“Mom, do they bomb residential buildings?, asked one of my daughters in fear. And my response again came in the form of a lie: “No, habibti. They don’t. Don’t be scared.” I stroked her cheek to reassure her. 

As a parent, what can I do? I wasn’t sure if there would be other buildings whose residents would receive horrifying calls in the middle of the night to evacuate and run for their lives. It happened before in the bloody 2014 aggression when a thirteen story building was evacuated and leveled to the ground by F-16 missiles. In a matter of seconds, over 50 families lost their homes and all their possessions. 

The narrow streets of Gaza are packed with apartment buildings with no space dividing them in many places. This was the case with Al-Yazji building which was targeted by an F-16 with at least two rockets on November 14, 2018. 

As I walked down that street every day, I was unaware that this building would soon day be a target of Israeli F-16s. It was four in the morning and the escalation was in full swing. 

November 14, 2018, I was in bed in a useless attempt to sleep. Two hours passed without any aerial shelling giving me a sense of temporary yet cautionary calm. My kids managed to sleep until they all suddenly flung out of their beds when they heard the huge explosions.  The target was Al-Yazgi building. I remember that it had a kindergarten and used to see kids being led by their teachers off and on the bus and parents coming to pick their kids up. I also remember a store that sold fancy decorative ornaments and a women’s clothes shop beside it.

Now as I go down that same street, the area is cordoned off for debris removal works. It’s not easy to clear off a six-story building that housed at least six families and other institutions with all the furniture, appliances, equipment, etc… 

I’ve learned that is life precarious, but to just have  your whole life turned upside down because another human being decided to bomb your home suddenly is too extreme to fathom. 

After losing so many loved ones, over and over in a repeated vicious cycle of Israeli occupation tyranny and aggression, what is the choice for the Palestinian people? Just as the sun keeps shining every morning, we will go on living. We will continue to call for a life of freedom and dignity. We will continue to call for our legitimate rights to live as other humans around the globe do. We may not live to see the change, but at least when our children look back, they will know that all our efforts paid off in the end.

(Source / 02.02.2019) 

Israeli forces detain secretary of Fatah in Jerusalem

Israeli security forces in Hebron [Wisam Hashlamoun/Apaimaeges]

Israeli security forces in Hebron

Israeli forces detained the Fatah movement’s secretary, Shadi Mutwar, late Thursday evening, Ma’an News has reported.

Locals reported that Israeli forces detained Mutwar while at the Israeli-controlled Allenby Bridge crossing between the occupied West Bank and Jordan, on his way back from a visit to refugee camps in Syria, along with secretaries of the Fatah movement in districts of the West Bank.

Israel had temporarily banned Mutwar from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem, last October.

READ: ‘Detention is an instrument of Israel’s oppression’

(Source / 02.02.2019) 

Medical crisis in Gaza is ‘grotesque’ warn European health professionals

Palestinian paramedics carry an injured man after Israeli security forces clashed with Palestinians protesting in a "Great March of Return" demonstration in Shuja'iyya neighborhood of Gaza City, Gaza on February 01, 2019 [Ali Jadallah / Anadolu Agency]

Palestinian paramedics carry an injured man after Israeli security forces clashed with Palestinians protesting in a “Great March of Return” demonstration in Shuja’iyya neighborhood of Gaza City, Gaza on February 01, 2019

A group of eminent medical and health professionals has drawn attention to the devastating situation in the hospitals across the Gaza Strip. In a letter to the British Medical Journal, Derek A Summerfield et al referred to the fact that last August they published a rapid response at bmj.com to publicise “the cumulatively devastating effects upon Gaza’s health system of 12 years of Israeli blockade and the strategy of de-development and impoverishment of Gazan society.” Israeli restrictions, they pointed out at the time, have produced chronic shortages of almost all essential medicines and hospital equipment, of fuel to run hospital generators, the cancellation of all elective surgery (affecting more than 6000 people), hospital closures, and many doctors and staff on reduced or no pay.

“Since last March,” they have now pointed out, “Israeli snipers have been firing military grade ammunition and maiming bullets at the border at unarmed demonstrators, killing 257 to date.” Indeed, this week BBC Radio 4 quoted the UN confirming that more than 23,000 Palestinians have been wounded.

Médecins Sans Frontières, the group explained, estimates that “…a massive 3,520 people will need further surgery…” far beyond the grossly depleted resources available. As the shooting on the nominal border continues, one person was killed on Friday 25 January, and 153 were injured, including 34 children, 5 women, 1 journalist, and 5 paramedics on duty. “Since March 2018, three clearly marked medics have been shot dead on duty, 580 have been wounded and 94 ambulances have been damaged.” (as reported by The New York TimesB’Tselem, and Mezan) The targeting of health workers, they stressed to the BMJ, is itself a war crime.

“We write again now at a point when Gaza’s hospitals are in particular peril of total shutdown because of lack of electricity or fuel to run generators.” To keep up the pressure of the siege, they noted, Israel rations the entry of fuel into Gaza, including imposing conditions on donors like Qatar. “One of the hospitals that nearly shut last week was Al-Nasr Children’s Hospital, which currently has 8 children in intensive care, 30 premature babies in the nursery, 100 other child in-patients, and 250 children attending the emergency department.”

They gave details of other hospitals suffering from the chronic shortages of medicines, medical disposables and fuel in the Gaza Strip: “Al-Rantisi Children’s Hospital has 45 children with renal failure, 4 children in intensive care, 10 child in-patients with cancer, 70 others needing chemotherapy, 10 children with chronic lung disease, 5 with heart disease, and 10 with other diseases.” In a third hospital, Al-Najjar, which serves 263,000 people, there are 65 beds, including 23 for children. “It has 93 patients in renal failure, should provide key laboratory services, and sees hundreds of cases in its emergency department every day.” A fourth, the Eye Hospital, sees 2,500 cases and performs 250 surgical procedures monthly, including glaucoma, cataract and retinal surgery. “Around 1,250 patients with diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and chronic corneal conditions are threatened by loss of sight if services stop. Also living hand to mouth is the psychiatric hospital, which currently has 29 in-patients.”

The group of medical and health professionals described this as a “grotesque situation” and “a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention” that guarantees unfettered access to medical facilities for conflict-affected populations. “This is an intended element of the siege, and persists because no one with political clout challenges Israeli impunity. A UN General Assembly resolution last year has been simply ignored. And no sanctions have been requested yet.”

In closing, Mr Summerfield and the other signatories said that the Palestinians in Gaza are turning to the solidarity of the international community and to the UN for the lifting of the siege and for justice. “How much longer should they have to wait?” they asked.

The signatories of the letter to the British Medical Journal were: Derek A Summerfield, Hon Senior Clinical Lecturer, London Institute of Psychiatry; Vittorio Agnoletto, Professor in Globalisation and Public Health, University of Studies, Milan; Swee Ang, Consultant Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgeon, Barts Health, London; Andrea Balduzzi, researcher in Zoology, University of Genoa; Franco Camandona, Surgeon in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, E.O. Galliera Hospitals, Genoa; David Halpin, retired Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgeon, Exeter; Ghada Karmi, University of Exeter; Paola Manduca, retired Professor of Genetics and President, New Weapons Research Group-Onlus; Marina Rui, Professor of Physical Chemistry, University of Genoa; Gianni Tognoni, Mario Negri Institute, Milan; Guido Veronese, Associate Professor, Clinical and Community Psychology, University of Milano-Bicocca.

(Source / 02.02.2019) 

Jerusalem Archbishop: ‘Everything Palestinian is targeted by Israel’s occupation’

Archbishop of Jerusalem’s Greek Orthodox Church, Atallah Hanna [centre], seen during a protest in the West bank city of Hebron January 22, 2015 [Muhesen Amren / ApaImages]

Archbishop of Jerusalem’s Greek Orthodox Church, Atallah Hanna [centre], seen during a protest in the West bank city of Hebron January 22, 2015 

The Palestinian Archbishop of Jerusalem’s Greek Orthodox Church, Atallah Hanna, said yesterday that “everything Palestinian in Jerusalem is targeted by the Israeli occupation”.

During a meeting with a delegation from Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders, MSF), Hanna explained the dangers threatening Palestinians’ existence and identity in the Holy City, Al-Wattan Voice reported.

“Everything is in danger in Jerusalem,” Hanna said, adding: “The Islamic and Christian holy sites and endowments are targeted in order to change our city, hide its identity and marginalize our Arabic and Palestinian existence.”

Hanna added that “recently, the Israeli occupation cancelled a planned celebration on the 50th anniversary of establishing Al-Maqased Hospital,” noting that the Israeli occupation had cancelled many other Palestinian events planned to take place in Jerusalem.

Read: 14 Palestinians homeless as Israel forces 2 Jerusalem homes to be torn down

The Archbishop said that Palestinians “are living under severe torture and harsh persecution,” pointing to Israel’s closure of Palestinian institutions in the city. “It seems that they wanted us to give up Jerusalem and submit to their polices, measures and practices,” he added.

Hanna continued: “Jerusalem is for us and will remain for us. We will never give up our rights in Jerusalem and we will defend it against Israeli oppression.”

Addressing the MSF staff, he said: “We want you to know closely the suffering of the Palestinians and the oppression inflicted by the Israeli occupation on them in Jerusalem. We want our message to reach all the people around the world as we want more friends for the Palestinians.”

Read: Israeli forces detain secretary of Fatah in Jerusalem

(Source / 02.02.2019) 

Israeli Soldiers Injure 32 Palestinians In Gaza

02 FEB1:00 AM

Israeli soldiers injured, Friday 32 Palestinians during the Great Return March processions, ongoing for the 45thconsecutive week, near the perimeter fence in the eastern parts of the besieged and impoverished Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said the soldiers injured 32 Palestinians, including a medic, who was shot with a gas bomb in her face, east of Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

The soldiers also shot and seriously injured a child and a young woman, after shooting them with live rounds in the chest.

(Source / 02.02.2019) 


On the evening of Tuesday January 30th Israeli occupation released the body of 37-year-old Riyad Shamasneh, who had been killed in occupied East Jerusalem on Saturday January 27th. Shamashneh was in a group of workers who were in occuoied East Jerusalem without a permit from the Israeli occupation and were shot at by Israeli occupation police officers near the Damascus Gate on the morning when they on the way to work in a car with Israeli plates. Shamashneh has been claimed to have been driving the car, which was possibly stolen, ‘suspiciously’ which would have led to the occupation troops opening fire. He had no driving license. Riyad Shamashned will be buried in his home town of Qatanna on the occupied West Bank on Wednesday. (Source / 02.02.2019) 

UPDATE: On 45th Friday of Great March of Return and Breaking Siege, Israeli Forces Wound 98 Civilians, including 15 Children, 4 Women; 2 of them Paramedics, and 1 Journalist

02 FEB5:18 AM

02/01/19 Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR)

On Friday afternoon, 01 February, 2019, in use of excessive force against peaceful protesters on the 45th Friday of the Great March of Return in the eastern Gaza Strip, Israeli forces wounded 98 civilians, including 15 children, 4 women; 2 of them are paramedics, and a journalist.  The injury of 7 of those wounded were reported serious, including a 17-year-old girl who was shot with a bullet to the chest in eastern Khan Younis.

According to observations by PCHR’s fieldworkers, though the demonstrators were around tens of meters away from the border fence, the Israeli forces who stationed in prone positions and in military jeeps along the fence continued to use excessive force against the demonstrators by opening fire and firing teargas canisters at them.  As a result, dozens of them were hit with bullets and teargas canisters without posing any imminent threat or danger to the life of soldiers.

On this Friday,  the Israeli forces continued to target the medical personnel in field and wounded 2 of female paramedics in eastern Gaza City and Rafah when a PRCS ambulance was targeted with a bullet.  This indicates an Israeli systematic policy to target the medical personnel and obstruct their humanitarian work that is guaranteed with protection under the international humanitarian law.

On 01 February 2019, the incidents were as follows:

At approximately 15:00, thousands of civilians, including women, children and entire families, started swarming to the five encampments established by the Supreme National Authority of Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege adjacent to the border fence with Israel in eastern Gaza Strip cities. Hundreds, including children and women, gathered along the border fence with Israel in front of each encampment and protested between tens and hundreds of meters away from the border fence.  In seevreal area, the demonstratorsmoved hundreds of meters away from the encampment to protest in front of the border fence with Israel, and some of them attempted to throw stones at the Israeli forces in addition to chanting slogans.  In very limited incidents in Rafah, a group of demonstrators approached the border fence and set fire to tires.  Although the demonstrators gathered in areas open to the Israeli snipers who were stationed on top of the sand berms and military watchtowers and inside and behind the military jeeps, the Israeli forces fired live and rubber bullets in addition to a barrage of teargas canisters at them. The Israeli shooting, which continued until around 17:30, resulted in the injury of 98 Palestinian civilians, including 15 children, 4 women; 2 of them were paramedics, and a journalist.  The injury of 7 of those wounded was reported serious, including a 17-year-old girl who was shot with a bullet to the chest in eastern Khan Younis.  Moreover, dozens of demonstrators, paramedics and journalists suffered tear gas inhalation and seizures due to the tear gas canisters that were fired by the Israeli forces from the military jeeps and riffles in the eastern Gaza Strip.

The following table shows the number of civilian victims due to the Israeli forces’ suppression of the Great March of Return since its beginning on 30 March:

NotesMedical CrewsJournalistsWomenChildrenTotalCasualties
Among those Killed, there were 8 Persons with Disabilities and a girl.32235181Killed
Among those wounded, 523 are in serious condition and 101 had their lower or upper limbs amputated; 89 lower-limb amputations, 2 upper-limb amputations, 10 finger amputations and 17 children had their limbs amputated according to the Ministry of Health.   The number of those wounded only include those wounded with live bullets and directly hit with tear gas canisters as there have been thousand others who suffered tear gas inhalation and sustained bruises.170174312195610,641Wounded

PCHR emphasizes Palestinians’ right to peaceful assembly that is guaranteed by all International human rights instruments, stressing that the Israeli forces should stop using excessive force and respond to the legitimate demands of the demonstrators, particularly lifting the closure which is the real solution to end the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.

PCHR emphasizes that targeting the medical personnel and ambulances is a serious violation of the rules of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, whose International standards regulate the protection of medical personnel, including ambulance crews, vehicles and medical facilities.  These serious violations practiced and deliberate attacks against the medical personnel amount to war crimes according to the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, particularly the protection provided for by the Convention.

PCHR emphasizes that continuously targeting civilians, who exercise their right to peaceful assembly or while carrying out their humanitarian duty, is a serious violation of the rules of international law, international humanitarian law, the ICC Rome Statute and Fourth Geneva Convention. Thus, PCHR calls upon the ICC Prosecutor to open an official investigation in these crimes and to prosecute and hold accountable all those applying or involved in issuing orders within the Israeli Forces at the security and political echelons.

PCHR hereby condemns the excessive use of force and commission of crimes by the Israeli forces despite the prevailed calmness, believing it is as a result of Israel’s enjoying impunity thanks to the U.S. and so encouraging the Israeli forces to commit further crimes upon an official decision by the highest military and political echelons.

PCHR also reiterates its call upon the High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations under Article 1; i.e., to respect and ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances and their obligations under Article 146 to prosecute persons alleged to commit grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

PCHR calls upon Switzerland, in its capacity as the Depository State for the Convention, to demand the High Contracting Parties to convene a meeting and ensure Israel’s respect for this Convention, noting that these grave breaches constitute war crimes under Article 147 of the same Convention and Protocol (I) Additional to the Geneva Conventions regarding the guarantee of Palestinian civilians’ right to protection in the occupied territories.

(Source / 02.02.2019) 

“Miles Of Smiles 35” Scheduled To Arrive In Gaza Sunday

02 FEB3:04 PM

“Miles Of Smiles 35” humanitarian solidarity convoy is scheduled to arrive in the besieged and improvised Gaza Strip this Sunday through Egypt to provide some of the urgently aid, especially medicine and fuel.

Dr. Issam Yousef, the coordinator of Miles of Smiles and the head of the Popular International Committee to Support Gaza, in addition to Khaled al-Yousef, the coordinator of aid convoys and the head of the Swedish humanitarian convoy are among the participants.

Yousef said convoy members also intend to observe and examine the dire needs of the health sector in the Gaza Strip, and the required means to provide the hospitals with the needed fuel for their power generators.

He added that the convoy intends to examine new methods to support Gaza in coordination with Egypt, and will also inform all partners and supporters of Miles of Smiles about the needs and the humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip.

“It is very important to provide this urgently needed support to the hospitals and medical centers in the Gaza Strip,” Yousef stated, “We are talking about the lives of thousands of patients who need this aid, and the least anyone can do is to provide the essential fuel and medicine.”

(Source / 02.02.2019) 

IOF shot three Palestinian schoolchildren in Bethlehem

BETHLEHEM, PALESTINOW.COM — Israeli soldiers invaded, Thursday, Teqoua’ town, southeast of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, and fired live rounds at schoolchildren protesting the invasion, wounding three of them, including two who suffered serious injuries.

The soldiers invaded the schools’ area in the town, and attack dozens of students, who protested the invasion, and hurled stones at the armored jeeps, while the army fired many live rounds, in addition to rubber-coated steel bullets and gas bombs.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said its medics moved three students to hospitals, after the soldiers shot them with live fire, and added that two of the wounded suffered life-threatening injuries.

One of the schoolchildren was shot with a live round in his loin, and the second student was shot in his abdomen, suffering serious wounds, while the third was shot in his leg.

(Source / 02.02.2019) 

Dozens of Palestinians wounded by Israeli gunfire in Gaza border

GAZA, PALESTINOW.COM — At least thirty-two Palestinians were shot and wounded by Israeli occupation troops in renewed protests along the Gaza border Friday, the enclave’s Health Ministry said.

Ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qudra said in a statement they were shot during demonstrations along the border, but none were reported to be in a life threatening condition.

The Israeli army said approximately “10,000 rioters and demonstrators” gathered in different locations along the fence separating the Gaza Strip from occupied Palestinian territories.

“The rioters are rolling tires and hurling rocks at [Israeli] troops,” a spokesperson said, adding a number of explosive devices were thrown towards the state’s forces.

Meanwhile, clashes erupted between Palestinian protesters and Israeli occupation soldiers in a northern West Bank village.

(Source / 02.02.2019)