15 Palestinian refugees killed in Syrian regime shelling on Yarmouk camp

Smoke rises from air strikes carried out Assad regime in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria where Palestinian refugees take shelter on 24 April 2018 [Rami Alsayed/Anadolu Agency]

Smoke rises from air strikes carried out by the Assad regime in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria where Palestinian refugees take shelter on 24 April 2018

The bodies of 15 Palestinian refugees who were killed by regime shelling have been found in Yarmouk refugee camp, the Working Group for the Palestinians in Syria said yesterday.

The rights group went on to demand medical and civil defence teams be allowed access to the Palestinian refugee camp to recover the bodies from under the rubble.

Following the Assad regime’s brutal air raids against Syria’s largest refugee camp, the United Nations said the regime “turned it into a death camp”.

“The Yarmouk camp in Damascus lies today in ruins, with hardly a single building that has not been destroyed or damaged.  The fighting has been particularly intense in the last month or more.  Almost all the Palestine refugees who were there have now fled,” United Nations Secretary-General’s Spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said last week.

READ: Partial Evacuations from Yarmouk Camp

(Source / 02.06.2018)

Australia MP calls for halting payments to Palestinians

Right-wing Australian minister Eric Abetz

Right-wing Australian minister Eric Abetz yesterday called on the country to cut its aid to Palestinian authorities until ‘martyr payments’ cease.

The Liberal party member said the payments were a “major barrier to peace in the Middle East”.

Abetz was speaking during a session of the Australian Senate yesterday where Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, sought assurances that Australian aid money sent to the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) hasn’t been used for so-called “martyr payments”.

An official from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said Bishop had written to the Palestinian Authority (PA) seeking assurances that Australian money wasn’t being used to encourage violence.

Read: University of Sydney academics back BDS, as Israel guns down protesters

According to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Australian government will provide an estimated 43 million Australian dollars ($32 million) in  official development assistance (ODA) to the occupied Palestinian territories in 2018-19. The funding aims to “strengthen the economic and social foundations of a future Palestinian state which can provide jobs and services for its people” and “seeks to align its support with the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) objectives.” Listed under a subsection called “our results”, the Department claims its ODA has been used to finance UNRWA education programmes, broker deals for agricultural producers and support small civil society projects in the oPt.

Other international governments have expressed similar concerns. In March, US lawmakers passed legislation to reduce aid to the PA unless it scrapped “martyr payments”. The measure is known as the Taylor Force Act.

The legislation aims to prevent the Palestinian Authority from paying pensions, which could amount to $3,500 a month, to the families of Palestinians killed by the Israeli authorities or thrown into their prisons.

(Source / 02.06.2018)

Gaza: Palestinians return to Israel border for 10th Friday in row

Palestinians on Friday gathered along the Gaza-Israel security fence — for the 10th consecutive Friday — to take part in ongoing rallies against Israel’s decades-long occupation.

Gaza’s National Authority for Breaking the Siege, which is organizing the rallies, dubbed Friday’s demonstration “From Gaza to Haifa: Unity of Blood and Shared Destiny”.

“We also urge Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem — and inside Israel — to rise up against the occupation,” the authority said in a statement.

In Israel’s northern city of Haifa, meanwhile, Palestinian activists said they, too, planned to hold demonstrations in solidarity with their compatriots in blockaded Gaza.

For the first time last Friday, a parallel demonstration was held in Haifa to condemn ongoing Israeli violence against unarmed Gazan demonstrators.

Israeli police forcibly dispersed the Haifa demonstration, arresting 19 protesters — including one whose leg was allegedly broken later while he was in police custody.

“To our people [in Gaza] from the territories occupied by Israel in 1948: let’s act together to defend our legitimate rights,” Palestinian activist Amani Mushtahi declared in a video message broadcast from Haifa.

Activist Ayman Ali, for his part, tweeted: “We must take part in the Gaza-to-Haifa rally for the sake of our martyrs, injured and imprisoned.”

Since 30 March, at least 118 Palestinian demonstrators have been martyred — and thousands more injured — by Israeli army gunfire near the Gaza-Israel security fence.

(Source / 02.06.2018)

Palestinians scale Separation Wall to reach Jerusalem

Following the tightening of Israel’s security measures and military barriers between the West Bank and Jerusalem and banning of all male worshippers under the age of forty, dozens of Palestinian youths scaled the separation wall with wooden ladders to reach Al Aqsa Mosque.

Very often, the young people who scale the wall or pass through openings, are often subjected to assaults by Israeli soldiers. Many fall in the process and suffer fractures and bruises. Undeterred, they take all the risks of injury and attacks in order to worship in Islam’s third holiest mosque. On Friday, the Qalandiya checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem, like other checkpoints, witnessed a major crisis as thousands of male worshippers tried to reach Jerusalem.

Iyad Kamil, 36, said he was prevented from entering the city for Friday prayers. He added: “They talk about facilities for worshipers. Where are they? We are forbidden to pray and they ask for special permits, most of which are rejected at the time of submitting the request to the Israeli authorities under the pretext of security prohibition.” He pointed out that “this occupation is seeking to take control of the city by all means, but we will never surrender, and we will manage to pray in Al Aqsa, despite the military barriers.”

One of the soldiers at the checkpoint argued with some young men asking them to leave. A 20-year-old man shouted at him: “Your barriers will not prevent us from reaching Jerusalem and Al Aqsa Mosque. There exist other ways that lead to Jerusalem, by climbing the Apartheid Wall and bypassing it,” he said.

(Source / 02.06.2018)

US vetoes highly supported UN resolution denouncing Israeli violence, then flops in trying to blame Hamas

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley (L) attends a meeting that gathered to hold a vote on a resolution condemning April 4 chemical attack in Syria's Idlib on April 12, 2017 at UN Headquarters in New York City, United States [Volkan Furuncu / Anadolu Agency]

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley (L) attends a meeting to hold a vote on a resolution condemning April 4 chemical attack in Syria’s Idlib on April 12, 2017 at UN Headquarters in New York City, United States

The United States vetoed on Friday a Kuwaiti-drafted UN Security Council resolution that condemned Israel’s use of force against Palestinian civilians, underlining Washington’s differences with friends and foes alike over the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

Later, a second, US-drafted resolution that blamed Hamas for the violence and upheld Israel’s right to defend itself failed to attract any other country’s support when it was put to vote in the 15-member council.

Blasting the council majority, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said the two votes showed it was willing to blame Israel and unwilling to blame Hamas, the group that dominates Gaza.

“The terrorist group Hamas bears primary responsibility for the awful living conditions in Gaza,” Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the United Nations, said ahead of the vote.

“It is now completely clear that the UN is hopelessly biased against Israel,” she said in a statement.

Opinion: Victim blaming after the Gaza massacre

France, Russia, China, Ivory Coast, Kazakhstan, Bolivia, Peru, Sweden, and Equatorial Guinea joined Kuwait in voting in favour of the first draft. Britain, the Netherlands, Poland and Ethiopia abstained. Only the United States voted against.

To be adopted, a Security Council resolution needs to receive at least nine votes in favour and no vetoes by any of the permanent members – the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China.

Only the United States voted in favour of the second draft resolution, while there were three negative votes and 11 abstentions.

At least 116 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in Gaza border protests since March 30. The largest number of killings occurred on May 14, the day the United States moved its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

Amid international condemnation of its use of lethal force, Israel said many of the dead were militants and that the Israeli army was repelling attacks on the border fence between Israel and Gaza. Washington has maintained Israel’s right to defend itself and refrained from joining calls for Israeli restraint.

Palestinians and their supporters said most of the protesters were unarmed civilians and Israel was using excessive force against them.

Over the years, the United States has vetoed a number of Security Council resolutions critical of Israel. In December, it vetoed an Egyptian-drafted resolution calling on President Donald Trump’s administration to reverse its decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

‘Hit me with your bullets. I am not afraid’ – Israel kills 21-year-old Palestinian nurse in Gaza

(Source / 02.06.2018)

‘Hit me with your bullets. I am not afraid’ – Israel kills 21-year-old Palestinian nurse in Gaza

File photo of 21-year-old Razan Al-Najar, a volunteer medic in Gaza, killed on June 1, 2018, during the 10th week of the 'Great March of Return' protests at the Gaza-Israel border

File photo of 21-year-old Razan Al-Najar, a volunteer medic in Gaza, killed on June 1, 2018, during the 10th week of the ‘Great March of Return’ protests at the Gaza-Israel border

Israeli forces killed a Palestinian nurse on Friday as she tried to help a wounded protester at the Gaza border, according to health officials and a witness, while Israel said “militants” had attacked its troops with gunfire and a grenade.

Razan Al-Najar’s death brought to 119 the number of Palestinians killed in weekly demonstrations launched on March 30 in the Gaza Strip, an enclave long subjected to grinding Israeli and Egyptian embargoes.

Najar, a 21-year-old volunteer medic, was shot as she ran toward the fortified border fence, east of the south Gaza city of Khan Younis, in a bid to reach a casualty, a witness said.

Wearing a white uniform, “she raised her hands high in a clear way, but Israeli soldiers fired and she was hit in the chest,” the witness, who requested anonymity, told Reuters.

An Israeli military spokeswoman had no immediate comment on Najar’s killing. Israeli officers have previously said that army snipers target only people posing a threat, but that the bullets can sometimes run through them or ricochet, hitting bystanders.

Gaza: Palestinians return to Israel border for 10th Friday in row

At her house in Khan Younis, Najar’s mother collapsed in grief as she was handed her daughter’s blood-stained uniform.

A statement from Gaza’s Health Ministry mourned Najar as a “martyr”. Interviewed by Reutersinterview in April, she said she would see the border protests through until their end.

“I am returning and not retreating,” Najar’s last Facebook post said, adding:

Hit me with your bullets. I am not afraid.

Gazan medical officials said at least 100 Palestinians were wounded by army gunfire during Friday’s mass demonstrations.

In a separate statement, the Israeli military said its troops had acted to disperse “thousands of rioters” at five locations.

It said that “an IDF (Israel Defence Forces) vehicle was fired upon and a suspect was identified crossing the security fence in the northern Gaza Strip and planting a grenade which exploded as he returned to the Strip”.

There have been no Israeli casualties during the border confrontations, but Israel has reported extensive damage to farmland from firebomb-bearing kites flown over from Gaza.

Remote control repression: Israel tested its latest weapons against the Great March of Return

In the protests, billed as the “Great March of Return”, Palestinians have been calling for the right to return to lands occupied by Israel since it’s creation in 1948. Israel calls them a ploy to breach its border and deflect scrutiny from Hamas’ governance problems.

Israel’s lethal response has drawn international censure.

Friday’s turnout of protestors was less than in previous weeks, but is expected to grow next week as Palestinians mark the anniversary of Israel’s occupation of the Gaza Strip and West Bank and East Jerusalem since the 1967 war.

Israel quit Gaza in 2005, but has since placed a crippling siege on the strip and has elsewhere deepened settlements on occupied land. The demonstrations come at a time of growing frustration over the prospects for an independent Palestinian state or even a revival of peace talks, stalled since 2014.

Swedish Freedom Flotilla: ‘The people of Gaza need us to act’

IfNotNow🔥@IfNotNowOrg

Razan al-Najar, 20, before she was killed by an IDF sniper: “Women are often judged. But society has to accept us. If they don’t want to accept us by choice, they will be forced to accept us. Because we have more strength than any man.” Full interview: https://www.nytimes.com/video/world/middleeast/100000005932394/palestinian-medic-killed-at-gaza-protest.html 

(Source / 02.06.2018)

Israeli Soldiers Shoot A Palestinian In Southern Gaza

02 JUN
9:34 AM

Israeli soldiers shot, on Saturday morning, a young man on Palestinian lands near the border fence, east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

The Health Ministry in Gaza said the soldiers, stationed behind sand hills, opened fire at the Palestinian, and shot him with a live round in his abdomen.

It added that the young man was rushed to a Palestinian hospital and is currently in a moderate-but-stable condition.

On Friday, the soldiers killed a Palestinian medic, identified as Razan Ashraf Najjar, 21, and injured at least 100 others, including 40 who were shot with live and exploding rounds.

Razan, who was wearing a clearly-marked medic vest, was killed when an Israeli sniper shot her in the back, and the bullet went through her heart.

She was at least 100 meters away from the eastern border fence when she was shot while providing aid to wounded Palestinians and attempting to evacuate them to the field clinic.

Prior to her injury, Razan managed to render aid to many wounded Palestinians, including an elderly man who suffered the effects of teargas inhalation.

(Source / 02.06.2018)

Israeli Soldiers Kill A Palestinian Worker In Hebron

02 JUN
12:25 PM

Israeli soldiers killed, Saturday, a Palestinian worker in Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, while he and other workers were conducting work for the Hebron City Council to rehabilitate and expand a road near the Ibrahimi Mosque.

The Health Ministry in Hebron said the soldiers fatally shot Rami Wahid Hasan Sabarna, 36, in Jaber neighborhood in the Old City, near the military roadblock leading to the Ibrahimi Mosque.

It added that the soldiers also stopped a Palestinian ambulance at the scene, and prevented the medics from approaching the Palestinian, before he bled to death.

An Israeli ambulance later arrived, before its medics placed Rami’s body in a black bag and took it away.

The army claimed that the Palestinian worker “attempted to ram the soldiers with his vehicle, before they shot him,” an allegation which was denied by eyewitnesses, who said the young man was just working, and did not attempt to attack the soldiers, or harm them in any way.

Aref Jaber, a local nonviolent activist against the Annexation Wall and Colonies, who lives near the area where the army killed the worker, said Sabarna was driving a small and loud bulldozer, and added that the worker passed by some soldiers who then started shouting at him an ordering him to stop.

“He did not pose any threat to them, he passed by them and could not hear their shouts and orders,” Aref said, “Then, they just opened fire at him and his bulldozer, seriously wounded him, before removing him from his vehicle and left him to bleed on the ground. When Red Crescent medics arrived, the soldiers prevented them from providing Sabarna with the urgently needed treatment, and he bled to death, before the soldiers placed his corpse in a black plastic bag and took him away.”

The soldiers also removed media outlets from the area, and prevented the journalist from performing their duties.

On Friday, Israeli soldiers killed, Friday, a young Palestinian woman, a volunteer medic identified as Razan Ashraf Najjar, 22, and injured 100 Palestinians, including 40 with live fire, in the Gaza Strip.

(Source / 02.06.2018)

Israeli Soldiers Attack The Weekly Procession In Ni’lin

02 JUN
1:35 AM

Israeli soldiers attacked, Friday, the weekly nonviolent procession against the illegal Israeli Annexation Wall and Colonies, in Ni’lin village, west of the central West Bank city of Ramallah.

The soldiers attacked the nonviolent procession with gas bombs and concussion grenades, just as the protesters reached Bawwabat al-‘Asfour area, causing many to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation.

The protesters, accompanied by Israeli and international peace activists, marched carrying Palestinian flags, and chanted against the ongoing Israeli occupation, and military escalation, in addition to calling for national unity.

The protest also marked the 17th anniversary of the death of the senior political leader from occupied Jerusalem, member of the Executive Committee of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Faisal al-Husseini.

(Source / 02.06.2018)

Assassination of Female Paramedic

By Wafa A. Al-Udaini

israeli-fire-kills-21-year-old-palestinian-medic-in-the-gaza-strip

The IOF have assassinated a female paramedic, whilst she was attending to injured civilians, during the ‘Great March of Return’ protests.  During yet another day of ‘Great Return March’ demonstrations – on Friday at roughly noon – Israeli snipers opened fire at civilians, killing a female paramedic and injuring more than 100 Palestinians.  

Twenty one year-old Razan An-Najjar was assassinated (shot) by the Israeli snipers stationed at the separation fence, separating the besieged Gaza strip and Israel. Razan was doing her job and helping the injured, she volunteered for the Ministry of Health and had been active since the beginning of the ‘Great Return March’ (March 30th).  

Baha Abu shammalah, an activist said: “The Israeli Occupation Forces use live and rubber bullet and tear gas against us indiscriminately and deliberately”. “I was beside Razan; she was wearing the white uniform of a medic when she was shot in the chest” he added.

Razan’s colleague confirmed that “there was an injured (civilian) near the fence, so the paramedic Razan Al-Najjar raised her hands and went to rescue the injured.” The Israeli snipers then shot her dead, even before she was able to reach the injured civilian.  

Razan is the second paramedic to be killed by the Israeli forces since the beginning of the ‘Great Return March’ protests. Razan was filmed and interviewed many times, stating once: “I may get killed at any time, but I started this and I will continue until my people achieve their freedom”.

Razan’s murder has now pushed the death toll above 123 in the Gaza, since the 30th of March.