Israeli heavy military presence in Nablus town

Military presence Nablus

The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) were deployed in large numbers Wednesday morning between Burin town and Bracha settlement, illegally built south of Nablus.

Eyewitnesses affirmed that an Israeli helicopter carried out landings in the area for unknown reasons.

Earlier today, Israeli settlers in civilian cars were seen roaming near Burin town, raising fears of any planned attacks against Palestinians.

In this regard, local residents launched appeals to intensify security operations at night.

(Source / 07.02.2018)

Israeli settlers try to kidnap two Palestinian children in Nablus

Attempt to kidnap children

Palestinian residents of the northern West Bank city of Nablus managed on Wednesday to foil an Israeli settlers’ attempt to kidnap two children from Madama town south of the city.

Local activist Ghassan Duglas affirmed that 12 settlers from Yitzhar settlement infiltrated into the town and kidnapped two children while playing near their house.

The two children were identified as Hossam Ziadeh, 10, and Taha Ziadeh, 8.

Fortunately, local youths managed to catch up the settlers before reaching their settlement and to save the two children.

Following the incident, violent clashes broke out between local residents and the settlers who later fled the scene under Israeli forces’ protection.

(Source / 07.02.2018)

32 Palestinians injured in clashes in Jericho, O.J’lem

32 Pal's injured Jericho

32 Palestinians were injured as clashes broke out Wednesday evening with Israeli Occupation forces (IOF) at the entrance to Jericho and in Kafr Aqab town north of occupied Jerusalem.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Wednesday said 30 Palestinians were injured during the clashes that erupted at the entrance to the city of Jericho.

It said of the 30 injuries, 21 were injured with rubber-coated metal bullets and nine suffered suffocation due to tear gas inhalation.

Meanwhile, a 16-year-old Palestinian was critically injured in Kafr ‘Aqab, north of Jerusalem, said medical sources.

The teen was hit in the face, chest, and thigh areas during clashes that erupted with Israeli soldiers.

His condition was described as critical and was transferred via ambulance to the Ramallah Medical Complex to receive urgent treatment.

Along the same line, a Palestinian young man suffered slight wounds after being shot and injured by a settler’s gunfire while driving near Beit Ayoun junction north of al-Khalil.

The young man was immediately taken to al-Mizan hospital.

(Source / 07.02.2018)

Israel jails 5 Palestinians for spying for Hezbollah

Hezbollah troops during a military parade

Hezbollah troops [File photo]

An Israeli court yesterday sentenced five Palestinians to various prison terms and fined them over claims that they spied for Hezbollah, reported yesterday.

The court sentenced Ali Ihab Qahmouz, 32, from the village of Al-Ghajar, to one year in prison and fined him 120,000 shekels ($34,440).

Brothers Jamil Qahmouz, 30, and Yousef Qahmouz, 35, as well as their cousin Mohsen Qahmouz, 22, were also handed jail terms of three years each and a total fine of 20,000 shekels ($5,740).

In addition, the court sentenced Mamdouh Ibrahim, 22, from the village of Yarka, to 24 months in prison and fined him 20,000 shekels ($5,740).

Read: Hezbollah accuses Israel of Sidon bombing

According to the Israeli police, the case dates back to July 2017 when two explosive devices were found in an Israeli area but were traced back to Lebanon.

“The two devices were smuggles from Lebanon to Israel by a number of suspects who are from one family from the village of Al-Ghajar and they received help from a relative who had relations with Hezbollah,” the police said.

(Source / 07.02.2018)

US deports Palestinian businessman who lived there 40 years

Palestinian businessman Amir Othman had his Green Card confiscated and was deported from the US on 30 January 2018 arriving in Jordan the next day

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) has deported Palestinian businessman Amir Othman to Jordan.

Authorities arrested the Othman, who had lived in the US for 40 years, last month in preparation for his deportation.

His lawyer, David Leopold, said in statements that his client was preparing to leave the United States voluntarily when he was arrested.

The immigration authorities stripped Othman of his permanent residency permit – the Green Card – several years ago claiming that his first marriage to an American citizen was fake although his ex-wife testified that the pair were legally marriage.

Othman was unable to obtain another residency permit despite being marrying Fida Musleh who holds US citizenship and having four daughters who hold American passports.

Official reports indicate that US authorities have arrested more than 40,000 immigrants during the first few months of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Read: US judge halts deportation of more than 1,400 Iraqi nationals

(Source / 07.02.2018)

Syrian Coalition Warns of Collapse of Political Process if Assad Regime’s Military Escalation Continues

The Syrian Coalition warned that the any further military escalation by the Assad regime would inevitably result in the collapse of the political process. It pointed out that international warnings of the repeated use of chemical weapons had exposed the international community’s inaction and failure amounting to complicity in the crimes being committed against the Syrian people.

The Coalition quoted activists in the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta as saying that massacres are being committed against civilians forcing thousands to flee towards relatively safer areas. Local activists said that highly destructive munitions are being used in the bombings which are flatting whole buildings. The relentless bombings have also caused further deterioration of the humanitarian situation.

In a press release issued on Tuesday, the Coalition called on the international community to intervene immediately to stop this terrorist campaign and rein in the Assad regime and its backers.

“The US administration has recently warned of the use of chemical weapons, apparently unware of the fact that the Assad regime has been using these weapons on an almost daily basis in blatant violation of all international resolutions and the so-called red lines,” the Coalition said.

“Such attacks have also exposed the international community’s inaction and failure amounting to complicity in the crimes being committed against the Syrian people.”

The Coalition went on: “The ongoing onslaught on eastern Ghouta represents a serious escalation of violence as the Assad regime clearly seeks to undermine all chances of political solution at all levels through the relentless bombardment and the trampling of all so-called red lines.”

The Coalition underscored that “these grave developments must not go unnoticed by sponsors of the political solution. Massacres and terrorist attacks on civilians cannot continue side by side with any kind of talks about political solution which itself faces many challenges and obstacles as well as complete absence of seriousness and commitment on the part of the Assad regime.”

The Coalition stressed that “the utter silence by the international community and sponsors of the political solution over these barbaric attacks and the massacres resulted from them is tantamount to giving a green light to the perpetrators to carry on with their crimes. This silence also represents, in the eyes of the Syrian people, complicity in the aggression against them.”

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 07.02.2018)

Fatah official: US helping Israel take control of Jerusalem

Hatem Abdel-Qader, a member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council

US plans for a “New Jerusalem” are a form of “aggression”, member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council Hatem Abdel-Qader said yesterday.

Quds Press reported the official saying that the “aggression” is helped by some Arab countries, along with the “procrastination” of the Palestinian leadership, which gives Israel time to “demarcate a new de facto policy on the ground”.

The Fatah official, who was previously the Palestinian Authority minister of Jerusalem, stressed that the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem “has been expanding its sovereignty”, noting this is the reason why it is building barriers which separate the Arab neighbourhoods from the centre of the city.

Abdel-Qader said that this proves the Israeli occupation is playing with the city’s geography in order to enable Israel to control the heart of Jerusalem and offer the surrounding neighbouring areas as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

He noted that Israel is speaking about Abu DisShuafat and Kafr Aqab as parts of Jerusalem, however, they are parts of the occupied West Bank and they were included to Jerusalem after 1967.

Read: If Jerusalem is off the table peace is off the table, says Erekat

(Source / 07.02.2018)

Updated: Israeli Soldiers Kill A Palestinian In Nablus

07 FEB
4:10 AM

Israeli soldiers killed, on Tuesday at night, a young Palestinian man, and injured 110, including 32 who were shot with live ammunition, in Nablus city, in the northern part of the occupied West Bank.

The Palestinian Health Ministry has identified the Palestinian as Khaled Waleed Tayeh, 22, from Iraq-Tayeh village, east of Nablus.

Khaled succumbed to his wounds, after being shot with a live round in the chest; he died at the at al-Najah Hospital, in Nablus.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said the soldiers injured 110 Palestinians, including 32 who were shot with live ammunition, 26 with rubber-coated steel bullets, and 51 who suffered the effects of teargas inhalation.

It added that the soldiers also rammed one Palestinian with their jeep, causing moderate wounds.

The head of the an-Najah National Hospital in Nablus, Salim al-Haj Yahia, said one of the wounded Palestinians, identified as Anwar Abu Aisha, was instantly rushed to surgery after an Israeli bullet severed the main artery in his thigh, and added that his condition is very serious.

Eyewitnesses said the soldiers fired dozens of live rounds at random, in several directions.

The escalation started after dozens of soldiers invaded the Northern Mountain area, in Nablus, apparently looking for the Palestinian who killed an Israeli settler, identified as Itamar Ben Gal, 29, Monday.

Undercover forces surrounded two homes but were unable to locate and arrest the man they were reportedly looking for, and instead abducted seven Palestinians, not involved in the fatal stabbing.

The Israeli army said it was unable to arrest the “suspected stabber,” and added that the soldiers were “attacked by more than 500 young Palestinian men, who hurled stones and Molotov cocktails at them, while others exchanged fire with the soldiers.”

Media sources in Nablus said the soldiers abducted Hani Ashraf Khalfa, Nayef Tubasi, Tamer Qandeel, Eyad Abu Salha, Mos’ab al-Kawni, and another Palestinian from al-Bistami family, and one who remained unidentified at the time of this report.

Updated From: Feb 7, 2018 @ 03:06








(Source / 07.02.2018)

Israeli Soldiers Kill One Palestinian; Injure Dozens Near Hebron

07 FEB
11:25 AM

Israeli soldiers killed, on Wednesday morning, a young Palestinian man near Karmei Tzur illegal Israeli colony, which was built on Palestinian lands in Hebron, after he reportedly stabbed and lightly injured a guard. The soldiers later conducted invasions of nearby villages and violent searches and injured 29 Palestinians.

The Palestinian District Coordination Office (DCO) has confirmed to the Health Ministry that the slain Palestinian has been identified as Hamza Yousef No’man Zama’ra, 19, from Halhoul town, north of Hebron.

Israeli sources claimed that the Palestinian “very lightly wounded the guard in a stabbing attack in Karmie Tzur.” The wounded Israeli guard was identified as Boris Balbrava, 36, from Karmei Tzur colony.

They said that Zama’ra “arrived by car at the security post leading to the settlement, and attacked a guard directly after exiting the car,” and added that he stabbed a guard in his hand, causing very minor wounds, before another guard shot him dead.

Following the incident, dozens of soldiers arrived at the scene, and initiated an extensive search campaign, reportedly to locate “possible accomplices.”

The soldiers later invaded Hamza’s home, and violently searched it, before interrogating his family and abducting his father. They released the father later, and summoned two of his sons for interrogation in the Etzion military base, north of Hebron.

Following Hamza’s death, dozens of Palestinian protested in Halhoul, before the soldiers attacked them, and fired dozens of live rounds, rubber-coated steel bullets and gas bombs.

Medical sources in Hebron said the soldiers shot at least 29 Palestinians with live rounds and rubber-coated steel bullets and caused many to suffer the severe effects of teargas inhalation, in addition to assaulting three with clubs and batons.

It is worth mentioning that Hamza is a former political prisoner and has two brothers who are imprisoned by Israel.

He is the third Palestinian to be killed by Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank, within 24 hours, after the soldiers killed Ahmad Jarrar, near Jenin, and Khaled Waleed Tayeh, in Nablus.

(Source / 07.02.2018)

Israel needs Abbas to solve Gaza crisis

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas could perhaps solve the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, but he would rather let Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu handle the terrible situation he created.

A well-publicized clash between Israel’s defense and political echelons has occurred yet again. At issue this time is not a disagreement over military matters or the desired intensity of reactions to terrorism. Rather, it is the question of whether the Gaza Strip is collapsing or “only” experiencing a bearable economic crisis.

At the Feb. 4 weekly Cabinet meeting, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot warned that Gaza was on the verge of collapse, adding that Israel should take significant preventive measures. An additional deterioration, he warned, could increase prospects of a clash with Hamas in the coming year — even though neither side wants one.

Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai voiced similar concern about the effect of a total breakdown in Gaza at a Jan. 31 emergency meeting of Palestinian Authority (PA) donor states in Brussels. Mordechai called on all the donors to mobilize for Gaza’s sake and presented a detailed plan for the rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip’s infrastructure. However, Mordechai’s blueprint could take many months to implement, far longer than the Israeli defense assessment of the timetable for Gaza’s collapse.

A day after Eizenkot described his catastrophic Gaza scenario, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman contradicted him. “The situation in Gaza is indeed serious. There is a very serious economic situation that must be dealt with, but there is no humanitarian crisis,” Liberman told Knesset members of his Yisrael Beitenu party. Liberman insisted that Eizenkot and other defense professionals shared his views. Responding to the chief of staff’s warning that the humanitarian crisis could result in an armed clash that neither side desires, Liberman said dismissively, “Since yesterday, we have witnessed the flow of a lot of information and mainly disinformation in all the media regarding the Gaza Strip. … We have no intention of initiating any military action in Gaza, but I’m glad the Hamas leadership is in a panic.”

Liberman is currently more concerned about how a crisis can be prevented and even more so how to devise a long-term solution that would end more than a decadelong Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.

At the same time, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has instructed the security-diplomatic Cabinet to debate a proposal by Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz for the construction of an offshore Mediterranean port for Gaza. Katz has been pushing the plan for more than two years but had thus far met with opposition on the part of Netanyahu and his top ministers. Netanyahu wanted nothing to do with the grandiose plan by Katz, with whom his ties are rocky, and Liberman also expressed vehement opposition.

In June 2017, when Katz warned of an impending crisis and claimed Israel does not have a policy on Gaza, Liberman said at an event in Tel Aviv, “Building an island and a port in Gaza means giving a reward to terrorism and encouraging it. … This would be the best way to smuggle weapons into Gaza.” The defense minister mocked the transportation minister’s claim that international monitors could oversee the shipments from the port to Gaza’s shore. “You cannot maintain our security via a remote control,” he ruled.

In the months since, the Gaza crisis has deepened. On Feb. 6, Gaza merchants suspended all trading at the Kerem Shalom border crossing with Israel, claiming the purchasing power in the Gaza Strip had reached rock bottom, the volume of orders from importers and traders had plummeted, and they could no longer afford the losses. People don’t even have money to buy food, they said. The business situation indicates that the collapse is not an apocalyptic, far-off scenario but is already here — on the other side of the border crossings with Gaza, an hour’s drive south of Tel Aviv. Israel, which is unprepared for such a situation and continues to hold the blockade sacrosanct, still has no answers.

An Israeli security source told Al-Monitor that it is still unclear whether Netanyahu favors the Katz plan, but his order to hold a discussion of the matter at least proves that Eizenkot’s warning had set off alarm bells in his office. Yet even if the Cabinet approves the building of an island across from Gaza with the help of donor states, construction will take several years and Gaza cannot wait.

For now, Israeli defense authorities are recommending emergency shipments of food, water, medicine and hospital supplies. Who will pay for them? That is unclear. What is clear is that this is not a fundamental, long-term solution. “Even a combined aid forum of donor states in addition to the easing of extensive restrictions by Israel will not save Gaza from collapse. Gaza will keep dying gradually, postponing the end for a while. But the end is near,” said the source on condition of anonymity.

Until a fundamental solution is found, whether by building a port or any other creative means, the key to the salvation of Gaza’s 2 million residents is in the hands of one man: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Although he, too, is politically, diplomatically and economically weak — especially since the Donald Trump administration has threatened to cut off US aid to the Palestinians — he is apparently the only one who can do something. However, for now at least, Abbas is not assuming any responsibility for events in Gaza.

Some in Israel think Abbas’ refusal to take a stand stems not only from unresolved issues with Hamas over the stalled reconciliation process with Fatah, but also from a desire to take revenge against Trump and Netanyahu for humiliating him. He is avenging Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and Netanyahu’s cheering of the declaration. And for that, Abbas would rather see Gaza’s downfall blamed on Netanyahu. He wants Netanyahu to get a taste of his own medicine.

(Source / 07.02.2018)