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Palestinian detainees end two-month-long hunger strike

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Prisoners / Hunger strikes / Court actions

Palestinian detainees reach deal to end hunger strike
Haaretz 25 June by Jack Khoury — Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons ended a two-month-long hunger strike overnight Tuesday after a deal was struck with the Israel Prison Service. The details of the deal, it was agreed by the sides, will only be made public after the hunger strikers receive treatment and their condition stabilizes. Sources in the Palestinian Prisoners Club told Haaretz that Israel has agreed to some of their terms and said that a press conference will be held on the matter on Wednesday. On April 24, Palestinians under administrative detention in Israeli jails launched a hunger strike demanding that Israel end the practice of holding Palestinians in prison without a trial. Initially some 125 detainees took part in the strike, though their numbers recently decreased to 80. Dozens of Palestinian prisoners who are not under administrative detention also joined the protest. All in all, Israel Prison Service confirmed earlier this month that 290 prisoners and detainees were on hunger strike at the time.

Palestinian prisoners halt hunger strike for Ramadan fast
Ynet 25 June by Elior Levy and Ra’anan Ben Tzur —  Sixty-three Palestinian prisoners have suspended the hunger strike which they have observed in Israeli jails since late April, one of their lawyers said Tuesday night. “The strikers, who have reached an agreement with the Israeli prison authorities, have decided to suspend their action with the approach of (the Muslim holy month of) Ramadan,” lawyer Abu Snena said. Palestinian minister Shawki Aleessa announced the ending of the strike, and the announcement will be passed on to all security detainees that have been hospitalized as a consequence. A senior military official, however, said Wednesday morning that “not everyone stopped striking.” According to the Palestinians, the end of the hunger strike is conditioned in the Israel Prisoners Service canceling the fines imposed on striking detainees, and moving them back to their cell blocks. Despite that, there will be no change in the administrative detention policy. The Israel Prisons Service confirmed the end of the strike, but refused to elaborate on the agreements reached. The Prisons Service said the 75 hunger striking detainees who have been hospitalized will remain in the hospital for the time being for monitoring.,7340,L-4534282,00.html

Prisoner release deal is no longer possible, Lieberman says
Ynet 24 June by Attila Somfalvi –Foreign minister tells Ynet he will no longer allow Yisrael Beiteinu ministers to vote in favor of any deal to release prisoners — A prisoner release deal with the Palestinians, such as the ones freed in the Shalit deal and those freed as a gesture to restart peace talks, will no longer be possible, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Ynet on Tuesday. “I voted against the Shalit deal and that says it all about how I feel about it, both then and now. I think we should all learn the lesson as quickly as possible and it is obvious that no deal – not as a gesture, not as a prisoner swap and other types – is possible anymore,” Lieberman said.,7340,L-4534054,00.html

Israel ‘doubles’ administrative detainees during arrest campaign
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 23 June by Charlie Hoyle — Israel’s military has fast-tracked over 100 administrative detention orders during a mass arrest campaign launched 10 days ago, a Palestinian prisoners group said Monday, nearly doubling the number of Palestinians held without charge. As of Monday, 104 administrative detention orders have been confirmed by the Addameer prisoner rights group, with the number set to increase significantly over the coming days. The group had documented 77 administrative detention orders as of last Thursday, with 27 more confirmed on Monday, an advocacy coordinator told Ma‘an. Most of the orders, lasting between three to six months, were issued by a judge at Ofer military court on the recommendations of the Israeli Shin Bet, with the majority of detainees affiliated to Hamas and Islamic Jihad…
Addameer said the systematic use of administrative detention in the ongoing arrest campaign is “alarming” given the number of prisoners on hunger strike to protest the policy. Issuing administrative detention orders “en-masse” since the disappearance of the three youths is “in direct violation of the strict parameters established by international law,” the group said, urging the international community to immediately condemn the “arbitrary arrest and detention campaign.” … Hunger strikes by Palestinian prisoners have posed a constant challenge over the past two years to Israel’s policy of detention without trial, with not a single day passing since 2011 when a Palestinian prisoner has not been on hunger strike.

Group names 21 prisoners sentenced to administrative detention
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 24 June — The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society on Tuesday released a list of 21 Palestinian prisoners sentenced to administrative detention. The group said in a statement that a total of 143 Palestinians have been sentenced to detention without trial as part of a mass arrest operation in the occupied West Bank. [List of detainees and their sentences follows]

Red Cross warns Israeli doctors against force-feeding prisoners
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 23 June — The International Committee of the Red Cross on Monday warned doctors in Israel against force-feeding hunger-striking prisoners, saying they could face international prosecution. Dr. Raid Abu Rabbi, an official of the Red Cross, said that “any doctor who force-feeds prisoners will be violating medical ethics, and in Israel and abroad this doctor could be arrested.” A law to allow force-feeding prisoners was set to be approved on Monday. However, the Israeli minister of finance threatened to call off the bill and voting was postponed until the coming week.

Comptroller: Detainees let go in middle of West Bank without means to get home
Jerusalem Post 24 June by Ben Hartman & Yonah Jeremy Bob — Detainees released in middle of night from police stations often forced to hitchhike home, report finds — In a time when the hitchhiking phenomenon is being scrutinized, a man under arrest at a police station in the West Bank was released without the means to get home, at night, with few options for getting home other than hitchhiking, according to a report released Tuesday by the State Comptroller on Tuesday. The police misconduct was one of a number of examples presented in the report on complaints filed against public bodies, one of the comptroller’s areas of responsibility.

Israeli court extends detention of al-Issawi until June 29
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 24 June — An Israeli military court on Tuesday extended the detention of former hunger striker Samer al-Issawi until June 29, a prisoners group said. Lawyer Mufid al-Hajj from the Palestinian Prisoners Society told Ma‘an that al-Issawi would appeal against the decision. Israeli forces on Monday re-arrested al-Issawi from his house in al-Issawiya village in East Jerusalem. Issawi was released from Israeli jail last December as part of an agreement in which he ended a 266-day hunger strike, during which time he became an international cause célèbre who focused attention on the plight of the thousands of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons.

Israel seeks re-incarceration of seven Jerusalemites freed in Shalit swap
Haaretz 24 June by Nir Hasson — Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein issued a request Tuesday morning to re-incarcerate all seven Palestinian prisoners from Jerusalem who were released in the 2011 swap for captive Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit. The seven were taken into custody over the last week within the framework of Israel’s Opperation Brother’s Keeper. The request submitted to the ministerial committee overseeing the release of security prisoners at the Haifa District Court states that each one of the prisoners has violated his terms of release and must be returned to jail to serve his original sentence. All the requests are based on confidential information submitted to the court without the presence of the prisoners’ lawyers. The Jerusalem residents released in the Shalit deal were released in a legal process separate from those arrested and tried in the West Bank. The Jerusalemites, who have permanent residency status in Israel, were released by presidential pardon. Within that context, each one signed an agreement stating that he was prohibited from “being affiliated with a terror organization or illegal association of any kind; to not be involved or support or assist any act of terror or violence.” They were also barred from entering the West Bank or flying abroad for a period of three years.

Land, property, resources theft & destruction

Hamdallah: Israel prevents oil extraction in West Bank
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 23 June — Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said that Israel has officially requested that the PA stop their appeal to the UN for extracting oil and petroleum from northern West Bank areas. Hamdallah told Ma‘an that “the Israeli coordinator of government affairs officially requested that the oil extraction from Rantis and Qalqiliya stop and called it a one-side procedure.” “There are 160 million oil barrels in Rantis and Qaliqiliya. Nevertheless Israel rejected what was agreed upon with the US secretary of state on the possibility of extracting gas from the Gaza Strip,” Hamdallah added.

South Hebron Hills: Pressure on Firing Zone 918 residents continues
Christian Peacemaker Teams 23 June — On 15 May 2014, Israeli courts extended the mediation process between the Israeli army and the villages within Firing Zone 918 for another three months.  The Israeli army wants to use this area for training.  Israeli, Palestinian and international human rights organizations have condemned its bid to expel the villagers a violation of international law, which forbids forced transfer of the indigenous population of an occupied territory unless the occupying power is safeguarding them from an immediate danger. During the previous period of mediation, the court allowed rehabilitation of damage done by storms, as well as access to the area by international humanitarian organizations.  As a result, some development was possible in the area, specifically to the schools in al-Fakheit and Jinba.  At the same time, as revealed in an article published on Ha’aretz, army officials admitted using firing zones as a way to deter the growth of Palestinian communities in Area C and to expel Palestinians from where they have lived since before the occupation of the West Bank in 1967. Since 8 June, the Israeli military has conducted exercises in close proximity to, and on one occasion, inside the village of Jinba.  Some weeks before, the army drove armored vehicles over Palestinian fields close to Jinba and Mirkez, damaging their harvest. Residents of Jinba told CPT that they received a “solution” to the current legal battle from the Israeli army via their lawyers at the beginning of June.  The army asked that all of the Palestinian residents voluntarily leave the area for thirty months so that the Israeli military could conduct its exercises.  After that, the Palestinians could return to their homes.  The villagers refused the offer, affirming they would not have anywhere to go with all their livestock.  Even if the army allowed them back, no one would care for their crops and flocks for that thirty months. The army is not asking Israeli settlers in the area to leave Firing Zone 918.

For first time, Israel compensating Palestinians over settlers’ land grab
Haaretz 25 June by Chaim Levinson — In an unprecedented step, the state will pay 300,000 shekels ($87,500) in compensation to Palestinians who own land upon which the unauthorized West Bank outpost of Amona was built. The Palestinian land owners will be compensated for the lost revenues from their fields for the first time since reaching a compromise agreement with the state. The Palestinians had filed a civil suit against the state for not enforcing the law after the settlers took over their land for the unauthorized building at Amona. It is a precedent-setting agreement … The landowners said they plan on establishing a fund with the money to finance legal support for Palestinians whose lands have been taken over by Israelis. In the compromise agreement, the plaintiffs continue to insist on their demand that the entire outpost be evacuated, as was requested in the petition to the High Court of Justice. The state is scheduled to notify the court within 30 days if it will continue its suit against Amona, in which it is demanding the settlement pay the state back for the compensation paid to the Palestinian landowners.

Army invades agricultural lands near Hebron
IMEMC 24 June by Chris Carlson — On Tuesday, Israeli army bulldozers razed a privately owned Palestinian ranch in the village of Hassaka, north of Hebron, according to local sources. Coordinator of the anti-settlement committee Rateb Jabour told WAFA Palestinian News & Info Agency that the bulldozers razed a 30-dunam area of land (just over 7 acres) which was partially covered with greenhouses and planted with vegetables. The land belongs to several residents of the village, collectively. In the Bethlehem district, Israelis also destroyed privately owned Palestinian farmland, the head of the Nahhalin village council, Ibrahim Shakarneh, told WAFA news. He stated that settlers from the nearby illegal settlement of Beitar Illit, protected by Israeli soldiers, chopped down grapevines and olive trees there. The army additionally prohibited landowners from accessing the area, sealing it off as the settlers chopped down the trees.

Army to demolish stores near Jenin
IMEMC/Agencies 24 June by Saed Bannoura — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Tuesday, Barta‘a Palestinian village, south of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, and handed military orders for the destruction of more than ten stores. Member of the Barta‘a Village Council, Tawfiq Kabaha, stated that dozens of soldiers, and members of the Civil Administration Office, run by the military in the occupied territories, invaded the Industrial Area in the village, and handed the orders. Soldiers also conducted searches of various homes and property in the village, causing damage.  The invasion is one of dozens of invasions carried out in the village in the last two months, and the army handed out orders against more than 21 homes and industrial structures.  Also on Tuesday, soldiers invaded the Hasaka village, north of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and drained water wells used by the residents for their homes and lands.

Israeli forces detain man, confiscate tractor near Jenin
JENIN (Ma‘an) 24 June — Israeli forces raided a Jenin-area village and detained a man after confiscating his tractor, security sources told Ma‘an. Palestinian security sources told Ma‘an Israeli soldiers entered Bir al-Basha and searched dozens of houses before detaining Sharif Hussein Ghawadrah, 50. Israeli forces also confiscated Ghawadrah’s tractor, the sources said, without providing further details.

Settlers vandalize 12 Palestinian cars in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 23 June — Settlers vandalized 12 Palestinian vehicles and a school bus in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina on Monday, locals said. Owners of the vehicles told Ma‘an that three masked settlers raided the al-Ashqariya neighborhood at 3 a.m. and punctured tires on 12 cars. The settlers also sprayed “Death to Arabs” and “Revenge” on a school bus and another private vehicle. Local resident Mahmoud Shanak told Ma‘an that this is the first incident of its kind in al-Ashqariya.

UNESCO adopts decision to protect Jerusalem’s heritage
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 23 June — The Palestinian minister of foreign affairs said Monday that the UNESCO world heritage committee adopted a resolution to protect the walls and heritage of Jerusalem. During the committee’s 83rd session being held in Qatar, 12 countries voted for the resolution, one country against it, and eight countries abstained from voting, Riyadh al-Malki said. He praised the resolution and thanked the Arab and Jordanian efforts that helped get it passed. “Despite the occupation’s attempts to remove the Palestinian existence from Jerusalem, and attempts to deform history and demography, Jerusalem will remain the capital of world heritage, and the capital of the state of Palestine,” he added.
On Friday UNESCO granted endangered World Heritage status to ancient terraces in the West Bank that are under threat from the Israeli separation barrier … The Palestinians won membership in UNESCO in October 2011 and quickly moved to submit a number of sites for recognition, including an emergency application for Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity which was approved in June the following year, despite Israeli objections.

Violence / Raids / Illegal arrests

Two Palestinian youths injured in grenade attack by Jewish settlers
RAMALLAH (PIC) 24 June — Two Palestinian young men suffered from severe suffocation and minor paralysis last night when an atypical smoke grenade thrown by an extremist Jewish settler fell inside their car near Deir Ibzi‘ village, west of Ramallah. Local sources said an Israeli settler from Talmon settlement chased a Palestinian passenger vehicle traveling on the public road that leads to towns and villages of west Ramallah. The smoke that emitted from the grenade caused the two young passengers to suffer from severe suffocation and made their limbs feel numb for a while. The injured young men rushed to Israeli soldiers posted at a nearby military checkpoint and reported what happened to them, but the soldiers ignored their complaint and forced them to leave the area.
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Palestinian prisoners ‘assaulted’ before being detained
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 23 June — A Palestinian Prisoner’s Society lawyer reported Monday from Palestinian detainees at Etzion detention center that many of them were assaulted and beaten before they were detained.  Prisoner Faraj Ghaith, 57, told the lawyer that three settlers raided his house, assaulted him and his family before the Israeli police detained him and his two sons Ahmad and Omar. Ghaith lives near the Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba. Jaclyn Fararjeh said that bruises were still clear on the prisoners’ bodies. Prisoner Ashraf al-Jaaidi, 30, from Bethlehem, said that he threw up blood since he was detained, and that he was beaten with butts of the riffles when he was detained from his house in Duheisha refugee camp last Friday. Farajeh highlighted that al-Jaaidi requested to be examined by a doctor but the prison service refused.

Israeli forces detain 8 in Hebron, Nablus
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 24 June — Israeli forces detained late Monday eight Palestinians from Hebron and Nablus, raided dozens of houses in several West Bank districts and interrogated dozens of residents, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society.

Army kidnaps three Palestinians in Bethlehem
IMEMC/Agencies by Saed Bannoura — [Tuesday at dawn, June 24 2014] Israeli soldiers kidnapped three Palestinians in the West Bank district of Bethlehem, and shot and injured two more Palestinians. Palestinian security sources said the army invaded Harmala village, east of Bethlehem, broke into and violently searched several homes, and kidnapped two Palestinians …  Dozens of soldiers also invaded the al-‘Azza refugee camp, north of Bethlehem, searched and ransacked dozens of homes, while one Palestinian was mauled by army dogs that attacked him, as the soldiers searched his property. The wounded Palestinian, identified as Khalil Kayed an-Nashash, was moved to the Beit Jala governmental hospital, suffering moderate injuries. In related news, soldiers invaded ‘Aida refugee camp, north of Bethlehem, also searched several homes, and kidnapped a Palestinian identified as Hussein Saleh Abu Aker, 25. Furthermore, soldiers invaded ‘Arraba town, south of the northern west Bank city of Jenin, kidnapped one Palestinian, and stole large sums of cash. The WAFA News Agency has reported that dozens of soldiers invaded the town, and broke into the home of Mustafa Sheebany, before kidnapping his brother Najeeb. The soldiers violently searched the property, causing excessive property damage, and stole 5,000 NIS, WAFA added.

Israeli forces seize Palestinian in Jenin
JENIN (Ma‘an) 24 June — Special Israeli forces seized a bodyguard of Wasfi Qabha, a Palestinian official, on Tuesday from his shop in the center of the city of Jenin in the northern West Bank. Palestinian security sources told Ma‘an that special Israeli forces drove a bus with Palestinian plates to the center of Jenin and detained Mahdi Hassan al-Hifawi, 38, from his electrical appliances shop. Sources added that al-Hifawi was a special escort for a former minister of prisoners.

Including two legislators, four Hamas officials kidnapped in Bethlehem
IMEMC/Agencies by Saed Bannoura — [Wednesday at dawn, June 25 2014] Israeli soldiers invaded the West Bank city of Bethlehem, and kidnapped two legislators, members of the Change and Reform Bloc of Hamas, and two other political leaders of the movement. Local sources said the army kidnapped legislators Khaled Tafesh and Anwar Zboun, after breaking into their homes, and violently searching them. The soldiers also kidnapped Ghassan Hermas and Hasan al-Wardiyyat, both political leaders of Hamas, and also invaded and searched several homes in al-Karkafa area, in the center of Bethlehem city, causing property damage.

Israeli forces detain 4 children in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 25 June — Israeli police on Wednesday afternoon detained four Palestinian children from the al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem. Witnesses told Ma‘an that Israeli forces detained the four children, aged 10-14, while they were flying a kite. One of them was identified as Ayman Hashima. Another was Taha Hashima, and the two others were yet to be identified. They were all led to the Chain Gate police station.

529 arrests reported during the last ten days
RAMALLAH (PIC) 24 June — 529 Palestinians have been detained since Israel started its arbitrary mass arrest campaign throughout the occupied West Bank on Thursday evening 12th June 2014.  61 arrests were carried out on Monday in different parts of occupied West Bank. According to Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS), 179 arrests were carried out in al-Khalil [Hebron], while 87 arrests were reported in Nablus. 75 Palestinians were also detained in Bethlehem, while 52 detainees were documented in Jenin. 49 Palestinians were detained in Ramallah, while 36 from Jerusalem were detained and 23 others in Tulkarem, and 13 Palestinian citizens were arrested in Qalqiliya. 7 arrests were reported in Tubas, and 7 others in Salfit, while one Palestinian was detained in Jericho.
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Israel re-arrests one in six Palestinians released to West Bank in Shalit deal
Haaretz 23 June by Gili Cohen — Security services officials assert dozens of former prisoners have violated release conditions, but one ex-prisoner says Israel using kidnapping as excuse for roundup — Israeli security services figures indicate that 55 Palestinians who had been released in exchange for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit have been arrested since the start of Operation Brother’s Keeper. A security official who spoke on condition of anonymity asserts that most of the detainees are Hamas members. Since the 2011 prisoner swap, Israel has re-arrested 131 of the 824 Palestinians released to the West Bank. Most of the 76 arrested before Operation Brother’s Keeper were suspected of violating their release conditions, such as returning to terrorist activities, failing to report monthly to the government coordination office in the territories or illegally entering Israel. One of the prisoners released in the Shalit deal, Luay Najih Nofal, who spent 11 years in an Israeli jail, was released Saturday after being re-arrested during Brother’s Keeper. He told Channel 2 in an interview Sunday night that the apprehension was a reaction, arresting people in the name of being careful ,,, “I don’t imagine that someone tied to the Shalit deal would be involved in these things. A person spent years in jail serving a sentence. It would be crazy (to return to terror), because then he would return for a life sentence.”

IDF scales back West Bank operation against Hamas, shifts focus to intelligence
Haaretz 24 June by Gili Cohen & Amos Harel — The Israel Defense Forces significantly scaled back its operations against Hamas in the West Bank on Tuesday and began removing temporary checkpoints set up inside Hebron. However, infantry units are continuing to scan large swaths of territory northwest of Hebron in an effort to find the kidnapped teens and their abductors. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said that “A large part of the operation against Hamas has been exhausted.” Twelve days after the kidnapping of Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrah from a hitchhiking spot in Gush Etzion, the main focus of Operation Brother’s Keeper is now shifting to intelligence gathering and searches … The defense establishment is troubled by the increase in the number of Palestinian casualties and the possibility that the confrontations will spill over into the month of Ramadan, which starts in less than a week. It seems most of the Hamas activists on the lists prepared by the IDF and Shin Bet security service for arrest have already been taken in.

Gaza under dual blockade

Two Gazans wounded in new wave of Israeli airstrikes
GAZA (PIC) 25 June — Two Palestinian young men on Tuesday evening suffered shrapnel injuries in a renewed spate of Israeli aerial attacks on the Gaza Strip. A medical source in Gaza told the Palestinian information center (PIC) that two young men working for the naval police suffered moderate wounds in different areas of their bodies in an Israeli air raid in Al-Nuseirat district. The air raid in Nuseirat district caused considerable damage to a municipal park and a naval police headquarters located in a beach area. Israeli warplanes also bombed a resistance site belonging to Al-Quds Brigades of Islamic Jihad as well as a cultivated land belonging to Al-Masri family in Beit Lahia district, north of Gaza. Another airstrike targeted an abandoned farm in Al-Manara neighborhood to the southeast of Ma‘an area in Khan Younis.
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Israeli warplanes strike 5 Gaza targets
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 25 June — Israeli warplanes struck multiple targets across the Gaza Strip late Tuesday, with no injuries reported. Israel’s army said it targeted “5 concealed rocket launchers in northern Gaza, one terror activity site in central Gaza, and a weapon manufacturing facility in southern Gaza” in response to rocket fire. Earlier, five rockets were fired from Gaza, Israel’s military said, with two intercepted, two falling in Gaza and one landing in an open area.

Explosion kills Palestian girl in Beit Lahiya
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 25 June — A young [3-year-old?] Palestinian girl died and three family members suffered injuries late Tuesday in an explosion in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip, medics said. Ashraf al-Qidra, a spokesman for the Ministry of Health in Gaza, said four people including two children arrived at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. The two children were in critical condition. Residents in the area said they believed the explosion was caused by a homemade rocket.

Gaza power plant ‘to shut down’ as Qatar-donated fuel runs out
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 24 June 11:18 — The Gaza Strip’s sole power plant is expected to shut down Tuesday after the last shipment of Qatar-donated fuel runs out, Gaza’s power authority said. Fathi Sheikh Khalil, the deputy chairperson of Gaza’s power authority, said that the plant would run out of fuel Tuesday. Gaza will then depend on 140 megawatts of electricity from Israel and 20 megawatts from Egypt, only a third of the electricity needed to power the Strip, Khalil said. He said the Gaza power authority had contacted the newly-formed national consensus government seeking a solution to the power crisis, but that nothing had been done so far. Qatar had in March agreed to continue to donate money to fuel Gaza’s power plant for three months.

250,000 liters of fuel to be sent to Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 24 June 23:53 — An agreement has been reached to import 250,000 liters of synthetic diesel for the Gaza power generation station, the deputy head of the energy authority in Gaza said Tuesday.  Fathi al-Sheikh Khalil told Ma‘an that the fuel, to be delivered Wednesday, aims to continue the supply of electricity for eight hours daily. He added that this amount is enough for one day, explaining that there are other suggestions to reduce the taxes on diesel in place. Khalil had earlier said that donated Qatari fuel would run out on Tuesday, and that the power generation would stop if an alternative was not found.

Severe shortage in medicines, medical equipment in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 24 June — The Palestinian ministry of health in Gaza says a serious crisis is expected to affect the health sector in the coastal enclave as many types of medicines and medical equipment have run out and other types are running out. Ashraf al-Qidra said in a statement Tuesday that 122 types of basic medicines completely ran out and 91 types would run out in a few weeks. Furthermore, 471 types of medical equipment and disposables have run out completely and some 85 types will run out in a few weeks, added al-Qidra. He highlighted that Gaza fuel crisis has affected hospitals and medical centers. During daily power cuts, Gaza hospitals use diesel-run generators to produce electricity. Gaza public hospitals, says al-Qidra, consume 8,000 liters of diesel a day and they now have only 20 percent of the average reserve. In addition, ambulances and other vehicles of the ministry consume about 22,000 liters of diesel and 12,000 liters of gasoline a month. Under these conditions, he added that fuel reserves will run out in a few days. As a result, the ministry of health decided to cancel surgical operations which are not urgent and to reduce about 50 percent of ambulance travel.

Gaza employees go on strike Thursday
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 24 June — Workers in the former Gaza government will have a full strike in all government institutions in protest of being left out of the unity agreement, the director of the civil service workers union in Gaza said. Mohammad Siyam said all the doors of the government’s institutions and offices will be closed as an escalation in response to Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, which did not address the former employees or the electricity issue.

Israeli naval boats open fire on Palestinian fishermen offshore Gaza
GAZA (WAFA) 24 June — Israeli naval boats opened fire Tuesday on Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of As-Sudaniya to the northwest of Gaza, according to WAFA correspondent. Israeli naval boats opened gunfire on several Palestinian fishing boats fishing within the six nautical miles allowed fishing zone, forcing fishermen to return to the shore. No injuries were reported among them.

Witnesses: Israel military vehicles enter Gaza neighborhood
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 23 June — Israeli military vehicles entered a neighborhood in eastern Gaza City on Monday, witnesses told Ma‘an. Locals said soldiers in the vehicles scanned land belonging to residents in the al-Shajaiya neighborhood and “fired shots,” without causing injuries.

Palestinian refugees in Syria

Palestinians unable to return to Syria camp despite truce
DAMASCUS (AFP) 23 June  – Convinced they would be able to return to Yarmuk in southern Damascus after a truce and ceasefire, Palestinians went to the embattled camp’s entrance Monday but their wait was in vain. “I heard about the deal so I bought food because I thought I could go home, but (the regime forces) did not let me go because armed men still haven’t left,” said a 30-year-old woman clutching a bowl of eggs. Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have been laying siege to Yarmuk since last year. Yarmuk is now devastated, and only around 40,000 people remain of the 150,000 Palestinian and Syrian people who lived at the camp before the conflict erupted in March 2011. On Saturday evening, an agreement was struck under which rebel fighters were to vacate the camp, according to Anwar Abdel Hadi, political director of the Palestine Liberation Organisation in Syria. “The armed men will pull out of the camp, checkpoints will be dismantled and rubble removed. Repairs will be made before people are to return,” said Abdel Hadi. But even though the guns had fallen silent on Monday, it was clear that the agreement had never taken effect a day after it was supposed to.

In Pictures: Life and death in Yarmouk
Middle East Eye 24 June by Laila Benallal — “We want our freedom back”;  “We want these crimes against us to stop”; “I haven’t seen my parents in more than a year, I don’t have any idea where they are or if they are still alive”; “We are going from place to place, from camp to camp; this is a second Nakba! (catastrophe)”; “We want to get out of this cage.” These were the type of harrowing accounts of life in the Yarmouk camp heard by photographer Laila Benallal during a visit there before this week’s ceasefire. About 18,000 Palestinians have been besieged in the camp since last July, with starvation claiming an estimated 100 lives … Laila was there with a group of volunteers from several European countries to witness first-hand the immense suffering of the Yarmouk residents and how vital the support of two European NGOS, Help Syria Through the Winter and Al Wafaa Campaign, has been to the camp.

Other news

Mashaal: We cannot deny or confirm the kidnapping of settlers
GAZA (PIC) 24 June — Head  of Hamas’s political bureau Khaled Mashaal stated that his Movement has no clear information about the disappearance of the three Israeli soldiers 10 days ago, refusing to confirm nor deny responsibility for their kidnapping. “Blessed are the hands of those who have kidnapped the three settlers because our prisoners have to be freed from the occupation’s jails,” Mashaal stated in televised remarks to Al-Jazeera satellite channel on Monday evening. Mashaal ruled out that the kidnap incident is an Israeli fabrication aimed at justifying the escalation of its violations and crimes against the Palestinian people, stressing that Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu does not need pretexts for his aggression against the Palestinians. He said that the Jewish settlers in the West Bank and Jerusalem are armed and unlawful combatants violating the international through living in occupied lands and committing daily attacks and crimes against the Palestinian civilians and their property. Mashaal also denied Israeli claims that he had given Al-Qassam Brigades of Hamas the green light to carry out the kidnap operation during his last speech, affirming that Hamas is a large Movement and every one of its members knows his job well and how to accomplish his duties.
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Israel: Policeman killed in April shot by freed Shalit deal prisoner
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 23 June — Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence agency said Monday that it had identified two Palestinians responsible for the April shooting that killed an Israeli policeman and injured two others, Israeli media reported. Israeli forces arrested Ziad Awad, 42, and his 18-year-old son, on May 7 and they were charged in a military court on Monday, the Jerusalem Post reported. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said early Monday that he ordered Awad’s family home demolished, the Israeli news site Ynet reported. Ziad is a former prisoner who was released in the 2011 Gilad Shalit deal.  Israeli police officer Baruch Mizrahi was shot dead while he was driving near Hebron in the southern West Bank on April 14. His wife and son were also injured in the shooting.

Charging of released Hamas activist ups heat on PM
Haaretz 24 June by Amos Harel — The revelation that a prisoner released in the Shalit deal murdered police officer Baruch Mizrahi helps the right-wing pressure Netanyahu to be tough with the Palestinians … The right’s argument goes like this: Netanyahu released terrorists responsible for the murders of hundreds of Israelis, knowing that many of them would return to terrorist activity. Mizrahi, who was murdered while driving with his family to a Passover seder in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba, is just the first victim of this rash decision. There will be more in the future. Therefore, the prime minister must not display any further weakness toward the Palestinians. Thus the demand for harsh decisions made previously: the refusal to release the Israeli Arab prisoners in the final stage of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent peace initiative, the bill sponsored by Economy Minister Naftali Bennett and MK Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) to ban pardons for terrorist killers and the force-feeding bill meant to be applied to the hunger-striking security detainees.

Bedouin trackers hunting for clues to kidnapped boys
BEIT KAHIL, West Bank (NY Times) 23 June by Jodi Rudoren — Maj. Mohammed Mazarib of the Israel Defense Forces ducked into an old stone hut on a hillside above a riverbed here Monday afternoon, quickly determining that footprints inside belonged to soldiers who had beat him there. He nonetheless drew his rifle and shone its spotlight into a hole on the far side of the hut, then grabbed a stick to poke around. Nothing but animal droppings — a wolf, he decided. More than a hundred years ago, the cave within a cave was probably used as a cool spot to store food. Now it was one of hundreds of holes Major Mazarib and his men checked and rechecked for any trace of the three Israeli teenagers kidnapped on June 12 from a hitchhiking post about 15 miles away. “In every corner and in every room and tunnel that I go into, I see them in front of my eyes,” Major Mazarib, 37, commander of the southern West Bank’s specialized tracking unit, said in Hebrew. “As long as there are three missing, we’re going to keep going.”Major Mazarib and his 50 trackers, all Bedouin citizens who serve voluntarily in the Israeli military, were among perhaps 1,000 troops who converged Monday around the village of Beit Kahil

IDF building suppressive fire posts along the Syria border
Ynet 24 June by Yoav Zitun — After numerous instances of fire spillover from Syria, the most recent of which ended with the death of a 13-year-old boy, the IDF is building “assault stations” in the Golan Heights – suppressive fire posts along the border with Syria that would offer quick response to any attack against Israel … Similar posts have already been built along the Gaza border to coordinate between different military elements in case of an attack against IDF troops. The coordination between the division, the Air Force and others elements allows for a relatively quick response to suppress the attackers.,7340,L-4533914,00.html

West Bank refugee children tell Governor Deval Patrick: ‘Don’t be a partner with Israel in killing us’
Mondoweiss 23 June by Nancy Murray — When he learned from Massachusetts residents with West Bank ties that Governor Deval Patrick was leading a large trade delegation to Israel last month with water as a key focus, 15-year-old Ahmad had a message for the Governor.  “I don’t know what kind of work you are doing with Israel over water but I’ll tell you that you are supporting the occupation and violating human rights.  Do you know that Israel steals most of the water and leaves almost nothing for us?  Do you know that we don’t have enough water to take showers in the summer, to clean the house, to clean our clothes, and sometimes we don’t have enough water or clean water to drink because Israel doesn’t care about us. “We are not asking you to help us with water but at least don’t be a partner with Israel in killing us.  Maybe you should come to visit us while you are in Israel to see for yourself.” Ahmad, whose full name is being withheld from this post for fear of retaliation by the Israeli army, is one of several Palestinian refugee children who have written to Governor Deval Patrick describing the struggles of their families to get sufficient water to meet their basic needs.  Those letters are being delivered to the Governor by members of the Boston Alliance for Water Justice


Report: Growing up between Israeli settlements and soldiers
Ramallah (Defence for Children International Palestine) 19 June — A new report published by DCI-Palestine brings to light the devastating impact on Palestinian children of growing up near increasingly violent Israeli settlements and Israeli military outposts. The report, Growing Up between Israeli Settlements and Soldiers, details the experiences of children and their families living in villages and towns hemmed in by expanding and often violent settler communities. It finds that attacks on schools, assaults on individual homes, and the physical abuse of children are occurring throughout the West Bank as a result of close proximity to settlements and military outposts … Stationed throughout the West Bank, Israeli soldiers, police and private security firms protect settler populations at the expense of Palestinian civilians. Unlike Israeli civilians living across the Green Line, Israel’s pre-1967 boundary with the West Bank, many settlers carry government-issued arms. In this hyper-militarized environment, disproportionate physical and psychological violence is inflicted on Palestinian children. In the small village of Sinjil to the north of Ramallah, seven-year-old Eman’s family continues to suffer from the devastating effects of an attack by Israeli settlers from the nearby settlement of Shilo, who set fire to the family home in the middle of the night. While near the Ahiya outpost, five-year-old Farah was beaten with a rock during an hour-long settler attack on his family home. In the divided city of Hebron, settlers grabbed seven-year-old Marwa as she walked home from school, held her down and set her hair on fire. Sadly, they are not alone: other children face similar trauma. Schools such as the Urif Secondary School near the Yitzhar settlement and the UNRWA school near the settlement of Beit El experience regular attacks from soldiers who fire rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters into their schoolyards. These anecdotes of settler and military violence across the West Bank in recent years serve as a window into the innumerable injustices Palestinian children face. Recent statistics by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimated that more than 2,100 settler attacks have occurred since 2006, 399 of which took place in 2013 alone … DCI-Palestine estimates that the Israeli military has detained over 8,000 children since 2000. Since 2008, there have been at least 170 Palestinian children in Israeli detention at any given time. Almost more alarming than the fact that 1,405 Palestinian children have been killed by Israeli soldiers or settlers since 2000 is the climate of impunity that makes such violence possible. (listserv) (archive)


American; political science major, M.A.; former ISM volunteer in the West Bank

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