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Rights group says 2017 was the worst year in Gaza’s history

Palestinians, in particular the elderly, sick and disabled, come together to call for international efforts to save Gaza from the humanitarian crisis

The Director of Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights said on Sunday that 2017 was the worst year in the history of the Gaza Strip in terms of political, economic, cultural, social and health conditions, Felesteen.ps has reported. Issam Younis told journalists in the besieged territory that the coming days would be “worse” if the Israeli siege remains in place and the Palestinian division is not ended.

Younis called for the international community to put pressure on Israel to abide by international law and lift the 11-year-old siege on Gaza. He also called for the Palestinian Government of National Accord to stop its punitive measures against the people of Gaza, including forcing its employees in the territory into early retirement, slashing up to 50 per cent of salaries and reducing supplies of electricity, medicines and medical equipment.

According to the human rights official, the number of Gazans suffering psychological disorders increased by 21 per cent in 2017 compared with 2016, and the rate of those who are consulting psychiatrists increased by 69 per cent during the same period. Meanwhile, the marriage rate decreased by 10.8 per cent and families which are run by women increased by 9.5 per cent.

Hamas: Gaza is sitting on top of a volcano

In addition, field researcher Mohamed Abu Jray said that the Palestinians in Gaza are currently in urgent need of 102,000 residential apartments. Around 24,000 of the apartments destroyed during Israel’s wars against civilians in the enclave between 2008 and 2014 still need to be rebuilt. Indeed, only around 53 per cent of the houses completely destroyed by the Israeli occupation during the last offensive in August 2014 are suitable for human habitation.


With regards to the economic crisis, Centre staff pointed out that exports from Gaza decreased to their lowest level ever, and estimated monthly losses resulting from the siege amount to $16 million. Unemployment among young people, meanwhile, has reached 60 per cent; among women the figure is 85 per cent.

Almost 1,000 acres of agricultural land has been damaged due to Israel’s use of poisonous pesticides and the lack of a reliable electricity supply for irrigation purposes.

(Source / 19.03.2018)

Israeli forces attack Palestinian school near Bethlehem

chool in Gaza shelled by Israeli forces

File photo of a school shelled illegally by Israeli forces

Israeli occupation forces attacked a Palestinian school near Bethlehem on Monday morning.

According to Palestinian news agency WAFA, Israeli soldiers targeted the school, located in the town of Tuqu’ in the southern West Bank, with more than 10 tear gas grenades.

Local sources told WAFA that the tear gas bombardment forced school staff to close the doors to “prevent soldiers from breaking into it”.

WAFA added that “Israeli forces deploy in the vicinity of the school on daily basis, provoking students and making it hard for them to continue their education”.

Israeli occupation forces regularly attack, detain and harass Palestinian students and staff across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Read: Israeli forces fire tear gas at primary school in Jerusalem

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.. قوات الاحتلال تمطر طلبة مدرسة ذكور تقوع الثانوية شرق بيت لحم بوابل من القنابل الغازية.

(Source / 19.03.2018)

Israeli navy opens fire at fishermen in Gaza


The Israeli navy opened fire at Palestinian fishermen and their fishing boats while they were sailing in al-Sudaniya sea to the northwest of the Gaza Strip on Monday.

The navy also propelled waste water at the boats forcing the fishermen to return to shore.

Despite the signed agreements between Palestinians and Israel, which allow fishermen to go 12 nautical miles inside the Mediterranean Sea, Israeli navy targets Gaza fishermen almost daily and does not allow them to go further than three nautical miles, which the fishermen say is not enough to catch fish.

(Source / 19.03.2018)

Video: Jewish settler looses attack dog on Palestinian shepherd and flock, maiming sheep

This graphic video was shot on Saturday in the South Hebron Hills. It was posted by activists– including Guy Butavia and our good friend Ronnie Barkan — and is said to show a Jewish settler from a new outpost near the illegal settlement of Havat Mor releasing an attack dog on Palestinian shepherds grazing a flock. The shepherds are from the nearby Khirbet a-Rahwah village.

The dog rips off the tail of a sheep and part of its buttocks, as is evident at the end of the video. One other sheep was injured in the head.

When he is speaking Hebrew, the settler claims that the arrival of activists to the Hebron Hills ruins good neighborly relations with the Palestinians, and also that the Palestinians have “crossed a line,” according to Ofer Neiman,

This is surely akin to the horrifying video (of a Palestinian father being arrested outside Hebron as his son cries) that animated Peter Beinart to declare a crisis of Zionism seven years ago. Yesterday the American Jewish rightwing leader Ron Lauder published a piece in the New York Times discovering a crisis of Zionism in Israel’s turn to the right and its neverending settlement project; and liberal Zionist leader Jeremy Ben-Ami celebrated the article. It’s good that Lauder is stirring; but how much information does anyone need? When is enough enough? The Kishinev massacre in 1903 spurred international action by Jews against Russia after pictures were rushed out to the London and New York papers (by Zionists). Palestinians have experienced pogroms for 50 and 70 years and American Jews still cannot turn against the religious ideology that animates this settler: the idea of a Jewish national home on someone else’s land.

(Source / 19.03.2018)

Israeli army launches multiple aerial attacks on Gaza

Multiple aerial attacks Gaza

Israeli warplanes at dawn Sunday bombed several sites and agricultural lands in different areas of the Gaza Strip.

According to the Palestinian Information Center (PIC) in Gaza, more than 13 air-to-surface missiles hit training sites belonging to the Palestinian resistance as well as cultivated plots of land.

PIC reporters said there were intensive overflights in different areas of Gaza, adding that the resistance opened anti-aircraft fire at the warplanes.

Several homes near the bombed areas sustained some damage, with no reported casualties.

(Source / 18.03.2018)

Facebook ad map includes Israeli neighborhoods in Occupied Jerusalem

FB and settlements

Facebook has expanded its ad map to reach Israeli settlements located beyond the 1967 borders, following a complaint by an Israeli official, according to media reports.

The social networking site has amended its policy to include Jewish neighborhoods located outside the 1967 borders in ads targeting residents of Occupied Jerusalem, according to Israel Hayom newspaper.

The newspaper said that Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely filed a complaint after learning that Facebook ads are limited only to Jerusalem neighborhoods within the 1967 borders.

The 1967 borders refer to the boundaries of the Palestinian state that existed before the war in which Israel occupied the eastern part of Jerusalem city, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Companies that advertised products or services to Israelis on Facebook were able to target only Israelis living inside the Green Line.

After learning of the issue from Israeli news site “Hottest Place in Hell,” which allegedly encountered difficulties when trying to target locations in Israel on Facebook, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely reached out to Facebook to demand an explanation.

In a letter of complaint, Hotovely wrote, “It is unfathomable for Facebook to exclude neighborhoods in east Jerusalem from the map of Israel within the framework of its advertising tools. … According to the [location targeting] map Facebook presents, neighborhoods like Gilo, French Hill, Pisgat Ze’ev and others do not even appear on the map of Israel.”

Facebook was quick to respond. In a letter to Hotovely, Jordana Cutler, a former adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu now tasked with handling the tech giant’s relations with the Israeli government, wrote that Facebook agreed that “a commercial business should not define the borders of any country” and announced the problematic map excluding the newer neighborhoods had been removed from the site.

Hotovely welcomed the move and thanked Facebook “for their swift response and professional handling of the issue.”

(Source / 18.03.2018)

Israeli army tightens military grip near Gaza border

Tight military grip Gaza

Israeli forces on Sunday morning intensified military presence around Eshkol settlement council, near Gaza borders under the security pretext.

According to the Hebrew-speaking Walla news site, a round of military checkpoints was pitched around Eshkol council due to an unidentified security-threatening event. No details were revealed on the nature of the alleged event.

Vehicles and civilians passing through the area have been subjected to intensive searches.

A few hours earlier, at daybreak, Israeli warplanes struck the blockaded Gaza Strip and its vicinities. Heavy material damage was wrought on civilian homes and properties by the offensive.

(Source / 18.03.2018)

Israel Destroys Hamas Tunnel in Gaza


Israel announced that it destroyed a Hamas tunnel in the Gaza Strip

The Israeli military announced on Sunday that it destroyed a tunnel dug by the Palestinian Hamas group in Gaza that was aimed at carrying out cross-border attacks.

“On the basis of quality intelligence and groundbreaking technology, Israel is destroying Hamas tunnels one-by-one,” Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in a statement.

The tunnel had been cut off during the 2014 Gaza war and Hamas had tried to put it back into operation, a military spokesman said. It had been dug inside the Hamas-controlled enclave several hundred meters away from Israel’s border fence.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum called the Israeli action a further escalation that would not achieve its goals.

The Israeli forces did not cross the border to render the tunnel inoperable but used a new technique, Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus told reporters.

“We did not use explosives. It (the tunnel) was filled with a certain material, with a certain compound,” Conricus said.

He said Israel has been following Hamas’ progress for some time and that the targeted tunnels will now be impossible to rebuild. Conricus called it a “futile effort” by group and a waste of resources that could be used to aid Gaza residents.

“Hamas has invested billions in its tunnel project and now it is sinking in the sand,” Lieberman added.

“I suggest Hamas invest its money in the welfare of the people of Gaza because by the end of the year its entire tunnel project will be destroyed.”

Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, but still maintains tight control of its land and sea borders.

Israel has placed a high priority on halting the tunnel threat since Hamas infiltrated Israel during the 2014 war. Although they did not manage to reach civilian areas, the infiltrations caught Israel off guard, with one attack killing five soldiers, and terrified the local population.

Since then, Israel has been working on advanced counter-measures including a sensor-equipped underground wall along the 60-km (36-mile) Gaza border, a $1.1 billion project it aims to complete by mid-2019.

This marks the fourth such tunnel Israel has destroyed over the past four months.

Israel last went public with an operation against a Gaza tunnel in the area in January, saying that the secret passage had also run through neighboring Egypt.

(Source / 18.03.2018)

Gaza Factions Announce Marches for the Palestinian Right of Return

Palestinian factions plan a series of actions to demand the people’s right to return to their homeland

A national high committee, assembled by Palestinian factions in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, announced on Saturday that it was coordinating a number of events that would culminate in a major a protest march that would demand the right of return for Palestinians.

The events and demonstrations aim to reject any attempts to eliminate the Palestinian cause. It also seeks to lift the siege on the Gaza Strip, which Israel imposed 11 years ago.

Member of the Central Committee of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) Hussein Mansour said in a press conference held near the Karni crossing east of the Gaza Strip that there will be activities and mass movements.

They are aimed at confronting the occupation forces and breaking away from the security situation Israel is trying to impose on the Palestinian people.

He pointed out that the major rally will coincide with a broad regional and international political move, with the participation of individuals, institutions and Palestinian, Arab and international bodies supporting the cause.

He added that preparations are underway for millions of Palestinians to participate from Gaza, the West Bank and diaspora.

“We are facing a new stage in which our people decided to regain the initiative, armed with their rights and principles… to break the state of national stalemate and confront all circumstances and challenges,” the PFLP leader said.

He stressed that “the main message of the march is the struggle to achieve the return of refugees according to the UN resolution 194.”

The resolution defined principles for reaching a final settlement and returning Palestinian refugees to their homes.

It resolved that “refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so…and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.”

Mansour said that the march also aims at “achieving tactical objectives on confronting the American decision concerning Jerusalem, ending the siege on the Gaza Strip and addressing the targeting of refugees by stopping UNRWA support.”

He called on the Palestinian masses to join in mobilizing mass movements and national events, sending a strong message that the people are united and steadfast where it concerns their rights. He called on the diaspora to also stage mass support campaigns.

He also called on the official and non-official international institutions and the UN to shoulder their responsibilities by enforcing resolutions against Israel and end of the suffering of the Palestinian people.

(Source / 18.03.2018)

Israeli forces briefly detain Ma’an TV cameraman while filming in Hebron

Cameraman Ma'an

HEBRON (Ma’an) — Israeli soldiers on Saturday briefly detained a Ma’an TV cameraman while he was working in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron.

Muhammad Hamamreh was on a shoot with reporter Duaa Yahiya when soldiers approached the pair and attempted to prevent them from filming.
When Hamamreh and Yahiya refused, soldiers detained Hamamreh and took him inside a military base in the area.
Yahiya remained on the scene and demanded Hamamreh’s release. He was released shortly after being detained for reasons unspecified by the soldiers.
(Source / 18.03.2018)