Hamas begins internal elections to choose a new leadership

Hamas sets up elections committee in Gaza2
Hamas sets up elections committee in Gaza, 16 December 2019 

Hamas will today hold the first phase of its internal elections to choose a new leadership, Anadolu reported.

A source familiar with the movement told the agency that the first phase of the internal elections will start today, after the preparatory committees have completed all the arrangements related to the elections.

Hamas holds its internal elections in three regions; the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and in the diaspora.

According to the source, the elections will start in the Gaza Strip then in the diaspora at a later time.

Regarding holding internal elections in the West Bank, the source explained that elections there are taking place in a complex and cautious mechanism, given “the security conditions and the Israeli occupation authorities’ pursuit of the movement’s members”.

Hamas holds its internal elections every four years, under secret conditions due to security considerations. The movement held its last elections in 2017.

The source pointed out that the Hamas leadership has ordered that the internal elections be accelerated and their duration shorten in an effort to be completed by the end of March to provide the new leadership time to prepare for the Palestinian legislative and presidential elections slated to be taking place in May and July.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has issued a presidential decree to hold legislative elections on 22 May, the presidential elections on 31 July, and polls for the National Council on 31 August.

READ: The making of Hamas’ foreign policy book launch

(Source / 19.02.2021)

Israel opens floodgates near Gaza, destroys Palestinian crops

A view of flooded farmlands after Israel opened dam’s gates that led to flooding of agricultural lands in eastern Gaza Strip, near the Israeli border on 18 February 2021. [Ali Jadallah - Anadolu Agency]
A view of flooded farmlands after Israel opened dam’s gates that led to flooding of agricultural lands in eastern Gaza Strip, near the Israeli border on 18 February 2021

Israeli occupation forces today opened floodgates near the eastern borders of the Gaza Strip for the second day, flooding hundreds of dunums of Palestinian agricultural land.

Local sources said that the water devastated vast tracts of land in the eastern Gaza City while dozens of other cultivated lands were flooded near Beit Hanun in the northern Gaza Strip.

The farmers incurred heavy losses as a result of the floods.

Israel regularly opens the floodgates on the Gaza fence in winter flooding Palestinian property.

READ: Israel tanks invade Gaza, open fire at farmers

(Source / 19.02.2021)

Israel bars Palestinians from praying at Al-Aqsa Mosque

The Dome of the Rock (L), in the Al-Aqsa mosques compound and the Abbey of the Dormition in Jerusalem's Old City on 15 January 2021 [AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images]
The Dome of the Rock (L), in the Al-Aqsa mosques compound and the Abbey of the Dormition in Jerusalem’s Old City on 15 January 2021

Israeli police on Friday prevented dozens of Palestinian residents of the occupied West Bank from reaching Al-Aqsa Mosque to perform Friday prayer, Anadolu Agency reports.

An Anadolu Agency correspondent saw Israeli police deployed in checkpoints at the entrances to the Old City in Jerusalem.

Israeli police checked the worshippers’ identification cards before putting them in special buses to their homes.

For years, worshipping at the Al-Aqsa Mosque has been limited just to residents of occupied East Jerusalem and Arab cities, and towns in Israel.

Earlier on Friday, thousands of Palestinian residents of Jerusalem and Arab cities in Israel flocked to the Al-Aqsa Mosque despite the heavy rains to perform the Friday prayers.

READ: Arrested 63 times, activist says Israel is making Palestinians choose to let go of resistance or die

(Source / 19.02.2021)

OCHA: Protection of Civilians Report Feb. 2 – 15, 2021

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Occupied Palestinian Territory (oPt) | Protection of Civilians report.

Summary from February 2 – 15, 2021

On 5 February, an Israeli settler shot and killed a 34-year-old Palestinian near a newly-constructed settlement outpost next to the village of Ras Karkar (Ramallah); Israeli military sources said that he had tried to break into a house in the outpost. Subsequent clashes in his village (Ras Karkar) resulted in the injury of one Palestinian and one Israeli soldier. Another Palestinian, aged 25, was killed in Nuba (Hebron), when an unexploded ordnance he found near his house exploded.

Seventy-one Palestinians and four Israeli soldiers were injured in clashes across the West Bank. Thirty of the Palestinian injuries were treated for tear gas inhalation on 12 February, in a protest against demolitions and confiscations in Humsa – Al Bqai’a. Twenty-seven Palestinians were injured in protests against the establishment of three settlement outposts on land belonging to residents of Kafr Malik, Deir Jarir, Ras at Tin, and Al Mughayyir, in Ramallah, and another one on Beit Dajan land in Nablus, and against settlement expansion in Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya) and Salfit. Seven Palestinians were injured in clashes that erupted during search-and-arrest operations in the refugee camps of Ad Duheisha (Bethlehem) and Jenin, and in Jaba’ village (also in Jenin). Another three were injured while reportedly attempting to cross into Israel through breaches in the Barrier in the Jenin area. Two were injured after Israeli forces intervened during clashes with Israeli settlers in Al Lubban ash Sharqiya (Nablus), and two others in unclear circumstances, near Silwad village (Ramallah). Fifty-one of those injured were treated for tear gas inhalation, ten were hit by rubber bullets, six were shot by live ammunition and the remaining five were physically assaulted or hit by tear gas canisters. Four Israeli soldiers were injured during a search-and-arrest operation in Beituniya (Ramallah).

Israeli forces carried out 186 search-and-arrest operations and arrested 172 Palestinians across the West Bank. The governorates of Jerusalem, Ramallah and Hebron were the most affected (on average 28 operations each). In one of the incidents, in Hebron, Israeli forces raided the city hall and detained employees who worked on the night shift; doors and furniture were reportedly broken.

In Gaza, on at least 28 occasions, Israeli forces opened warning fire near the perimeter fence on the border, or off the coast, presumably to enforce access restrictions. On another three occasions, Israeli forces conducted land levelling near the fence.

Following a closure of more than two months, the Egyptian-controlled Rafah crossing with Gaza was opened on 1 February for four consecutive days, in both directions. On 9 February, the Egyptian authorities announced that the crossing would open in both directions indefinitely. Since the beginning of February, 6,373 exits and 3,520 entries have been recorded.

Citing the lack of building permits, 89 Palestinian-owned structures were demolished or seized, displacing 146 people, of whom 83 were children, and otherwise affecting at least 330. On 3 and 8 February, the Israeli authorities demolished 37 structures, most of which were donated, in Humsa – Al Bqai’a community in the Jordan Valley. Sixty people, including 35 children, were displaced on each occasion. The community, most of which is located in an area designated for Israeli military training, has been subject to multiple mass demolitions in recent months. A UN statement issued on 5 February warned that pressure on the community to move raises a real risk of forcible transfer. In south Hebron, seven structures, including mobile latrines, were seized in the communities of Ar Rakeez, Umm al Kheir and Khirbet at Tawamin, affecting the living conditions and livelihoods of 80 people. In addition, in Al Jalama (Jenin), the livelihoods of about 70 people were affected as a result of the demolition of 13 beverage stalls. Seven structures were demolished in East Jerusalem, including four by their owners who wished to avoid fines; a family of four was displaced.

In addition, the Israeli authorities demolished, on punitive basis, a home in Tura al Gharbiya village (Jenin), displacing 11 people, including four children. The house belonged to the family of a Palestinian who was indicted for killing an Israeli woman in December. Last year, seven structures were demolished on similar grounds.

The Israeli authorities uprooted 1,000 saplings near the city of Tubas, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture. They were planted in response to the uprooting of thousands of trees last month in the same area, on the grounds that the land had been declared ‘state land.

Perpetrators known or believed to be Israeli settlers injured four Palestinians, including a child, and damaged Palestinian-owned properties, including trees. Three Palestinians were physically assaulted in two separate clashes with Israeli settlers in the village of Al Lubban ash Sharqiya (Nablus). A boy, aged 13, was physically assaulted in the Israeli-controlled area of Hebron city (H2). A foreign volunteer was stoned and injured in Susiya village (Hebron), and other foreign and local volunteers were attacked and robbed in As Samu’ village by perpetrators believed to be settlers. According to Palestinian sources, over 130 olive trees and saplings were uprooted or cut down in the communities of Khirbet Sarra (Nablus), Bruqin and Kafr ad Dik (Salfit), in At Tuwani and Bir al ‘Idd (Hebron), and in Al Janiya (Ramallah). Some 180 fence poles were stolen in Bruqin. In addition, an agricultural structure was damaged in Beit Dajan and a vehicle was set on fire in Qusra (both in Nablus). Another vehicle was stoned and damaged while travelling near Bet El settlement (Ramallah). In Qawawis, a shepherd reported the death of seven of his sheep from poisonous material that he believes had been sprayed by settlers from the nearby Mitzpe Yair settlement who, he says, repeatedly attack him while he grazes his sheep. In another incident in the area of Ein ar Rashrash in Ramallah, a shepherd reported that a vehicle believed to be driven by settlers had hit and killed two of his sheep. Perpetrators believed to be Israeli settlers reportedly damaged a surveillance camera and a lock in the Romanian Orthodox Church in East Jerusalem.

Two Israelis, including a 14-year-old girl and a woman, were injured by perpetrators believed to be Palestinians while travelling on West Bank roads, according to Israeli sources. Thirty Israeli-plated vehicles were reportedly damaged, mainly when hit by stones.

(Source / 19.02.2021)

Army Abducts Four Palestinians Playing In Snow In Hebron

Israeli soldiers abducted, on Thursday evening, four young Palestinian men while playing in the snow in the Old City of Hebron, in southern West Bank.

Eyewitnesses said the soldiers abducted the four young men while playing in snow, which covered most of occupied Palestine, and were building snowmen and throwing snowballs at each other.

They added that the soldiers abducted Nizar Nasser Ghalama, 19, Ahmad Sa’id Rajabi, 18, Fahed Ata Ehrayyez, 21, and Amjad Jamil al-Adhami, 20, and took them to an interrogation facility in the city.

(Source / 19.02.2021)

Israeli Colonists Break Into Stone-Cutting Factory, Burn A Truck, Near Ramallah

A group of fanatic illegal Israeli colonists invaded, on Thursday evening, a stone-cutting factory in Kafr Malik village, east of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and burnt a truck.

Eyad Abu Sheikha, the owner of the factory, said his facility is near the Ein Samia area, east of the village.

He added that the colonists were riding their motorcycles when they invaded the factory and its surrounding lands, and burnt one of his trucks, causing more than 120.000 Shekels in losses.

Abu Sheikha built the factory a year ago, on lands he privately owns, and received several threats from the colonists who want to force him to leave so that they can illegally occupy the area.

(Source / 19.02.2021)

Soldiers Abduct Three Palestinians In Jenin

Israeli soldiers abducted, on Thursday evening and Friday at dawn, three Palestinians in Jenin, in northern West Bank.

Montaser Sammour, the head of the Jenin office of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) said the soldiers invaded Jenin city, on Friday at dawn, searched a few homes, and abducted two Palestinians.

Sammour said the abducted Palestinians have been identified as Ismael Abdul-Baqi Abu al-Wafa, 31, and Abdullah Fahmi Sha’ban, 30.

On Thursday evening, the soldiers abducted a teenage boy, identified as Ezzeddin Amjad Lubani, from Qabatia town, south of Jenin, after summing him for interrogation in Salem military base.

(Source / 19.02.2021)

Palestinian-Jordanian journalist, detained in UAE over pro-Gaza post, passes away

Amman (QNN)- The Palestinian-Jordanian journalist Tayseer Najjar passed away on Friday night. Najjar had been held in an Emarati jail over a pro-Gaza post that he wrote during the Israeli war on Gaza in 2014.

A few days before he died, Najjar wrote on his Facebook account about the severity of his condition. “It is unfortunate that my heart has all this pain,” he wrote.

Social media accounts of members of his family announced his death due to health issues.

Najjar worked for the Jordanian newspaper Al-Dustour, Petra News Agency, and as an editor for the New Arab and several other Arab sites.

The United Arab Emirates had jailed Najjar in 2016 over a pro-Gaza post that criticized the UAE’s role in the Israeli war on Gaza back in 2014.

“There are never two rights in one cause; there is only one right, which is the resistance of Gaza. Everything else is wrong, just like Israel, the UAE, Sisi, and other regimes that no longer have shame”, Tayseer posted back in 2014.

The UAE’s Supreme Federal Court sentenced Najjar to three years in jail and a 500,000 AED fine ($136,000). The court extended Najjar’s sentence because he wasn’t able to pay the heavy fie. He was released in Feruary 2019.

(Source / 19.02.2021)

‘Israel’ to vaccinate foreign workers except Palestinians

 Palestinian labourers enter Israel to work through a checkpoint between the West Bank city of Hebron and Beersheva while carrying blankets and mattresses on March 18, 2020 as for the first time they have to stay between one to two months inside Israel amidst the coronavirus (Covid 19) pandemic

Occupied Palestine (QNN)- The lawyer Jinan Abdo from occupied Haifa sent an urgent letter to the Israeli Ministry of Health regarding a decision to exclude Palestinian workers, who have work permits, from an Israeli vaccination campaign against COVID-19 targeting foreign workers.

The Israeli decision comes although the ministry ordered to provide the vaccine to foreign workers in the occupied land, making it a clearly racist decision against native Palestinians.

In her letter, Abdo said that the decision “puts the lives of Palestinian workers in risk”.

“The decision is racist as it excludes Palestinians on the basis of nationality”, she added.

The Israeli Ministry of Health has been discussing the possibility to vaccinate Palestinian workers with Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, according to Kan Israeli radio.

A report by Bloomberg stated that the occupation state is stocking up vaccines while depriving native Palestinians of vaccination.

Last week, the Palestinian ministry of health said that Israeli authorities blocked the entry of the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine into Gaza, depriving nearly 2 million besieged Palestinians in Gaza of the vaccine.

(Source / 19.02.2021)

‘Israel’ hands over dead body of Dawud Khatib

Occupied Ramallah (QNN)- The Israeli authorities on Friday handed over the body of Dawud Tal’at Khatib (45 years old) from Bethlehem at Mizmorya military checkpoint near the villages of Khas and Nu’man in eastern Bethlehem. His body has been taken to Beit Jala Public Hospital.

Khatib passed away in September 2020 due to a heart attack while he was jailed in Ofer jail. He was supposed to be released in December of the same year (only three months after his death), after he spent 18 years in Israeli jails.

The body of the martyr will be buried on Saturday.

The head of the Committee of Prisoners and Former Prisoners in Bethlehem Munqith Abu Atwan said Khatib died due to the Israeli medical negligence policy, followed by the Israeli Prison Service.

He added that 227 prisoners died in Israeli jails since 1967 in medical murders. 700 prisoners are currently suffering from chronic diseases while dozes of others refuse to reveal to the jailers that they are sick in fear of the Israeli policies that exploit their pains and need for medical care as a form of punishment.

(Source / 19.02.2021)