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