Friday, 27 March 2015

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

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

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

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

Israel to stop withholding Palestinian tax revenues

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

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

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

Palestine Marathon defies Israeli restrictions on movement

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

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

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

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

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

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