Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Booking.com offers hotel rooms in Israel’s illegal settlements


I travel frequently to Palestine. Usually, I avoid tourist attractions but last year I decided to make a short trip to the Dead Sea. Searching for a place to stay, I checked the travel website Booking.com.

Immediately, I felt uneasy. Could some of the hotels it had listed be located in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank?

Rather than making a reservation, I drove to one of these hotels. Although the address given for the Kalia Kibbutz Hotel on Booking.com indicates that it is inside present-day Israel, the truth is quite different. It can be found within Kalia, a settlement in the West Bank that is one of the main shareholders in the cosmetics company Ahava.

The settlement is located within a gated village. This means that Palestinians are forbidden from entering. The hotel had few guests when I called. But the deceptive details on Booking.com could easily lead unsuspecting tourists to think they are staying inside Israel, when in reality they are in an illegal colony. more

Autopsy shows Palestinian teen was shot at close range

< br>Autopsy results for a young Palestinian man killed by Israeli forces near Bethlehem early Tuesday show that he was shot in the upper body at close range, a forensic expert told Ma'an.

Sabri al-Aloul said that the autopsy results show that 19-year-old Jihad al-Jaafari bled to death after being hit with an M16 bullet that penetrated his body through the left shoulder and struck his lungs before exiting and causing severe bleeding in his arteries and around his spine.

The killing was "similar to an execution" because he was shot from very close range, al-Aloul said.

The autopsy was performed between 10:45 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. and adhered to international standards, he added.

He said the autopsy was significant given that the report could be used to hold Israel accountable in international courts. more

Israeli forces kill Palestinian teen in Duheisha refugee camp


Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian teenager during a predawn arrest raid in Bethlehem's Duheisha refugee camp, locals and medics said.

Jihad Shehada al-Jaafari, 19, was shot under his left shoulder while standing on the roof of his family home near the main road by the camp, witnesses said.

He was hit by a bullet after Israeli forces opened fire in the densely-populated refugee camp following clashes with locals during an arrest raid.

An Israeli soldier was struck by a Molotov cocktail during the clashes and sustained burns.

Al-Jaafari was taken to al-Yamama hospital in nearby al-Khader, where he was pronounced dead.

Medics said the teenager died of internal bleeding, with witnesses at the scene saying Israeli forces stopped ambulances from reaching his body.

The funeral will be held after noon prayers on Tuesday. Mourners will perform prayers in the main mosque in Duheisha camp before walking to the Martyrs Courtyard where al-Jaafari will be laid to rest.

A spokeswoman for the Israeli army said that troops were attacked by people throwing stones and incendiary devices, adding that one soldier was wounded. more