4.5 years on from Israel assault, 13,000 Palestinians in Gaza still homeless

Semahir, member of the Palestinian Sahin family feeds her 8 months baby Selma as they break their fast, during the Muslim Holy month of Ramadan in eastern part of wrecked Abasan Al-Kabira town of Khan Younis, in Gaza City, Gaza on May 28, 2017. Ali [Jadallah - Anadolu Agency ]

Semahir, member of the Palestinian Sahin family feeds her 8 months baby Selma as they break their fast, during the Muslim Holy month of Ramadan in eastern part of wrecked Abasan Al-Kabira town of Khan Younis, in Gaza City, Gaza on May 28, 2017.

Some 13,000 Palestinians in the occupied Gaza Strip remain homeless, four-and-a-half years on from Israel’s destructive assault on the blockaded enclave.

During the 50 days of “Operation Protective Edge” in 2014, Israeli attacks caused significant damage to civilian infrastructure, with around 18,000 residential units either completely destroyed or heavily damaged. More than 100,000 Palestinians were left homeless – or 17,000 families.

According to an update from human rights NGO B’Tselem, about 20 per cent of the homes are still unusable today, and some 2,300 families – about 13,000 people – remain homeless.

READ: Palestinians have won a moral victory, but what will happen next? 

Around 1,600 of these families had been receiving rent subsidies from UNRWA, but following US funding cuts last year, UNRWA was forced to halt financial assistance.

“The destruction was caused by Israel’s unlawful open-fire policy, which included bombardment of civilians and civilian structures from the air, land and sea,” stated B’Tselem. According to the military’s own figures, “the scale of shelling during the operation was unprecedented: 35,000 artillery shells of different types and 14,500 tank shells, not including air raids.”

B’Tselem added that “Israel has abdicated any responsibility for the outcomes of its military actions during ‘Operation Protective Edge’ and has avoided paying any sort of price for them.”

Palestine scholars: Normalising ties with Israel a ‘threat’ to Islamic beliefs

Omani Foreign Minister Yousef Bin Alawi Bin Abdullah (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Warsaw, Poland on 13 February 2019 [YouTube]

Omani Foreign Minister Yousef Bin Alawi Bin Abdullah (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Warsaw, Poland on 13 February 2019

Normalising relations with Israel is a threat to the beliefs of all Muslims, the International Association of Muslim Scholars said yesterday.

In a statement, a copy of which was sent to MEMO, the body said: “The ongoing acceptance of normalising with the Zionist enemy is aimed at sabotaging the beliefs of the Muslim Ummah.”

It means enabling Palestine to be occupied and this “comes at the expense of the life of the Palestinian people”, the statement continued.

READ: Warsaw Summit normalisers besiege Al-Aqsa 

Normalising ties could be possible after a “definite or indefinite reconciliation agreement” and this “must be” based on the interests of the oppressed, it added.

Any agreement which concedes the rights of the Palestinians or compromises their beliefs is “null”, the group said, citing previous deals signed with the Israeli occupation which “did not generate more than humiliation and shame.”

(Source / 04.03.2019) 

Israeli Soldiers Demolish A Carwash Facility, Two Sheds, Near Salfit

04 MAR10:45 AM

Israeli soldiers invaded, Monday, the western area of Hares village, west of Salfit in central West Bank, before demolishing a carwash facility and two sheds.

The soldiers invaded an area at the western junction of Hares village, before demolishing the structures, owned by Hasan Saleh Suleiman.

Fadi, the son of Hasan Suleiman, said the structures were built on the family’s own land, and occupied nearly 300 square/meters, and added that the army demolished, late last year, other structures owned by the family.

He stated that the army did not provide any justification for demolishing the properties.

On Monday at dawn, the soldiers invaded the al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, searched homes and abducted one Palestinian.

Also at dawn, the soldiers killed two Palestinians and injured one, in Kafr Ni’ma village, west of Ramallah.

In related news, the soldiers invaded and violently searched, on Monday at dawn, dozens of  homes in occupied Jerusalem, and abducted at least ten Palestinians, in addition to summing one for interrogation.

in the Gaza Strip, Israeli navy ships opened fire at several Palestinian fishing boats in Gaza territorial waters, close to the shore in the northern part of the besieged coastal region.

(Source / 04.03.2019) 

Report: Downgrade of Palestinian Mission to ‘Take Effect on Monday’

04 MAR6:11 AM

The United States is scheduled to move ahead with a downgrade of its mission to the Palestinians, on Monday, by merging its Jerusalem consulate with the embassy to Israel, a US official said.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on Saturday, said the announcement to merge the two offices in October was intended to improve “efficiency and effectiveness” and did not constitute a change in policy.

But Palestinian leaders have seen the decision as yet another move against them by US President Donald Trump‘s administration, which they froze contact with after his 2017 decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

A date for the merger of the consulate into the embassy had not been announced, but a State Department official told AFP news agency, on condition of anonymity, that it “is expected to take place on March 4”.

The Jerusalem consulate general, which has acted independently as a de facto embassy to the Palestinians since the Oslo accords of the 1990s, will be replaced by a new Palestinian affairs unit within the embassy.

PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat said, at the time of the announcement, last year: “It [the merger] has nothing to do with efficiency and a lot to do with pleasing an ideological US team that is willing to disband the foundations of the international system.”

Placing the consulate under the authority of the embassy could be seen as an American recognition of Israeli control over the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The controversial US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, has been a supporter of Israeli settlement in the West Bank.

Friedman previously expressed doubt over a potential two-state solution, which has traditionally been the bedrock of US diplomacy, and had long called for moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The State Department official could not confirm reports that the consul general’s residence in Jerusalem would eventually become the home for the US ambassador as part of the embassy’s move to the disputed city, which occurred last May.

Located near occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, it has been the home of the consul general since 1912, while the US permanent diplomatic presence in the city was established in 1857.

Trump, who is expected to release his long-awaited peace plan in the coming months, has also cut more than $500 million in Palestinian aid, in a bid to force its leaders to negotiate.

Palestinian leaders call it an attempt to blackmail them into accepting a plan aimed at wiping out their cause, and have labelled the US as a “dishonest broker”.

The status of Jerusalem – home to sites holy to Muslims, Jews and Christians – is one of the core issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Though Israel claims Jerusalem is the capital of its state, its jurisdiction over the city is not recognized internationally.

After occupying the city’s eastern part in the 1967 war, Israel unilaterally annexed the territory and proclaimed it as its capital. The Palestinians, however, see the city as the capital of their future state.

Trump’s decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem broke with decades of international consensus that the status of the city must first be decided upon through negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

(Source / 04.03.2019) 

Israeli Soldiers Shoot Three Palestinians In Northern Gaza

03 MAR10:46 PM

Israeli soldiers shot, on Sunday evening, three Palestinians east of Jabalia, in the northern part of the besieged and improvised Gaza Strip.

Media sources said the soldiers opened fire at several youngsters, on Palestinian lands close to the perimeter fence.

The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza has reported that the three suffered moderate wounds, and were rushed to the Indonesian Hospital, in Beit Lahia.

In addition, Israeli daily Haaretz quoted the Israeli army claiming that fired a missile at a “Hamas outpost, after an explosive device was thrown over the border fence, in northern Gaza.”

On Saturday evening, Israeli drones fired two missiles into a site near the perimeter fence, in the eastern area of Central Gaza.

On Friday, the 49th week of Great March of Return and Breaking Siege on Gaza, the army injured 83 Palestinian civilians, including 23 children and one woman, in addition to three Paramedics, and one journalist.

(Source / 04.03.2019) 

Israeli Navy Opens Fire At Palestinian Fishing Boats In Northern Gaza

04 MAR9:22 AM

Israeli navy ships opened fire, on Monday morning, at several Palestinian fishing boats in Gaza territorial waters, close to the shore in the northern part of the besieged Gaza Strip.

Eyewitnesses said the fishermen were in the permitted fishing zone, and were just a few miles from the shore.

They added that the attack did not lead to any casualties, but the fishermen had to sail back to the shore to avoid further violations against them.

The Israeli army and the navy frequently attack Palestinian fishermen, farmers and workers in Gaza territorial waters, and in agricultural lands near the perimeter fence.

(Source / 04.03.2019) 

Army Abducts A Palestinian In Al-Jalazoun Refugee Camp

04 MAR10:10 AM

Dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded, on Monday at dawn, the al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, searched homes and abducted one Palestinian.

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported that the soldiers conducted violent searches of homes, and interrogated many Palestinians.

The PPS added that the soldiers abducted a young man, identified as Mojahed ash-Shanni, 20, and took him to an unknown destination.

Many Palestinian youngsters protested the invasion, and hurled stones at the soldiers, while the army fired gas bombs and rubber-coated steel bullets.

Also at dawn, the soldiers killed two Palestinians and injured one, in Kafr Ni’ma village, west of Ramallah.

In related news, the soldiers invaded and violently searched, on Monday at dawn, dozens of  homes in occupied Jerusalem, and abducted at least ten Palestinians, in addition to summing one for interrogation.

(Source / 04.03.2019) 

Israel Razes Palestinian Structures East Of Salfit

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Israeli bulldozers on Monday morning demolished Palestinian structures used for commercial and agricultural purposes near Haris town, east of Salfit city.

According to local sources, Israeli troops provided protection for the bulldozers as they were knocking down a car wash and two agricultural stores at the western junction of Haris.

The demolished structures had been built in 2019 and belonged to a local resident.

As always, the Israeli occupation army claimed the structures were located in Area C, which is under Israel’s control.

(Source / 04.03.2019) 

Israeli Soldiers Kill Two Palestinians, Wound Another In Ramallah

Two Palestinian young men were killed and another was wounded at dawn Monday when soldiers opened fire at them near Kafr Ni’ma town in Ramallah.

The Israeli occupation army claimed that the young men carried out a car-ramming attack and threw Molotov cocktails at soldiers.

According to the Hebrew news website 0404, Israeli soldiers opened fire at three young men, killing two of them, after they threw Molotov cocktails. Another one suffered bullet injuries and was detained

Israel’s Channel 10, for its part, said that two Israeli soldiers were wounded after a Palestinian car ran them over in an area near Kafr Ni’ma town, west of Ramallah.

The Channel added that other soldiers responded immediately and opened fire at three young men aboard the car, killing two and injuring another. 

Eyewitnesses reported that the Israeli occupation forces detained a Red Crescent ambulance crew and prevented it from going to the scene to provide medical assistance for the Palestinians.

Later, violent clashes broke out between local youths and Israeli forces at the main entrance to Kafr Ni’ma town. Live and rubber bullets were reportedly used by soldiers during the skirmishes, but luckily no one was injured.

(Source / 04.03.2019)