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.

more

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.

more

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