Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Israeli forces open fire on fishermen, farmers, and level lands in Gaza

A Palestinian was injured after Israeli naval forces on Tuesday opened fire on fishermen, detaining four and confiscating their boats, as Israeli forces also opened fire on farmers and leveled lands elsewhere in the Gaza Strip.

The detained fishermen were identified as Hasan Miqdad, Bashir Abu Riyala, and his brothers Khalid and Rajab, according to Nizar Ayyash, speaker of the union of fisherman in the Gaza Strip.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that two boats diverted from the designated fishing zone off the coast of Gaza City, as the army ordered them to turn back. However, the fishermen continued to sail and Israeli soldiers fired warning shots into the air before detaining the fishermen for questioning.

The spokesperson added that one Palestinian was injured during the incident and evacuated to a hospital.

Since the beginning of 2016, Israeli forces have detained at least 67 fishermen off the coast of the Gaza Strip, with the majority being later released from Israeli custody, according to Al Mezan Center for Human Rights.

The incident comes a day after it was announced that Israeli authorities decided to reduce the allowed fishing zone off the coast of the besieged Gaza Strip only two months after they had extended it. more

Monday, 30 May 2016

Israeli army bulldozers level lands in southeastern Gaza

Israeli army vehicles crossed the border fence into the besieged Gaza Strip early on Monday morning to level lands, witnesses told Ma’an.

The eyewitnesses said Israeli military vehicles and bulldozers coming from the Sufa military base entered private Palestinian lands east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip.

Bulldozers reportedly levelled lands approximately 50 meters into Gaza while Israeli jets hovered in the sky. No gunfire was reported.

Meanwhile in the northern Gaza Strip, witnesses said that Israeli forces launched a surveillance balloon near the town of Beit Hanoun while fighter jets flew over the area.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an they were looking into the reports. more

Sunday, 29 May 2016

International organizations condemn Israel's travel restrictions on BDS founder

Sixteen organizations from around the world denounced travel restrictions on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) co-founder Omar Barghouti.

In a public letter to their respective foreign ministers on Sunday, international academic boycott organizations publicly condemned Israel’s refusal to renew Barghouti’s travel documents.

Organizations from the American, Asian, and European countries demanded freedom for Barghouti to travel and for their ministers “to impress on the Israeli government the absolute necessity of ceasing its repressive measures against Palestine’s civil leaders.”

Barghouti, who lives with his family in the city of Acre in Israel, is Palestinian, but was born in the Gulf state of Qatar. After marrying his wife, a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship, he was granted permanent residency in Israel for the past 23 years.

The activist regularly travels internationally to speak at events aimed at bringing attention to BDS strategies of ending Israel’s illegal occupation of the Palestinian territory. more

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Gaza women turn recycling into an art

Karam Aziz, a shy 16-year-old, knocks on doors in Jabaliya refugee camp, asking for old shopping bags. Locals enquire why he wants them, yet happily hand over any they can find. Within half an hour, Karam usually has about 70 bags — vital raw material for an arts and crafts project using recycled materials.

Once he has collected the bags, Karam brings them to his sister-in-law Zainab. She and her team of 20 women transform plastic and nylon garbage into colorful toys, baskets, cushions and ornaments.

Zainab Aziz, a 25-year-old mother of two, set up the project after graduating with an Arabic language degree from Al-Aqsa University in Gaza City last year. The project is known as The New Heritage because it gives a modern and environmentally conscious twist to traditional handcrafts.

The process of making art from garbage is a long one. First the old bags have to be washed and sterilized, then cut into pieces suitable for crocheting. more

Young Palestinian man shot, injured by Israeli undercover soldiers

A young Palestinian man was shot and injured Friday evening by Israeli undercover soldiers at the northern entrance to Bethlehem to the south of occupied West Bank. PIC reporter quoted eyewitnesses as saying that Israeli undercover soldiers opened fire towards a Palestinian while trying to throw a Molotov cocktail at the Israeli military watchtower at the entrance to the city.

The young man was immediately taken to hospital as he suffers live shot injury in his right foot, the sources added. Along the same line, two Israeli soldiers were injured during clashes broke out in Takoa town east of the city. The clashes broke out when Israeli forces stormed the town amid heavy fire of teargas bombs and rubber bullets. more

Israel returns body of Abd al-Fattah al-Sharif after being held for 2 months

Israeli authorities on Friday evening released the body of Abd al-Fattah al-Sharif, the Palestinian whose brutal killing by an Israeli soldier in March was caught on film, sparking international outrage.

The Palestinian Civil Affairs Committee said al-Sharif’s body was returned and taken to Hebron’s al-Ahli hospital.

Al-Sharif's family told Ma'an his funeral will be held on Saturday afternoon, and that they have rejected all Israeli authorities’ conditions for the release of his body.

Al-Sharif was shot alongside Ramzi Aziz al-Qasrawi after the two allegedly stabbed and moderately wounded an Israeli soldier at a military checkpoint in the Tel Rumeida area of Hebron on March 24.

Al-Qasrawi was killed immediately, while al-Sharif was left severely wounded for several minutes without treatment, before an Israeli soldier stepped forward and put a bullet through his head, killing him.

A graphic video released by B’Tselem capturing the incident was met with wide condemnation from rights groups and international bodies, with the UN demanding an investigation into the soldier's apparent "extrajudicial execution." more

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Israeli airstrikes, claim to target Hamas military sites in Gaza

Israeli warplanes launched airstrikes in the central and southern Gaza Strip early on Thursday, targeting two sites used by the Hamas movement’s military wing, after a Palestinian militant group fired rockets towards Israel.

Witnesses told Ma’an that Israeli planes fired rockets at a site used by the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades in southwestern Rafah, while another strike hit a site known as Shuhada al-Qassam west of the al-Nuseirat refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip.

Medical sources said that no injuries had been reported.

The Israeli army said in a statement that the airstrikes were launched after a rocket launched from the besieged Gaza Strip on Wednesday hit “an open area in the Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council in southern Israel.”

Israeli media reported that a total of four rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip, three of which fell at the Gaza borderline. No injuries were reported.

The Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis group claimed responsibility for the rockets.

However, the Israeli army reiterated that it held the Hamas movement “accountable for all attacks emanating from the Gaza Strip.”

The statement claimed that nine rockets fired from Gaza have hit Israeli territory since the beginning of 2016.


Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Meet the 12-year-old Gaza IT geek

From the Electronic Intifada - Twelve-year-olds across the world like their computers. But few take it to the level of Mohammad Alhaulimy.

From a young age, Mohammad has shown a passion for computers, coding and technology, a passion that has been indulged by his family, and which has seen him receive support from other countries and invitations to conferences around the region.

Mohammad built his first mobile application, World Savers, at the age of 9. He sought to raise awareness about global issues such as wars and pollution in a game format. It didn’t go far, and has now been forgotten, but it was a first challenge for the budding coder.

“I wanted to create something of my own, a game or a video … Something that I would appreciate,” Mohammad said as he stared at his Mac.

He attended an International Computer Driving License, ICDL, course when he was 7, to secure the global computer skills certification. But he soon found it was not challenging enough.

“The courses I attended never satisfied me. I turned to the Internet and YouTube searching for what I’ve missed in courses,” he said, as a Facebook notification popped onto his screen.

Mohammad’s family was supportive from the beginning. Luai Mohammad Alhaulimy, Mohammad’s proud teacher father, bought his son a brand new laptop at the age of 10 to encourage him to improve his skills.

His mother Elham, believes her son has a unique and ambitious character that will lead him to success. Yet she worries about the time he spends in front of the screen, where “he sits focused for long hours.”

“I am afraid that his health might be affected. He is my only son,” said Elham. “But I am happy we have a little genius in our house.”

Mohammad’s potential was soon recognized elsewhere. In 2014, he took part in the Microsoft Imagine Cup student technology competition, where he, along with another Palestinian from the West Bank, beat off competition from 500 others to make it through to the final round. more

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Video: Hebron settlers steal furniture from Palestinian home for Lag BaOmer bonfire

A group of right-wing Israeli settlers broke into an uninhabited Palestinian house in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron on Tuesday and stole wooden furniture, presumably to be burned during bonfire celebrations for the Jewish holiday of Lag BaOmer.

A spokesperson for Hebron-based activist group Youth Against Settlement, Issa Amro, told Ma’an that the houses belonged to the the Al-Sayyid Ahmad and Tahboub families, who have been banned from accessing their homes in Hebron’s Old City since Israeli forces sealed the area around al-Shuhada Street in 1994.

The holiday of Lag BaOmer, which will take place on Wednesday evening, commemorates the death of second-century Jewish mystic Simeon bar Yochai, and is traditionally celebrated with bonfires It is not uncommon for young Israelis celebrating Lag BaOmer to steal wood from construction sites and other locations ahead of the holiday.

Local Palestinian house and shop owners in Hebron’s Old City have been banned from accessing their homes and shops after a US-born Israeli settler, Baruch Goldstein, massacred 29 Palestinians inside the Ibrahimi Mosque that year. In the aftermath of the massacre, Hebron was divided into area H1, under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority, and area H2 which includes the Old City and surrounding areas under full Israeli military control. more

Monday, 23 May 2016

Palestinians in Gaza pour scorn on Lieberman threats

In February 2015, Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's new defence minister, who was serving as a foreign minister at the time, declared that; "a fourth operation in the Gaza Strip is inevitable, just as a third Lebanon war is inevitable."

As the second anniversary of Israel's war on Gaza, dubbed Operation Protective edge, approaches, Palestinians in the besieged coastal enclave say that Lieberman's appointment as the Israel's defence minister brings him a step closer to achieving his unsettling prophecy.

"We should not be fooled by Zionists who hate the Lieberman-Netanyahu unity," wrote Refaat Alareer, a Palestinian writer and activists, "they, too, want Palestinians killed, but with [silk] scarves, not bombs!"

Lieberman, a staunch opponent of peace with Palestinians who heads of the extreme right wing party Yisrael Beiteinu, has served two terms as foreign minister and has little significant military experience.

Over the past few years, Gaza in particular bore the brunt of Lieberman's bravado. During the 2014 war on Gaza, Lieberman publicly criticized Netanyahu accusing him of "not cracking down hard enough on Gaza". more

Shake-up in Israeli politics prompts 'seeds of fascism' warning

A military affairs commentator interrupts his broadcast to deliver a monologue: I'm alarmed by what's happening in Israel, he says, I think my children should leave.

Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak warns of "the seeds of fascism". Moshe Arens, who served as defense minister three times, sees it as a turning point in Israeli politics and expects it to cause a "political earthquake".

The past five days have produced tumult in Israeli politics, since conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unexpectedly turned his back on a deal to bring the center-left into his coalition and instead joined hands with far-right nationalist Avigdor Lieberman, one of his most virulent critics.

Lieberman, a West Bank settler, wants to be defense minister. So on Friday, Netanyahu's former ally and confidant, Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon, resigned and quit Netanyahu's Likud party in disgust.

After a weekend to digest the developments, which are expected to be finalised in an agreement between Netanyahu and Lieberman on Monday to form the most right-wing government in Israel's 68-year-old history, commentators have tried to put it in perspective and found themselves alarmed.

Arens, who has served as defense minister, foreign minister and ambassador to the United States, and is one of Netanyahu's early political mentors, said the machinations would have far-reaching repercussions.

"Yaalon's ouster is likely to be a turning point in Israel's political history," he wrote in the left-leaning Haaretz newspaper. "A political earthquake is in the offing. It may take a little time, but it is coming. The law of unforeseen consequences is at work."

The decision to jettison Yaalon in favor of Lieberman was all too much for Roni Daniel, a veteran military affairs commentator on Channel 2.

"I cannot urge my children to stay here, because it is a place that is not nice to be in," he said in his monologue, going on to name a number of far-right politicians. more

Newly appointed far-right Knesset member tours Al-Aqsa Mosque

Israeli right-winger Yehuda Glick was escorted under armed protection into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Monday morning, days after it was announced that he would be sworn in as the newest member to Israel’s Knesset.

Firas al-Dibs, a spokesperson for the Islamic Endowment that controls the compound, told Ma’an that a group of right-wing Israelis including the “far-right extremist Yehuda Glick” entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound through the Moroccan gate escorted by Israeli forces, toured the compound, and left through the Chain gate.

After Moshe Yaalon announced his resignation as defense minister on Friday following Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s decision to offer the position to the ultranationalist Avigdor Lieberman, it was revealed that Glick would fill Yaalon’s seat as MK, as he was next in line on the Likud party’s list of candidates to replace a sitting Knesset member.

Under current agreements, Glick’s visit to Al-Aqsa on Monday would be his last legal opportunity to do so, as Netanyahu issued a ban in October on all Israeli Knesset members and governmental ministers -- including Palestinians and Muslims -- from entering the compound, in an attempt to ease tensions at the site. more

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Israeli forces open fire on Palestinian fishermen, detain 10 in northern Gaza

Israeli naval forces on Sunday morning opened fire on Palestinian fishermen, before detaining 10 fishermen and seizing five boats in a separate incident in the northern Gaza Strip.

Locals told Ma’an that Israeli forces opened fire on fishermen sailing off the coast of al-Wahah near the northern Gaza coast, with no injuries reported.

Meanwhile, 10 fishermen were detained by Israeli naval forces nearby and taken to an unknown location, as five of their boats were confiscated.

Spokesperson for the Union of Agricultural Work Committees Zakariyya Bakir identified the detained as Rasim Ishaq Zayid, Muhammad Ishaq Zayid, Saqir Yunis Zayid, Ayman Yunis Zayid, Asad Muhammad al-Sultan, Khalid Mahmoud Zayid, Muhammad Mahmud Sultan, Ayman Mahmoud Sultan, Ahmad Muhammad Zayid, and Ibrahim Zayid.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an they were looking into reports.more

Friday, 20 May 2016

Friday marks the 26th anniversary of the Oyoun Qara massacre

Friday marked the 26th anniversary of the Oyoun Qara massacre, which left 19 Palestinians dead after an Israeli soldier gunned down a group of Palestinians working in Israel.

At 6:15 am on May 20, 1990, 20 Palestinian workers from the Gaza Strip waited for their employers to pick them up from the Oyoun Qara (Rishon Lezion) bus stop, when a discharged Israeli soldier arrived and demanded that the workers show him their IDs.

The soldier, Ami Popper, checked the workers' IDs, and after ensuring they were all Palestinian, ordered them to line up in three lines and kneel down, then opened fire on the workers with an M16, killing seven and badly injuring 10 others. Popper then drove his vehicle away from the scene.

When Israeli police arrived they proceeded to severely beat the Palestinians who had survived the ordeal.

Protests erupted across the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip following the killings, as the Israeli army imposed a siege on several districts in the Gaza Strip.

Clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces on the same day of the massacre left an additional six Palestinians killed, including a 14-year-old boy. After seven days of clashes, a total of 19 Palestinians across the occupied territory were killed, while hundreds more were injured.

The Oyoun Qara tragedy is one among several massacres carried out by Israeli forces and settlers that resulted in a violent Israeli offensive on Palestinian communities. more

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Israel delivers demolition notices for EU-funded water tanks in Hebron

Israeli authorities delivered four demolition notices on Wednesday ordering several Palestinians to remove water tanks being used for irrigation in the northern and eastern areas of the town of Beit Ummar in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, locals said.

The water tanks are used to irrigate lands in the areas of Beir Zaata, al-Furdeis and Thaghret al-Shabak, with an overall area of more than 30 dunams (7.4 acres) dependent on the tanks for irrigation, according to Muhammad Awad, a spokesperson for a local popular committee.

The tanks were set up earlier in 2016 under a UN-funded water development program, Awad said.

After Israeli authorities deliver a demolition order, the owners of the properties have seven days to remove the structures. If not, Israeli forces demolish the structures at the financial expense of the owners of the property.

Awad told Ma’an that the tanks belonged to Wahdi Hamdi Zamel Abu Maria, Jamil Muhammad Amer Abu Maria, Ghassan Muhammad Abed al-Aziz Brighith, and Khalid Youssef Abed al-Majd Brighith.

It remains unclear what legal pretext Israeli authorities used to issue the demolition orders. more

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Israeli navy detain 2 Gaza fishermen as 2 others remain in custody

Israeli naval forces detained two Palestinian fishermen off the coast of the northern Gaza Strip on Tuesday morning, a spokesperson for the union of Gaza fishermen told Ma’an.

Nizar Ayyash said that Israeli gunboats obstructed a fishing boat off the coast from the town of Beit Lahiya, and detained Samih Zayid and his brother Ibrahim.

Israeli forces also confiscated the Zayid brothers’ boat, which was taken to the port of Ashdod in southern Israel.

An Israeli army spokesperson said she was looking into the report.

Israeli naval forces detained 10 Palestinian fishermen off the coast of the northern Gaza Strip on Sunday evening. Two were still in custody as of Tuesday.

Israeli forces regularly detain Palestinian fisherman off the coast of Gaza working within the fishing zone, generally for alleged security reasons. more

Monday, 16 May 2016

Palestinian injured by Israeli bullet to the head while trying to cross separation wall

Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian east of Bethlehem in the southern occupied West Bank as he tried to reach Jerusalem through Israel’s separation wall on Sunday evening.

Local sources said 32-year-old Ahmad Abu Omar from Bethlehem was shot with a rubber-coated steel bullet to the head. He was trying to pass the separation wall from the outskirts of the village of Dar Salah east of Bethlehem to work in Jerusalem.

Abu Omar was evacuated to al-Hussein public hospital in Beit Jala. The hospital could not be reached for comment regarding his medical condition. An Israeli army spokesperson said they were looking into the reports.

On May 8, another Palestinian was shot and injured in the leg by Israeli forces as he attempted to cross over the separation wall in Dar Salah to work in Jerusalem.

A local council member for the village said at the time that nine Palestinian workers had been shot and injured in the village over the span of a few days while trying to pass the separation wall, and that Israeli soldiers fired gunshots and tear gas canisters every morning at the village’s houses as they chased workers attempting to enter Jerusalem.


Sunday, 15 May 2016

US, EU collude at Israel’s travel ban on BDS co-founder

Human Rights Watch wasted no time in condemning Israel’s imposition of an effective travel ban on Omar Barghouti, the co-founder of the Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa division, told The Electronic Intifada on Tuesday that “Israel’s refusal to renew Barghouti’s travel document appears to be an effort to punish him for exercising his right to engage in peaceful, political activism, using its arsenal of bureaucratic control over Palestinian lives.”

Previously, in light of direct threats against Barghouti by Israeli ministers, Amnesty International had expressed its concern for the “safety and liberty” of Barghouti, amid what it called “an escalation of acts of intimidation” by the Israeli government against human rights defenders.

Activists are urging thousands of people to contact the US State Department to protest the Israeli move.

EU passivity But given opportunities to speak out in defense of human rights, the Obama administration and the EU have decided to give Israel a wink – amounting to tacit support for its crackdown on Barghouti’s freedom of speech and association.

“The EU Delegation in Israel and the European Union Office for the West Bank and Gaza Strip are closely following the case of Mr. Omar Barghouti, who lives with his family in Acre in Israel,” the spokesperson for EU foreign affairs and security policy told The Electronic Intifada in an email. more

‘The Nakba continues': Israeli forces conduct multiple raids across West Bank

Israeli forces raided multiple neighborhoods across the occupied West Bank overnight Saturday, detaining at least three Palestinians, launching tear gas canisters and stun grenades, and setting fire to olive trees, as Palestinians around the world commemorated the 68th anniversary of the Nakba.

In the northern district of Qalqiliya, dozens of Palestinians suffered from tear gas inhalation, and several trees caught fire when clashes erupted between local youths and Israeli forces in the village of Kafr Qaddum.

Coordinator for a popular resistance committee in the village Murad Shtewi said the Israeli army "turned Kafr Qaddum's sky into a cloud of poisonous gas" after firing tear gas heavily and randomly. Dozens of olive trees in the area caught fire from Israeli forces-fired tear gas and stun grenades.

Shtewi added that civil defense vehicles were prevented from reaching the fire because Israeli forces had closed the roads with dirt berms, forcing firefighters to walk up a hill to control the fire.

To the south in the occupied West Bank district of Hebron, Israeli forces raided the downtown, al-Khila, and al-Thahir areas of the village of Beit Ummar, detaining one Palestinian. more

Friday, 13 May 2016

Annual 'March of Return' draws thousands of Palestinians to the Negev

Thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel participated in the annual "March of Return" on Thursday afternoon near Bedouin towns in the Negev (Naqab) in southern Israel, commemorating the 1948 Nakba, amid the conclusion of Israeli independence day celebrations.

Demonstrators waved Palestinian flags and held banners emblazoned with support for the right to return for Palestinian refugees abroad and Palestinians internally displaced from their villages in Israel, as they made their way across the Negev in the dry afternoon heat.

The March of Return is usually held on Israel’s independence day to commemorate the Nakba -- or the ‘catastrophe’ -- referring to the mass expulsion of Palestinians from their homes and villages during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war that wrought the state of Israel. The official commemoration of the Nakba is held on May 15 and is observed by millions of Palestinians and rights activists around the world.

The aim of the march was to highlight the internationally-recognized right of Palestinians who remain refugees or internally displaced to return to their homes and villages in Israel, a right which has been enshrined in international law following the adoption of United Nations Resolution 194.

Local Palestinians, activists, rights leaders, Knesset members, and leaders of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, participated in the 19th year of the annual march, launched each year from a site of a Palestinian village destroyed by Israeli forces in 1948. more

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Egypt reopens Rafah crossing for second day

Egyptian authorities reopened the Rafah crossing with the besieged Gaza Strip for the second day in a row on Thursday, after an 85-day closure.

The Gaza crossings committee said that 443 Palestinians were able to enter Egypt on Wednesday, while an untold number of Palestinians stuck abroad were able to re-enter the Gaza Strip. Seven buses and several ambulances were also admitted through the crossing during the day, according to the committee.

Priority was given to Egyptian passport holders, humanitarian cases, students and Palestinians with foreign residency.

Egyptian authorities also allowed cement trucks to enter the Palestinian side via the crossing.

The Gaza Ministry of Interior said on Wednesday that the two-day opening was too short a time to process the more than 30,000 passengers registered to cross and waiting for their turn, including humanitarian cases, students who attend schools abroad, patients in need of treatment outside of Gaza, and visa holders who live and work abroad. more

Israeli forces open fire at Gaza farmers, fishermen

Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian farmers in lands near the border fence in the southern Gaza Strip early on Thursday morning.

Witnesses told Ma'an that Israeli forces deployed in military towers at the border fence in Khuzaa, east of Khan Yunis, opened fire at farmers who were harvesting their wheat.

Meanwhile, Israeli navy forces opened fire at fishermen off the coast of the northern Gaza Strip, Gaza City and the southern Gaza Strip. No injuries were reported.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an they were looking into the reports. more

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

2 Palestinians shot, injured by Israeli troops during clashes north of Jerusalem

Israeli troops shot and injured two young Palestinian men, one of them seriously, during clashes in the village of Kafr Aqab north of occupied East Jerusalem early on Wednesday morning.

Locals told Ma’an that large numbers of Israeli troops stormed Kafr Aqab and the nearby Qalandiya refugee camp, leading local youths to clash with them. Witnesses said Israeli troops fired gunshots in every direction as they ransacked homes and shops in Kafr Aqab.

Palestinian medical sources said ambulances evacuated a young Palestinian man in serious condition to a hospital in East Jerusalem after he was shot in the chest.

Another young man was evacuated to the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah after being shot in the leg. Doctors described his wound as moderate. more

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Israeli court convicts Palestinian boy of two counts of attempted murder

The Israeli district court in Jerusalem convicted a 14-year-old Palestinian boy on Tuesday of two counts of attempted murder for allegedly carrying out a stabbing attack in an Israeli settlement in October.

Ahmad Salih Manasra was found guilty by the court of carrying out a stabbing attack on Oct. 12, 2015 in the illegal settlement of Pisgat Zeev in occupied East Jerusalem, injuring two Israelis ages 13 and 21. The sentence against Manasra has yet to be revealed.

Ahmad, who was 13 at the time of the attack, sustained serious wounds after an Israeli driver hit him with his car following the stabbing.

Video footage which went viral showed the Palestinian boy lying in pain on the ground after being hit by the car, while an Israeli bystander shouted repeatedly: "Die, you son of a whore!" and another tells the police officer to shoot him.

Manasra’s cousin, 15-year-old Hassan Manasra, was shot dead at the scene of the attack. His body has since been withheld by Israeli authorities, although a recent Israeli court ruling ordered that his body be returned to his family. more

Monday, 9 May 2016

Israeli forces fire at Palestinian farmers in southern Gaza

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) – Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian farmers tending to their fields in the outskirts of the village of Khuzaa east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, locals said.

Witnesses told Ma’an that the Israeli soldiers fired from machine guns prompting the farmers to leave their fields. No injuries were reported. An Israeli army spokesperson said they were looking into reports.

The incident marked the third consecutive day live fire was reportedly opened on agricultural lands in the southern Gaza Strip, and follows four days of airstrikes by Israeli forces that targeted the area last week.


Turkish official: PA undermining solutions for Gaza electricity crisis

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has “sought to undermine Turkish efforts aiming to lift the siege on Gaza”, Al-Resalah newspaper reported a senior member of the Turkish Development and Justice Party saying yesterday.

Ahmed Farol told the paper: “The PA adopts a hostile position towards Gaza for political reasons which are known, ignoring the humanitarian repercussions for what it is doing.”

“Turkey offered several proposals, throughout its current discussions with Israel, to alleviate the siege on Gaza and sort out its problems, mainly electricity. However, the PA never supported any of them.”

He added that there were many attempts by the PA to undermine Turkey’s efforts. more

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Media promote Israeli distortions as civilians dodge airstrikes in Gaza

From the Electronic Intifada - In recent days, has Israel launched a series of aggressive military actions in the besieged Gaza Strip, killing a Palestinian woman and injuring several other people, including three children.

And like clockwork, mainstream Western media swooped in to throw the narrative in Israel’s favor, brushing aside Israel’s relentless violations of the Gaza ceasefire and its killings of dozens of civilians in the besieged territory.

But first, the facts.

Israel started it

As is almost always the case, the Israeli military initiated the latest round of violence with ground incursions into Gaza as part of a supposed mission to destroy cross-border tunnels.

This is the same pretext Israel used to justify its ferocious military assault on Gaza in the summer of 2014, which killed 2,251 Palestinians, including 1,462 civilians, 551 of them children.

The independent inquiry commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council into the 2014 assault found that Hamas “tunnels were only used to conduct attacks directed at IDF [Israeli army] positions in Israel in the vicinity of the Green Line [the Israel-Gaza boundary], which are legitimate military targets.”

Despite this, Israel continued to whip up fears – often aided by pliant outlets such as The New York Times – about Palestinian “terror tunnels” leading into kindergartens, as a way to justify Israel’s cruelty towards Gaza.

The Israeli army claims to have located such a tunnel in recent days based on information it says it extracted from a captured member of Hamas.

It is also possible that Israel is using this as an opportunity to test out anti-tunnel technology it has been developing with a $120 million grant from the US administration of President Barack Obama.

Hamas insists the tunnel Israel discovered is old and predates the 2014 war. more

Hunger strike of prisoner Janazra enters day 67

RAMALLAH, (PIC)-- Palestinian prisoner Sami al-Janazra, 43, has entered the 67th day of his hunger strike in the isolation section of Ela prison, according to the Palestinian Prisoner Society on Sunday.

Janazra started his hunger strike on the third of March after he received an extension to his administrative detention.

During the days of his hunger strike, the Israeli jailers transferred him from Negev prison to several jails, where he suffered, during one of those transfers, a head injury after he fell unconscious on the ground. more

Israel forces open fire on Palestinian farmers in southern Gaza

Israeli forces on Sunday morning opened fire on Palestinians farmers in the southern Gaza Strip, local sources said.

Locals told Ma’an Israeli forces deployed east of Khan Yunis opened fire on farmers, preventing them from reaching their lands. No injuries were reported.

An Israeli army spokesperson said they could not confirm the incident.

The incident comes after Israeli forces targeted the southern region of the small Palestinian territory with airstrikes for four consecutive days beginning Wednesday evening. Several were injured and a Palestinian woman was killed by Israeli shelling. more

Hamas: Israel and 'accomplices' responsible for death of 3 siblings in Gaza fire

A senior Hamas official blamed Israel and its “accomplices” -- an implicit jab at the Palestinian Authority -- for the house fire that killed three siblings and left three others seriously burned on Friday night in al-Shati refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip.

On Saturday during the funeral for the three children, Ismail Haniyeh said: “The enemy’s warplanes have been burning lands and houses, while Israel’s crippling siege imposed on Gaza and its accomplices are now burning our children.”

The house fire was caused by candles that the family used during a power cut, Gaza’s civil defense services told Ma’an Friday. Local medical sources identified the victims as three-year-old Yusra Muhammad Abu Hindi, two-year-old Rahaf Muhammad Abu Hindi, and two-month-old Nasser Muhammad Abu Hindi.

“Should Gaza -- whose people live under a crippling blockade -- be blamed?” he asked, likely implying that Hamas, the Gaza Strip's de facto ruling party, could not be held responsible for the besieged coastal enclave’s energy crisis.

“Who has been taking $70 million dollars a month in taxes from Gaza? Who has been collecting fuel taxes? Who refused to enlarge the power supply from Egypt to the Gaza Strip and refused to build a pipeline to provide Gaza’s power station with gas to increase its capacity?” Haniyeh continued, listing a set of policy decisions imposed by the Palestinian Authority (PA). more

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Israeli forces continue airstrikes on Gaza for 4th consecutive day

Israeli airstrikes continued on the southern Gaza Strip in the predawn hours Saturday for the fourth consecutive day, in response to an alleged projectile being shot into southern Israel.

Witnesses told Ma’an Israeli forces launched two airstrikes on open areas east of Khan Yunis. No injuries were reported.

In a statement released Saturday, the Israeli army said the airstrikes targeted two Hamas “terror infrastructures,” in retaliation for a rocket that was reportedly shot from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel.

Israeli army spokesperson Peter Lerner accused Hamas of carrying out the attack in the statement, and demanded that the party be “held accountable.”

The Israeli aerial offensive on the Gaza Strip began on Wednesday evening as Israeli authorities claimed airstrikes were carried out in response to mortar rounds that were launched from the besieged enclave since Tuesday at Israeli forces conducting “operational defense activities” in search of Hamas-built tunnels near the security fence. more

Israeli forces injure dozens of Palestinians in Friday protests

Israeli forces injured dozens of Palestinians during weekly Friday protests in the occupied West Bank villages of Kafr Qaddum and Bilin, as well as in the Gaza Strip. Three Palestinians, including two journalists, were injured on Friday as Israeli forces dispersed the weekly protest in Kafr Qaddum in the northern West Bank district of Qalqiliya.

Coordinator for popular resistance in the village Murad Shtewi said dozens of Israeli soldiers raided the village firing rubber-coated steel bullets, sponge rounds, tear gas canisters, and stun grenades.

Akif Jumaa, 55, was injured by a sponge round fired at his wrist. He was taken to Rafidia hospital for treatment.

Reporter for the Palestinian news station Palestine TV Ahmad Shawir was injured with rubber-coated steel bullets fired by Israeli forces at his hand and foot, while the photojournalist Muthanna al-Deek was injured with a rubber bullet fired at his the foot. They were treated on the scene.

In the central West Bank village of Bilin, dozens suffered from tear gas inhalation as Israeli forces dispersed the weekly protest there. Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters and rubber-coated steel bullets at protesters at the western entrance to the village, causing a fire to erupt on land belonging to Awad Yasin in the Khallat al-Ful area. more

Friday, 6 May 2016

3rd day of Israeli airstrikes on Gaza as resistance fights back

Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip continued Friday morning for the third consecutive day, with the Israeli army accusing Hamas of launching mortar rounds near the border area.

Witnesses told Ma’an Israeli warplanes targeted open areas east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, with no injuries reported.

At dawn, Israeli forces also fired three shells at eastern Rafah, with no injuries reported, witnesses said.

In a statement released Friday morning, the Israeli army said the Israeli airforce targeted “Hamas terror infrastructure” earlier at around 6 am Friday.

The statement accused Hamas of launching mortar rounds since Tuesday “against forces during operational defensive activities adjacent to the security fence with the Gaza Strip,” adding that Friday morning’s offensive was the 12th such incident over the last three days.

Israeli army spokesperson Peter Lerner said in response to the incident: ”The repeated attacks against the IDF (Israeli army) activities to locate and destroy cross border tunnels will not be tolerated. Hamas' diabolical plan to infiltrate into Israeli communities must be stopped.”

Later Friday afternoon, Israeli media outlet The Jerusalem Post reported a mortar fell adjacent to Israeli forces in southern Israel near the Gaza border, with no damage or injuries reported. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an they could not confirm the reports.

The Islamic Jihad movement in Palestine warned on Friday that Israel's targeting of civilians and escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip would "push the resistance to reciprocate." more

Tensions escalate in Gaza as Israeli shelling kills Palestinian woman

GAZA (Ma’an) -- Tensions continued to escalate in the besieged Gaza Strip on Thursday, with reports of one Palestinian woman killed by Israeli shelling, as Israeli forces said airstrikes were in response to Palestinian resistance groups targeting its troops with mortar rounds.

Medical sources told Ma'an that a Palestinian woman in her fifties, identified as Jana Aytah al-Amur, was killed by Israeli shelling on Thursday evening in the al-Fakhari area east of Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip. An Israeli army spokesperson said they could not confirm the case.

Medical sources also said that an Israeli airstrike injured a Palestinian woman, identified as 21-year-old Khazima al-Farra, in the al-Rayyan area in eastern Rafah.

Witnesses told Ma'an that Israeli F-16 jets launched several rockets in the southern Gaza Strip at around 5 p.m., hitting agricultural land in the Abu al-Rus area in eastern Rafah.

An Israeli army statement issued at 5:48 p.m. read: "In response to the ongoing attacks against Israeli forces, IAF (Israeli airforce) aircraft targeted four Hamas military posts in the southern Gaza Strip." more

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Tensions escalate in Gaza with Israeli airstrikes, Palestinian mortar rounds

Tensions continued to escalate in the besieged Gaza Strip on Thursday afternoon, with Israeli forces carrying out a number of airstrikes as they accused Palestinian resistance forces of targeting its troops with mortar rounds.

Airstrikes hit in the southern Gaza Strip at around 5 p.m., targeting the Abu al-Rus area in eastern Rafah.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an they were looking into the reports.

Four Palestinians, including three children, were injured earlier in the day when Israeli forces carried out several airstrikes across the small Palestinian territory, one of which hit a metal workshop in the al-Zaytoun neighborhood southeast of Gaza City. The strike injured 65-year-old Hassan Hassanien and three children from the family, who were all taken to the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City.

Israeli forces also carried out several airstrikes in an open area of the al-Sorany mountain east of Gaza City.

The southern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahiya was struck by two rockets which destroyed a location allegedly being used by the Hamas movement. No deaths were reported.

Meanwhile, the Israeli army reported that mortar rounds had been fired at its troops near the Gaza border on Thursday afternoon, adding that there were no injuries. It claimed that this was the 10th incident of the sort since Tuesday. more

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Right-wing Israelis storm central West Bank town to visit controversial shrines

More than 2,000 right-wing Israelis, escorted by a large group of Israeli soldiers, stormed the Palestinian town of Kifl Haris in the central occupied West Bank to pray at a shrine late on Tuesday night.

Witnesses told Ma’an the settlers first arrived in groups at midnight and performed prayers while dancing and shouting, disrupting the community throughout the night. They left the town at 7 am.

The settlers also affixed posters with religious slogans in Hebrew on walls in several parts of the town.

An Israeli army spokesperson said they were looking into reports.

A number of tombs exist in Kifl Haris, which Palestinians in the area believe to be the graves of the prophet Dhul-Kifl, the Sufi saint Dhul-Nun, and another shrine built by 12-century sultan Saladin. more

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Israeli forces attack Palestinian journalists at World Press Freedom demo

Three Palestinian journalists sustained minor injuries on Tuesday after being hit with shrapnel from stun grenades fired by Israeli forces during a “peaceful” sit-in outside Israel’s Ofer detention center on World Press Freedom Day.

A group of Palestinian journalists used the occasion to direct attention to the plight of Palestinian journalists currently being held in Israeli custody as a result of Israel’s widely-condemned crackdown on Palestinian journalists since a wave of unrest erupted across the occupied Palestinian territory in October.

At least 43 Palestinian journalists have been detained by Israeli forces since October, who have reported cases of torture, medical negligence, and unreasonable and illegal rulings by Israeli authorities, according to a recent report by the Committee to Support Palestinian Journalists.

Staging a sit-in outside the Ofer detention center, the demonstrators raised posters of imprisoned Palestinian journalists and demanded the release of 20 who are currently being held in Israeli prisons.

Israeli soldiers fired tear gas and stun grenades at the journalists, despite reports that the protest was peaceful, wounding Zahir Abu Hussein, Muhammad Shawasha, and Ali Ubeidat.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an they were looking into reports on the incident.

Israel’s Ofer detention center, which is illegally located on privately-held Palestinian land near Ramallah in the central West Bank, has been the scene of protests in the last week over the arbitrary arrest of Omar Nazzal, a well-known Palestinian journalist currently held at the detention center.


Power supply in Gaza is reduced to 6 hours for every 18 hours

Electricity grids for all districts in the Gaza Strip will only be providing power for six hour intervals followed by 12 hours without power, due to a problem with the Egyptian power lines, Gaza’s electricity company announced Monday morning.

The company’s Public Information Officer Tariq Labad told Ma’an that Egypt promised to fix the problem as soon as possible. Labad added that once the Egyptian lines are fixed, electricity grids in the Gaza Strip will return to operating eight hours on, eight hours off, as usual.

The Egyptian lines that provide electricity to the southern Gaza Strip contribute 20 megawatts.

The Gaza Strip was left almost entirely without power during a number of days last month due to maintenance work on power lines from both Israel and Egypt as well as the ongoing tax disputes on fuel for the enclave’s near-defunct power station.

Palestinian officials announced at the end of April the Gaza Strip would be exempted from paying fuel tax this summer, marking a temporary resolution to the tax dispute that has deepened an electricity crisis in the besieged enclave. more