Palestine urges Arab League meeting on Gaza killings

Thousands of Palestinians assemble along the Gaza-Israel border to reaffirm the ‘Right of Return’ on 30 March 2018

Palestine on Sunday called on the Arab League to hold an emergency meeting on “Israeli crimes against Land Marches,” Palestine’s ambassador to Cairo told Anadolu Agency.

Diab al-Louh said his country had submitted a memorandum to the Arab League to hold an emergency meeting at the level of permanent representatives over Israel’s crimes and use of force against peaceful demonstrators during Land Day protests on Friday.

Anadolu Agency has so far been unable to get Arab League comment on the proposal.

On Saturday, al-Louh said in a statement that Israel is carrying out “brutal massacres” of Palestinians, stressing that the “return marches” confirm the rejection of any compromises affecting refugees.

READ: Erdogan calls Israel premier ‘occupier’ and ‘terrorist’ 

He further called on the international community to shoulder its responsibility for the Israeli practices of intimidation, displacement, murder, and ethnic cleansing against defenseless Palestinians.

On Saturday, President Mahmoud Abbas declared a national day of mourning for the Land Day martyrs.

On Friday, tens of thousands converged on the Gaza Strip’s roughly 45-kilometer-long eastern border with Israel to reaffirm their right to return to their ancestral homes in historical Palestine.

In anticipation of the mass demonstrations, Israel had deployed thousands of troops along the border. Dubbed the “Great March of Return,” the protests also intended to pressure Israel to lift its more than decade-long blockade of Gaza.

READ: World condemns Israeli attacks on Palestinians 

Israeli forces’ attacks on the demonstrators left 17 Palestinians martyred and nearly 1,500 people injured.

The rallies were endorsed by virtually all Palestinian political factions, which repeatedly stressed the event’s peaceful nature.

Land Day is an annual Palestinian commemoration of the deaths of six Arab Israeli citizens killed by Israeli forces in 1976, during demonstrations against government land confiscations in northern Israel.

(Source / 01.04.2018)

Rights groups slam Israeli ‘crimes’ in Gaza, say ‘shooting unarmed civilians illegal’

Zio crimes

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Human rights organizations have come out in full condemnation of Israel’s violent response to massive unarmed civilian protests in Gaza on Friday, which left 16 Palestinians – one farmer and 15 protesters — dead along the Gaza border.

Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights, released a statement on Friday condemning Israel’s use of military snipers against the civilian protesters.
“The Israeli military’s use of 100 snipers against unarmed Palestinian civilian protesters in the Gaza Strip is illegal, the statement said, adding “live gunfire on unarmed civilians constitutes a brutal violation of the international legal obligation to distinguish between civilians and combatants.”
“Israel is obligated to act in accordance with international law,” Adalah said, adding that it will be calling for an investigation into those responsible for the deaths in Gaza, and “will demand that those found responsible for the killings be brought to justice.”According to the group, on Thursday, the day before 16 Palestinians were shot dead along the border with Gaza, Adalah and the Gaza-based al-Mezan Center for Human Rights sent a letter to Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit and the Israeli Military Advocate General “demanding they act to prevent the use of sniper fire against protesters or for crowd dispersion, and to clearly and directly order Israeli forces to refrain from use of live ammunition of any variety – including sniper fire.”The groups also sent a second letter calling on the Israeli military “to remove all social media posts threatening participants in today’s Gaza march that they will be military targets and also remove social media posts threatening the civilian population in Gaza.”
Leading up to the march, the Israeli army released a statement saying it had declared the border area along Gaza a “closed military zone,” meaning that any Palestinian who got close to the border fence could risk getting shot.
The Israeli army released statements on Twitter describing the protests as “violent riots.”Meanwhile, Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem released a statement on Thursday, condemning the repeated threats of Israeli officials to use lethal force against the civilian protesters.
“Completely ignoring the humanitarian disaster in Gaza and Israel’s responsibility for it, they are couching the planned protest in terms of a security risk, framing the demonstrators as terrorists and referring to Gaza as a ‘combat zone’,” B’Tselem said.
“Fragments of information reported by the media indicate that: soldiers will be ordered to shoot anyone coming within 300 meters of the fence; snipers will fire at anyone touching it; live fire will be used also in circumstances which are non-life-threatening. In other words: shoot-to-kill unarmed Palestinians taking part in these demonstrations,” the group said.B’Tselem highlighted that Israel’s policy of lethally shooting Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza has been in practice for some time, noting that “in December 2017 alone – the most lethal month in the last year – Israeli forces shot and killed eight unarmed Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza.”
“Israel’s presumption that it can dictate the actions of Palestinians inside the Gaza Strip is absurd. The decision where and whether and how to demonstrate in Gaza is not Israel’s to make – not with regard to tomorrow’s demonstrations nor in general with regard to daily life,” B’Tselem said.The group concluded by noting that official Israeli statements” have made no reference to the actual reason for the protest – the disastrous reality in Gaza – or to the right to free protest.”
“Israel has the power to immediately change life in Gaza for the better, but has chosen not to do so. It has made Gaza a huge prison, yet forbids the prisoners even to protest against this, on pain of death.”
The majority of the nearly two million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are sealed inside the coastal enclave due to the continuation of the military blockade imposed by Israel and upheld by Egypt on the southern border.
The destruction from three Israeli offensives over the past six years, including damage to the enclave’s water, sanitation, energy, and medical facilities, coupled with slow reconstruction due to the blockade led the UN in September to warn that Gaza could be “uninhabitable” by 2020.
(Source / 01.04.2018)

Syrian Coalition Urges Syria’s Friends Action to Relieve People Being Displaced from Eastern Ghouta & to Support Douma

The Syrian Coalition’s Department of Foreign Affairs sent an urgent letter to the Syrian people’s friendly countries urging them to urgently respond to the needs of people being displaced from the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta. The letter warned of dangers surrounding the fate of civilians in Douma as the Assad regime and Russia forces threatened to assault the town.

The letter, which was sent to 20 States, included a report that was prepared by the Syrian Interim Government and Assistance Coordination Unit detailing the essential needs of the people who are being displaced from eastern Ghouta. The letter called for the provision of urgent relief aid to be distributed by the Syrian Interim Government and Assistance Coordination Unit.

The Coalition warned that “the fate of 26,006 Forcibly Displaced Persons (FDPs) and IDPs to Idlib governorate, hangs in the balance with increasing need of humanitarian aid and limited shelter capacity, according to the UN OCHA evacuations tracking report.

“The situation in Idlib governorate is of a deep concern, with displaced housed in overcrowded collective shelters, and due to the critical humanitarian needs, particularly in relation to protection, food, health, nutrition, NFIs (non-food items) and WASH (Water And Sanitation for Health).

The report also said that the people being displaced from eastern Ghouta were subjected to arrests, kidnappings, and summary executions. It said that videos and photos showed civilians being humiliated during the distribution of some life-saving items as they were forced to chant for Assad in return for drinking water.

“Indeed, the suffering of the Syrian people continues, and the situation on the ground is catastrophic due to the failure of the international community to stop the waves of mass forced displacements, to protect the civilians in their homes, and to implement the UNSC resolutions which endorsed the cessation of hostilities agreement and the unfettered aid access.”

The letter warned that “Idlib governorate hosts more than two million civilians. If any barbaric attack similar to the one that took place in Eastern Ghouta during the last two months occurs, there will be a genuine disastrous situation.”

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 01.04.2018)

IOF arrests Palestinian in Salfit clashes

Salfit clashes

The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Saturday evening arrested a Palestinian youth during clashes in Salfit.

Eyewitnesses reported that violent clashes erupted between Palestinian citizens and the IOF north of Salfit during which the latter arrested a Palestinian young man identified as Anas Awwad.

Salfit witnesses regular confrontations between its residents and the IOF soldiers who repeatedly launch arrest and raid campaigns into the city.

(Source / 01.04.2018)

Labour Party chief: Israel’s killing of Gaza protesters “appalling”

Terrorists Attackted Gaza

Leader of the British Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn has denounced Israel’s use of lethal force against Palestinian civilians who rallied last Friday in Gaza border areas to commemorate the Land Day.

“The killing and wounding by Israeli forces of civilians demonstrating for Palestinian rights in Gaza is appalling,” Corbyn said on his Twitter page on Saturday.

“The UK Government must make its voice heard on the urgency of a genuine settlement for peace and justice,” he added.

Thousands of Palestinians had marched to the Gaza border at the start of a six-week protest, dubbed the Great March of Return. The protest comes ahead of the 70th anniversary of the Palestinian “Nakba” (Catastrophe).

At least 15 Palestinians were killed and hundreds were wounded when Israeli soldiers cold-bloodedly opened fire at them.

The first to die was Omar Samour, a 27-year-old Palestinian farmer who was killed in Israeli shelling as he worked his land near Khan Younis early on Friday before the protests began.

Most of the other slain protesters, reported to be mainly men under 40, were shot dead at points along the length of the 65km (40-mile) fenced border, from Jabalia in the north to Rafah in the south.

(Source / 01.04.2018)

PCHR: Israel deliberately used excessive force against Gaza protesters

PCHR Gaza

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) said that there was a political decision at the highest political level in Israel to use excessive force to suppress hundreds of thousands of civilians participating in fully peaceful protests, which were held on Friday within hundreds of meters away from the border fence with Israel.

In a report released on Saturday, PCHR affirmed that Israeli forces directly targeted protesters with no justification and without the latter posing threat or danger to life of soldiers.

According to observations by PCHR fieldworkers, dozens of Israeli snipers stationed behind mounds of dirt along the border fence, east of the Gaza Strip, sporadically and deliberately opened fire at the participants in the peaceful assemblies that included hundreds of thousands of civilians and concentrated in five areas in eastern Gaza.  As a result, civilians were directly killed or wounded.

The observations of PCHR fieldworkers revealed that the Israeli forces focused on targeting the participants in the back rows of the demonstration as they were falling one by one around 300 meters away from the border fence in addition to others who attempted in a few numbers to approach the fence. This proves that there is an official decision to kill and cause bodily harm to the demonstrators, in conformity with the policy of intimidation adopted by the Israeli forces, spokespersons, and officials during the past few days to reduce the public participation.

According to the center’s investigations, on Friday early morning, 30 March 2018, tens of thousands of civilians, including women and children, within entire families started swarming to five camps established by the higher national authority for organizing the march of return and breaking siege in eastern Rafah City, Khuza’a in Khan Younis, al-Bureij in central Gaza; Shuja’iyya neighborhood in Gaza City; and eastern Jabalia in northern Gaza.

Israeli forces early started to target the assemblies, which were fully peaceful, inflicting dozens of casualties.

Following the Friday prayer, the number of participants in the five assemblies increased, reaching to hundreds of thousands of men, elderlies, women and children.  They were standing dozens to hundreds meters away from the border fence and raising the Palestinian flags, while only a few numbers of them attempted to approach the border fence in order to throw stones and raise flags.

The Israeli forces fired live bullets at the protesters.  As a result, until 17:00 pm on Friday, eight protesters were killed, including two in eastern Jabalia, four in eastern Gaza City and two in eastern Rafah.  All of them were hit in the upper part of the body, head, chest and abdomen.

Moreover, 708 civilians were wounded, including 121 children, 26 women and one journalist, in addition to hundreds who suffered from tear gas inhalation after tear gas canisters were heavily fired by soldiers stationed along the border fence and by drones hovering over the protesters.

The report noted that the soldiers kept targeting the protesters after the death of those eight civilians, which led to an increase in victims’ number.

At approximately 04:30 pm, Israeli forces fired two artillery shells at two civilians who were collecting parcel from an agricultural land around 1,000 meters away from the border fence with Israel, east of al-Qararah.  As a result, one of them, namely Omer Wahid Abu Sammour, 27, was killed and arrived pieces at the Gaza European Hospital while the other sustained moderate wounds.  Both civilians had to wait half an hour in the scene until the medical crews could have access and take them to the hospital.

This huge number of victims proves that the Israeli forces, at the behest of their government, continue to commit further crimes and use excessive force against Palestinian civilians in disregard for their lives.

PCHR expressed its condemnation of this new massacre committed by the Israeli forces that resulted in this huge number of causalities, stressing it was as a result of the international community’s silence on Israel’s persistent crimes against the Palestinian people.

(Source / 01.04.2018)

Medics unable to reach bodies of 2 Gazans stuck near border fence

Medics Gaza

Two Palestinian human rights organizations on Saturday called on the Israeli occupation authorities to allow medical crews to safely evacuate two Palestinians who are still lying injured or dead near Gaza’s eastern border fence.

Adalah and al-Mezan Centers for Human Rights in a statement asked senior Israeli officials to immediately allow search and rescue teams to enter the buffer zone in Gaza near the border fence to evacuate wounded or dead Palestinian men whose conditions remained unknown.

Local sources reported that two Palestinians were shot east of Juhor ad-Dik area in Gaza on Friday and left to bleed to death some 150 meters from the border fence before the Israeli occupation forces detained their bodies. Gaza’s Ministry of Health has not confirmed the news of their death yet.

The statement said that the Israeli army uses live fire to prevent Palestinians from entering the “buffer zone” which extends 300 meters into Gaza.

The two human rights organizations stressed that the Israeli army, by preventing rescue teams from reaching those injured or dead, is violating both international humanitarian law and Israeli laws governing warfare anchored in the Geneva Conventions.

The statement underlined that providing protection to the injured as well as ambulances, hospitals and medical teams, allowing medical treatment and enabling rescue teams to evacuate casualties are among the basic principles of the Geneva Conventions.

Likewise, these laws guarantee the free movement of medical search and rescue teams which facilitates their mission to locate missing individuals, thus increasing their chances of survival, it added.

(Source / 01.04.2018)

Gov’t media: Israeli forces deliberately targeted journalists in Gaza

Press attackted

The government media office in Gaza said that the Israeli occupation forces deliberately targeted journalists during the recent protests held in Gaza in an attempt to prevent them from revealing the truth.

In a statement on Saturday, the media office accused Israeli forces of firing live ammunition and tear gas grenades directly at journalists who were covering the border protests in Gaza on Friday and Saturday despite the clear and special signs referring to their job they were holding and their presence in spots relatively away from the participants in the protests.

The official also accused Israel of launching jamming attacks on telecommunication networks and media satellite communication vehicles during the protests, and hacking online pages and accounts belonging to journalists, especially those who were assigned to cover the recent events.

It stressed that such attacks on journalists were a new crime in Israel’s criminal record against freedoms of opinion and expression.

“It is not surprising to see those who kill unarmed civilians try to conceal their crime by attacking journalists who witness the event and relay it to the public opinion,” the office stated.

It called for forming an international inquiry commission to probe Israel’s growing violations and assaults on media crews in Palestine.

(Source / 01.04.2018)

Settlers storm Dura town to perform holiday rituals

Settlers storm Dura

Scores of Jewish settlers on Sunday afternoon swarmed a Palestinian archeological area in Dura town, south of al-Khalil in the West Bank, at the pretext of performing holiday rituals.

According to local sources, the settlers set up shades in Ein Fara area of the town under military protection to celebrate their Passover holiday.

Every once in a while, settlers living in illegal settlements in the West Bank storm this historical area, where they perform rituals and swim in its spring pool.

(Source / 01.04.2018)

US senator condemns Israeli attack on March of Return

Bernie Sanders

US senator Bernie Sanders on Sunday denounced the Israeli army’s killing of Palestinian demonstrators during Gaza’s Great March of Return on Friday.

Sanders wrote on Twitter, “The killing of Palestinian demonstrators by Israeli forces in Gaza is tragic. It is the right of all people to protest for a better future without a violent response.”

“Meanwhile, the situation in Gaza remains a humanitarian disaster. The US must play a more positive role in ending the Gaza blockade and helping Palestinians and Israelis build a future that works for all,” he added.

Sanders was one of the first US politicians to speak publicly about the Israeli violence against Friday’s march.

Sanders’ statements came after videos of Israeli occupation forces shooting at peaceful protesters went viral on social media, including a video of a Palestinian teenager being shot by an Israeli sniper in the head.

At least 16 Palestinians were killed and over 1,400 injured after being directly shot by the Israeli occupation forces while marching for their right of return along Gaza’s eastern border fence with the 1948 occupied Palestinian territories.

(Source / 01.04.2018)