Saturday, 3 January 2015

Israel freezes PA tax funds in response to ICC move

Israeli authorities on Saturday froze the transfer of tax funds collected by Israel for the Palestinian Authority in response to President Mahmoud Abbas' decision to sign the Rome Statute, an official told AFP.

The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, did not elaborate.

The Israeli news site Ynet said Israel froze 500 million shekels ($127 million) of tax funds typically distributed each month.

Citing "Israeli sources," Ynet said the decision was made Thursday during a discussion between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other officials.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said the freeze was a war crime.

"This decision is a new Israeli war crime, but we won't back off in the face of those pressures," he told AFP. more

Palestinian fisherman critically injured in Israeli naval attack

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian fisherman was critically injured early Saturday after an Israeli warship opened fire on his vessel off the coast of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

The incident came as a number of Israeli military vehicles crossed the border near Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip, razing agricultural land in a limited incursion in violation of the August ceasefire.

Medical sources said that Israeli forces opened fire with machine guns before firing a shell at a small fishing boat belonging to a Gaza resident identified as Jamal Numan, a resident of al-Shati refugee camp in western Gaza City.

The sources said that Numan was critically injured in the attack, and was taken to Abu Youssef al-Najjar Hospital in Rafah for treatment.

They said that Numan's fishing vessel was completely destroyed by the shell fired by Israeli forces.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said that the Israeli military "identified two vessels in the southern Gaza Strip approaching the Egyptian border in an attempted smuggling attempt.

"They called on suspects to halt and fired warning shots into the air," she added, and opened fire at the vessels after they "failed to comply."

"One vessel returned to the shore and the other sank," she said, adding that the "suspects were identified returning to shore."

Also on Saturday morning, Israeli military vehicles crossed the border into Palestinian agricultural lands in the region of Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip. more