Extremist settlers attack Palestinian child with pepper spray in Hebron

EBRON, PALESTINOW.COM — Extremist Jewish settlers on Wednesday night attacked a Palestinian child with pepper spray near his home in al-Khalil city.

A local source told the Palestinian Information Center (PIC) that 10-year-old Ahmed Jaber was rushed to hospital after settlers from the illegal settlement of Kiryat Arba attacked him with pepper spray in his face.

In a separate incident, Israeli soldiers fired volleys of tear gas grenades before midnight at Palestinian homes near the junction of Tareq Bin Ziyad in the Old City of al-Khalil at the pretext that they were attacked with stones.

(Source / 14.09.2018)

Israel kills two Palestinians, including a child in Gaza border protest

GAZA, PALESTINOW.COM — Two Palestinians were killed by Israeli army fire during clashes along the Israel-Gaza border fence Friday, Gaza’s Health Ministry said.

One of those killed was a 14-year-old boy, who was shot in the head east of Jabalya, according to the ministry. The other fatality was a man in his thirties. More than thirty additional Palestinians were wounded by live fire, including a medic.

The report comes after the Israeli military opened fire at a Palestinian who tried to damage the border fence Sunday, killing him. A day earlier, a 16-year-old Palestinian succumbed to wounds he had sustained during last Friday’s protests along the border.

(Source / 14.09.2018)

Army Injures Several Palestinians Near Ramallah

14 SEP
3:48 PM

Israeli soldiers caused, on Friday afternoon, several Palestinians to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation, after the army attacked, local and international activists, holding a nonviolent procession in Ras Karkar village, west of Ramallah, in central West Bank.

The protesters were nonviolently marching in the weekly procession which was organized by the Popular Committee against the Annexation Wall and Colonies, on Palestinian lands in the ar-Reesan Mountain, threatened with illegal Israeli annexation orders.

The protest was held by locals, and residents from surrounding villages, in addition to international peace activists.

It included planting olive saplings in the threatened Palestinian lands, to express steadfastness and rejection to Israel’s ongoing violations and illegal colonialist activities.

The soldiers fired many gas bombs, concussion grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets, causing many to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation.

(Source / 14.09.2018)

Israeli Soldiers Invade Lands Near Khan Younis

14 SEP
12:00 PM

Israeli soldiers carried out, on Friday morning, a limited invasion into Palestinian lands east of the al-Qarara town, east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA) said five armored military vehicles, accompanied by a robot vehicle, invaded the lands and started bulldozing and leveling sections close to the perimeter fence.

WAFA added that the vehicles came from Kissufim military base, across the border fence.

The invasion is part of ongoing violations against the Palestinians and their lands in the besieged Gaza Strip.

(Source / 14.09.2018)

Hanna: “Israel Is Practicing Ethnic Cleansing In Al-Khan Al-Ahmar”

14 SEP
1:07 PM

Archbishop Attallah Hanna of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in occupied Jerusalem, said that what Israel is doing against the Palestinians in the al-Khan al-Ahmar Bedouin community is an act of ethnic cleansing, part of Israel’s illegal policies against the Palestinians.

His statements came during a meeting with the European Parliament fact-finding delegation that will be visiting al-Khan al-Ahmar, and several governorates in the occupied West Bank, including Jerusalem.

The meeting took place in the Church of Holy Sepulcher, and the Cathedral, where he informed the delegates about the escalating illegal Israeli policies targeting the holy city, and changing its geography, demography and history.

“The Palestinians continue to be marginalized, oppressed and targeted by illegal Israeli occupation policies, and its colonialist activities,” Hanna said, “Israel is ignoring the very existence of the indigenous Muslim and Christian population of the holy city, and is treating them as foreigners, strangers in their own homeland.”

He added that Israel, and its illegal colonialist settlers, are also constantly targeting and desecrating the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and “steeling Christian and Islamic property and lands, sometimes by illegal means, and other times through collaborators and mercenaries employed by the illegal occupation to serve its agenda against the Palestinians, and the holy sites.”

On Thursday, the European parliament passed a resolution denouncing Israel’s decision to demolish and displace the residents of al-Khan al-Ahmar, and calling it a breach of International Humanitarian Law, and a war crime.

It also demanded Israel to pay compensation for its destruction infrastructure, which was funded by the European Union in al-Khan al-Ahmar.

(Source / 14.09.2018)

Greenblatt: US expects some Israeli criticism of parts of coming Mideast plan

US President Donald Trump's Assistant and Special Representative for International Negotiations, Jason Greenblatt (C) in Ramallah, West Bank [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

US President Donald Trump’s Assistant and Special Representative for International Negotiations, Jason Greenblatt (C) in Ramallah, West Bank

The Trump administration is prepared for Israeli criticism of elements of its coming Middle East peace plan, the US envoy to the region said, even as Washington faces growing Palestinian accusations that it will be heavily tilted in favour of Israel, Reuters reports.

In an interview with Reuters, Jason Greenblatt, a chief architect of the long-awaited peace initiative, said US negotiators had entered the “pre-launch phase” of the plan, despite a boycott by Palestinian leaders.

But he declined to specify a time frame, except to say it would not be announced at the U.N. General Assembly gathering in New York later this month, or offer any details of a proposal that has drawn deep scepticism even before its unveiling.

Pushing back against widespread perceptions among Palestinians, Arab officials and independent analysts that the peace plan is likely to be decidedly pro-Israel, Greenblatt made clear that both sides can expect parts they will like and dislike.

“We’re going to have to defend the plan to Israelis and Palestinians. We are ready for criticism from all sides, but we believe this is the best path forward for everyone,” he said as the administration moved to finalise the initiative, which is led by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Read: Israel’s failed quest for security

But there was no immediate explanation of what might disappoint Israelis, who have been mostly pleased with President Donald Trump’s Middle East policies but have at times been rattled by suggestions he might ask them for significant concessions.

Greenblatt said, however, that the United States will recommend compromises but will not seek to impose a deal.

“The parties will need to decide if they think the plan works for them and will make their lives better,” he said. “The parties are the only ones who can make these compromises, and there are no compromises on Israel’s security needs.”

Doubts have mounted over whether Trump’s administration can secure what he has called the “ultimate deal” after it cut off aid to the Palestinians and ordered the PLO’s office in Washington shut, further angering Palestinian leaders and reinforcing their refusal to engage in US-led diplomacy.

Read: Trump administration briefs US Jewish groups on Israel-Palestine peace deal

The Palestinians had refused to participate in the US effort since December when Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and then moved the US embassy there.

In late August, Trump hailed the embassy move as a success but said, without elaboration, “in the negotiation Israel will have to pay a higher price because they won a very big thing.”

Trump’s aides later played down his comments.

It is unclear how the US plan would deal with the sensitive issue of Jerusalem. Palestinians want the city’s eastern part as their future capital.

The Trump administration hopes Saudi Arabia and other Arab allies will support its peace plan once it is released but does not expect them to “try to push the Palestinian people into a deal that the Palestinians don’t want,” Greenblatt said in the interview on Wednesday.

Some US officials have privately said they were counting on Arab states to use their influence with the Palestinians to convince them to come to the negotiating table.

Read: Lebanon rejects alleged plan to ‘resettle’ Palestinians

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman recently has reassured other Arab countries and the Palestinians it will not endorse any plan that fails to address key Palestinian concerns.

The Trump administration has signalled it is unlikely to be deterred from rolling out the plan even if the Palestinians continue their boycott.

With the “political component” of the plan at the point where it covers all core issues of the decades-old conflict, “We do have to get the economic portion of the plan finished,” Greenblatt said. “A successful economy is critical for the Palestinians.”

That is widely expected to include international funding proposals for the impoverished Gaza Strip.

US officials have also been non-committal about whether the plan would endorse the creation of a Palestinian state, as the Palestinians have long demanded.

Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said earlier this week that “we will not succumb to US threats and bullying.”

(Source / 14.09.2018)

UN: “Gaza health sector is collapsing” amid international inaction

Amid a deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza and massive cuts to aid announced by the US administration, the UN has outlined a significant funding shortfall as it seeks to address immediate humanitarian needs in Gaza and across the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).

The UN Office of the Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has called for international support to respond to casualties arising from Israel’s use of force in the context of the continuing ‘Great March of Return’ protests. Since 30 March, 179 Palestinians (including 29 children) have been killed, the majority during the demonstrations. More than 19,000 Palestinians have been injured, with half of these hospitalised:

“The large number of casualties among unarmed demonstrators who did not pose an imminent threat of life or deadly injury to Israeli soldiers, including a high percentage of demonstrators hit by live ammunition, has raised concerns about the excessive use of force.”

OCHA warn of growing despair in Gaza, with these casualties entering a health system facing chronic challenges:

“Gaza’s health sector is collapsing in the wake of the now 11-year blockade, the deepening intra-Palestinian political divide, the energy crisis, inconsistent and reduced payment of public sector staff, and growing shortages in medicines and disposables.”

With hospitals facing high casualties and dwindling resources, some 8,000 surgeries, including some critical cases, have been postponed. These delays can negatively impact patients’ physical and psychological health and lead to further health complications.

OCHA has appealed for $21 million (£16 million) to fund trauma management and emergency healthcare interventions, including for public hospitals managing high numbers of patients needing complex inpatient care and post-operative rehabilitation.

Of critical concern to Gaza’s health system is the availability of emergency fuel. Chronic electricity shortages have left hospitals and clinics running on back-up generator power for up to 20 hours per day, on fuel provided by the UN. Funding for this has dried up, however, with stocks set to run out within days. OCHA reports:

  • 14 public hospitals are running at reduced capacity in key services including elective surgery, sterilisation and diagnostics;
  • 4,800 patients require access daily to lifesaving or life-sustaining healthcare with a constant supply of electricity
  • 300 of these patients need constant connection to lifesaving medical equipment such as ventilators, dialysis machines, incubators and anaesthetic equipment

OCHA further reports that any disruption or electricity cut puts patients at immediate risk of brain damage or death. Just $4.5 million (£3.4 million) is needed by the UN needed to provide fuel to sustain services until the end of the year.

Gaza’s ‘eviscerated’ economy

Meanwhile, UNCTAD, the UN body responsible for trade, investment and development issues, issued its annual report on the economy of the oPt. In it, the agency warns of accelerating de-development of Gaza, stating that Israel’s 11-year blockade has “eviscerated Gaza’s economy and productive base and reduced the Strip to a humanitarian case of profound aid-dependency.” Gaza’s per-capita income is now 30% lower than the start of the century, and poverty and food insecurity are rife with 80% of people reliant on some form of international aid.

These conditions have a profound effect on the health of Gaza’s population, with UNCTAD reporting that “enduring pressure and deprivation of basic human, social and economic rights inflict heavy toll on Gaza’s psychological, social and cultural fabric as manifested by widespread psychological trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, desperation, high suicide rates and drug addiction.” According to UN figures, 225,000 children – more than 10% of Gaza’s population – required psychological support in 2017.

The report highlights that international efforts to address the situation have failed to reverse this trend, stating: “Efforts at revival have been feeble and all interventions necessarily focused on reconstruction and humanitarian relief, leaving few resources for development or resuscitating the productive base.”

UNCTAD further outline the action needed to provide sustainable economic recovering in Gaza, including a complete lifting of the blockade; political, fiscal and economic reunification with the West Bank; urgent overcoming of the electricity crisis; and enabling Palestinians to develop offshore natural gas fields.

(Source / 14.09.2018)

Hamas Top Official: Ongoing Negotiations Are Not Part of ‘Deal of the Century’

Member of the political bureau of Hamas Husam Badran near the Israel-Gaza border on August 3, 2018

Hamas Politburo member Husam Badran revealed details of the recent talks in Cairo between Palestinian factions and Egyptian intelligence officials regarding the truce, intra-reconciliation and Hamas’ weapons.

Badran, a member of the delegation to Egypt, said that Cairo moved to achieve the implementation of the ceasefire agreement reached on August 27, 2014, in the wake of the 51-day Israeli offensive against Gaza, and that Hamas positively received the Egyptian initiative.

Badran explained that Hamas called for establishing the 2014 agreement and its terms, namely lifting the siege on Gaza. He pointed out that all Palestinian factions had been contacted and several meetings were held to determine a unified stance.

Fatah was the only party that opposed the move and linked establishing the truce with reconciliation, which Badran considered an attempts to fail the truce.

He indicated that this in fact intends to “perpetuate the siege of Gaza Strip and launch a campaign of defamation against the factions by claiming that the negotiations are part of the US ‘deal of the century’, which Hamas rejects.”

The reconciliation is not advancing, according to Badran, who added that Fatah’s position pushed Hamas to pursue the talks within a broad Palestinian consensus.

Asharq Al-Awsat asked Badran about his organization’s request to build an airport in Eilat, which he denied saying it was a “lie and a fabrication”. He asserted that Hamas did not offer any alternative to Gaza Airport. Badran denied that the efforts to achieve the truce had stopped, stressing Egypt’s commitment as a guarantor of the truce agreement.

Discussing the “deal to exchange prisoners”, Badran asserted it runs a different course independent of other issues, adding that they are handling this issue in a “mature way”, hoping to reach a new honorable prisoners’ exchange deal at the nearest opportunity.

Badran accused Fatah movement of trying to use some of the issues in the Strip to achieve gains and not reach a reconciliation, noting that Hamas was hoping to reach “a realistic and logical formula to achieve national consensus.”

Hamas official considered the US-Israeli rejection of reconciliation the biggest obstacle and accused both sides of seeking the disarmament of the resistance, which is rejected by his organization.

Asharq Al-Awsat asked Badran about Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s statements on the weapons of Palestinian factions. He indicated the movement is aware of the President and the world’s position on the issue, and that it does not matter much, adding that the President believes that weapons and revolution are both ways of destruction.

“But we know for certain that what is taken by force can only be recovered by force and that the resistance is the only force capable of defending our people,” reiterated Badran. However, he admitted Hamas was ready to reach an understanding on how weapons should be managed, in a way that would keep it a guarantor of Palestinian people’s rights.

Badran concluded that, since its establishment, Hamas has not been part of the authority and that it participated in the elections to prevent another disaster of concessions. He indicated that an authority that coordinates with the occupation is not worth it.

(Source / 14.09.2018)

US denies $5 billion offer in aid to Palestine

US President Donald J. Trump

The White House rejected a claim Thursday that US President Donald Trump offered $5 billion in aid to Palestine if it returns to the negotiating table with Israel, Anadolu reports.

The claim was reported by Globes, an Israeli newspaper, which said the US president was even willing to give more than the amount proposed, according to anonymous diplomatic sources who spoke to Globes.

“Either the Palestinians continue their refusal and stubbornness, in which case the PA [Palestine Authority] will sink into a severe economic crisis, or the Palestinian leadership straightens up, comes to talk, and gets political and economic independence,” the Globes wrote.

Read: Netanyahu happy at US cut aid for Palestine refugees

Trump’s Special Representative on International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt responded saying that it was completely false and no such offer was made.

“Fact: False. When the peace plan is released, if the PA [Palestinian Authority] is serious about peace & wants to improve Palestinian lives, the PA should want to review the plan & engage. It is an absurd idea to pay $5b for a party to ‘return to the negotiating table.’ How would that accomplish peace??” Greenblatt said on Twitter.

Jason D. Greenblatt

@jdgreenblatt45

Myth: @GlobesEnglish “reporting” that @POTUS is offering $5b to PA to return to the negotiating table.

Jason D. Greenblatt

@jdgreenblatt45

Fact: False. When the peace plan is released, if the PA is serious about peace & wants to improve Palestinian lives, the PA should want to review the plan & engage. It is an absurd idea to pay $5b for a party to “return to the negotiating table.” How would that accomplish peace??

The US has taken steps in recent months to cut funding and resources to Palestinian interests, including cutting aid to Palestine and shutting down the office of the Palestinian mission in Washington.

The steps have been seen as the US’s approach to its plan for Middle East peace.

(Source / 14.09.2018)

WHO replenishes trauma meds in blockaded Gaza

A Palestinian patient undergoes kidney dialysis at al-Shifa hospital during the continuing crisis of power outages, in Gaza city on 28 August, 2018

The World Health Organisation (WHO), with support from the European Union, “is replenishing stocks of urgently-needed trauma medicines in Gaza, and providing hands-on training for health staff working in frontline trauma stabilisation points (TSPs)”, according to a WHO press release yesterday.

“Life-saving medicines and medical supplies to treat more than 100 000 people have been delivered to hospitals and TSPs,” stated the WHO, “filling critical gaps as supplies rapidly deplete as a result of increasing numbers of casualties injured in ongoing [Great March of Return] demonstrations.”

“The role of health workers at trauma stabilisation points is crucial,” said Dr Gerald Rockenschaub, WHO’s Head of Office for Gaza and the West Bank.

“Health staff in TSPs are usually the first to see wounded patients, and their capacity to resuscitate, stabilise, and treat patients with serious injuries can significantly increase patients’ chances of survival before they are referred to hospital for further medical care,” he added.

Read: Gaza hospitals to stop services over fuel crisis

“A chain is only as strong as its weakest link,” says Michelle Čičić, who oversees the EU’s humanitarian operations in Palestine. “It is critical that we are able to provide patients with life-saving care from the point of injury to the moment they are released from hospital. This serves to improve the health system in Gaza as a whole.”

The WHO states that from 30 March to the beginning of September, “more than 18,000 people have been injured during the ongoing demonstrations in Gaza”, of which more than 8,600 were managed and directly discharged at TSPs, and 9,500 referred to hospitals for specialised care.

#GazaCrisis

“When I was shot in the leg, I was taken to the closest trauma stabilisation centre which was less than 5 minutes away. Doctors treated my injury and made sure I was stable enough to be taken to hospital. Without this immediate medical care to save my leg, I would have survived the journey to hospital, but my leg could have been permanently damaged,” said Waleed, “one of the thousands of Palestinians treated at the TSPs”, according to the WHO.

(Source / 14.09.2018)