Gazan Interior Ministry Spokesman Iyad Al-Bozom delivers a speech during a press conference at court-martial house after court-martial sentenced two defendants, who were on trial for drug trafficking, to death penalty in Gaza City, Gaza on 19 March 2017
Ministry of Interior in the Gaza Strip yesterday pardoned 57 citizens detained as a result of various security issues “in order to enhance positive internal atmosphere”, a spokesman announced.
In a statement, a copy of which sent to MEMO, the ministry said: “The Ministry of Interior and National Security has decided to pardon 57 of those arrested and sentenced for various security issues in response to a call from the parliament.”
Ministy spokesman Iyad Al-Bozom said: “The Undersecretary of the Ministry Major General Tawfiq Abu-Naim, issued his direction to release these citizens in an effort to enhance positive atmosphere in Gaza ahead of holding general elections.”
In light of the ongoing internal dialogue among the Palestinian factions, the Palestinian parliament in Gaza called for the interior ministry to release any prisoners who had not been sentenced over security or criminal offenses.
On Sunday, the ministry released the journalist Hani Al-Agha, who was held for more than 40 days after being accused of providing information which harmed public security and which has nothing to do with the nature of his work as a journalist.
More than 120 highly qualified Palestinian doctors emigrated from the Gaza Strip in 2018 and 2019, pushing the Ministry of Health to close medical departments in hospitals.
According to a report published by Amad.ps on Saturday, the Palestinian doctors who left their posts in Gaza highlighted the pressure of working under the 12-year Israeli siege imposed on Gaza.
On Facebook, Surgeon Adnan Radi wrote: “The first skilled and most qualified specialist of heart surgery Mohammad Nassar left Gaza, pushing us to close the Department of Cardiac Surgery.” He described this as a “catastrophe.”
Ahmed Shatat, an official at the doctors’ affairs division in Gaza hospitals, said doctors travel aboard to look for “better opportunities” because they “do not have regular salaries” in Gaza as a result of Israel’s actions.
“Qualified doctors do not feel they have a bright future that matches their qualifications in the besieged Gaza Strip where they have low and irregular salaries,” Shatat said.
He stated that the problem is not with the emigration of the new graduates, but of the “skilled doctors whose emigration poses a serious danger to the health care system.”
Journalist Sama Hassan wrote on her Facebook: “I do not expect doctors who leave Gaza to find a better life, but they would find a regular salary and have work security.”
She hailed the efforts of Gaza doctors but reiterated that they are looking for some kind of safety and stability.
“They have served patients and the wounded in the most difficult times,” she said, “but they have spent the best years of their life studying and getting the best skills and experience so they want to get some gains in order to have a secure and stable life for themselves and their families.”
Retired specialist of general health Yousef Musa said: “The emigration of skilled doctors is a dangerous indicator because the Ministry of Health is forced to look for alternatives.”
He noted that the sole alternative is treatment abroad and this is very expensive and exhausts a large per cent of its budget.
Thousands of Palestinians, Monday, marked the 15th anniversary of the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat at the Arafat Memorial in Ramallah, The Palestinian News and Info Agency (WAFA) reported.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addressed the crowds, praising Arafat, who led the Palestinian revolution for the liberation of the homeland from the Israeli occupation.
“Our revolution is a national liberation movement that deserves to be respected. It is going to achieve all its goals and achieve the independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital,” Abbas said.
He criticized the American so-called ‘deal of the century’, which he said intends to strip the Palestinians of their rights and dreams, stating “We will not go back on our rights. It is not a matter of stubbornness or rejection for the sake of rejection. We reject what does not agree with our rights and what our people do not accept,”
“We agreed to go to legislative, then presidential elections,” stressing the importance of holding these elections in Gaza and occupied Jerusalem as well, “without which there will be no elections.” he declared.
The Palestinian president expressed hope that everyone will agree to elections, “because they protect our existence and our cause,” adding, “we are going to elections under all circumstances and then to achieve our hope and dream, which is the independent Palestinian state, self-determination and return to the homeland.”
A coalition of American Jewish groups has sent a letter to leaders of Israel’s political parties, warning them against full or even partial annexation of the occupied West Bank.
The letter, written by the Progressive Israel Network, asks Israeli politicians to oppose the annexation plan being pursued by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, even if US President Donald Trump gives it a green light.
It states that Trump’s endorsement of West Bank annexation does not mean a sign of long-term American policy, Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported.
“Mistaking such a ‘green light’ from the president — for any type of consensus on the part of either US political party — would be a dangerous error for Israel,” the letter reads.
“Simply put, the approach of this president does not represent the long-term interests and likely future policy of the United States.”
The coalition said the annexation could harm relations between Israel and US Jews because the “vast majority of American Jews” support a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of the advocacy group, said in a statement that “carrying out unilateral annexations in the West Bank would ultimately” lead Israel “down a disastrous path to permanent conflict.”
“It’s vital for Israeli leaders to recognize that whatever the dangerous and deluded policies of the Trump administration, the vast majority of Americans and American Jews are strongly opposed to annexation,” Ben-Ami said.
The letter has been signed by up to 13 groups, including ten members of the Progressive Israel Network – an umbrella coalition that includes J Street and the New Israel Fund.
PNN further reports that earlier, in mid-September, Netanyahu pledged to annex the Jordan Valley, which makes up 30 percent of the West Bank area, if he was re-elected.
In a highly provocative move, on March 25, the US president ignored a decades-long international consensus and signed a proclamation recognizing Israel’s “sovereignty” over the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.
Damascus strongly condemned the move and called it a “blatant attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity” of Syria.
In 1967, Israel waged a full-scale war on Arab territories, during which it occupied a large swathe of Golan and annexed it in 1981, a move condemned by the international community. Syria has repeatedly reaffirmed its sovereignty over the Golan Heights, saying the territory must be completely restored to its control.
Trump’s favor for Israelis over Golan followed his recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as the capital of Israel.
The US has relocated its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds, which Palestinians consider the capital of their future state.
Ramallah (QNN)- Palestine Prisoners Centre for Studies revealed on Sunday that it documented over 190 arrests in Jerusalem last month.
Riyadh Al Ashqar, spokesperson of the centre, said that usually most arrests take place in Jerusalem in comparison with other cities. One third of the total arrests took place in the holy city, which indicates the Israeli obvious targeting of the Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem.
Al Ashqar stated that the occupation state continued to target Palestinian women in Jerusalem; 12 women have been arrested last month including worshipers from the Al Aqsa mosque like Aida Seidawi, Madeline Issa, and Hanadi Halawani.
Lawyer Farah Bayadseh and human rights activist Sabrin Dyab were also arrested while participating in a vigil in solidarity with prisoners. Journalists Maisaa Abu Ghazaleh and Sondos Oweis were summoned as well for interrogation.
Children of Jerusalem were also targeted. 25% of the total arrests were against children. Israeli authorities arrested 44 children, 5 of them are under the age of 12. The youngest of those who were arrested is Muhab Mustafa (8 years old).
Al Ashqar stated that Israeli soldiers arrested the wounded child Muhammad Sabah (16 years old), who was shot by the soldiers under the pretext of trying to stab them. Sabah was left to bleed without providing any medical care before being searched and sent to hospital.
Firas Hallaq (26 years old) was also arrested after being shot when he was driving near the Am’ari refugee camp. Hallaq was arrested for two weeks despite of his injury.
Israeli courts issued last month 33 expulsion orders against Palestinians, who were expelled from the Al Aqsa mosque or the old city. An expulsion order was issued against Sheikh of Al Aqsa mosque Ismael Nawahdah, who was arrested at Qalandiya military checkpoint.
Occupied Hebron (QNN)- An Israeli sniper, who was few meters away from Omar Badawi, sniped the young man on Monday killing him. Badawi, who did not pose any threat, was shot while he was trying to put out fire in his house at Al Arroub refugee camp in Hebron.
Israeli soldiers stormed into the refugee camp earlier today to repress marches, which were organized remembering the death of Yaser Arafat. Israeli soldiers stormed the area and repressed the marches, causing violent confrontations to erupt.
Badawi’s house was set to fire due to Israeli grenades, which were randomly fired at the houses in the camp. Badawi rushed to rescue his house before an Israeli sniper shoots him dead. Nearby journalists and residents video taped the Israeli crime.
Hundreds of Palestinians took to the streets in Badawi’s funeral after performing the funeral prayer and bidding farewell to him.
Several confrontations erupted today throughout the West Bank following the Israeli repression of marches, which were held commemorating the 15th anniversary for the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
Karam Qawasmi was run over by Israeli military jeep, then beaten for several hours before troops released him, only to shoot him in the back as he walked away
By Mohammed Daraghmeh
Young Palestinian man who was shot in the back by Israeli forces in incident caught on video emerged last week says the footage shows just small part of what was horrifying day for him.
Speaking to The Associated Press after the video emerged last week, Karam Qawasmi said he was run over by a military jeep, then beaten for several hours before troops released him, only to shoot him in the back with a painful sponge-tipped bullet as he walked away. He said Israeli investigators have never contacted him.
“I died several times that day,” he said in an interview at his home in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. “They tortured me in a way that I felt they are killing me. And when they shot me, I felt it’s my end. I closed my eyes and prayed.”
Local and international rights groups often accuse the Israeli occupation forces of using excessive, unnecessary and lethal force against them.
Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967 and has kept it under military occupation for over 50 years. While the Palestinian Authority has limited autonomy in very little parts of the territory, Israel wields overall security control.
The incident occurred a year and a half ago, but only came to public attention last week, when Israel’s Channel 13 TV broadcast a leaked video of the shooting, carried out by a member of the Israeli paramilitary border police unit.
Crime hidden for a year
In the video, a woman is heard screaming at a young Palestinian man to “get out of here” as he slowly walks away with his hands in the air. A male voice tells him to lower his hands as the woman again shouts at him. Some 20 seconds later, a shot is heard as the man crumples to the ground, screaming in pain.
The shooter is not seen in the video, which appears to have been taken by a member of the Israeli security force.
Qawasmi, 22, said that he was the man in the video, saying his troubles began early on the morning of May 25, 2018.
He said he had recently completed his accounting studies at a technical college. With few jobs available in the West Bank, he set out from his home in Al-Khalil to the West Bank town of Azayim, outside of Jerusalem, in hopes of finding work at a gas station.
After a meeting at the station, he was walking back toward a checkpoint when he says a military jeep pulled up and struck him, tossing him several meters. Border police officers jumped out of the vehicle and grabbed him, he said.
“They took me into the jeep. They handcuffed me and drove me to a nearby tunnel and started beating me up,” he said. “They twisted my arms, hit me with their hands, boots, and guns all over my body.”
He said he was carrying a small bag with work clothes, but Qawasmi, who does not speak much Hebrew, says he thinks the forces suspected he was armed with a knife.
“I recognised some words, like ‘knife,’” he said. “I thought they are going to kill me and leave a knife next to my body.” He said a crowd of policemen beat him up, as one officer recorded it on a mobile phone.
One female officer was especially aggressive. “She twisted my arms to my back and made me kneel in a very painful way,” he said. Another female officer stood and watched, he said.
After more than three hours, Karam said the forces gave him his ID card and ordered him to leave.
“I walked, and when I looked back I saw three soldiers pointing their guns at me,” he said. “I was terrified. I walked slowly, and my heart was beating quickly. One shot me, I was hit in the back. I fell down and thought I’m dying. I stared praying and closed my eyes.”
A soldier rushed to him and told him to leave. “I stood up terrified and walked. I kept walking for more than an hour,” he said.
Israeli forces often use sponge-tipped bullets to disperse crowds. The bullets are meant to not be lethal, though they are fired at high velocity and can be extremely painful.
Qawasmi said he eventually made it to a nearby Palestinian village where he changed his clothes and continued back to Al-Khalil. “I went to the hospital for a checkup. There were bruises everywhere. The rubber bullet hit the end of the spine,” he said.
He said he recovered at home for a month and suffered nightmares and physical pain for many months afterward. He showed off what he said was the white Adidas T-shirt he wore that day, with a hole in the back where the bullet hit him.
Since the video was broadcast, Qawasmi has become a bit of a local celebrity. During the interview, he took a call from an Israeli lawyer offering to represent him. Several people approached him at a restaurant, some jokingly asking how much money he now expects from a legal settlement.
Israeli justice ministry said last week that it has completed an investigation into the case and will soon announce a final decision on whether to indict officers who were at the scene, including a woman who is believed to have fired the bullet.
Israeli police claimed the woman was immediately removed from duty after the force became aware of the incident. They said other officers who were at the scene were reassigned.
“This is a case that does not characterise in any way whatsoever the behaviour or operations of the Border Police,” a statement claimed.
Qawasmi said he did not file a complaint against the security forces, believing it would make no difference.
Palestinians and Israeli human rights groups accuse Israeli security forces of routinely covering up abuses and carrying out half-hearted investigations.
Qawasmi, for instance, said Israeli investigators have never asked to question him. Justice officials did not respond to a query as to why Qawasmi has not been interviewed.
In 2016, the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem stopped working with the Israeli military on such investigations, accusing it of whitewashing the cases.
Amit Gilutz, spokesman for the group, said it is common for alleged victims not be interviewed, and rarely are forces seriously punished.
“The only exceptional aspect of this incident is that it was filmed and published,” he said.
Two injured by live bullets in Israeli crackdown at participants in marches
Two Palestinians were on Monday shot and injured by live bullets fired by Israeli soldiers at Palestinian students participating in marches commemorating the 15th anniversary for the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, according to medical sources.
The Red Crescent said its crews transferred a youth from Fuwwar refugee camp, in the south of the West Bank, to hospital in Hebron after he was shot in the leg by a live bullet fired by Israeli soldiers.
Witnesses said the soldiers opened fire at the students who were commemorating Arafat’s death anniversary injuring one.
In Arroub refugee camp, also in the south of the West Bank, Israeli soldiers attacked another student march using live ammunition and teargas, said witnesses.
One youth was injured in the belly from a live bullet and was taken by residents to a local clinic after soldiers prevented Red Crescent ambulances from reaching him. His condition was not immediately known.
A Palestinian who was critically injured when Israeli soldiers opened live fire at Palestinians participating in marches commemorating the 15th anniversary for the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has died of his wounds, according to the Ministry of Health.
Israeli soldiers attacked the march using live ammunition and teargas, said witnesses.
One person, identified as Omar Haytham Badawi, 22, was seriously injured in the chest from a live bullet and was taken by residents to a local clinic after the soldiers prevented Red Crescent ambulances from reaching him.
He was later transferred to hospital in Hebron where he was pronounced dead.