Soldiers and tanks belonging to the Israeli Army [File photo]
The Israeli military concluded a “large-scale”, surprise drill yesterday, that simulated various scenarios including an invasion of the occupied Gaza Strip, reported the Jerusalem Post.
The drill saw “the participation of all forces throughout the military including ground troops, artillery, aircraft, the armoured corps and intelligence corps.”
According to the report, “the drill was designed to examine the operational readiness of troops for various combat scenarios” inside the Gaza Strip, including “moving large numbers of troops to different regions, amassing forces in designated locations, live-fire exercises and aerial manoeuvres”.
The Israeli military chief of staff, Aviv Kochavi, “joined troops taking part in the drill on Tuesday, speaking with soldiers and commanders”.
The Jerusalem Post noted that the drill came “amid heightened tensions along the Gaza border fence”, and following a warning by the military’s “Intelligence Directorate” of “a high probability of a military escalation this year in both Gaza and the West Bank”.
People gather at Dam Square holding flags and banners during a demonstration organised by ‘Palestinian House in Netherlands’ Foundation, in support of Palestine on 30 December 2018 in Amsterdam, Netherlands
The Dutch Green Left Party has become the first mainstream political movement in the Netherlands to endorse a boycott of Israel.
The party backed the Palestinian-led, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement during its General Congress meeting on 16 February.
“BDS is a legitimate means to help Palestinians in their fight for justice,” the motion in question states. The motion also states that the Green Left “will be alert and resist forcefully attempts in any country to criminalise BDS”.
The Green Left has 14 out of 150 seats in the House of Representatives, the lower house of the Dutch parliament.
In response to the news, the Dutch Centre for Information and Documentation on Israel, a pro-Israel advocacy group, condemned the Green Left, and claimed that BDS “is linked to terrorist groups”.
Israeli District Court in Haifa yesterday ruled that Sheikh Raed Salah’s cannot stay with him while he is held under house arrest, one of his defence team told Arab48.
Lawyer Khalid Zabarqeh said: “The court reject a petition filed by the defence team, claiming that Sheikh Raed Salah poses a danger to society. This is an oppressive ruling and has no legal grounds.”
“We, the defence team, stressed that Sheikh Raed had never violated the conditions of his house arrest as he believes his case represents a victory for the principles which the Israeli authorities want to be crimes,” noting that the main principle is defending Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The lawyer concluded: “Throughout the court hearings held for Sheikh Raed Salah, it has become clear for us that the Israeli authorities are planning to impose their agenda on our Arab community. It might be there is a connection between this case and the deal of the century.”
Zabarqeh stressed that Sheikh Salah does not believe in the justice of the Israeli judiciary, which is a tool for the Israeli security and political authorities.
Israeli police arrested Sheikh Raed Salah from his home in the northern city of Umm Al-Fahm in mid-August 2017.
He was charged with 12 counts of incitement to violence and terrorism as well as supporting a banned organisation in reference to the Islamic Movement.
A disappointed Palestinian youth losing hope of life in Gaza
Ali Ahmad had a big dream. But waking up to the harsh reality has made him seek refuge in sleep.
After five and a half years of studying computer engineering, Ahmed graduated full of hope. But the happiness was soon erased as he was shocked by a painful reality. The well-qualified man applied for many jobs, but the result was always negative. He suffers the pain of disappointment. Ali reacted to this anticlimax by disappearing. The young man just gave up and escaped from the dreadful reality to sleep.
Since Ali finished his high school with high grades, his father had worked relentlessly and more to provide him with the necessary needs and university fees.
Ali’s poor family has a limited income. His father receives his salary from the Gaza government— the besieged government by the Israeli occupation for more than 12 years. for the past four years, he’s been receiving only less than half of his salary because of the difficult economic conditions experienced by Gaza and its government in the past 12 years till this day as a result of the Israeli suffocating siege.
Ali’s father favored his son study over providing for his family. He often deprived his family of a lot of things to pay his son’s university fees and other requirements of studying, as he dreamed of seeing his son a great engineer in the future.
Ali challenged many obstacles which stood in his way to completing his university studies. His family’s destitute life put him in a very hard position where he was unable to buy some of his most basic needs for university or provide transportation money. The electricity shortages and the way they affected his study schedule and the overall environment shadowed by the siege all stood like pillars in Ali’s way. Despite all that, Ali persevered and continued in the hope of saving his family from the grinding poverty and achieving his father’s dream
“I haven’t seen Ali for two months, he suddenly disappeared.” A friend of Ali said to his father, “What’s wrong with him? Is he alright?!”, Ali’s father didn’t answer and remained silent unwilling to tell anyone about his son’s pain.
Ali’s New Life
“After I graduated, I used to develop myself by taking additional courses in Computer Engineering in order to enhance my skills for the labor market”, Ali said.
Lately, the circumstances in Gaza have become worse than ever. A lot of companies were liquidated and many people lost their jobs due to the accumulation of debt.
Ali realized that he will not work in his major, so he decided to work in another field. He got a driving license and started working as a taxi driver for two months, but he couldn’t continue for long. majority of young people work as taxi drivers and all of them facing the shortage of work.
He kept searching and laboring to find any other job, k until he realized that he would not able to work in a field other than the field he loves and which he had been studying for more than five years.
Ali became frustrated and desperate!
“I was dreaming to be, but I realized that I was born in a country where I can’t survive. I have no choices, but to seek refuge in sleeping,. I will run away to my bed and try to sleep my worries away. .”
“My dream now is to be dead”, Ali said tearfully.
Ali is now 35-year-old, he couldn’t achieve his dreams, has no basic requirements of living, unmarried, disappointed, and carries one wish in his heart to die.
According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of statistics for 2018, the unemployment rate in Gaza Strip is 49,1% Making it the highest in the world. Among young people alone, unemployment exceeds 55%. With no prospects in the horizon, the youth of Gaza are left to suffer psychologically and have lost the sense of direction. Any way they turn, they find the doors of the blockade slammed shut in the faces. Like Ali, thousands have suffered when the dreams they had envisaged were killed.
Israel continues to hold a tight grip on the Gaza Strip to suffocate its people and destroy their hopes of a better future. The young people are the most traumatized by this ongoing deprivation and suffering. Many have sought ways out of the enclave to search for a better future, while others wait for a political breakthrough that will save them from a slow death.
Despite the circumstances, Palestinians have endured over 70 years of Israeli occupation war crimes and have stood high. They’ve fought with tooth and nail to hold on to their land, to regain their basic human rights in the hope that coming generations would reap the fruit of their long and unwavering struggle.
GAZA, PALESTINOW.COM — At least two Palestinian youths were shot and injured on Tuesday evening as Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) opened their machine-gun fire at dozens of protesters along Gaza eastern borders.
Locals told PIC reporter that Israeli forces fired live ammunition and teargas bombs at Palestinians demonstrating peacefully to the east of the Gaza Strip, injuring two of them.
Dozens of young men torched tires, used loudspeakers to play national songs and sirens, and flashed laser beams at soldiers behind the border fences.
The Israeli Minister of Agriculture, Uri Ariel, stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem, under protection of armed Israeli forces, on Tuesday.
Head of the public relations office at the Islamic Endowment Department, Firas al-Dibs, said that Ariel was heading a group of Israeli settlers into the Al-Aqsa compound via the Moroccan Gate, which has been under Israeli control since the occupation of Jerusalem City.
Al-Dibs pointed out that Ariel took footage of the al-Rahma Gate (Gate of Mercy) prayer area that was opened recently.
The prayer area of the al-Rahma Gate was closed on Monday evening, upon order by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and reopened on Tuesday Morning.
Israeli police forces, who were deployed around al-Rahma prayer area since the early morning hours, took footage of Palestinian guards who opened the area.
The number of Israeli MK’s who storm the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound has increased, over the past few months, after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to lift a ban that would previously not allow Israeli Knesset members to visit the compound every three months, after incursions were banned in October of 2015.
Netanyahu allowed members of the Knesset, mostly right-wing extremists, who support the demolition of the Islamic holy site in order to build a Jewish temple, instead, to visit the Al-Aqsa compound once every three months.
After Netanyahu lifted the ban, Palestinian Authority (PA) spokesman Youssef al-Mahmoud spoke out about the decision to lift the ban, calling it a “serious provocation” and “encouraging harm to one of Islam’s holiest sites.”
However, in the past two months, MKs such as Shuli Mualem, Yehuda Glick, and Uri Ariel have repeatedly entered the compound, violating the “every three months entry”, according to Ma’an.
The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which sits just above the Western Wall plaza, houses both the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque. The third holiest site in Islam, it is also venerated as Judaism’s most holy place, as it sits where Jews believe the First and Second Temples once stood.
While Jewish visitation is permitted to the compound, non-Muslim worship at Al-Aqsa is prohibited according to an agreement signed between Israel and the Jordanian government, after Israel’s illegal occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967.
Israeli soldiers injured, on Tuesday evening, four Palestinians and caused many others to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation, east of Gaza city.
Dr. Ashraf al-Qedra, the spokesperson of the Health Ministry of Gaza, said the soldiers shot four Palestinians in Malaka area, east of Gaza city, causing moderate wounds, before the medics rushed them to a local hospital.
He added that several Palestinians suffered the effects of teargas inhalation and received the needed treatment by field medics.
On Friday, February 22, the soldiers killed a child, identified as Yousef Sa’id ad-Daya, 14, and injured 41 other Palestinians, including a medic, after resorting to the excessive use of force against the Great Return March processions.
Israeli forces, this morning, attacked hundreds of Palestinian workers who gathered at the narrow corridor of Checkpoint 300, north of the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem, that leads to Jerusalem, causing suffocation, said Palestinian security sources.
Soldiers manning the checkpoint fired tear gas canisters towards the workers after they protested their ill-treatment as they try to pass through the checkpoint, on their way to work in Israel, causing dozens to suffocate from excessive tear gas inhalation.
Soldiers closed the checkpoint following the protest, denying workers access to their workplaces.
According to WAFA, thousands of Palestinian workers who queue before dawn every day to pass through Checkpoint 300 face extreme overcrowding and often wait for hours, in line, due to severe inspection procedures as every person must pass through metal turnstiles one-at-a-time.
Workers crowd into the cement and metal-barred walkway, push through turnstiles, pass a metal detector and show their IDs and permits to Israeli soldiers in order to travel to Israel for work.
Israeli severely restricts Palestinians’ freedom of movement through a complex combination of approximately 100 fixed checkpoints, flying checkpoints, settler-only roads and various other physical obstructions.