Study: Polluted water main cause of death in Gaza

Gaza is in urgent need for affordable water supplies to keep up with the needs.

Palestinian woman collecting water

More than a quarter of illnesses in Gaza are caused by water pollution, a new study has said, noting that this is the main cause of mortality in the coastal enclave that has endured an Israeli siege since 2007.

The study, which the Israeli newspaper Haaretz published a copy of, was carried out by RAND Corporation, an American NGO. It said that it reached these findings four years ago and that “since that time these numbers have continued to grow”.

How clean is Gaza's water? [Infographic/Visualizing Palestine]

Based on the report, Haaretz said that the collapse of water infrastructure has led to a sharp rise in germs and viruses such as rotavirus, cholera and salmonella.

The report said the situation is worsening due to repeated Israeli operations in Gaza which started in 2008.

READ: Lifting the siege means bringing Hezbollah to Gaza, says Lieberman

“Today, 97 per cent of drinking water in the Strip is not drinkable by any recognised international standard,” Haaretz reported.

“Some 90 per cent of residents drink water from private purifiers, because the larger installations have been damaged by fighting or have fallen into disuse since they couldn’t be maintained,” the Israeli paper continued.

Not enough water supplies

The study concluded that the current situation is that “Gaza is incapable of supplying enough water for its 2 million inhabitants”.

“Gaza schools have one toilet per 75 pupils and one sink for washing hands per 80. Most of this water is either recycled or from a reservoir. As a result, the very presence of children in these schools puts them at risk of contracting gastrointestinal diseases.”

It also said: “Schools, public buildings and hospitals are only cleaned when necessary in order to conserve water. Hospital staff only wash their hands when it’s essential and not on a regular basis when going from one patient to another, in order to conserve the water for life-saving treatment.”

READ: Palestinian doctor from Gaza kidnapped in West Bank

Haaretz also reported that the “researchers estimate that within two years, even the isolated sources of water used today will cease to operate without proper maintenance”.

The study said that the average cost of water use per capita in the West is 0.7 per cent of monthly wages, but in Gaza a third of monthly wages goes toward the purchase of water, pointing out that the high rate of unemployment makes many people unable to buy clean water.

“The few, wealthier people in Gaza can purchase bottled mineral water but most Gaza residents must suffice with the one day a week that the authorities turn on the taps for a few hours.”

(Source / 17.10.2018)

1 Palestinian killed as Israel shells Gaza

Ashraf Al-Qudra, 25-year-old Naji Jamal Al-Za’anin was killed in the northern Gaza Strip

A Palestinian was killed and three others were injured this morning in a series of raids by Israeli warplanes in various parts of the Gaza Strip.

According to Ministry of Health spokesperson Ashraf Al-Qudra, 25-year-old Naji Jamal Al-Za’anin was killed in the northern Gaza Strip.

READ: Israel policewoman ‘shot Palestinian for fun’, court hears

Security sources said that warplanes targeted a site belonging to resistance factions, and agricultural land west of Rafah, and the location of the National Security Service.

It was also reported that the aircraft bombed the new port west of the governorate and agricultural land in Al-Zana area east of Khan Yunis, and another east of the Al-Fakhari neighbourhood.

The Israeli airstrikes came a few days after the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, along with Israeli Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, warned the Hamas movement that the “Israeli army is edging closer to a large scale military activity in the Gaza Strip and if the ongoing border violence continues, Israel will strike the ‘terror group’ with very powerful blows.”

(Source / 17.10.2018)

Palestinian doctor from Gaza kidnapped in West Bank

Image of Palestinian doctors performing surgery in Gaza [Abed Rahim Khatib/Apaimages]

Palestinian doctors performing surgery in Gaza

The body of missing Palestinian Dr Imad Al-Deen Al-Masri has been found in the occupied West Bank with what his family has said are signs of “torture”, Safa news agency reported.

Al-Masri, who is from the Gaza Strip but works for the Ministry of Health in the West Bank, was said to be in a critical condition and is now receiving treatment in Ramallah. In a Facebook post, his wife wrote that there were signs of the “effects of severe torture found on his body.”

She added that he had been lured by unknown people, who called him from the health minister’s office in Ramallah and led him to the minister’s office.

OPINION: Who killed Razan Al-Najjar?

Al-Masri had been known for his opposition to the Palestinian Authority’s punitive measures on the Gaza Strip. Leading protests which called for bringing them to an end.

In March 2017, the PA launched a number of punitive measures against the besieged Gaza Strip including forcing civil servant into early retirement, slashed workers’ salaries by up to 50 per cent and refusing to pay for Gaza’s electricity bill.

(Source / 17.10.2018)

UN allows Palestinians to act more like full member in 2019

President of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas delivers a speech during the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly in New York, US on 27 September 2018 [Thaer Ghanaim/Palestinian Presidency/Anadolu Agency]

President of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas delivers a speech during the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly in New York, US on 27 September 2018

The 193-member United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday allowed the Palestinians to act more like a full UN member state during meetings in 2019 when they will chair the group of 77 developing nations, Reuters reports.

The United States, Israel, and Australia voted against the move, which won 146 votes in favour. There were 15 abstentions and 29 countries didn’t vote.

“We cannot support efforts by the Palestinians to enhance their status outside of direct negotiations. The United States does not recognize that there is a Palestinian state,” US Deputy UN Ambassador Jonathan Cohen told the General Assembly.

The Palestinians want to establish a state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. Israel captured those territories in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed East Jerusalem in a move not recognized internationally.

“We strongly oppose the Palestinians’ election as chair of the G77 as well as this so-called enabling resolution,” he said. “Only UN member states should be entitled to speak and act on behalf of major groups of states at the United Nations.”

READ: Israel policewoman ‘shot Palestinian for fun’, court hears

In 2012, the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly approved the de facto recognition of the sovereign state of Palestine when it upgraded the Palestinian Authority’s UN observer status to non-member state – like the Vatican – from entity.

The status upgrade has allowed them to participate in some General Assembly votes and join some international bodies. However, as a non-member state the Palestinians cannot speak in meetings until after member states, diplomats said.

The Egyptian-drafted resolution allows them to procedurally operate like a member state when acting on behalf of the G77 and China – making statements, submitting and co-sponsoring proposals and amendments, giving rights of reply and raising points of order.

“Australia’s decision to vote no on this resolution reflects our long-standing position that Palestinian attempts to seek recognition as a state in international fora are deeply unhelpful to efforts towards a two-state solution,” Australian UN Ambassador Gillian Bird told the General Assembly.

(Source / 17.10.2018)

Unknown Group Fires Rocket Into Israel

17 OCT
9:19 AM

For the first time in months, a Grad rocket was fired from Gaza at around 4 am on Wednesday, hitting the yard of a house in the city of Beersheba, causing no injuries or damage.

Various Palestinian armed resistance movements rejected responsibility for the rocket.

They issued a statement stating that, “The representatives of the resistance in Gaza salute and thank the Egyptian effort to achieve our national goals and reject and reject all irresponsible attempts to thwart these efforts – including these rockets fired last night.”

They added, “The resistance does not hide behind any veil – we are always willing to claim responsibility for our actions. But we did not fire these rockets.”

In addition, Abu Mujahed, the spokesperson of the National Resistance Committees in Gaza, said “the [Israeli] occupation is coming up with excuses to attack and bomb Gaza,” and added that “the resistance will always be ready to retaliation to any Israeli offensive.”

It is worth mentioning that both Hamas and the Islamic Jihad issued similar statement denying responsibility for firing the missile, and also said that the “rockets are only meant to sabotage and foil the indirect talks, mediated by Egypt.

The resistance has restrained its fighters from firing rockets toward Israel since the weekly Great March of Return non-violent protests at the border of Gaza began on March 30th, 2018.

The rocket fired Wednesday morning was one of two fired at around the same time, according to the Israeli military. The second rocket ended up falling into the sea.

When the rocket was airborne, the Israeli alarm system sounded and Israeli residents of the city entered shelters set up for that purpose.

The Iron Dome missile defense system, which Israel set up with U.S. funding to fire air-to-air missiles at any rockets fired from Gaza, did not activate.

Israeli Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, decided to close all border terminals in Gaza, and to impose further reductions on the fishing zone.

On Wednesday morning, the Israeli Air Force fired several missiles at many areas in the Gaza Strip, wounding 14 Palestinians, including six schoolchildren in Deir al-Balah, in central Gaza. The wounded were rushed to the Al-Aqsa Hospital.

The Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, said the army targeted three of its centers in several parts of the Gaza Strip.

(Source / 17.10.2018)

Palestinian Killed as Israeli Military drops Multiple Bombs in Gaza

17 OCT
9:47 AM

The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza said one Palestinian, identified as Naji Jamal Mohammad Za’anin, 25, was killed when the Israeli missiles struck a site in Beit Lahia, in northern Gaza. The Palestinian was from Beit Hanoun, also in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli airforce dropped bombs in several parts of Gaza Wednesday morning, wounding 14 Palestinians in addition to killing Za’anin, including six schoolchildren, in Deir al-Balah city, in central Gaza, before they were rushed to the Al-Aqsa Hospital.

The Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, said the army targeted three of its centers in several parts of the Gaza Strip.

The first center, Abu Jarad, south of Gaza city, and the second, al-Waha, west of Beit Lahia, in northern Gaza, and the third in the Zeitoun neighborhood, in the center of Gaza city.

The army later fired more missiles into areas in Rafah, in southern Gaza, and another site of the al-Qassam Brigades in Deir al-Balah, in central Gaza. In addition, the Israeli Air Force fired missiles into agricultural lands in the az-Zanna area, in Bani Suheila town, east of Khan Younis, and a near the seaport, west of Khan Younis, in southern Gaza.

For its part, Egypt started contacting Palestinian officials in Gaza, and Israeli officials, in an attempt to mediate an prevent a further escalation in the area.

The bombs were dropped on Gaza after unknown Palestinians fired a rocket into Israel Wednesday morning, causing no injuries.

Abu Mujahed, the spokesperson of the Popular Resistance Committees in Gaza, said in a statement that no Palestinian resistance groups were involved in the firing of the rocket – and that all the armed Palestinian resistance groups are always willing to claim responsibility if they ever do fire rockets.

The statement was made after discussions with the representatives of all the Palestinian armed resistance groups.

(Source / 17.10.2018)

Israeli Soldiers Abduct Three Palestinians In Bethlehem

17 OCT
8:18 AM

Israeli soldiers abducted, on Wednesday at dawn, three Palestinians, including a teenage boy, from their homes in Bethlehem governorate, south of occupied Jerusalem, in the West Bank.

The soldiers invaded and ransacked many homes in Teqoua’ town, east of Bethlehem, and abducted Mohammad Hasan al-‘Amour, 23, and Mohammad Riyad al-‘Amour, 17.

It is worth mentioning that Mohammad al-‘Amour’s father is a political prisoner, held by Israel after being sentenced to several life-terms.

Furthermore, the soldiers invaded the Deheishe refugee camp, south of Bethlehem, and abducted Ashraf Mohammad as-Sajdi, 21, after breaking into his home and searching it.

(Source / 17.10.2018)

Palestinian Dies From Serious Wounds Suffered Monday

17 OCT
12:46 AM

The Palestinian Health Ministry in the Gaza Strip has reported that a young man died, on Tuesday at night, from serious wounds he suffered a day earlier after Israeli soldiers shot him with live fire in northern Gaza.

It identified the slain Palestinian as Saddam Abu Shallash, 27, from Jabalia refugee camp, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.

He was shot with live Israeli army fire, near Beit Lahia, in northern Gaza, and was rushed to surgery, and then to intensive care, but succumbed to his wounds.

It is worth mentioning that Saddam is the brother of Sharif Abu Shallash, 28, who was killed by Israeli soldiers on December 23rd 2017.

On Tuesday evening, Palestinian medical sources said the army shot two young men, east of Deir al-Balah city, in central Gaza.

On Monday, Israeli navy and soldiers shot 32 Palestinians with live fire, in addition to causing dozens to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation, during protest against the ongoing siege on Gaza.

(Source / 17.10.2018)

Israeli airstrikes kill Palestinian, wound 20 others in Gaza

A number of the wounded were children, including one suffered serious wounds

Israeli occupation forces launched on Wednesday at dawn a series of airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, killing one Palestinian youth and wounding 20 others, including children.

The Palestinian ministry of health identified the Palestinian youth as Naji Jamal al-Zaanin, 22, from the northern Gaza city of Jabalia.

According to them ministry, nine children were among the wounded, the ministry of health said, adding that one of the children suffered serious injuries.

Following the Israeli airstrikes, the Israeli media claimed that they were carried out in retaliation to launching a homemade Palestinian rocket from Gaza.

Israeli Defence Minsiter Avigdor Lieberman ordered the closure of the only two open crossings with Gaza and the reduction of the fishing zone to only three nautical miles.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian factions denied launching the rocket, and said if the Israeli reports were true, “we disown the launch which comes amidst extensive Egyptian efforts to end the Israeli violations in Gaza.”

(Source / 17.10.2018)

Israel punishes Palestinian prisoner for publishing a novel

Walid abu-Dagga is the author of The Tale of the Secret of Oil

The Israeli Prison Service has imposed a punishment package on a Palestinian prisoner for publishing a novel, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club revealed on Tuesday.

Lawyer Ahmad Siyam has visited Abu-Dagga in prison in Megiddo. He said that the newly-imposed punitive measures include the deprivation of family visits for two months and the confiscation of all of his writings and books.

Abu-Dagga, who has been behind bars for 33 years, was also fined around $140 and moved from Jalbou Prison to Megiddo. He told his lawyer that the prison officials have warned him that he faces solitary confinement if he publishes a second book.

Israeli officials said that it was not aware of the publication of the book, nor of how the manuscript was smuggled out of prison.

In commenting on the issue, the Head of the PPC, Qaddoura Fares, said that the Israeli occupation authorities had fought against attempts by Palestinian prisoners to educate themselves. “The prisoners only got books, pens, and paper after several hunger strikes,” he explained.

Fares also pointed out that the Israeli Prison Service prevents hundreds of Palestinian prisoners from exercising their right to learn. Many had been re-arrested by Israel as a result of their writing and publications.

Dagga, from Baqa Al-Gharbiyeh in occupied Palestine, holds a Master of Arts degree in political science. He was arrested on 25 March, 1986 on charges of being affiliated to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and the kidnapping and killing of an Israeli soldier.

Tamer Association for Community Education published his 96 page novel. The storyline revolves around a child who is prevented from visiting his father in prison, so he hides inside an olive tree which is planned to be moved into the prison.

(Source / 17.10.2018)