Palestinian detainee released after 16 years of imprisonment

Mohammad Shawahna free after 16 years

Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) on Tuesday evening set free Mohammad Shawahna, of Silat al-Harithiya town west of Jenin city in the northern West Bank after 16 years of continuous imprisonment.

Local sources told the PIC reporter that the release of Shawahna came after completely serving his 16-year sentence. He was released from the Israeli Negev desert jail.

His family received him at al-Thahiriya barrier in al-Khalil city before he was taken home in his town in Jenin, the PIC reporter added.

(Source / 20.03.2018)

Israel to conditionally set free Sheikh Raed Salah

Sheikh Raed Salah maybe released

Israeli Magistrate Court of Haifa approved on Tuesday an appeal made by lawyers of Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the Islamic Movement in 1948 Occupied Palestine, to release him on condition.

Laywer Khaled Zabarqah, member of the defense team, said that the court decided to set him free on condition of house arrest in his town, Kafr Anna, and not at his home in Umm al-Fahm city in 1948 Occupied Palestine as suggested by his advocates with the possibility of wearing an electronic ankle bracelet and having bodyguards.

Zabarqah added that the Israeli Prison Service official is expected to file a report in five days on the restricting terms on the release of Sheikh Salah.

He pointed out that the court is going to hold a session on March 26 to announce its final decision on the release conditions assigned against Sheikh Salah who has been detained since last August.

(Source / 20.03.2018)

Hamas: Abbas seeks to bring Gaza to its knees

Hamas and Abbas

The Hamas Movement has strongly denounced Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas for threatening to take further punitive measures against Gaza, accusing him of trying to bring the Gaza population to their knees and strike the pillars of their steadfastness.

Calling his remarks irresponsible, Hamas stated in a press release on Monday that Abbas’s actions aim to undermine any chance to elevate the national project and achieve the unity, and seek to perpetuate the separation of Gaza from the West Bank to pave the way for the US-backed deal of the century.

“We see such remarks and decisions as a departure from the reconciliation agreements and a disregard for the Egyptian role, which is still following up the steps to implement them,” Hamas said, calling on all factions to urgently intervene to save the national project and unity and assume their responsibilities towards “Abbas’s destructive and serious practices.”

“While the Hamas Movement has been keen on making every effort to achieve the unity of our people in the face of lurking conspiracies targeting our national cause and inalienable rights, we have been surprised to hear from Abbas tensioning remarks that burn down bridges, perpetuate the division, torpedo the unity of our people and the elements of their steadfastness at home and abroad, and create climates contributing to supporting Trump’s project that aims to liquidate our national cause,” the Movement stated.

Hamas called on all regional and international parties and the Arab League to swiftly and responsibly intervene to prevent the occurrence of a inter-Palestinian disaster resulting from Abbas’s policies and decisions on Gaza.

It also called for holding general presidential, legislative and national council elections in order to enable the Palestinian people to choose new leaders representing them and able to achieve the unity and shoulder the national responsibilities towards their people.

(Source / 20.03.2018)

Israeli Colonizers Injure Schoolchildren Near Hebron

20 MAR
1:14 PM

Israeli colonizers attacked and injured, Tuesday, several Palestinian schoolchildren, while heading to school in the Tiwana village, in Yatta town, south of Hebron, in the southern part pf the occupied West Bank.

Rateb Jabour, the coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Annexation Wall and Colonies in southern Hebron, said many students suffered various cuts and bruises.

He added that some of the wounded students have been identified as Reem Awad, Jaber Awad, Shaima’ Awad, Kifah Abu Jundiyya, Hamza Abu Jundiyya, Inshirah Abu Jundiyya and Ezzeddin Makhamra.

The head of Tiwana Local Council Mohammad Rib’ey told the Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA) that the colonizers have been stepping up their attacks against the Palestinians, and their lands, to force them to leave.

He added that the attack against the children is not the first, and is part of a series of seriously escalating violations.

In related news, several colonizers invaded, earlier Tuesday, a Palestinian olive orchard in the al-Jab’a village, southwest of Bethlehem, cut at least thirty olive trees, and took them away.

PPS: “Israeli soldiers Abduct Fifteen Palestinians In The West Bank”

Israeli Soldiers Fire At Farmers, Invades Lands, In The Gaza Strip

Army Injures Many Students Near Nablus

(Source / 20.03.2018)

Second Arrest in 3 Days, PCHR Denounces Arrest of Patient’s Companion by the Israeli Forces at Beit Hanoun Crossing

20 MAR
4:51 PM

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns that Israeli forces stationed at Beit Hanoun “Erez” Crossing continued to apply the policy of arresting patients and their companions when traveling for treatment in the Israeli or Palestinian hospitals in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem.

The latest was arrest of a patient’s companion from the Gaza Strip yesterday after summoning him for a security interview with the Israeli authorities in Beit Hanoun Crossing.

According to PCHR’s follow-up, at approximately 09:00 on Sunday, 18 March 2018, the Israeli forces stationed in Beit Hanoun “Erez” crossing in the northern Gaza Strip arrested Eyad ‘Omer Ibrahim Ba’loushah (42) from Al-Sheikh Redwan neighborhood in Gaza City after the Israeli authorities summoned him for a security interview in Beit Hanoun Crossing.  Ba’loushah was summoned for the interview after he applied for a permit to cross the Beit Hanoun Crossing as a companion for his father, who is a cancer patient referred for treatment in Hadasa ‘Ein Karem Hospital in Israel.

Rami ‘Omer Ibrahim Ba’loushah (44), brother of the arrested civilian, said to PCHR’s fieldworker that:

On Sunday, 18 March 2018, my brother, Eyad ‘Omer Ibrahim Ba’loushah (42) headed for a security interview in Beit Hanoun Crossing after the Medical Coordination Department informed him via a text message sent to his cell phone on Thursday, 15 March 2018, that the Israeli authorities asked him for the interview.  The request for the interview came to examine the possibility of giving him a permit to travel via Beit Hanoun Crossing in order to accompany my father, ‘Omer Ibrahim Ba’loushah (68), who suffers from throat cancer and was referred for treatment in Hadasa ‘Ein Karem Hospital two weeks ago.  After waiting for my brother to come back from the crossing for hours, we tried to call him but his cellphone was off.  At approximately 20:30 on the same day, the General Authority of Civil Affairs (GACA) in Gaza City called to inform us that my brother Eyad was arrested by the Israeli intelligence and taken to an investigation center in Israel without clarifying the reasons behind his arrest.”

Previously, on Thursday, 15 March 2018, the Israeli forces stationed in Beit Hanoun “Erez” crossing in the northern Gaza Strip arrested Na’im Mohammed Hussein Kotkot (44) from Jabalia refugee camp after the Israeli authorities summoned him for a security interview in Beit Hanoun Crossing.  Kotkot was summoned for the interview after he applied for a permit to cross the Beit Hanoun Crossing as a companion for his son, who is a patient suffering blood disorders and was referred for treatment in Augusta Victoria Hospital “al-Motale’a” in occupied Jerusalem.

PCHR reiterates its strong condemnation of the Israeli policy to arrest patients and their companions at Beit Hanoun “Erez” Crossing and calls upon the international community, particularly the High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, as well as the international organizations, particularly the World Health Organization (WHO) and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), to practice pressure immediately on the Israeli authorities to stop this inhuman and unjustifiable policy.

PCHR also calls for serious action to facilitate the movement and travel of patients from the Gaza Strip to the hospitals in Israel or the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem especially that continuing to apply this policy endangers the life of hundreds of patients in the Gaza Strip and deprives them of receiving the proper medical treatment for their serious diseases that cannot be remedied in the Gaza Strip hospitals.

(Source / 20.03.2018)

International Stakeholders Pledge 80% of Gaza Desalination Project Costs

20 MAR
7:36 PM

International stakeholders at Pledging Conference for the Desalination Facility Project in the Gaza Strip, which convened at the European Parliament headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday, pledged a total of €456 million out of the €562.3 million required (80% of the total cost), according to a European Union press release.

The European Commission and the Government of Palestine, in partnership with the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), hosted in Brussels the international donor Pledging Conference to consolidate high-level political and financial support for the construction of a large-scale desalination plant and its associated water supply infrastructure in the Gaza Strip, a UfM flagship project.

The Conference was opened by the Head of the Palestinian Water Authority, Minister Mazen Ghunaim and the EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, with the presence of the UfM Deputy Secretary General for Water and Environment, Miguel García-Herraiz. It brought together country representatives and major international stakeholders, including the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the World Bank (WB), and the Office of the Quartet.

International stakeholders welcomed the progress achieved to date. According to WAFA, they conveyed their support to the project and pledged a total of €456 million out of the €562.3 million required (80% of the total cost), which will make possible to move forward with the next implementation steps. The success of the conference paves the way for the launch of the design and construction phase. The EIB will launch the tendering procedure on 15 April.

This landmark operation will be the largest infrastructure project ever built in the Gaza Strip. It consists of three integrated projects: the construction of a 55 million-m3 desalination Sea Water Reverse Osmosis (SWRO) plant, a North-South conveyance system and a Non-Revenue Water reduction project, as well as an associated solar power energy plant.

The project is now ready for implementation, since all significant milestones in all the preparatory stages have been completed, including on governance, completion of the required feasibility studies, as well as solutions for the energy supply and the financial mechanism for donor contributions, said the press release.

The availability of fresh water in the Gaza Strip, one of the most densely populated places in the planet, is among the lowest in the world. Currently, 2 million Palestinians in Gaza rely almost exclusively on the coastal aquifer as the only source of freshwater in the region, which is inadequate to meet demand from both a quantitative and qualitative perspective. Only 3% of the water pumped from the aquifer and consumed by an ever-increasing population complies with the World Health Organization drinking water quality standards.

Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations said: “This project will meet the most urgent water needs in Gaza, providing drinking water and at the same time contributing to economic growth, environmental sustainability and stability. I am proud that the EU pledged €70 million for the desalination plant plus €7.1 million for management costs. Today’s successful pledging conference takes us a step closer to make a reality of this project, improve living conditions in Gaza and remove obstacles to economic development there.”

(Source / 20.03.2018)

Palestinian assailant shot dead after stabbing and killing Israeli settler in Old City

Palestinian man murdered

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — A Palestinian man was shot and killed by Israeli forces on Sunday night, after he committed a stabbing attack that lead to the death of an Israeli settler in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem.The slain Palestinian was identified as 28-year-old Abd al-Rahman Bani Fadel, from the northern occupied West Bank village of Aqraba in the Nablus district.Sources told Ma’an that Fadel is a husband and father of three, including a newborn baby.Fadel had received a temporary Israeli entry permit, which Israeli news website Ynet said he was given in order to find work inside Israel. He had previously been granted such permits before.While in the Old City, Fadel stabbed an Israeli settler, identified by Ynet as Adiel Coleman, a resident of the illegal West Bank settlement of Kokhav HaShahar. Coleman was evacuated by medics to the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, where he succumbed to his wounds.During the attack, Fadel was shot by an Israeli police officer, with witnesses telling Ma’an that he was shot more than 10 times.Witnesses added that following the attack, Israeli police deployed across East Jerusalem, closed of all entrances to the Old City, along with roads and streets adjacent to walls of the Old City.Israeli authorities also shut down the Qalandiya and Jabaa checkpoints between East Jerusalem and the West Bank.Israel’s Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat issued a statement shortly after the attack, blaming the stabbing on “incitement” by the Palestinian Authority (PA), saying “Israel’s enemies are constantly trying to harm soldiers, policemen, security guards and civilians which is due to the serious incitement that they are exposed to by the Palestinian Authority.”The Israeli narrative of “lone wolf” Palestinian assailants under the influence of incitement, which has been perpetuated by the current right-wing Israeli government, has been dismissed by analysts as overly simplistic.Palestinians have instead pointed chiefly to the frustration and despair brought on by Israel’s 50-year military occupation of the Palestinian territory and the absence of a political horizon as reasons for the outbreak of violence that started in October 2015.

(Source / 20.03.2018)

Hamas and other factions condemn Abbas speech

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting of the Palestinian leadership at his compound in the West Bank

Almost all of the Palestinian factions, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), have criticised a speech by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in which he pledged more punitive measures against Gaza and its Palestinian residents.

Abbas told the PLO Executive Committee meeting on Monday that he has decided to take “national, legal and economic measures” against the Gaza Strip. He claimed that the measures against Gaza were decided “for the protection of the national project and the higher Palestinian interests.” At the same time, Abbas accused Hamas of carrying out the assassination attempt against PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in Gaza last Tuesday.

In a remarkable distortion of reality, Abbas then claimed that Hamas carried out a “coup” in 2007, and said that this was “not justified”. At the time, Hamas was the democratically-elected government of the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip, but Abbas had rejected the 2006 election results and seized control of the PA in Ramallah. A group within Fatah, the movement headed by Abbas, was funded by Israel and the US to overthrow the Hamas government in Gaza. That coup attempt failed, and Fatah security forces were expelled from Gaza in bitter street fighting.

Hamas condemned in the strongest possible terms Abbas’s speech in Ramallah yesterday as “irresponsible”. The Islamic Resistance Movement said that it was “surprised at Abbas’s belligerent remarks, which burn bridges, intensify the rift and support Donald Trump’s plan to liquidate the Palestinian national cause.” It accused Abbas of “working to push the Palestinians in Gaza to bend down [in submission] and trying to undermine their steadfastness at a very dangerous and historic moment.”

Read: Palestine’s Abbas to punish officials criticising Arab leaders

Although Abbas criticised the US President’s plans in the Middle East and accused US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman of being more of a settler than the settlers themselves — and called him “a son of bitch” in the process — Hamas said that he is not merely targeting the Islamic movement, but is also undermining the chances to promote the national programme and the efforts to achieve Palestinian unity. “He is reinforcing the plans to separate the West Bank from the Gaza Strip.” This will, it added, help to facilitate the US President’s “deal of the century”.

“These remarks and decisions,” said Hamas, “are seen as a coup against all the reconciliation deals and a demolition of the Egyptian role [as mediator].” The movement called for urgent intervention by all Palestinians and factions, as well as international players, to save the national programme and Palestinian unity and to prevent a disaster before it happens.

The Hamas statement also addressed PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah’s comments following last week’s assassination attempt in Gaza, which were repeated by Abbas in his Ramallah speech. According to the Islamic movement, the attempt to blame Hamas for the attack even before a full investigation has been carried out is an attempt to pervert the course of justice.

In order to sort out the Palestinian issues, Hamas said that general elections must be called, including presidential, parliamentary and National Council polls, to let the Palestinians choose a leadership which is able to achieve unity and bear the responsibility of protecting the people’s interests.

Islamic Jihad condemned the PA President’s remarks by insisting that they “threaten the unity of the Palestinian people and give more support for the Israeli occupation and siege of the Gaza Strip.”

(Source / 20.03.2018)

Israel court: Ahed Tamimi’s closed trial is ‘for her benefit’

17-year-old Palestinian Ahed Al-Tamimi appears in court after she was taken into custody by Israeli soldiers, at Ofer Military Court in Ramallah, West Bank on 1 January 2018

An Israeli court has refused to hold a public trial for Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi claiming it is for her own benefit, reports Haaretz.

Last week the military prosecution told the court that they had no objection to a public court proceedings but were later informed that the case would be held behind closed doors as per a decision made by a lower court that deemed it necessary for “the minor’s benefit”. All Tamimi’s prior detention hearings have been public until last month when the military judge ordered all journalists to leave the court room.

Tamimi, 17, who is charged with stone-throwing and attacking soldiers, was arrested in December after a video showing her slapping Israeli soldiers and telling them to leave her property went viral. Israeli soldiers had invaded her home and shot her cousin in the head minutes before.

In explaining the appeal court’s decision, Colonel Netanel Benishu claimed that the decision was motivated by the desire to give the Tamimis “a real chance to make their arguments in an intimate framework of proceedings that aren’t open to the general public [which] is a basic component of conducting fair and just proceedings”.

Here come the next generation of female, Middle East activists

Tamimi’s trial has been delayed some four times, during which she has been kept in police custody. Her case has gained international support, with international NGOsBritish politiciansand the UN calling for her release. An online petition protesting her imprisonment has been signed by more than 1.7 million people.

Israeli police have continued to harass the Tamimis since Ahed’s detention and have also arrested 10 members of her family, including her cousin Mohammed Tamimi, who was initially shot. During his detention, Israeli authorities also attempted to prove that Mohammed, who lost a third of his skull due to the impact of the bullet, actually sustained his injury from falling off his bike.

The Tamimi family responded to the allegations by sharing official medical records from the Istishari Hospital in Ramallah and pictures of Muhammad’s x-ray, which clearly show the presence of a rubber bullet in his skull.

“There is no limit to how low Israel is willing to sink in its attempt to discredit the Tamimis’ just struggle for liberation against Israeli colonialism,” the family said in a statement.

The Tamimi family of Nabi Saleh is well known internationally for their activism against the Israeli occupation.

Ahed’s generation: Why the youth in Palestine must break free from dual oppression

(Source / 20.03.2018)

Illegal Jewish settlers attack Palestinian farmers north of Ramallah

A farmer can be seen harvesting green wheat

Illegal Jewish-Israeli settlers from the settlement of Adi Ad attacked Palestinian farmers working in their fields on Monday The incident took place near the town of Tormosayya, north-east of Ramallah.

A member of Tormosayya village council, Saeid Taleb, pointed out in a media statement that the settlement in question is built on land belonging to the village. The settlers, he explained, attacked ten farmers while they were working on their land. They threw stones at the farmers while Israeli soldiers protected them in case the Palestinian workers retaliated.

In fact, said Taleb, the farmers did respond to the settlers’ attack before the soldiers intervened and forced the Palestinians to leave their own land, even though they had permission from the competent authorities to work there.

Read: Israel settlers attack Palestinian houses, attempt to burn mosque in Hebron

(Source / 20.03.2018)