Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Israeli bulldozers raid central Gaza Strip refugee camp

Israeli bulldozers raided al-Bureij refugee camp and leveled lands in the central Gaza Strip district of Deir Al-Balah Wednesday morning.

Witnesses told Ma’an that four Israeli bulldozers crossed into the Gaza Strip from Israel and raided the east side of the camp as Israeli drones flew overhead.

Witnesses added that Israeli soldiers randomly opened fire, though no injuries were reported.

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

Israeli military incursions inside the besieged Gaza Strip and near the “buffer zone" which lies on both land and sea sides of Gaza, have long been a near-daily occurrence. more

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Egypt opens Gaza border crossing for Palestinian pilgrims to perform Hajj

GAZA (Ma’an) -- Egyptian authorities temporarily opened the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the besieged Gaza Strip on Tuesday to allow a number of Palestinian worshipers through on their way to Saudi Arabia to perform the annual Muslim pilgrimage of Hajj. Egypt decided to open the crossing for three days in order for some 2,008 Gazan pilgrims who were able to obtain visas to use the Cairo airport to travel to Mecca. However, procedures for Palestinians to return to Gaza following their pilgrimage were still undetermined on Tuesday. Egypt has upheld an Israeli military blockade on the Gaza Strip for the majority of the past three years, since the ouster of President Muhammad Morsi in 2013 and the rise to power of Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi in Egypt. While the Egyptian border has remained the main lifeline for Gazans to the outside world, Egyptian authorities have slowly sealed off movement through the border since Morsi was toppled by the Egyptian army. more

Friday, 26 August 2016

Unarmed Palestinian shot dead by Israeli forces at military post near Ramallah

A reportedly unarmed Palestinian was shot dead by Israeli forces at a military post near the illegal Israeli Ofra settlement at the western entrance to the town of Silwad in northeastern Ramallah on Friday, contradicting earlier reports by Israeli media that he had opened fire at soldiers.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an that Israeli soldiers stationed at a military post in Silwad identified a suspect on foot running toward them.

The Israeli soldiers "shot towards the suspect, resulting in his death," the spokesperson said.

No injuries among Israeli soldiers were reported by the army.

Medics from the Palestinian Red Crescent who had arrived at the scene were reportedly prevented from accessing the site by Israeli forces.

Initial reports from Hebrew media, however, said the suspect had opened fire from inside a vehicle, and that a woman might have been inside the car with him. more

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Israeli naval forces open live fire at Palestinian fishing boats off Gaza coast

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli naval forces Tuesday evening opened live fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of the northern Gaza Strip. Coordinator for fishermen committees Zakariya Bakr told Ma’an that Israeli naval ships opened fire at fishing boats, after reportedly chasing the boats for two nautical miles. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an she would look into reports. Israeli military incursions inside the besieged Gaza Strip and near the “buffer zone" which lies on both land and sea sides of Gaza, have long been a near-daily occurrence. Palestinians who work near the “buffer zone” between the Palestinian enclave and Israel often come under fire from military forces, as the Israeli military has not made clear the precise area of the designated zone. The Israeli army regularly open fires on Palestinian fishermen and farmers along the border areas, despite a ceasefire agreement that ended the 2014 war. more

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Israeli air strikes pound Gaza after rocket attack

The Israeli army has fired missiles into the northern Gaza Strip. A rocket was fired from the Palestinian territory into southern Israel, causing no injuries or damage.

A spokesperson for the Palestinian health ministry said in a social media post that a 17-year-old Palestinian youth suffered a minor shrapnel injury in his foot during Sunday night's attacks on several areas in the north of the strip.

Israeli army spokesman Peter Lerner said Israeli forces retaliated to the rocket attack by hitting targets of the Hamas movement, which governs the besieged Gaza Strip.

"In response to the rocket attack from the Gaza Strip, the IAF (Israeli Air Force) and tanks targeted two Hamas posts in the northern Gaza Strip," Lerner said in a statement, according the the AFP news agency.

No group claimed responsibility for the rocket that was fired into the southern Israeli city of Sderot.

On July 2, Israeli air raids hit four sites in Gaza after a rocket struck a building in Sderot.

There were no casualties reported in either incident. more

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

G4S close to selling Israeli business reports FT

G4S is close to selling its Israeli business following years of pressure from pro-Palestinian activists.

The UK security group is in advanced talks to sell the unit FIMI Opportunity Funds, a private equity group, for $100m. The division employs 8,000 people and supplies security services to the Israeli government, private companies and 35,000 individuals.

Pro-Palestinian campaigners, led by the “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” (BDS), are expected to welcome the move.

G4S has in recent years been a high-profile target for BDS campaigners because it offers services and equipment to Israeli prisons, including Ofer Prison in the occupied West Bank. G4S’s shareholder meetings have been disrupted by pro-Palestinian activists.more

Israeli forces storm Hebron area refugee camp, injure 35 with live fire, tear gas, rubber bullets

35 Palestinians were injured, one seriously, early Tuesday morning during clashes when Israeli forces stormed the al-Fawwar refugee camp in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron.

Locals told Ma’an that large numbers of Israeli troops surrounded the camp around dawn on Tuesday, when they began ransacking homes and interrogating residents in the streets.

Local youth reportedly reacted to the forces, sparking clashes with the soldiers who fired live gunshots, tear gas, and rubber-coated steel bullets at the youth.

Three youth were injured with live fire, one of whom was evacuated to the hospital after sustaining serious injuries.

Dozens more were injured with rubber-coated steel bullets.


Monday, 15 August 2016

Israeli forces demolish home of slain Palestinian attacker in Bani Naim

Israeli forces demolished early on Monday morning the family home of a Palestinian teen who was killed in June after stabbing a 13-year-old Israeli girl to death, in the latest instance of Israel’s much denounced policy of punitive home demolitions

Muhammad Nasser Tarayra, 17, a native of the southern occupied West Bank town of Bani Naim, was killed by a security guard on June 30 after carrying out a deadly attack against 13-year-old Hallel Yafa Ariel in the illegal Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba.

Before dawn on Monday, Israeli forces escorted by 30 military vehicles and a bulldozer stormed Bani Naim, east of the city of Hebron, forcing Tarayra’s family to exit their home at gunpoint, witnesses said.

Israeli soldiers then reportedly planted explosives near the interior walls of the first floor of the two-story building before detonating them.

A video shot by a reporter from Radio al-Khalil showed the aftermath of the explosion, with the interior of the home, and well as parts of the outer walls, visibly damaged. more

Israeli forces level lands in southern Gaza Strip

Israeli military vehicles staged a limited incursion across the borderline of the besieged Gaza Strip to level land on Monday morning, locals said.

Locals told Ma’an that six Israeli military vehicles crossed the Abu Rida gate at the border east of the town of Khuzaa in the southern Gaza Strip and leveled Palestinian land in the area.

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

Israeli military incursions inside the besieged Gaza Strip and near the “buffer zone" which lies on both land and sea sides of Gaza, have long been a near-daily occurrence. more

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Palestinian organisations to create committee on prisoners' health amid hunger strike

A number of Palestinian organizations focused on prisoners, human rights, and health decided on Wednesday to establish a committee to follow the cases of Palestinians in poor health being held in Israeli prisons.

Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs lawyer Kamil Natour; Hurryat Center for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights head Heli Al-Araj; Palestinian medical association members Ibrahim Khamis and Bashar Fadil; and Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) lawyer Lubna Hindi met on Wednesday to discuss the plan.

The committee reportedly intends to push for Palestinian doctors to be allowed to visit Palestinian prisoners and inspect the medical conditions in Israeli prisons, as well as to take legal action when prisoners’ lack of medical care in Israeli custody can be proven.

The organizations’ officials said that more than 700 Palestinian prisoners currently suffer due to poor medical access, 150 of whom reportedly in serious health conditions requiring “immediate medical intervention.” The Palestinian Prisoners' Center for Studies had previously estimated that some 1,000 sick Palestinians were held in Israeli prisons.

The announcement comes as PPS reported that the health conditions of four hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners were seriously deteriorating, as Israeli authorities refused to transfer them to hospitals, keeping them instead in medical facilities inside detention centers. more

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

8 Palestinians injured in tunnel collapse in Gaza

Eight Palestinians were injured when a tunnel collapsed in the al-Shujayya neighborhood in eastern Gaza City, local sources told Ma’an.

They were taken to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City to be treated for light to moderate injuries, according to Gaza Ministry of Health spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra.

The incident came after three Palestinians died over recent weeks in tunnel collapse accidents in the Gaza Strip.

On Saturday, a member of Hamas' military wing the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades was killed, and in mid-July, two members of the Islamic Jihad were killed in separate incidents. more

Israeli settler bulldozers uproot 500 olive trees in Salfit

NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Israeli settler bulldozers under the protection of Israeli army and intelligence forces uprooted hundreds of olive trees from Palestinian lands in the village of Iskaka in eastern Salfit on Wednesday morning.

Local activist Khalid Maali told Ma’an that two bulldozers belonging to settlers from the illegal Israeli outpost of Nefih Hanania and the nearby Rachelim settlement razed 35 dunams (8.6 acres) of agricultural land planted with some 500 olive trees in the eastern al-Bayyada area of the village, near the outpost and settlement.

Head of the Iskaka village council Abd al-Qader Abu Hakmeh told Ma’an that villagers were taken by surprise when the convoy stormed the village and uprooted the olive trees without giving prior notice, under the pretext that they were located on state lands confiscated by Israel.

A spokesperson for Israel's Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), which is responsible for implementing the Israeli government's policy in the occupied Palestinian territory, did not reply to a request for comment on the incident.

Maali said that land leveling had escalated recently in the occupied West Bank, especially around Salfit for the expansion of the 24 illegal Israeli settlements surrounding the district. Iskaka has been subjected to numerous Israeli confiscations over the years for the construction of Israeli settlements, checkpoints, outposts, bypass roads, and Israel’s separation wall. more

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

PFLP members join open hunger strike at sit-in in front of ICRC office in Gaza

Members and leaders of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) announced on Monday that they would begin open hunger strikes in solidarity with Palestinian hunger strikers in Israeli prisons.

The announcement was made at a sit-in in front of the office for International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Gaza City, amid widespread protests over the organization’s recent decision to cut family visitations for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody, reducing arranged visits for male Palestinian prisoners from two days a month to just one.

More than 80 PFLP-affiliated prisoners have entered open hunger strikes in a mass movement first inspired by incarcerated PFLP member Bilal Kayid, who has gone more than 55 days without food, while imprisoned PFLP Secretary-General Ahmad Saadat also joined the hunger strike at the beginning of this month.

The sit-in was attended by PFLP members, the families of Palestinian prisoners, former prisoners, representatives from various Islamic and national parties, students’ associations, and women’s institutions.

“We are constantly being updated with every detail of the struggle PFLP-affiliated prisoners are facing in Israeli jails and we are willing to undertake any measure against these threats," PFLP central committee leader Allam Kaabe said at the sit-in.

He said that PFLP prisoners would continue the mass hunger strike until their demands were met, adding that there were new Palestinian prisoners of all political factions joining the open hunger strike every day. more

Monday, 8 August 2016

Israel launching task force to target, deport BDS activists

The Israeli government announced on Sunday that it was launching a task force to identify and deport members from the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, marking the latest attack on left-wing and pro-Palestinian activism by Israel.

In a statement released by Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri, Israeli Minister of the Interior Aryeh Deri and Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan decided on Sunday during a meeting to form a joint task force to “expel and ban the entry of BDS activists” into Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory.

"We must not allow BDS activists to enter to state of Israel. This is a necessary step, given the malicious intentions of these activists to delegitimize and spread lies and distortions about the reality in our region," Erdan was quoted as saying in the statement, adding that the boycott movement against Israel “must have a price.”

“Fighting against Israeli boycott starts by fighting those wo undermine the State of Israel,” Deri said. “We have a responsibility to do everything possible to crush any boycott and to state clearly that we will not allow the State of Israel to be harmed. Forming the task force is an important step in that direction."

Without citing any names, the statement estimated that “hundreds” of pro-Palestinian activists and dozens of organizations were currently in Israel “to gather information and use it to boycott Israel, and harm its citizens,” and that the task force would also try to prevent the entrance of activists in the future.

The statement also alleged that BDS activists traveled to the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem to “incite” Palestinians. more

Friday, 5 August 2016

41 Palestinian women, including 12 minors, currently held in Israel's HaSharon prison

Several dozen Palestinian women, including 12 minors, are currently being held in Israel’s HaSharon prison, according to a statement released Thursday by the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs.

The committee said in the statement that 41 Palestinian women and girls are being held in the prison, with some suffering from deteriorating health conditions, adding that Israel’s treatment of women prisoners is against international law, and requires “international institutions to end their silence" and to stop Israel's "perpetual crimes.”

The committee also called upon all Palestinians to unite behind the prisoners’ cause, highlighting the recent escalation of raids and assaults by Israel Prison Service (IPS) officials in recent weeks in response to a mass hunger strike under way inside Israel’s prisons in protest of the arbitrary detention of Palestinians without charge or trial. More than 300 Palestinian prisoners have joined the strikes. The committee identified the women prisoners as: Lina al-Jarbouni, Banan al-Mafarjeh, Yasmin Zaru Tamimi, Yasmin Shaaban, Hadiyeh Ereinat, Natali Shukha, Tasnim Halabi, Sundus Obeid, Jamileh Jaber, Manar Shweiki, Sajida Hasan, Marah Bakir, Nurhan Awwad, Malak Suleiman, Lama al-Bakri, Istabraq Nour, Nivine Alqam, Hanadi Rashed, Filisten Najem, Ansam Shawahneh, Maryam Sawafta, Itida Barqan, Abeer al-Tamimi, Alyaa Abbasi, Israa Jaabais, Marcel Salaymeh, Lara Tarayra, Khadijeh Faqih, Abla al-Adam, Shurouq Dwayyat, Amal Ahmad, Dunya Waked, Aisheh Jumhour, Safaa Faroun, Marlen Hreizat, Shirin Issawi, Samah Dweik, Iman Kanju, Shatella Awwad, Haniyyeh Nasser, and Salsabil Shalaldeh. more

Monday, 1 August 2016

Israeli forces target relatives of slain suspected gunman in West Bank raids

Israeli forces detained at least 27 Palestinian in raids overnight Sunday and early Monday morning across the occupied West Bank, including a Palestinian security officer accused by Israel of weapons dealing, and relatives of Mohammad Faqih, killed last week when Israeli forces bombarded a home with bulldozers and anti-tank missiles while he was inside, concluding a weeks-long manhunt after a deadly shooting attack last month.

Faqih, from the city of Dura just east of central Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank, was accused of carrying out a drive-by shooting on July 1 south of the illegal Israeli settlement of Otniel in Hebron, which left one Israeli settler dead and three injured.

In the wake of the shooting -- which occurred within 48 hours of series of deadly incidents in Hebron that left one Israeli girl killed in her home, her attacker shot dead, and another Palestinian woman killed by Israeli forces in a separate incident, the entire district was placed under the most extensive lockdown in the West Bank since 2014. more

Israeli forces shoot, kill Palestinian in alleged stab attempt

Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian man Sunday afternoon after he attempted to stab Israeli soldiers stationed at the Huwwara checkpoint in the northern West Bank district of Nablus, an Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an.

Palestinian witnesses told Ma'an that the man arrived in a private car from the direction of Nablus city, pulled over near the Israeli soldiers and started to run toward them carrying a knife. The Israeli soldiers then fired heavily at him and killed him. No injuries were reported among the Israeli soldiers.

An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed to Ma'an that the Palestinian was shot dead after he "charged at soldiers," and that no Israelis were injured in the incident.

According to initial Israeli media reports, the Palestinian was shot with three to four rounds to the chest. more