Palestine records 23 new deaths due to coronavirus

COVID-19 tests are being carried out in the city of Ramallah, West Bank on 16 March 2020 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]
COVID-19 tests are being carried out in the city of Ramallah, West Bank on 16 March 2020

Palestinian health authorities on Saturday registered 23 new fatalities and 1,319 infections from the coronavirus pandemic, Anadolu Agency reports.

Health Minister Mai al-Kaila said 20 deaths and 714 cases were recorded in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, while 605 cases and three fatalities were recorded in the Gaza Strip.

According to the minister, 197 of those infected are intensive care units, while 63 patients were supported by artificial respirators.

Palestine has recorded 263,220 coronavirus cases, including 2,810 deaths, since the first case of COVID-19 was detected last year, according to the Health Ministry.

On Saturday, al-Kaila said Palestine will receive 125,000 doses of coronavirus vaccines within days to upscale its vaccination campaign.

READ: Palestine to receive 125,000 coronavirus jabs

(Source / 27.03.2021)

UN: Israel continues demolition, seizures of Palestinian homes

Israeli-run Jerusalem Municipality team along with Israeli soldiers and bulldozers demolish the house owned by a disabled Palestinian Hatim Abu Rayala (R), near the al-Issawiya neighborhood claiming that it was unlicensed, in East Jerusalem on 1 March 2021. [Mostafa Alkharouf - Anadolu Agency]
Israeli forces demolish Palestinian homes in Jerusalem on 1 March 2021

Israeli occupation authorities demolished and seized 26 Palestinian-owned structures in Area C of the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem between 2 and 15 March, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has reported.

As a result of these demolitions and seizures, 42 people were displaced, including 24 children, the Protection of Civilians report published by the UN OCHA disclosed.

Seventeen of the structures, and all of the displaced people, were recorded in Area C, which is under full Israeli military control.

OCHA confirmed that two buildings were demolished in Ein Shibli village, in the Nablus area, displacing 17 people on the basis of Military Order 1797, which allows for demolitions within 96 hours of the issuance of a “removal order”.

The remaining displacement resulted from the demolition of four homes in Al-Tuwani and Khallet Athaba’ communities in Hebron and Beit Jala in Bethlehem.

READ: Israel demolishes Bedouin village for 185th time

The livelihoods of 20 people were affected by the demolition of a vegetable stall near Qalqilya city, while 16 were affected by the demolition of two uninhabited houses and the confiscation of one metal container in Isteih in the Jericho area.

Meanwhile, Israeli settlers injured six Palestinians in the Hebron governorate and damaged Palestinian-owned property, including vehicles and trees. Four of the injured were physically assaulted in three incidents.

Two boys, aged 13 and 14, were injured in separate incidents in the H2 area of Hebron and the Bir al ‘Idd area, respectively. In the latter incident, the donkey on which the boy was riding was stabbed.

According to Palestinian sources, Israeli settlers damaged at least five vehicles, a house and an agricultural structure in the villages of Jalud and Huwwara in the Nablus district, and Kafr ad-Dik and Bruqin in the Salfit district.

(Source / 27.03.2021)

Soldiers Abduct Five Palestinians In West Bank

Israeli soldiers abducted, earlier Friday, five Palestinians, including a former government minister and two siblings, from their homes in Jerusalem and Hebron, in the occupied West Bank.

Media sources in Hebron said the soldiers invaded and ransacked the homes of Issa Ja’bari, 55, a former government minister and elected official, before moving him to an unknown destination.

They added that the soldiers also abducted Hatem Qfeisha, 58, a former elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), in addition to former political prisoner, Mazin Natsha, 49, from their homes in Hebron.

It is worth mentioning that since the Palestinian factions announced the upcoming election, Israeli soldiers started escalating their invasions and arrests targeting various political leaders.

In addition, the soldiers invaded Wadi al-Jouz neighborhood in occupied Jerusalem, abducted two siblings, in addition to assaulting and tasering their brother who was rushed to a hospital.

The abducted siblings have been identified as Wisam and Bisan al-Ouri, while their injured brother has been identified as Odai.

In related news, the soldiers fired many live rounds at Palestinian farmers, working on their lands near the perimeter fence in the al-Qarara town, east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the besieged Gaza Strip.

(Source / 27.03.2021)

Army Attacks Weekly Procession In Kufur Qaddoum, Injures A Child

Israeli soldiers attacked, Friday, the weekly procession in Kufur Qaddoum village, east of the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, injuring one child and causing dozens of residents to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation.

Morad Eshteiwi, the coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Annexation Wall and Colonies in Kufur Qaddoum, said the soldiers invaded the village, and resorted to the excessive use of force against the nonviolent protesters.

Several protesters then started hurling stones at the soldiers who also used drones during the invasion.

He added that the soldiers fired rubber-coated steel bullets, gas bombs, and concussion grenades at the Palestinians, wounding a child, and causing many protesters to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation.

The child, 15, was shot with a high-velocity gas bomb in the leg, before he was moved to a local clinic.

It is worth mentioning that the soldiers also invaded and searched many homes, in addition to occupying several rooftops to use them as monitoring towers and firing posts.

Kufur Qaddoum witnesses frequent Israeli invasions, assaults, and abductions as it continues to hold its weekly nonviolent processions against the illegal Annexation Wall and colonies, and against the closure of the main road, which was blockaded by the military sixteen years ago, to enable easy access for colonialist settlers driving to and from the illegal Kedumim colony, built on stolen Palestinian lands.

(Source / 27.03.2021)

WAFA: “US Ambassador to UN announces resumption of aid to Palestine”

NEW YORK, Thursday, March 25, 2021 (WAFA) – US Representative to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield announced today that her country was resuming assistance programs to the Palestinian people, starting with a $15 million grant allocated to the most vulnerable communities in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Greenfield also announced that the Biden administration will be taking “steps to reopen diplomatic channels of communication that were halted during the last administration.”

“Our engagements all have the same aim: to build support for a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” she remarked. “Since January, our diplomatic engagement has been guided by the premise that sustainable progress toward peace must be based on active consultations with both sides.”

With this latest US assistance, Greenfield said the US Agency for International Development (USAID) was supporting Catholic Relief Services’ COVID-19 response efforts in health care facilities and for vulnerable families in the West Bank and Gaza. In addition, this assistance will support emergency food assistance programming to communities facing food insecurity, which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This urgent, necessary aid is one piece of our renewed commitment to the Palestinian people. The aid will help Palestinians in dire need, which will bring more stability and security to both Israelis and Palestinians alike,” said Greenfield. “That’s consistent with our interests and our values, and it aligns with our efforts to stamp out the pandemic and food insecurity worldwide.”

She said her administration was committed to advance freedom, security, and prosperity for Palestinians and Israelis in tangible ways in the immediate term. “That’s important in its own right. But these gains will also advance the prospects of a negotiated two-state solution, consistent with international law and in line with relevant UN resolutions. It is essential that both sides take concrete steps to advance the two-state solution.”

She continued, “Under President Biden’s leadership, the United States has recommitted to the vision of a mutually agreed two-state solution, one in which Israel lives in peace and security alongside a viable Palestinian state. We believe this vision is the best way to ensure Israel’s future as a democratic and Jewish state, while upholding the Palestinian people’s legitimate aspirations for a state of their own and to live with dignity and security.”

Greenfield urged the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority “to refrain from all unilateral actions that make a two-state solution more difficult to achieve, whether settlement activity, home demolitions, and incitement to violence.” She also called for “an end to all acts of violence, including acts of terrorism, as well as incitement to violence and acts of provocation and destruction.”

(Source / 27.03.2021)

Palestinian Teen Assaulted by Israeli Police, Prison Guards

A Palestinian teen has implicated Israeli police and prison guards in assaulting and torturing him during his arrest in December of 2020, and subsequent interrogation and imprisonment.

The Palestinian Commission of Detainees’ and Ex-Detainees’ Affairs reported on Wednesday, that Nour al-Din Nasri Ubaid, 17, was detained on December 23, 2020 from al-‘Isawiya in occupied East Jerusalem.

The lawyer for the Commission stated that the child was physically assaulted by Israeli police upon his arrest with their hands, feet and firearms. The boy described being dragged into the military jeep and beaten, causing many bruises.

The teen’s hands and feet were bound, while he was interrogated at a Jerusalem police station. He was incarcerated for 12 days at the Moskobiya detention center before being transferred to Ofek prison.

While the boy was held at Ofek prison, the boy was denied the right to contact his family, and was physically attacked and tortured by means of restraining his hands to his bed for long periods of time.

Furthermore, the child was denied food, water, and the use of the bathroom, in a blatant example of the unethical and appalling treatment of Palestinians in Israeli prisons.

After spending ten days in Ofek prison, Israeli authorities transferred the teen to the juvenile section of Damon jail where he is still imprisoned today.

(Source / 27.03.2021)

World Bank approves $20 million to boost digital development in Palestinian territories

Washington (QNN)- The World Bank approved yesterday a grant of $20 million to increase access to high-speed broadband services in selected Palestinian areas and enable the development of selected e-government services.

The Digital West Bank & Gaza Project will contribute to socio-economic recovery and enhance resilience to shocks, such as the COVID-19 crisis, by allowing people to connect to the internet, access e-services, and conduct business online, the World Bank said in a press release.

“In a context of restrictions on movement and access of goods and people exacerbated even more by the COVID-19 crisis, the potential of the digital economy to thrive despite these constraints makes it a promising area for economic development and high-end jobs. While the potential is huge for the tech-savvy young population, it will also help bridge the digital gender divide in times of movement restrictions and social distancing,” said Kanthan Shankar, World Bank Country Director for West Bank and Gaza.

Due to restrictions on frequencies, the Palestinian territories were among the last places in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region to launch 3G in 2018 (still 2G in Gaza) and the population coverage is lowest in the region.

The new project aims to expand access to digital connectivity by supporting the development of fiberoptic infrastructure in line with the recent Palestinian cabinet decision to create the National Fiberoptic Company.

It will also help to create an enabling policy environment for the telecommunications sector by supporting the operationalization of the telecom regulator, the Palestinian Telecommunications and Information Technology Regulatory Authority.

The project adopts a phased approach to ensure sustainability of results, starting with technical assistance to help the Ministry of Telecom and Information Technology identify the optimal models for purchasing internet bandwidth and broadband services. It will finance the purchase of bandwidth to selected post offices that could serve as digital access points.

The ministry will then finance half of the total cost required but the project will explore additional options for financial sustainability through a feasibility study. It will also seek to align with interested donor partners to support digital transformation.

“For Palestinians, particularly those living in remote areas, digital access to public services will increase efficiency and meet the needs of individuals and businesses. The new project favors a citizen-centric service delivery model. As a start, it will develop selected e-services and ensure citizen engagement through multi-channel feedback mechanisms”, said Jerome Bezzina, Senior Digital Development Specialist and co-Task Team Leader for the project.

The project will support the introduction of several citizen-centric e-government services that will be accessible to the public through a unified portal and a digital technology-enabled Emergency Response Center to incidents across the West Bank.

It will further finance the strengthening of the enabling legal and regulatory environment necessary to deliver government-to-citizen and government-to-business e-services. At present, elements such as laws on access to information, protection of personal data, cybersecurity, and digital signatures are missing. This is in addition to financing the first phase of developing an e-government procurement system in high spending government agencies

The World Bank is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. It is a unique partnership to reduce poverty and support development. The World Bank Group comprises five institutions managed by their member countries.

Established in 1944, the World Bank Group is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

(Source / 27.03.2021)

Child wounded with Israeli tear gas bomb in peaceful weekly protest

Ramallah (QNN)- A 15-year-old child was wounded by a tear gas bomb, while dozens got suffocated, during the Israeli repression of Kafr Qaddum’s weekly protest on Friday.

Local sources said Israeli forces intensively threw tear gas and sound bombs at the peaceful protesters, who were protesting against illegal settlement in their village.

Locals of Kafr Qaddum organize a weekly protest against the Israeli settlement in their village and the Israeli closure of the village’s entry, which has been closed for 17 years.

(Source / 27.03.2021)

‘Israel’ hands over body of citizen killed by settlers

Ramallah (QNN)- The Israeli authorities handed over the body of the martyr Khalid Nofal at Ni’lin military checkpoint on Friday.

The body of Nofal, from Ras Karkar in western Ramallah, was taken to Palestine medical complex before being taken to Nofal’s hometown.

The occupation state has been seeing the body of the martyr since February 5 after he was killed by Israeli settlers at the Risan Mountain.

Khaled Nofal was a father of a 40year-old child. He used to work as an employee at the Ministry of Finance.

(Source / 27.03.2021)