Gaza’s wastewater flows into nearby settlements

Environmental disaster

Local councils of the Israeli settlements near the Gaza Strip warned on Friday of an imminent environmental disaster in the region if electricity continues to be cut off in the Gaza Strip.

Head of Ashkelon Coast Regional Council, Ya’ir Ferjon, said that following the reduction of power reaching Gaza, wastewater started to flow through Wadi Hanoun toward settlements to the north of the Gaza Strip, which “threatens the spread of epidemics, particularly the West Nile Fever”, according to Israel Hayom newspaper.

Akka website reported, quoting the Hebrew newspaper, that the residents of the settlements near Gaza fear the great environmental damage that might be caused if Gaza’s electricity crisis is not solved.

The paper said that the settlers suffer from the foul smells emanating from the wastewater flowing in streams from Gaza because there is no electricity to operate Gaza’s wastewater suction pumps.

The Israeli occupation authorities started reducing the power supplied to the Gaza Strip several days ago at the request of the Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas.

(Source / 23.06.2017)

Boy injured in IOF quelling of Kafr Qaddoum march

Kafr Qaddoum march injured boy

A boy was injured while dozens of civilians chocked on tear gas on Friday as the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) quelled the anti-settlement weekly march of Kafr Qaddoum in Qalqilya province.

The marchers demand opening the village’s road that has been closed for more than 14 years in favor of the residents of Kedumim settlement built by force on the village’s lands.

Coordinator of the Popular Resistance in Kafr Qaddoum, Murad Shtewi, said that Subhi Abu Dayya, 17, was taken to the hospital for treatment after being injured with a metal bullet in the hand while dozens of suffocation cases reported in the scene were treated in the field.

Violent confrontations broke out after the IOF soldiers stormed the village, broke into the citizens’ houses and turned them into military barracks amid heavy firing of tear gas canisters, sound bombs and metal bullets.

The march, which took place on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan, witnessed the participation of a large number of Kafr Qaddoum residents. National slogans calling for ending the occupation and supporting Jerusalem were chanted.

(Source / 23.06.2017)

Gazans denounce claims Hamas is training extremists in Libya

A demonstrator holds an image of Libyan military commander Khalifa Hifter during a protest in Benghazi, Libya, Feb. 12, 2017

An onslaught by Arab media outlets against the Hamas movement has gained momentum in the wake of the escalation of the Gulf-Qatar crisis.

On June 8, the spokesman for the Libyan National Army led by Gen. Khalifa Hifter, Ahmad al-Mesmari, accused Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, of training extremist members in Libya in the methods of booby-trapping and bombing.

At a June 8 press conference in Tripoli, Mesmari showed video footage of training and educational materials — on how to manufacture explosive devices and use machine guns — which he said belonged to members of the al-Qassam Brigades and which were allegedly found in the possession of captured extremist members in the Libyan city of Benghazi. He also accused the al-Qassam Brigades of providing technical assistance to terrorists on Libyan territory.

Hamas denied and rebuked all of these accusations. Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem told Al-Monitor, “These fabricated allegations by the spokesman of the Hifter forces aim to tarnish the reputation of the Palestinian resistance, which is defending the Palestinian people against Israel.”

He said, “Everyone knows that Hamas’ resistance activities are restricted to the Palestinian territories only. None of the many accusations leveled against Hamas by some Arab parties of being involved in acts hostile to any country have been proven so far.”

In the same context, a Palestinian security source denied to Al-Sa’a 8 news website June 8 that there had been any intervention by al-Qassam Brigades in Libyan territory, adding that the allegations made by Mesmari are not based on any conclusive evidence proving the involvement of any soldier from the al-Qassam Brigades in the conflict in Libya.

Commenting on the educational materials produced by Mesmari, the source said, “The Al-Qassam Brigades have a military academy like all other armies and paramilitary. The materials Hifter forces exhibited are educational materials for the al-Qassam Bridages that were published on the internet for everyone to see.”

Abu Mujahid, a spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees, told Al-Monitor that Hifter’s forces will have to bear the consequences of the accusations made by their representative against Hamas. “The smear campaign by Arab parties against Hamas aims to win over the United States and Israel,” he said.

He noted that the accusations aim to justify the campaign against Qatar under the pretext of supporting Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood and other groups in Syria such as Ahrar al-Sham and Jabhat al-Nusra.

He added, “This took place after the US-Islamic summit held in Riyadh on May 21 and attended by US President Donald Trump and Arab and Muslim leaders. In his speech at the summit, Trump accused Hamas of being a terrorist organization.”

This is not the first time Hifter forces have made such accusations against Hamas. On Jan. 6, they accused Hamas of spying on their military positions in Libya, which the movement denied.

The documents and materials presented by Mesmari soon stirred up mockery in Palestinian social media. Palestinian activists saw the allegations as very weak and said any person familiar with computer design programs could fabricate more credible documents.

Thousands of Palestinian social media activists used the Arabic hashtag that translates into “Hamas_is_Resistance­_Not­_Terrorism” in response to the accusations and in support for Hamas and the Palestinian resistance against the smear campaign launched against them by Arab media outlets, mainly in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Retired Maj. Gen. Yusuf al-Sharqawi of the Gaza Strip told Al-Monitor, “Armed groups in Libya do not need military training by Hamas or other Palestinian resistance factions,” noting that the members of the former Libyan army and some armed groups in Libya have greater military experience than that of the Palestinian resistance.

“Hifter forces’ accusations leveled against Hamas aim to prove these forces’ loyalty to the United States and some of its Gulf allies,” he said. He added that the current alliances taking shape in the Arab region do not support resistance movements.

Mustafa al-Sawaf, a political analyst and former editor-in-chief of Felesteen newspaper, told Al-Monitor, “Accusations by the Hifter forces against Hamas are part of a smear campaign by the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt to demonize Hamas through false accusations. The current Egyptian regime and the regime of President Hosni Mubarak also made similar accusations against Hamas.”

Sawaf described Hifter and his forces as tools manipulated by Arab intelligence services to play pre-assigned roles, pointing out that Hamas intervention in any hostile action in any Arab country has never been proven.

He said Arab regimes are afraid of openly classifying Hamas as a terrorist movement out of fear of the general Arab public opinion, which considers Hamas to be a resistance movement seeking to liberate its land from Israel and that has nothing to do with terrorism.

The smear campaign against Hamas raised concerns among Palestinians, who see the accusations as a preliminary step in the plan to tarnish the image of the Palestinian resistance and alienate the regimes that support it, and thus give Israel a justification to abolish it.

(Source / 23.06.2017)

Refugees in Rukban IDPs Camp Fear Humanitarian Disaster as Clashes Near

Activists in the Rukban IDPs camp on the Jordanian-Syrian border warned of a humanitarian catastrophe in the camp in light of the severe shortages of food supplies. Prices of essential food items have recently skyrocketed with one pack of bread costing around 500 Syrian pounds, a price that most families cannot afford.

The suffering of refugees in the camp built in no-man’s-land on the Jordanian-Syrian border has been compounded by the intensified fighting in the Syrian Desert, activists added. The ongoing clashes cut off the only remaining supply routes from the Syrian side of the border, putting an estimated 80,000 refugees in front of an unknown fate.

“Residents of the camp are living in constant fear of their fate and the fate of their children as the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) and the Assad regime forces are advancing on the area,” said Omar Binayya, spokesman for the Tadmur and the Syrian Desert tribal council. He said that the camps are now besieged from almost all direction while the clashes are hindering the delivery of food supplies to the camp.

A refugee in the camp who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that “humanitarian aid rarely reaches the camp, causing many children to starve or die from diseases due to the lack of medical centers and the prevention of patients from entering Jordan for treatment.” Furthermore, clean water has been cut off from the camp for over week, further aggravating the suffering of refugees.

Over 25 children have so far died as a result of the lack of medical services, while only three aid deliveries arrived at the camp in the last year, Binayya added.

Established in 2015, the Rukban camp is home to around 80,000 people who fled the Assad regime’s war machine towards the Jordanian border but remain stranded there as the Jordanian authorities announced they could not take in all the refugees.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Asharq Al-Awsat / 23.06.2017)

Gaza calls on Egypt to continue its support

Head of the Popular International Committee to Support Gaza, Essam Yousef (C) [File photo]

Head of the Popular International Committee to Support Gaza, Essam Yousef (C)

The head of the Popular International Committee to Support Gaza, Essam Yousef, has called on the Egyptian authorities to continue to supply the besieged Gaza Strip with fuel in order to run the enclave’s sole power plant, which has been shut down for two months.

In a press statement yesterday, Yousef called on Egypt to continue its support to the Palestinians in the Gaza in order to “back up their steadfastness in light of the Israeli siege which has been in force for the past 11 years, and which also included three bloody aggressions.”

Read: Egypt allows diesel into Gaza

He stressed on the need for mutual cooperation to reopen the Rafah border crossing permanently for all humanitarian cases and travellers, noting that the right to travel is a human right for everyone.

The Palestinian official hailed Egypt’s role in supporting the Palestinian people and their legitimate rights.

(Source / 23.06.2017)

UN: More than 1,000 children killed in Iraq in 3 years

Iraqi children are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance due to the ongoing violence in Iraq

Three years after violence in Iraq intensified, 1,075 children have been killed, including 152 in the first six months of 2017, UNICEF said yesterday.

“Since 2014, in Iraq, 1,130 children have been maimed and injured, 255 in the first six months of 2017, over 4,650 children have become separated or unaccompanied by their families,” according to the agency’s assessment detailed in a new report, Nowhere to Go.

There have been 138 attacks on schools and 58 on hospitals; more than three million children do not attend school on a regular basis while 1.2 million children are out of school and, one in every four children comes from a poor household, UNICEF said.

In Iraq, children are trapped in an endless cycle of violence and increasing poverty

the children’s agency said, while noting the conflict has displaced 3 million people – half of them children.

Read: Mosul’s displaced are malnourished and weak

“In west Mosul, children are being deliberately targeted and killed to punish families and deter them from fleeing the violence. In less than two months, at least 23 children have been killed and 123 have been injured in that part of the city alone,” UNICEF said.

The agency said more than five million children are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.

“Across Iraq, children continue to witness sheer horror and unimaginable violence,” UNICEF’s Representative in Iraq, Peter Hawkins, said in a statement. “They have been killed, injured, abducted and forced to shoot and kill in one of the most brutal wars in recent history.”

Iraq has been roiled by violence since Daesh seized vast swathes of territory in northern and western Iraq in 2014.

Iraqi forces, backed by air cover from a US-led coalition, are currently engaged in a wide-scale offensive aimed at dislodging Daesh from Mosul, the terrorist group’s last stronghold in northern Iraq.

(Source / 23.06.2017)

Gaza builds ‘Wall of Blessings’ for Eid

The ‘Wall of Blessings’ has been set up ahead of the Muslim celebration of Eid in Gaza

Palestinians in Gaza have been setting up clothes lines along the streets to hang items for those in need to take ahead of the Muslim celebration of Eid.

Both old and new items of clothing have been placed on display along the “Wall of Blessings” to encourage the most vulnerable in society to help themselves.

Gaza resident Ahmed Sbeiti believes this is a wonderful idea as there are many people in Gaza who require both Eid clothes, toys and other items and this “Wall of Blessings” encourages people to give and those in need to take.

The wall has been decorated with slogans to encourage people to be giving and others to take whatever they need without hesitation. Phrases including “Don’t be shy”, “Come and get dresses” and “We all give and take”.

May 2017 Report: 525 Palestinians seized by occupation forces


Palestinian institutions working on prisoners’ affairs and human rights – the Prisoners’ Affairs Commission, Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, and the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society – released their report on Israeli occupation arrests of Palestinians for May 2017.

The institutions reported that 525 Palestinians in the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza were seized by Israeli occupation forces in May, including 139 children and 7 women. Among them were 190 Jerusalemites, 70 from al-Khalil, 60 from Nablus, 48 from Bethlehem, 39 from Qalqilya, 35 from Ramallah and el-Bireh, 28 from Tulkarem, 20 from Jenin, 12 from Jericho, eight from Salfit, five from Tubas and 10 from the Gaza Strip.

There are around 6,500 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, including 300 children and 54 women; 10 of the women prisoners are minor girls. As of May 2017, there were 486 Palestinians imprisoned without charge or trial under administrative detention orders.

During May, Israeli occupation authorities issued 98 administrative detention orders, including 38 new orders and 60 renewal orders.

The institutions reaffirmed their strong condemnation of systematic Israeli violations of international law against Palestinian prisoners. The occupation authorities continue to ignore the legal rights of and safeguards for detainees under international law, especially the standard minimum rules for the treatment of prisoners and many other relevant declarations and conventions.

They urged the international community to act to uphold its legal and ethical responsibility toward the people of the occupied Palestinian territories to pressure the occupying state to defend their rights. They also urged the activation of local, regional and international solidarity campaigns to pressure the occupying power.

(Source / 23.06.2017)

Lieberman accuses Abbas of sparking Hamas-Israel war

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a Revolutionary Council Meeting of Fatah Movement in Ramallah, West Bank on 25 May, 2017 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a Revolutionary Council Meeting of Fatah Movement in Ramallah, West Bank on 25 May, 2017

The increasing pressure Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, has placed on Hamas in the Gaza Strip will “drag it into a war with Israel”, Israeli Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, warned yesterday.

Speaking at an annual regional security conference held in Israel’s Herzliya, Lieberman said that “the situation in Gaza can’t last forever”, describing Abbas’ policy towards Gaza as a “double strategy”.

On the Gaza electricity crisis, the Israeli minister explained that “this is an internal Palestinian crisis that’s not going to end,” noting that “Abbas is going to increase cuts and soon stop the payment of salaries in Gaza and the transfer of fuel to the Strip as a two-pronged strategy.”

Read: Fatah, PA take part in Israeli security conference

Abbas, he added, has taken this step “unilaterally”, without coordination with Israel or Egypt.

“I am following a clear strategy, but I can’t speak about a strategy for Gaza, even in the Cabinet, because after one minute I’ll see all of this in the media,” he said.

The minister also stressed that Israel “has no intention to go to war – not in the north, nor in the south,” explaining that “we’re leading a clear policy against Gaza, without trailing behind.”

Read: Peace based on trading ‘land for peace doomed to fail’

On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Lieberman reiterated that a solution can only come as part of “a full regional agreement with all moderate Sunni [Arab] states, including Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, when the agreement with the Palestinians is a byproduct of that.”

He criticised the Oslo Accords, explaining that the reason behind its failure in ending the conflict is because they were based on the principle of “land for peace”, which he described as “wrong”. “The guiding principle must be land and population exchanges,” he stressed.

Lieberman also slammed former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s peace efforts. “We couldn’t offer the Palestinians more than what Olmert offered in Annapolis, and Abbas refused to sign that in the end.”

(Source / 23.06.2017)

Rafah Crossing Still Closed after 100 Days

22 JUN
10:51 PM

Rafah Crossing, the main artery for Palestinians in Gaza to travel out of the Strip, has been closed for 103 consecutive days, with no indication that it will reopen soon, Quds Press reported yesterday.

The crossing’s gates were last opened on 9 March when a few thousand people travelled through it. More than 30,000 Palestinians have registered to travel through the border, most are students, patients and those separated from their families.

Rafah was opened in May only to allow those stranded in Egypt to return to their homes in Gaza, PNN further reports.

So far, this year, the crossing has been opened in both directions for only six days, meaning it has been closed for 160 — the longest spell that the border has been sealed since the start of an Israeli blockade on the enclave, which has now entered its eleventh year.

Even Egypt has  allowed diesel to enter the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing. According to the information office at the border, 11 trucks entered Gaza loaded with one million litres of diesel which are destined for the enclave’s power plant.

More trucks are expected to arrive later today, a source said, adding that fuel pumping would continue for several days.

The Rafah crossing has been opened for the entry of diesel only, the official said.

Gaza’s electricity plant is expected to start operating within 24 hours, after it was forced to shut down in mid-April, due to a shortage of fuel.

This week, Israel reduced the electricity it supplies to the besieged enclave even further, worsening an already dire humanitarian situation. The Palestinian Energy Authority said the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) had cut by eight megawatts the 120 megawatts it supplies to the Gaza Strip.

Egypt’s actions come following a meeting between a Hamas security delegation and officials from the Fateh movement, who support former leader Mohammed Dahlan, under the auspices of the Egyptian leadership, last week.

(Source / 23.06.2017)