18 Gaza Palestinians killed, 110 injured since [early] 2014

IMEMC 15 Mar by Chris Carlson — A Gaza official said that the number of the Gaza Palestinians killed by Israel since early 2014, as a result of military escalation, has increased to 18. Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency reports that spokesman for the Ministry of Health Ashraf al-Qidra said Friday, in a facebook post, that “the number of martyrs has risen to 18, with Beit Hanon town resident Aisha al-Hamdin dying of her wounds sustained on Thursday evening.” Qidra pointed out that 110 Gazans were injured during this period, mostly by live ammunition and airstrikes over several areas of the Strip. The majority of the casualties affected by Israeli violence were in residential districts at the time of shelling or shooting, he added.

Child dies of wounds suffered last week

IMEMC/Agencies Sun 16 Mar by Saed Bannoura — Palestinian medical sources have reported that a child died of serious injuries suffered last week in an explosion that took place in Beit Hanoun, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. The sources said that Mohammad Ismael al-Hamadin, two years of age, died of his serious injuries on Sunday morning. The explosion, which took place on Tuesday evening, March 11, led to the instant death of three Palestinians, while seven, including two children, were injured.

Rachel Corrie, killed in Gaza by Israeli soldier, remembered

World Bulletin, 16 Mar — American peace activist Rachel Corrie was run over and killed in the Gaza Strip by a USA made Caterpillar bulldozer operated by Israeli Forces on 16 March 2003. Eleven years later, March 16, 2014, on the anniversary of her death, Rachel Corrie is remembered by her family and friends, also by those who celebrate and cherish a young American woman who said no to Israel’s occupation and no to the constant attacks on Palestinians and the destruction of Palestinian homes. Eileen Fleming tells the story of Rachel Corrie on Arab Daily News as she was standing in front of the home of a young family which was under threat of demolition by a bulldozer. Many homes were demolished in such a way at that time, and Rachel was seeking to protect her friends, with whom she had lived: “Rachel was a 23-year-old Evergreen State College student who went to Gaza as part of her senior-year assignment to connect her hometown of Olympia with Rafah in a ‘sisters city’ project. As Israeli Forces were bulldozing homes in Rafah, Rachel stood up in front of the home of a pharmacist with five children. Four eyewitnesses – three Britons and an American – were on the scene when Rachel was run down. All were members of the International Solidarity Movement, a Palestinian-led movement committed to resisting the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land using nonviolent, direct-action methods and principles-.” FROM HER DIARY February 27, 2003: “I have bad nightmares about tanks and bulldozers outside our house. Sometimes the adrenaline acts as an anesthetic for weeks and then in the evening or at night it just hits me again – a little bit of the reality of the situation. I am really scared for the people here. Yesterday, I watched a father lead his two tiny children, holding his hands, out into the sight of tanks and a sniper tower and bulldozers and Jeeps because he thought his house was going to be exploded….”

Interview: Remember Rachel

Occupied Palestine (ISM) 16 Mar — On this date 11 years ago, ISM volunteer Rachel Corrie was brutally murdered by the Israeli army in Gaza. Rachel was 23 years old. This interview was filmed two days before Rachel was killed and her words are still unfortunately relevant when describing the situation in Gaza. To this day the Gaza strip is still besieged. Regular air strikes carried out by Israeli forces continue to destroy homes and lives. Violations of international law are largely ignored by the international community. The humanitarian crisis in Gaza worsens daily as the Israeli government continues to disregard human rights.

Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Judaization / Apartheid

Thousands of Palestinians surround Jerusalem Old City

[photos] JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 17 Mar — Thousands of people surrounded the Jerusalem Old City from the al-Khalil gate to al-Asbat gate in a defiant action marking a reading day celebration. The Shabab al-Balad initiative organized the event in which people from Jerusalem, Palestinian-Israelis, and some people from the West Bank gathered to read simultaneously.  Hundreds of others in Bethlehem, al-Ram, al-Ismailiya in Egypt, and Amman in Jordan participated. Shabal al-Balad director Hussam Uliyyan said the goal of the action to circle the Old City was meant to empower the steadfastness of Jerusalem residents in uniting Palestinian culture. Ulayyan added that the initiative had no political affiliations … Marwan Abu Sneineh, 25, another participant, said these readers were a first line of defense for Jerusalem. “Tourists and Jewish people who come from Europe and America will see the true face of Jerusalem today,” he said. Israeli special forces and mounted police dispersed a protest that followed the event. They fired stun grenades, arrested a young man, and left seven others bruised.

4 worshipers injured as Israeli forces storm Al-Aqsa

[photos] JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 16 Mar — Israeli special forces stormed the Al-Aqsa mosque compound and injured four worshipers on Sunday morning, medical sources said. Eyewitnesses said that Israeli forces entered the compound through the the Chain Gate, throwing stun grenades and shooting rubber bullets toward worshipers and blockading worshipers in the Al-Aqsa mosque. Four Palestinians were injured by rubber-coated steel bullets and fragments of stun grenades after Israeli forces opened fire on worshipers, the medical clinic inside the Al-Aqsa compound said. One person was hit in the forehead and subsequently lost consciousness and sight for five minutes. The individual was taken to hospital for treatment. Three others were hit in the limbs and back, while a number of other light injuries were treated, the Al-Aqsa clinic said. Israeli forces have been stationed at the gates of the Al-Aqsa compound since 6:30 a.m. imposing restrictions on the entrance of Palestinians into the compound, and had only allowed workers in the compound. 500 students who study at religious schools inside in the compound, however, were denied access, witnesses said. At 8:00 a.m. students of religious schools in Al-Aqsa students and women of all ages were allowed into the compound on the condition that women leave their identity cards at the entrances. Their entrance was facilitated as a result of intervention by the Palestinian endowments department. People [men?] younger than forty, however, were denied access.  Nine Israeli rightwing activists, including Housing Minister Uri Ariel, entered the compound in the morning, but their visit was cut short after people in the compound stopped them. Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that stones were thrown at police officers at the Moroccan Gate as the site was opened to visitors, adding that police units on site were dealing with “disturbances.” … The clashes coincide with the Jewish holiday of Purim. Activists affiliated with extremist Jewish organizations that call for the destruction of the Al-Aqsa mosque and the construction of a Jewish temple on the site had earlier issues calls on social media for Jewish worshipers to celebrate the holiday inside the Al-Aqsa compound.

Occupation installs surveillance cameras in Old City of Jerusalem

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 14 Mar — The Israeli occupation police, accompanied by experts in communications, began installing special cameras in the markets and the alleys of the Old City of Jerusalem and in the roads leading to the Aqsa Mosque.  Expert in communications and information technology engineer Adnan Saeed said in a press statement on Friday that a Herzliya based company got a contract to change 269 cameras installed in different areas of the Old City; particularly in the Asbat Gate, the road leading to the Buraq Wall and in the vicinity of some settlement outposts. Engineer Adnan confirmed that these cameras are used by the Israeli police during the clashes. They also aim to monitor the movements of worshipers at the Aqsa Mosque and the work of the Islamic waqf authority, in addition to strengthening the Israeli control over the Mosque, he added.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/

Cracks and landslides in the neighborhood of Wadi Hilweh

Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC)  14 Mar — Landslides and wide cracks occurred in the main street of Wadi Hilweh in Silwan on Friday after the area witnessed several days of rainfall which usually reveals the results of the Israeli excavations in the area. Wadi Hilweh Information Center explained in a statement on Friday night that a hole with two meters in diameter and five meters long occurred in the main street of Wadi Hilweh. The cracks spread in the main street which pose a threat to the lives of residents and passers-by. Residents of Silwan guessed that the hole revealed a new tunnel being dug in the area to add to the series of tunnels underneath the neighbourhood of Wadi Hilweh. The Information Center also mentioned that other collapses occurred in a supporting wall that separates the houses of Siam family and Al-Tawil family. This comes after a large collapse that occurred last month in the supporting wall due to the Israeli excavations underneath the houses. Also, the landslides resulted in the removal of 20 trees including olive trees and cypresses in the last couple of days.

Settlers plow recently confiscated land near Salfit

SALFIT (Ma‘an) 16 Mar — Israeli settlers on Sunday plowed land and performed religious rituals on lands recently confiscated from the nearby Palestinian villages of Deir Istiya and Haris in the northern West Bank. Witnesses said that bulldozers from the Revava settlement northwest of Salfit plowed the lands in order to expand the settlement. Settlers also entered the lands around Haris village and performed religious rituals on lands that were confiscated from Palestinian villagers by the army on Saturday. On Saturday, Israeli forces notified the village council that they would confiscate 100 dunams (25 acres) of the village’s private land. Witnesses added that the settlers have continuously seized lands from the villages of Haris and Deir Istiya in order to expand their settlement.  Researcher Khalid Maali said that Revava — one of 23 settlements in the Salfit district — was established in 1991 on lands belonging to Deir Istiya, Haris, and Qarawat Bani Hassan.

Settlers destroy 55 olive trees near Nablus

NABLUS (Ma‘an) 16 Mar — Israeli settlers destroyed dozens of olive trees in the northern West Bank district of Nablus on Sunday, an official said. Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian Authority official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma’an that settlers raided the village of Jalud and sprayed over 55 olive trees with toxic chemicals, killing them. The trees — which were located in the al-Bayyadha area on the east side of the village — belonged to Abd al-Ghani Ahmad Hajj Muhammad and Muhammad Ismail Hajj Muhammad, Daghlas said. He added that the settlers came from the nearby Israeli settlement outpost of Esh Kodesh…

Since 1967, approximately 800,000 olive trees have been uprooted in the occupied West Bank, according to a joint report by the Palestinian Authority and the Applied Research Institute — Jerusalem. The olive industry supports the livelihoods of roughly 80,000 families in the occupied West Bank.

You’re not allowed to use public transportation at all

1 Mar by Ofra Yeshua-Lyth Translated from Hebrew original by Mark Marshall — …At five o’clock sharp the action begins: a policeman, First Sergeant Shai Zecharia, portentously boards bus 286, which is stopped at the station. Soldiers order all the Palestinians to get off … The soldiers check the green IDs (Arabic: hawwiye) and demand to see their “tasrih” (work permits). A lucky few get their IDs back and board another bus – complaining only about having to pay twice for the same trip. But our forces immediately block this channel: one by one the workers are told to leave the terminal and walk to the Azoun-Atme  checkpoint, 2.5 kilometres from the Shomron Gate junction. By now it’s cold; the sun has set. Most of them got up at three in the morning for the trip to work. Their homes are only a few kilometres from nearby Ariel. All they ask is to be allowed to ride the bus for another two or three stops. They paid for the trip … Then the next consignment arrives, about another 25 workers. The armed and heroic little guy is soon shoving them with both hands. The procedure is repeated: “Udrub”, on your butts, hawiyye, tasrih. Now move it to Azoun-Atme. Within half an hour about eighty men have been subjected to this humiliation by a few armed soldiers and one policeman. They all responded with restraint and dismay, at most asking the obvious questions and now and then getting enlightening replies, such as: “You’re not allowed to be on Highway 5.” At long last: official confirmation that there are apartheid highways in Israel, despite all the denials. “You’re not allowed to use public transportation at all.” First Sergeant Zecharia provided the following crucial information to one of the older Palestinians: It’s better to travel in the special vans and not in Israeli buses.

When Nadia’s soul was raped

11 Mar (Palestine Chronicle) by Tamar Fleishman — “Women shall be especially protected against any attack on their honor…or any form of indecent assault” – (Article 27 of the Geneva Convention) …Nadia, a Palestinian resident, knew that being married to Imad, who as his father, his grandfather and his great grandfather was born in Jerusalem, isn’t reason enough for her to be able to live under the same roof with her husband in his home. She knew she doesn’t fit the “criterions” of the ‘temporary’ Citizenship Law. Nadia and Imad also knew that according to the laws of the occupation, Nadia can’t cross Hizme Checkpoint (which is exclusively a checkpoint for owners of blue IDs). And in spite of the prohibition and their fear, they decided to try driving together to Imad’s parents’ home in East Jerusalem. Perhaps they hoped the soldiers wouldn’t be sticklers, which sometimes happens at Hizme Checkpoint. But the soldiers were sticklers and the “offenders” were caught and separated…  Nadia wasn’t allowed to join her husband. “An interrogation is needed” they said. I waited with her. After a while a female soldier came and took Nadia to a room (they sent me away but before leaving we exchanged our telephone numbers and promised to talk). Nadia went through a physical inspection. When it was beyond any doubt that she wasn’t carrying any explosives, the soldier got out of the room and the interrogator entered — a man dressed as a civilian that closed the door behind him. He was alone with Nadia. When she exited the room after three hours, Nadia was a different person to the one she was when she entered it. During the three hours she spent in the room Nadia became a victim to severe verbal sexual assault.  Nadia’s soul was raped.

Violence / Raids / Clashes / Illegal arrests

Israeli soldiers open fire on driver near Beit Ummar

HEBRON (Ma‘an) 15 Mar — Israeli soldiers opened fire on a Palestinian driver after he “tried to hit” soldiers with his car near a military checkpoint at the entrance to Beit Ummar in the southern West Bank on Wednesday, the Israeli military said. Israeli military sources said that soldiers opened fire on the Palestinian man’s vehicle and detained him following the incident, which they said caused no injuries to the Israeli soldiers and border guards at the scene. Spokesperson for the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Beit Ummar Muhammad Ayad said that Essam Ahmad Thalji Aadi, 38, from Beit Ummar accidentally stepped on the gas pedal instead of the brake, in the process hitting the five soldiers. The Israeli soldiers were at a gas station near the northern entrance of Beit Ummar at the time of the incident, Ayad said, and their injuries were described as “negligible.” Ayad added that the soldiers beat the driver following the incident and took him in a military vehicle to an unknown destination. Israeli reinforcements subsequently arrived on the scene, obstructing traffic on the main road between Jerusalem and Hebron which runs nearby.

2 Palestinians injured after settlers throw bottle at car

NABLUS (Ma‘an) 16 Mar — Two Palestinians were injured after Israeli settlers threw a bottle at the car they were driving on the way to Nablus, one of them told Ma‘an. The settlers “threw a beer bottle at us, which destroyed the windshield,” one of the Palestinians in the car said. Fathi Badawi and Ismail Murshed Sweidan were lightly injured in the incident.

Israeli soldier struck by rock during clashes in Beit Furik

NABLUS (Ma‘an) 15 Mar — An Israeli soldier was struck by a rock on Saturday while he was detaining a boy during clashes in Beit Furik east of Nablus. Local sources told Ma‘an that clashes broke out between Jewish settlers from the nearby settlement of Elon Moreh and dozens of Palestinians in the eastern neighborhood of the village of Beit Furik. Israeli soldiers approached the clashes and fired dozens of tear gas canisters and stun grenades toward the Palestinians, locals said. They added that an Israeli soldier was wounded during the clashes after a rock struck his head as he was detaining Najeh Faysal Najeh Nasasrah, 16. Dozens of Palestinian youths suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation during the clashes, the sources said. An Israeli military spokeswoman said that “a number of Palestinians were hurling rock at soldiers,” and one was struck by a rock. She said that the soldier was “slightly injured in his shoulder.”

Confrontations in Nablus village

NABLUS (PIC) 15 Mar — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) stormed Beit Furik village, east of Nablus, afternoon Saturday triggering clashes with young men. The PIC reporter said that the soldiers fired live bullets and teargas bombs at the young men who were throwing stones at them. Sources in the village said that a number of young men tried to infiltrate into Itamar settlement, which is near to the village. They added that the IOF summoned reinforcements and fired bullets and teargas at residential quarters in the eastern areas of the village with no casualties reported.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/

King offers condolences to family of judge killed by Israelis

AMMAN (Jordan Times) 16 Mar  – His Majesty King Abdullah on Sunday visited the family of Judge Raed Zuaiter, who was killed by Israeli soldiers last week, to offer condolences, the Royal Court said on its Twitter account … Also Sunday, Lower House Speaker Atef Tarawneh and several MPs paid a visit to the Zuaiter family to offer their condolences. On Saturday, Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour, accompanied by Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh and other ministers, visited the condolences house of Zuaiter family. Zuaiter, a judge at the Amman Court of First Instance, was shot dead by Israeli soldiers on the King Hussein Bridge crossing linking Jordan and the West Bank.

IDF soldier that claimed men tried to kidnap him invented story

Ynet 16 Mar by Maor Buchnik & Yoav Zitun — The IDF soldier that has claimed three men attempt to kidnap him in the Hamra Junction made up his story, police said Sunday afternoon. The soldier was transferred to Army Police for investigation. Earlier Sunday, the soldier claimed three men attempted to force him into a car in the Hamra Junction in the southern Galilee region.

Israeli forces arrest 4 Palestinians in overnight raids

HEBRON (Ma‘an) Sat 15 Mar — Israeli forces arrested four Palestinians in the West Bank in overnight raids, locals and Israel’s army said. Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli soldiers at dawn on Saturday raided the village of Bani Na‘im east of Hebron and arrested Mahmoud Ali Muhammad Barakat, 24, Ehab Namar Dhiyab Hajooj, 25, and 26-year-old Ismail Yousef Dhahir al-Khadour after ransacking their homes. Meanwhile, Israeli forces raided the village of Dura south of Hebron and issued orders to Mousa Muhammad Issa al-Namoura to appear for interrogation, locals said. An Israeli military spokeswoman told Ma‘an that the army arrested four Palestinians overnight — three in Bani Na‘im and one in Ya‘bad.

Seven kidnapped in West Bank and Jerusalem

IMEMC Sun 16 Mar by Chris Carlson — Occupation forces, on Sunday, kidnapped six people in Qalqilya and an elderly in the Jerusalem area, as well as summoning another from Bethlehem for interrogation, according to reports by local and security sources. Israeli soldiers stormed the village of Hejji, in Qalqilya, raiding houses and conducting a search campaign in the village, said the Prisoners’ Club. Six people were taken, including two released prisoners. Meanwhile, in Jerusalem, police abducted an elderly woman named Aida Sedawi, in Jerusalem’s old city. In Bethlehem, the Israeli army invaded the village of Beit Sahour, to the east, serving one Palestinian, age 30, with a summons to appear before Israeli intelligence in Gush Etzion, a settlement located to the south of Bethlehem. Forces also stormed the nearby village of Beit Ta‘mar and raided a house; no arrests were reported. Meanwhile, in Hebron, forces set a military checkpoint at the entrance to Fawwar refugee camp, to the south of Hebron, searching vehicles and checking identity cards.

Israeli forces raid Jerusalem neighborhood, detain 8

JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 17 Mar — Israeli forces raided an area of Jerusalem’s Old City on Sunday, leading to clashes with local residents, witnesses said. Israeli border police raided Bab Hutta square and fired tear gas canisters and rubber-coated steel bullets following clashes with local youths. Muhammad Tahir Fakhouri, 45, and Muhammad al-Salaymeh, 38, were attacked with pepper spray and clubs, according to eyewitnesses. Border police also raided several homes and detained Abed Haddad, 15, Ahmad Jabir, 17, Muhammad Bujah, 17, Muhammad Najib, 17, Saed Iseila, 27, Ziad Abu Hadwan, 18, Hamza Milhis, and Ribhi Dweik.

IOF releases reporter after hours of detention
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 17 Mar — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) detained a reporter of the ‘Palestine Today’ TV in Al-Khalil for a few hours on Sunday night. The soldiers detained the reporter Fida Nasr after she finished a reportage on the Jewish settlers’ celebration of Purim feast in Tal Al-Rumaida in downtown Al-Khalil. Khitam Al-Hih, lawyer of the reporter, said in a press statement that Fida was detained after the settlers assaulted and poured wine on her while at work.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/

IDF backtracks, removes Palestinian flag from Hebron roof

Haaretz 17 Mar by Chaim Levinson — Israeli soldiers turned up for the second time on Saturday at a home in Hebron to order the removal of a Palestinian flag, even though the Israel Defense Forces said last week there is no policy against displaying flags. Shadi Sider, a member of a Palestinian family living near the Jewish settlement enclave of Beit Hadassah, said the soldiers had arrested a neighbor for allegedly throwing stones and conditioned his release on the removal of the flag. Sider said he capitulated to their demand and took it down.

Gaza under double blockade

Israeli, Egyptian gunboats fire at Palestinian fishing boats

GAZA (PIC) Sat 15 Mar — Israeli and Egyptian gunboats opened heavy machinegun fire at Palestinian fishing boats that were trying to fish near the Egyptian-Gazan borders on Saturday morning. Eyewitnesses said that both Israeli and Egyptian gunboats fired at the Palestinian fishing boats and chased them away from the border area. They added that no casualties were reported. The Egyptian navy has prevented Palestinian fishermen from fishing in the Egyptian territorial waters since president Mohammed Morsi was ousted early last July. The Egyptian navy threatened to arrest any fisherman approaching its waters and actually did that and arrested fishermen and confiscated their fishing boats.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/

Palestinians protest UN food cuts in Gaza

GAZA CITY (Al Jazeera) 16 Mar by Fares Akram — Hundreds of Palestinians have demonstrated against cuts to a United Nations food programme, as protest leaders said they would boost their efforts to restore food assistance to local families. Protesters gathered outside the metal gate of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) offices in Gaza City on Sunday, banging pots and pans and raising banners against the cuts. UNRWA provides food, education and other basic services to Palestinian refugees in the occupied Palestinian territories, and in Palestinian refugee camps in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. In recent months, the organisation has reduced the number of families in Gaza receiving urgent food assistance by about 65 percent, Shukri al-Arouqi, a representative of the refugees’ popular committees in the central Gaza Strip, told Al Jazeera. The protesters also expressed anger at UNRWA’s poverty survey, which reviews the status of food aid recipients and decides whether to keep or remove them from the list of beneficiaries. “The budget for the survey programme is about $16m a year… Why don’t they use that money for more [food] coupons instead?” al-Arouqi said.

Hamad: Egypt is not responding to demands to open Rafah crossing

GAZA (PIC) 15 Mar — Deputy Foreign Minister in Gaza Dr. Ghazi Hamad said the Egyptian authorities have not responded to the Palestinian calls for opening the Rafah border crossing since its last closure. Hamad condemned in a press statement on Saturday the decision to close the Rafah crossing, and said: “Apart from the political positions and the difference in visions, the closure of the crossing before the patients who are suffering every day cannot be justified.” He pointed out that his government has sent letters to several bodies including the United Nations, the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation and the Arab League, urging them to take action to open the Rafah crossing. The Egyptian authorities have continued to close the crossing for the 36th day to patients, students and other humanitarian cases.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/

Gaza patients demand reopening of Rafah crossing

IMEMC Sun 16 Mar by Chris Carlson — Scores of patients and disabled Palestinians, on Saturday, staged a protest outside of the Egyptian embassy, in the Gaza Strip, to call for the reopening of the Rafah border crossing between the Palestinian territory and Egypt. “The closure deprives me of my medicines,” reads a placard held by some demonstrators during a rally organized by the National Committee to Break the Siege … Several residents have died at Rafah crossing after being stranded there for several weeks, due to the closure. Just this past week, 3-year-old Ahmad Ammar Abu Nahl was suffering from an enlarged heart and liver and had been planning to go to Turkey via Egypt for treatment. The young child died Thursday, while waiting for the crossing to open.

Israel fuel deliveries to Gaza to resume

Al Jazeera/Agencies 16 Mar — Israel is to allow the resumption of diesel deliveries into Gaza, a day after the territory’s sole power plant stopped working due to a lack of fuel, officials have said. The announcement on Sunday came after the Defence Ministry had shut down the Kerem Shalom goods crossing into southern Gaza on Thursday following cross-border fire. The latest violence started after Israel killed three men associated with the Islamic Jihad armed group. Palestinian fighters then fired scores of rockets over the border, although no one was injured. Israel hit back with air strikes, which also caused no injuries, halting all deliveries, including fuel. The power station halted operation on Saturday. The Israeli government on Saturday denied it was cutting off fuel supplies, and said the source of the shortage was an internal conflict between the Hamas government and the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah. The fuel deliveries were to resume on Sunday following an order from the Defence Ministry, a statement from COGAT, the unit responsible for crossings into Gaza, said.

Gaza power plant restart delayed over fuel

GAZA CITY (AFP) 16 Mar — Gaza’s sole power station will not resume operations until Monday, despite Israel reopening a crossing to fuel deliveries, the deputy chief of the Gaza energy authority said on Sunday. Officials had said Israel would allow the resumption of diesel deliveries into Gaza on Sunday, a day after the Palestinian territory’s power plant stopped working because of a lack of fuel. “The central power station will resume operations at 06:00 am (0400 GMT)” on Monday, Fathi al-Sheikh Khalil told AFP. “We were expecting the delivery today (Sunday) of 500,000 litres of fuel, but the delivery has been delayed, and only 100,000 litres have been delivered,” he said. “We should receive 500,000 litres tomorrow.” A Palestinian official, speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity, said: “Problems in transferring funds between the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and the Hamas government in Gaza are to blame” for the delay.


Hamas in worst cash crisis since seizing Gaza

GAZA CITY (AP) 14 Mar — Gaza’s Hamas rulers have been hit by the worst economic crisis since seizing the territory seven years ago and face growing discontent, even among core supporters, because there’s no sign of relief from a blockade enforced not only by Israel but also by a suddenly hostile Egypt …   ome Hamas officials say new revenues can be found, including by heftier taxation of large companies. But the economy is boxed in: Israel, which considers Hamas a terrorist group, controls Gaza’s airspace, blockades it by sea, and heavily restricts movement of people and goods by land. For the first time in years, there is even a ripple of speculation that Hamas might be driven from power by the growing difficulties of running a government. A semi-regular internal poll carried out by Hamas in December showed that support for the group had dropped to 29 percent, down from 55 percent from late 2012. But many believe the Islamic militant movement will keep its grip because there’s no one on the ground to take its place.  Having said that, many Gazans will stand by Hamas at any price. The movement has deep roots in religiously conservative Gaza and runs clinics and kindergartens it established during years underground when Fatah controlled Gaza….

Rift with Egypt forcing Hamas to turn to Iran once again

Haaretz 16 Mar by Zvi Bar’el — …At the end of the week there were already reports to the effect that Iran is planning to receive Hamas leader Khaled Meshal, after over two years of almost completely severed relations between the Iranian regime and Hamas, which included a rejection of previous attempts by senior Hamas officials to visit Tehran. This renewed relationship was probably mediated by Qatar, which has been hosting Meshal since he left Damascus, and after Hamas was outlawed in Egypt, which ordered the closing of the organization’s offices and froze its assets in addition to the prolonged closures on Gaza imposed by the Egyptian army … Meshal’s penetrating criticism of the massacre of civilians in Syria and his departure from Damascus for that reason caused the loss of one of the organization’s most important sources of income, when Iran decided to discontinue the annual transfer of tens of millions of dollars to Hamas’ accounts. (According to various estimates the organization received about $23 million a month from Iran) … Turkey now remains the only source of revenue − the sum total of its assistance to Hamas is unknown. The Hamas leadership that convened about 10 days ago in Beirut to discuss the organization’s financial situation decided by a large majority to try to transfer the organization’s permanent seat to Turkey. But according to Turkish sources, there has still been no such official request from the organization, and even if it is received there is no certainty that Turkey will agree.

Detainees / Repatriation of remains

Palestinian prisoner ‘at risk of death’ 2 months into hunger strike

Palestinian Chronicle Sun 16 Mar — A Palestinian man on hunger strike in Israeli custody is at risk of dying, a lawyer said Sunday. Palestinian Authority Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs lawyer Hiba Masalha said she visited hunger striker Waheed Abu Maria in Wolfson Hospital on Saturday, and that he is in critical condition. Abu Maria, who has been on hunger strike for 67 days, has lost 88 lbs, is unable to walk, and suffers from continuous head and chest pain in addition to shortness of breath, memory loss, and vision impairment, Masalha said. The hunger striker only accepts salt and water, refusing vitamins and medical examinations, the lawyer said. She added that three guards are stationed in his hospital ward, where his left hand and right leg are chained to his bed. He is not allowed to receive visitors. A spokeswoman for the Israeli Prison Service confirmed that Abu Maria had been transferred to a hospital and that guards were stationed in his room.  She said she could not provide any further details about his health or the status of his administrative detention. Abu Maria is a leader in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement who is being held in administrative detention without a trial.

12 Palestinians on hunger strike in Israeli prisons

RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 15 Mar — The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society said on Saturday that 12 Palestinians being held in Israeli prisons are currently on hunger strike in protest against “arbitrary and repressive” measures taken by Israeli forces against them.  A report issued by the society said that Akras al-Fseisi, Moammar Banat, and Waheed Abu Maraya, all from Hebron governorate, have been on hunger strike for 66 days, and Amir al-Shams, also from Hebron, has been on strike for 64 days. The report explained that the prisoners were engaged in a hunger strike against their administrative detention by Israeli forces without any charge. Administrative detention refers to the tactic of keeping a prisoner without charge or trial for extended periods of time, often due to “security” concerns.

62-year-old detainee put on remand for 4th time

IMEMC Sat 15 Mar by Chris Carlson — Israeli authorities have renewed the administrative detention of an aging Hebron citizen to three months, for the fourth time. Palestinian Prisoners Center for Studies said in a statement that Husain Amr, age 61, detained since July 13, 2013, has not been charged or tried, and suffers from high blood pressure, gout, rheumatism, and varicose veins. According to Al Ray, the report points out that Amr was held under solitary confinement after refusing to be taken to court two weeks ago, thus was shackled and transferred to Ramle prison by force. The repeated transfers of Amr have eventually left him to be held in Negev prison’s solitary confinement cells, the center added. The center also warned against neglecting the health status of Amr, who suffers from diabetes and takes two insulin doses a day, holding Israel responsible for his life. The Palestinian group Solidarity Foundation for Human Rights said, on February 20th, that the number of Palestinian administrative detainees in Israeli jails passed 200.

Israel to deliver remains of 3 Palestinians

NABLUS (Ma‘an) 16 Mar — Israel will deliver the remains of three Palestinians killed years earlier to their families on Tuesday, a rights group announced.  The Israeli rights group Center for the Defense of the Individual, HaMoked, said the remains of Mohammad Hamoudha from Nablus and Ahmad Saleh from Asira al-Qibliya village near Nablus will be returned. Hamoudha was killed in February 2002 and Saleh was killed in June 2002. Also, the remains of Jamil Hmeid will be delivered to his family at the same time at Tarqumiya checkpoint. Hmeid was killed in March 2002.

Palestinian refugees in Syria

Celebs seek UN action to end plight of refugees

LONDON (AFP) 16 Mar — Some 30 celebrities have petitioned the UN demanding they take action to protect civilians, notably Palestinian refugees, caught up in the Syria conflict as it entered its fourth year on Saturday. Stars including Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Sting, Roger Waters and Tracey Emin were among those calling on the United Nations Security Council and presidents of the General Assembly to create safe spaces and local cease-fires to allow emergency supplies to reach besieged people.

The letter — signed chiefly by British figures from the world of film, literature, acting, music and visual arts — is endorsed by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA, and the HOPING charity which supports Palestinian refugee children … Syria’s civil war enters a fourth year on Saturday, with at least 146,000 people dead, millions more homeless, cities and historical treasures in ruins, the economy devastated and no end in sight.

Solidarity / BDS

Boycotting Israeli products? There’s a app for that

Ynet 14 Mar — The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is determined to make it easier to boycott Israeli products. To that end, it is about to launch a smartphone app that will allow users to search for a company’s links to Israel, the International Business Times reported on Thursday. The app will include a large database of product information that is researched by voluntary staff, as well as a barcode scanner to make it easier to search for products.

NGO Im Tirzu reports on Israelis taking part in Israeli Apartheid Week events

Jerusalem Post 14 Mar by Ariel Ben Solomon — Head of policy at the organization says it wanted to show how Israelis were giving the BDS movement legitimization — A report by the Zionist organization Im Tirtzu identifies Israelis playing central roles in Israeli Apartheid Week events taking place on university campuses around the world. The paper, titled “Delegitimization Awareness Month: Information on Israelis participating in Israeli Apartheid Week events, was published this month.

Evangelical Christians rally against occupation as Palestinians gain support

BETHLEHEM, West Bank (The Forward( 16 Mar by Daniella Cheslow — On a bleak and rainy morning, the Israeli military checkpoint in Bethlehem looked especially depressing: rain-soaked concrete walls, a loose tin roof clattering in the wind, and Palestinian workers running across wet gravel into a cage-like narrow corridor to cross into Israel. That’s the sight that greeted two dozen Christian visitors to the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Their visit to the checkpoint was part of the third Christ at the Checkpoint conference, organized by the local Bethlehem Biblical College. It was a scene designed to move the Christian visitors — from the United States and around the world — to consider what the conference sponsors say are Israel’s violations of human rights in what Christians term the Holy Land. This year, 600 people attended, including dozens of American students of theological seminaries. What they saw is changing their minds.

Political, other news

Obama wades into Palestine-Israel talks

WASHINGTON 16 Mar by Molly McCluskey — When President Barack Obama meets Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday, it will be the next in a string of meetings held in the US capital to develop a “framework” for peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians … Obama’s meeting with Abbas is also meant to get the Palestinian Authority leader to agree to the US framework agreement that calls for consensus on core issues and will help guide the next round of talks scheduled to begin on April 29. The tough issues include Israeli settlements that are illegal under international law, but continue to be built in the occupied territories; the status of Jerusalem; identified borders; the right of return for Palestinians; security; and, as Netanyahu continually insists, Palestinian recognition of Israel as a “Jewish” state.

Ya’alon: Abbas is a partner that receives, not one that gives

Ynetnews 15 Mar — Defense minister says he opposes release of Israeli-Arab prisoners as part of peace effort, adds he does not believe peace will be reached in his generation — …”I’ve discovered this conflict is about the entire Palestine, they don’t recognize our right to exist here … it is impossible to make an agreement without there being recognition on the other side of our right to exist as the national homeland of the Jewish people,” he told Channel 2′s “Meet The Press.”

Kerry pressuring the wrong side: Israel minister

Jerusalem (AFP) 15 Mar — An Israeli minister on Sunday said Washington’s top diplomat was “wrong” for pressuring Israel in peace talks, a day before Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas visits the White House. His remarks came two days after US Secretary of State John Kerry criticised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s repeated demand that the Palestinians recognise Israel as a Jewish state … “Kerry should be asking Abu Mazen (Abbas) why he is stubbornly refusing to recognise Israel as the Jewish state,” he told public radio.

Palestinian journalists decry intimidation

RAMALLAH, Occupied West Bank (Al Jazeera) 14 Mar by Patrick Strickland — Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have committed at least 500 press freedom violations since 2007, rights group says … Jason Stern, a research associate for the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a group that monitors violations of press freedoms across the globe, explained that the ongoing division of Palestinian leadership is one of the primary factors behind press violations. “Hamas authorities [in Gaza] tend to target journalists sympathetic to Fatah, and the [Fatah-led] Palestinian Authority tends to return the favour,” Stern told Al Jazeera. The greatest risks occur at demonstrations, Stern said, as journalists “are not only exposed to dangerous crowd control measures but also are often detained and have their equipment confiscated.”

Voter registration update starts in West Bank, Gaza

RAMALLAH (Xinhua) 16 Mar — The Palestinian Central Elections Commission (CEC) started Sunday a five-day voter registration process in the West Bank and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. CEC officials said that high school students who turned 17 years old after last update will be the target of this process, including some 39,000 students in 719 high schools in the West Bank and 28,000 in 120 schools in Gaza … The last update took place in 2013, which increased the percentage of eligible registered voters to 82. 1 percent.

Egypt’s Sinai: caught in the middle

Al Jazeera 16 Mar — Clashes between Egyptian military and armed groups have taken a toll on parts of the Sinai peninsula — For months, Egypt’s border city of Rafah has been the target of an intense military campaign carried out in response to a spike in attacks by armed groups. Now, a new video making the rounds on social media allegedly shows how Egypt’s Rafah increasingly resembles the Palestinian city of the same name across the border in Gaza, scarred by rubble and collapsed homes. The video, whose authenticity Al Jazeera was unable to verify, shows homes in Rafah flattened into piles of debris. However, the scenes depicted in the footage largely matched testimonies given by several residents of northern Sinai, who say conditions there are deteriorating.


South Lebanon family narrowly escapes Israeli attack

AWIDAH, south Lebanon (Daily Star) 15 Mar by Mohammed Zaatari — A family of five narrowly escaped the Israeli attack on south Lebanon Friday when two of the nine mortar shells struck their house just seconds after they left. “We had just stepped out of the house and then I heard a large explosion,” Ali Sheet told The Daily Star Saturday, standing outside his damaged home in the village of Awidah, 20 kilometers from Kfar Kila. One of the shells hit the living room while the other landed in the children’s bedroom. A day later, papers, glass and books were seen scattered across the room. A Spanish contingent with the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon arrived at Sheet’s home to inspect the damage and take photos in an attempt to document the source of fire using a hand-held GPS system … Israeli forces fired several mortar shells late Friday, including nine that fell on Bastra farms and Helta in Kfar Kila, in retaliation for an explosion targeting an Israeli military unit near the border with Lebanon.

Report: Syrian rebels offer to sell Golan to Israel in return for military aid

Ynetnews 15 Mar — As the civil war in Syria marks the end of its third year on Saturday, bizarre reports surface in the Arab media. In a report in Al-Arab newspaper, quoted by Iranian news agency Fars on Saturday, a member of the Syrian opposition coalition is quoted as saying the rebels were willing to sell the Golan Heights to Israel in return for military aid against President Bashar Assad’s army.

Analysis / Opinion / Arts

Norwegian film depicts suffering of Palestinian child prisoners

VIENNA (PIC) 16 Mar — A film that depicts suffering of Palestinian child prisoners in Israeli jails and how imprisonment of children impacts their lives is currently displayed in the Austrian capital Vienna. “When the Boys Return,” directed by Norwegian director Tone Andersen, is a documentary addressing the challenges that Palestinian minors face in Israeli jails with a focus on the process of reentering society after their detention. The film presents a detailed view into the lives of 11 children, and how they are affected by their detention. It has won several awards in European film festivals, including Stockholm and al-Jazeera for documentary films, and was shown on European television stations in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Britain and Holland.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/

VIDEO — Peace Now: ‘How great it is to be right-wing!’

Ynetnews 16 Mar — Set to the tune of George Harrison’s “Got my mind set on you,” the pro-peace left-wing organization Peace Now has published a satirical video titled “It’s great to be right-wing” in which it mocks the settler right. Dressed as religious settlers, MKs and prominent leftists cynically made the case for the right-wing in rhyme, indirectly slamming what they described as disproportional budget apportionment for West Bank settlements and new legislation which they claim is intended to silence political dissent. “How lucky I am that there is no partner for peace and that Arabs understand just force. Because without Arabs, how would I scare you? With ghosts?!” quipped former Meretz and Labor leader Dr. Yossi Beilin, dressed in a kippa and stereotypical settler garb … In addition to Beilin and Oppenheimer, the video also includes former Knesset speaker Avraham Burg, Labor MK

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