Friday, 31 July 2015

PLO: Israel government 'fully responsible' for toddler's death

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The PLO holds the Israeli government "fully responsible" for the death of a toddler in an arson attack carried out Friday by suspected Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank, an official said.

"We hold the Israeli government fully responsible for the brutal assassination of the toddler Ali Saad Dawabsha," PLO official Saeb Erekat said in a statement.

"This is a direct consequence of decades of impunity given by the Israeli government to settler terrorism."

"We cannot separate the barbaric attack that took place in Duma last night from the recent settlement approvals by the Israeli government, a government which represents an Israeli national coalition for settlements and Apartheid," he added.

The senior PLO official said Israel had "paved the road" for the brutal attack by creating a culture of hate and impunity. more

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Israel passes law allowing force feeding of prisoners

JERUSALEM (AFP) -- The Israeli parliament approved Thursday a law allowing prisoners on hunger strike facing death to be force fed, a spokesman said, sparking criticism from rights groups and medical experts.

The law, which seeks to prevent imprisoned Palestinian prisoners from pressuring Israel by refusing food, was initially approved in June 2014 at the height of a mass hunger strike of Palestinian detainees, during which dozens were hospitalized.

While the law does not specifically mention Palestinians, Israeli Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who led the legislation, said it was necessary since "hunger strikes of terrorists in prisons have become a means to threaten Israel."

The law, which passed by 46 votes to 40, "will be used only if a doctor determines that the continued hunger strike will create an immediate risk to the life of a prisoner or long-term damage to his health," David Amsalem of the ruling Likud party said.

A Knesset press statement said a court will have to review the "prisoner’s mental state, the dangers of force-feeding via a feeding tube and its invasiveness, the prisoner’s stance on the matter and other considerations."

The court may grant requests to force feed if the prisoner is at risk of doing irreversible damage to their body, or endangering their life.

The statement said that Israeli officials must have used "all means at their disposal" to persuade the prisoner to willing ending their strike before resorting to force-feeding.

But opposition members decried the new measure, with the Joint List party criticizing "a law to torture Palestinian prisoners, aimed at uprooting their legitimate struggle".

Left-wing Hadash party member Dov Khenin said the law was"cruel, dangerous and unnecessary,”a Knesset press release said. more

Daily electricity in Gaza expected to nearly double over next 2 days

Increased levels of fuel expected to enter Gaza over the next two days will nearly double the amount of electricity provided to the strip's residents, officials said Wednesday.

Around 900,000 liters of fuel will be be pumped into the Gaza Strip's power station over Wednesday and Thursday, the head of the Palestinian energy authority Omar Kittaneh said.

The fuel, paired with fuel entering through Egypt, will allow the station to increase productivity to 80 megawatts daily, meaning that Gazans will receive around 18 hours of electricity per day, Kittaneh added.

Kittaneh said the increase was possible after Egypt agreed to allow Qatari-funded fuel which has been held Egypt since 2012 to enter Gaza Strip. In 2012, Egypt stopped pumping Qatari-funded fuel to the Gaza Strip after Egyptian authorities accused the Hamas movement of aiding attacks in the neighboring Sinai peninsula.

Qatar had funded 20 million liters of fuel in 2012 for Gaza. Around half of the fuel entered the strip while the remainder has been held Egypt's Suez Canal, Kittaneh said. more

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Hunger striking detainee denied wheelchair to use toilet

Detainee Udai Steiti, who was hospitalized after starting an open-ended hunger strike to protest his administrative detention, has asked for a wheelchair to access the hospital’s toilet, but his request was denied by the Israeli Prison Administration, forcing him to “crawl to the bathroom”.

According to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS), which covers prisoners affairs in Israeli prisons, the health condition of Steiti continues to deteriorate significantly since he first began his strike to end his detention without charge or trial.

PPS said, according to WAFA, that 25-year-old Steiti from the Jenin Refugee camp, who has been on a hunger strike for 41 consecutive days over being detained by the Israeli authorities without indictment or trail, known as administrative detention, is suffering from significant weight loss and severe pain in all body parts, in addition to walking problems.

Meanwhile, prisoner Mohammad Allan from Nablus entered his 44th day in his hunger strike against administrative detention. Allan is just one out of around 400 detainees serving administrative detention in several Israeli jails.

Administrative detention is the imprisonment of Palestinians without charge or trial and on the basis of secret evidence for up to six months, indefinitely renewable by Israeli military courts.

This kind of detention is frequently used when the prison authorities fail to obtain confessions in interrogations of Palestinian detainees.

According to the Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, “Israel’s use of administrative detention violates international law; such detention is allowed only in individual circumstances that are exceptionally compelling for “imperative reasons of security.” more

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Israeli wardens assault PFLP leader in ongoing prison crackdown

The Israeli Prison Service on Tuesday morning assaulted the head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine amid an ongoing crackdown on Palestinian detainees inside Nafha prison, a Palestinian minister said.

Minister of Prisoners' Affairs Issa Qaraqe said in a statement that the Israeli Prison Service assaulted Ahmed Saadat, PFLP's secretary-general, who is serving multiple life sentences in Nafha prison in the Negev in southern Israel.

Qaraqe blamed the Israeli government for the assault on both Saadat and on other Palestinian prisoners at Nafha.

He said that Israeli wardens use all means of aggression against Palestinian detainees including torture, beatings, and humiliation.

Qaraqe demanded that Israel stop that the "craziness," warning that the situation in Israeli prisons could "explode" at any moment.

He pointed to the fact that after the assault on Saadat, prisoners affiliated to PFLP said they would not fail to take action.

The situation in Nafha prison deteriorated sharply on Tuesday after the Israeli Prison Service raided prisoners' cells inside the jail and assaulted a number of detainees. more

Monday, 27 July 2015

Settlers fill ancient well near Salfit

Israeli settlers filled up an ancient agricultural well in the West Bank village of Deir Istiya west of Salfit on Saturday, local farmers told Ma'an News Agency.

Witnesses said that the settlers filled the well with earth and rocks using "primitive" tools.

Khalid Maali, a researcher on settlement affairs, said that filling up the well is part of a larger plan to forcibly move people from Wadi Qana to clear the way for the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements.

Several illegal Israeli settlements surround Deir Istiya, the closest of which are Revava and YaqirI.

About 17 percent of Deir Istiya's village territory is classified as Area B, according to the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem, with the remaining 83 percent Area C, giving Israel full civil and military authority.

ARIJ said in a 2013 report that Deir Istiya "has been subjected to numerous Israeli confiscations for the benefit of various Israeli objectives," including the construction of settlements, outposts, checkpoints, bypass roads and the Israeli separation wall. more

Palestinian teen 'executed' during arrest, family says

Palestinian teenager Muhammad Abu Latifa was "executed" during an arrest raid in the Qalandiya refugee camp on Monday, his family said, refuting claims that he fell from a rooftop while being chased by Israeli soldiers.

Locals said that Israeli military vehicles raided the camp early Monday and broke into the home of Muhammad Abu Latifa, 18, in an attempt to detain him. Israeli soldiers opened fire at the teenager as he attempted to run away, hitting him in the lower body.

Israeli police said that Abu Latifa fell to his death while he was running away across rooftops in the camp.

Muhammad's uncle, Jamal Abu Latifa, refuted the police statement, saying that Israeli soldiers detained Muhammad after shooting him in the feet. "He was chased at 5:30 a.m., shot in the feet then arrested alive. Surprisingly, the Israeli soldiers shot him in the chest, then tied him with electricity wires and we have evidence that some of his body parts were fractured as a result of the assault by soldiers," he told Ma'an. more

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Israeli forces, right-wingers storm Aqsa mosque compound

JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces broke into Al-Aqsa mosque compound Sunday morning firing stun grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets at Muslim worshipers as they cleared way for right-wing Jews who were visiting the compound to mark a Jewish fast day, witnesses said.

Dozens of Palestinian worshipers were reportedly hit with rubber-coated bullets and suffered excessive tear gas inhalation, while Israeli police officers were reported to have attacked worshipers with pepper spray, rods and rifle butts.

At least three Palestinians were reportedly detained.

The officers entered the compound through the Moroccan Gate, Chain Gate and Hutta Gate and clashed with worshipers, witnesses said, before Israeli soldiers then shut down the compound’s gates with chains.

Israeli soldiers also reportedly stormed Al-Aqsa mosque itself and fired rubber-coated bullets inside the holy site. The compound's Palestinian security guards were assaulted and prevented from moving, witnesses said. more

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Israeli forces fire on Gaza farmers, no injuries

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Saturday morning opened fire on Palestinian agricultural lands near the Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, witnesses said.

Locals told Ma'an that Israeli forces stationed in watchtowers near the Gaza-Israel border opened fire on Palestinian farmers who had arrived to tend their crops.

No injuries were reported.

An Israeli army spokesperson did not have immediate information but said they were looking into the incident.

Farmers whose land lies within or close to an Israeli-enforced buffer zone along the border face near daily fire or threat of fire from Israeli forces, often preventing them from cultivating their crops, rights groups say.


Two Palestinians injured by army fire In Nabi Saleh

Palestinian medical sources have reported, Friday, the two young men have been shot and moderately injured by live Israeli army fire in Nabi Saleh village, west of the central West Bank city of Ramallah.

The sources said the Omar Tamimi suffered three gunshot injuries, two in his legs, and one in the abdomen, while Ala’ Nakhla was shot, also with a live round, in his right leg, above the knee.

The several Israeli military vehicles invaded the village, and violently attacked the residents, conducting their weekly nonviolent protest against the Annexation Wall and illegal settlements in the village, leading to clashes, Ali Dar Ali of Palestine TV has reported. more

Friday, 24 July 2015

Israeli forces 'ambush' demonstrators, injuring 2 with live fire

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Two Palestinians were shot and injured by Israeli forces Friday during a weekly demonstration in the occupied West Bank town of Nabi Saleh, witnesses said.

Israeli forces had reportedly set an "ambush" near the path where demonstrators planned to walk, opening live fire as the marchers headed towards land confiscated by the neighboring Halamish settlement.

During the incident, forces shot a 17-year-old with two live bullets. Witnesses say a bullet passed through one thigh, entering and settling in the teen's other thigh, while a second bullet hit him in the back.

A 27-year-old was also shot in the leg.

The injured demonstrators were taken to a hospital in Ramallah for treatment.

Israeli soldiers attempted to prevent the ambulance carrying those injured from leaving the scene for a short period of time, witnesses added. An Israeli army spokesperson had no immediate information on the incident.


Thursday, 23 July 2015

Reconstruction of destroyed homes starts in Gaza

The Palestinian Minister of Housing and Public Works announced Tuesday that reconstruction of the Gaza Strip has “started and will not stop” until all the homes destroyed by Israeli forces during its latest offensive on Gaza have been rebuilt.

Hasayneh laid the first brick of the reconstruction effort at a home of a Palestinian family in al-Shujaiyya, an area east of Gaza City that was one of the w moreorst hit by Israeli shelling during the war.

“We are here today in front of the Harara family home to declare starting actual reconstruction of the Gaza Strip," Minister Mufid al-Hasayneh said.

The Harara home is the first to be reconstructed in the neighborhood, where the majority of residents were forced to flee their homes last summer due to heavy fighting between Hamas fighters and Israeli forces in what would later be known as the "Battle of Shujaiyya."

A UN Commission of Inquiry reported last month that Israeli forces carried out indiscriminate attacks against family homes during the operation into the neighborhood. more

IDF kills Palestinian near Hebron, injure sons, second killing in 48 hours

HEBRON (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces shot and killed a 53-year-old Palestinian and injured his two sons during an arrest raid in the town of Beit Ummar in northern Hebron early Thursday, witnesses said.

FalahHammad Abu Mariais the 17th Palestinian to be killed by Israeli forces this year, three of whom have been killed since the beginning of this month. A spokesperson for a local popular committee, Muhammad Ayyad Awad, told Ma'an that Israeli forces and undercover forces had raided Falah’s house and opened live fire inside the home.

Witnesses said the forces shot and injured his son Muhammad, 22, with two live bullets in the pelvis.

When Falah attempted to aid his injured son, Israeli forces shot Falah twice in the chest, witnesses said.

Falah was taken to the al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron but was pronounced dead shortly after.

Muhammad is currently undergoing surgery and is in stable condition.

Falah’s other son, Ahmad, 25, was also reportedly injured with bullet shrapnel in the chest. He was taken to the al-Ahli Hospital as well where his condition was reported as stable.


Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Israeli forces shoot, kill Palestinian near Jenin

JENIN (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian man during clashes that broke out following a raid into the town of Birqin west of Jenin on Wednesday morning.

Muhammad Ahmad Alawneh, 21, was shot with a live bullet in his chest.

He was taken to a hospital for treatment, where he underwent surgery, but later succumbed to his wounds, medical sources told Ma'an.

Alawneh is the 16th Palestinian to be killed by Israeli forces this year.

During the clashes, Israeli forces fired tear-gas canisters and stun grenades, as well as live rounds.

Sources added that Israeli forces detained journalist Muhammad Ali Atiq during the raid.

Israeli forces also detained Yasser Ghaleb Abu Jaafar from Jenin city after raiding his family home. more

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Israel navy shoots, critically injures Gaza fisherman

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli naval forces shot and injured a Palestinian fisherman with live rounds off the coast of the Gaza Strip on Tuesday morning, witnesses said.

Witnesses said that fisherman in his 20s was hit with a live bullet in his back and several rubber-coated steel bullets in his hand while fishing off the coast of north-west Gaza City.

The unidentified fisherman was taken to the al-Shifa Hospital where his injury was reported as critical.

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

Israeli forces have repeatedly opened fire on Palestinian fisherman and farmers since the ceasefire agreement signed Aug. 26, 2014 that ended a devastating 50-day Israeli military offensive against the Gaza Strip. more

Monday, 20 July 2015

Israeli army opens fire on farmers and homes east of Gaza

Israeli soldiers fired, on Monday morning, rounds of live ammunition, on a number of Palestinian farmers and homes, east of Gaza City.

Media sources said soldiers, stationed on military towers across the border fence east of the Zeitoun neighborhood, targeted farmlands and several homes.

The attack caused property damage but no injuries, while the farmers had to leave their lands, fearing additional Israeli military fire. more

Gaza's sole power plant to shut down in ongoing energy crisis

Gaza's sole power plant will stop running Monday evening as it is unable to cover taxes imposed by the national unity government, Gaza's energy authority said.

The unity government waved the tax in a show of good will in the four months to the end of Ramadan, but the Gazan energy authority said in a statement Monday that since the tax has been reinstated it can no longer afford to keep the plant running.

The energy authority added that it had only been able cover the cost of maintaining the plant during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan and following Eid holiday by borrowing from local companies and taking loans from banks.

The tax imposed on fuel before it is sold to Gaza amounts to a 50 percent price hike on the price of fuel per liter, or 3.5 shekels ($0.91), the statement said.

Gaza is facing an ongoing energy crisis, with residents of the coastal enclave provided only a fraction of the energy needed.

Earlier on Monday, 25 percent of the coastal enclave's energy supply was cut off when two power gridsrun by Israel shut down due to a technical error. more

2 main Israeli power grids providing electricity to Gaza down for days

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A technical error in Israel cut off two main power grids responsible for supplying Gaza with electricity over the weekend. The down lines provide 25 percent (30 megawatts) of the electricity Israel supplies to Gaza.

The Number Eight power grid that provides central Gaza and parts of Khan Younis with electricity shut down three days ago, and the al Qubba power grid for the Gaza District shut down on Sunday.

The Gaza Electricity Distribution Company said it is attempting to cooperate with the Palestinian Power Authority to repair the broken grids, but said the Israeli army is obstructing these efforts and allegedly preventing the Israeli Electricity Corporation from fixing the grids on the grounds of security concerns.

Technicians were also barred for some time from repairing the al Qubba grid when it shut down in May. Gaza currently receives electricity from the Israel, Egypt, and a power station inside Gaza.

However, these supply lines fall far short of the Gazan population's needs. While the three suppliers provide 230 MW of electricity, the UN estimates that only meets half of Gaza's needs.

Israel and Egypt have maintained a severe blockade of the Gaza Strip for the last eight years that has crippled the coastal enclave's economy by limiting imports, exports, and movement of people.

Although the power plant inside Gaza has a potential output of 120 MW it has been unable to produce that much due to Israeli restrictions on fuel imports. Instead, the Gaza plant generally produces around 60 MW, 50 percent of its potential. more

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Five car bombs detonate simultaneously in Gaza - IS blamed

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Five car bombs were detonated simultaneously in the center of Gaza City and in its southern neighborhood of Sheikh Radwan Sunday morning leaving two Palestinians injured.

Graffiti on a wall near the bombings read "Daesh," the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group (IS), although no group has taken official responsibility for the attacks.

Three of the cars were reportedly owned by members of Hamas, while the other two were owned by members of the Islamic Jihad.

Shrapnel from the blasts hit residential houses, shattering windows and injuring two people who were transferred to a local hospital. No deaths were reported.

Hamas officials have opened an investigation on the explosions.

Since last summer's devastating war in Gaza, there have been growing signs of internal unrest between Hamas security forces and other militant groups, with a string of small-scale explosions.

Many of the more recent attacks are believed to be the work of fringe Salafi groups that have made a name for themselves as unafraid to challenge Hamas, seeking to outbid them in the fight against Israel and the defense of Islam. more

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Israeli forces shoot, injure Palestinian teen near Gaza border

Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian teenager Friday evening in the town of Abasan al-Kabira east of the Khan Younis district in the southern Gaza Strip, witnesses said.

Mansour Abu Taima, 14, was reportedly hit with a live bullet in his left foot near the border line.

The teen was taken to the Gaza European Hospital for treatment where his injury was reported as moderate.

An Israeli army spokesperson did not have immediate information on the incident.

Last week, there were at least 11 incidents of Israeli forces opening live fire on Palestinians in "access restricted areas" inside the Gaza Strip, according to the UN Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

In what is also referred to as a "buffer zone," Israeli authorities restrict access by Palestinian residents to areas along both the land and sea borders of the Gaza Strip.

The zone is enforced 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.


Friday, 17 July 2015

Gazan residents celebrating Eid reminded of last year's losses

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Residents of the al-Shujaiyya neighborhood in the Gaza Strip enter Eid al-Fitr celebrations this year reminded of the heavy losses sustained just before the holiday began last year.

Gaza resident Um Mumen Skafi lost both her son and her home after an attack by Israeli forces took place shortly before the holy month of Ramadan came to a close last year, in what would later be known as the Shujaiyya massacre.

Um Mumen stands next to her son's picture in sorrow and says the Eid al-Fitr holiday comes this year bringing painful memories of last year's holiday that began amidst the 50-day between Israel and Hamas that left over 2,200 Palestinians dead and thousands injured from Israeli attacks.

“This is the most difficult Eid in my life without my son Issam and my brother Ibrahim who were killed as martyrs," Um Mumen says.

Her son Issam Skafi, 27, was killed with eight of his cousins in an Israeli attack that was carried out by F-16 warplanes in the al-Shujaiyya neighborhood near Gaza City on July 20, 2014.

Around seventy Palestinians were killed that day alone in the neighborhood.

Intense fighting between Hamas forces and Israeli military caused thousands of residents to flee by foot as heavy shelling left casualties laying in the streets.

Um Mumen says that her son and relatives were hit despite a ceasefire that had been agreed in order to allow the evacuation of Palestinians from the densely populated neighborhood.

Gaza's Ministry of Health later listed the Skafi family as one of several targeted by Israeli shelling during the war.

A UN Commission of Inquiry reported last month that "there are strong indications that the IDF’s Shuja’iya operation on 19 and 20 July was conducted in violation of the prohibition of indiscriminate attacks and may amount to a war crime." more

Half of Susiya village to be demolished by Israelis after Ramadan

Israeli authorities ordered the demolition of around half of the homes, in a village south of Hebron, to be carried out after Ramadan, Israeli watchdogs said on Wednesday.

Rabbis for Human Rights and B'Tselem said, in a statement, that pressure from Israeli settlers had led to the decision to carry out demolition orders in the village of Khirbet Susiya after Ramadan, although a high court hearing regarding the case is currently scheduled for August 3.

The Israeli Civil Administration, the Israeli army, and the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) office announced the demolition order to the villagers in a meeting, Sunday. Khirbet Susiya has been under imminent threat of demolition since May, when the Israeli High Court approved the demolition of the villagers' homes and tents and possible relocation of the villages around 300 Bedouin residents.

The court case has been ongoing since 2012, when residents of Khirbet Susiya applied for the Israeli Civil Administration to approve an outline plan for northern part of the village.

Susiya villagers reportedly built homes in 1986 on agricultural land they owned, after being evicted by Israel from their previous dwellings on land declared as an archaeological site. more

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Israeli fighter jets hit target in Gaza Strip

Israeli fighter jets attacked a target in the Gaza Strip early Thursday morning after a missile fired from the strip hit an open area near the town of Ashkelon in the western Negev, an Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an.

No injuries or damages were reported in Israel and have yet to be confirmed in the Gaza Strip.

An Israeli spokesperson could not give any information regarding the location of the airstrike in Gaza, only that the target was "terror infrastructure." On June 24 a similar exchange took place between the enclave and Israel. more

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Palestinian family mourns third son killed by Israeli army

QALANDIYA (AFP) -- For more than a decade, the Kasbah family has displayed a banner depicting brothers Samer and Yasser, shot dead by Israeli troops during the Palestinian Intifada aged 15 and 11.

Ten days ago, Fatima and Sami Kasbah added the picture of a new "martyr" -- 17-year-old Mohammed, their third son to die by Israeli army gunfire.

The incident that led to his death has sparked controversy in Israel and anger among Palestinians, with video footage made public challenging the army's initial version of events.

An officer shot Kasbah dead on July 3 after he threw a stone at an army vehicle close to the Qalandiya checkpoint in the occupied West Bank, on the third Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The army, which has opened an investigation, said after the shooting that Kasbah posed an "imminent danger" to soldiers.

But the Israeli rights group later released a video indicating the officer shot him after he ran away from troops and left him to die without medical treatment -- confirming what witnesses said.

There are conflicting accounts, but for the family the result is still the same -- a third dead son.

"Every day there is a martyr, not just in our family, but for all Palestinian families," Sami Kasbah said.

"Someone is hurt, someone is killed, someone is arrested. This is what happens, that's the occupation," he said, recalling the moment he found out his son had been shot. "The doctor called me and told me: 'Your son has been killed'." more

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Army attacks fishermen, villagers and homes in Gaza

Israeli navy ships attacked, on Tuesday morning, several fishing boats in Palestinian waters near Gaza city, while Israeli soldiers opened fire on farmlands and homes, in central Gaza.

The navy fired dozens of rounds of live ammunition on fishing boats in the Sudaniyya Sea, northwest of Gaza city, causing damage to at least one boat.

The fishers had to sail to shore fearing additional Israeli fire, no injuries were reported.

In related news, soldiers stationed across the border fence, opened fire on Palestinian farmers in their own lands, east of the al-Boreij refugee camp, in central Gaza. more

Palestinian bystander shot by Israeli forces in Shufat loses eye

br>JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- A 55-year-old Palestinian lost an eye after he was hit by a sponge-tipped bullet while seeking shelter from clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian youths in Shufat refugee camp in East Jerusalem Sunday.

Video footage caught on a surveillance camera in a grocery shop showed the moment Nafiz Dmeiri sought refuge from the clashes inside the shop and was shot in the face.

He was evacuated to Hadassah Medical Center in Ein Kerem in West Jerusalem.

An Israeli human rights group, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, said in a statement that Dmeiri is deaf and dumb, has one child and works at a tailor shop.

The statement called on Israeli police to stop using "black sponge bullets during riot dispersal."

Dmeiri was one of two Palestinians injured during the clashes that broke out after "undercover" Israeli forces raided a clothing store inside the camp to make an arrest.

A Fatah spokesman in the camp, Thaer Fasfous, told Ma'an that Israeli forces had opened fire on local residents "indiscriminately," hitting Dmeiri in the eye and another man in the upper body.

According to Israeli rights group B'Tselem, sponge-tipped bullets "are made of 40-mm-diameter plastic with a sponge tip intended to reduce the bodily injury it causes."

They were introduced after the use of rubber-coated steel bullets was prohibited within Israel, and are commonly used in occupied East Jerusalem, though rarely in the West Bank. more

Monday, 13 July 2015

Soldiers open fire on Palestinian farmers east of Khan Younis

Israeli soldiers opened fire, earlier on Monday morning, on a number of Palestinian farmers, working in their lands east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip; the army also

The Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA) has reported that soldiers, stationed on military towers across the border fence, east of Khan Younis, fired several of rounds of live ammunition at the Palestinian farmers, forcing them to leave their lands.

The soldiers also targeted a few nearby homes, and property, causing damage but no injuries. more

Gaza man burns himself to death

A Palestinian man aged 33 years was announced dead, Sunday, after he allegedly burned himself.

Local sources said that he carried out the act in the center of Gaza city.

The man, who lived in Al-Daraj neighbourhood in Gaza city, was moved to Al-Shifa hospital but was shortly announced dead by medics. Family sources said that he suffered mental illness, according to the PNN.

The reasons to his suicide are still unidentified.

Suicide rates in Palestine seem to be on the rise, especially after the latest attack on Gaza last summer. more

Israeli navy opens fire on Gaza fishing boats

Israeli navy ships opened fire, on Sunday morning, on a number of Palestinian fishing boats, near the Gaza shore, forcing them back to land.

Eyewitnesses said the navy fired rounds of live ammunition, near the Sudaniyya shore, northwest of Gaza City, causing damage but no injuries.

Two days ago, the navy kidnapped six fishers in the Sudaniyya sea, took them to Ashdod, and confiscating their boats. more

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Israeli forces free Palestinian hunger striker Khader Adnan

NABLUS (Ma'an) -- The Israeli authorities released Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan on Sunday, two weeks after a deal was reached that ended his 55-day long hunger strike.

Adnan, 37, went on hunger strike in June to protest the Israeli practice of administrative detention, under which Palestinians can be held without charge or trials for months or years. His release Sunday came after 11 months in Israeli custody, without charge or trial.

Adnan was taken in an Israeli military vehicle to a crossroads near the village of Arraba south of Jenin, where he was received by the director of the Palestinian military liaison office of Jenin and Tubas, Mujahid Abu Dayya.

Palestinian security sources told Ma'an that the Israeli authorities released Adnan "secretly" and even his family was not aware of the time he would be released.

"The Israelis wanted to prevent celebrations," they said. more

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Palestinian teen shot, injured by Israeli forces

QALQILIYA (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian teenager Friday as demonstrators were dispersed during the weekly protest in Kafr Qaddum village near Qalqiliya in the occupied West Bank.

Israeli forces reportedly fired live and rubber-coated-steel bullets injuring Amjad Farouq Abu Khalid,17, with a live bullet to the leg, the coordinator for the popular resistance committee in the village Murad Shtewei told Ma'an.

Khalid was taken to Rafidia hospital for treatment.

Shtewei said dozens of Israeli soldiers raided homes in the village and used them as shooting posts, in addition to firing tear gas and skunk water, a foul-smelling liquid has been used by the Israeli military as a form of non-lethal crowd control that can leave individuals and homes smelling like feces and garbage for weeks. more

Friday, 10 July 2015

Hamas announces development of new missiles

Hamas' military wing announced, on Wednesday night, that it developed two new homemade rockets, and gave them names of slain leaders.

In a rally held in the central square of the Gaza City to mark the first anniversary of latest Israeli onslaught against Gaza, Hamas Military Wing Al-Qassam Brigades announced developing new rockets.

Days of Palestine reports that, as hundreds of people were called to witness the announcement of the two rockets, Al-Qassam Spokesman Abu-Obaida praised Al-Qassam fighters and mourned those martyred during Israeli war on Gaza.

Abu-Obaida said that the two new rockets were given the names of the two most senior Qassam leaders assassinated by the Israeli occupation, during the war; Raed al-Attar and Mohamed abu-Shammaleh.

Brigades members, their faces covered with black Palestinian scarves (Kufiyeh), stood in front of what appeared to be models of two rockets about three to four metres (9 to 13 feet) in length aboard the bed of a military truck. more

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Family of Beduoin allegedly held in Gaza not contacted by officials

BEERSHEBA (Ma'an) -- A relative of a Palestinian Bedouin citizen of Israel allegedly being held in the Gaza Strip said no Israeli officials have contacted their family in regards to the disappearance.

The 28-year-old from al-Sayed village near Houra in the Negev went missing on April 20 and is believed by relatives to be held in Gaza.

It is unknown if the 28-year-old is one of the two Israelis who are reportedly being held captive in the Gaza Strip, including one detained by Hamas after crossing into the territory last year.

Reports from Israel's Ministry of Defense confirming that two Israeli men are currently being held in Gaza said Thursday that information on the unidentified Palestinian citizen of Israel was still under a gag order. more

2 Israelis held in Gaza, one by Hamas

JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Two Israelis are being held captive in the Gaza Strip, including one detained by Hamas after crossing into the territory last year, Israel's defense ministry said Thursday.

The ministry said that "according to credible intelligence" Avraham Mengistu, an Israeli of Ethiopian descent, "is being held against his will by Hamas in Gaza."

"Furthermore, the defense establishment is currently dealing with an additional case of an Israeli Arab also being held in Gaza," it said in a statement, without providing further details on the second person.

Hamas had not yet commented on the case.

The statement said that Mengistu slipped into the Palestinian territory ruled by Hamas on September 7, 2014, shortly after the end of a 50-day war between Israel and Hamas.

"Israel has appealed to international and regional interlocutors to demand his immediate release and verify his well-being," the statement added.

The case had previously been kept quiet due to an Israeli gag order, which was lifted on Thursday by a judge in the southern city of Ashkelon, where Mengistu lived, local media reported. more

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Palestinians mark one year since Gaza war

GAZA CITY (AFP) -- Palestinians marked one year since last summer's devastating war in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, with a ceasefire still largely holding but few of the issues that led to the conflict resolved.

The war took a heavy toll on Gaza, killing 2,251 Palestinians, including at least 1,500 civilians and more than 500 children. Seventy-three people were killed on the Israeli side, including 67 soldiers.

A UN report released last month said both sides may have committed war crimes during the 50-day conflict, which has left more than 100,000 Gazans homeless in the impoverished enclave of 1.8 million people.

It was the third war in Gaza in six years, and by far the deadliest and most destructive of the three, leaving families wondering when the suffering will end.

"You have to remember, if you are even just a seven-year-old child... you have been through three wars," said Robert Turner, Gaza operations director for UN relief agency UNRWA.

Hamas, the movement that runs the Gaza Strip, has planned commemorations on Wednesday.

Israel held a memorial on Monday for the 73 killed in the war, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended the military offensive.

"I say to all enemies of Israel -- Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran and IS (Islamic State) -- that those who attempt to attack our people will pay with their blood," he said.

The circumstances surrounding Gaza have led to fears that another war could eventually break out, with the Gazan population still living in desperate poverty as a result of a crippling Israeli blockade.

Pierre Krahenbuhl, UNRWA's commissioner general, said in a statement Wednesday: "The root causes of the conflict remain unaddressed. The despair, destitution and denial of dignity resulting from last year’s war and from the blockade are a fact of life for ordinary people in Gaza."

In recent weeks rocket have once again been fired into Israel, with the Israeli army responding with air strikes.

Indirect talks on shoring up the ceasefire that ended last year's war and easing Israel's blockade on the territory have taken place, but there have been no signs that a deal could be reached anytime soon.

The blockade, as well as a lack of financing from international donors, have been blamed for the slow pace of reconstruction in Gaza, where around 18,000 homes were destroyed or severely damaged and up to 120,000 Gazans remain homeless, according to UNRWA.

A split between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority led by President Mahmoud Abbas, which runs the occupied West Bank, has worsened the situation. Reconciliation attempts have failed to heal the rift.

Meanwhile, Hamas has been challenged by Salafist militant groups in Gaza, some claiming links to IS and who have taken credit for recent rocket fire. more

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Israeli minister to decide on deportation of Palestinian MPs

The Israeli Minister of the Interior was given 30 days by the Supreme Court on Monday to reach a final decision on the possible deportation from East Jerusalem of three Palestinian lawmakers and a former Palestinian Authority Jerusalem affairs minister.

Monday's hearing was a follow-up to another hearing in the same court on May 5, 2015 that discussed the possibility of revoking the Jerusalem residency rights of Muhammad Abu Teir, Ahmad Attun, Muhammad Tutah and Khalid Abu Arafeh. While Abu Arefeh formerly served as the PA's minister of Jerusalem affairs, the other three are members of Palestine's parliament, the Palestinian Legislative Council.

All four live in occupied East Jerusalem.

The Israeli Ministry of the Interior has been threatening to deport the lawmakers and former minister since Hamas won Palestinian legislative elections in 2006. more

Monday, 6 July 2015

Islamic Jihad fighters set up watchtower near Gaza border

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The military wing of Islamic Jihad has set up a watchtower near the Israeli border in Gaza, a senior leader told Ma'an on Sunday. The leader, who only named himself as Abu Ahmad, said that the al-Quds Brigades set up the tower in the Abu Reida area on the outskirts of Khuzaa in southern Gaza.

He said it lay opposite an Israeli gate on the border fence used for military purposes, adding that it was eight meters high and 500 meters from the border.

"In al-Quds Brigades we believe that the equation has changed and the rules of the conflict have changed in favor of (the Palestinian) resistance," Abu Ahmad said.

He added that al-Quds Brigades insisted on defying the Israeli occupation.

"This is a message notifying (the Israeli) occupation that we are coming closer and closer, with our eyes focused on the (Israeli) borders, and not on what is going on in the Arab world," he said, apparently in reference to a violent insurgency in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, which Egypt has accused some Palestinian factions of supporting.

Israeli forces have repeatedly opened fire on Palestinians from the border fence since the ceasefire agreement signed Aug. 26, 2014 that ended a devastating 50-day Israeli military offensive against the Gaza Strip. more

Desperate Gazans resort to makeshift homes year after war

GAZA CITY (AFP) -- Fouad Abu Asser and his family have returned to their neighborhood amid the rubble of the Gaza Strip -- but something resembling a shed is what they now call home. "We hear talk and more talk, but we still haven't seen anything," the 54-year-old father said, referring to the slow pace of rebuilding in the Gaza Strip, devastated by last summer's war with Israel.

Wednesday marks a year since the war's start, and thousands of homes in Gaza still have not been rebuilt, forcing residents like Abu Asser to construct makeshift houses where they once lived out of prefabricated supplies or rubble.

The delay has been blamed on a variety of reasons, including Israel's strict blockade preventing the shipment of construction material into the coastal enclave and the failure of promised money to arrive from international donors.

The result has been Gazans seeking to house their families in whatever way they can, with some 18,000 homes either destroyed or severely damaged during the 50-day war. At the height of the conflict, the third in six years, the United Nations had transformed 91 of its schools in the Gaza Strip into shelters to house some 300,000 displaced. Short of money, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees recently closed the last shelter.

Some of the displaced have been able to return home, but more than 100,000 remain homeless -- more than five percent of the Strip's 1.8 million population.

It is a major part of the misery facing Gazans a year after the war, which killed 2,251 Palestinians, including 551 children, and 73 people on the Israeli side.

'Our only option'

Abu Asser put together three prefabricated cabins -- forming two floors -- amid the rubble of his former home. Provided by Jordan, the cabins resemble the type used at construction sites, with white and grey walls.

There is a room about nine square meters inside the first floor -- not much bigger than a large closet -- as well as a small kitchen and bathroom. The two others of the same size are perched on the gutted building's concrete slabs above.

Fifteen family members live in the makeshift complex, including two of Abu Asser's grandchildren who are disabled.

"I live with my wife and our children in a prefabricated cabin on the ground floor and my sons Bashir and Salah live with their families in two prefabricated cabins above," said Abu Asser, who is among the 44 percent of Gazans who are unemployed -- what the World Bank says is likely the highest rate anywhere.

He said he was aware of the risks of collapse, but went ahead with the Lego-like construction anyway "because it was our only option after having suffered so much", with the family having constantly relied on others for shelter.

Many other Gazans have used similar types of construction or even more basic materials to provide shelter for themselves. more

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Israeli navy opens fire on Gaza fishermen

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli naval forces opened fire on Palestinian fishermen in several locations off the coast of the Gaza Strip with no injuries reported, witnesses said.

Fishermen said their fishing boats came under fire off the coast of al-Waha northwest of Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip. Separately, Israeli forces fired at Gaza fishermen off the coast of Sudaniyya northwest of Gaza City, as well as off the coast near Sheikh Ijlein in the central Gaza Strip.

No injuries were reported.

An Israeli army spokesperson said that Israeli forces fired warning shots into the air after the boats had "deviated from the designated fishing zone," but was unable to elaborate on how far from shore the vessels were at the time of the incident.


Saturday, 4 July 2015

Egypt destroys 1.5 km smuggling tunnel near Rafah

CAIRO (Ma'an) -- Egyptian forces on Saturday discovered and destroyed a 1.5 kilometer smuggling tunnel beneath the Gazan border, the Egyptian army said.

Egyptian security sources told Ma'an that the tunnel was found by Egyptian border guards in the Dayniya area south of Rafah.

They said that eight sacks of explosive TNT material and a half-ton of C-4 -- another explosive material -- had been found inside the tunnel. Both the tunnel and the explosive material were destroyed by the army.

Smuggling tunnels have served as a lifeline to the outside world for Gaza's 1.8 million inhabitants since Israel imposed a crippling siege on the coastal enclave in 2007, which is supported by Egypt.

While the tunnels are used by Hamas as a source of tax revenue and inflow of weapons, they also supply highly-demanded necessities for Gazans including food, medicine, as well as infrastructure materials including concrete and fuel.

Egypt has sought to destroy the tunnels as part of an ongoing security campaign in the northern Sinai against anti-regime militants launching attacks on Egyptian police and military personnel.


Thursday, 2 July 2015

Video: Israelis use electric stun guns on Gaza flotilla passengers

Contrary to Israeli claims that the Marianne was taken peacefully, this video shows that armed commandos used brutal violence against unarmed passengers aboard the Gaza-bound boat early on Monday.

According to the organizers of the flotilla, 14 of the 18 civilian passengers and crew remain in Israeli custody more than two days after they were violently abducted in international waters to prevent them breaking the Israeli-imposed siege on Gaza.

Palestinian citizen of Israel and member of the Israeli parliament Basel Ghattas, former Tunisian president Moncef Marzouki, Spanish European Parliament member Ana Miranda and Israeli journalist Ohad Hemo have been released.

The other passengers remain in detention at Givon prison in present-day Israel. more

After Sinai attacks ministry deploys security forces at Egypt border

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The Ministry of Interior in the Gaza Strip deployed forces along the border with Egypt on Wednesday after attacks in Sinai by militants affiliated with the Islamic State reportedly killed over 70 people.

Iyad al-Buzem, spokesman of the ministry, said Hamas security forces and patrols were deployed along the southern border to maintain security and stability.

At least 70 people, mostly Egyptian soldiers but also civilians, were killed in attacks and ongoing clashes with Islamic State group (IS) militants in the Sinai Peninsula on Wednesday, officials said.

The attacks, in which car bombs were used, were the most brazen in their scope since militants launched an insurgency in 2013 following the army's overthrow of president Mohamed Morsi.

During the attack, militants took over rooftops and fired rocket-propelled grenades at a police station in Sheikh Zuweid after mining its exits to block reinforcements, an Egyptian police colonel said.

One car bomb attack against a checkpoint south of Sheikh Zuweid killed 15 soldiers."This is war," a senior military officer said. "It's unprecedented, in the number of terrorists involved and the type of weapons they are using."

F-16 jets responded by striking the militants in several locations, said officials and a witness, who added: "There are gunmen on the streets. They have planted mines everywhere."

Explosions were heard and plumes of smoke seen over Sheikh Zuweid from the neighboring Gaza Strip, witnesses there said.

The Islamic State group (S) said its militants surrounded the police station after launching attacks on 15 checkpoints and security installations using suicide car bombers and rockets. more

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Attacks continue in West Bank as settlers assault Palestinian man

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) – Attacks continued in the occupied West Bank overnight Tuesday when Israeli settlers attacked and moderately injured a 60-year-old man from the central West Bank village of Ras Karkar west of Ramallah, relatives say.

Mahmoud Salih Nofal was surrounded by a "mob of settlers" who assaulted him with pepper spray before violently beating him with rods, causing bruises over his body, the man's nephew Muhammad Nofal told Ma'an.

The attack, he added, took place at 7 p.m. near the main entrance of the village.

The settlers allegedly left Nofal bleeding in a field and fled the scene.

When he regained consciousness, the man walked to the nearest main road where locals saw him and immediately evacuated him to the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah.

The incident comes amid a rise in violent incidents over the past week in the area.

Yesterday, Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian man at the Qalandiya checkpoint in Ramallah after he allegedly charged an Israeli soldier at the crossing entrance.

On Monday, four settlers were injured by a Palestinian gunman near the illegal settlement of Shilo in the Nablus district northwest of Ramallah, one of whom later died from his injuries.

The incident invoked a statement from the president of the Shomron regional council representing illegal Israeli settlements in the northern West Bank, reading "we must not let terrorism spread."

"I call on the government to authorize the army to act without pity against these savages who take civilians for targets," he said.