Rocket Shelling Kills a Child in Rural Damascus Despite Russian-sponsored Truce

A child was killed and others were wounded in rocket shelling by regime forces on rural Damascus despite the Assad regime’s signing off on a Russian-sponsored ceasefire agreement covering the area.

Activists said that regime forces carried out rocket and artillery shelling on the district of Jobar in eastern Damascus as well as the towns of Ayn Tarma, Kafarbatna, and the outskirts of the town of Hawsh al-Dawahra in eastern Ghouta.

Local residents said that the shelling caused dozens of injuries among civilians and widespread destruction of buildings and infrastructure. Local council leaders said that Russia bears full responsibility for the attacks, stressing that it is obliged to “rein in the Assad regime and force it to cease hostilities in the area.”

The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) earlier said that it had documented the deaths of 912 civilians at the hands of the Assad regime and in airstrikes by the Russian forces during the month of September.

In a report released in early October, the Network said that 498 civilians were killed by the Assad regime, including 101 children and 83 women in September. It pointed out that 33 more civilians people were killed under torture.

At teleconferences between the Coalition’s political committee and leaders of local councils in Damascus and its suburbs, the leaders stressed that the Assad regime continues to put increasing pressure on the civilian population in order to starve them and force them into surrender.

The Coalition underscored the need for the United Nations to urgently work on holding perpetrators of war crimes in Syria to account; protecting civilians; and putting an end to the Assad regime’s atrocities against unarmed civilians.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 21.10.2017)

PA returns Israeli soldier after “mistakenly” entering Beit Ummar

PA returns soldier

An Israeli soldier was returned by PA police after he “mistakenly” entered Beit Ummar town, north of al-Khalil, late last night.

Israeli media sources claimed that the soldier, who was wearing plain clothes and not in uniform, was later returned to his unit by PA police.

According to agreements with Israel, PA vowed to return Israeli settlers and soldiers who “mistakenly” enter Palestinian-controlled area A.

(Source / 21.10.2017)

Three Palestinian youths held by PA forces for political reasons

PA arrested 3 youths about politic

PA security forces continued their political arrest campaigns targeting Palestinian university students and ex-prisoners in occupied West Bank without any legal basis.

In Tulkarem, PA Preventive Service retained the university student Mohamed Majadba in custody for the 62nd day.

In Jenin, the university student Hassan Shibani has been also deprived from continuing his studies after being detained a month ago by PA forces.

The ex-prisoner Shadi Namoura is still held for the 150th consecutive day in PA prisons despite repeated court orders for his release.

On the other hand, PA police returned an Israeli soldier to his unit after he “mistakenly” entered Beit Ummar town, north of al-Khalil.

(Source / 21.10.2017)

Israeli settlers assault Palestinian farmer in Bethlehem

Assaulting farmer

A group of Israeli settlers on Saturday attacked a Palestinian farmer in al-Khader village to the south of Bethlehem city.

Talking about the incident, farmer Ibrahim Sbeih told the PIC, “I was picking olives with a relative in my 4-dunum plot when two settlers carrying guns all of a sudden broke into the area and started planting iron poles in my land without prior warning.”

“I tried to inquire about what was going on but my protests were ignored, so I took off a pole and threw it to the ground. Unexpectedly, one of the settlers started to hit me on my head and body with that pole,” Sbeih added.

The Palestinian farmer said that more settlers, escorted by Israeli officers and coming from the nearby Sidi Boez settlement, came to the scene after the attack but did not move a finger and even started to mock him.

He appealed to the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements as well as the concerned human rights institutions to intervene to help him in protecting his land against settlers’ attacks, stressing that such violations will not stop him from staying in his land and taking care of it.

(Source / 21.10.2017)

Israel’s settlement activity sparks European criticism

European critism

The European Union (EU) on Saturday renewed its call on Israel to stop all settlement projects in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem.

The EU foreign ministers categorically stressed that the agreements signed with Israel do not apply to the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 and criticized the Israeli settlement policy.

The EU in a statement asked Israel to backtrack on its plans to build new settlement units in the West Bank, warning that such plans pose a threat to any future agreement with the Palestinians.

The Union reiterated that Israel’s settlement activity, which is illegal under international law, would undermine any possible two-state solution.

Observers believe that the European position on the settlement is the most clear of all international positions because the EU countries are fully aware of the danger posed by Israel’s settlement construction to the peace efforts in the Middle East and because they are politically and historically responsible for the displacement of the Palestinian people.

Renewing the order issued on 19th July 2013, the European Commission in June 2017 issued instructions to the EU countries prohibiting all financing and investing activities related to the Israeli settlements established in the Palestinian and Syrian territories occupied in 1967.

The European Commission published these instructions in its official newspaper in a four-page document that includes five sections. The first section discusses the general principles underlying the document, while the other four discuss in details ways of imposing sanctions on the Israeli settlements in the 1967 occupied territories.

The document notes that the EU considers the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and Golan Heights occupied territories which Israel has no sovereignty over.

For his part, Belgian Foreign Minister, Didier Reynders, condemned the Israeli authorities’ decision to build thousands of new settlement units in the West Bank.

Reynders said in a press statement that Israel’s settlement policy “has reached an unprecedented level since the beginning of 2017”, adding that this would undermine mutual trust and chances of achieving lasting peace.

He pointed to the UN Security Council’s resolution NO. 2334 which states that settlement in the occupied territories constitutes a violation of international law and demanded Israel to reconsider its latest decisions and abide by its international obligations.

(Source / 21.10.2017)