Ramallah, (pic)– The Israeli Prison Service (IPS) transferred Wednesday evening the injured female minor Lama al-Bakri, 15, from Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital to HaSharon prison.

The Palestinian Prisoner Society (PPS) said that al-Bakri is pushed around in a wheelchair with her leg in a cast after being shot in her left leg during her detention.

Al-Bakri was arrested on December 13, 2015 after being shot and injured by Israeli forces.

Rights groups have reported that the number of Palestinian female detainees in Israeli jails and detention centers raised to reach 55 including 10 minors aged between 14 and 17.

(Source / 04.01.2016)

Israeli official calls for occupying Damascus

Israeli Knesset, Bezalel Smotrich

Israeli Knesset, Bezalel Smotrich

A senior Israeli official called on Saturday night for the occupation of the Syrian capital Damascus based on the teachings of the Jewish holy book the Torah, Felesteen newspaper reported.

During a TV show on the Israel’s Channel 2, Deputy Speaker of the Israeli Knesset Bezalel Smotrich said that Israeli borders are beyond the current borders and Jerusalem’s borders reach Damascus based on the Torah.

Smotrich, member of the extremist Israeli party Jewish Home, suggested that Israel temporarily accept the current borders, which include the Golan Heights and the occupied West Bank, stressing that it has to work to achieve what was dictated by the Torah.

Meanwhile, the MK reiterated that the extremist Israeli settlers who burnt the home of the Palestinian Dawabsheh family were not terrorists. He said such acts are only considered a kind of terror when they are carried out by the “enemies of the Jewish people who are Arabs”.

He also called for the settlers’ leaders to control all the lands of the occupied West Bank, considering it Israeli land.

In addition, he stressed that anyone who does not accept Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank “must be expelled from this land,” adding that there are 20 Arab countries which can be their destination.

He went on to stress on the importance of building a Jewish temple in place of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

(Source / 04.01.2015)

Hamas forces detain satirical journalist in Gaza

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Hamas security forces on Sunday detained Palestinian journalist and satirist Ayman al-Aloul in the Gaza Strip, his wife told Ma’an.His wife said that al-Aloul was arrested from their home by Gaza’s internal security service, who also confiscated her and her husband’s mobile phones and laptops.Al-Aloul is best known for the outspoken satirical reports he publishes on Youtube, using both formal and colloquial Arabic to draw attention to the difficulties of life in the Gaza Strip.He also works as a news editor for Arab Alaan (Arabs Now) news agency, and reports for the Iraqi al-Furat (Euphrates) television channel.During the 2014 Gaza war, al-Aloul received significant attention for a video report he published in response to the “Ice Bucket Challenge,” in which people posted videos of themselves pouring a bucket of icy water over themselves on social media to draw attention to ALS disease.Al-Aloul in his report said that there was not enough water in Gaza to take part in the social media phenomenon and no way to make it cold, and so instead he poured a bucket of rubble over his head to highlight the destruction of Gaza.Separately on Sunday, Facebook activists reported that Hamas security forces had detained another young activist identified as Ramzi Hirzallah.The past two years have seen a significant rise in the number of violations against Palestinian press freedoms.In its last biannual report, Palestinian press freedoms watchdog MADA said that the first half of 2015 had seen “an unprecedented rise” in violations against journalists in the West Bank and Gaza by Palestinian authorities.The watchdog reported that the first half of the year saw 110 violations, up from 54 violations in the first half of 2014.It attributed the significant rise “largely to the ‘new wave’ of tension between Hamas and Fatah, which was reflected as usual on the reality of media freedoms and freedom of expression.”

(Source / 04.01.2016)

Israeli army extends closure of Al-Khalil Old City

More than 1/3 of the Palestinians killed during the current uprising were from Al-Khalil

The Israeli army extended on Sunday closure of vital areas of the Old City in the Palestinian West Bank Governorate of Al-Khalil.

All Palestinians from other areas across have been banned from entering the areas. Illegal Israeli Jewish settlers are not included in the ban

Days of Palestine, West Bank –The Israeli army extended on Sunday closure of vital areas of the Old City in the Palestinian West Bank Governorate of Al-Khalil.

The extension was put in place for one more month around Tel-Rumeida and Al-Shuhada Street, which were designated closed military zones and were sealed off in November.

Palestinian residents of the area were required to register for special permits to cross through the 18 illegal Israeli military checkpoints in the city center.

Everyone, except those who registered their names, has been banned from entering the areas. Illegal Israeli Jewish settlers are not included in the ban.

It is worth mentioning that the Israeli violations have sharply increased in these areas since the start of the current Palestinian uprising against the continuous Israeli assaults and aggression on Palestinians in the start of last October.

More than one third of the Palestinians killed by the Israeli occupation during the current uprising were from Al-Khalil.

(Source / 04.01.2016)

Gaza’s suffering increases as Israelis cut gas supplies

Gazans urgently need gas for cooking and warming up due to the current extreme cold wave

Suffering of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip has doubled due to the Israeli cuts of cooking gas supplies during the current extreme cold wave.

It is worth mentioning that the Israeli authorities have been stealing the Palestinian gas off the Mediterranean coast, use it and sell it to the world.

Days of Palestine, West Bank –Suffering of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip has doubled due to the Israeli cuts of cooking gas supplies during the current extreme cold wave.

“It is week four since the Israeli authorities severely decreased cooking gas supplies for the Gaza Strip,” Mohamed al-Abadaleh, member of the Union of Owners of Fuel and Gas Companies.

He also said that the amount allowed to Gaza is only 15 per cent of the daily needs in the normal times; however, the current consumption is far more than the 300 tons due to the cold weather of winter

  • Gaza stations across the Gaza Strip are full of empty gas containers as they are unable to fulfill the needs of the consumers.
    Gaza stations across the Gaza Strip are full of empty gas containers as they are unable to fulfill the needs of the consumers.

Gaza stations across the Gaza Strip are full of empty gas containers as they are unable to fulfill the needs of the consumers.

People have started using coal and wood fire for cooking and doing other things in order to keep their life going on.

It is worth mentioning that the Israeli authorities have been stealing the Palestinian gas off the Mediterranean coast, use it and sell it to the world.

In addition, it imposes restrictions on the Palestinians in Gaza regarding working to get their gas out of the huge reserves.

Every year, the Israeli occupation cuts cooking gas supplies for Gaza residents during the most extremist cold waves which starts at the end of December.

(Source / 04.01.2016)

Syrian Coalition Calls for Urgent Action to Save Besieged Madaya

The Syrian Coalition called upon the United Nations, the international community and friends of the Syrian people to take immediate action in order to break the siege regime forces and Hezbollah militias have imposed on the town of Madaya northwest of Damascus. The Coalition warned that delay or inaction will cost more innocent lives.

Member of the Syrian Coalition Salah al-Hamwi said that responding to “the tragic situation in Madaya, where children, women and the elderly are dying of hunger and cold, must be put above any political consideration as it is a purely humanitarian issue.”

Hamwi urged the international community “to save the people of Madaya from the crippling siege the Assad regime and Hezbollah militias have laid on the town for nearly seven months.”

The siege of Madaya threatens the lives of over 40,000 civilians who are struggling to survive amid severe shortages of food and medical supplies. Information coming out of the town indicates an imminent humanitarian disaster if no action is taken. Many people have already starved to death over the past few days. Moreover, the suffering of the residents of the town is further aggravated by the lack of means of heating amid the freezing cold that has recently hit the town.

Activists said that five people died in Madaya yesterday, two of them as a result of hunger and three in an ambush by regime forces whilst they were trying to smuggle food into the town. They added that many people tried to break the siege and sneak out of the town in order to bring in some food but couldn’t because of landmines pro-regime forces have planted around the town.

Member of the political committee Badr Jamous said that “the Assad regime’s actions in Madaya are part of its plans to force residents of Damascus suburbs out and bring about a demographic change in the area. The Assad regime employed the same plan in the town of Zabadani, the neighborhood of Waer in Homs and other areas across Syria.”

Jamous called for enforcing UN Security Council resolution 2254 which demands lifting the siege imposed on all besieged areas in Syria. He described Assad’s actions as a complete mockery of international laws.

On Sunday, field hospitals in Madaya received more than 150 cases of fainting as a result of severe malnutrition.

(Source: Syrian Coalition / 04.01.2016)

1,000 Israeli soldiers to demolish two Palestinian homes

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– Heavily-armed Israeli soldiers forced Monday morning two Palestinian families to evacuate their houses in Jabal Mukabir neighborhood in Occupied Jerusalem in preparation for demolishing them.

More than 1,000 Israeli soldiers were deployed in the surrounding areas of both houses and imposed tight restrictions on the locals’ movement before starting to raze the two houses.

The targeted houses belong to the two slain Palestinians Bahaa Alyan and Alaa Abu Jamal who were killed by Israeli forces for allegedly carrying out attacks against Israelis.

Local sources told the PIC reporter that the two families were forced to stay outdoors despite the extreme rainy and cold weather conditions and the Israeli occupation forces started the demolition process from within.

Human rights and political activists condemned the series of decisions recently approved by the Israeli government, most significant of which: accelerating the demolition process of homes of Palestinians who allegedly carried out anti-occupation attacks in the Palestinian territories.

(Source / 04.01.2016)

Former hunger striker and freed prisoner Khader Adnan re-arrested by occupation forces


Occupation forces have recaptured freed administrative detainee and former hunger striker Khader Adnan, according to Quds News Network, as of Monday afternoon, 4 January. Adnan was arrested near the town of Silwad near Ramallah.

Adnan, a baker and prominent political activist from the town of Arraba near Jenin, has been arrested 10 times and spent six years in Israeli prison, all in administrative detention without charge or trial. In 2012 and 2015, he carried out 66-day and 56-day hunger strikes, respectively, winning his liberation from arbitrary Israeli imprisonment.

He has become a Palestinian and international symbol of steadfastness within the prisons and inspired widespread international solidarity. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network demands the immediate release of Khader Adnan and will announce further actions as we receive more news and information from Palestine on Adnan’s arrest.

(Source / 04.01.2016)

IOF seal, destroy homes of two Palestinian attackers killed last Oct., Jerusalem


Tens of IOF border guards on Monday morning have poured concrete into a home and destroyed another, that beloing to the families of two Palestinians who carried anti-Israeli attacks.

The move comes as a collective punishment against the families of Bahaa Elayan and Alaa’ Abu Jamal from Jabal Al-Mukabber town.

On October 13, Bahaa two took over an Israeli bus in the settlement of Armon Hanatziv with a gun, and the attack resulted in the killing of two Israelis and injuring tens of passengers. His home was completely damaged.

Shortly after, and according to video footage, Alaa’ Abu Jamal drove into a group of settlers who were standing at a bus stop, then got off his car and continued hitting one with an axe, leading to his immediate death. Alaa’s home was sealed shut by cement.

The attack came one day after an Israeli settler published a video that went viral, where he was cursing and shouting at 13-year-old Ahmad Manasra to “die” and “son of a b****” after he was shot by IOF, in a puddle of blood. Manasra’s legs were broken and bended behind his back, while Israeli policemen prevented ambulances from reaching him. The boy is currently still in jail in miserable psychological conditions.  

IOF have demolished about 65 homes since the start of October, either as collective punishment, or under the pretext that the home has no licensing.

According to a PLO affiliated study, IOF have destroyed some 478 Palestinian facilities, including homes, clinics and historical sites during 2015.

Hanna Issa, lawyer and head of the Muslim-Christian Committee for Supporting Al Quds and Sanctity, said that the Israeli authorities destroy the houses under different pretexts, which include security reasons, a lack of building licences, being built near the settlements or across the settlement roads, being built on state lands or being built on green areas.”

The collective punishments are illegal in international law.

(Source / 04.01.2016)


In the line of fire – the journalists of Gaza

Journalists in Gaza are not afforded the protection provided in other parts of the world, but still risk their life and limb to tell their stories

A cameraman is helped to safety by colleagues after passing out from tear gas inhalation while covering protests in the Erez area

Gaza – Middle East Eye contributor Mohammed Omer went out to speak to some of the journalists in Gaza to hear about the struggles they face as photographers and writers covering the Israeli siege on Gaza and the related protests and wars. These are some of their stories as told to Omer.

Metin Kaya, 24 years old 

It was the first day of an October confrontation between Palestinian youth and Israeli troops when I was injured. It was a Friday and myself and several other photographers had been filming for nearly three hours.

I was there to document what was going on at the front lines as part of my job as a photographer with the Anadolu News Agency.

I was wearing a bulletproof vest and helmet, both clearly marked with the capital letters ‘TV’ in English, and with my camera clearly visible. There is no way I could have been mistaken for anything other than a member of the press. I had taken all necessary steps for my protection, including sitting on the ground because I knew that if shots were fired from the Israeli side, people standing would be the most likely to be hit, and probably in the upper body region.

I was filming the youth who were on the frontline of the demonstration, when I heard an explosion. I fell to the ground and my video camera was blown away. It took me some time to regain consciousness.

At some point I woke up, my body pressing down painfully on my bleeding arm. The bullet had shot-out my camera lens, and shrapnel from both the bullet and my shattered camera had penetrated my hand and arm. I thought that I had lost my left hand but thank God, the doctors managed to save my arm.

Metin Kaya, a Turkish cameraman with the Anadolu Agency, had his camera shot at while he was holding it during Nahal Oz clashes near eastern Gaza city

I survived but the doctors told me that, had the shot been even just one centimetre off, the shrapnel could have hit the nerves and bones of my hand and the damage could have been irreparable. I know I have done nothing to harm Israel’s security, but journalists are under attack for just doing our jobs and reporting the truth.

This incident will not stop me from doing my job and being the best journalist I can be. As a Turkish man married to a Palestinian, living in Gaza, there are many other jobs I could be doing, including being a translator since I speak four languages. However, I have found through journalism a way to share the message about a cause I sincerely believe in.

Journalism is my weapon against injustice. For me, journalism is a form of non-violent resistance and Palestinian journalism specifically has become powerful in the face of injustice.

I am aware that many journalists suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, but despite what I have seen and what I have been through I am blessed not to have reached that point at this time. Even if I were to be exposed to more trauma, I believe that my passion for journalism would help me overcome and defeat any disease.

Journalists regularly come under fire from tear gas and often do not have adequate equipment to protect themselves 

Samar Abu Elouf, 38 years old

When I was 32 I started work as a photographer. I am still doing it and do not plan to stop any time soon.

My day begins with my photography. I usually decide the night before what I want to focus on the following day. I wake in the morning and prepare food for my husband and children. I leave the food ready for them, and then run off to the place where I need to be next. I often take photos in places of confrontation. I take my photos and run back home to upload them onto websites where I hope to be able to sell them.

Since my work is as a freelance photographer, I often don’t sell many photos, but I can’t afford not to be present in the field. This is not only a job for me, and a vital source of income, but it’s also a profession that I love, because through it I am able to deliver the message of the Palestinian people.

People are often puzzled by me, as they are unused to seeing a woman taking photos, but I’ve never cared about any of their negative comments, or how they look at me. I try not to respond to any naysayers and just share smiles and solidarity with them. Instead I try to prove myself through my work and photographs, and I often gain acceptance and admiration as a result, at least on social media websites. My name is now well known among the male photographers and I feel they respect me, which I appreciate.

Samar Abu Elouf has gained the respect of her fellow journalists even though she works in a male dominated field

We, as freelance journalists, have no protection whatsoever; no one is there to provide us with safety and protection measures and when we get injured, we are often blamed ourselves.

Unfortunately, instead of receiving support and recognition for the work we do, no one pays us any attention. This is why I specifically want to deliver a message to all press freedom organisations that carry slogans of press protection yet, on the ground, do nothing to protect us, that they need to start paying attention to the reality here.

We have had to find ways to at least try to protect ourselves. One thing I have done to try and make myself safer is to paint a saucepan so that it looks like a helmet and I wear a plastic bag onto which I’ve taped the words “TV” and “Press” in white, so that it is at least visible to Israeli troops and so that I am identified as a member of the press.

The plastic bag and saucepan cost me around $1.5, and I’ve had to resort to that home-made gear as – even it it was available in spite of the siege, I would not be able to afford a bulletproof vests or safety helmets. I hope this message reaches the organisations and international communities that concede that the protection of journalists is a duty.

I know that my saucepan and plastic bag are not going to protect me from bullets or teargas, but at least they make clear to those with the guns on the Israeli side that I’m a journalist.

Has had to improvise by using a saucepan for a helmet and a plastic “Press” bag in place of a bullet proof vest

I’m not only a photographer, I am also a wife and a mother living under complex living conditions with our home and land besieged by Israel. But, regardless of the personal risks, I must continue to work in the profession that I have always loved. Freelance work is exhausting, but I have gained nine international and local awards following my coverage of the 2012 and 2014 wars and hope that through my work I have succeeded in bringing some attention to our plight as journalists and freelancers.

In the 51-day war, my camera was broken, in Shejayeh, but today I am able to continue and despite a lack of equipment, hope this will not be the end of my message. I have a lot more I want to cover.

Tarek Masaud, 19 years old

I work for a local media outlet and at the end of October I was at the Erez crossing in the northern Gaza Strip, together with other journalists, heading out to film clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinian youth.

The teargas was falling much faster than my camera shutter could shoot but I managed to capture several moments of Israeli snipers shooting at Palestinian protestors. All of a sudden I heard a bullet that sounded different to the others; far too close and loud. It had hit me. I fell down, hard. I fell to the ground and suddenly could not feel my feet, but could hear people around me screaming “ambulance, ambulance!”

Several young men rushed towards me to carry me to the ambulance, and I remember that as they were carrying me, another teargas grenade fell and everyone ran away except three of them who just held on to me tighter and who managed to carry me all the way through the haze of noxious gas right to the ambulance.

A bullet had exploded in my right hip. It had pierced my flesh for about 7cm, right down to my bones.

Tariq Abu Alkayr during his operation

I still don’t know if I can continue my job or not – the doctors have put a metal device around my leg and I am hardly able to move around. Doctors informed me that I will have to wait six months lying down. I have also been told that I could undergo further surgery after the six months.
After so long doing voluntary work and freelancing, I was given a fixed contract, but now with the injury there are no guarantees that my employer will keep me on the payroll. I was all excited to start saving and get married, but now my life is on hold.
Despite this, I still insist that this is not the end, and my love of showing the truth to the world will not be thwarted by a bullet. I am coming back, even though, as freelancers, we are left with no support


X-ray of freelance photographer Tariq Abou Al Khayr’s arm. The x-ray shows the disintegration of the thigh bones as the result of an “explosive bullet” 

Sharief Al Nerab, Palestinian Journalists Syndicate

The syndicate was originally established to help organise the work of Palestinian journalists, offer membership and lobby on their behalf as well as campaign on issues related to freedom of movement for Palestinian journalists. However freelance journalists in particular get a raw deal.

Freelance journalists are still journalists and they should not be excluded from the realms of protection afforded to other journalists. Unfortunately, however, they do not get the help they need.

Firstly, we are unable to provide the necessary safety equipment for freelancers because these materials are banned from entry into Gaza via the Israeli crossings and there are too many difficult procedures blocking us from getting them into the strip. The second reason is that our financial situation does not allow us any options to remedy this due to lack of funding. I feel sad about the abuse by several Palestinian NGOs, who exploit the plight of freelance journalists by seeking funding from donors, but we feel there is an injustice in the distribution of safety equipment. The money never gets to the freelancers.

It is unfair because when bullet proof vests are donated by donors to Gaza, they never get into the hands of freelancers, but instead go to those who are hired by major media outlets. Freelancers end up getting nothing.

Ahmed Al Daour from Al Quds channel injured his leg after being shot at with a tear gas canister

Having said this, I regret the non-implementation of Palestinian law to protect the lives of journalists during conflicts. We believe that some donor groups should pay attention to providing special support for security and safety, and not allow some media organisations the chance to take advantage of the needs of journalists.

No distinction is made between journalist and protester as the gas canisters rain down from the Israeli side 

(Source / 04.01.2016)