Palestinian youth sentenced to 30 years in Israeli prison

An Israeli military court sentenced on Wednesday 26-year-old Palestinian prisoner Mamdouh Amr to 30 years in jail over charges of  murder. 

The Hebrew-speaking Yedioth Ahronot newspaper claimed the young man carried out an anti-occupation stabbing attack some three years ago against Israeli soldiers near a Bus station in Gush Etzion settlement outpost, illegally built on Palestinian land south of Bethlehem.

An Israeli soldier was pronounced dead and another injured in the alleged anti-occupation stabbing.

In July 2016, the young man was shot and injured by the Israeli military before he was detained at an Israeli hospital.

(Source / 21.02.2019)

Dozens of Palestinians injured in the 24th of Gaza Maritime March

GAZA, PALESTINOW.COM — Dozens of Palestinians were injured on Tuesday when the Israeli occupation forces attacked peaceful protesters on the coast north of Gaza.

The Ministry of Health said that 20 Palestinians were injured by Israeli gunfire and tear gas bombs.

Gaza coast protests have been a major part of the Great March of Return launched on 30 March 2018.

Member of the Higher National Committee of the Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege Khaled Abu Helal said that the peaceful protests in the Gaza Strip will continue in all possible ways until they achieve their goals, mainly breaking the blockade.

The Palestinians in the Gaza Strip since the start of the border protests have launched several flotillas of dozens of vessels toward Israeli-controlled water in a bid to break the siege. All boats were intercepted and those on board were arrested by the Israeli navy.

(Source / 20.02.2019)

Everyday is fry-day in Gaza

A potatoes factory in Gaza run entirely by women

Potatoes factories in Gaza, entirely run by women [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Potatoes factories in Gaza, entirely run by women [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Potatoes factories in Gaza, entirely run by women [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Potatoes factories in Gaza, entirely run by women [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Potatoes factories in Gaza, entirely run by women [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Potatoes factories in Gaza, entirely run by women [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Potatoes factories in Gaza, entirely run by women [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

A specialist factory has been setup in the besieged Gaza Strip to peel, cut and back potatoes and provide chips to local and international restaurants, and it’s run entirely by women.

Rosetta factory manager, Riham Al-Madhoun, said the idea for the factory was thought up from the need to provide jobs to locals and protect Palestinian farmers.

She said only women work in the factory because they are more detail-oriented and it provides them with a source of income for their families. Most, she says, are university graduates unable to work because of Gaza’s struggling economy as a result of the 12-year-old Israeli siege.

READ: Is this Gaza’s first female carpenter?

The biggest obstacles these women face in the factory are the frequent power outages, as work then comes to a complete stop.

Al-Madhoun says the potatoes used didn’t originate in Gaza. “The plants are imported from the Netherlands. There are eight kinds of potatoes used for mass production and we chose to plant three kinds.”

The potatoes are sent to restaurants either in fresh or frozen form after being peeled, cut, washed and packaged.

Uncut potatoes are currently being exported to Kuwait, as there are weekly arrangements for shipment.

Potatoes factories in Gaza, entirely run by women [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Potatoes factories in Gaza, entirely run by women [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Potatoes factories in Gaza, entirely run by women [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Potatoes factories in Gaza, entirely run by women [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Potatoes factories in Gaza, entirely run by women [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Potatoes factories in Gaza, entirely run by women [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Potatoes factories in Gaza, entirely run by women [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Potatoes factories in Gaza, entirely run by women [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Potatoes factories in Gaza, entirely run by women [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Potatoes factories in Gaza, entirely run by women [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

(Source / 19.02.2019)

Hayek: Gaza economy will come to a halt

Head of the Palestinian Businessmen Association Ali al-Hayek has warned that  the Gaza Strip’s economic growth will grind to a complete halt and its economy will suffer considerable damage.

In press remarks on Tuesday, al-Hayek said that the worsening humanitarian and social crises in Gaza, the inter-Palestinian division and Israel’s blockade would contribute to the collapse of Gaza’s economy.

He affirmed that the daily losses of the economic sector would unveil in the coming days an unprecedented escalation in all crises.

The official added that the high rates of unemployment, poverty and food insecurity would also exacerbate as a result of the paralysis that would hit the activities of factories, economic institutions and the market.

(Source / 19.02.2019)

Hamas’ Haniyeh to conduct international tour

Chairman of the political bureau of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh speaks during the funeral of Palestinian teenagers Louay Kahil and Amir Al-Namara, who were killed in an Israeli air strike at a mosque during their funeral in Gaza City on 15 July, 2018 [Ashraf Amra/Apaimages]

Chairman of the political bureau of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh speaks during the funeral of Palestinian teenagers Louay Kahil and Amir Al-Namara, who were killed in an Israeli air strike at a mosque during their funeral in Gaza City on 15 July, 2018

Senior Hamas leader Mohammad Nazzal has revealed that his movement is preparing for an international tour for its chief Ismail Haniyeh.

Nazzal pointed to arrangements with Egypt to facilitate this, Al-Ray News Agency reported yesterday, reiterating that Egypt has pledged not to close the Rafah Crossing – the only civilian exit point from the besieged Gaza Strip – because Egypt is keen not to punish the Palestinian people.

He also confirmed previous reports that Hamas is following up on the issue of Palestinian prisoners in Egyptian jails, stating that the issue of four Palestinians kidnapped after while travelling through Rafah Crossing a couple of years ago is on top of Hamas’ agenda.

“There are important promises to release Palestinian prisoners from Egyptian jails and Hamas is following up the issue of all Palestinian prisoners in Egypt, not only those affiliated with Hamas,” he said.

Israel’s Lieberman: Next confrontation with Gaza must be the last

Regarding the truce with Israel, Nazzal said that there have been clear understandings but Israel continues to violate them “due to the internal Israeli conflict”. He noted that Hamas’ efforts to stabilise the truce would not stop until an agreement was reached and enforced.

Nazzal added: “The protests of the Great March of Return and the use of different methods by protesters is linked to the progress of the truce understanding,” noting that Hamas had pressured the UN’s Middle East Envoy Nicolay Mladenov to uphold its responsibility in this regard, given that the UN had promised to lift the Israeli siege on Gaza.

Nazzal stated that his movement is cooperating with several parties, including the UN, Qatar and Egypt in order to lift the suffering inflicted on the Palestinian people in Gaza. He revealed there are certain sides which do not want the siege to be lifted, but rather want Gaza to surrender to the Israeli occupation, though he did not elaborate on which sides thought as such.

Read: Israel preparing major new attack on Gaza

(Source / 16.02.2019)

PA refuses participation in Israel-Arab railway

This picture taken on September 25, 2018 on the outskirts of Jerusalem shows a new high speed train travelling between Jerusalem and Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport with the Palestinian village of Beit Iksa in the background [AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images]

This picture taken on September 25, 2018 on the outskirts of Jerusalem shows a new high speed train travelling between Jerusalem and Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport with the Palestinian village of Beit Iksa in the background

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has refused to participate in an Israeli project which will see a railway connect Israel to Arab states.

The PA Minister of Civil Affairs and Member of Fatah Central Committee, Hussein Al-Sheikh, said yesterday that the PA has refused to join the project, Al-Wattan Voice reported. “We refused this completely,” Al-Sheikh wrote on his Facebook page. “No to normalising ties with Israel and no to economic solutions which reinforce the occupation,” he added, stressing that a “crumb of bread is not an alternative for a free country”.

Israeli reports have recently noted progress in the project, which became known as the Railway of Peace, after the visit of the Israeli Transport Minister Yisrael Katz to Oman in November.

The railway aims to connect Israel with Jordan and the Gulf States in order to “achieve peace and economic cooperation”, according to Katz, who has called for affording the budget for the project. The Palestinians, however, have lambasted the idea, seeing it as part of the Gulf’s increasing willingness to ignore their cause in order to further normalise ties with Israel.

Bahrain FM: Confronting Iran is more important than Palestine

(Source / 16.02.2019)

Oxfam, Save the Children issue warning over withdrawal of Hebron monitors

Members of the Palestinian Youth Against Settlements (YAS) activists escort children on their way to school in Hebron, West Bank on 10 February 2019 [Mamoun Wazwaz / Anadolu Agency]

Members of the Palestinian Youth Against Settlements (YAS) activists escort children on their way to school in Hebron, West Bank on 10 February 2019

Oxfam, Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and Save the Children warned Thursday that “hundreds of civilians, including children, will see their safety put at risk by the withdrawal of international observers deployed in the city of Hebron”.

In a joint statement, the international NGOs condemned the Israeli government’s decision last month to decline to renew the mandate of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH).

According to the NGOs, the removal of the international observer force “threatens the already fragile security situation and risks contributing to a rapid decline in the city’s stability”.

Save the Children Regional Director, Jeremy Stoner, said: “Palestinian children attending schools near Israeli settler communities in Hebron have experienced threats and violence from settlers for years. The role of the TIPH and other international observers has been very important in reducing confrontations and ensuring children’s safety and access to education”.

READ: Israel had ‘every right’ to expel Hebron observers

“Just last week, we visited one of the schools in Hebron, and the headmistress told Save the Children that staff and students felt exposed and vulnerable without international observers accompanying the children,” he added.

Oxfam Country Director, Chris Eijkemans, said: “This move will exacerbate an already volatile situation, increase impunity for human rights abuses and put civilians in more danger. Decisions like this pave the way for further settlement expansion and annexation of Palestinian land. It is a dangerous green light for more violence and abuse of international law, making any prospect of a peaceful, just and lasting resolution for Palestinians and Israelis increasingly remote”.

NRC Deputy Regional Director, Maureen Magee, said: “Short of dismantling the system of closures, restrictions and checkpoints affecting Palestinians in Hebron, the Israeli government is responsible for ensuring the unhindered passage of civilians, including students and school staff, through checkpoints on their way to and from schools. Israel must ensure that schools are protected, safe places for children. We see from our work in Hebron’s schools how children are traumatised by harassment and violence. Left unchecked, this will leave long-lasting scars”.

READ: Israel planning for a second massacre in Hebron

(Source / 15.02.2019)

47th Friday of the Great March of Return in Gaza

Demonstrators demand end of Israeli embargo that has brought Gaza to verge of humanitarian catastrophe

Palestinian women use slingshot to throw stones to Israeli forces during Israeli forces' intervention to "Great March of Return" demonstration near Al Bureij Refugee Camp in Gaza on February 15, 2019. ( Hassan Jedi - Anadolu Agency )
Palestinians gather behind a barricade during Israeli forces' intervention to "Great March of Return" demonstration near Al Bureij Refugee Camp in Gaza on February 15, 2019. ( Hassan Jedi - Anadolu Agency )
Palestinian who got injured after Israeli forces intervention is being evacuated by health crews during "Great March of Return" demonstration near Al Bureij Refugee Camp in Gaza on February 15, 2019. ( Hassan Jedi - Anadolu Agency )
Palestinians are seen as Israeli forces intervene them with tear gas during a "Great March of Return" demonstration at Huzaa district of Khan Yunis, Gaza on February 15, 2019. ( Mustafa Hassona - Anadolu Agency )
A Palestinian man stands with a Palestinian flag as Israeli forces intervene demonstrators during a "Great March of Return" demonstration at Huzaa district of Khan Yunis, Gaza on February 15, 2019. ( Mustafa Hassona - Anadolu Agency )
Palestinians use sling shot to throw rocks as Israeli forces intervene them during a "Great March of Return" demonstration at Huzaa district of Khan Yunis, Gaza on February 15, 2019. ( Mustafa Hassona - Anadolu Agency )
Palestinians shout slogans as Israeli forces intervene protestors during a "Great March of Return" demonstration at Huzaa district of Khan Yunis, Gaza on 15 February 2019. [Mustafa Hassona - Anadolu Agency]

For the 47th week in a row, Palestinians on Friday converged along the Gaza-Israel buffer zone to take part in ongoing rallies against Israel’s decades-long occupation, Anadolu Agency reports.

In a statement, Gaza’s National Authority for Breaking the Siege (NABS) urged the people of Gaza to take part in Friday’s demonstration, which was held under the slogan, “Gaza cannot be broken”.

“The Israeli occupation continues to provoke us by deploying snipers and troops armed with lethal weapons along the buffer zone,” NABS declared in a Friday statement.

READ: Palestinian child was 150 metres from Gaza fence when killed by Israeli forces

Israeli army spokesman Avichai Adraee, for his part, warned Palestinian protesters from approaching the buffer zone.

“For your own safety,” he tweeted, “stay away from the special security zone.”

Since Palestinians in Gaza began holding the rallies in March of last year, more than 250 protesters have been killed — and thousands more injured — by Israeli army gunfire.

Demonstrators demand the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.

They also demand an end to Israel’s 12-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has gutted the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its roughly two million inhabitants of many basic commodities.

(Source / 15.02.2019)

Imam of Al-Aqsa Mosque Sentenced to House Arrest

15 Feb 6:49 AM

An Israeli court, on Wednesday, sentenced the imam of Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque—the third holiest site in Islam—to house confinement.

An Israeli patrol kidnapped Imam Walid Seyam from his family home, on Tuesday evening, hours before an Israeli court ruled that he be subjected to house arrest until Friday.

On Tuesday, an Israeli intelligence unit stormed Seyam’s home in Jerusalem’s Old City and wreaked havoc on the building, before they dragged the imam to the Qishleh detention center, west of occupied Jerusalem, Days of Palestine reports.

(Source / 15.02.2019)

UN: 10,000 new jobs to be created in Gaza

United Nations (UN) Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov [File photo]

United Nations (UN) Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov

UN Special Coordinator Nickolay Mladenov yesterday revealed that the UN is preparing work projects to create 10,000 job opportunities in the Gaza Strip.

During his participation in the Palestine Youth Summit 2030 – which was held simultaneously in the besieged Gaza Strip and occupied West Bank – Mladenov said: “We are working on specific projects aiming to help improve the deteriorating situation related to the siege in the Gaza Strip,” Felesteen newspaper reported.

Mladenov pointed out that the projects, which are being prepared in coordination with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Bank, would be announced soon.

The UN envoy stated that the work opportunities would target youth who hold high qualifications, pointing to the high rate of higher education in Gaza and the rate of youth unemployment.

READ: Israel preparing major new attack on Gaza

About the recent situation in Gaza, Mladenov said: “Every single day, with my colleagues, I deal with all issues related to lifting the pressure and siege on the Gaza Strip.”

He continued: “Unfortunately, I do not have a magic stick. What I am trying to do at the moment is to persuade all the parties to reverse back from the edge of the abyss and not to escalate the situation more in Gaza. Unfortunately, we are close to a war.”

About the Youth Summit, he said: “Gaza is the soul of Palestine. If we separate the soul from the body, we will lose both of them. Youths are the blood who runs in the veins of Palestine. We, in the UN, have a great responsibility for preserving the body, the soul and the blood.”

He continued: “We will never give up hope and we will never give up our responsibilities until we reach Palestinian unity and an independent state. Despite all of the political and economic hardships, we will not stop [our] hard work.”

The UN official concluded that Palestinian youths deserve a better life: “In Gaza, there are 2 million Palestinians who lived four crises and wars in 10 years, the occupation and the siege […] This must not continue. We want to help Gaza residents to have a new future.”

READ: Israel forces kill 4 children in 2 weeks, NGO reports

(Source / 14.02.2019)