes broke out close to the wall that Israeli is building to seal off the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit El.

Palestinian youths reportedly threw rocks and empty bottles at Israeli soldiers, who fired live bullets and rubber-coated steel bullets at them.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said she was looking into the incident. more

Friday, 10 April 2015

Israeli forces shoot Palestinian dead at his cousin's funeral

A Palestinian man was shot and killed by Israeli forces on Friday at the funeral for his cousin in the town of Beit Ummar near Hebron.

Ziyad Awad, 27, was killed by Israeli forces and thirteen others injured when soldiers opened fire on mourners at the funeral of Jaafar Awad, 22, who died at 2:45 a.m. Friday morning from health complications that rapidly deteriorated while being held in Israeli prison.

Medical sources told Ma'an that Jaafar had succumbed to the illness at the al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron.

Three Palestinians were injured with live fire while 10 others were injured with rubber-coated steel bullets. Dozens of other funeral attendees suffered from excessive tear-gas inhalation.

Awad's funeral was held after Friday prayers, and was followed by tense clashes between Palestinian youth and Israeli forces. Soldiers are permanently stationed at a checkpoint to the town, which is located near the main Bethlehem-Hebron road.

An Israeli military spokeswoman told Ma'an that a "violent riot" had broken out in Beit Ummar in which locals "hurled rocks and molotov cocktails" and "rolled burning tires" at Israeli soldiers.

"Feeling an immediate threat, soldiers used riot dispersal means" against the crowd, but "the rioters refused to halt."

As a result, soldiers "fired at instigators at their lower extremities with .22 caliber bullets." She said that four "hits" were confirmed. more

Fatah leader calls for armed Palestinian mobilization to save Yarmouk

A top Fatah official on Friday called upon party members in Lebanon and Syria to arm themselves to fight the Islamic State group which has recently seized the Damascus-area Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk.

Major-General Tawfiq al-Tirawi told Ma'an that "the suffering of Palestinians in the Yarmouk refugee camp should be ended, and they should be protected from terrorist groups like IS, al-Nusra Front and others."

He called upon Palestinian fighters in Syria and Lebanon to head to the Yarmouk refugee camp to fight these groups.

Al-Tirawi said that Palestinian refugee camps are neutral in the Syrian internal conflict but that some "terrorist groups" are attempting to push Palestinians into ongoing events.

Al-Tirawi's call for mobilization is one of the first major calls by a Palestinian leader for an armed response to aggression against the Palestinian refugee camps in Syria. Palestinians have generally struggled to maintain their neutrality in what they consider an "internal" conflict.

Before the conflict broke out in 2011, around 500,000 Palestinians lived in Syria, descendants of those who were expelled from their homes by Israel in 1948 and forbidden from returning. more

Thursday, 9 April 2015

UNRWA unable to rebuild Gaza due to funding deficit

UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA has only received funding to reconstruct 200 of the 9,061 houses destroyed in Gaza, a report released Thursday said.

While some 60,000 Palestine refugee families have been able to complete the repair of their damaged homes with assistance provided through UNRWA, the majority of funding pledged by the international community for reconstruction following the most recent war in Gaza has not materialized, similar to promises made after previous wars.

UNWRA said that the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism, a temporary agreement between the governments of Israel and Palestine concluded in September 2014, allows the entry of building materials for repair, but the process for rebuilding totally destroyed homes remains yet to be agreed upon.

While import of construction material is banned by Israel but possible for UN-led projects following a lengthy approval procedure since 2010, the UNRWA shelter self-help program is completely reliant on the GRM, limiting the range of reconstruction possible.

Limitation on shipments of building materials also continue, with Israeli authorities adding restrictions on wood shipments to the Gaza Strip earlier this week. more

Israeli forces shoot, injure Palestinian fisherman off Gaza coast

Israeli forces on Wednesday shot and injured a Palestinian man with a rubber-coated steel bullet as he was fishing off the coast of the northern Gaza Strip.

Local sources said that fisherman Khalid Zayid was shot while he was at sea off the coast of the town of Beit Lahiya.

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

Israeli authorities maintained a limit of three miles on all activities of fishermen in the Gaza Strip until August, when Hamas negotiated a six-mile limit as part of the ceasefire that concluded Israel's two-month summer assault that left 2,200 dead.

But Israeli authorities have frequently shot at Palestinian fishermen inside the limit, and three have been killed since then.

Twenty-nine attacks by Israeli forces on Palestinian fisherman have have been reported since Sept. 1 by Gaza-based watchdog al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, however due to the normalcy of such incidents, attacks often go unreported.

The center also said that 42 fisherman had been detained and 12 fishing boats confiscated in the same period.

There are approximately 4,000 fishermen in Gaza. more

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Video message from Gaza: We are still under the rubble

Last week, UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees, tweeted this shocking fact:
More than 7 months after the ceasefire announcement in #Gaza, not a single totally destroyed home has been rebuilt.
This is a point powerfully made in this video posted by the Popular Committee Against the Siege.

It features Shaima Ziara (Twitter @ShaimaZiara), a student at the Islamic University of Gaza, which was itself bombed during Israel’s assault last summer.

“People had high hopes” that after the end of Israel’s 51-day assault, which killed more than 2,200 people, “things will become easier,” Ziara says.

But with Israel’s siege tighter than ever, she adds, “we’re here to remind you that Gaza is still suffering from a catastrophe that is way more severe and grave than 51 days of war.” more

Palestinian shot dead after stabbing 2 Israeli soldiers

A Palestinian male was shot dead after stabbing two Israeli soldiers on route 60 Wednesday morning.

An Israeli army spokeswoman told Ma'an the two Israeli soldiers were stabbed at the Sinjil junction near the Shilo settlement south of Nablus.

One soldier, 20, was critically injured after being stabbed in the neck; the other received minor injuries and then opened fire at the Palestinian male, who sustained critical injuries before being pronounced dead.

Israeli army forces and ambulances arrived to the area giving first aid to the soldiers; the soldiers were taken in a helicopter to Israeli hospitals for treatment.

The attack comes less than one week after an Israeli soldier was stabbed by near the Oranit checkpoint in southern Qalqiliya last Thursday. The soldier was lightly injured and the Palestinian male reportedly detained. more

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

PCHR denounces sentencing legislator Jarrar to 6 months detention

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) denounced an Israeli decision to put Khalida Jarrar, Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PCL), under a six-month administrative detention.

PCHR calls upon the international community to practice pressure on Israeli authorities to put an end to the administrative detention policy, which violates the right to a fair trial.

On Sunday, 05 April 2015, the Israeli military commander issued an order putting PLC member Khalida Jarrar (52) under a six-month administrative detention.

According to human rights sources, a hearing is supposed to be held at the military court in Ofer, west of Ramallah, on 08 April to confirm or reduce the detention order.

The order came four days after Jarrar had been arrested on Thursday morning, 02 April, when Israeli forces raided her house in al-Bireh and took her to Hasharon prison for women in Israel.

It should be noted that Ms. Jarrar is a PLC Member representing Abu Ali Mostafa Bloc and a member of the political bureau of the Popular Front for Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

Israeli forces raided her house previously on 20 August 2014 and handed her a military order transferring her to Jericho until 19 February 2015 on the pretext she "poses threat to the security of the region and she should be placed under private surveillance".

However, Jarrar refused to sign the order that was written in Hebrew, but Jarrar refused to comply with the order and held a sit-in in the PLC yard in Ramallah. Later on, Israeli forces reduced the transfer period to one month, which already ended in mid-September. more

Explosive device set off near Gaza mosque

An explosive device was set off near the al-Radwan mosque in the Sheikh Radwan area in northern Gaza City late Monday.

Witnesses told Ma'an that the sound of an explosion was heard in the area surrounding the mosque.

No injuries were reported.

Teams from the Ministry of Interior rushed to the area as soon as they were informed on the incident.

Gaza has been rocked by a series of violent incidents in recent months, the majority involving attacks on the property of Fatah officials in the Hamas-dominated region. more

Monday, 6 April 2015

Israeli army carries out limited incursion in Khan Younis

A number of armored Israeli military vehicles carried out, on Monday morning, a limited invasion into Palestinian lands, southeast of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

Media sources in Khan Younis said the soldiers first opened fire from military towers in the Kissufim base, across the border; no injuries were reported.

Following the shooting, at least four Israeli army bulldozers and a few vehicles, stationed in the Sofa army base, advanced nearly 200 meters into Palestinian lands, and conducted military searches in the area.

In related news, Israeli navy ships opened fire on a number of Palestinian fishing boats in Gaza territorial waters, close to the shore, near Rafah in the southern part of the coastal region. more

Two critically injured due to Israeli missile leftover explosion in Gaza

Two citizens on Sunday were critically injured due to a missile leftover explosion East of Shija'iyya neighbourhood in Gaza. The same neigbourood was flattened by Israel last summer.

The two injured were on farmland near Al-Mintar crossing east of the city when the missile exploded.

They were moved to Al-Shifaa medical center. Medics reported one as severely critical, and the other as critical. more