Khudari: Per capita daily income in Gaza is $2

Jamal al-Khudari

Head of the Popular Committee Against the Siege MP Jamal al-Khudari on Tuesday said that Gaza’s per capita daily income, if there is any, is $2, which is the lowest in the world.

Al-Khudari warned that the poverty rate has increased to 85% due to the tightening of the blockade and the almost complete closure of Karam Abu Salem crossing.

In press statements on Tuesday, al-Khudari said that 62% of Palestinian youths in Gaza do not have jobs, while about 350,000 workers have become unemployed because of the 12-year-blockade.

He added that dozens of new workers join the list everyday as a result of the closure of factories and shops and the lack of goods, raw materials, and job opportunities.

As Eid al-Adha and the new school year approach, al-Khudari noted, hundreds of trucks loaded with goods worth $100 million are still being withheld by the Israeli authorities, stressing that their owners may suffer heavy losses if they are not allowed entry into Gaza soon.

Holding Israel fully responsible for the siege and the resulting humanitarian disaster, al-Khudari called for real efforts on the Arab and international levels to end the siege and save what can be saved in Gaza.

He called on all Palestinian factions to assume their responsibilities toward the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip to overcome the humanitarian crisis plaguing the enclave.

(Source / 15.08.2018)

Radioactive sheep said to prove Israel illegally tested nuclear weapons

Dimona nuclear research facility in Israel

Dimona nuclear research facility in Israel

A science journal has claimed that radioactive sheep found in Australia could prove that Israel tested nuclear weapons, an action which would be in contravention of international law.

The study, which was published by Princeton University’s Science and Global Security journal, claims that Israel conducted an illegal nuclear test on 22 September 1979 near Prince Edward Islands, located in the Indian ocean off the southern tip of Africa. At the time, a “double flash” of light was recorded by an American satellite named Vela 6911, a sign thought to indicate that a nuclear test had taken place. Theories have speculated since that the flash could have been caused by natural phenomena, for example by a meteor shower, but the journal’s new study claims to have proof that this was not the case.

The new research, led by Christopher Wright of the Australian Defence Force Academy and Lars Erik de Geer, a former member of the Swedish Defence Research Agency, claims that a few weeks after the mysterious flash, “traces of radioactive Iodine (I-131) had been discovered in several dead sheep in Australia”. Samples from the sheep’s thyroid glands were then sent for tests in the United States, “but the test’s results were never made public,” Ynet reports.

It is thought that due to stormy weather at the time the “double flash” was recorded, the fallout from the alleged nuclear test was scattered throughout parts of Australia. The study believes the sheep in question may have eaten some grass in the affected area, causing them to become radioactive. If the journal’s theory is correct, this marks the most concrete evidence to date that Israel conducted illegal nuclear testing during the height of the Cold War. That this was done in cooperation with South Africa, at that time ruled by an Apartheid regime, will likely raise further eyebrows.

READ:Major UK donor to Israel denounces ‘apartheid’ legislation

Israel has long sought to conceal its alleged nuclear capabilities, neither confirming nor denying its possession of nuclear weapons. However, it is widely believed that Israel possesses nuclear WMDs (weapons of mass destruction) and is one of four nuclear-armed countries not recognised by the international Non-Proliferation Treaty. The other three are India, Pakistan and North Korea.

Israel’s forays into the nuclear arena came under the spotlight in July when an exposéby the Wall Street Journal(WSJ) revealed that in 1999 North Korea demanded Israel pay $1 billion in cash in return for halting its nuclear missile sales to Iran. It is believed that Israel refused the offer, instead offering to provide North Korea with food aid. The Israeli government refused requests to comment on the revelations.

Israel has also sought to prevent its regional foes from obtaining nuclear capabilities, most notably Iran and its proxies in Lebanon and Syria. In March, Haaretz revealed a 2007 strike on a North Korean made nuclear reactor near the Syrian town of Deir Ez-Zor, the details of which were subsequently censored by Israel for over a decade. Israel has also sought to quell Saudi Arabia’s nuclear potential, in July setting outa number of “red lines” to the US administration over planned sales of nuclear reactors to its regional ally. These red lines included that Israel must know all the details of the plan in advance and that it be involved in preliminary consultations on the planned location of the nuclear reactors in Saudi Arabia.

READ:Israel killed 4 Gaza children without authorisation, secret report reveals

(Source / 15.08.2018)

World Bank launches $17m employment drive for Gaza

Image of the World Bank in Washington, US [pingnews.com/Flickr]

World Bank in Washington, US

The World Bank has announced a new project to provide Gaza‘s unemployed youth with short-term income support, the Palestinian Information Centre has said.

About 4,400 targeted youth, half of them women, will be hired by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to deliver services in severely needed fields such as health, education and support to the disabled and elderly.

As part of the $17 million grant, the new project will also finance skills training and internet-based job support to an additional 750 youth.

The World Bank’s Gaza Emergency Cash for Work and Self-Employment Support project will target unemployed young people between the ages of 18 to 34.

The project will work with NGOs that have solid track records in delivering social services to especially vulnerable communities, and not-for-profit organisations that provide support for freelancers in the digital economy.

OPINION: Palestinians are being impoverished by the manipulation of humanitarian aid

(Source / 15.08.2018)

Israel approves plans to build military colleges in Jerusalem

Bulldozers demolish two buildings belongs to Palestinians under the observation of Israeli forces with the claim of unauthorized construction, near Bethlehem, West Bank on January 29, 2018

Israel’s Jerusalem Municipality’s Planning and Construction Committee has approved a plan to build military colleges on Palestinian land located in Ein Karem village, southwest of the holy city, Safa reported yesterday.

According to news site, the Israeli Broadcasting Committee said that the plan was approved despite strong opposition by the Franciscan Church and its followers who fear the construction will drown Mary’s Spring, which is a holy site for Christians.

Ein Karem is one of the biggest and most important villages in Jerusalem. It lies along the highway that connects Jerusalem with Yaffa. Palestinians who inhabited the village were forced out of their homes during the 1948 Nakba.

Occupation forces continue to target Islamic and Christian sites in the occupied Palestinian lands through land expropriation and allocating areas as “military zones”.

READ: Israel army to conduct new punitive house demolition in West Bank village

(Source / 15.08.2018)

Three months in Israeli prisons, Palestinian female prisoner released

HEBRON, PALESTINOW.COM — The Palestinian female prisoner Ebtahal Khader Abreish, 20, was released Wednesday morning after spending three months in Israeli jails.

Ebtahal, from Beit Kahel town west of al-Khalil, was arrested after being summoned for investigation only one day after being brutally attacked by an Israeli settler while leaving her university.

Around 6000 Palestinian prisoners are currently held in Israeli prisons. Of this figure, 53 are female with 3 girls under the age of 18.

(Source / 15.08.2018)

IOF shot Palestinian child in his head east of Gaza

GAZA, PALESTINOW.COM — A Palestinian child was injured Tuesday evening when Israeli occupation forces (IOF) opened fire at a group of Palestinian citizens near the border east of Gaza city.

A medical source said that a child was wounded  in the head by shrapnel from a live bullet while he was standing close to the Great March of Return camps east of Gaza.

Eyewitnesses said that the child was injured when the IOF heavily opened fire at a group of peaceful protesters near Gaza’s eastern border fence.

Since the start of Gaza border protests on 30th March, 176 Palestinians have been killed by the IOF and over 18,000 injured.

(Source / 15.08.2018)

Gaza: Meet the Palestinian doctor who watched his son die

Doctor Dahoud al-Shobaki had spent his career saving lives, but nothing prepared him for the heartbreak of failing to save his own son

By Ghazal Othman

In the 22 years of Sari al-Shobaki’s life, his father rescued him from death seven times, but the eighth time, when he was shot by the Israeli occupied snipers, he failed.

The first time, Dr Dahoud al-Shobaki recalls, was when his son was born three months premature and turned blue from lack of oxygen in an incubator. Then there was also the time when he had a dangerously high fever at age four.

But the last five occurred in the span of two months this year.

“I wish that I had been able to save my son’s life like I am used to … but the eighth time, it was God’s decree,” Dahoud tells Middle East Eye.

As a retired doctor now turned public health consultant in the Gaza Strip, Dahoud, 56, knows the difficulties faced by wounded and sick patients in the besieged Palestinian enclave’s hospitals.

But despite the health scares he has faced over the years, nothing prepared Dahoud to witness first-hand the slow death of his son Sari, shot in the neck by Israeli soldiers in May, only to succumb to his wounds two months later.

Left to die

At only 22, Sari al-Shobaki dreamt of getting married and becoming a father. An enterprising young man, he worked hard to make his dream come true, working a series of odd jobs such as selling cold drinks and stockings or working at a photography studio.

The second-eldest of eight children, Sari used his earnings to help out his family in the Daraj neighbourhood of Gaza City and to try to build a future for himself.

At 10am on 14 May, the young man walked out of the house without telling his family where he was going. What exactly transpired then remains a mystery to his family until now.

Dahoud’s phone rang an hour after Sari left home.

On the other end of the line, someone told him that his beloved son had been killed by Israeli soldiers in Gaza’s buffer zone near Israel.

That fateful Monday ended up being the single bloodiest day of the Great March of Return. Since 30 March, thousands of Palestinians have protested against living conditions in Gaza and called for the right of return for those Palestinian refugees whose families were displaced during the establishment of Israel.

At least 58 died on 14 May after Israeli forces opened fire, with a further seven Palestinians later dying from injuries sustained that day. Many had come out to denounce the inauguration of the US embassy in Jerusalem, which happened on the same day.

Dahoud rushed to the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, which was overwhelmed that day with casualties from the protest. The medical authorities did not have anyone registered under Sari’s name, so Dahoud combed every department of the medical centre for hours.

Amid the chaos, he finally found his son lying in a corner of the reception area. On his chest lay a piece of paper marked “Unidentified”. He was in dire straits, but still breathing.

Father and doctor

Dahoud could barely control his emotions when he saw that no one was providing his son with medical care.

“Oh Sari, how many hours you have been bleeding alone? Is this what you deserve?” he remembers asking.

Dahoud immediately took matters into his own hands and saved his son’s life for a third time, transfusing 12 units of blood and infusing more than 100 saline solution units.

Sari stabilised, but the bullet that penetrated his neck had hit his spinal cord, rendering him quadriplegic and leaving him with respiratory and intestinal paralysis.

After 10 days at the al-Shifa hospital, all the doctors who examined Sari agreed that his condition was irreversible, especially given the limited medical care available in Gaza, where extensive power cuts and a shortage of medical supplies due to the 11-year Israeli siege have devastated its health sector.

Dahoud, like many desperate relatives in Gaza, tried hard to find care for his son outside the enclave, a difficult process given the small number of medical exit permits granted by Israel to Palestinian patients.

Finally, on 25 May, Dahoud and Sari were allowed to travel to East Jerusalem for treatment at the Saint Joseph hospital.

Hopeful recovery

Despite the diagnosis and the lack of proper medical care in Gaza, Dahoud did not lose hope.

Father and son began communicating through eye contact: Sari would blink to say “yes” and raise his eyebrows to signify “no”.

“I will be happy even with only your eyes with me, even without your body,” Dahoud recalls saying. “I do not ask for more.”

Soon, the two devised a more elaborate system of communication. Dahoud would recite the alphabet, and Sari would blink when he reached the desired letter, slowly spelling out his sentences.

Dahoud would warmly encourage his son through rehabilitation exercises. Some sessions were filmed and posted online, prompting waves of support on social media.

“One more time, love of my life, do you want to get out of here?” he would say, kissing Sari’s forehead as the young man would blink once for “yes”.

Between 5 June and 5 July, Sari made a slow but promising recovery in the East Jerusalem hospital, Dahoud says, as he kept up his involvement in his son’s treatment.

“I was checking on everything, even on his breath. I would massage him for three hours or more every day until I noticed that he was trying to move his neck,” Dahoud says.

“He regained his sense of smell, and was able to defecate and speak again,” Dahoud says. “He also moved the muscles of his stomach and thigh, and moved his knee when I pulled it.”

Dahoud could not believe the great improvements made by his son.

He remembers kissing Sari and telling him: “We will not go back to Gaza until you can stand on your feet.”

Sari had replied: “I want to stand up. I want to walk, dad.”

Sari’s last days

But just as his condition looked hopeful, Sari’s health took a drastic turn for the worse.

A tracheostomy operation to insert a tube into Sari’s neck to help him breathe did not go as planned, causing a tracheoesophagal fistula – an abnormal connection between his oesophagus and windpipe – and a drug-resistant bacterial infection.

The fistula made it impossible for Sari to eat. Dahoud watched helplessly as his son withered away, knowing that he was hungry and thirsty yet unable to satisfy these basic needs.

On 17 July, slightly more than two months after he was shot, Sari al-Shobaki died.

“When Sari passed away, he hadn’t seen a single tear from my eye,” Dahoud says. “When I was with him, I held myself together completely. And I was strong, very strong. And I’m really happy about this, that Sari never saw me cry.

“Sari’s spirits were as high as the sky, while my spirits were as low as the ground. I would leave him in the intensive care unit and go the waiting room to break down in tears,” Dahoud adds, his voice cracking.

According to the Gaza health ministry, Sari was the 142nd Palestinian to be killed by Israeli forces in Gaza since the beginning of the Great March of Return.

At least 25 more Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since, according to ministry figures.

“It makes me and the world proud that he didn’t get injured and die because of a brawl or a fight,” Dahoud says. “No, he got injured by the enemy.”

Despite the heartbreak and the grief, Dahoud vowed to move forward.

“I’m really happy that I was the one taking care of him and not anyone else,” he says. “I will return to my job as a doctor stronger than before.”

(Source / 15.08.2018)

US wants Gaza ceasefire ‘with or without PA’

Israeli forces fire at Palestinian protesters during the Great March of Return in Gaza on 9 August 2018 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Israeli forces fire at Palestinian protesters during the Great March of Return in Gaza on 9 August 2018

The USA will continue to work for a ceasefire in Gaza “with or without” the cooperation of the Palestinian Authority (PA), a spokesperson for the National Security Council has told Haaretz.

The spokesperson explained that the US administration under President Donald Trump “would like to see an end to fighting with or without the PA,” but emphasised that the administration still believes “it would be best if the PA reasserts control in Gaza so we can get on with making lives better,” Haaretz revealed.

The spokesperson added that the US “supports Egypt’s efforts to secure a ceasefire in Gaza” and “remains in close communication with Israel, Egypt, and the UN with respect to Gaza”.

The announcement will likely be seen as a blow to the PA, which has been marginalised from the Gaza Strip since it lost control of the territory in the 2006 Palestinian elections. Since then, the PA has repeatedly tried to reassert its authority over the enclave. In July, the PA’s Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, told donor countries that any aid to the besieged Strip must first pass through Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. The PA’s Labour Minister, Mamoun Abu Shahla, explained that “there is only one government in Palestine. It is the National Agreement Government which was accepted by all parties. It is the sole [government] responsible for working in the Gaza Strip and West Bank”.

READ: Israel reopens Kerem Shalom crossing with Gaza

The leader of the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Ahmad Sa’adat, in July called on the PA to lift its punitive measures on Gaza and accept the Egyptian-brokered reconciliation. Sa’adat was referring to the PA’s decision to impose a series of sanctions on the Gaza Strip in 2017, which included deducting about 50 per cent of Gaza civil servants’ salaries and halting the payments to families of prisoners from the Gaza Strip. Also last month, hundreds of Palestinians took to the streets of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank to protest the PA’s punitive treatment of the Gaza Strip. The protesters held placards that read “lift the sanctions imposed on Gaza” and “shame on You Abbas”.

The US has been monitoring attempts to broker a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The exact details of the negotiations as yet remain unclear, but the UN and Egypt have spoken of a need to improve the dire humanitarian conditions in Gaza, stem cross-border hostilities that have flared in recent months and work towards reconciliation between Hamas and Israel. It is also understood that Israel will condition any ceasefire agreement on the return of two Israeli soldiers killed in the 2014 “Operation Protective Edge,” as well as two civilians lost in Gaza.

READ: Minister: Connecting Gaza, West Bank ‘serious threat’ to Israel’s security

It was revealed yesterday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Cairo in May to discuss the ceasefire. Netanyahu reportedly met with the Egyptian Prime Minister, Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi, to discuss the possibility of easing the ongoing blockade of Gaza by the two countries. Palestinian factions in Gaza have also travelled to Cairo to join the ongoing discussions, representing the first time these groups have travelled to the Egyptian capital to take part in national dialogue discussions since 2012.

(Source / 15.08.2018)

Colonialist Settler Injures A Farmer; Soldiers Prevent Palestinians From Entering Their Lands In Salfit

15 AUG
2:35 PM

An Israeli guard of the illegal Ariel colony attacked and injured, on Wednesday afternoon, a Palestinian farmer, while Israeli soldiers prevented several others from entering their lands, in Kifl Haris village, north of Salfit, in northwestern West Bank.

Media sources said the farmer suffered various cuts and bruises, and was moved to Yasser Arafat hospital, in Salfit.

They added that the soldiers prevented many farmers from entering their lands, isolated near the illegal colony, and demanded them to obtain permits from the Israeli “Civil Administration Office.”

(Source / 15.08.2018)

Home of 5 Palestinian Detainees Measured for Demolition

15 AUG
1:21 AM

Israeli forces, along with Israeli army engineers, raided the Abu Hmeid family home, predawn Tuesday, in the al-Amari refugee camp that is located in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah.

Locals said, according to Ma’an, that Israeli forces and army engineers raided the al-Amari refugee camp and inspected the house of Umm Nasser Abu Hmeid, mother of four Palestinian detainees; a fifth is accused of killing an Israeli soldier and another was killed by Israeli forces in 2002.

Troops raided and took measurements of the house, in preparation to demolish it.

Confrontations broke out between Palestinian youth and Israeli forces, following the raid; no injuries were reported.

Abu Hmeid’s son, Islam, was detained by Israeli forces in June, charged with stone throwing and accused of killing an Israeli soldier during confrontations in which he threw a stone on the soldier’s head, later killing him.

Abu Hmeid’s mother has four sons, Nasser, 37, Nasr, 35, Sharif, 29, and Muhammad, 24, who are currently serving multiple life terms in Israeli prisons for resisting Israeli forces during raids or clashes; Abu Hmeid’s sixth son, Abed al-Munim was shot and killed by Israeli forces in the Qalandia refugee cam,p in 2002.

The Israeli courts typically demolish the family homes of Palestinians involved in attacking Israelis, as part of its collective punishment policy against the Palestinian people.

Israel has come under harsh condemnation, over the past several years, for its response to attacks committed by Palestinians on Israelis, which rights groups have said amounted to “collective punishment” on family members and entire communities, in a clear violation of international law.

(Source / 15.08.2018)