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Dagelijks archief 24 maart 2017

Israeli forces close Ramallah-area checkpoint, fire tear gas at Palestinian vehicles

Attara checkpoint

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Israeli forces Thursday night closed the Attara military checkpoint north of Ramallah city in the central occupied West Bank, firing stun grenades and tear-gas bombs at Palestinian vehicles to deter people from the checkpoint.

The sudden closure of the checkpoint, which connects the central and northern occupied West Bank, caused a major traffic jam in the area.
An Israeli army spokesperson said they were looking into reports.
The Attara checkpoint is located near al-Jalazun refugee camp, which was the site of clashes between Palestinian youth and Israeli forces around the same time of the checkpoint closure, after Israeli soldiers opened fire on a vehicle, killing one Palestinian teen and critically injuring three others.
Clashes erupted at the entrance of the illegal Israeli Beit El settlement, where Israeli forces fired live-fire, rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades, and tear gas at protesters, while Palestinian youth threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at soldiers.
Meanwhile, protesters marched from the Ramallah Government Hospital, where the four teens were taken after they were shot, through main streets in Ramallah city, demanding all stores and shops close in mourning for the slain teen, 17-year-old Muhammad Mahmoud Ibrahim al-Hattab.
Al-Hattab, who was shot in the chest and shoulder, succumbed to his wounds at the hospital, while 18-year-old Jassem Muhammed Nakhla, who was shot in the head and foot, 18-year-old Muhammad Hattab, who was shot in the abdomen, and 18-year-old Muhammed Musa Nakhla who was shot in the foot and shoulder, remained in critical condition.
(Source / 24.03.2017)

New MAP briefing exposes attacks on Palestinian medical staff and facilities

Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) has today released the second in our series of briefings investigating the impact of 50 years of Israel’s military occupation on the health and dignity of Palestinians.

This second chapter exposes how Palestinian medical facilities and personnel have been placed in harm’s way during repeated Israeli military offensives on Gaza and periods of heightened violence in the West Bank.

The dangers faced by Palestinian healthcare providers was starkly illustrated during Israel’s attacks on Gaza in July and August 2014, when 73 hospitals and clinics and 45 ambulances were damaged or destroyed. Twenty-three medical workers were also killed and 78 injured while on duty during 51 days of bombardment.

“A hospital must be a safe space, not a target. An ambulance must be a sign of hope, not a target. A doctor or nurse must be a ray of light, not a target.”

Matthew Rycroft, UK Ambassador to the UN

The protection of medical safe spaces in times of conflict is enshrined in international humanitarian law. Nevertheless, the last decade has seen an unprecedented rise in attacks on healthcare providers in conflicts around the world. Serious and repeated violations not only in the oPt but also in Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen have prompted fears that the international law which ensures safety for medical staff and facilities is eroding.

Our briefing highlights a failure to ensure credible investigation, accountability, or redress for attacks on healthcare in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). The UN Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict has stated that Israel has a “lamentable” record in holding wrongdoers to account. This impunity in turn contributes to the likelihood of further serious violations of international humanitarian law in the oPt and worldwide.

“As a doctor who believes that prevention is better than cure I am here to impress on you the need to end the cycle of impunity which has fuelled the escalation in ferocity of attacks.”

Dr Ghassan Abu-Sittah, a plastic & reconstructive surgeon who was working in the Burns Unit at the Al Shifa hospital during the 2014 attacks on Gaza.

To read the briefing paper, click here.

(Source / 24.03.2017)

Israel denies Palestinian education minister access to Gaza

Palestinian Minister of Education, Sabri Saidam, speaks during a press conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah on July 11, 2016 [Shadi Hatem/Apaimages]

Palestinian Minister of Education, Sabri Saidam, speaks during a press conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah on July 11, 2016

Israel yesterday denied Palestinian Education Minister Sabri Saidam entry into the besieged Gaza Strip through the Beit Hanoun crossing, known as Erez in Israel, in northern Gaza.

“Israel has refused to grant Minister Saidam and his delegation permission to enter the Gaza Strip,” Kamal Al-Sharafi, chairman of the board of trustees of Al-Aqsa University in Gaza, told Anadolu news agency.

He explained that the education minister’s visit, which was scheduled to take place yesterday, aimed to declare solutions for the administrative crisis experienced by the Al-Aqsa University for the past two years.

Read: Israel arrests Palestinian MPs to distance them from the people

He noted that efforts were being made to allow the minister entry into Gaza later next week.

The Al-Aqsa University crisis started in 2015 after the Hamas-run Ministry of Education appointed an acting president of the university, and the Palestinian ministry in Ramallah appointed another person for the same position.

As a result of the crisis, the salaries of a number of academics and administrators at the university were cut while local banks froze about $9 million of university funds.

(Source / 24.03.2017)

Tunisia sentences former president Ben Ali to 6 years

Former President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali [file photo]

Former President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali [file photo]

A Tunisian court has sentenced in absentia former President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali to six years in prison on corruption charges.

The criminal court in the capital Tunis sentenced the former dictator after declaring that he had exploited his position for his own personal benefit.

The same court has also sentenced former higher education minister Al-Azhar Bou’ouni for the same period of six years, as well as former Ben Ali adviser and political backer Al-Sobhi Al-Umari for four years on charges of nepotism.

Read: Tunisia to conduct municipal elections this year

The rulings are not the first against Ben Ali and his regime.

Similar rulings have already been issued in other cases which have stirred controversy in Tunisia, where some parties demand to enact a law on social reconciliation.

The Tunisian Al-Sarih newspaper said that Halima Ben Ali, the former president’s daughter, has commissioned lawyers to obtain permission and a passport so that she and her brother Mohamed Zine El Abidine can visit Tunisia, where there are no charges against them.

(Source / 24.03.2017)

12 injuries reported in IOF quelling of weekly march east of Ramallah

Ramallah wekelijkse demo

At least twelve Palestinians were injured while dozens choked on tear gas due to Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) violent quelling of a peaceful anti-settlement march east of Ramallah.

A medical source affirmed the injury of 12 civilians including 5 injuries with live bullets in the limps. 14 Cases were transferred to hospital for treatment, the source added.

The IOF soldiers quelled the march that kicked off from two towns, al-Meghayyer and Kafr Malik, in protest at the establishment of a new settlement outpost over the lands of both towns, a local source revealed.

Clashes erupted after IOF troops opened their gunfire, using live and rubber bullets in addition to tear gas grenades, at the participants in the march, the source added.

Eyewitnesses pointed out that a number of journalists and photographers choked on tear gas while covering the clashes. The cameraman Naser al-Shuyukhi was among those who were treated for breathing problems.

In the same context, clashes broke out between Palestinian youths and IOF soldiers after Friday prayer in Beit Furik town, east of Nablus city.

Eyewitnesses said that Israeli forces showered civilians as well as the olive fields in the town with tear gas bombs. Palestinian youths, in return, replied by stone throwing at the IOF troops. A young man was arrested and taken to an unknown destination, the eyewitnesses pointed out.

(Source / 24.03.2017)

New Israeli settlement projects in Jordan Valley

Nieuwe projecten Jordaanvallei

A delegation of the Israeli Civil Administration visited on Friday the Jordan Valley Regional Council, compromising 21 illegal settlements, to discuss ways to establish new development projects in the Jordan Valley settlements, Israeli media sources said.

The meeting was attended by David El Hayani, mayor of the Jordan Valley Regional Council, and Aravot HaYarden, chairman of the council.

The discussion covered means of developing agriculture, tourism, and other economic sectors in the settlements.

Nearly one million tourists visited the Jordan Valley last year, half of whom came to visit the religious sites in the area, which were recently developed by the Civil Administration, HaYarden said.

For his part, El Hayani revealed plans to establish new tourism projects in the area including restaurants and parking.

The new projects came as part of the Israeli settlement expansion policy which has notably escalated over the past few months.

Earlier on Thursday, Haaretz Hebrew newspaper revealed that US President Donald Trump gave an undeclared consent for Israeli settlement construction in occupied Jerusalem.

(Source / 24.03.2017)

Video: Israeli forces drag 8-year-old Palestinian boy, wearing no shoes, looking for stone-throwers

8-jarig kind Hebron

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A video published on Thursday by Israeli human rights NGO B’Tselem showed Israeli forces earlier this week in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron dragging an eight-year-old Palestinian boy, wearing only socks on his feet, through a neighborhood in the city in order to identify other children who allegedly threw stones and a Molotov cocktail at a nearby illegal Israeli settlement.

The incident took place on March 19 around midday, according to a statement from B’Tselem, who identified the boy as Sufiyan Abu Hitah. “Hitah was wandering barefoot outside his house in Hebron looking for a toy he had lost, when a group of at least 15 soldiers seized him,” the statement said.
The soldiers then grabbed the boy, who remained visibly distressed throughout nearly three-minute-long video, “and dragged him to the al-Harika neighborhood, where they demanded that he point out children who had allegedly thrown stones and a Molotov cocktail at the Kiryat Arba settlement earlier on,” according to B’Tselem.In a detailed account of the events that day, B’Tselem wrote that Hitah had just arrived to his grandparents’ home upon realizing that he lost a toy that he had bought on the way. Despite his mother forbidding him from going outside, as she knew that soldiers were patrolling the area — a near-daily occurrence in Hebron — Hitah snuck outside to find his toy.
Minutes later, neighborhood children were rushing to Hitah’s grandparent’s home to tell his mother, Amani, that soldiers had her son and were leading him towards the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba.“I saw more than fifteen soldiers surrounding Sufiyan. Two of them were holding him by both arms and dragging him towards the gate of Kiryat Arba. A few neighbors had already gathered in the street and were trying to rescue Sufiyan from the soldiers,” Amani told B’Tselem.When Amani pleaded with soldiers to return her son to her, soldiers refused, saying “if you want to get him back, convince him to tell us the names of the children who were throwing stones.” Despite her efforts to explain to soldiers that her and her son did not even live in the neighborhood, but were just visiting her parents, and that Sufiyan did not know the names of the neighborhood children, the soldiers ignored her and continued to drag her son by the arms.
“Sufiyan was shaking with fear. I saw him talk to the soldiers and tell them that he doesn’t know anything, but it didn’t help,” Amani said, adding that soldiers dragged her son into the home of Muhammad al-Nahnush.
“When they came out, about five minutes later, Sufiyan was crying. They didn’t arrest anyone in that house. I didn’t know whether they beat Sufiyan while they were in there, or what happened inside. I was really scared and worried about Sufiyan. I started crying and ran after the soldiers as they moved from house to house, to try and get them to let him go,” Amani said.
B’Tselem noted that after soldiers dragged the boy to Jabal Juhar street, a local woman tried to pull him from their hands. “Meanwhile, more women gathered around the soldiers. Eventually, more than an hour after the incident began, they managed to extricate Sufian and return him to his mother,” the statement said.
In response to a request for a comment on the incident, an Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that “following initial review of the incident, it was concluded that a Molotov cocktail was thrown towards the community of Kiryat Arba. Forces who were called to the scene caught a suspect. Due to the fact the suspect was a minor, he was taken to his parent’s home. It was noted in the initial review that the forces did not ask the minor to direct them to any other suspects.”
The spokesperson did not clarify when the Molotov cocktail was thrown at Kiryat Arba, or comment on the fact that Hitah was detained moments after leaving his grandparent’s home in search of his toy.
Additionally, the spokesperson did not comment on the fact that video and witness testimony shows Israeli soldiers dragging the Hitah around the neighborhood to different homes in order to identify possible “suspects” for over an hour, refuting the army’s claims that “forces did not ask the minor to direct them to any other suspects.”
The spokesperson also did not comment on the fact that witness and video testimony shows Israeli soldiers attempting to re-seize Hitah after a group of local women extricated him, again refuting the Israeli army’s claim that Israeli soldiers took the boy home upon realizing that the eight-year-old was a minor.
(Source / 24.03.2017)

Israeli forces murder 2 Palestinians, wound 2 others

The Israeli soldiers opened fire heavily at the four youths from a very close distance

Israeli occupation forces murdered two Palestinian youths, wounded two others near Jalazoun Refugee Camp, north of West Bank city of Ramallah.

The eyewitnesses stressed that Israeli claim that they threw firebombs is false and it aimed to justify the Israeli murder of the unarmed Palestinian civilians

Israeli occupation forces murdered two Palestinian youths, wounded two others near Jalazoun Refugee Camp, north of West Bank city of Ramallah.

Eyewitnesses said that the Israeli occupation forces opened fire from their automatic rifles at a Palestinian car with four people inside.

According to the eyewitnesses, ages of the four people ranges between 17 to 20 years, noting that the Israeli occupation opened the fire heavily without an apparent reason.

Palestinian medical sources said that two of the youths were killed and the two others suffered critical conditions.

The Palestinian ministry of health identified the two dead as Mohamed al-Hattab, 17, and Jasem al-Nakhalah, 18.

While the two wounded are Mahmoud al-Hattab, 18, and Mohamed al-Nakhalah, 18. The first was shot in the abdomen and the second in the foot and shoulder.

Spokesperson of the Israeli occupation army claimed that the Palestinians inside the car threw firebombs at the illegal Israeli Jewish settlement of Beit El, which is near to Al-Jalzoun Refugee Camp.

However, witnesses stressed that this is a false accusation and it aimed to justify the Israeli murder of the unarmed Palestinian civilians.

(Source / 24.03.2017)

Preparing to strike Gaza, Israel to hold largest ever areal drills

Early this week, Israel called up 2,000 reserves and carried out large drills near the eastern Gaza borders

Likely preparing for deadly offensive on Gaza, Israeli air force is preparing for largest ever and most complex military drills later this year.

Monitors insist that these massive and continuous drills likely come in line with the Israeli efforts to prepare for a massive and deadly attack on the Gaza Strip

Likely preparing for deadly offensive on Gaza, Israeli air force is preparing for largest ever and most complex military drills later this year.

According to the Israeli public radio, about 100 fighters, other aircrafts and a few hundred soldiers and pilots, along with logistical support forces from the United States, Greece, Poland, France, Germany, India and Italy are expected to participate in the military exercise.

Israeli radio said the air force squadrons will meet in Tel-Aviv during autumn to carry out these joint exercises to maintain the readiness of the forces from the participating countries.

Over the course of two weeks during the exercise, pilots will train to fight air battles, hit ground targets and avoid missiles.

Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hecht, the Israeli Air Force’s chief of international affairs, said: “It will be a massive exercise; the biggest ever for the IAF. Seven nations plus Israel.”

He added: “People are seeing there is a lot to learn from Israel. In our tiny airspace and in the environment around us, things are so intense. The Russians are here…Many of the world’s air forces are passing through here on their way to operations in Syria and elsewhere in the region.

“So we provide a sort of battle lab in which forces can hone a spectrum of skills needed to combat growing threats.”

He explained that the so-called Blue Flag exercises would focus on cooperation rather than competition between the participating air Forces, as opposed to the Red Flag manoeuvers organised by the US Air Force each year at the Niles Air Force Base in Nevada.

Early this week, Israel called up 2,000 reserves and carried out large drills near the eastern borders of the Gaza Strip.

Monitors insist that these massive and continuous drills likely come in line with the Israeli efforts to prepare for a massive and deadly attack on the Gaza Strip.

(Source / 24.03.2017)

Israel prevents Palestinians from accessing agricultural lands to make settlers ‘comfortable’

Deir Istiya dorp

SALFIT (Ma’an) — Israeli forces on Friday prevented Palestinians from accessing areas around the Wadi Qana valley west of Deir Istiya village in northern Salfit in the central occupied West Bank, in order to create a “comfortable atmosphere” for illegal Israeli settlers in the area.

Member of the Deir Istiya Municipality Nathmi Salman told Ma’an that Israeli authorities closed the entrance of Wadi Qana, preventing Palestinians from entering the area from 8 a.m to 3 p.m Friday to provide a “comfortable atmosphere” for Israeli settlers from the nearby Karnei Shomron settlement who organize an annual “spring march” in the area.
According to Salman, Israeli forces had put up signs in Hebrew reading “no entry” late Thursday and informed farmers that the area was closed by Israeli forces on Friday.
Salman said that Israeli settlers arrived in the area early Friday with power generators and “entertainment tools.”
An Israeli army spokesperson said they were looking into reports.
Several Israeli settlements surround the Wadi Qana area, including the Immanuel and Karnei Shomron to the north, and Yaqir and Nofim to the south.
According to Israeli human rights NGO B’Tselem, the central section of Wadi Qana, which is one of the tributaries of the Yarkon River, includes several springs and is located in Area C — the more than 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli security and civilian control.
The land in the central section of the wadi is owned by Palestinians, mainly by residents of Deir Istiya, who use the land for farming and grazing.
“Over the course of many generations, and up to the 1990s, village families used to live in the wadi, relying on the springs for drinking water and for irrigating vegetable patches and citrus trees. To this day, residents of Deir Istiya and other neighboring villages go for a dip in the stream and relax on its banks,” B’Tselem said in a 2015 report.
According to B’tselem, over the years, the nearby settlements and outposts have discharged their wastewater into the wadi, spoiling the springs and harming the farmers’ water sources, eventually forcing the fifty Palestinian families who lived in the wadi to move to Deir Istiya in the 1990s.

Deir Istiya dorp1

Deir Istiya dorp2
(Source / 24.03.2017)