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Dagelijks archief 5 maart 2017

Life under siege: A girl’s struggle after the war

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Between the 19th and 20th of July 2014, the Shuja’iyya neighborhood – one of the most densely populated areas located in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, east of Gaza city – was exposed to Israeli airstrikes in an unprecedented way, which led to the destruction of the entire area and its infrastructure. Looking as if it had been hit by an earthquake, the attack left more than 1949 residential buildings completely destroyed. The arbitrary intense bombing led to 195 civilian casualties, of which 50 were women and 55 children.  Furthermore, the 180 children became disabled as a result of this war. A whole new generation of children has grown up knowing nothing but war.

Among them is Maha al Sheikh Khalil, a ten year old girl who survived the attack. Despite the challenges and hardships she been through, is full of love, and hope. Maha’s childhood memoirs are afflicted with loss, war, and being left with irreparable injuries. Maha suffers from quadriplegia after having caught shrapnel in the neck, resulting in vertebrae spine fracture.

Alerted by explosions outside on al Beltaji street, where the Sheikh Khalil family has their home, the 16 family members split up into two groups, half of them hiding under the staircase and another above. In addition, a man seeking for a place to hide from the chaotic scenes on the street hid in the family’s house. The house was attacked by at least five or six mortars, which led to the death of seven family members, and the severe injury of three children, Fatma (9), Ziad (11) and Maha (7). Fatma’s mouth was hit by a shrapnel, which broke her lower jaw. Ziad’s leg and head were hit by a shrapnel as well – the one hitting his head is still until the present day. It was an arbitrary attack targeting civilians, as the family had never been involved in any kind of political resistance.

The physical and psychological impact that 20th of July 2014 had on the Sheikh Khalil family is indescribable. “We miss our old us. We were something before and now we are something else”, the oldest sister, Zeinab, describes. Having lost their mother, Zeinab took over the mother role at the young age of 18, to take care of her five siblings who survived the attack. At the same time, she managed to become a talented and successful arts student at university.

Maha was first treated at Gaza’s al-Shifa hospital for 30 days, due to the limited medical care facilities; her case was perceived as a lost one. The doctors gave prioritized injured persons with higher likelihood of recovery over severe cases like Maha. “Nothing broke my heart as much as seeing her unable to move her arms and legs”, her father, Hamad, describes in tears. A promise to be treated in Germany was not kept and with the perspective of getting proper treatment for his daughter in Europe. When staff working for the Turkish government came to visit the family, they were shocked by Maha’s presence and took her to Turkey, where she was treated for ten months. As Hamad was unable to accompany his daughter because of his responsibility for her siblings, another relative stayed with Maha in Turkey for the first three months. After seven more months of staying alone in a hospital in a foreign country at the age of seven, Maha demanded to go back to Gaza to be with her family. Her prognosis upon leaving Turkey was that she will never be able to fully recover from her injuries.

Maha has been back to Gaza for a year and a half and is completely dependent on physiotherapy. Due to her medical condition, she lost her appetite, suffers from high fevers during winter times, and missed the first semester of school this year due to her bad immune system. To improve the state of her quadriplegia, she should receive physiotherapy four times per day for 40 NIS each for the rest of her life. But the costs of treatment are too high for the family to cover, so she only has one therapy session per day. Despite everything she has been through, she has grown into a tough young girl, who is trying her best not to reveal in front of other kids that she feels different than them. When playing with others, she always takes the role of the leader. When her health allows, she attends Shams el-Amal school for disabled kids, which runs until the sixth grade. It is yet unclear whether she will be able to continue her education after that. Before being injured, she wanted to become a doctor to treat the injured, but with the tragic experiences of 2014 made her dream seems unreachable. Until the present day, Maha and her siblings are in a constant state of fear of another attack, and losing more family members.

(Source / 05.03.2017)

Israeli forces detain 10 Palestinians in West Bank raids

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BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces carried out predawn military raids across the southern occupied West Bank on Sunday, detaining at least 10 Palestinians, according to local sources and the Israeli army.

In the Hebron district in the southern occupied West Bank, Israeli forces stormed the town of Beit Kahil and detained 20-year-old Muhammad Mahmoud Asafira, according to locals. An Israeli army spokesperson claimed he was a Hamas operative.
In the town of Beit Ummar north of Hebron, Israeli forces detained 22-year-old Sabri Ibrahim Awwad after ransacking several homes in the area, according to local activist Muhammad Ayyad Awwad. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed the detention.
Also in the south, Israeli forces detained five Palestinians from the villages of Marah Rabah and Husan in the Bethlehem district, which were all confirmed by the Israeli army.
Locals in Marah Rabah identified the detainees as Hussam Muhammad al-Sheikh, Murad Mahmoud al-Sheikh, Hamza Abdullah al-Sheikh, and Hussein Amr al-Sheikh. In Husan, locals said Israeli forces detained a young Palestinian man, whose identity was not revealed.
In al-Duheisha refugee camp in southern Bethlehem, Mahmoud Karim Ayyad was detained, according to locals and the Israeli army.
The raid sparked clashes in the camp as well as in the nearby town of Doha, according to locals sources who said two young men were shot in the foot during the clashes, which an Israeli army spokesperson could not immediately confirm.
According to the spokesperson, two Palestinians were also detained in overnight raids in the central occupied West Bank, one in the town of al-Sawahira and one in al-Zawiya.
Israeli forces carry out detention raids across the occupied Palestinian territory on a near-nightly basis, with the UN recording an average of 95 weekly raids in the West Bank in 2016, and 73 weekly raids on average thus far in 2017.
Due to the typically aggressive nature of the raids, clashes often erupt between local Palestinian youth who throw stones and are met in response with live fire, rubber-coated steel bullets, and tear gas, often resulting in serious, sometimes fatal, injuries.
According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, 6,500 Palestinians were held in Israeli prisons as of January.
(Source / 05.03.2017)

Syrian army takes more villages from militants in northwest Syria

ALEPPO, SYRIA: Members of the Free Syrian Army attack Daesh positions in Al-Bab town of Aleppo during "Operation Euphrates Shield" in Aleppo, Syria, on 8 February 2017. [Muhammed Nour/Anadolu Agency]

Members of the Free Syrian Army attack Daesh positions in Al-Bab town of Aleppo during “Operation Euphrates Shield” in Aleppo, Syria, on 8 February 2017

The Syrian army has expanded its control over former Daesh-held villages in northwest Syria, gaining more territory as it pushes back the militants from more pockets in Aleppo province, state media said on Saturday.

The army has made steady progress in recent weeks in eastern Aleppo countryside towards the Euphrates River where it now occupies more villages, state-owned Ikhbariyah quoted a military source as saying.

The army’s gains follow a push to the south and east of the city of al-Bab, which was captured by Turkey-backed rebels late last month.

Earlier, rebels said they had thwarted a large assault by the Syrian army and Iranian-backed rebels on their remaining strongholds in the western Aleppo countryside near Rashdeen.

Read: US-backed Iraqi forces launch fresh push toward Mosul old city centre

By taking Daesh territory south of al-Bab, the army is preventing any possible move by Turkey and the rebel groups it supports to expand southwards. It is also moving closer to regaining control of water supplies for Aleppo.

Daesh’s holdings in northwest Syria have been whittled away over recent months by successive advances by three different, rival forces: Syrian Kurdish groups backed by the United States, the Turkey-backed rebels, and the army.

Daesh’s loss of al-Bab after weeks of bitter street fighting marks the group’s effective departure from northwest Syria, once one of its most fearsome strongholds, and an area of importance because of its location on the Turkish border.

Steady advances since 2015 by the Syrian Democratic Forces -the Kurdish-led alliance of US-led armed groups – had already pushed Daesh from much of the frontier by the middle of last year and have since then threatened its stronghold in Raqqa.

Turkey’s entry into Syria’s civil war via the Euphrates Shield campaign in support of rebel groups fighting under the banner of the Free Syrian Army was intended both to push Daesh from the border and to stop Kurdish expansion there.

(Source / 05.03.2017)

Israeli Apartheid Week 2017 launched in Dublin

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As part of the Israeli Apartheid Week 2017, Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) organised a street theatre act on Henry St, to raise awareness about the inhumane and unjust daily life that the Palestinian’s face at checkpoints under the Israeli Apartheid regime.

IsraeliApartheidWeek will be held in Dublin between 4th and 9th March, and will include events to celebrate thirteen years of the BDS Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions movement, the global resistance to Israel’s Apartheid regime, denial of Palestinian rights violations, war crimes and other international law violations. Join us and be part of the global campaign for freedom, justice and equality for the Palestinian people.

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Head of the IPSC, Faten Tamimi, told PNN that a group of Palestinian and Irish activists had set up a mimic wall and checkpoint in Dublin, where some of the activists dressed as soldiers and carried guns, and stopped the Irish citizens and began investigating them and taking their ID cards, in addition to arrsts only to show the experience the Palestinians go through, to reflect the restriction of movement and human rights violations by these acts.

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Tamimi added that dozens of Irish citizens, if not hundreds, have lived under similar conditions that Palestinians hav ealso been through, and have interacted with the cvtivity, by asking questions and wanting to know more about it.

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Tamimi also thanked everyone who helped out by acting, holding the wall, leafleting and supporting the action .

The Apartheid week activities also include an information stall about HP collusion in Israel’s human rights abuses, in addition to a photo exhibition, film screening.

(Source / 05.03.2017)

183 sentences issued by Israeli authorities without trial in 2 months

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183 administrative detention orders were issued by Israeli courts since the start of 2017, 88 among which issued in February alone, the Palestine Prisoners Center for Studies reported.

Media spokesman for the Palestine Prisoners Center, Reyad al-Ashkar, said such arbitrary administrative orders issued against Palestinian detainees, with neither charge nor trial, are signs of Israel’s disregard for international laws.

“The administrative terms issued since the start of 2017 prove that Israel uses such a policy as part of a collective punishment tactic against the Palestinians,” noted al-Ashkar.

The sentences issued in February included 23 new terms and 65 renewed terms, all ranging from two to six months.

Al-Khalil province topped the list with 32 administrative detention orders, followed by 23 in Ramallah.

The Israeli prison authorities renewed the administrative sentences of three Palestinians for the fifth time running and of 21 others for the fourth time. 23 prisoners were, meanwhile, subjected to a renewed sentence for the second consecutive time.

(Source / 05.03.2017)

NGOs urge UN to blacklist Israel over violations against children

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A consortium of human rights groups has urged UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres to add Israel and its army to a blacklist of entities and countries that have committed grave violations against children.

“Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict,” a global network of NGOs that strives to end violations against children in armed conflicts, released its annual report ahead of the UN’s release of its annual report on children and armed conflicts.

“The new secretary-general has an opportunity to send a clear message to all member states that a party to conflict is listed for one reason alone, a pattern of documented, United Nations-verified evidence of grave violations against children,” Dragica Mikavica, advocacy officer for the organization, said in the report.

The Watchlist, which has recommended the Israeli army for blacklisting since 2005, focused on Israel’s 2014 military aggression against Gaza in its report, stressing that Israel’s “attacks in Gaza have not ceased.”

“In his 2016 annual report on children and armed conflict covering the period of January 1 to December 31, 2015, the secretary-general reported that 27 Palestinian children [23 boys and 4 girls] were killed in the West Bank, almost double the number killed in 2014,” the report noted.

It added that “the number of injuries to Palestinian children also increased, mostly due to clashes with Israeli forces and military-led operations”.

In 2015, Israel escaped blacklisting by the UN after lobbying by the US and Israel.

(Source / 05.03.2017)

In violation of int’l law, IOA withholds journalist’s press pass

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The Israeli occupation authorities have been seizing the press pass, laptop, and money owned by the Palestinian journalist Khaled Maali for the fourth month, in a flagrant breach of international law.

Maali, from the northern West Bank province of Salfit, told the PIC that Salem military court ruled that he be released on condition that he shell out a 7,000-shekel bail and hand over his personal laptop and private international press card.

Maali added that at least 15 Palestinian journalists have been locked up in Israeli occupation jails in a barefaced infringement of their right to the freedom of expression granted by the international law.

Palestinian journalists have been subjected to tough crackdowns and arbitrary abduction sweeps by the Israeli occupation forces on account of their involvement in media campaigns exposing Israeli terrorism against the Palestinian people across the occupied territories.

(Source / 05.03.2017)

Palestinian prisoner rearrested by Israeli forces after release

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A Palestinian prisoner was re-arrested by the Israeli forces on Sunday shortly after he was released from an Israeli jail, where he had been locked up for 12 years.

The commission of Jerusalemite prisoners’ and ex-prisoners’ families said Palestinian detainee Moussa Mohamed Darwish, from al-Issawiya village, was re-arrested immediately after he was released from the Israeli Negev lock-up, where he had spent 12 years.

An Israeli intelligence jeep reached the Negev jail and rounded up newly-released Darwish while his family members kept awaiting him since the early morning hours.

Darwish was arrested by the Israeli forces as part of an abduction sweep targeting affiliates of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Last week, the Israeli forces stormed the prisoner’s home and kidnapped his brother Majd before they sentenced him to a six-month administrative prison-term.

(Source / 05.03.2017)

Merkel agrees with Tunisian president to send back 1,500 Tunisian migrants

German Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses delegates at the 53rd Munich Security Conference (MSC) at Hotel Bayerischer Hof in Munich, Germany, on Februrary 18, 2017 [Andreas Gebert / Anadolu Agency]

German Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses delegates at the 53rd Munich Security Conference (MSC) at Hotel Bayerischer Hof in Munich, Germany, on Februrary 18, 2017

German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed on Friday with Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi to send back 1,500 illegal Tunisian immigrants from Germany and pledged $15 million in support for them, agencies reported.

During a meeting in the capital Tunis, Merkel pledged $250 million in support for development projects and vocation training in poor areas across the country.

“We will help Tunisians who wish to voluntarily return [to their country] and open a consulting centre for immigration issues, for which we have specifically earmarked 12 million euros,” Anadolu news agency reported Merkel as saying in a joint press conference with Essebsi.

According to Reuters, Merkel told Tunisia she wanted to speed up return of failed asylum-seekers after a Tunisian drove a truck through a German Christmas market in December and killed 12 people.
She also said: “The youth in Tunisia need opportunities and we are here for this reason.”

More than 258 German companies are currently conducting business in Tunisia and they currently offer employment opportunities to some 6,660 Tunisian workers.

The Tunisian Chamber of Commerce said that 54 new German investment projects were created between 2011 and 2015, in addition to 81 that were already in existence before this time.

Merkel’s visit to Tunisia came two weeks after a two-day visit of the Tunisian Prime Minister to Berlin as he discussed several issues with German officials, and in particular the issue of illegal immigrants.

(Source / 05.03.2017)

Israeli forces beat, arrest Palestinian at Al-Aqsa Mosque

The Israeli occupation forces kidnapped another Palestinian in Al-Khalil

Israeli occupation police beat and arrested on Sunday morning Palestinian citizen after he was beaten by Jewish settlers at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

According to the sources, the Jewish settlers, when were accompanied with heavy security protection, stormed the Islamic holy site through Al-Maghrabeh Gate

Israeli occupation police beat and arrested on Sunday morning Palestinian citizen after he was beaten by Jewish settlers at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

An eyewitness said that the Israeli Jewish settlers attacked the Palestinian man while he was entering through the Lion Gate of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Then, the Israeli police interfered and instead of sorting out the situation, they beat him, handcuffed him and arrested him.

Meanwhile, Palestinian sources counted 64 illegal Israeli Jewish settlers storming Al-Aqsa Mosque in the morning.

According to the sources, the Jewish settlers, when were accompanied with heavy security protection, stormed the Islamic holy site through Al-Maghrabeh Gate.

On Saturday, the Israeli occupation forces attacked a Palestinian citizen in the West Bank city of Al-Khalil and arrested him.

The Israeli officials claimed he had a knife, but Palestinian eyewitnesses reiterated he did not and the knife exposed by the Israeli media is not his, noting that it had been previously exposed by Israeli mass media claiming it belonged to a Palestinian “terrorist” whom they murdered.

(Source / 05.03.2017)