Israel Continues to Spray Crop-killing Chemicals on Gaza Farmlands

Israeli planes have reportedly sprayed chemical substances on farmlands across the besieged Gaza Strip, killing off the crops in the already impoverished Palestinian territory.

Gewas besmetten (2)

Several farmers informed that Israeli planes had sprayed their lands with pesticides, in the area between (Kissufim, and Srij) east of al-Qarara village, northeast of Khan Younis, according to Al Ray correspondence.

Witnesses pointed out that the Israeli occupation aircraft were spraying pesticides inside the border fence, and were hovering on low level .

The continuing Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip is putting the lives of people at risk, taking a heavy toll on the enclave’s agriculture sector.

Farmers are struggling to meet growing demands of 1.8 million Gazans who are living in the tight grip of the Israeli siege. They face many challenges due to shortages in farming equipment and more importantly, approved pesticides.

Due to the decline in production and Israel’s ban on the entry of basic commodities, Gazan farmers have resorted to the use of banned chemical substances to maximize crop yield. This poses a serious health hazard to both farmers and their consumers.

Meanwhile, the United Nations has expressed concerns over the excessive use of toxic pesticides by Gaza farmers.

Many medical experts in Gaza are worried about a rise in the number of registered Gazancancer patients, especially in the agricultural areas.

They warn that children are more susceptible to diseases, such as leukemia, than adults in such regions.

Related: Israeli Army Admits Destroying Crops in Gaza

The Gaza Strip has been under Israel’s blockade since June 2007. The crippling siege has caused a decline in living standards as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty.

Israel launched its latest war on the Gaza Strip in early July of last year. Nearly 2,200 Palestinians, including 577 children, were killed in Israel’s 50-day onslaught. Over 11,100 others – including 3,374 children, 2,088 women and 410 elderly people – were also injured.

(Source / 04.02.2016)

Protesters demand return of Palestinian bodies in occupied East Jerusalem

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Palestinian youth in the occupied East Jerusalem neigborhood of Jabal al-Mukaber on Thursday took to the streets in protest of Israel’s continued policy of withholding the bodies of Palestinians killed after attempted, alleged and actual attacks against Israelis, locals said.Locals said the protest quickly erupted into clashes, as Israeli forces attempted to suppress the youth. Israeli forces reportedly used rubber-coated steel bullets and stun grenades against protesters, who responded by hurling rocks and shooting off fireworks at Israeli forces.Three of the ten bodies being held by Isreali authorities are from the Jabal al-Mukaber neighborhood.Late last month, PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat called on the Middle East Quartet to pressure Israel to return the bodies of alleged Palestinians still being held by the Israeli authorities.The call was made in an open letter sent to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini, United States Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.”I call upon you to instantly take action and exert diplomatic and political pressures on Israel to immediately release bodies of Palestinian martyrs killed by Israeli forces and settlers,” Erekat wrote.He said that withholding the bodies of Palestinians was a form of “collective punishment” by Israel against the Palestinian people, which he described as illegal under international law.It is unknown if any of the parties responded to the request.

(Source / 04.02.2016)

Syrian Coalition: Russia, Iran, & Assad Responsible for Failure of Talks in Geneva

Anas al-Abda, Secretary of the Syrian Coalition’s political committee, said that the decision by the UN envoy Staffan de Mistura’s to suspend the Geneva talks was made due to the intransigence of the Assad regime and its refusal to implement Articles 12 and 13 of UN Security Council resolution 2254.

“While the suspension of the Geneva talks reflects the international community’s failure to put pressure on the regime and its allies, mainly Russia and Iran, it also undermines the credibility of the Geneva talks as a whole,” Abdah stressed.

Abdah held Russia and the Assad regime responsible for the stalled Geneva conference as they insisted on pursuing their bloody policies in Syria. Russia has carried out over 900 air strikes on Syria in the past three days alone.

“The opposition went to Geneva based on United Nations commitments to force the Assad regime to implement UN Security Council resolution 2254 as well as guarantees from friendly countries. But how can the international community sponsor a political transition in Syria when it fails to compel the Assad regime to implement the part of a UN resolution related solely to humanitarian issues?” Abdah said.

Abda said that whilst some friendly countries condemned Assad and Russia for the failure of the talks, they did not take any tangible actions to make the Geneva conference a success.

(Source: Syrian Coalition / 04.02.2016)

Two 13-year-old Arab girls arrested by Israeli police

Israeli bystanders abused the two little girls, an Israeli eyewitness said.

Israeli occupation police arrested on Thursday morning two little Palestinian girls in Al-Ramla Bus Station in occupied Palestine over stabbing attempt.

Mother of one of the little girls denied the claims of the spokesman of the Israeli police, stressing that her daughter did not got to school on Thursday and she did not have a school bag.

Days of Palestinian, Al-Ramla –Israeli occupation police arrested on Thursday morning two little Palestinian girls in Al-Ramla Bus Station in occupied Palestine over stabbing attempt.

An Israeli eyewitness said that one of the guards in the bus station screamed, claiming he was attacked by the two little girls, and immediately, other Israelis approached the girls and started beating them.

The Spokesman of the Israeli Police Micky Rosenfeld posted an image for kits of a school bag and two kitchen knives, claiming they were used in stabbing the guard.

However, he and all other Israeli and none-Israeli mass media have never posted any image of the reportedly wounded guard.

A mother of the two girls ruled out that they attempted to carry out a stabbing attack, stating that her daughter did not go to school in order to have medical examination prior to a planned surgical operation.

The mother denied the police spokesman that her daughter had a school bag.

Israeli news website YnetNews reported another Israeli eyewitness saying: “While police forces handcuffed one of the [claimed] attackers, they did not stop a young man who came near her and spat in her face. The man then left the scene, unhindered by the policemen.”

The eyewitness also said: “One of the girls was also pinned to the ground, with one of the civilians at the scene holding her head down with his leg.”

(Source / 04.02.2016)

Palestinian youth injured by Israeli gunfire east of Bethlehem

BETHLEHEM, (PIC)– A Palestinian young man was injured Thursday evening by Israeli gunfire in clashes with Israeli soldiers at the western entrance of Taqoa village to the east of Bethlehem. The director of Taqoa’s municipality Taysir Abu Mefreh said that Israeli forces fired their guns and unleashed tear gas canister at Palestinians leading to the injury of a youth with a bullet in his thigh. The injured young man was transferred to the town’s clinic for treatment.

(Source / 04.02.2016)

Palestinian refugees close UNRWA offices, buildings in Lebanon

BEIRUT, (PIC)– A number of Palestinian refugees on Thursday morning closed all offices and headquarters of the UNRWA in some Lebanese cities to protest the agency’s persistence in its decision to reduce its medical services. This protest step took place in response to the decision taken by Palestinian factions and popular committees to pressure the UNRWA into backtracking on its medical service cuts. Palestinian refugees on Wednesday closed the main headquarters of the UNRWA in Lebanon and prevented all employees from doing their work. They also barred UNRWA vehicles from going in or out the building.

(Source / 04.02.2016)