IOF arrests senior PA intelligence officer in J’lem

PA intelligence officer

The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Saturday morning arrested a senior officer of the Palestinian Authority (PA) intelligence agency in Jerusalem, with no known reason.

Senior Fatah official Shadi Matwar said that Israeli soldiers arrested Jihad al-Faqih, head of the intelligence directorate in Jerusalem, in an ambush in al-Judeira village, northwest of the holy city.

Matwar added that Faqih was taken in for interrogation at the Maskubiya police station in Jerusalem.

(Source / 20.10.2018)

Israeli airstrike targets Palestinian youths in Gaza

Targets youths Gaza

The Israeli occupation army announced that it launched an airstrike on Saturday on a group of Palestinian citizens in the southern area of the Gaza Strip.

The army said in a statement that an Israeli warplane attacked Palestinian youths flying fire balloons toward Israeli settlements adjacent to the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian sources said that the airstrike targeted a small vehicle east of Khan Younis city with no injuries reported.

Palestinian youths in the Gaza Strip since the start of the Great March of Return have launched dozens of fire kites and balloons over the border fence, burning thousands of dunums of settler lands and causing heavy losses.

(Source / 20.10.2018)

‘Strong blow’ looming? Israel masses tanks & APCs on Gaza border (PHOTOS)

‘Strong blow’ looming? Israel masses tanks & APCs on Gaza border (PHOTOS)

Israel has boosted its military presence along the border with Gaza amid top politicians’ calls for a full-scale military campaign like the conflict of 2014, to put an end to the violence and rocket attacks that it links to Hamas.

The IDF has stationed around 60 tanks and armored personnel carriers at a deployment area near the Palestinian border, according to Reuters, in what may be the largest military maneuver from Israel since 2014’s Operation Protective Edge.

In the latest exchange this week, a rocket from Gaza hit the southern Israeli city of Be’er Sheva, damaging a house, while another fell into the sea. In a series of retaliatory airstrikes Tuesday night, the IDF killed one Palestinian and injured several more, targeting eight “terrorist locations.”

Attempting to justify its rapid military escalation, Israeli officials claimed the rocket that landed in the sea came “dangerously close” to Tel Aviv. Still, Hamas took no responsibility for the rocket strike and promised an investigation.

In addition to the military response, Israel closed two border checkpoints and instituted a three-mile limit for Palestinian fishing boats. Palestinian officials have already described Gaza as being at a “breaking point,” citing “the Israeli blockade that strangled life and business in Gaza.”

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu promised “very strong action” in the event of future rocket attacks, convening his security cabinet as soon as the projectiles hit the ground. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman prioritized showing strength over keeping the peace, reiterating his insistence on a “strong blow” against Hamas “even at a price of moving to a wide-scale confrontation.”

The Israeli media seems to be softening the population up for another war, with headlines insisting a full-scale conflict is unavoidable. An Egyptian delegation is reportedly attempting to de-escalate the situation, talking to both sides in the hope of avoiding further carnage.

The rocket arrived in Be’er Sheva as if on cue after Lieberman urged the government to allow a large-scale military campaign against Hamas in Gaza to stop “ongoing violence.” While it set off sirens, it was not intercepted by Israel’s famous Iron Dome air defense system.

While Israeli officials lament the “violence” of Hamas as the rationale for their economic blockade and proposed military incursion, most of the violence in recent months has come from Israel. The country has come under heavy international scrutiny for killing and maiming unarmed Palestinians taking part in the Great March of Return protest, including medics and journalists clearly marked as such. Over 204 Palestinians have been killed and more than 22,000 injured since the protests began in March. Israel has also stepped up its demolition of Palestinian villages to make way for the expansion of illegal settlements.

Israel wounds 130 Palestinian protesters in Gaza

Among the wounded were 25 children, 3 paramedics and a journalist

Israeli occupation snipers on Friday shot and wounded 130 Palestinian protesters who took part in the Great March of Return in Gaza, Palestinian medical sources reported.

Palestinian Ministry of Health spokesman Ashraf Al-Qidra said that among the wounded were 25 children, three paramedics and a journalist. He added that a 70-year-old woman was also wounded and that two of those shot sustained serious injuries and were placed in intensive care.

Meanwhile, local security sources said that Israeli artillery bombed a group of protesters in the city of Khan Younis, in the south of the besieged Gaza Strip, causing a number of injuries.

READ: ‘At least 1 Gazan is killed every single day’

Israeli occupation forces have killed more than 200 Palestinian protesters and journalists since 30 March – when the Great March of Return began – and wounded around 22,000 others.

Palestinians in Gaza have been staging the protests to call for an end to the 12-year-old Israeli siege imposed on Gaza and to reinforce the right of the Palestinians, who were forced out of their homes in the Nakba of 1948, to return to their land, villages and cities.

(Source / 20.10.2018)

Israel forces attack protesters in Khan Al-Ahmar

Israeli occupation forces storm the Bedouin village of Khan Al-Ahmar in the West Bank on 14 September 2018 [Ä°ssam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

Israeli occupation forces storm the Bedouin village of Khan Al-Ahmar in the West Bank on 14 September 2018

Israeli occupation forces attacked on Friday a group of protesters in Khan Al-Ahmar used pepper spray and prevented them from demonstrating on the nearby highway, Ma’an reported.

According to Ma’an, the Israeli occupation forces besieged the Palestinian village, situated just east of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank, which is slated for demolition by Israel to make way for the expansion of more illegal settlements in the area.

The siege started on Friday at dawn and the Israeli occupation forces prevented any of the residents or the demonstrators from leaving the village.

All roads leading to the village were also closed in order to prevent the arrival of protesters and residents who came to demonstrate against the slated demolition.

READ: Theresa May condemns Israel’s planned demolition of Khan Al-Ahmar

Ma’an said that these closures were also imposed to prevent the arrival of journalists to the village.

Earlier this week, Khan Al-Ahmar was flooded with wastewater with illegal settlers from the nearby settlement of Kfar Adumim. The incident represented the second time this month that illegal settlers had attacked and flooded the village, causing contamination to the village’s water supplies in an attempt to drive its residents from the village.

Bulldozers were also seen entering Khan Al-Ahmar this week from the Jerusalem-Jericho road. The three military vehicles began to raze the ground surrounding the village, in what is thought to be in preparation for its demolition. Though the demolition was expected to take place on 1 October, as yet Israel has not forcibly transferred the residents of Khan Al-Ahmar.

READ: ICC warns Israel: Destroying Khan Al-Ahmar could be ‘war crime’

Khan Al-Ahmar is home to some 173 Al-Jahhalin Bedouins who are refugees from the Negev desert. They have lived in the area east of Jerusalem since their displacement by the Israeli army in 1967. Israel has refused to recognise Al-Jahhalin Bedouin communities or grant them building permits, a strategy often used by Israel to term any Bedouin home illegal.

Israel’s demolition of Al-Khan Al-Ahmar - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

(Source / 20.10.2018)

Israel arrests two Palestinian fishermen off Gaza coast

Gaza fishermen

Israeli naval forces on Saturday detained two Palestinian fishermen off the coast of the blockaded Gaza Strip, according to a local official.

The two fishermen were identified as Karim and Mohamed Abu Hassan, who were arrested three miles away from the shore of the northern city of Beit Lahia, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, an NGO, said in a statement.

The Israeli forces confiscated their boat and fishing equipment, the union said.

In another statement, the union said the two fishermen were later released by Israeli forces.

READ: Israel detained 4 Palestinian fishermen from Gaza

There was no comment from the Israeli Navy on the report.

After Israel’s devastating 2014 military onslaught on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip (which left more than 2,150 Palestinians dead), Israel began to allow Palestinian fishermen to ply their trade up to six nautical miles off the coast (as opposed to three previously).

In May of this year, Israel increased this to nine nautical miles.

One month later, however, Israel reduced this again to only three nautical miles in response to the launching of incendiary kites and balloons into Israel by Palestinian activists in Gaza.

The kite/balloon attacks came as part of ongoing Palestinian rallies along the Gaza-Israel buffer zone to protest Israel’s 12-year blockade of the coastal enclave.

Israel carries out 9 airstrikes in Gaza, in response to kites - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Since the rallies – which have continued on an almost-daily basis – began on March 30, more than 200 Palestinians have been martyred by Israeli troops deployed along the other side of the buffer zone.

(Source / 20.10.2018)

Israeli mass murder of Gazans targets children

By Jean Shaoul
8 October 2018

The Israeli army opened fire on Palestinian protestors in the Gaza Strip Friday, killing three people, including a 12-year-old boy.

Fares Hafez al-Sersawi died along with Mahmud Akram Mohammed Abu Samane, aged 24, after being shot in the chest during demonstrations east of Gaza City, while Hussein al-Rakab, aged 28, died after being shot in the head near the southern city of Khan Yunis. A further 376 people were wounded, seven of whom remain in a critical condition.

The previous Friday, following a relatively quiet period as Israel and Hamas discussed a now-stalled agreement brokered by Egypt, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) escalated its slaughter of unarmed civilians, shooting and killing seven Palestinians demonstrating near Gaza’s border with Israel, and injuring 500.

The seven murdered included 12-year-old Naser Azmi Musbeh and 14-year-old Mohammed Naif al-Houm, while 90 children, four medics and four journalists were among those wounded by live fire. Not a single Israeli was hurt during this bloodbath.

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, Friday’s toll brings the total number of Palestinians killed to 197 and the number injured to at least 21,600 since the March of Return protests began on March 30. According to the United Nations, 77 Palestinians have required amputation, including 14 children and one woman, while 12 people have been left paralysed due to spinal injuries.

The most powerful military force in the Middle East faces an impoverished and essentially unarmed population. In the most brutal and cowardly fashion, it is slaughtering civilians who have faced an economic siege, the destruction of their livelihoods, repeated bombardments, and military assaults over the last 11 years.

Originally scheduled to finish on May 15, the date of the establishment of the state of Israel Palestinians mark as Nakba (Catastrophe) Day, weekly rallies have demanded the right of Palestinians to return to the homes from which their families were driven in 1948. Demonstrations have continued, with mid-week beach protests in northern Gaza and the launching of incendiary kites and balloons into Israel, sparking fires that have destroyed forests, burned crops, and killed livestock.

Tensions in the occupied territories have risen following Israel’s introduction of the “Nation-State Law” and Washington’s ending of its financial support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency—the Palestinian refugee aid body. The law institutionalises discrimination against non-Jewish citizens, sanctions state-supported segregation and the exclusion of Arabs from exclusively Jewish communities and removes Arabic as an official state language.

Of the 197 killed by Israeli forcessince the protests began, a staggering number are children—some 44 or one quarter of the total, according to the group Defense for Children International, indicating that the murder of young children has become Israel’s new weapon of terror against the Palestinians.

Human rights groups have told the United Nations Human Rights Council, which is carrying out an investigation into Israel’s use of lethal fire against the protestors, that there is no evidence that a single protester in Gaza killed during the march was armed. This gives the lie to the government’s claims that it faces armed terrorists who plan to rush the border with Israel.

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Fatou Bensouda, has warned Israel that its leaders may face trial for the killings of unarmed demonstrators. But this slaughter of men, women and above all children has largely been treated as a non-event by the major imperialist powers and the corporate media.

Secure in Washington’s support, mass murder has been used repeatedly by the Zionist state since its foundation to terrorise the Palestinians and drive them from their villages, farms and homes. Israel’s criminal political elite are now braying for more blood. A bitter battle of words has broken out between two of Israel’s extreme right-wing parties, Israel is our Home and Jewish Home, as they position themselves for what is expected to be an early general election in the New Year, over whether Israel’s deadly crackdown on the protests in Gaza has been harsh enough.

On September 29, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, leader of the far right religious-nationalist Jewish Home party, excoriated Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s Gaza policy, calling it insufficiently aggressive. Lieberman, whose Israel is our Home party is in sharp decline, replied on Israel Radio, “Bennett is brazenly lying … What softness is he talking about? Just last Friday seven rioters were killed and over 500 injured and not a single Israeli was hurt.”

Later, Lieberman told Army Radio, “There is a real dispute here—that will remain with us as we enter the election process—between a bizarre, sleepwalking, messianic right, and a responsible right.”

Bennett responded in his own interview on Army Radio by urging the IDF to shoot any Palestinians flying incendiary kites and balloons over the Gaza-Israel border, saying that Lieberman’s policies were only encouraging Hamas, the Islamist party that controls Gaza: “The policy toward Gaza is a leftist policy that will ultimately lead to a full-on flare-up. The situation will be unbearable.”

On Thursday, the IDF announced that it would ramp up its forces in the south and deploy Iron Dome air defence batteries in the Gaza area, claiming that its aim was to “thwart terrorism and prevent penetration into Israel along the Gaza border fence.”

On Friday, Lieberman declared that Israel had in fact pulled back from responding harshly to the Palestinian protests to avoid a major conflict during the Jewish Holy Days season (September 9 to October 1), and tweeted, “The holidays are over, and I say to the heads of Hamas: ‘Take that into account’.”

He followed this up the next day with an announcement that Israel was reducing Gaza’s fishing zone from nine nautical miles to six nautical miles, in further breach of the 20 nautical miles agreed under the Oslo Accords, citing Friday’s “riots” as justification for this collective punishment.

In another move calculated to intensify the divisions between Hamas and Fatah, the rival Palestinian faction for control of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the occupied West Bank, Tel Aviv approved Qatar’s purchase of fuel for Gaza from Israel, overriding the PA’s objections. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened a further crackdown against the Palestinians in Gaza. Speaking alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a press conference on Thursday, he warned that Israel’s response to an attack by Hamas would be “very harsh.”

Yahya Sinwar, Hamas’ leader in Gaza, called for a ceasefire with Israel, telling an Israeli newspaper that he did not want another war. He said, “It’s in no one’s interest. We cannot prevail in a confrontation against a nuclear power. And certainly [another conflict] is not in our interest. War gains nothing.”

Far from seeking to rein in its chief ally in the Middle East, the Trump administration believes that Tel Aviv can be used to further Washington’s own imperialist designs for global domination. Green-lighting the murderous offensive against Gaza by its Israeli attack dog is only a means to an end: the removal of the Syrian and Iranian regimes, by means of an economic and diplomatic blockade, subversion, and war as part of the broader aim of transforming the resource-rich region into a de facto colony of US imperialism.

(Source / 20.10.2018)

Six months on of the Great Return march, Palestinians still struggling against Israeli oppression

GAZA, PALESTINOW.COM — Friday 19 October marks the 30th consecutive weekly gathering of thousands of Palestinian women, men and children near the Gaza fence.

These past six months of peaceful gatherings posed no security threat to the Israeli soldiers protected by armoured jeeps and sand barriers beyond the barbed fence. These soldiers could have dispersed the demonstrations with tear gas; instead, they used live bullets, killing more than 200 peaceful demonstrators and injuring around 10,000.

Many were injured in their legs, resulting in scores of disability and amputation cases. The high number of victims posed an additional challenge for medical crews, already suffering from severe shortages of supplies as a result of the siege imposed by the Israeli occupation for more than a decade.

Spreading protests

Despite the bloody fallout, all indications point to the continued momentum of Gaza’s Great March of Return. Last Friday, thousands of demonstrators gathered in the five encampment areas. Israeli soldiers killed seven of them.

The demonstrations are no longer limited to Fridays, but have extended to include Mondays and Wednesdays, with activities spilling into the night as young demonstrators conduct nightly protest activities near the fence. Protests have spread beyond the encampments, with a demonstration area near the Beit Hanoun crossing now active.

Every new victim of occupation bullets deepens the wound. Each of the martyrs killed by Israeli soldiers has left a vacuum in the lives of their loved ones

Forms of protest have evolved to include launching boats into the sea north of Gaza, both as a means of defiance and to remind the world of the plight of Palestinians in the world’s largest open-air prison.

Thirty weeks into the Great March of Return, it is evident that a powerful motive lies behind Palestinians’ determination to push forward with protests, despite the heavy toll exacted by the occupation as punishment.

The continued momentum shows that the environment that instigated these protests six months ago has not changed, and that all promises made to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza lack credibility for Palestinians living in the coastal enclave.

What do demonstrators want?

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip face two scenarios: to die slowly and quietly as a result of the siege, collapse of medical services, high unemployment, restrictions on movement, salary cuts and economic collapse; or to die loudly, with the world hearing their screams and demands for freedom, dignity and liberation.

The continued gathering of tens of thousands of Palestinians under these conditions should provoke international decision-makers to ask: what do they want? What pushed them into the arms of danger to continue these demonstrations?

The continued momentum shows that the environment that instigated these protests six months ago has not changed, and that all promises made to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza lack credibility for Palestinians living in the coastal enclave.

Palestinians carry a wounded protester east of Gaza City on 5 October 2018 (AFP)

From the outset, Palestinians have stated their intentions: we are refugees who want to return home, and we are humans who deserve to live in dignity.

More than two-thirds of Gaza’s population is made up of refugees forcibly evicted from their homes by Zionist gangs during the 1948 Nakba (“catastrophe”). UN Security Council Resolution 194 stipulates that they should be able to return to their homes, and the ongoing demonstrations fall under the umbrella of this longstanding international resolution. Protesters’ lone demand is the implementation of international justice.

Endless grief

Since the Great March of Return turned into a major movement in Gaza, Palestinian factions have agreed on a tactical objective: to break the unjust siege. Israel, which enjoys international impunity, does not recognise the legitimate rights of Palestinians under international law, including their right to a dignified life.

It has failed to address the root of the problem, instead continuing its strategy of terror, killing and disproportionate use of force against peaceful demonstrators, whose only crime is their call to end their displacement and life under siege and tyranny.

Israel’s deadly response to the protests has exacerbated Palestinians’ suffering. Since the movement began on 30 March, Palestinian mothers have lived in endless grief. Every new victim of occupation bullets deepens the wound. Each of the martyrs killed by Israeli soldiers has left a vacuum in the lives of their loved ones.

The slain protesters loved life, and they showed this love by banging on the walls of their giant prison. They refused to live in humiliation and defeat. They chose to die with honour, screaming “no” in the face of occupation and dehumanisation.

(Source / 20.10.2018)

Ehud Barak: We killed 300 Palestinians in 3 minutes

GAZA, PALESTINOW.COM — Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak on Friday said that he had killed 300 Palestinians “in only three and a half minutes”.

“When I was defense minister, more than 300 Hamas members were killed in only three and a half minutes,” Barak said in statements to the Hebrew TV channel Seven.

Barak criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and said that he has repeatedly capitulated to Hamas because he does not have a strategy.

In commentary on Barak’s statements, Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri said that the Israeli leader’s confessions about killing 300 Palestinians in about three minutes confirm that Israel is a terrorist entity led by a group of murderers.

Abu Zuhri wrote on Twitter that the international community must react immediately to these dangerous confessions.

(Source / 20.10.2018)

Israeli Soldiers Injure Several Nonviolent Protesters In Ni’lin

19 OCT
7:58 PM

Israeli soldiers injured, Friday, several protesters during the weekly nonviolent procession against the illegal Annexation Wall and colonies, in Ni’lin village, west of the central West Bank city of Ramallah.

The soldiers fired many rubber-coated steel bullets, gas bombs and concussion grenades at the nonviolent protesters, causing dozens to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation, while one Palestinian suffered various burns after he was struck by a concussion grenade.

The procession this week also marks the 65th anniversary of Qibya massacre carried out by the Israeli occupation forces, headed by Ariel Sharon, in 1953.

The protesters marched carrying Palestinian flags, and chanting for liberation and impudence, and condemning the seriously escalating Israeli military violence against the unarmed Palestinian people, and calling for the removal of the illegal Wall and colonies.

(Source / 20.10.2018)