3 young men wounded by IOF live fire in central Gaza

GAZA, (PIC)– Three Palestinian young men were wounded by live bullets fired by the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) east of Breij refugee camp in central Gaza Strip on Tuesday evening.

Eyewitnesses said that the three youths were wounded when IOF troops stationed at the eastern borders of Gaza Strip opened machinegun fire at the unarmed Palestinian demonstrators.

Security sources told the PIC that the casualties were transferred to a hospital in Deir Al-Balah.

The eastern outskirts of the Breij refugee camp has been witnessing intermittent clashes between stone-throwing Palestinian youths and heavily-armed IOF soldiers over the past few weeks. Dozens of young men were either wounded with live and rubber-coated bullets or suffered from effects of teargas inhalation.

(Source / 22.12.2015)

Israel returns body of 72-year-old Hebron woman 45 days after death

HEBRON (Ma’an) — The Israeli authorities on Tuesday returned the body of 72-year-old Tharwat al-Shaarawi, who was shot dead by Israeli soldiers in early November after she allegedly attempted to ram them with her car.Her body was returned to her family via the Tarqumiya checkpoint, some 45 days after she was killed.Her son, Ayyub Shaarawi, told Ma’an that she would be given the appropriate burial ceremonies, adding that her funeral would take place following Isha prayer.Tharwat was shot dead by Israeli forces on Nov. 6 outside a gas station in Halhul in northern Hebron.The Israeli army alleged that the 72-year-old woman attempted to run over a group of soldiers, although her family later denied this.Israel is still holding the bodies of dozens of other Palestinians killed in recent months, including those of at least 21 Hebron-area Palestinians.The policy of holding alleged Palestinian attackers’ bodies has further stoked tensions in the occupied West Bank, which has been engulfed by unrest since the beginning of October.
(Source / 22.12.2015)

45 Olive Trees Destroyed by Settlers

Tuesdays evening, Israeli settlers from the illegal settlement of Ma’ale Levona, north of Ramallah, have destroyed 45 olive trees owned by Majed Daraghme from al-Leban al-Sharqiya town, south of Nablus.

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Zakaria Sadeh, field research coordinator for Rabbis for Human Rights, said the settlers destroyed 45 olive trees in al-Leban, al-Sharqiya town, under the watchful eyes of Israeli soldiers who were on site.

This act clearly violates article 53 from Fourth Geneva Convention, which states that “Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons, or to the State…is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.”

However, according to WAFA correspondence, Israeli soldiers and settlers claimed the land located near 60 Street until Ma’ale Levona was incorporated as a settlement, while Palestinians are now prohibited from cultivating these lands.

VIDEO: Bethlehem Olive Tree Killed by Apartheid Wall Lit Up for Christmas

(Source / 22.12.2015)

4,000 Palestinians need healthcare outside of Gaza

GAZA (Ma’an) — Around 4,000 sick Palestinians in Gaza need to travel through the Rafah crossing on the Gaza Strip’s southern border with Egypt, Gaza’s Ministry of Health said Monday.Ashraf al-Qidra demanded that the border be opened during a sit-in near the crossing. He said that the continuous closure of the Rafah crossing combined with the over nine-year Israeli military blockade of Gaza is detrimental for Palestinians with health complications living inside the territory.The crossing was last open for two days earlier this month, although Egyptian authorities have upheld a near-permanent closure of Rafah since October 2014, when over 30 Egyptian military personnel were killed in an attack by anti-regime militants.Such attacks became commonplace after Sisi took power from democratically-elected Muhammad Morsi in July 2013.Hamas — Gaza’s de-facto governing power who was closely allied with the Muslim Brotherhood leader — has since suffered poor relations with Sisi’s Egypt, which accuses Hamas for supporting Sinai insurgents.Such relations have led to the ongoing Rafah crossing, a lifeline for Gaza’s 1.8 millions residents who already lacked basic needs due to Israel’s ongoing blockade of the strip.

(Source / 22.12.2015)

Israel has ‘deprived 23,000 orphans of monthly sponsorship’

Israel’s banning of the group has deprived 23,000 orphans from their monthly sponsorship payments

Israel’s banning of the group has deprived 23,000 orphans from their monthly sponsorship payments. [File photo]

The Deputy Head of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Shaikh Kamal Al-Khatib, said on Monday that Israel’s banning of the group has deprived 23,000 orphans from their monthly sponsorship payments, Anadolu has reported.

“The Islamic Relief charity run by the movement,” explained Al-Khatib, “used to pay a minimum of $40 monthly sponsorship for each orphan spread around the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza Strip.”

The Israeli government banned the Islamic Movement on 16 November. Any person or group which associates with it officially is now subject to criminal penalties, including arrest. The authorities confiscated property belonging to the organisation and its bank accounts were frozen. Seventeen affiliated organisations, including charities, were closed down.

The sponsorships, explained Al-Khatib, were donated by Palestinians. He suggested that a solution for the problem is for wealthy Muslims to take over the orphan sponsorships and pointed out that efforts are being made in this regard, although, understandably, he gave no details.

The Palestinian Islamic Relief charity was established by the movement in 1988 and its main activity was sponsoring orphans; it has no connection to the UK-based Islamic Relief or Islamic Relief Worldwide. The charity has been closed by the Israeli authorities several times. “Israel seeks to crack down on all projects which lie behind the persistence of the Palestinians,” added Al-Khatib. He stressed that the charity’s accounts have always been subject to Israeli monitoring.

(Source / 22.12.2015)

Israeli soldiers attempt to raid Bethlehem-area school

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces on Tuesday attempted to raid the Tuqu secondary school in the Bethlehem district of the occupied West Bank, administrators said.Administrators of the school told Ma’an that Israeli soldiers ordered teachers to evacuate the school building and tried to enter, but were prevented by faculty.Clashes then erupted between students and forces, who fired stun grenades and tear gas at the students before preventing them from leaving the area.

An Israeli army spokesperson did not immediately respond for comment.
(Source / 22.12.2015)

Palestinian home turned into observation post in al-Khalil

AL-KHALIL, (PIC)– The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) seized at dawn Tuesday a Palestinian home in Halhul town, north of al-Khalil, and turned it into a military observation post.

The PIC reporter affirmed that IOF seized by force a local home belonging to Dr. Osama Barbarawi and turned it into a military observation post.

All the family members were held in a single room as a state of panic prevailed in the house, the PIC reporter added.

A make-shift checkpoint was also erected at the northern entrance to the town where Palestinian vehicles were stopped and searched.

Several other homes were stormed and violently searched during the raid.

(Source / 22.12.2015)

Syrians Demand Civilian Protection as Security Council Discusses Syria

Today, the UN Security Council was briefed on the humanitarian situation in Syria for the twenty-third time since the adoption of Security Council resolution 2139. Despite the resolution’s demand for the cessation of all violence against civilians, each month since February 2014 has marked an increase in civilian death and a worsening of Syria’s humanitarian situation. Tragically, recent weeks have been no exception. To the contrary, less than 48 hours after the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2254, the Assad regime and Russian forces jointly escalated their war on civilians across Syria, killing innocent men, women and children through indiscriminate aerial attacks in opposition-held areas in Idlib city.

“Sunday’s attacks on Idlib offer yet another horrific example of Russia’s targeting of innocent civilians, and they are a clear violation of Security Council 2254, which demands that all parties cease their indiscriminate attacks on civilians,” said the Special Representative of the Syrian National Coalition to the United Nations, Dr. Najib Ghadbian. “If Russia is serious about contributing to a political solution in Syria, then it must cease these indiscriminate attacks on civilians. Failure to do so will only jeopardize the Vienna process and work to the benefit of terrorist extremist groups.”

Ahead of today’s briefing on the humanitarian situation in Syria, Dr. Ghadbian delivered a letter to the Security Council calling for comprehensive action by Security Council members to protect Syrian civilians, enforce existing Security Council resolutions, and ensure accountability. To read the full letter to the Security Council, press here.

(Source / 22.12.2015)

Settlers target Palestinian home in suspected revenge attack

Home of the Palestinian al-Najjar family on Dec. 22, 2015

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Suspected Israeli settlers early Tuesday attacked a Palestinian home in a Ramallah-area village in the occupied West Bank in what appeared to be a revenge attack for the arrest of Jewish extremists who carried out a deadly attack last summer.Hussein al-Najjar, 30, told Ma’an that settlers arrived to his home in the village of Beitillu around 1:30 a.m. and vandalized the exterior walls of the house before smashing in a window and throwing three tear gas bombs inside.Al-Najjar said that he and his wife as well as their 9-month-old son Karam suffered from severe tear gas inhalation.”The family survived death thanks to the intervention of neighbors who broke open the main door and evacuated the family, who were found unconscious,” al-Najjar told Ma’an.The phrases “revenge” and “hello from the detainees of Zion” were spray-painted in Hebrew on the side of the home according to photos released by Israeli media of the scene.Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri said in a statement that Israeli police were alerted of the incident by their Palestinian counterparts and referred to the attack as a “suspected nationally-motivated crime.”Israeli police and army officers arrived to the scene and had begun investigations, al-Samri added.

Initial reports said that “smoke grenades” had been thrown into the home, but the spokesperson later clarified that tear gas bombs had been used.Israeli settlers regularly carry out so-called price-tag attacks on Palestinians and their property, purportedly in revenge for actions taken by Palestinians or the Israeli government against the illegal settlement enterprise.The attacks — over 220 of which have been carried out in 2015 — were labelled as “acts of terrorism” by the US government in 2013.Israeli media has alleged that the graffiti in Tuesday’s attack referred to suspects belonging to a Jewish terror organization who on July 31 carried out an arson attack on a Palestinian home in Duma near Nablus.The attack killed three members of the Dawabsha family, including an 18-month-old and his parents.While the majority of information regarding the investigation remains under a gag-order by Israeli police, news broke on Dec. 3 that several youths connected to a Jewish extremist organization were arrested in November and held under administrative detention.Last week right-wing Israeli groups lashed out at Shin Bet after accusations that the Israeli domestic security agency used torture on the suspects during interrogation.In response, the agency cautioned against “a proactive and ongoing effort to slander the organization and its work, and to disrupt its activities” in investigating the deadly attack.Israel has received criticism from the international community and rights groups regarding government policies that allow Israeli settlers to attack Palestinians with total immunity, and the case of the Dawabsha murders have been followed closely.In discussing the investigation, Shin Bet said in a statement Friday that activity by a Jewish terror organization had “contributed to instability in the region,” warning against the potential danger of growing influence of the group against the Israeli government.PLO Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi last week denounced foot-dragging by Israel to prosecute the suspects responsible for the Dawabsha arson attack as effectively condoning violent behavior of Israeli settlers and extremists.“When it comes to Jewish criminality or terrorism against Palestinian victims, the legal system in Israel seems to fall apart,” the PLO official said in a statement.
(Source / 22.12.2015)

Israeli forces detain 13, threaten action against stone-throwing

HEBRON (Ma’an) — Israeli forces detained 13 Palestinians, including two minors, from across the occupied West Bank before dawn on Tuesday as an ongoing search and arrest campaign by Israeli authorities continued.Local sources told Ma’an that Israeli military forces raided the town of Halhul north of Hebron and stormed several homes before detaining two brothers, Muhammad and Ayham Imad al-Baw, aged 14 and 15.Locals said that soldiers threatened Halhul residents that military action against them would increase if they did not stop throwing stones and Molotov cocktails near the al-Nabai Younis entrance of the village.Israeli forces reportedly distributed leaflets in the streets and near homes in Halhul that demanded residents, officials, and Palestinian security to stop “the violent actions.”Israeli soldiers also raided the village of Dura west of Hebron and detained Nadeer Kamel Nassar, 22.In the northern West Bank town of Tubas, local sources told Ma’an that Israeli forces detained Aysar Ezzat Maslamani, 27 after raiding his home in al-Naqar neighborhood near al-Quds Open University.The Zaatara village nearby Bethlehem was also raided by Israeli forces, according to locals. Soldiers reportedly searched the home of Hassan Dannoun and assaulted his son, Talha, before detaining his other son Abdul-Rahman and seizing the family’s phones.Abul-Aziz Kamel abu Amriya was also detained from Zaatara by Israeli forces who locals said raided a gas station that belongs to him, and confiscating video footage from surveillance cameras in the station.Locals also identified another detainee from Zaatara as Jihad Mahmoud Abu Rmaies.An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that 13 were detained, including two “Hamas operatives” from the Nablus and Qalqilya areas.Two Palestinians were also detained from the Tulkarem district, two southwest of Jenin, one northeast from Nablus, as well as four from the Bethlehem and Hebron areas, the spokesperson said.

While search and arrest raid are routinely carried out by Israeli military forces, rates of arrest sharply increased in October, with well over 2000 detained in the last three months.
(Source / 22.12.2015)