Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Palestinian teen shot after alleged stabbing attempt at Huwwara checkpoint


A Palestinian teenager was shot and criticially injured by Israeli forces on Wednesday afternoon after the teen allegedly attempted to stab Israeli soldiers stationed at the Huwwara military checkpoint south of Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank, according to the Israeli army and Israeli media.

Locals identified the wounded Palestinian as 16-year-old Saleh Omar Saleh from Balata refugee camp in southern Nablus. According to locals, Saleh is the cousin of 17-year-old Amjad Maher Jaafar, who was shot multiple times in the stomach at the same location less than 24 hours earlier, after he allegedly attempted to carry out a stabbing attack as well.

According to Israeli daily Haaretz, Israeli soldiers at the scene said a Palestinian was running towards them and attempted to stab them before forces opened fire on the teen. Saleh was taken by Israeli forces to the Rabin Medical Center in the central Israeli city of Petah Tikva, where Jaafar was also evacuated on Tuesday, and remained in a difficult condition as of late Tuesday night.

Overnight Tuesday, hours after Jaafar was shot, a group of Israeli settlers set fire to a Palestinian vehicle near Huwwara village. more

Monday, 17 April 2017

Hundreds of Palestinians in Israeli prisons launch open-ended hunger strike


More than 1,600 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody launched an open-ended mass hunger strike Monday morning on Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, led by imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouthi, under the banner of "Freedom and Dignity" for prisoners.

Sources told Ma'an that prisoners had purged all food products from their cells and shaved their heads in Israel prisons from the north to the south, namely in the Gilboa, Hadarim, Ashkelon, Ktziot, Nafha, and Ramon prisons.

In the southern occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, a number of activists in al-Duheisha refugee camp shaved their heads in solidarity with the hunger strikers, while a rally took place Sunday marking prisoners’ day in the nearby Aida refugee camp that honored current and former prisoners from the camp.

Initially called for by Fatah-affiliated prisoners, Palestinian prisoners from across the political spectrum have since pledged their commitment to undertake the strike, which by some estimates, exceeded 2,000 participants when it began after midnight Monday morning. more

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Israel expresses concern, blames Palestinian leadership for Gaza water crisis


Israeli authorities -- which have maintained a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip for nearly ten years -- have contacted international organizations to urge them to address the deteriorating water situation in the small Palestinian enclave, Israeli media reported on Sunday.

A United Nations report warned in 2012 that water from Gaza’s sole aquifer would become completely undrinkable by the end of 2016, with damages becoming irreversible by 2020. In November, the World Bank stated that only 10 percent of the population in Gaza had access to safe drinking water.

According to the Army Radio, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the Israeli agency responsible for implementing Israeli policies in the occupied Palestinian territory, contacted the Israeli Foreign Ministry and international representatives -- including United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov -- on the issue in the past week.

For the second time in the span of six months, the Times of Israel reported, COGAT head Yoav Mordechai called on international aid organizations to advance projects to build desalination plants in Gaza to alleviate the water crisis.

more

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Palestinian critically injured with live fire during clashes in al-Duheisha refugee camp


A 23-year-old Palestinian was critically injured with live fire during clashes Wednesday before dawn in the al-Duheisha refugee camp in the southern occupied West Bank Bethlehem district, as Israeli forces conducted a detention raid in the camp.

Local sources told Ma’an that Israeli forces raided several houses in the camp, causing clashes to erupt between Palestinian youth of the camp and Israeli forces who opened live fire at youth, injuring Akram al-Atrash with three bullets.

Sources said that al-Atrash sustained critical injuries and was transferred to the Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem.

During the raid on the camp, Israeli forces detained three Palestinians identified by locals as Mutasem Raqban, Ahmad Sarar and Ahmad al-Sarawi.

Any Israeli army spokesperson confirmed the reported to Ma’an, saying that “during operational activity in the al-Duheisha camp earlier this morning, a Palestinian threw a molotov cocktail and rocks at Israeli army forces. In response to the immediate threat, soldiers fired shots towards the main instigator and a hit was confirmed.” more

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Israeli forces shoot Palestinian teenager in Ramallah-area village


Israeli soldiers shot a 15-year-old Palestinian Friday evening with a live bullet near the village of Nilin in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah for allegedly throwing a Molotov cocktail at an Israeli settler's vehicle near an Israeli bypass road in the territory.

The boy was identified as Utayba Jiyad Hussein Amireh. The details of his injury were not yet known as of Saturday.

Israeli media reported that the youth had allegedly thrown a Molotov cocktail at an Israeli settler vehicle on a nearby bypass road - roads cutting through occupied Palestinian territory connecting Israel's illegal settlements to Israel and Jerusalem.

Israeli soldiers sealed the area following the shooting and prevented people and Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances from approaching the wounded teenager, according to locals.

Amireh was detained and transferred to an unidentified location. more

Israeli forces open fire at Palestinian lands in southern Gaza


Israeli forces opened fire on Palestinian lands in the southern Gaza Strip on Saturday morning, according to locals.

Witnesses told Ma’an that Israeli forces deployed behind the border fence in eastern Rafah city opened fire at Palestinian agricultural lands in the area.

No injuries were reported.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an she would look into reports on the incident. Israeli army incursions inside the Palestinian territory have long been a near-daily occurrence, as the Israeli army regularly opens fire on unarmed Palestinian fishermen and farmers along the border areas if they approach Israel’s unilaterally declared “buffer zone,” which lies on both the land and sea sides of Gaza. more

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Palestinian woman shot, killed after alleged attempted stabbing in East Jerusalem


Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian woman in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem on Wednesday afternoon after she allegedly attempted to carry out a stabbing attack, Israeli police said.

Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri initially said in a statement that the woman attempted to stab police officers at the Old City's Damascus Gate, only to be "neutralized" by the Israeli forces -- a term commonly used by Israeli officials to indicate that an alleged attacker has either been wounded or killed.

Moments later, the spokeswoman confirmed that the Palestinian woman had been killed. Al-Samri added that no Israeli officers had been injured in the altercation.

more

Monday, 20 March 2017

Palestinian officer killed, 2 gunmen injured during armed clashes in Balata


A Palestinian policeman was killed Sunday night during armed clashes that erupted in Balata refugee camp in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus, after Palestinian forces raided the camp to detain “wanted fugitives,” Palestinian security forces said.

The clashes left another policeman and at least two gunmen injured -- one of whom was detained while the other managed to escape.

Local sources told Ma’an that Palestinian security forces ambushed the camp at the eastern cemetery dressed as civilians, sparking clashes with gunmen that lasted some 15 minutes.

Governor of Nablus Akram Rujoub said that Palestinian security forces officer Hasaan Ali Abu al-Hajj was killed after being shot in the head, and was declared dead sometime later after succumbing to the injury. Rujoub noted that Abu al-Hajj was newly married, just six months ago. more

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Israeli authorities demolish East Jerusalem building under construction

Israeli authorities demolished a building under construction in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya on Tuesday morning, a local popular committee told Ma'an.

Local committee member Muhammad Abu al-Hummus told Ma'an that a large number of Israeli security forces stormed Issawiya to protect bulldozers and a Jerusalem municipality crew carrying out the demolition.

The bulldozers then tore down a two-story, 250-square-meter building under construction owned by Majdi Mustafa.

Mustafa said he had only recently started to build the structure, and had not yet obtained a construction permit from the Jerusalem municipality for it. more

Monday, 13 March 2017

Witnesses: Israeli police 'execute' Palestinian in Jerusalem over alleged attack

Israeli police shot and killed a 25-year-old Palestinian near the Lion’s Gate entrance to Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem's Old City early Monday morning after he allegedly stabbed two Israeli police officers, who were lightly and moderately injured.

The slain man was identified as Ibrahim Mahmoud Matar, a resident of the East Jerusalem neighborhood Jabal al-Mukabbir, located south of the Old City.

The shooting happened ahead of the Muslim fajr (dawn) prayers, as worshipers were headed to the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Witnesses told Ma'an they saw a dispute inside an Israeli police post located near Lion’s Gate between an Israeli policeman and a Palestinian "who was carrying a stick.” Israeli police then forced the young man outside of the enclosure and “executed” him at point blank range with with four bullets, leading to his immediate death, witnesses said.

Referring to the dispute that lead up to the shooting, eyewitnesses told Ma’an that Israeli police were “controlling the situation” and could have easily detained Matar without using lethal force. more

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Palestinian activist 'executed' by Israeli forces after 2-hour shoot-out



Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian activist early Monday morning, culminating a two-hour-long gun battle in the Ramallah area of the central occupied West Bank, after Israeli forces had been pursuing the man since he was released from Palestinian prison last September.

The raid sparked clashes, which left two Palestinians shot and injured by Israeli forces. No Israelis were injured in the incident.

Israeli police identified the slain man as Basel al-Araj, who was wanted for "planning terror attacks against Israelis."

Al-Araj was detained without charges or explanation by Palestinian security forces in April last year along with Haitham Siyaj and Muhammad Harb. The controversial case made headlines when the three men joined three other detainees in a hunger strike in Palestinian prison, amid reports of torture and mistreatment.

After being released in September, Palestinian activists had feared that Israeli forces would immediately detain the six men, as the Palestinian Authority (PA) has been widely criticized for its security coordination with Israel through what critics have called a “revolving door policy" of funneling Palestinians from PA jails into Israeli prisons. more

Monday, 6 March 2017

'Wanted' Palestinian killed by Israeli forces after 2-hour shoot out

Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian man early Monday morning, culminating a two-hour-long gun battle in the Ramallah area of the central occupied West Bank, after Israeli forces had been pursuing the man since he was released from Palestinian prison last September.

The raid sparked clashes, which left two Palestinians shot and injured by Israeli forces. No Israelis were injured in the incident.

Israeli police identified the slain man as Basel al-Araj, who was wanted for "planning terror attacks against Israelis."

Al-Araj was detained without charges or explanation by Palestinian security forces in April last year along with Haitham Siyaj and Muhammad Harb. The controversial case made headlines when the three men joined three other detainees in a hunger strike in Palestinian prison, amid reports of torture and mistreatment.

After being released in September, Palestinian activists had feared that Israeli forces would immediately detain the six men, as the Palestinian Authority (PA) has been widely criticized for its security coordination with Israel through what critics have called a “revolving door policy" of funneling Palestinians from PA jails into Israeli prisons. more

Monday, 27 February 2017

Israeli army hits Gaza with multiple airstrikes, injuring 4 Palestinians


The Israeli army targeted multiple sites across the besieged Gaza Strip with airstrikes and artillery fire midday Monday leaving at least four Palestinians injured, hours after an Israeli army spokesperson said that a rocket fired from Gaza landed in an open area in southern Israel that caused no injuries or damages.

Witnesses said Israeli fighter jets launched two missiles at a Hamas military site known as the Shuhada ("martyrs" in Arabic) post just after 1 p.m. in the central Gaza Strip, near the coast and west of Nuseirat refugee camp. Other local Palestinian news sites said five missiles were fired in the area.

Shortly after, an Israeli reconnaissance plane fired a missile at a monitoring post east of Rafah city in the southern Gaza Strip, as Israeli fighter jets fired three missiles at the Hitteen post in Beit Lahiya in the northern region of the small Palestinian territory.

A separate strike in the Nahda neighborhood of Rafah left three Palestinians moderately injured, according to local sources. Gaza's Ministry of Health later reported that a total of four people were injured in the strikes. more

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Elor Azarya sentenced to only 18 months in prison for killing wounded Palestinian


After being found guilty of manslaughter for the filmed, execution-style shooting of 21-year-old Abd al-Fattah al-Sharif, 20-year-old Israeli soldier Elor Azarya was sentenced to 18 months in prison, a year's probation, and a demotion in his military rank on Tuesday.

The prosecution had sought a three- to five-year prison sentence for the killing, with the maximum sentence for manslaughter being 20 years in prison.

The sentence was scheduled to begin on March 5, though Azarya’s defense team said it would submit an appeal to block the sentence, saying it had a “good chance” and “nothing to lose,” according to reports from Israeli media from inside the courtroom.

After al-Sharif and Ramzi Aziz al-Qasrawi, also 21, allegedly carried out a stabbing attack on another soldier in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron last March, al-Qasrawi was fatally shot, while al-Sharif was shot and left severely wounded on the ground for several minutes before Azarya stepped forward and shot him in the head, with a number of witnesses quoting him as saying "This dog is still alive" and "This terrorist deserves to die" before pulling the trigger.

Leading up to the announcement of the sentence, the panel of three judges weighed the “complexity” and “competing values” of the case; while they agreed that Azarya acted with the intent to kill and not because he felt threatened, a two-judge majority believed the “unique post-terror attack” atmosphere should work heavily in his favor. more

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Israel delivers demolition orders to 40 homes, school in Bedouin community


Israeli forces raided the Bedouin community of Khan al-Ahmar in the occupied West Bank northeast of Jerusalem on Sunday morning to deliver demolition orders to classrooms for the village's primary school, locals told Ma'an, while 40 homes in the community were also reportedly delivered demolition orders.

Locals told Ma'an that Israeli forces surrounded the school -- which has been threatened with demolition by the Israeli government for years -- as faculty and students were prevented from accessing the building.

Israeli soldiers imposed a military closure on Khan al-Ahmar before they stormed the village's school to deliver the demolition warrants, sources said.

Official Palestinian news agency Wafa meanwhile reported that Israeli authorities also issued demolition order against 40 Palestinian-owned houses in Khan al-Ahmar on Sunday morning.

Eid al-Jahalin, a witness, told Wafa that Israeli forces raided the area in the early dawn hours and notified residents that they had until Feb. 23 to leave their homes.

more

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Israeli, Palestinian officials react to Trump's shift away from 2-state solution

Following a controversial meeting held Wednesday between US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli and Palestinian leaders reacted with praise and condemnation in response to a clear shift in US policy away from backing the two-state solution.

Trump responded to a question on Wednesday regarding his administration’s position on the two-state solution during a press conference preceding the meeting, a day after a US official said that the country was not necessarily committed to the policy as the sole way out of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“I’m looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like,” Trump said, eliciting laughter from Netanyahu. “I can live with either one.”

While members of the international community have rested the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the discontinuation of illegal Israeli settlements and the establishment of a two-state solution, a growing number of Palestinian activists have criticized the two-state solution as unsustainable and unlikely to bring durable peace given the existing political context, proposing instead a binational state with equal rights for Israelis and Palestinians.

more

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Palestinian teens detail their torture at the hands of Israeli authorities


Two Palestinian teenagers held in Israel’s Ofer detention center have been shot, abused, and tortured during their detention and interrogation by Israeli authorities, according to a statement released Tuesday by the Palestinian Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs.

Lawyer for the committee Hussein al-Araj said that 17-year-old Musab Muhammad Ghuneimat from Surif in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron and 16-year-old Ayid Amr from Dura in the Hebron district told him they were tortured in Israeli custody.

Ghneimat was was shot and injured in the foot by Israeli forces on Oct. 23, 2015, after he allegedly stabbed an Israeli soldier.

He told the lawyer that after soldiers claimed he carried out a stabbing attack, they chased after him and shot him in the foot, immobilizing him. After he stopped, an Israeli soldier fired two rounds on the ground near him and a third at his wounded foot from point-blank range.

Minutes later, he added, an Israeli ambulance arrived to evacuate him. "I almost fainted, but the soldiers kept hitting me on the shoulder to keep me awake."

He said that he was then taken to Israel’s Hadassah Hospital where he was held for 18 days, saying he was interrogated before receiving treatment for his injuries. more

Monday, 13 February 2017

Israeli naval forces open fire at Palestinian fishermen in Gaza


Israeli naval boats opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of the besieged Gaza Strip on two separate occasions Sunday night and Monday morning, with no injuries reported in either case.

Fishermen told Ma’an that Israeli forces opened live fire at fishermen off the coast of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Monday evening, forcing fishermen to sail to shore who said they feared for their safety.

Separately on Monday morning, Israeli naval forces opened fire at fishermen sailing north of Gaza City.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an she would look into reports of the incidents.

Israeli army incursions inside the besieged Palestinian territory have long been a near-daily occurrence, as the Israeli army regularly opens fire on unarmed Palestinian fishermen and farmers along the border areas if they approach Israel’s unilaterally declared “buffer zone,” which lies on both the land and sea sides of Gaza. more

Sunday, 12 February 2017

NFL players pull out of Israel propaganda tour


Immediately after contributing to his team’s Super Bowl victory last Sunday, Martellus Bennett of the New England Patriots was asked what he thought about an upcoming visit to Mexico to represent the National Football League (NFL).

“Tear down the wall! Tear down the wall! That’s what I think about going to Mexico,” he cried.

Bennett then became the first of a number of Patriots players who confirmed they would skip a visit with President Donald Trump at the White House. more

Egypt opens Rafah crossing to humanitarian cases for 2nd day


Egyptian authorities opened the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the besieged Gaza Strip on Sunday morning for the second of three days during which Egypt decided to open the terminal for humanitarian cases.

According to the Palestinian borders and crossings committee, 325 passengers left Gaza to travel to Egypt on Saturday, including holders of Egyptian passports. In addition, 183 passengers arrived to Gaza from Egypt through the crossing.

The committee highlighted that two Palestinians who died in Egypt were brought to Gaza for burial via Rafah.

Egyptian authorities denied 11 Palestinians entry into Egypt on Saturday, the reasons for the denials being unknown. more

Thursday, 9 February 2017

2 Palestinians killed, 5 injured in reported airstrike on southern Gaza tunnel


Two Palestinians were killed and five were injured during a reported airstrike on a smuggling tunnel between Egypt and Gaza on Wednesday night, official Palestinian sources said.

Gaza Ministry of Health spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said on Thursday that Hussam Hamid al-Sufi, 24, from the town of Rafah, and Muhammad Anwar al-Aqraa, a 38-year-old resident of Gaza City, were killed in an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, while five other Palestinians were injured.

An Israeli army spokesperson however denied to Ma’an that the army was involved in the reported strike.

However, Israeli media stated that the alleged tunnel attack came in the wake of four rockets being fired from the blockaded Palestinian territory towards the southern Israeli city of Eilat. No casualties were reported in the incident.

The casualties came in the wake of multiple airstrikes launched by the Israeli army inside the Gaza Strip on Monday which injured two Palestinians, after a rocket that landed in an open area in the Ashkelon region of southern Israel.

The Gaza-based al-Mezan Center for Human Rights expressed concern on Tuesday that Israel could be leading up to a wide-scale military offensive. more

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Israeli forces continue airstrikes in Gaza, 2 Palestinians injured


Israeli forces resumed attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip Monday evening, injuring two Palestinians, after injuring a Palestinian earlier Monday in a series of Israeli army airstrikes in northern Gaza, in response to a rocket that landed in an open area in the Ashkelon region of southern Israel Monday morning.

Witnesses told Ma'an that at least eight Israeli missiles were fired at several locations across the besieged coastal enclave.

One airstrike hit agricultural land in the center of Khan Yunis city in the southern Gaza Strip. A spokesman of the Gaza Ministry of Health Ashraf al-Qidra confirmed that two people were injured in Khan Yunis.

According to locals, the airstrikes hit a “resistance” military post as well as an agricultural area east of Gaza City in the northern Gaza Strip, in addition to the al-Shujaiyya neighborhood in Gaza City, causing damages to several residential buildings.

The air strikes also hit agricultural lands east of al-Maghazi and al-Bureij refugee camps in the central Gaza Strip. more

Monday, 6 February 2017

Israeli army shells positions in Gaza after rocket falls in southern Israel


An Israeli army tank fired two shells into eastern Beit Lahiya in the northern besieged Gaza Strip on Monday morning, locals sources said, after a rocket landed in an open area in the Ashkelon region of southern Israel, according to the Israeli army. The cross-border fire came after locals in Gaza reported two separate incidents of Israeli forces opening fire at them.

The Israeli army confirmed in a statement after 10 a.m. that a tank fired into the northern Gaza Strip, claiming they were targeting a Hamas post, saying the artillery fire came in response to a projectile that was fired from Gaza about an hour earlier.

The Israeli army said the rocket landed in an open area in Ashkelon, reporting no injuries or damages.

Meanwhile, locals reported earlier Monday that Israeli forces fired at Palestinian locals and fishermen in two separate incidents, while Israeli bulldozers also made an incursion into central Gaza to level lands. more

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Israeli court in Jerusalem sentences 16-year-old Palestinian girl to 6 years in prison


An Israeli court on Sunday morning sentenced a teenage Palestinian girl from Silwan in occupied East Jerusalem to six years in prison after she was charged with knife possession and planning a stab attack.

Hayat Shweiki told Ma'an that the Jerusalem magistrate's court formally sentenced her daughter Manar Majdi Shweiki to six years in prison after the girl had already spent more than a year in detention, highlighting that the court postponed the sentencing twice since the beginning of 2017.

Her lawyer Mustafa Yahya said last week that the ruling was postponed because the court was awaiting a report regarding Shweiki's behavior over the course of her detention, though Yahya said at the time he already reached a plea bargain with the Israeli prosecution that determined the six-year sentence.

Since her detention in December last year, Shweiki has been moved between Israel's Ramla and HaSharon prisons.

Israeli police first detained her on Dec. 6 in the Wadi Hilweh area of the Silwan, claiming they found a knife in her bag after searching her belongings, though it was unclear what had prompted the search in the first place. more

Friday, 3 February 2017

Israel to return slain Palestinian after holding body for over a week


sraeli authorities decided on Thursday evening to return the body of slain Palestinian Hussein Salem Abu Ghush to his family in the Qalandiya refugee camp in the central occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Abu Ghush was killed by Israeli authorities on Jan. 25 for allegedly attempting a car-ramming attack at a bus-stop near Kochav Yaakov, an illegal Israeli settlement directly southeast of Ramallah.

At the time of Abu Ghush’s death, an Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that "in response to the immediate threat, Israeli forces fired at the assailant, resulting in his death," further claiming that Israeli soldiers found a knife in the Palestinian's vehicle.

She added that no Israelis were injured in the incident.

Witnesses told Ma'an at the time that Israeli soldiers left Abu Ghush bleeding on the ground until he died, before putting him in a black body bag and putting him into a military vehicle headed towards Jerusalem.

At the time of his death, Abu Ghush was the seventh out of now eight Palestinians to have been killed by Israeli forces in 2017. more

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Israeli forces open fire at Palestinian fishermen, farmers in Gaza


Israeli forces opened live fire at Palestinian lands east of Gaza city, while Israeli naval forces also opened fire on fishermen off the coast of Beit Lahiya in the northern part of the besieged enclave on Thursday morning. Witnesses told Ma’an that Israeli forces stationed behind the border fence between Gaza and Israel opened live fire at Palestinian farmers. No injuries were reported. Witnesses also told Ma’an that Israeli forces opened live fire at fishermen off the coast of Beit Lahiya, without any injuries being reported. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an she would look into reports. more

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Egypt closes Rafah crossing after 4-day opening


Egyptian authorities closed the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the besieged Gaza Strip on Wednesday after four days of opening it in both directions.

The Gaza borders and crossings committee said that 2,624 Palestinians were permitted to leave the besieged coastal enclave during the four days, including humanitarian cases and Egyptian passport holders.

The committee added that the Gaza Strip received 3,095 Palestinians returning to the small Palestinian territory, while Egyptian authorities denied passage to 203 passengers for unspecified reasons.

The crossing initially opened on Saturday for three days, but Egyptian authorities decided on Monday to keep the crossing open on Tuesday.

Two travelers died “of natural causes” at the crossing on Sunday, the Palestinian border committee said on Monday, without providing further details on the circumstances surrounding the deaths. However, many of the Palestinians who are given priority to leave the blockaded Palestinian enclave are seeking medical treatment abroad.

Prior to the four-day opening, the Rafah crossing had been closed for 38 days. more

Monday, 30 January 2017

2 Palestinians die 'of natural causes' at Gaza-Egypt border crossing


Two travelers died “of natural causes” at the Rafah crossing on Sunday, on the second of a three-day opening of the border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian border committee said in a statement.

The committee did not provide further details on the circumstances surrounding the deaths, nor was it clear whether the deceased were entering or exiting Gaza. However, many of the Palestinians who are given priority to leave the blockaded Palestinian enclave seek medical treatment abroad.

The committee added that some 685 Palestinians were able to leave the besieged Palestinian territory on Sunday, while 1,340 travelers crossed into Gaza.

The committee added that Egyptian authorities denied entrance to 40 Palestinians for unknown reasons.

Egypt opened Rafah crossing on Saturday after 38 days of closure, announcing the crossing would be opened for a total of three days for humanitarian cases.

Egypt has upheld an Israeli military blockade on the Gaza Strip since the ousting of former President Muhammad Morsi in 2013 and the rise to power of al-Sisi in Egypt. more

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

B'Tselem: Palestinian teenager shot dead last month was fleeing scene


Israeli rights group B’Tselem released a report and video on Tuesday revealing that 17-year-old Ahmad Hazem Ata Zidani (al-Rimawi) was shot dead in December while fleeing from the scene of clashes with Israeli forces in Ramallah-area village of Beit Rima in the central occupied West Bank. Zidani was shot dead when clashes erupted with Israeli forces in the village during an overnight raid. A 25-year-old resident of the village was also injured with an Israeli live bullet during the same incident.

Camera footage caught by a CCTV camera installed on a nearby shop shows Zidani and several other Palestinian youths “throwing stones at military jeeps outside the frame, and then running for cover around the corner of a building. Zidani is the last to arrive, and is shot just as he reaches cover.” more

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Israel approves construction of 2,500 houses in illegal West Bank settlements


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman approved plans for the construction of 2,500 housing units in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday, Israeli media reported.

According to The Times of Israel, the vast majority of the new housing will be built in the settlement blocs of Ariel, Etzion, and Maale Adumim -- the latter being the focus of a Knesset bill seeking to annex it to Israel.

The Jerusalem Post, meanwhile, said that 100 of the units would be built in the settlement of Beit El, as part of a previous agreement to provide housing to settlers who were ousted by Israeli authorities from the illegal outpost of Migron in 2012.

“We’re building, and will continue to build,” Netanyahu reportedly said after the announcement.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz quoted Lieberman as saying that "we are returning to life as normal in Judea and Samaria," using an Israeli term for the West Bank. more

Israel to return body of slain Palestinian math teacher to Umm al-Hiran


The Israeli Supreme Court has ordered that Israeli police to return the body of Yaqoub Abu al-Qian, a Palestinian citizen of Israel and local math teacher, to his family for burial in the unrecognized Negev-area Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran, according to Israeli police. Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri confirmed initial reports by Israel’s Channel 2 website that Abu al-Qian’s body would be released for burial Tuesday, adding that police would be complying with the order that the funeral take place during the day and not “during the night hours.” According to Channel 2, the court also decided that “no restriction shall be imposed on the number of mourners,” in the funeral, while simultaneously ordering that the funeral should last no longer than two hours. Channel 2 quoted the court decision as saying the funeral will advance from Umm al-Hiran to the nearby village of Hura during the day “in coordination with police.” more

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Israel postpones vote on settlement annexation bill after pressure from Trump


According to reports from Israeli media, a vote on a bill seeking to annex the occupied West Bank settlement of Maale Adumim that was set to be voted on Sunday was postponed at the request of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, following pressure from the administration of US President Donald Trump.

Israel's ultra-right Education Minister Naftali Bennett has been keen to introduce the bill, with its introduction having reportedly been delayed until Trump's inauguration, as the new American head of state has come out as a vocal supporter of illegal Israeli settlements.

However, Israeli daily Haaretz reported Sunday morning that Netanyahu called Bennett on Friday and asked him to postpone the bill after Trump advisers said that “no unilateral steps should be taken by Israel” until a meeting is held between Netanyahu and Trump. more

Report: Palestinian teen dies in Gaza after Israel denies him access to hospital


A 17-year-old Palestinian died last week after Israeli authorities refused to allow him to leave the besieged Gaza Strip to undergo treatment for a congenital heart defect, the Gaza-based al-Mezan Center for Human Rights said in a report on Sunday.

Israeli authorities had denied Ahmad Hassan Shubeir from Gaza City, permission to cross into Israel to receive life-saving medical treatment from a hospital after the teen “refused to serve as a collaborator for the Israeli authorities, a coercive measure regularly employed on Palestinian patients in need of permits,” according to the center.

After being repeatedly denied permission by Israel to cross, despite securing a number of appointments at Israeli hospitals as his health declined, Ahmad died at approximately 4 a.m. on Jan. 14.

Ahmad’s father told al-Mezan that his son had been suffering from a congenital heart defect since birth. The father said that he accompanied Ahmad several times to Israeli hospitals, including Tel Hashomer Hospital, Schneider Children’s Medical Center, as well as al-Makassed Hospital in the occupied West Bank, and that Ahmad’s condition remained relatively stable throughout the treatment. more

Israeli forces fire at Gaza fishermen, force them to sail back to shore


Israeli gunboats opened heavy machine gun fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip in the early predawn hours Sunday morning, forcing fishermen to sail back to shore, with no injuries or damages reported, fishermen told Ma'an.

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

On Friday morning, Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian fisherman off the coast of the northern Gaza Strip with a rubber-coated steel bullet.

Gazan fishermen, whose numbers are estimated to be around 4,000, have suffered from the near decade-long siege of the Gaza Strip, which limits their entry into the sea to just six nautical miles, in accordance with the ceasefire agreement signed with Palestinian factions in 2014. more

Thursday, 19 January 2017

NGO: Israeli shooting of Palestinian teen in Tuqu 'extrajudicial killing'


A Palestinian rights group slammed on Wednesday the killing of a Palestinian teen by Israeli forces earlier this week, calling the case an “extrajudicial killing” and demanding that Israeli authorities open an investigation into the case.

Qusay al-Umour, 17, was killed during clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian youth in the Bethlehem-area village of Tuqu in the occupied West Bank on Monday.

Video of the moments immediately following al-Umour being shot by Israeli forces has elicited a strong emotional response, as it showed Israeli soldiers roughly carrying the teenager’s limp body by his dangling arms and legs.

Legal NGO BADIL said in a statement on Wednesday that the footage provided “evidence contradicting Israeli accounts and raises concerns about the adherence of the Israeli forces to the central tenets of international law.” more

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Palestinian shot dead 'in cold blood' by Israeli police during Negev demolition raid


Two people were killed and several others were hospitalized on Wednesday after a predawn demolition raid into the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in the Negev region erupted into clashes, as Israeli forces used sponge-tipped bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades to violently suppress locals and supporters who had gathered to resist the demolitions.

A Palestinian citizen of Israel was shot dead by Israeli forces after he allegedly carried out a car ramming attack on Israeli officers, leaving several injured, according to Israeli police. However, numerous eyewitness accounts said that the driver lost control of his vehicle after he was shot, causing him to crash into Israeli police, one of whom was killed.

Locals identified the slain Palestinian citizen of Israel as 47-year-old Yaqoub Moussa Abu al-Qian, a math teacher at al-Salam High School in the nearby town of Hura.

Israeli police later confirmed that a policeman succumbed to injuries he sustained by being hit by the car. The slain officer was identified as 34-year-old Erez Levi.

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Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Conservatives anger grows at Israel’s UK plot


From the Electronic Intifada - An influential parliamentary committee will investigate an Israeli embassy plot to “take down” a UK government minister.

The chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee said on Sunday that disgraced Israeli embassy senior political officer Shai Masot’s discussion of a “hit list” of MPs was “interference in British politics of the murkiest kind.”

Crispin Blunt, a lawmaker from Prime Minister Theresa May’s ruling Conservative Party, told the Mail on Sunday that “I hope to include this matter in the committee’s wider inquiry into the Middle East peace process.”

After undercover footage revealed the plot, Masot was swiftly thrown under the bus. He was sent back to Israel and fired from his government position.

The affair has been deeply embarrassing for Israel, with ambassador Mark Regev making a grovelling apology to Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

The footage also shows Masot calling Johnson an “idiot.” more

Israeli forces kill Palestinian near Tulkarem after alleged stabbing attempt


Israeli forces killed a Palestinian near the northern occupied West Bank city of Tulkarem early on Tuesday evening after he allegedly attempted to carry out a stabbing attack.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an that "an assailant armed with a knife approached Israeli forces at a crossing adjacent to Tulkarem," adding that Israeli forces "fired at the attacker, resulting in his death."

The spokesperson added that no Israelis were injured in the incident.

Locals later identified the slain Palestinian as Nidal Daoud Mahdawi, 44, who was a holder of Israeli residency, married, and a father of five. Witnesses told Ma'an that Mahdawi approached the checkpoint when gunshots were heard and Mahdawi was seen falling to the ground after being injured by several bullets fired by the Israeli soldiers. Israeli forces then closed the checkpoint and prevented anyone from entering Tulkarem. more

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Socialist leader detained for involvement in Gaza electricity protests launches hunger strike

A member of the central committee of the socialist Palestinian People’s Party (PPP) declared a hunger strike on Sunday in protest of his detention by security forces in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

According to a statement from PPP, Adnan al-Faqaawi was arrested by security forces over his involvement in recent protests in the Gaza Strip, held to demand a resolution to an ever-worsening electricity crisis in the besieged coastal enclave.

PPP said al-Faqaawi was being held incommunicado in a detention center in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip.

Hamas’ security forces have been accused of assaulting journalists and restricting the freedom of expression of demonstrators over the past week, with rights groups and United Nations harshly criticizing Hamas for possible human rights violations and their suppression of dissent amid the protests. more

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Israeli forces open fire on fishermen off the coast of Gaza


Israeli naval forces Saturday morning opened live fire at Gazan fishermen off the coast of the northern Gaza Strip.

Witnesses told Ma’an that Israeli forces opened live fire at the fishermen working off the coast of the northern part of the besieged enclave, forcing them to head back to Gaza’s shores.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an she would look into reports on the incident.

The Israeli army regularly open fires on Palestinian fishermen and farmers along the border areas, despite a ceasefire agreement that ended the 2014 war.

There have also been intermittent reports of Israeli forces attempting to sink the boats of fishermen as they approach Israel’s unilaterally declared “buffer zone,” which lies on both the land and sea sides of Gaza. more

Amnesty International: Israel engaged in 'illegal conduct' during demolitions in Qalansawe


In the wake of a demolition campaign carried out by Israeli forces on Palestinian citizens of Israel earlier in the week in the Israeli city of Qalansawe, Amnesty International on Thursday released a statement condemning possible human rights violations that occurred during the demolitions and accused Israeli forces of acting on “political motives.”

On Tuesday, Israeli forces, including hundreds of Israeli police and more than 20 bulldozers, demolished 11 homes belonging to Palestinian citizens of Israel in the city of Qalansawe in central Israel, sparking clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police, locals said at the time.

Some of the Palestinian families whose homes were demolished were left homeless after the campaign, according to rights groups. Mayor of Qalansawe, Abd al-Basit Mansour, immediately resigned from his post in reaction to the demolition campaign, underscoring that the city had been fruitlessly waiting for the approval of a master plan for the area for 20 years. more

Friday, 13 January 2017

Gaza security forces assault journalists amid power crisis protests


Amid widespread protests Thursday night regarding the electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip, reports have emerged of Hamas security forces assaulting journalists covering the protests, as well as arresting opposition leaders suspected of criticizing the governing party’s handling of the crisis.

Crowded marches had set off in the northern Gaza Strip, mainly in the Jabaliya refugee camp, demanding a solution to the power crisis which has left the besieged coastal enclave with less than half of the electricity it needs.

Witnesses told Ma’an that during the marches, Gaza security forces opened fire in the air to suppress protesters “to prevent protesters from reaching the electricity company in Jabaliya.” more

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Power authority says Gaza has access to less than half of electricity needs


BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The besieged Gaza Strip is currently receiving less than half of the electricity it needs, Gaza power authority deputy chief Thafer Melhem said on Wednesday.

In an interview with the official channel Palestine TV, Melhem said that the blockaded enclave was only provided with 200 megawatts of electricity, only 45 percent of the 450 megawatts needed to fully supply power to Gaza.

Melhem said that the severe electricity shortage was not only due to fuel shortages, but also to ongoing tensions with Israeli authorities on a number of issues, notably efforts to improve Gaza’s only power plant. The official added that expansion of power lines coming from both Israel and Egypt could help alleviate the issue, as well as using natural gas instead of diesel to produce electricity.

Meanwhile, the Islamic and National Forces organized a march to denounce the electricity crisis on Wednesday in the southern Gaza Strip. more

Israeli soldiers 'caught in Hamas online honey trap'


From the BBC – Israel's military says it has uncovered a scam by Hamas militants to spy on its soldiers by hacking their mobile phones after posing as women on social media.

Members of the Palestinian group found the soldiers online, then tried to strike up a friendship using the fake identities, an officer told reporters.

Dozens of soldiers were persuaded to install an application that controlled their phone cameras and microphones.

However, the officer said Hamas was not able to uncover any major secrets.

Most of the soldiers were low-ranking, he added, and the scammers were interested in information about Israeli army manoeuvres, forces and weaponry around the Hamas-dominated Gaza Strip. more

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Israeli forces kill Palestinian man during predawn raid in al-Faraa


A Palestinian man was shot and killed by Israeli forces during an overnight raid in the al-Faraa refugee camp in the northern occupied West Bank district of Tubas on Tuesday, Israeli and Palestinian sources reported, although they widely diverged over the circumstances of the man’s death.

A member of the politburo of the Palestinian People's Party (PPP), Khalid Mansour, told Ma'an that an Israeli intelligence officer "executed" Muhammad al-Salihi, 32, during a raid in his home.

Al-Salihi and his mother were surprised when Israeli forces entered and ransacked their homes, Mansour said.

"Muhammad started to shout at them because he thought they were thieves, and the soldiers immediately showered him with bullets at point-blank range, before the very eyes of his elderly mother," Mansour recounted.

According to the PPP official, medical sources at the Turkish hospital in Tubas said al-Salihi had been shot at least six times, including in the upper body.

An Israeli army spokesperson, meanwhile, told Ma’an that a Palestinian advanced towards Israeli troops holding a knife during an army detention raid in al-Faraa. She said that al-Salihi did not heed calls by the soldiers asking him to halt, leading the soldiers to shoot and kill him. more

Monday, 9 January 2017

Palestinian citizen of Israel shot and killed in Sakhnin


A Palestinian citizen of Israel was shot and killed in the northern Israeli town of Sakhnin between Sunday and Monday, Israeli police said.

Hilal Ghanayim, 32, was shot near the Doha Stadium in Sakhnin after midnight, Israeli police said, and was transferred to a hospital in critical condition before being declared dead.

Israeli police said that, following an investigation, it detained a 27-year-old suspected of being involved in the case.

Israeli authorities imposed a temporary gag order on the case between 10.30 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Monday, Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri reported. more

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Driver shot dead after ramming truck into Israeli soldiers, killing 4


A driver was shot dead after ramming a large truck into a group of pedestrians, killing four Israeli soldiers and injuring at least 15 other people Saturday afternoon, at a bus stop in the illegal Israeli settlement of East Talpiyyot in the Jerusalem district of the occupied West Bank.

An Israeli police spokesperson confirmed in a statement that the "terrorist" was shot and killed after carrying out the suspected attack.

Israel's emergency medical service Magen David Adom (MDA) said that the slain Israeli soldiers were in their 20s. According to Israeli media, three were women and the fourth was a man.

MDA added that 15 others were wounded -- one severely, four moderately, and ten lightly. The severely wounded person, reportedly a woman, was evacuated to Israel's Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem. It remained unconfirmed if all of those injured were Israeli soldiers. more

Friday, 6 January 2017

Search for missing Gaza fisherman enters third day


The search for a missing Gaza fisherman entered it’s third day on Friday, as Israeli forces reportedly aided in the search for Muhammad Ahmad al-Hassi, 33, who went missing after an encounter with Israeli naval forces, in which locals claimed that the forces purposely attacked and sunk al-Hassi’s boat.

Head of the Gaza Fishermen's Union Nizar Ayyash told Ma'an Friday that Israeli forces were still looking for al-Hassi in the area where the attack took place, as well as in the northern sea areas, considering that the sea current’s direction is to the north.

The incident, which took place late Wednesday night, has sparked anger in the besieged coastal enclave. A sit-in protest was organized on Thursday condemning the “Israeli crime” and demanding an international intervention to protect Gaza fishermen and prosecute Israel for its crimes.

Gazan fishermen, whose numbers are estimated to be around 4,000, have suffered from a near decade-long siege of the Gaza Strip, which limits fishermen to just six nautical miles into the sea in accordance with the ceasefire agreement signed with Palestinian factions in 2014.

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Thursday, 5 January 2017

Gaza fisherman goes missing after encounter with Israeli navy


A Palestinian fisherman went missing on Wednesday night after his boat was attacked by Israeli naval forces off the coast of the northern Gaza Strip, Palestinian sources said.

The head of the Gaza fishermen’s union, Nizar Ayyash, said that an Israeli navy ship attacked and sunk a boat belonging to Muhammad al-Hissi at around 10:30 p.m. off the coast of Beit Lahiya, and that al-Hissi went missing shortly afterwards.

Ayyash added that searches were being conducted to find the fisherman.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an that Israeli naval forces were escorting a Palestinian fishing boat which had deviated from the Israeli-designated fishing zone to a port on Wednesday evening when "the Israeli vessel collided with another Palestinian vessel which was not visible." more

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

HRW: Senior Israeli officials support 'shoot-to-kill' policy against Palestinians


In a report released Monday from Human Rights Watch (HRW), the group outlined instances when senior Israeli officials have either openly called for the extra-judicial killing of Palestinians or have failed to condemn the calls.

According to the group, there have been more than 150 instances since October 2015 where Israeli forces have “fatally shot Palestinian adults and children suspected of trying to stab, run over, or shoot Israelis in Israel and the West Bank.” The killings have been condemned by rights groups who say that at many times the alleged Palestinian assailants have been killed after they no longer posed a threat.

HRW said in the report that since 2015, the group had documented “numerous statements” made by senior Israeli politicians, including Israel’s defense minister and police minister “calling on police and soldiers to shoot to kill suspected attackers, irrespective of whether lethal force is actually strictly necessary to protect life.”

Sari Bashi, the Israel advocacy director at HRW said in the report that “it’s not just about potentially rogue soldiers, but also about senior Israeli officials who publicly tell security forces to unlawfully shoot to kill.”

“Whatever the results of trials of individual soldiers, the Israeli government should issue clear directives to use force only in accordance with international law.” more

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Israeli navy fires warning shots at Gaza fishermen


Israeli navy ships opened fire towards Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of the besieged Gaza Strip on Tuesday morning, local sources told Ma’an.

Fishermen said that that Israeli forces fired warning shots at them while they were fishing off the coast of al-Waha, northwest of Gaza City. No injuries were reported.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an they were looking 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. more