PCHR warns of reducing medical referrals for Gaza patients

PCHR about healthcrisis

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) has expressed concern over the Ramallah-based health ministry’s failure to provide medical referrals for Gaza patients who need treatment abroad.

“Based on PCHR’s constant follow-up of the external treatment file, Ramallah’s ministry of health minimized in April referrals abroad or the renewal of other referrals of hundreds of patients suffering from serious and chronic diseases without displaying the reasons behind this decision,” a statement released by the PCHR said on Monday.

The rights group voiced fear over “the disastrous impacts inflicted on hundreds of patients who urgently need medical treatment or medical follow-up in hospitals in Israel and the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem.”

The group said that it collected data indicating a gradual decline in the number of medical referrals issued for the Gaza patients, as the number reached 2,190 referrals in March, 1,756 in April, 1,484 in May and less than 500 in June.

The number of medical referrals approved by the higher medical committee in Gaza since early June is over 2,500 referrals so far for patients suffering from serious medical problems that have no treatment in Gaza. However, Ramallah’s external medical treatment department issued only 400 referrals, according to further PCHR data.

The PCHR also said it “is shocked as the West Bank hospitals has started rejecting hospital appointments for the Gaza Strip patients with medical referrals from the external medical treatment department [in Ramallah], although these hospitals used to reserve a bed for the referred patient under the term “financial coverage offered later,” warning that this new measure would hinders the Gaza patients’ access to those hospitals and aggravates the health situation.

“These measures deny dozens of patients who need urgent treatment the opportunity to receive medical treatment outside the Gaza Strip. They also result in a grave deterioration in the health sector and jeopardize the patients’ lives. A number of these patients were admitted to the intensive care unit in Gaza following their health status deterioration. Hundreds of patients have been expecting death in the Gaza Strip hospitals in light of the absence of any opportunity to receive treatment abroad,” its statement warned further.

The statement underlined that “denying patients their right to receive medical treatment abroad, in view of the absence of a proper alternative in Gaza, is a clear violation of the right to health ensured in the Palestinian Basic Law amended in 2003 and the Public Health Law of 2004.”

“[It is also] an obvious violation of the international human rights standards, including article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) to which Palestine acceded in 2014. This accession obliges Palestine to offer each individual the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, including access to health services, medication and treatment,” the statement added.

(Source / 10.07.2017)

Bahar condemns PA for stopping to pay salaries to W. Bank MPs

Ahmed Bahar dep speaker PLC

Ahmed Bahar, first deputy speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), has strongly denounced the Palestinian Authority (PA) for halting the payment of salaries to 37 lawmakers from the parliamentary Change and Reform Bloc of Hamas.

In a press release on Sunday, Bahar described the step as “a declaration of war on the PLC and its democratically elected members,” and “a violation of the Palestinian law.”

The lawmaker expressed his belief that depriving the Hamas MPs in the West Bank of their salaries was related to the recent measures that were taken against Gaza to punish its population for their rallying around the Palestinian resistance.

He warned that the PLC could take legal action against the PA to force it to pay the financial rights of the lawmakers as well as the prisoners and all the civil servants, who were recently deprived of their monthly payments.

Bahar urged the concerned international and UN organizations to assume their responsibilities in this regard and intervene to stop the executive authority of Mahmoud Abbas from taking such arbitrary measures against the elected representatives of the people.

(Source / 10.07.2017)

Clashes flare as Israelis try to grab Palestinian land near al-Aqsa

Clashes near Al-Aqsa

Violent clashes burst out south of holy al-Aqsa Mosque, in Occupied Jerusalem, after Israeli settlers attempted to seize a Palestinian land lot.

A PIC news correspondent said a group of Israeli settlers, escorted by a special unit, broke into Batn al-Hawa neighborhood, in Silwan, and attempted to grab hold of a Palestinian land owned by al-Rajabi and Basbous families.

The occupation forces claimed that a court decision signaled a green light for the settlers’ takeover of the land but refused to show the alleged court rule to the land owners.

The Israeli soldiers showered Palestinian homes in the area with pepper spray and attacked the anti-occupation youth with batons and rifle butts, leaving dozens wounded.

A court hearing is set to be held by the end of July to decide on the targeted land lot.

(Source / 10.07.2017)

Poll Shows Widening Gap between Palestinian Leaders and Public

A public opinion poll released last week revealed a widening gap between Palestinian leaders and their constituents. Rapid domestic and regional developments in recent weeks have caused both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas to take decisive actions to secure their interests. These include drastic financial measures by the Palestinian Authority against the Gaza Strip, political maneuvers by Hamas aimed at navigating the worsening situation in Gaza, and the unfolding Qatar crisis. However, the Palestinian public feels largely sidelined as polls find overwhelming opposition to nearly all steps taken by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.


In April, 2017, the Palestinian Authority decided to the cut the salaries of its public employees in the Gaza Strip by up to 70 percent. This drastic measure was followed by a decision, announced in early June, 2017, to no longer finance Gaza’s electricity supply, which left nearly two million Palestinians with only an average of three hours of power. Although the Palestinian Authority said these decisions were taken due to a worsening financial situation caused by declining rates of foreign aid, the numbers suggest otherwise. In fact, the Palestinian Authority has been enjoying the highest tax revenue streams in its history, and Gaza has generated a substantial portion of these returns. Most recently, the Palestinian Authority has been accused of delaying medical transfer requests for conditions that needed treatment abroad.

Almost immediately, the impact of these decisions was widely felt across the besieged Gaza Strip. Short of cash because of the salary cuts, many people were left unable to support their families. The crisis hit hardest in the medical sector. With an extremely limited electric supply, and shortages of fuel for generators, hospitals were forced to operate at a minimal level, and given the delays in processing transfer requests, at least three infants died waiting for permits to be transferred elsewhere.

It should be no surprise that these conditions have made the Palestinian Authority’s decisions overwhelmingly unpopular, with 84% opposed to the measure on Gaza’s electric supply and 88% opposed to the salary cuts, the poll found.


For Hamas in Gaza, these conditions, coupled with a regional storm hitting its strongest ally, Qatar, have led to an unlikely opening with Egypt through the mediation of Mohammed Dahlan’s, former Fatah security chief for the Gaza Strip. Rattled by Abbas’ ability to tighten the noose on Gaza, Hamas has been compelled to pursue a friendlier line with its former archenemy Dahlan, who enjoys good relations with a number of Gulf countries and Egypt.

Extensive speculation has followed a meeting in Cairo in early June, 2017, between the newly appointed Hamas chief in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, and Dahlan. Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas’ politburo, said in a speech he delivered on July 5, 2017, that relations with Egypt have been improving since then.

However, concerned with achieving inter-Palestinian reconciliation rather than being embroiled in regional affairs, 50% of those polled fear that a Hamas-Dahlan agreement buttressed by Egypt would lead to a complete separation of the Gaza Strip from the West Bank, while 60% in the Gaza Strip oppose such an agreement compared to only 29% in the West Bank, according the poll.


Hamas announced a new platform on May 1, 2017, in the hope that it would address the shortcomings of its original founding document and enable it to navigate an increasingly shifting regional order. Though the document raised eyebrows in certain circles for its far more moderate tone compared to the original Hamas platform, a majority of Palestinians had not heard about it, the poll found.


There is no doubt that the Qatar crisis has been central in the calculations of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. For the former, the crisis meant seeking other sources of financial support and regional political cover, while for the latter it meant insulating and securing its position, all while ensuring that Hamas remains within its sphere of influence.

In line with their longstanding practice, neither the Palestinian Authority nor Hamas announced an official position on the Qatar crisis. However, it is not difficult to imagine where each stands.

The Palestinian Authority likely supports the Saudi-led measures against Qatar in the hope that they would lead to a resolution of outstanding issues with Egypt, notably the arrangements for control of the Rafah Crossing. This would sideline the Hamas-Dahlan understandings, which include an arrangement of their own for the crossing with Egypt.

The situation is more precarious for Hamas as it tries to maintain ties with both Saudi Arabia and Qatar. In fact, Haniyeh made sure to explicitly and equally thank both nations for their support in his July 5 speech. It is not clear whether Egypt will ask Hamas to sever its ties with Qatar in return for greater easing of restrictions on Gaza and implementing the understandings reached through Dahlan’s mediation.

Meanwhile, according to the poll, two thirds of Palestinians oppose the Saudi-led measures against Qatar.


The findings clearly indicate a widening gap between Palestinian leaders and their constituents. Palestinians are far more concerned with the situation on the ground than with political alliances and polemic ideological statements. Both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas would be wise to take measures to resolve the rapidly deteriorating situation in Gaza.

(Source / 10.07.2017)

Palestinian women prisoners subjected to harsh attack

Pal women prisoners Damon prison.jpg

Palestinian women prisoners in Damon prison have been recently subjected to harsh attack, the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) revealed Monday.

After conducting multiple visits to the prison, the PPS affirmed that the director of Damon prison attacked the female prisoners personally and tied their hands behind their backs.

A follow up committee has been formed to investigate the violent incident, the PPS added.

(Source / 10.07.2017)

Israel minister in rare West Bank visit for electricity deal

Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah (C) and Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz (R) on July 10, 2017 attend a ceremony in Jalamah, near the northern West Bank city of Jenin

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz made a rare appearance by a high-ranking Israeli official in the occupied West Bank on Monday to sign an agreement on electricity with the Palestinian Authority.

Steinitz attended the ceremony in Jalamah near the northern West Bank city of Jenin alongside Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah.

They announced a boost in electricity supply in the area that comes with a payment guarantee from the Palestinians and unveiled a new substation.

The ceremony was held with a top adviser to US President Donald Trump, Jason Greenblatt, set to hold another round of meetings in Israel and the Palestinian territories in the coming days.

Trump’s administration has urged Israel to ta ke measures to improve the Palestinian economy as he seeks ways to restart peace talks.

“Of course we hope to achieve peace and security; it is important for all nations — but meanwhile it is important also to improve the infrastructure,” Steinitz said.

Hamdallah said “we do not want to depend on Israel forever”.

“We are about to build a power plant in Jenin that will generate 450 megawatts in the Jenin area. I hope this power plant will start operating in 2020.”

But the ceremony came in stark contrast to a severe electricity shortage in the Gaza Strip, the other Palestinian territory run by Islamist movement Hamas.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, whose Fatah is based in the West Bank, has sought to pressure his rivals from Hamas in recent months notably by withholding payments for electricity.

Israel recently reduced its supply of electricity to the Gaza Strip after Abbas slashed the payments.

The cut left the impoverished territory of more than two million people with as little as two hours of mains electricity a day.

As an interim measure, Egypt stepped in to deliver fuel to Gaza’s sole power plant, but Hamas at the weekend accused Abbas’s Palestinian Authority of blocking fuel payments to Egypt.

Israel coordinates with the Palestinian Authority, but not Hamas, which it considers a terrorist organisation.

Monday’s agreement will lead to an increase in electricity supply to the West Bank’s Jenin area by 60 megawatts, according to COGAT, the Israeli defence ministry unit that oversees civilian affairs in the Palestinian territories.

The West Bank relies almost completely on Israel for its electricity supply and payment disputes have led to blackouts in the past.

Such visits by an Israeli minister are extremely rare.

In May, Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon met Hamdallah in Ramallah. Before that, no Israeli member of the internal security cabinet had met a Palestinian official in a West Bank city since 2000, an Israeli official said.

(Source / 10.07.2017)

Sisi Stresses before Palestinian President Need to End Divisions, Revive the Peace Process


Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (R) meets with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Cairo, January 14, 2015

Cairo – Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi underlined the need to end disagreements among Palestinians and to agree over a unified vision to resume the peace process in the Middle East.

Sisi met on Sunday in Cairo with his Palestinian counterpart, President Mahmoud Abbas, with whom he discussed latest developments in the Palestinian case and the means to revive the peace process, the Egyptian president’s spokesperson, Alaa Youssef, said in a statement.

“President Sisi asserted that the Palestinian cause always comes on top of Egypt’s priorities and reaching a solution for it is a key pillar for restoring security and stability in the Middle East region,” Youssef added.

During the meeting, Abbas informed Sisi of the latest efforts deployed by Palestine to rally international support for the achievement of the two-state solution in line with the related international resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative.

He also stressed the US endeavor to revive the peace process between Palestinians and Israelis.

Sisi promised to guarantee the rights of the Palestinians to build their own independent state.

For his part, the Palestinian president offered his deep condolences to Sisi over the death of 23 soldiers in the recent deadly attack in North Sinai province, along the borders with Israel and the Gaza Strip.

“President Abbas reiterated Palestine’s solidarity with Egypt in its war against terrorism and against those who try to undermine its security and stability,” Youssef said.

The Palestinian president also met with Egyptian Foreign Affairs Minister Sameh Shoukry.

During the meeting, Shoukry reiterated Egypt’s stance in support of the Palestinian Cause, and said that reviving negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides for a fair and comprehensive solution was a priority in Egypt’s diplomatic efforts.

Abbas updated Shoukry on the results of his talks with US Envoy Jason Greenblatt as well as talks with US President Donald Trump’s advisor, Jared Kushner.

The Palestinian president also met during his visit to Cairo with Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Abul Gheit, who also stressed the need to adhere by the Arab Peace Initiative to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the two-state solution.

(Source / 10.07.2017)

Israeli forces murder Palestinian youth in West Bank

The car of the Palestinian collided and hit a side barrier before he was showered with Israeli live ammunition

Israeli occupation forces murdered on Monday at noon Palestinian youth at Gush Etzion junction between illegal Jewish settlements of Tekoa and Ma’ale Amos.

The car of the Palestinian youth collided and hit a side barrier before he was showered with Israeli occupation soldiers’ live ammunition

Israeli occupation forces murdered on Monday at noon Palestinian youth at Gush Etzion junction between illegal Jewish settlements of Tekoa and Ma’ale Amos.

The car of the Palestinian youth, who is yet to be identified, collided near the junction, where a group of Israeli occupation forces are located, and hit the metal side-barrier.

Eyewitness said that the Israeli occupation forces immediately opened fire at the Palestinian youth without any effort to know whether it was an accidental accident or an intentional attack.

According to the eyewitnesses, the Palestinian driver, who was directly shot by the Israeli occupation forces, took off the car and fell down near the side-barrier.

He laid motionless on the ground and remained bleeding for a while before he was evacuated to an Israeli hospital.

The Israeli occupation army announced he was moderately wounded, but later on the Israeli hospital announced his death.

Meanwhile, the Israeli occupation forces announced that one Israeli soldier was wounded in the accident, but the bystanders did not see anyone wounded and none of the videos or pictures published on social media for the accident shows that there is any Israeli soldier harmed.

attacker attempted to carry out a vehicular and stabbing attack on Monday at the T intersection, located in the Gush Etzion West bank cluster, between the settlements of Tekoa and Ma’ale Amos. The attacker reportedly crashed his vehicle, before exiting it and pulling out a knife in a stabbing attempt. He was shot and killed by Israeli security forces.

One IDF soldier was moderately injured during the incident, when a pole hit by the vehicle fell and hit him. MDA administered emergency care and rushed him to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. He was later reported to be lightly injured.

(Source / 10.07.2017)

Senior Hamas delegation conducts an inspection tour on the northern borders of Gaza

A delegation of the Islamic Resistance Movement  “Hamas” conducted Saturday  an inspection visit to the border area adjacent to the separation fence in the northern Gaza Strip.

The delegation included  the member of the political bureau of Hamas, Khalil Al Hayyah, and other members of  the politureau as well as the Hamas spokesperson, and a leader of Al Qassam Bridages.

They  visited the places where the resistance members  launched attacks against the Israeli Occupation  army  during the last aggressions  and the locations of resistance members which are adjacent to the borders.

The delegation stated that Al Qassam is ready to defend the Palestinian lands   pointing out that the resistance proved its unmatched  ability   to protect the Palestinian people in fighting the Israeli Occupation during  the last aggression.

For his part, Al Hayyah stressed that the resistance is able to guard and protect the the people of Gaza. He  added ” we will continue to  support the resistance members until victory is achieved and our occupied lands are restored.”

(Source / 10.07.2017)

Lieberman denies Hamas-Israel prisoner swap

Image of Israeli Defence Minster Avigdor Lieberman on 21 April 2016 [Palestine Foundation Pakistan/Facebook]

Image of Israeli Defence Minster Avigdor Lieberman on 21 April 2016

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman has denied media reports about a “breakthrough” in the prisoner swap it is negotiating with Hamas, Ynet News reported yesterday. According to the deal Hamas would provide information over missing Israelis in return for the release of Palestinian prisoners.

“There is no contact with Hamas,” he said.

Over the past several days Israeli media widely republished news about a close prisoner swap reported by the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar.

However, Liebermann said: “There is an ongoing effort to achieve the release of our soldiers and civilians held in captivity by Hamas. There is no breakthrough.”

Read: Lieberman accuses Abbas of sparking Hamas-Israel war

Lieberman added: “We do not negotiate with terrorist organisations, there are various parties that are negotiating with them such as Egypt and others, but we have no intention of ever holding direct negotiations with the murderers in Hamas.”

The Israeli prime minister’s office refused to comment on these reports but sources inside the office, Ynet News reported, did not deny that there are ongoing efforts being exerted but that the progress being made was insignificant.


Comments made by Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennet suggest that ongoing talks are in fact taking place:

“The Israeli interest is to put as much pressure on Hamas prisoners in our jails in a way that leverages the [Hamas] leadership’s desire to return those who need to be returned according to international treaties. Pressure, rather than be pressed,” Bennet said according to Ynet News.

(Source / 10.07.2017)