UN Report: Israel continues to kill Palestinian children

RAMALLAH, PALESTINOW.COM — Two Palestinian children were killed by Israeli forces during the ‘Great March of Return’ protests in the blockaded Gaza Strip without posing a threat to the soldiers, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has reported.

The two boys (14 and 17-years-old) were shot with live ammunition and killed on Friday, 8 February in two incidents near the fence.

According to human rights groups, both incidents occurred between 60-250 meters from the fence and the two boys posed no threat to Israeli forces. On the same day, according to Israeli sources, Palestinians threw explosive devices at Israeli forces and attempted to breach the fence into Israel, resulting in no Israeli injuries.

OCHA said another two Palestinians died of wounds sustained previously, and 530 were injured.

The other two fatalities, both men, succumbed to wounds sustained in previous demonstrations on 18 and 29 January, including a demonstration at the beach held to protest the naval blockade; one of the fatalities was shot with live ammunition and the other one was struck by a tear-gas canister.

These incidents bring the number of Palestinian fatalities sustained during the Gaza protests since March 2018 to 263, including 49 children, OCHA added.

Of those injured during the reporting period, 248 were hospitalized, including 64 people hit by live ammunition; the remainder were treated in the field, according to the Ministry of Health in Gaza.

On at least 40 occasions outside of the protests, Israeli forces opened warning fire on land and at sea in Gaza. One Palestinian was injured in one of the incidents. Additionally, five Palestinian boys were detained, reportedly as they were attempting to infiltrate into Israel. On three other occasions, Israeli forces entered Gaza and carried out land-leveling and excavation operations in the vicinity of the perimeter fence.

In the West Bank, two Palestinians, including a girl, were shot and killed, and one boy was injured, by Israeli forces in two alleged attacks near Israeli checkpoints. On 30 January, an Israeli private security guard shot and killed a 16-year-old Palestinian girl at the al-Zaayyem checkpoint (Jerusalem), allegedly after she attempted to carry out a stabbing attack; her body has been withheld by Israeli forces.

On 4 February, Israeli forces shot and killed a 20-year-old man and injured a 16-year-old boy. Since the start of 2019, three Palestinians, including one child, have been killed by Israeli forces in alleged anti-occupation attacks carried out in the West Bank.

In the West Bank, 35 Palestinians, including at least eleven children, were injured by Israeli forces during protests and clashes. Almost half of the total injuries (16) were recorded during the weekly demonstration against settlement expansion on Palestinian land in al-Mughayyir village (Ramallah).

Of the total injuries during the reporting period, 34 per cent were caused by live ammunition, 31 per cent by tear gas inhalation requiring medical treatment, 31 per cent by rubber bullets, and the remaining 4 per cent by other means.

At the same time, fifteen structures were demolished or seized in occupied Jerusalem and Area C on the grounds of a lack of Israeli-issued building permits, displacing 39 Palestinians and affecting the livelihoods of some 70 others. Seven of the ten structures targeted in occupied Jerusalem, all residential, were demolished by their owners following the receipt of final demolition orders, reportedly to avoid incurring additional fines. The other five structures were located in Area C. Overall, 48 structures have been demolished or seized by Israel in the West Bank since the start of 2019.

On 6 February, Israeli forces displaced, for up to 14 hours, some 400 Palestinians in the northern Jordan Valley during Israeli military training exercises. This disrupted the livelihoods and access to services of two herding communities located in an area designated as a “firing zone”: Khirbet al-Ras al Ahmar and Hammamat al Maleh. Communities located in such zones are affected by a coercive environment placing their residents at risk of forcible transfer.

Also in Area C of the northern Jordan Valley, the Israeli authorities uprooted approximately 500 trees, leveled four dunums of cultivated land and caused damaged to an irrigation network, on the grounds that the area is ‘state land’.
Around 425 additional trees and 14 vehicles were vandalized, and one Palestinian was injured, in attacks by Israeli settlers, OCHA further stated.

(Source / 16.02.2019)

IOF kidnaps 4 Palestinians in West Bank raids

IOF kidnaps 4 Palestinians in West Bank raids

IOF kidnaps 4 Palestinians in West Bank raids

The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at dawn Saturday arrested four Palestinians in the West Bank.

Local sources said that the IOF kidnapped Abdulfattah Abu Salo and Mohammed al-Jindi from their homes in al-Arroub refugee camp in al-Khalil.

Two Palestinian youths identified as Ayham Abdullatif and Mohammed al-Barghouti were arrested in another campaign in Beit Rima village in Ramallah.

The IOF further stormed three Palestinian homes in Kafr Ni’ma, west of Ramallah, and wreaked havoc on them.

(Source / 16.02.2019)

First and Only Pediatric Cancer Department to Open in Gaza This Month

16 Feb 6:35 AM

The Palestine Children’s Relief Fund, on Thursday, held a press conference to announce the opening of the  first and only Pediatric Cancer Department in the Gaza Strip, which is due to be officially opened on 19 February, according to the PNN.

The 24,000 square meter department, named Dr. Musa & Suhaila Nasir Gaza Pediatric Cancer Department, will provide daily health care with 15 beds, 16 rooms for overnight stays, 3 children’s examination rooms, a dental clinic, medical stations, a pharmacy and nursing stations.

The department will also provide a family gathering room and children’s play rooms with TVs, computers, books and toys. In addition, a full kitchen is equipped with a refrigerator, washing machine and dryer.

As part of its commitment to ensuring and sustaining services and support for children and their families, PCRF has served as a social worker and project manager in the new section in Gaza.

This is the second department to be opened in Palestine by PCRF, the first being the Huda Al-Masri section for child cancer patients at the Beit Jala Hospital in the West Bank, which was named after a founding member of the organization who died of cancer in 2009.

Huda Al-Masri was married to the Executive Director and co-founder of PCRF, who continued to lead the organization and oversaw the process of building this section to treat children in Palestine in honor of his wife’s human heritage.

According to a statement by PCRF, 100% of children with cancer in Gaza are referred for treatment in hospitals outside the Gaza Strip. In most cases, they can not travel with their loved ones because of the Israeli procedures for granting exit permits from the Gaza Strip. In addition to that the treatment of children is intermittent and may be delayed due to delays in granting permits or not re-issued for follow-up treatment, which leads to the cessation of treatment and affects the health of children.

PCRF was able to raise more than $3 million to build the department and to fully equip it with materials as well as high-quality design, with the help of hundreds of people around the world.

The PCRF is a US NGO with more than 26 years of experience in providing medical services and care for sick and wounded children in the Middle East, regardless of their political status and nationality. The department has been named d. Musa and Suhaila Nasser for children with cancer in Gaza in this name in honor of Dr. Musa and Sahila Nasser, who helped establish the Society in 1991 and in recognition of their humanitarian and leadership efforts.

It was established in 1991 in the United States of America to identify the needs of Arab children in the Middle East. For 26 years, the association has provided medical services and treatments that have saved the lives of thousands of children in the Middle East. In addition to direct medical services for children, the Society is making continuous efforts to find sustainable solutions to medical challenges by training local doctors and providing basic medical infrastructure for local hospitals.

(Source / 16.02.2019)

Hebron Report 02/15/19

16 Feb 6:08 AM

On the morning of February 14, 2019, ISM activists were forced to leave the Shuhada Street area as it was declared a closed military zone. The activists were monitoring the Qurtuba checkpoint, which is passed every morning by teachers and children going to school. Palestinians are regularly targeted and harassed by settlers and the military at this checkpoint. Over the 37 minutes that activists were present at the checkpoint, approximately 100 Palestinians were subject to its control and surveillance.

The declaration of a closed military zone came on the foot of a large coordinated settler attack on Palestinian families living close to this checkpoint. This took place on the night of February 12, 2019 and several people were injured. Significant damage was caused to Palestinian homes also. The following morning, ISM activists were forced out of the H2 area near Qurtuba by police with no explanation as to why. During this time, settlers moved freely with the police, harassing and filming activists as they were forced out. Footage can be seen here.

On the morning of February 14th ISM activists were notified that a closed military zone had been declared for the day of February 14th. Prior to this, Anat Cohen, an infamously violent settler, assaulted an ISM activist. This was the fifth time in the past week that ISM activists have been assaulted by settlers. Leaving the Qurtuba area, activists joined others who were monitoring the Qeitun checkpoint.

At Qeitun, Israeli forces fired 2 concussion bombs and 4 tear gas canisters at Palestinian people. One concussion bomb exploded very close to a mother and her baby. While thankfully there were no serious injuries, it is terrifying to think about the effect that such weapons would have on a newborn’s ears and lungs. Unfortunately, unprovoked attacks and collective punishment are normalized and occur regularly under the illegal occupation of the West Bank.

It has been said many times before, but it worth restating the saying that “existence is resistance”. Under these circumstances the peaceful act of trying to make your way to school or work is an act of defiance and courage. To do so is to stand up against the logic of systemic violence, oppression and land theft that is imposed by the Israeli State, its armed forces and settlers.

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(Source / 16.02.2019)

Israeli Soldiers Abduct Four Palestinians In Hebron And Ramallah

16 Feb 10:48 AM

Israeli soldiers abducted, on Saturday at dawn, four Palestinians in Hebron and Ramallah governorates, in the southern and central parts of the occupied West Bank, after invading and searching their homes.

The PPS office in Hebron said the several army jeeps invaded the al-‘Arroub refugee camp, north of the city, before the soldiers abducted two Palestinians identified as Abdul-Fattah Khaled Abu Sil, 21, and Mohammad Khaled al-Jondi, 22.

The soldiers also invaded many neighborhoods in Hebron city, and installed roadblocks at the entrance of Sa’ir town, northeast of Hebron, and Halhoul bridge area, north of Hebron, before stopping and searching cars, and interrogated many Palestinians while inspecting their ID cards.

Furthermore, the soldiers, stationed at the military roadblock on the road leading to Ni’lin town, stopped and searched cars and abducted two young men from Beit Rima town, west of Ramallah.

In related news, several army jeeps invaded Kafr Ni’ma town, also west of Ramallah, before searching homes.

(Source / 16.02.2019)

On 47th Friday of Great March of Return and Breaking Siege, Israeli Forces Wound 67 Civilians, including 14 Children, 2 Women, 2 Paramedics, and Journalist

16 Feb 11:44 AM

The Palestinian Center For Human Rights (PRHC): On Friday evening, 15 February 2019, in excessive use of force against peaceful protesters on the 47th Friday of the March of Return and Breaking the Siege, Israeli forces wounded 67 civilians, including 14 children, 2 women, 2 paramedics, and a journalist eastern Gaza Strip. The injury of 5 of the wounded civilians was reported serious.

According to observations by PCHR’s fieldworkers, the Israeli forces who stationed in prone positions and in military jeeps along the fence with Israel continued to use excessive force against the demonstrators by opening fire and firing teargas canisters at them.  As a result, dozens of the demonstrators were hit with bullets and teargas canisters without posing any imminent threat or danger to the life of soldiers.

On Friday, 15 February 2019, the incidents were as follows:

At approximately 15:00, thousands of civilians, including women, children and entire families, started swarming to the encampments established by the Supreme National Authority of Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege adjacent to the border fence with Israel in eastern Gaza Strip cities.

Hundreds, including children and women, approached the border fence with Israel in front of each encampment and gathered 10-100 meters away from the main border fence. They chanted national slogans, attempted to throw stones at the Israeli forces and in limited cases, they approached the border fence, attempting to set fire to tires and throwing stones at the Israeli forces.

Although the demonstrators gathered in areas open to the Israeli snipers stationed on the top of the sand berms and military watchtowers and inside and behind the military jeeps, the Israeli forces fired live and rubber bullets in addition to a barrage of teargas canisters.

The Israeli shooting, which continued at around 17:30, resulted in the injury of 67 Palestinian civilians, including 14 children, 2 women, 2 paramedics, and a journalist. In addition, dozens of demonstrators, paramedics and journalists suffered tear gas inhalation and seizures due to tear gas canisters that were fired by the Israeli forces from the military jeeps and riffles in the eastern Gaza Strip.

The following table shows the number of civilian victims due to the Israeli forces’ suppression of the Great March of Return since its beginning on 30 March:

1733Medical Crews
Among those wounded, 526 are in serious condition and 101 had their lower or upper limbs amputated; 89 lower-limb amputations, 2 upper-limb amputations, 10 finger amputations and 17 children had their limbs amputated according to the Ministry of Health.  The number of those wounded only include those wounded with live bullets and directly hit with tear gas canisters as there have been thousand others who suffered tear gas inhalation and sustained bruises.Notes

PCHR emphasizes that continuously targeting civilians, who exercise their right to peaceful assembly or while carrying out their humanitarian duty, is a serious violation of the rules of international law, international humanitarian law, the ICC Rome Statute and Fourth Geneva Convention. Thus, PCHR calls upon the ICC Prosecutor to open an official investigation in these crimes and to prosecute and hold accountable all those applying or involved in issuing orders within the Israeli Forces at the security and political echelons.

PCHR hereby condemns the excessive use of force and commission of crimes by the Israeli forces despite the prevailed calmness, believing it is as a result of Israel’s enjoying impunity thanks to the U.S. and so encouraging the Israeli forces to commit further crimes upon an official decision by the highest military and political echelons.

PCHR also reiterates its call upon the High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations under Article 1; i.e., to respect and ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances and their obligations under Article 146 to prosecute persons alleged to commit grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

PCHR calls upon Switzerland, in its capacity as the Depository State for the Convention, to demand the High Contracting Parties to convene a meeting and ensure Israel’s respect for this Convention, noting that these grave breaches constitute war crimes under Article 147 of the same Convention and Protocol (I) Additional to the Geneva Conventions regarding the guarantee of Palestinian civilians’ right to protection in the occupied territories.

(Source / 16.02.2019)

Palestinian child was 150 metres from Gaza fence when killed by Israeli forces

Twenty-five Palestinians were injured in the 33rd week of protests along the Gaza-israel fence on 9 November, 2018

A Palestinian child was some 150 metres from the perimeter fence of the occupied Gaza Strip when he was killed by Israeli soldiers during protests on 8 February.

According to Defence for Children International – Palestine (DCIP), 16-year-old Hassan Nabil Ahmad Nofal had joined a group of youth participating in Great Return March protests around 3.30pm last Friday.

The group was standing around 150 metres from the fence when Israeli soldiers fired tear gas canisters directly at the youngsters; Hassan was struck on the right side of his head, fracturing his skull.

Taken to Al-Aqsa Martyrs hospital for emergency care, Hassan then underwent surgery in Shifa hospital, “where he remained in critical condition”, DCIP stated.

Dr Hazem Kahil, a neurosurgery specialist at Shifa hospital, told DCIP that the surgery was performed to stop a brain bleed, but Hassan was pronounced dead on 12 February.

READ: Israel forces kill 4 children in 2 weeks, NGO reports

“Tear gas canisters can become deadly weapons when they are fired and strike a child’s torso or head,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, head of DCIP’s Accountability Programme.

“Since the start of 2018, DCIP has documented five cases of Palestinian children who died after being struck in the head with Israeli-fired tear gas canisters”.

DCIP noted that Hassan is “among four children from the Gaza Strip and two further children from the West Bank to be killed by Israeli forces since the beginning of the year”.

(Source / 15.02.2019)

Israel’s Lieberman: Next confrontation with Gaza must be the last

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman speaks during a press conference at the Israeli Parliament on November 14, 2018 in Jerusalem, Israel [Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images]

Former Israeli defence minister Avigdor Lieberman speaks during a press conference at the Israeli Parliament on November 14, 2018 in Jerusalem, Israel

Former Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman yesterday warned that the next confrontation with the Gaza Strip must be the last.

“For nearly a year, since the [Great March of Return] started along the Gaza Strip border fence, the most volatile Israeli border [has been] the one it shares with the Gaza Strip,” Lieberman said. He then explained that the military intelligence assessment published on Wednesday- which indicated that Israel is likely to face a major escalation with the Palestinians in Gaza or the West Bank within the next 12 months – is consistent with his assessment over the past year.

Palestinians along the Gaza-Israel border reaffirm the ‘Right of Return’ and get shot by IOF - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

“The question now is not whether there will be another confrontation with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, but when will that happen,” he added.

Lieberman said he believed the Israeli government is responsible for “strengthening” the Palestinian resistance factions by not launching a war on the already-besieged Gaza Strip and by easing sanctions against it.

READ: Hamas asks UN to pressure Israel to commit to truce

According to Lieberman, the transfer of funds and fuel to the Gaza Strip and expanding the fishing area all contribute to strengthening Hamas at both the military and civilian levels, and increase popular support for it in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.

“We must strike a hard and disproportionate blow on Hamas – completely break their willpower to continue to fight against us and destroy their belief that they could ever defeat us,” he added.

Meanwhile, Israel Hayom yesterday revealed a plan announced by the Chief of General Staff of the Israeli Army, General Aviv Kochavi, aimed at improving the Israeli army’s operational readiness in the Gaza Strip, at the expense of other sectors.

Gaza “will be the most explosive in the coming months” the newspaper quoted Kochavi as saying.

READ: Extent of Israel attacks on Gaza fishermen revealed

(Source / 15.02.2019)

Oxfam, Save the Children issue warning over withdrawal of Hebron monitors

Members of the Palestinian Youth Against Settlements (YAS) activists escort children on their way to school in Hebron, West Bank on 10 February 2019 [Mamoun Wazwaz / Anadolu Agency]

Members of the Palestinian Youth Against Settlements (YAS) activists escort children on their way to school in Hebron, West Bank on 10 February 2019

Oxfam, Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and Save the Children warned Thursday that “hundreds of civilians, including children, will see their safety put at risk by the withdrawal of international observers deployed in the city of Hebron”.

In a joint statement, the international NGOs condemned the Israeli government’s decision last month to decline to renew the mandate of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH).

According to the NGOs, the removal of the international observer force “threatens the already fragile security situation and risks contributing to a rapid decline in the city’s stability”.

Save the Children Regional Director, Jeremy Stoner, said: “Palestinian children attending schools near Israeli settler communities in Hebron have experienced threats and violence from settlers for years. The role of the TIPH and other international observers has been very important in reducing confrontations and ensuring children’s safety and access to education”.

READ: Israel had ‘every right’ to expel Hebron observers

“Just last week, we visited one of the schools in Hebron, and the headmistress told Save the Children that staff and students felt exposed and vulnerable without international observers accompanying the children,” he added.

Oxfam Country Director, Chris Eijkemans, said: “This move will exacerbate an already volatile situation, increase impunity for human rights abuses and put civilians in more danger. Decisions like this pave the way for further settlement expansion and annexation of Palestinian land. It is a dangerous green light for more violence and abuse of international law, making any prospect of a peaceful, just and lasting resolution for Palestinians and Israelis increasingly remote”.

NRC Deputy Regional Director, Maureen Magee, said: “Short of dismantling the system of closures, restrictions and checkpoints affecting Palestinians in Hebron, the Israeli government is responsible for ensuring the unhindered passage of civilians, including students and school staff, through checkpoints on their way to and from schools. Israel must ensure that schools are protected, safe places for children. We see from our work in Hebron’s schools how children are traumatised by harassment and violence. Left unchecked, this will leave long-lasting scars”.

READ: Israel planning for a second massacre in Hebron

(Source / 15.02.2019)

Bahrain FM: Confronting Iran is more important than Palestine

Bahrain's Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa in Manama, Bahrain on 27 October 2018 [STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images]

Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa in Manama, Bahrain on 27 October 2018

Confronting “the Iranian threat” is more important than dealing with the Israel-Palestine issue, Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Khalid Bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa said in a panel discussion at this week’s Warsaw Conference, the New Khaliji has reported.

The statements came to light in a video that was briefly uploaded to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s official YouTube channel, before being quickly deleted yesterday. Believed to be filmed by an Israeli official, the video also featured Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Adel Al-Jubeir, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)’s Foreign Minister, Abdullah Bin Zayed, participating in the discussion.

“We have grown up saying that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is the most important issue, and it must be resolved in this way or that, but in the final stages we have seen a greater challenge, the most serious in our modern history, the threat of the Iranian Republic,” Al-Khalifa can be heard saying.

“This is not about the Iranian people, but about the fascist religious regime in Iran, which we face every day,” Al-Khalifa reportedly says, adding that: “Iran smuggled weapons and explosives capable of wiping the Bahraini capital off the face of the earth.”

“This challenge [Iran] must be faced in order to devote [time] to other challenges. But it is this capital [Tehran] that is preventing us from solving it [the Palestinian issue] by forming a threat in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and even Bahrain,” he concludes.

READ: Pence, at summit, lashes out at Europeans over Iran

Also heard in the video was Saudi diplomat Al-Jubeir, who argued that in every place in the region Iran plays a devastating role, citing its support of Hamas in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Al-Jubeir can also be heard condemning Iran’s ballistic missile program, stating that Tehran must be punished for its actions until it promotes peace in the region.

The Warsaw Conference – held in the Polish capital this week – saw delegates from over 60 countries attend what was widely perceived as an attempt by the US to isolate Iran and gather support for Washington’s renewed sanctions against Tehran.

European powers, who oppose US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of a nuclear deal with Iran, were openly sceptical of the summit; France and Germany declined to send their top diplomats, while British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt left before Thursday’s main events. EU policy chief Federica Mogherini, who was a key player in the Iran nuclear deal, also did not attend the two-day conference due to scheduling issues, an EU official said, although US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to Brussels today to meet with her.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo makes a speech during a conference devoted to peace and security in the Middle East in Warsaw, Poland on 12 February 2019 [Omar Marques/Anadolu Agency]

The conference was boycotted by Iranian ally Russia, with the Foreign Ministry stating on social media that the meeting “is a new US attempt to promote its unilateral geopolitical interests through initiatives that are presented as the opinion of the international community”.

Qatar also did not attend the meeting, with Former Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim describing it as the “Warsaw wedding ceremony”, seeming to refer to the growing public normalisation of ties between Israel and the Arab world. “I am not against normalization or against opening a relationship with Israel, but the relationship must be equal and not at the expense of Palestinian rights,” he said on Twitter.

READ: Hamas: Warsaw conference participants are ‘traitors’

(Source / 15.02.2019)