Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Israeli settler family to move into Hebron home, days after expelling Palestinian owners


Almost one week after dozens of extremist Israeli settlers raided and occupied a Palestinian home in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron, an Israeli settler declared on Monday that he and his family will be officially moving into the home, despite an ongoing legal battle between the Palestinian homeowners and Israelis.

The Israeli settler who made the declaration, according to Hebrew media, was Yossi Dagan, a leader of the Homesh First organization -- an umbrella organization of right-wing settler groups whose goal is to rebuild Homesh settlement, which was destroyed and evacuated by the Israeli government in 2005.

Hebrew media reported on Monday that Dagan accused the Israeli government of “stalling” on legal procedures, and called on Israeli leaders to “stop this injustice” and to move the ownership of the home -- which belongs to the Palestinian Abu Rajab family -- to Dagan and the settlers of Hebron.

Residents of the Abu Rajab house, located in the Old City of Hebron near the Ibrahimi Mosque, have been embroiled in a legal battle with Israeli settlers for years, after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared his intention to encourage the establishment of a new illegal Israeli settlement there to be named Beit Hamachpela. more

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Palestinian leaders call for return to Al-Aqsa after Israeli forces remove security measures


Israeli forces dismantled security measures installed at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem late on Wednesday night, in what was celebrated as a victory by Palestinian Jerusalemites, as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian religious leaders said on Thursday that prayers could resume at the compound.

However, tensions re-emerged on Thursday afternoon after Israeli forces reportedly prevented Al-Aqsa security guards from reopening one of the gates to the compound.

Following a deadly shooting at Al-Aqsa in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem on July 14, Israeli authorities installed heightened security measures at Al-Aqsa,sparking a widespread civil disobedience campaign among local Palestinians, who have been met with violent repression at the hands of Israeli forces.

more

Monday, 24 July 2017

Israeli forces attack positions in Gaza after rocket lands in Negev desert


Israeli forces attacked the Gaza Strip with tank fire overnight Sunday, causing no injuries, a short while after the Israeli army said a projectile fired from the besieged coastal enclave landed in an open area in the Negev desert without causing injuries or damages.

Locals in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip told Ma'an that several Israeli tank shells landed in the area and caused no reported injuries. However, a statement from the Israeli army said it targeted a Hamas post in the southern part of the small Palestinian territory.

Israeli officials have accused Hamas, Gaza's de facto leading party, of "preparing" for another war with Israel and have threatened retaliatory measures against the Gaza Strip as a whole, while Israeli authorities hold Hamas responsible for all attacks against Israeli targets coming from the Gaza Strip. more

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Palestinian shot dead in al-Eizariya as clashes erupt in Jerusalem, West Bank


A day after widespread violence in the occupied Palestinian territory left three Palestinians killed, hundreds of others injured, as well as three Israeli settlers killed by a Palestinian, clashes continued in certain areas in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank on Saturday, leaving one Palestinian shot dead by Israeli fire and dozens more wounded.

Israeli forces shot at least two Palestinians with live bullets, critically injuring one, in the town of al-Eizariya in the central occupied West Bank district of Jerusalem during clashes there Saturday evening, a spokesperson for the Palestinian Red Crescent told Ma'an.

The seriously wounded Palestinian succumbed to his wounds a short time later, the Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed in a statement. He was first evacuated to a hospital in Jericho with shrapnel wounds all over his body in a serious condition, and later taken to the Palestinian Medical Complex in Ramallah were he was declared dead, according to the statement. more

Friday, 21 July 2017

3 Palestinians dead in Jerusalem clashes, health ministry says


Jerusalem (CNN)Three Palestinians were killed after clashes over restrictions imposed by Israeli authorities on worshipers in Jerusalem's Old City on Friday, Palestinian officials said.

More than 100 others were injured in the clashes in east Jerusalem neighborhoods, according to Rafiq El Husseini, director of Al Maqassed Hospital, where the bodies of two of the dead were taken. It is unclear who fired the fatal shots.

Tensions were fueled by a decision by Israeli authorities to install metal detectors at entrances to a key holy site in the Old City and bar male worshipers under 50 from attending Friday prayers there. more

Thousands of Palestinians march towards Al-Aqsa to denounce Israeli measures


JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Tensions were running high in occupied East Jerusalem on Friday as thousands of Palestinians were marching towards the Old City to denounce increased Israeli security measures in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which Israeli authorities decided to maintain early on Friday, despite recommendations from Israel’s own security agencies.

The Waqf, the Islamic endowment administering Al-Aqsa, called earlier this week on all mosques in Jerusalem to be closed on Friday and for all Muslim worshipers in the city to head towards Al-Aqsa to denounce the installation of metal detectors, turnstiles, and additional security cameras in the compound after a shooting attack on July 14 left the assailants, three Palestinian citizens of Israel, and two Israeli border police officers killed. more

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

PA deflects blame for medical patients in Gaza being denied treatment


The Palestinian Authority (PA) has rejected accusations from Hamas and reports in Israeli media that it has been preventing Palestinians in the blockaded Gaza Strip from leaving the territory for medical treatment, and said Israel was responsible for denying Gazans the exit permits, which has had fatal consequences in recent weeks.

Corroborating earlier reports that the Ramallah-based government was denying culpability, head of the PA’s medical referral department in the southern district Bassam al-Badri told Ma’an that Israel was accountable for the deterioration of the medical situation in Gaza, by denying exit to thousands of patients via the Erez crossing so that they may be treated in hospitals in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.

Al-Badri said that only 50 percent of medical permits were approved as a result of the Israeli restrictions.

Health care inside Gaza has greatly suffered as part of the decade-long Israeli siege, with Israel limiting medical equipment allowed in and restricts travel for doctors seeking further medical training and specialization. more

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Hamas accuses Israel of fabricating rocket claim to justify airstrikes in Gaza


The Israeli air force launched at least two airstrikes on the besieged Gaza Strip early Tuesday, with the Israeli army saying the attacks targeted two Hamas military infrastructures and were in response to a rocket fired from Gaza late Monday, which allegedly landed in an open area in Israel's Shaar Hanegev Regional Council that borders northeastern Gaza, causing no injuries or damages.

No injuries were reported as a result of the airstrikes.

Palestinian news agency Wafa cited local sources in Gaza, saying that strikes hit multiple locations across the small Palestinian territory, including northwest of Gaza City, east of the Gaza Valley area, and Nasr neighborhood in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah.

The strikes left material damages to a number of homes, the report said.

more

Monday, 26 June 2017

Claims of Israeli settlement freeze an 'attempt to fool the public'


After reports emerged Friday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised the United States government to stop marketing new settlement units for the rest of 2017, a representative from settlement watchdog Peace Now called the alleged promise “another spin of the Netanyahu government trying to fool the public.”

Israeli newspaper The Jerusalem Post had reported that the alleged freeze was discovered when settlers from the illegal Beit El settlement in the central occupied West Bank discovered that plans for 300 new settler homes -- promised to the settlers by Netanyahu in exchange for a peaceful evacuation of the illegal Ulpana outpost -- were halted.

Netanyahu then reportedly met with the settlement's regional council head Shai Alon and ensured him that the homes promised to the settlers would be excluded from the temporary settlement freeze, adding that the 300 settler homes would be advanced in September. more

Friday, 23 June 2017

Gaza's only power plant back online after two months following Egypt fuel delivery


The only electricity plant serving the two million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip has partly resumed operations after an unexpected diesel delivery from neighbouring Egypt.

Tankers brought one million litres (220,000 gallons) of fuel into the coastal enclave on Thursday, allowing engineers to partly restart the plant and ease the area’s chronic electricity shortage for the next few days.

Hamas, the militant organisation which seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, had been using Qatari and Turkish funding to buy diesel to run the plant from Israel - but has repeatedly accused the West Bank’s Palestinian Authority (PA), which coordinates delivery, of driving up prices through unfair taxation. more

Monday, 12 June 2017

Israel approves 40 percent reduction of electricity supply to Gaza


BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The Israeli security cabinet has approved a 40 percent reduction in Israel’s electricity supply to the besieged Gaza Strip, where Palestinians are already coping with a crippling power crisis and daily, hours-long blackouts, according Israeli media reports.

The approval came after Israeli authorities announced plans to make the cuts last month, upon request of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in occupied West Bank, which foots Gaza’s monthly electricity bill from Israel by subtracted from taxes collected by Israel on behalf of the PA.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had reportedly informed Israel that the PA only intended to pay 60 percent of the 40 million shekel ($11.19) monthly bill, as Hamas, the de facto ruling party in Gaza, and the Fatah-led PA continued to blame each other for a deepening crisis in Gaza.

Both Israel and the PA have accused Hamas of collecting millions of shekels in taxes from Gazans every month without transferring the money to the PA, and instead “using (the money) to dig tunnels and for the advantage of Hamas,” as the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) put it. more


Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Palestinian prisoners having difficulty standing on 23rd day of mass hunger strike


As some 1,600 Palestinian prisoners marked their 23rd day on hunger strike on Tuesday, the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners' Affairs warned that hunger strikers had entered a dangerous stage, reporting that health conditions were deteriorating considerably.

The political prisoners are calling for an end to the denial of family visits, the right to pursue higher education, appropriate medical care and treatment, and an end to solitary confinement and administrative detention -- imprisonment without charge or trial -- among other demands for basic rights.

Prisoners have started to fall due to waves of dizziness, severe pains, and weight loss, according to a statement released by the committee on Tuesday. The statement highlighted that Israeli authorities had prepared ambulances outside of every prison, and said that "the occupation’s government treats hunger strikers with such cruelty and savagery to the extent that it is willing to completely exhaust their health and lead them to death."

The committee accused the Israel Prison Service (IPS) of harassing hunger strikers on a daily basis. "The Israeli Prison Service carry out inspection raids every day using police dogs, and they spill water on prisoners instead of giving them water to drink," the statement added.

Many hunger strikers have also landed in solitary confinement or have been transferred multiple times throughout Israel’s network of prisons, faced assault, nightly cell raids, confiscation of personal belongings, subhuman cell conditions, and have even been fined hundreds of shekels as punishment for refusing meals. more

Monday, 8 May 2017

Teenage Palestinian girl 'executed in cold blood,' witnesses say


Palestinians who witnessed Israeli border police shooting and killing 16-year-old Fatima Afif Abd al-Rahman Hjeiji in occupied East Jerusalem on Sunday evening said the girl was “executed in cold blood” and did not pose a lethal threat when she was hit with some 20 bullets outside of the Old City.

Israeli police claimed Hjeiji “approached Israeli police and border guards stationed at the site, drew a knife, and tried to attack them while calling out 'Allah Akbar' in an attempt to hurt Israeli forces, who determinedly and professionally neutralized her.”

However, shortly after the shooting, an eyewitness told Ma’an that Hjeiji had been standing near Damascus Gate, more than ten meters away from a group of Israeli border guard soldiers, before she was killed.

"One of the soldiers started to shout ‘knife! knife!’ and moments after that, about five soldiers opened fire at her from every direction," he said. Another witness said the girl was first hit in the chest and fell to the ground, “but Israeli soldiers continued to fire at her back." more

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Abbas aids Israeli siege by cutting Gaza electricity payments


With the prospect looming of a Middle East peace initiative by a new U.S. administration more sympathetic to Israel, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has decided to turn the screw on the Hamas group that has kept Gaza out of his control for a decade.

Abbas's Western-backed Palestinian Authority (PA) on Thursday told Israel it would no longer pay for the electricity Israel supplies to Gaza, a move that could lead to a complete power shutdown in the territory, whose 2 million people already endure blackouts for much of the day. Israel does not engage directly with Hamas, regarding the Islamist group as a terrorist organization.

The PA declined to say why it had taken the step, but had already put pressure on Hamas by withholding the Israeli fuel that until two weeks ago powered Gaza's only generating plant, and slashing the salaries of the civil servants who are one of the mainstays of Gaza's struggling economy.

Medical workers say health services are on the verge of breakdown, while shopkeepers say they are struggling. more

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.

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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.

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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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