Israel bans carbon dioxide delivery to Gaza hospitals

Israel banned anaesthetic gas from entering the Gaza Strip last month

Israeli occupation has prevented delivery of carbon dioxide to the Palestinian hospitals in Gaza Strip, Palestinian ministry of health said on Wednesday.

WHO called for the Israeli occupation to maintain the humanitarian needs of the Gaza residents far away from the strict siege has been in place for more than ten years

Israeli occupation has prevented delivery of carbon dioxide to the Palestinian hospitals in Gaza Strip, Palestinian ministry of health said on Wednesday.

According to a statement by the ministry of health, the stock of carbon dioxide needed for fridges and ventilators and many other medical equipment is running out soon.

“This will worsen the already bad condition of the healthcare sector,” the statement said, stressing that many of the medical facilities would shut down.

Therefore, the statement added, many of scheduled laparoscopic and ophthalmic surgeries would not be carried out.

World Health Organisation (WHO) stated that it had been trying to put pressure on Israel in order to resume delivering this necessary gas.

Gaza hospitals, WHO said, consume approximately between 150 to 200 kilograms of carbon dioxide every month.

The international body called for the Israeli occupation to maintain the humanitarian needs of the Gaza residents far away from the strict siege has been in place for more than ten years.

Who has called for keeping humanitarian issues aside from political conflicts to save lives of patients and heal their pain.

Reported by: Riham Shehada

(Source / 23.03.2017)

Israel ends surprise military exercises on Gaza borders

Zio's soldaten oefening

The Israeli army declared late Wednesday the end of its military drills along Gaza borders, Israeli media sources said.

According to Israeli Hayom newspaper, the Israeli military launched a surprise military exercise for reserve forces on Sunday morning that aimed to test the readiness of the Southern Command.

Some 2,000 reserve soldiers were called up to simulate war on the Gaza Strip, as part of the military’s largest planned exercise of 2017, the paper added.

The exercise included four reserve brigades, two infantry and two armored brigades.

Israeli Army Chief Gadi Eisenkot visited the exercise in order to “assess the preparedness of the (southern) division for emergency,” the army said.

“We have put preparedness at the top of the army’s list of priorities. This is evident from the increased training program,” Eisenkot said.

(Source / 23.03.2017)

Israeli air force organises largest drill in its history

Image of Israeli air force [Minuzig/Wikiipedia]

Image of Israeli air force

The Israeli air force is preparing to organise one of the largest and most complex military manoeuvers in its history later this year, with broad international participation, Israeli media reported.

According to the Israeli public radio, about 100 fighters, other aircraft and a few hundred soldiers and pilots, along with logistical support forces from the United States, Greece, Poland, France, Germany, India and Italy are expected to participate in the military exercise.

Israeli radio said the air force squadrons will meet in Tel Aviv during the autumn season to carry out these joint exercises organised every two years to maintain the readiness of the participating countries forces.

Over the course of two weeks during the exercise, pilots will train to fight air battles, hit ground targets and avoid missiles.

Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hecht, the Israeli Air Force’s chief of international affairs, said:

It will be a massive exercise; the biggest ever for the IAF. Seven nations plus Israel.

“People are seeing there’s a lot to learn from Israel. In our tiny airspace and in the environment around us, things are so intense. The Russians are here…Many of the world’s air forces are passing through here on their way to operations in Syria and elsewhere in the region. So we provide a sort of battle lab in which forces can hone a spectrum of skills needed to combat growing threats,” Hecht said.

He explained that the so-called Blue Flag exercises would focus on cooperation rather than competition between the participating air Forces, as opposed to the Red Flag manoeuvers organised by the US Air Force each year at the Niles Air Force Base in Nevada.

(Source / 23.03.2017)

Israeli police complete sealing Jabal Mukabbir home with concrete

Huis Jabal al-Mukabbir

Israeli police forces stormed the occupied Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukabbir on Thursday for the second day to complete sealing Fadi Qanbar’s home with concrete.

Earlier on Wednesday, Israeli police closed the first floor of the house after pouring concrete inside it after arresting Fadi’s father and brother.

On Thursday, the police re-stormed the neighborhood in large numbers and surrounded the house before closing its second floor with concrete.

Israeli forces have repeatedly raided the home in recent weeks threatening to demolish it, most recently last week when cement mixers were brought in, though the forces later retreated from the area after apparently having difficulty accessing the home, according to witnesses.

Fadi Qanbar was shot dead by Israeli forces in January after he allegedly drove a truck into a group of Israeli soldiers.

(Source / 23.03.2017)

Twitter Shuts Down over 600,000 Accounts Linked to ‘Violent Extremism’

FILE PHOTO: People holding mobile phones are silhouetted against a backdrop projected with the Twitter logo in this illustration picture taken September 27, 2013. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Illustration/File Photo

People holding mobile phones are silhouetted against a backdrop projected with the Twitter logo in this illustration picture taken September 27, 2013

Jeddah- The famous social media platform ‘Twitter’ has banned at least 636,000 accounts linked to extremism that have been under suspicion since 2015.

Over 376,000 accounts were suspended by the social media website in the last six months of 2016 in a bid to crack down on extremism.

Twitter also said it initiated legal action to remove content posted by verified journalists and media outlets.

Twitter said it had received 88 such requests, but had not taken any action on the majority of them.

The communications giant relies on a special automated system, rather than user-based or government reporting, to speed up the process of identifying and reporting violent extremist accounts.

Twitter is preventing the spread of violence and the promotion of terrorism. The company employs experts who have developed innovative tools to single out and report terror-linked accounts, current vice president of public policy and communications for the Europe, Middle East and Africa region Sinéad McSweeney told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Many terrorists have shifted away from using twitter, given the intense crackdown.

There is no available software algorithm capable of identifying all terrorist content uploaded to the Internet, but current algorithms work together by reporting users to identify abused accounts.

McSweeney also confirmed that Twitter had established many partnerships to counter online-spread extremism by training hundreds of NGO staffers and offering free campaigns to raise awareness of the impact of violent extremism.

Many other social networks are working closely to close accounts linked to terrorist organizations, in an effort to root out online recruitment worldwide, via popular platforms like Facebook.

it is noteworthy that Facebook has devoted five offices around the world to combat terror-related accounts with individuals speaking dozens of languages.

(Source / 23.03.2017)

Why Egypt’s Sisi is pushing Abbas-Dahlan reconciliation

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (L) gestures as Fatah strongman and lawmaker Mohammed Dahlan (R) looks on, at the Palestinian Authority headquarters in Ramallah, West Bank, Dec. 18, 2006

On March 20, a meeting was held in Cairo between Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas. Qualified by the Palestinians as a warm and friendly encounter, the press release that followed was rather laconic.

Fatah Central Committee member Azzam Al-Ahmad who participated in the meeting reported to the Safa Palestinian News Agency that the two leaders had discussed the advancement of the peace process, the necessary preparations for the convening of the Arab League at the end of the month and their upcoming meetings with US President Donald Trump. Sisi will meet Trump at the beginning of April, and Abbas is supposed to make the trip to Washington in the middle of May.

However, the two did not limit themselves to exchanging views on the peace process and the new US president. A close associate of former Fatah senior member Mohammed Dahlan (Abbas’ bitter political rival) told Al-Monitor that Sisi finally agreed to meet with the Palestinian delegation after a year of disconnection only after it was made crystal clear to the Palestinians in preparatory talks that an Abbas-Dahlan conciliation was high on Sisi’s list. According to Dahlan’s associate (who spoke on the condition of anonymity), the Egyptians view the discord between the two Palestinian leaders as an “obtrusive obstacle.” Thus, relations between Cairo and the PA can only be tightened when this obstacle is overcome.

Tensions between Cairo and Ramallah worsened over recent months when Egypt attempted to reach a compromise that would allow for exiled Dahlan’s return to the West Bank. However, Abbas absolutely refused. Dahlan was expelled from Fatah and the West Bank in 2011. Abbas is afraid that Dahlan and Hamas plan to wrest control of the PA’s power centers. Then Abbas feels they will join forces with Dahlan’s supporters in the West Bank who are gaining strength in order to depose him.

Tensions came to a head between Egypt and the PA when Egypt did not permit Fatah senior member Jibril Rajoub (Dahlan’s enemy) to enter the country on Feb. 27. This is despite the fact that Rajoub, the Palestinian sports minister, was the guest of the Arab League’s secretary-general.

A pro-Dahlan Palestinian source in the Gaza Strip told Al-Monitor that Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry had updated Dahlan before Abbas had been invited to Cairo and after Abbas’ meeting with Sisi. That meeting was attended by a number of officials: Saeb Erekat, who is tasked with the negotiations with Israel; Majed Faraj, director of the PA’s General Intelligence Service and the PA’s No. 2 strongman after Abbas; Jamal Al-Shobaki, Palestinian ambassador to Cairo; and Fatah Central Committee member Ahmad.

According to Dahlan’s associate, the main consideration behind the Egyptian president’s efforts to reach a reconciliation is the understanding that Abbas and his people cannot advance a diplomatic process with Israel on their own. Abbas is in a precarious political position: He lacks the absolute support of the Palestinian public, and he is 81 years old. Thus, Sisi fears that the Palestinian president will not be able to cope successfully with the challenges involved in future negotiations, talks in which Egypt will also be involved. According to the source, the Egyptian president views his friend Dahlan as an important agent in advancing the diplomatic process.

The meeting between Sisi and Abbas took place only one full day after gunfire erupted between Dahlan supporters and the Palestinian security apparatus people in the Balata refugee camp near Nablus. In the exchange of fire, one Palestinian policeman was killed and another was wounded. These clashes in Nablus have taken place almost every night for the past few weeks. On March 20, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah convened an urgent security meeting in an attempt to find ways to relieve the tensions between the sides and forestall additional bloodshed. The main worry is that these clashes may spread to other refugee camps in the West Bank. Dahlan enjoys widespread support in these camps because he gives them generous financial aid.

High-level PA officials have been keeping a close, worried eye on Dahlan’s supporters for many months, as his supporters have been gaining strength throughout the West Bank. The Palestinian source told Al-Monitor that numerous Palestinian youths have been joining the Dahlan camp due to their great disappointment over the “blind policies” of Abbas. These supporters, he said, are angry with the president’s insistence on preventing a revered Palestinian leader (Dahlan) from returning “to his home and his people” to help them in their struggle for liberation from the occupation.

The Egyptian security system is well aware of the clashes and conflicts in the PA. They place the blame mainly on Abbas for creating security unrest in the territories by refusing to allow Dahlan’s return to the West Bank.

“The president of Egypt placed a loaded gun on the table,” said the Palestinian source. He added that Abbas, as well as the other Palestinian delegation members who participated in the Cairo meeting, realized that Sisi wants to take an active part in any diplomatic initiative that will be advanced between Israel and the Palestinians. And in order to increase the chances for success of such a diplomatic initiative, Sisi demands a Palestinian unity of forces on two levels: between the PA’s people and Dahlan’s people, and also some kind of steps toward a Fatah-Hamas reconciliation.

Recently, Hamas and Egypt have edged closer a bit. Cairo views the Palestinian Hamas movement as a tool that can help Egypt in its war against the Islamic State (IS) forces in Sinai. Dahlan had a significant role in the mediation between Egypt and the Hamas top brass. A reconciliation between all the parties would converge interests of all parties involved and benefit Hamas, Egypt and Dahlan. Hamas wants open communication channels with Cairo in the hopes of achieving easements in the closure on Gaza; Egypt wants to rout the jihadi elements in Sinai; and Dahlan, who pulls the strings, wants to form alliances with anti-Abbas forces.

What is left now is to wait and see whether the Palestinian president will join ranks with the Egyptian Abbas-Dahlan conciliation initiative. Clearly, Abbas views anyone gaining public power in the West Bank as a subversive element. Clearly, in his current situation, Abbas will find it hard to forfeit Egyptian support; as aforementioned, Egypt is expected to fill a significant role in any diplomatic process that Trump will initiate. Nevertheless, Abbas had already proved in the past that his rivalry with Dahlan encourages him to operate according to irrational considerations.

(Source / 23.03.2017)

Hamas leader: We will never surrender against Israeli occupation

GAZA, PALESTINOW.COM — Member of Hamas’s political bureau Mahmoud al-Zahhar has affirmed that the Movement would not renounce its armed struggle against the Israeli occupation and would never fight a battle outside Palestine’s borders.

In a speech during the general conference of the Islamic Bloc in Gaza City on Wednesday, Zahhar said that Hamas would never surrender and would continue to resist the occupation until its removal from Palestine.

He stressed that Palestine is not Gaza or the West Bank alone, adding that Palestine extends from the Lebanese-Syrian borders to the Egyptian borders and from the (Mediterranean) sea to the (Jordan) river.

The Hamas official also highlighted that the national reconciliation cannot be a mixture of security collaboration with the Israeli occupation and resistance.

Talking about the late co-founder of Hamas Movement Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, he said that the wheel-chaired martyr and leader had given the Arab and Muslim nations a lesson that any physical disability could not be a pretext for them not to work for their own causes and concerns.

“The generation that Sheikh Ahmed Yassin had brought up succeeded in changing the Zionist security system from offense to defense, and it is able to liberate Palestine, God willing,” Zahhar said.(PIC)

(Source / 23.03.2017)

Palestinian MP put behind Israeli prison bars without trial

Palestijnse MP in gevangenis

The Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) on Wednesday sentenced a Palestinian MP and other detainees to administrative prison-terms, with neither charge nor trial.

According to the prisoners media office, the IOA issued a renewable four-month sentence against MP Anwar Zaboun, incarcerated since early March 2017.

The IOA further slapped administrative terms against four Palestinian prisoners from Bethlehem.

Ghassan Hirmas, Khaled Dhweib, and Hassan Wardian were all sentenced to a four-month term while the fourth detainee, Mahmoud Ayad, received a six-month sentence.

(Source / 23.03.2017)

Hebron schoolgirls denied entry to Jerusalem despite having permits

Studenten verbod school

HEBRON (Ma’an) — Israeli forces prevented Palestinian students from the Umm Salma primary school for girls in the village of Yatta, in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, from entering Jerusalem for a school visit on Thursday, despite them having Israeli permits, locals told Ma’an.

The director of education in Yatta, Khalid Abu Sharar, condemned the move, saying it was part of Israel’s “vicious campaign against Palestinian students and education, aiming to separate Palestinian students from the holy city.”
Head of public relations for education in Yatta Jibril al-Bababsa also condemned the move, noting that the students were all 12-year-old girls.
(Source / 23.03.2017)