PA: Poverty rate in Palestinian territories 29.2%

A Palestinian child can be seen outside her home in the poverty-stricken quarter of Al-Zaytoon in Gaza City on 29 September 2014 [Ezz Zanoun/Apaimages]

A Palestinian child can be seen outside her home in the poverty-stricken quarter of Al-Zaytoon in Gaza City on 29 September 2014

The poverty rate in the Palestinian territories has reached 29.2 per cent with the highest levels being found in the besieged Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Authority (PA) Minister of Social Affairs Ahmed Majdalani revealed yesterday.

Majdalani said that his ministry is working to turn aid programmes from relief assistance to development.

He reiterated that this does not mean that the ministry is giving up on aid programmes but it will work in parallel between development and assistance.

The Gaza Strip has been enduring a strict Israeli siege since mid-2007, and a UN report predicted it would be “uninhabitable” by 2020 should the siege not be lifted.

On the Road to Gaza: The Freedom Flotilla Will Sail Again

(Source / 24.12.2019)

Palestine Archbishop Atallah Hanna: Israel attempted to poison me

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

The Head of the Sebastia Diocese of the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem Archbishop Atallah Hanna yesterday accused Israel of attempting to poison him.

Archbishop Hanna made the remarks during an interview with the official Jordanian TV channel from a hospital in the Jordanian capital, Amman, where he was transferred for treatment.

“What happened could be an assassination attempt, or an attempt to keep me sick throughout life … The repercussions of the toxic substance are dangerous, especially on the nervous system,” the station reported Hanna saying.

المطران عطا الله حنا يحمل الاحتلال مسؤولية حادثة التسمم التي تعرض لها- فيديوhttps://t.co/gkMea8AUbX pic.twitter.com/vf3YZaDngv

— Kermalkom – كرمالكم (@Kermalkom) December 23, 2019

He added that a team in Palestine “is collecting evidence to ascertain the nature and source of the inhaled substance”.

“I cannot be certain that Israel is behind this incident, but indications show that it is behind it,” he added.

“I believe that if Israel is proven to be involved in this incident, its objective was not tantamount to an assassination, but rather an attempt to harm me,” he said.

Last week, Hanna was rushed to hospital after an Israeli gas canister was fired into his church in Jerusalem.

Hanna: Christians must defend Palestine

(Source / 24.12.2019)

Israel allows only 55 Palestinian Christians from Gaza to enter West Bank for Christmas

Illuminated Christmas Trees are seen in streets and avenues near the Church of the Nativity, in Bethlehem on 1 December 2018

Israeli authorities have only allowed 55 Christians in the Gaza Strip to enter the West Bank and Jerusalem to celebrate Christmas, according to local news agency Ma’an.

The Orthodox Church in Gaza said among the 600 official requests that were submitted to Israel, occupation authorities agreed to grant travel permits to just three children and 52 Palestinian elders mostly over the age of 60.

This came after the Israeli Defence Ministry said in a statement on Sunday it would allow Palestinian Christians in Gaza to visit Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank “in accordance with security assessments and without regard to age”, reversing an earlier decision not to issue them permits, a move that was met with immediate backlash by Christian Palestinian leaders as well as Gisha, an Israeli rights group.

Hanna: Christians must defend Palestine

A spokesperson from the liaison office, known as Coordinator of the Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), had told Reuters that Christians in the Gaza Strip were barred from visiting holy cities through the Erez crossing this Christmas season.

Gaza, which suffers from high unemployment and faces electricity blackouts and drinking water shortages, has only around 1,000 Christians, most of them Greek Orthodox, in a population of two million in the narrow coastal strip.

Israel claims that a number who have been granted travel permits in recent years have remained in the West Bank and have not returned to Gaza.

Israel tightly restricts movements out of the Gaza Strip.

Gaza’s Christians who plan to travel to the West Bank for Christmas or Easter have to apply to Israel in advance to obtain a temporary single-use travel permit from Israel’s COGAT.

Palestine Archbishop Atallah Hanna: Israel attempted to poison me

The main attractions in Bethlehem are the 4th-century Church of the Nativity, built over a grotto where Christian tradition says Jesus was born, and the 16-metre (52-foot) Christmas tree in Manger Square.

Last year, Israel granted permits for close to 700 Gaza Christians to travel to Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth and other holy cities that draw thousands of pilgrims each holiday season.

At Easter this year, similar restrictions were imposed by Israel, 300 Christian Palestinians from Gaza were allowed to visit the West Bank and Jerusalem for Easter “only after public pressure on Israel to change its initial decision to bar them from entering”.

(Source / 24.12.2019)

Settler Pepper-Sprays Palestinian Mother and Daughter

A Palestinian mother and her daughter were injured, on Monday evening, after being attacked by an Israeli settler in Tel Rumeida neighborhood in Hebron city, in the southern occupied West Bank, the Palestinian News and Info Agency (WAFA) reported.

Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) confirmed that its staff provided the necessary first aid to the mother and her daughter after they were pepper sprayed by an Israeli settler.

Palestinian residents in Tel Rumeida are subjected to nearly daily harassment by extremist Israeli settlers from the illegal settlement of Ramat Yishai, built on Palestinian privately-owned lands.

In downtown Hebron, occupied by Israeli settlements, five small settlements that house between 500 and 1,000 illegal settlers, continue to expand onto Palestinian land and property.

The city of Hebron, which houses the Ibrahimi Mosque, is home to roughly 160,000 Palestinian Muslims and about 800 extremist Israeli settlers who live in compounds heavily guarded by Israeli troops.

Palestinians of the city face a large Israeli military presence on a daily basis with at least 32 permanent and partial checkpoints set up at the entrances of many streets.

(Source / 24.12.2019)

PCHR: Prisoner Died After Being Referred to Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah

On Sunday evening, 22 December 2019, Palestinian prisoner, M.KH., 55, from Ramallah, died at Palestine Medical Complex to which he was referred 2 weeks ago after his health deteriorated. Police spokesperson, Loai Irzeiqat, declared on his Facebook page that the deceased had been detained since 2012 following a 10-year sentence in prison for selling lands to Israelis.

Irzeiqat added that the police and the Public Prosecution have opened an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of the prisoner.

According to investigations conducted by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), M. KH. suffered from high blood pressure and was referred to the Medical Services Center several times for treatment during his detention at Betunia Rehabilitation Center.

After the prisoner’s death, the Palestinian police stated on its website that the deceased’s body will be referred to the Forensic Medicine Department to fulfill the legal proceedings and identify the cause of death.

Therefore, the number of deaths at the Palestinian prisons and detention facilities in 2019 has risen to 5. In the West Bank, 3 prisoners died: the first died on suspicions of torture; the second died due to a heart attack; and the third died due to deterioration of his health condition. Meanwhile in the Gaza Strip, 2 prisoners died: one of them died due to a heart attack while the other died due to an electric shock.

In light of the above, PCHR:

1. Calls for publishing the investigation results to public;

2. Highlights that life of persons detained in prisons and detention facilities falls within the responsibilities of the Ministry of Interior and Prison Service according to the Reform and Rehabilitation Centers Law No. 6/1998 as Article 7 of it stipulates that “…Inmates in any prison remain under the legal guardianship of the prison director…..”; and

3. Stresses the responsibility of the stakeholders, including the Members of the Public Prosecution and judges, to oversight the lawfulness and circumstances of detention according to article 70 of the Judicial Authority Law 1/2002 that gives the Public Prosecution and judges the authority to oversight and inspect the conditions, integrity and lawfulness of detention.

(Source / 24.12.2019)

Israeli Military Seizes Equipment, Declares Area North of Hebron ‘Closed Military Zone’

Israeli forces seized a truck and a bulldozer owned by Palestinian residents in the town of Beit Ummar to the north of Hebron, the southern occupied West Bank, the Palestinian News and Info Agency (WAFA) reported.

Mohammed Awad, a media activist, said that Israeli forces confiscated a truck and a bulldozer while the land-owners were working on rehabilitating Palestinian land, previously seized by illegal Israeli settlers, north of Beit Ummar town.

Israeli forces coerced the Palestinian land-owner and workers to leave the land, preventing them from entering or working. Soldiers then seized the truck and the bulldozers, before declaring the area a ‘closed military zone’.

It is important to note that Nabil Breghith, the owner of the land, has been working the land for years, and has all documents to prove his ownership.

(Source / 24.12.2019)

‘Israel’ puts Jordan Valley annexation on hold fearing ICC investigation

Occupied Palestine (QNN)- The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled a meeting that was supposed to discuss the annexation of the Jordan Valley, following the decision of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to launch a probe into Israeli war crimes in Gaza, West Bank, and Jerusalem.

The meeting had been scheduled to take place last week, but was called off last minute once ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced intention on Friday to investigate Israeli crimes.

Netanyahu announced in September, during Israeli elections, that the occupation state will annex the Jordan Valley if his Likud party would win the elections.

With another election that will take place next March, Netanyahu is believed to have intended to double down on his promise. The occupation state, however, was concerned the annexation would provide further proofs of Israel’s crimes.

“Because of the prosecutor’s decision in the Hague, the issue of the Jordan Valley annexation will be put on a long hold,” an Israeli government source told Yedioth Ahronoth.

In her recommendation, Bensouda said Israel has not only failed to stop settlement building in the West Bank, the Jewish state also intends to annex some parts of the territory.

(Source / 24.12.2019)

NGO: Israel’s ongoing demolition policy defies ICC

Occupied Jerusalem (QNN)- Hemaya Center for Human Rights said on Tuesday that Israel’s ongoing policy of house demolition defies the decision of the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Fatou Bensouda to launch a full investigation into Israeli war crimes in the West Bank, Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

The center called on international organizations to assume their legal and moral responsibilities to put pressure on the occupation state and fore it to abide by international law and the United Nations’ decisions on Palestine.

It also stated that the occupation state increased the assaults on Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem, and increased settlement activity in the city aiming at reducing the existence of native Palestinians.

The occupation state had demolished today two houses in Jabal Mukabbir and two buildings in Issawiyyeh and displaced their residents.

(Source / 24.12.2019)

Israeli soldiers broke her face, skull as she was protecting her kid from detention

“When I look at the mirror, I start weeping,” she said

Israeli occupation forces harshly beaten Palestinian woman Rina Dirbas, 36, broke her face and skull as she was protecting her 14-year-old son from being detained.

About a month ago, Dirbas went back home to find a large number of the Israeli occupation forces inside her house.

She rushed inside to find them trying to detain her 14-year-old son, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

The woman wanted to protect her son from being detained by the Israeli occupation forces, but they insisted they wanted to match him with the features of a child who was wanted over throwing stones at the Israeli military vehicles.

Dirbas insisted to accompany her little son. “When I was inside the military vehicle, I wanted to speak with the Israeli soldiers,” she said, “but a of them immediately hit me with the butt of his gun in my face and I fell unconscious.”

Later on, she found herself in the hospital. She had several surgeries in her skull and face and she is to undergo several follow up surgeries.

“When I look at the mirror, I start weeping,” she said.

Meanwhile, she said that the Israeli police tried to prevent her from filing a complaint against the Israeli soldiers.

“When I went to the police station to complain, the Israeli police treated me indifferently and claimed that I was hit with rock,” she said.

(Source / 24.12.2019)

Israeli police attack Issawiya homes with tear gas

Photos File

Photos File

Israeli police forces on Monday stormed Issawiya district, east of Occupied Jerusalem, and showered Palestinian homes with a hail of tear gas canisters.

According to eyewitnesses, Israeli police patrols stormed the neighborhoods of Al Dari and al-Madares in Issawiya and chased some local youths before spreading through the streets and randomly firing volleys of tear gas grenades on homes.

For many months, Israeli police forces have been raiding the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya on a daily basis, ransacking homes and arresting and assaulting Palestinians.

The Israeli campaign against Issawiya is aimed at oppressing and making life miserable for all who live there as part of efforts to push the native residents out of the holy city.

(Source / 24.12.2019)