Israeli tank opens fire at resistance post east of Gaza

Resistance post attackted

An Israeli tank on Sunday opened fire at a Palestinian resistance observation post in a border area in the central Gaza Strip.

According to local sources, a Merkava tank opened machinegun fire continuously and for about one hour at an observation point belonging to the Palestinian resistance in the northeastern area of Deir al-Balah in central Gaza.

Luckily, no one was injured in the shooting attack.

Such Israeli military escalation came after four Palestinian young men on Saturday evening managed to infiltrate into an Israeli-controlled border area and tried to set fire to Israeli drilling equipment before withdrawing to Gaza.

(Source / 25.03.2018)

Hamas launches military exercises in Gaza

Members of the armed branch of Hamas, Qassam Brigades in Rafah, Gaza [Ali Jadallah - Anadolu Agency]

Members of the armed branch of Hamas, Qassam Brigades in Rafah, Gaza

The Ezzeddin al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Palestinian group Hamas, on Sunday launched military exercises in the Gaza Strip.

Hundreds of armed Qassam members have been deployed across the Palestinian territory, according to local sources.

No further details were available about the nature of the exercises.

“The exercises have been planned in advance,” Hamas said in a statement on Saturday, without providing any details.

The military training comes one day after Israeli warplanes struck a Hamas position in southern Gaza Strip, without causing any casualties.

(Source / 25.03.2018)

Israeli Soldiers Abduct A Palestinian Journalist

25 MAR
7:58 AM

Israeli soldiers stationed at the al-Karama Border Terminal between Jordan and Palestine abducted, on Thursday, a Palestinian journalist working for Palestine TV, while he was heading back home after receiving a journalism award in Egypt.

The journalist, Bakr Abdul-Haq, was returning to Palestine from Cairo, after receiving a journalism award for his reports and accomplishments.

The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate strongly denounced the abduction of Abdul-Haq, who was moved to the al-Maskobiyya interrogation facility, in occupied Jerusalem, without any explanation, or charges.

It added that Israel is currently holding captive thirty journalists, in direct violation of International Law and various international and humanitarian resolutions.

The Syndicate described the abduction and imprisonment of Abdul-Haq as an act of Israeli piracy against Palestinian journalists, and part of “a series of illegal measures meant to terrorize the journalists in Palestine, and their people.”

His family was not informed about his abduction, and started looking for him, and asking various legal and human rights groups, to later find out that he was abducted by Israel at the border terminal.

Prior to returning to Palestine, the journalist wrote a post on his Facebook page stating that he received the award in Cairo, and expressing his gratitude and pleasure in meeting many dedicated professional journalists from several parts of the Arab world.

“This award is dedicated to my homeland, Palestine, our just cause and struggle. I am honored to represent Palestine, and to send its message of steadfastness to the world,” he said, “We report on the suffering of Palestine, and its people, and their legitimate hopes and aspirations for liberation and independence.”

(Source / 25.03.2018)

Israeli Air Force Fire Three Missiles Into Southern Gaza

25 MAR
9:24 AM

Israeli warplanes fired, on Sunday at dawn, three missiles into an area, northwest of Rafah city, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

Media sources in Rafah said the missiles destroyed the targeted a structure and caused serious damage to nearby homes and buildings.

The Israeli military claimed its air force targeted a training center for the Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas.

It added that the attack came after the army reportedly “noticed four Palestinians who crossed the border fence, to burn army machinery.”

(Source / 25.03.2018)

Ahed Abu Ghoulmeh has family visit with wife and daughter for first time since 2009

Wafa’ and Rita Abu Ghoulmeh

The wife and daughter of imprisoned Palestinian leader Ahed Abu Ghoulmeh, 50, were permitted to visit him for the first time in many years at Hadarim prison on 20 March, reported Hadf NewsWafa’ Abu Ghoulmeh, Ahed’s wife and a Palestinian organizer, and Rita Abu Ghoulmeh, their teen daughter, have been denied visits with Ahed repeatedly over the years. This was the first visit that Wafa’ and Rita were able to conduct together since 2009.

Ahed Abu Ghoulmeh, a leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, is serving a life sentence in Israeli prison; he was abducted with Ahmad Sa’adat and their comrades Hamdi Qur’an, Basil al-Asmar and Majdi Rimawi on 13 March 2006. They had been held in a Palestinian Authority prison in Jericho for the past four years under U.S. and British guard; in 2006, following promises of Palestinian Legislative Council members to release the PA political prisoners, the Israeli occupation violently attacked and destroyed the prison.

Abu Ghoulmeh and his comrades were seized first by the PA and then the occupation forces after the PFLP’s military wing assassinated notorious far-right, racist Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi in 2001, in response to the assassination of PFLP General Secretary Abu Ali Mustafa by occupation forces using U.S.-made and -provided weaponry.

During his imprisonment, Abu Ghoulmeh has been repeatedly held in solitary confinement and denied family visits; he has been a leader in the prisoners’ movement and participated in prisoners’ leadership councils, hunger strikes and protests.

Ahed Abu Ghoulmeh’s daughter Rita in 2013 with a poster of her father

In speaking about the visit, Wafa’ Abu Ghoulmeh expressed the difficulties experienced at the hands of the Israeli occupation for Palestinian families who seek to visit their imprisoned family members, beginning their journey at 5 a.m. to pass all of the Israeli checkpoints. After arriving at the prison, she said, all of the families are searched extensively, accompanied by continuous shouting and screaming from occupation soldiers. She noted that the occupation deliberately delays and detains people during these searches. “On the day of our visit, a number of the prisoners’ family members were held back, including the father of Ahed Tamimi, and her brother was prevented from visiting,” said Abu Ghoulmeh.

Family members are forbidden to bring food, drink or personal items with them. Wafa’ said that she could only speak to her husband over a telephone, behind a glass wall. “One policeman stands behind the prisoner and another behind the visitor. Every word we say is heard by this guard….On the way back, we are subject again to the same procedures and harassment. The visit is a joy for prisoners’ families, but it is not without painful moments, especially when watching prisoners with their children.”

She noted that Hadarim prison, where Ahed Abu Ghoulmeh is held, is a type of mass isolation with 100 Palestinian prisoners; all of the men held there are serving life sentences. It is part of the same complex as HaSharon prison, where the women prisoners are held. She noted that family members are forbidden from bringing educational and political books to prisoners in Hadarim, and only religious books and novels are permitted to enter.

Despite the restrictions and repression imposed by the Israeli occupation, Abu Ghoulmeh is preparing to write a doctoral thesis on the Palestinian prisoners’ movement and the psychological situation of people with high sentences. He has compiled research and written significant portions; however, when he was in Ramon prison, the Israeli prison administration confiscated his writings as well as the archive of educational materials maintained by the prisoners. She noted that Abu Ghoulmeh was looking toward Arab and international universities to complete his education; while a number of European universities reportedly expressed interest in facilitating Abu Ghoulmeh’s continued education, he is unable to attend classes and the supervisor of his work is also imprisoned, Marwan Barghouthi.

She said that a Moroccan university has expressed initial approval of the project but seeks to partner with a Palestinian university. In addition, she said that Abu Ghoulmeh is committed to spending every moment in the prison in research, study or teaching other Palestinian prisoners.

(Source / 25.03.2018)

Amani al-Hashem sentenced to 10 years in Israeli prisons; update on Palestinian women prisoners

Amani Hashem

Palestinian prisoner Amani al-Hashem, 32, from Beit Hanina east of Jerusalem, was sentenced on Sunday, 25 March to 10 years in Israeli occupation prisons. The sentencing came after repeated continuances of her case; she has been imprisoned since 13 December 2016, when occupation forces fired live bullets at her and her car near the Qalandiya checkpoint, accusing her of attempting to run over Israeli occupation forces.

After being seized at the checkpoint, she was interrogated and subject to torture and ill-treatment for 14 days when held in the notorious Moskobiyeh detention center. Hearings in her case were continued on 22 occasions.

Israa Jaabis

Severely wounded Palestinian prisoner Israa Jaabis was transferred to Hadassah medical center on 18 March for medical tests. Jaabis, 32, has burns over 65 percent of her body and eight of her fingers were amputated after a fire in her car when a cooking gas cylinder exploded inside 500 meters from an Israeli checkpoint in October 2015.

During and after the fire, which was contained inside her car, she was treated like a “security threat” rather than a person in a medical emergency by occupation forces; she was sentenced to 11 years in Israeli prison and accused of “attempted murder” of an occupation soldier. Her much-needed medical treatment has been repeatedly delayed; she recently had two surgical procedures, one to separate her right armpit, fused to her body through burning, and another to perform a skin transplant under her eye.

Jaabis, the mother of one, lives with constant pain and suffering and requires multiple serious medical procedures. The occupation appeals court rejected her petition to reduce her sentence due to her severe health status. While she was held in the hospital after her operations, she was kept shackled hand and foot to her hospital bed despite her severe injuries and pain; in a letter to her sister and brother, she said that she asked to be returned to the prison early due to the pain from the tight shackles.

Khadija al-Ruba’i

Meanwhile, on 14 March, the Israeli occupation military courts issued an additional two-month administrative detention order against Khadija al-Ruba’i, one of three Palestinian women jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention along with Palestinian parliamentarian and feminist leader Khalida Jarrar and journalist and prisoners’ advocate Bushra al-Tawil. Al-Ruba’i, 33 and the mother of five children, has been imprisoned without charge or trial since 9 October 2017; she has been ordered twice to administrative detention without charge or trial for three months. The two-month renewal was set to be the final order against her.

Yasmin Abu Srour, 20, a Palestinian refugee from Aida camp near Bethlehem, was sentenced on Thursday, 22 March to seven months in Israeli prison. The young woman was accused of “incitement” for posting on Facebook about Palestinian politics and the Israeli occupation.

Ola Marshoud

Meanwhile, in Balata refugee camp in Nablus, occupation forces invaded the home of Ola Marshoud, 21, a freelance journalist and a university student at Al-Najah National University in Nablus. She has been detained by occupation forces for over a week, after she was ordered to come to the Huwwarra detention center for interrogation by occupation security forces. Her family reported that occupation forces ransacked the home searching for her mobile phone and interrogated her parents. Her detention was extended for an additional week on Saturday, 17 March. Students at Al-Najah held a protest to demand the release of Marshoud.

Several other women prisoners’ cases were continued by the Israeli occupation courts, including Fadwa Hamadeh, accused of attempting to participate in a Palestinian resistance attack against occupation soldiers.

(Source / 25.03.2018)

Imprisoned Palestinian student leader Omar Kiswani on hunger strike for freedom

Omar Kiswani

Imprisoned Palestinian student leader Omar Kiswani is on hunger strike in Israeli prison in protest against his ongoing detention without charge and interrogation. Kiswani is the president of the Student Council at Bir Zeit University and was seized on 7 March when undercover Israeli occupation forces invaded the university campus, pretending to be journalists. They carried firearms in backpacks, entering the university campus during school hours and then attacked Kiswani in front of the Student Council Building in the center of the university campus.

Meanwhile, an occupation army unit detained all of the university’s guards in the guard room; the kidnapping unit used their weapons to threaten the student body as they dragged Kiswani from campus in the violent attack.

The attack on the university has been condemned by an array of institutions; it comes as one of a number of repeated invasions of Palestinian university campuses, especially in order to attack student councils and elected student blocs and organizations. Active students are repeatedly targeted for arrest and imprisonment and it has been estimated that at Bir Zeit University alone, over 60 Palestinian students are held in Israeli prisons. There are approximately 340 Palestinian university students jailed by the Israeli occupation.

“This act is a violation of the civilian nature of universities and educational institutions, especially that this is not the first time an Israeli army unit has raided Birzeit University’s campus, as it had done on numerous occasions and confiscated media paraphernalia belonging to student political parties, equipment, and computers,” said Sarah Pritchett of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor. The Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate denounced the impersonation of journalists in order to carry out a violent attack on a student political leader.

Dozens of student union officers at UK universities signed on to a statement denouncing the raid, labeling it “the most recent example of Israel’s long-term and systematic assault on the Palestinian right to education.”  “We, Friends of Birzeit University and student union officers in the UK, believe that we have a duty to take a stand against injustice and oppression. We stand in solidarity with Palestinian students denied their right to education and support their demands to live and study in an environment free from the violent practices of Israel’s occupation,” the statement continued.

Since being seized from campus on 7 March, Kiswani has been held at the notorious Moskobiya detention center in Jerusalem under interrogation. The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society stated that Kiswani is being interrogated 18 hours daily and has been prevented from seeing his lawyer since his arrest; his detention was extended by another week on Thursday, 22 March.

Students at Sheffield Hallam University in the UK held a protest on 20 March in which they demanded the release of Kiswani and other student prisoners, expressing their solidarity with Palestinian students under occupation. The protesting students then attended an event with rapper Lowkey carrying Palestinian flags and signs calling for the freedom of all Palestinian prisoners.

Kiswani announced that he had begun his hunger strike on 19 March against his interrogation and imprisonment, demanding his immediate release. He is not the only Palestinian prisoner on hunger strike: Musaab al-Hindi has been on hunger strike for 15 days in protest of the renewal of his administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial; Bashir al-Khatib, imprisoned since 1988 and from occupied Palestine ’48, has been on hunger strike for 14 days to demand medical care; Adel Shehadeh, held in Jalameh detention center, has been on hunger strike for 12 days against his torture under interogation; and Saleh Abu Sawawin from Khan Younis has been on hunger strike for three days against his isolation in Ramon prison.

(Source / 25.03.2018)

Hamas to Accuse PA Parties of Involvement in PM Assassination Attempt

Hamas armed militant

Recently surfacing signs suggest that Gaza Strip’s ruling party Hamas is moving towards accusing the Palestinian Authority and its affiliates of involvement in the assassination attempt on the life of Prime Minister Rami al-Hamdallah.

Head of General Intelligence Majid Faraj in the Gaza Strip is among those thought by Hamas to have been involved.

Despite Hamas’ inclination to point fingers towards the PA, there exists evidence tying the attempt to extremist militias.

Hamas officials said they were preparing to accuse specific parties in Ramallah within a few days of announcing the end of the probe into the assassination attempt, which deepened Palestinian divisions.

The PA, in turn, blamed Hamas for the assassination attempt.

“PA officials insistence on stepping up their accusations against Hamas and their refusal to wait for the results of the investigation reflect a real crisis due to the exposure of crime details confirming their direct involvement,” Hamas Spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said.

Barhoum’s statement is not surprising in light of hints that Hamas leaders have resorted to blaming external parties since news of the assassination attempt first broke out.

They spoke of a “play” to “disavow reconciliation” or “try to polish an alternative leadership.”

But Barhoum’s statement is the first direct and explicit suggestion of PA’s direct involvement.

His accusations came at a time when Hamas confirmed that the coming days would reveal “the true beneficiaries of the attack targeting the convoy of Prime Minister Rami al-Hamdallah.”

“The beneficiaries of the bombing seek to torpedo reconciliation and strike security in Gaza,” he said.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Hamas of being behind the attempted assassination of Hamdallah and Faraj and vowed to take “national, legal and financial measures” against the Gaza Strip.

Abbas also attacked Hamas in an unprecedented manner, directing “big and small” threats.

(Source / 25.03.2018)

Palestinian farmer in Hebron attacked by Israeli settlers for second time in March

Farmer attackted twice

HEBRON (Ma’an) — A group of Israeli settlers assaulted a Palestinian farmer in the village of al-Tiwani in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron on Sunday.According to local sources, settlers from illegal Havat Maon settlement assaulted Jumaa Mousa Rabai, 45, while he was grazing sheep.Rabai sustained minor fractures and bruises across his body as a result of the assault, and was transferred to the Abu al-Hasan al-Qasim hospital in Yatta for treatment.Earlier this month, Rabai was attacked by the same settlers, and told Ma’an that they broke his car and threw rocks at his home during a raid on the village in which the settlers attempted to set fire to the local mosque.Between 500,000 and 600,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in violation of international law.The Palestinian government has no jurisdiction over Israelis in the West Bank, and acts carried out by Israeli settlers often occur in the presence of Israeli military forces who rarely act to protect Palestinian residents.The majority of settler thefts committed against Palestinians are met with impunity, with Israelis rarely facing consequences for such thefts.Only 1.9 percent of complaints submitted by Palestinians against Israeli settler attacks or theft result in a conviction.

(Source / 25.03.2018)

Israeli bulldozers level lands in southern Gaza

Bulldozers Entering Gaza

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Several Israeli military vehicles entered into the southern Gaza Strip on Sunday morning, and razed lands along the border with Israel.Local sources told Ma’an that five military bulldozers razed lands east of Khan Younis near the border fence, while a drone flew overhead.Israeli military incursions inside the besieged Gaza Strip and near the “buffer zone,” which lies on both land and sea sides of Gaza, have long been a near-daily occurrence.The Israeli army also regularly detains and opens fire on unarmed Palestinian fishermen, shepherds, and farmers along the border areas if they approach the buffer zone, as the authorities have not made clear the precise area of the designated zone.The practice has in effect destroyed much of the agricultural and fishing sector of the blockaded coastal enclave, which has been under an Israeli air, land, and sea blockade for 10 years.

(Source / 25.03.2018)