Israel: Hamas, led by Sinwar, the only obstacle peace in Gaza

GAZA CITY, GAZA - JUNE 05: Palestinian leader of Hamas Yahya Sinwar makes a speech during his meeting with academicians in Gaza City, Gaza on June 05, 2021. ( Ashraf Amra - Anadolu Agency )
Palestinian leader of Hamas Yahya Sinwar makes a speech during his meeting with academicians in Gaza City, Gaza on June 05, 2021

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz said yesterday that Hamas, led by Yahya Sinwar, is the main obstacle to peace in Gaza, local media reported.

“The conditions for a long-term arrangement with Hamas are the return of the boys to their homes, and a commitment to total calm in the south of the country,” Gantz said during a briefing held with foreign envoys regarding the security situation in Israel.

“Anyone who harms Israeli citizens or Israeli army soldiers will pay the price,” Gantz warned.

He added that the Palestinian Authority and its leadership are the representatives of the Palestinians in the region, and Israel is working to reinforce it in the West Bank.

READ: Gantz thanks Palestinian firefighters, but cancels permit for new homes

(Source / 26.08.2021)

Israel: IDF acknowledges failure to destroy ‘Hamas metro’

NABLUS, WEST BANK - AUGUST 13: Israeli forces intervene tear gas canisters and bullets to disperse Palestinians during a demonstration against the illegal Jewish settlements built by Israel, in the village of Beita, Nablus, occupied West Bank, on August 13, 2021. It is reported that Israeli soldiers injured 5 Palestinians during demonstrations. ( Issam Rimawi - Anadolu Agency )
Israeli forces intervene tear gas canisters and bullets to disperse Palestinians during a demonstration against the illegal Jewish settlements built by Israel, in the village of Beita, Nablus, occupied West Bank, on August 13, 2021

Senior officers have recognised that the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) failed to achieve the goals set for the military offensive against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip between 11 and 21 May, the Times of Israel reported on Wednesday.

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz and IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi have discussed these issues with senior officers in the Southern Command. The discussion included successes and failures during “Operation Guardian of the Walls”.

The ability of the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, to fire thousands of rockets towards Israeli cities and critical infrastructure was one of the failures, they acknowledged. The IDF recognises that the rockets were an area of weakness and said that the army has improved its ability to locate rocket launchers in order to strike them in advance or, at the very least, destroy them more quickly after they have been used.

Israel PM: New lockdowns leave us no funds for military protection

The offensive in Gaza had two main goals for the IDF: destroying most of the enclave’s weapons production capabilities and demonstrating to the Palestinian resistance groups that the army was capable of striking their underground tunnels and bunkers referred to by Israeli media as the “Hamas metro”.

According to the Times of Israel, the IDF air strikes were based on plans that the military had been drawing up for years. However, the attacks on the tunnels and bunkers did not go according to plan. A ground invasion was meant to drive Hamas fighters into the tunnels and bunkers in order to maximise the blow to the Palestinian movement when they were destroyed.

The IDF attempted to trick Hamas into believing that such a ground attack was underway, but this failed. The Israelis believe that far fewer Hamas fighters were killed in the air strikes than the already low number that they estimated initially.

(Source / 26.08.2021)

PA court sentences Nizar Banat’s brother to jail

Palestinians protest against the death of activist Nizar Banat in Gaza, on 24 June 2021 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Palestinians protest against the death of activist Nizar Banat in Gaza, on 24 June 2021

The Palestinian Authority (PA)’s Corruption Crimes Court sentenced Ghassan Banat, brother of murdered activist Nizar Banat, to two years in prison in absentia after accusing him of corruption, ordering him to repay 6,900 shekels ($2,143), Safa news agency reported yesterday.

The court also ordered Banat to pay a 100 Jordanian dinars ($141) fine.

Commenting on the court’s ruling, Ghassan said that the Labour Ministry had refused to receive the 6,900 shekels money to pass it onto the institution in which he was working. He said he has the funds to hand.

“The PA in Ramallah is living in a state of confusion and they do not understand what they are doing since they have murdered Nizar,” he said.

Nizar was killed by PA security services who raided his house on 24 July. His family accuse the PA of murdering him and have been calling for the prosecution of the perpetrators.

READ: EU calls on PA expedite probe into Nizar Banat’s death

(Source / 26.08.2021)

Ministry of Health: 14 Palestinians Injured at Gaza protest, 5 shot with live rounds

Fourteen Palestinians were shot, Wednesday, by Israeli forces, while drones dropped teargas canisters at those gathered at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, the Jerusalem Press reported.

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza, as of Wednesday evening 14 people were shot and wounded as they assembled east of Khan Younis, in the southern besieged Gaza Strip.

The Ministry added that 5 were shot with live rounds, suffering moderate injuries; 2 were shot with rubber-coated steel rounds; and 7 were struck with teargas canisters.

Quds Press’s correspondent said that the soldiers, stationed along the security fence stood behind earth mounds, far away from the protestors

Medical sources also stated that the numbers may not be conclusive, due to the continued shooting and evacuation of the injured to hospital.

Quds (Jerusalem) Press reported that thousands of Palestinians gathered at the mass rally, called for by different political factions in Gaza.

On Saturday, Israeli forces opened fire at protestors east of Gaza city injuring 41 people, while one soldier was injured by a Palestinian protestor with a handgun.

(Source / 26.08.2021)

Over 90 Israeli settlers break into Al-Aqsa Mosque, provoke worshipers

Occupied Jerusalem (QNN)- Dozens Israeli settlers have broken into the courtyards of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the occupied Jerusalem earlier on Thursday.

Under the occupation forces protection, over 90 Israeli settlers have broken into the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque during the morning break-in session.

The settlers’ storming of the mosque is continuing till these moments.

The settlers have entered through the Al-Mughrabi Gate, and till now, they are provoking the Palestinian worshipers in the mosque courtyards by performing Talmudic prayers and having interviews.

Among the intruders is a former Israeli member of the Knesset, Moshe Feiglin, who also has an interview at the courtyards of the holy site.

Israeli forces always attack and assault Palestinian worhipers at the courtyards of the Mosque with sound grenades, rubber bullets and pepper gas.

The forces also station at the gates of the mosque and detain dozens of Palestinian young men and boys, after assaulting them.

Israeli occupation authorities allow settler incursions to the mosque since 2003, despite repeated objections and warnings by the Palestinian religious authorities as the visits provoke worshippers of the mosque.

Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site in Islam which located in occupied Jerusalem.

(Source / 26.08.2021)

Bennett to US: We want stability, but not two states

Washington (QNN)- ‘Israel’ will not negotiate with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas while Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is in office, a diplomatic source said on Wednesday.

When it comes to settlements, the source referred to Bennett’s statement in an interview with The New York Times that “there will not be a building freeze, but there also will not be annexation.”

Asked about Bennett’s remark in that same interview that only “natural growth” will be allowed in settlements, the source said that the prime minister wants to “preserve the current situation.”

However, “natural growth” refers to construction only for settlers who already settle in the occupied West Bank, the source said.

However, Bennett is known for being an outspoken advocate of Israeli annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank, and he is strongly associated with the settlements, having led the Yesha Council, the main settler advocacy group.

Bennett also vowed that his government will back the expansion and construction of illegal settlements in all areas of the occupied West Bank.

Bennett is in Washington on his first trip to the White House in a series of high-level meetings, culminating with one in the White House with US President Joe Biden, in which he plans to focus on the Iranian issue.

Axios also reported that Bennett’s main priority for his meeting with Biden is Iran. He plans to tell Biden that, unlike Netanyahu, he wants to cooperate with the U.S. on that issue, an Israeli official told Axios.

Bennett will also propose that Biden use the burgeoning regional alignment under the Abraham Accords as part of a strategy to counter Iran, Israeli officials say.

(Source / 26.08.2021)

Pictures| Masses flock to Gaza borders while Israeli troops mobilize forces

Gaza (QNN)- Thousands of protesters flocked to the borders of Gaza today to protest against the Israeli ongoing siege on the strip, which has been facing a difficult humanitarian situation.

Meanwhile, Israeli troops mobilized their forces on the borders between Gaza and 1948-occupied territories.

Israeli media reported that the occupation army sent additional troops to the Gaza border. The Israeli army said that it would make changes to its deployment along the border, according to the Times of Israel.

The Israeli preparations come following similar protests that were organized on Gaza borders last Saturday, in which a young man used a pistol to shoot at an Israeli sniper posted behind a concrete wall, who wounded dozens of protesters.

Quds News Network@QudsNen
·#Breaking | Ten Palestinians have got injured after Israeli occupation forces opened gunfire at Palestinian protesters at Gaza border, east of Khan Younis city. #FreePalestine#GazaUnderSiege


(Source / 26.08.2021)

Israeli authorities approve West Bank settlers-only street

Ramallah (QNN)- Israeli seventh channel reported that the so-called civil administration on Wednesday approved the extension of the settlers-only street number 55 in the North of the West Bank.

According to the Israeli channel, the approval comes following objections made by Palestinian farmers, whose lands will be confiscated due to the expansion of the street.

The expansion of the settlers-only street, which connects the illegal settlement of Kfar Saba and settlements in the North of the West Bank, will mean the confiscation of 68 dunums of Palestinians’ lands.

The approval also comes only one day before a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Neftali Bennett and US President Jow Biden.

In the same vein, Haaretz reported that the occupation state plans to expand settlements close to the street, constructing 5650 settlement units.

(Source / 26.08.2021)

‘Israel’ to allow goods into Gaza after suffocating closure

Besieged Gaza Strip (QNN)- Israeli occupation government has announced on Wednesday that starting Thursday, it will allow the entry of goods and equipment to the Gaza Strip in a move to ease tensions.

The move will increase imports of new vehicles, goods and equipment for civilian projects in the Gaza Strip, increase the number of permits for Gazan businessmen to enter the occupied territories, and resume dealings of gold between Gaza and the occupied West Bank.

Only those already vaccinated against, or recovered from COVID-19, will be allowed to cross.

The Hamas movement also said that Egyptian authorities would also partially reopen its border with the Gaza Strip on Thursday after it ordered last Monday to close the Rafah border crossing.

Egypt’s sudden decision came only one day following massive protests on the borders between Gaza and 1948-occupied territories.

Israel’s Wednesday announcement came after hundreds of Palestinians demonstrated at the Gaza border, calling on the occupation state of ‘Israel’ to ease its suffocating siege, days after a similar protest ended with injuring at least 41 protesters, including one journalist and 51 children, after being shot with rubber-coated metal bullets and fired with tear gas bombs and live ammunition by the Israeli forces, last Saturday.

On Wednesday, the Israeli forces injured 14 peaceful protesters, including five with live bullets, 2 with rubber-coated metal bullets, and seven with tear gas bombs.

A Palestinian man was also announced dead yesterday as he succumbed to his wounds which he sustained after being shot by Israeli sniper last Saturday.

An 11-day of Israeli aggression last May on the Gaza Strip killed at least 243 people in Gaza, including 67 children.

A report by the United Nations, the European Union and the World Bank estimated that the damage caused in the 11-day Israeli bombardment of Gaza Strip was between $290m and $380m, while the recovery needs are projected at between $345m and $485m.

The Gaza Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment (RDNA) report also found that following the aggression, 62 percent of the population of Gaza is food insecure, adding that unemployment was already at 48 percent and poverty rates above 50 percent before the escalation.

The RDNA report found that most of the damage in Gaza from Israel’s bombardment in May was caused to social sectors such as housing, health, education, and social protection and jobs, at an estimate of $180m.

“The housing sector alone represents almost 93 percent of the total damages to the social sectors,” the report said.

(Source / 26.08.2021)

4,000 Gaza students displaced after Israel attacks

After being hit by Israeli air strikes, two UN schools had to relocate thousands of students to other facilities.

While children around the world check their school supplies list and prepare to attend classes, 4,000 Palestinian students are caught up in uncertainty.

They do not know when – or if – they will be able to return to their familiar hallways and classrooms.

Despite their worries, like all pupils in Gaza, they began the academic year on August 16. However, classes took place in different schools, as their original educational facilities remain under investigation.

The chain of events started in May as an Israeli air strike damaged two, side-by-side, United Nations schools in the neighbourhood of Zeitoun, Gaza: the Preparatory Boys’ School “A” and the Elementary Boys’ School “A”. Both operate under the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

Two weeks after a ceasefire, while assessing the damage and how to safeguard the premises from missiles, UN personnel found a cavity 7.5 metres in depth. And, from there, things quickly escalated.

Hamas, the group that controls Gaza, has acknowledged building a network of tunnels under the Gaza Strip for military purposes, but has not officially commented about the controversy surrounding these specific UN schools.

Last week, in order to verify whether the schools were safe to open for the academic year, a group from the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) tried to conduct a follow-up risk assessment of the structures.

Local police prevented the expert team from operating.

“Then we spoke to them [Palestinan authorities] again and the excavations are supposed to start again this week,” a spokesperson for UNRWA told Al Jazeera.

“UNRWA condemns the existence and potential use by Palestinian armed groups of such tunnels underneath its schools in the strongest possible terms”, noted a UNRWA statement. “UNRWA installations are inviolable, and their neutrality must be respected at all times.”

The UNRWA spokesperson said “the situation is being resolved”. For now, the students are attending other UNRWA schools, in different shifts, while they wait for clearance and are allowed to, hopefully, return to the schools they are familiar with.

Education in Gaza
With 278 schools across the strip and nearly 10,000 people serving as teaching personnel, UNRWA is responsible for the basic education of more than 290,000 Palestinian students.

Because of the shortage of facilities, some UNRWA schools operate on double and, more rarely, even triple shifts.

During Israel’s latest attack on Gaza, at least 51 educational facilities were damaged, including a UNRWA training centre, 46 schools, two kindergartens and parts of the Islamic University of Gaza.

“To be a child in Gaza today means that you have inevitably witnessed a level of trauma that your peers elsewhere in the world have not,” said UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini in early July.

In a report issued in the same month, Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said 91 percent of Gaza children suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after the 11-day Israeli offensive in May.

According to the report, the recent Israeli attack had a huge effect on children: 41 lost one or both parents, almost 50,000 had their homes partially or completely destroyed, and thousands remain displaced.

With odds against them, there are still additional challenges for the students of Gaza. The delicate economic situation increases the risk of student dropout, as it puts pressure on children, particularly boys, to help support their households with additional income and leaves some families unable to pay for transportation or school materials.

Online classes
In a conflict where both sides are accused of war crimes, schools need a backup plan. In 2012, UNRWA launched UNRWA TV – a response to emergency situations in Gaza and Syria.

The YouTube channel provides self-learning supplements for students, teachers and families in emergencies who have limited or disrupted access to formal education.

Today, almost one decade later, the channel has more than one million subscribers, some 260 million views, and an average of 150,000 visitors a day.

For people who have access to the internet, it ensures that children can continue to learn in unstable areas and in conflict and post-conflict settings.

Psychological rehabilitation
Considering everything that Palestinian pupils need to go through, the education ministry in Palestine has a psychosocial support (PSS) programme for students.

It assists educators in helping children overcome, mentally and psychologically, the aftermath of conflict. A recent example of its efforts could be seen in the summer camps launched in early June.

In 150 centres across Gaza and with more than 50,000 students enrolled, the camps provided primary school students with knowledge, entertainment, emotional release and workshops related to Palestinian identity.

The financial support to establish the camps came from the ministry’s local and international partners and amounted to about $100,000. A high price. However, as the Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh stated: “No matter how high the cost of education is, the cost of ignorance is much higher.”

Engaged in educational activities, children so often betrayed by authorities, conflict and circumstance can at least try to find solace in one place: their minds.

(Source / 26.08.2021)