Hamas marks anniversary of its founder’s assassination

A poster of Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, the founder of Hamas, assasinated on March 22, 2004

A poster of Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, the founder of Hamas, assasinated on March 22, 2004

Hamas yesterday celebrated the 15th anniversary of the assassination of Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, the founder of the movement, vowing to continue the path of resistance until the liberation of Palestine.

In a statement issued yesterday, Hamas said: “We will continue the resistance path of Sheikh Ahmad Yassin. Resistance is a legitimate right guaranteed by all religious and international law, in the forefront of which is armed resistance, which is a strategic choice to protect and regain Palestinian rights.”

The statement also said that Yassin put the issue of prisoners on top of Hamas’ agenda and exerted much effort to liberate them.

“Hamas now bears this responsibility and will not let the Israeli occupation continue to inflict suffering on our prisoners,” the statement said, stressing that it would use all means necessary to liberate those prisoners held by Israel.

Hamas also stressed that the Great March of Return – which has taken place across Gaza every Friday since 30 March – would continue until it achieves its  goals: breaking the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip since 2007, halting the oppression facing Palestinians and reinforcing the right of return.

The statement reiterated the importance of Palestinian unity, stating this is the guarantor of achieving the Palestinian goals. It therefore called for Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas to unite with his people and lift the sanctions he has imposed on the besieged enclave.

Poll: 62% of Palestinians hold PA, Israel responsible for Gaza crises

(Source / 23.03.2019) 

UNHRC condemns Israel’s use of ‘lethal force’ against Gaza protesters

A Palestinian woman waves a Palestinian flag during "Great March of Return" demonstration near Israel-Gaza border, in Khan Yunis, Gaza on March 01, 2019 [Mustafa Hassona / Anadolu Agency]

A Palestinian woman waves a Palestinian flag during “Great March of Return” demonstration near Israel-Gaza border, in Khan Yunis, Gaza on March 01, 2019

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) yesterday condemned Israel’s “apparent intentional use of unlawful lethal and other excessive force” against civilian protesters in the Gaza Strip during the Great March of Return.

In addition to condemning Israel, the UNHRC also called for perpetrators of violations in the besieged enclave to face justice.

On the final day of a four-week session, the UNHRC adopted a resolution on accountability, brought by Pakistan on behalf of the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Twenty-three states voted in favour of the resolution, while eight voted against and 15 abstained. One delegation was absent.

The resolution called for cooperation with the investigations opened by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2015 into Israeli human rights violations.

Report: Egypt plan to lift siege requires disarmament of Gaza

Reuters reported that the UNHRC made the resolution based on a UN report which said that Israel may have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity by killing 189 Palestinians and wounding more than 6,100 at the Great March of Return protests last year.

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Aviva Raz Shechter, said there was “clear evidence of political bias against Israel” in the report, accusing the panel of ignoring “the very real threat” posed to 70,000 Israelis living along the eastern fence of Gaza during the period of inquiry, 30 March – 31 December 2018.

Protests began in March last year, with Gazans demanding Israel ease its 12-year-old blockade of the enclave and recognise their right to return to their lands from which they were forcibly displaced in 1948.

Yesterday the Palestinian Red Crescent said that Israeli forces killed two people and wounded 237 others, including 47 with live bullets, among those taking part in the weekly protests in Gaza.

Read: Gaza prepares for massive demonstration on 30 March

(Source / 23.03.2019) 

UN Votes To Adopt Gaza HRC Report

23 MAR3:40 AM

The United Nations Human Rights Council has voted to adopt a report accusing Israel of War Crimes committed against civilians during Gaza demonstrations.

The report was adopted with 23 votes in favor, 8 against and 15 abstentions. Despite the statements of UK foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, the UK abstained from voting against the adoption of the report.

UN Vote On Adopting Gaza Report

The UN report investigated the killings of 189 demonstrators, including 35 children, in Gaza, between the 30th of March and the 31st of December, 2018. The report concluded that Israel had committed serious violations of international law.

The report was instantly denounced as “biased” and “anti-Semitic” by Israel and its closest allies, according to Days of Palestine.

However, despite the slanderous comments against the UN by Israel, the report may now be taken to the International Criminal Court. The report calls for international arrest warrants to be handed out to the Israeli soldiers responsible, as well as individual sanctions to be applied to those guilty, for the illegal use of lethal force against unarmed demonstrators.

03/23/19 PSC Condemns UK Government Vote at UN Human Rights Council

(Source / 23.03.2019) 

Palestinian Shot by Israeli Army during Peaceful Kufr Qaddoum Protests

23 MAR3:15 AM

At least one Palestinian was shot an injured with a rubber-coated steel bullet as Israeli forces quelled the weekly and peaceful anti-settlement demonstration in the village of Kufr Qaddoum, to the east of Qalqilia, said a local activist.

Coordinator of the popular resistance committee in the village of Kufr Qaddoum, Murab Shtawi, said that Israeli forces violently suppressed demonstrators, who also rallied to protest Israel’s closure of the main road that has connected the village of Kufr Qaddoum with the city of Nablus since 2003.

Forces fired  live and rubber-coated steel bullets as well as tear gas canisters at demonstrators, shooting and injuring a 19-year-old Palestinian with a rubber-coated bullet to the head, which necessitated his transfer to hospital for medical treatment.

Forces also attacked journalists who were covering the protests, including French Agency photographer Jaafar Ishtayeh , photographer with the Chinese news agency, Nedal Ishtayeh, and Palestine TV cameraman, Mohammed Innayeh. No injuries were reported, however.

“Before 2003, the residents of Kufr Qaddum would use a shorter road to the east in order to come and go to nearby cities and villages. However, as the settlements expanded so that they overwhelmed the road, it became closed for Palestinian use, said Addameer Human rights Association, according to WAFA.

The only alternative road is roughly six times longer than the previous route, disrupting the villagers’ ability to attend university, their jobs, and other vital aspects of their economic and social well being, noted Addameer.

”Three Palestinian deaths relating to the road’s closure occurred between 2004 and 2005,” it said. Although Kufr Qaddum’s Popular Resistance Committee took their case to the Israeli High Court in 2003, the legal status of the road remains unchanged, stressed Addameer.

After all legal appeals failed, villagers decided to organize weekly demonstrations in July 2011, a step that was met with violent suppression by Israeli forces.

(Source / 23.03.2019) 

WHO: Over 97% of Gaza’s Water Below Quality Standards

23 MAR4:22 AM

More than 97% of the water pumped from the coastal aquifer, in the besieged Gaza Strip, does not meet the water quality standards of the World Health Organization (WHO), leading to the depletion of groundwater reserves, with the groundwater level in the coastal aquifer reaching 19 meters below sea level, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) and the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) said on Thursday, in a joint press release, on the occasion of World Water Day.

The joint statement said, “The amount of water extracted from the coastal aquifer for domestic use was 178.7 million cubic meters (MCM) in Gaza Strip in 2017; but this quantity is obtained via unsafe pumping that jeopardizes sustainability of the source knowing that the basin sustainable yield should not exceed 50-60 MCM a year.”

In the West Bank, where the Palestinians have been denied access by the Israeli occupation authorities to extraction from the Jordan River since 1967, which was estimated about 250 MCM, the quantity of Water pumped from Palestinian wells in the West Bank in 2017 was 86 MCM from eastern aquifer, western aquifer and north-eastern aquifer.

The statement added, according to Ma’an, that data showed that the percentage of the exploitation of surface and groundwater from available water in the year 2017 was high, with an average of 77%.

With scarce water and Israeli restrictions on access to resources, Palestinian cities are forced to purchase water from the Israeli water company “Mekorot.” In 2017, they purchased 83 MCM, which represented 22% of the water available in Palestine (375 MCM).

Additionally, 23.5 MCM of water were produced from Palestinian springs while 264.5 MCM are pumped from groundwater wells, and 4.0 MCM desalinated drinking water.

PCBS and PWA stressed that 62% of households use an improved drinking water source (piped into dwellings, protected dug well/ protected spring, rainwater, bottled water and public tab), and 95% in the West Bank and 11% in Gaza Strip. The decrease in the Gaza Strip was due to the deterioration in the quality of water extracted from the coastal basin.

As for the type of localities, these percentages were distributed to 58% in urban localities, 94% in rural localities, compared to 44% in refugee camps.

The daily allocation per capita from consumed water for domestic purposes is 88.3 liters/capita/day in Palestine. The West Bank and Gaza Strip had the same rate in 2017.

There are some localities where the average per capita consumption does not exceed 50.4 liters per day, while this rate exceeds 150 liters per day in other localities such as Jericho.

(Source / 23.03.2019) 

Organizers Of Gaza Night Protests To Escalate Activities Along Border

Organizers of nighttime protests in the besieged Gaza Strip have warned that they will escalate their activities along the border fence to pressure the Israeli occupation to lift its siege on the coastal enclave.

“In light of the enemy’s persistence in blockading the Gaza Strip and the mediators’ foot-dragging, the night confusion units declare their intention to escalate their activities, which are held in the context of peaceful resistance,” the organizers stated in a press release on Saturday.

They affirmed that the current week would see massive nighttime protests along the eastern and northern border, adding that the activities, which would include the launch of inflaming balloons, would start daily at 07:00 pm and continue until dawn in border areas near military posts and settlements.

They warned that they would make the life of settlers and soldiers near the border an unbearable hell until their leaders decided to end the siege on Gaza. 

“Either the blockade on Gaza ends or the communities living near the border leave,” their statement underlined.

(Source / 23.03.2019) 

Israeli Drone Attacks A Group Of Youths In Gaza

An Israeli occupation drone attacked a group of Palestinian youths in the east of Al-Burij camp in the middle of Gaza Strip, on Saturday evening.

The Ministry of Health reported that 3 Palestinians injures by an Israeli drones’ attack in the east of Al-Burij camp.

The Israeli occupation continues to flagrantly violate international law by killing unarmed civilians. Since the beginning of the Great March of Return, IOF shot and killed more than 260 unarmed Palestinian civilans, injured more than 28,000 others.

(Source / 23.03.2019)