Israel destroys 3 homes, public park amid mass demolition campaign
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 Apr — Israeli forces on Tuesday demolished three Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank village of al-Walaja and a children’s park near Nablus amid a mass escalation in demolitions across the occupied area this year. A PA official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, Ghassan Daghlas, told Ma‘an that Israeli bulldozers razed a children’s park in Zaatara south of Nablus. The Israeli authorities gave no prior notice before demolishing the park, which was built last year with around $60,000 donated by Belgium via the Municipal Developing and Lending Fund, Daghlas said.
Locals told Ma‘an that bulldozers escorted by Israeli military forces also raided the Ein al-Jweizeh area in northern al-Walaja near Bethlehem, demolishing three homes that were still under construction.The homeowners — al-Walaja residents Maher Abu Khyara, Issa Qintar and Obeida al-Muhtasib — were reportedly told that the demolitions were carried out due to lack of proper building permits. Locals said Israeli military forces had raided the village several days prior to take photos of a number of homes and deliver demolition orders to their owners.
Israeli forces shoot, injure Palestinian boy in Gaza Strip
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 11 Apr — Israeli forces on Monday shot and injured a Palestinian boy in the central Gaza Strip. Witnesses told Ma‘an that Israeli forces deployed near Hujr al-Dik area in central Gaza Strip opened fire at a young teenager herding cattle, injuring him in the foot. Medical sources identified him as Amir al-Tarabin,13, and said he was in moderate condition.
Israel detains Gaza’s blind karate team trainer at Erez crossing
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 12 Apr — Israeli forces on Monday detained the trainer of a Palestinian blind karate team as he and the team were returning to the Gaza Strip from an international tournament in Dubai through the Erez crossing. Sources told Ma‘an that Hasan al-Rae, 37, and five members of the al-Mashtal Club’s blind karate team were detained while passing through the crossing. The team was held for nine hours before they were allowed to move on into the blockaded coastal enclave, while their trainer, al-Rae, remained in Israeli custody. The al-Mashtal Club in Gaza City has received international media attention in recent months for its efforts to use karate to give blind Palestinian children a sense of hope amid Gaza’s deep poverty . . . According to The National, al-Rae has taught karate across the occupied Palestinian territory for 10 years, and has hopes to take competitors to the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in 2020 . . . Palestinian sports players face severe movement restrictions by Israel (Continued)
Scores rally in Gaza to protest electricity crisis
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 11 Apr — Scores of Palestinians demonstrated outside of the Palestinian Legislative Council building in Gaza City on Monday to protest the ongoing power crisis which recently took a turn for the worse after the Palestinian Authority (PA) revoked a tax exemption on fuel in Gaza. Gaza’s power plant shut down completely on April 8 after exhausting its fuel reserves, leading to blackouts for up to 20 hours a day, compared to 12 hours a day previously, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement on Monday. The demonstration, which brought together some 150 people, was organized by the left-wing Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP). Senior DFLP leader Talal Abu Tharifa read a memo which he said the DFLP would send to Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah. In the memo, he urged Hamdallah to “justly treat the Gaza Strip, which has fallen victim to internal Palestinian disputes.” “We are surprised by the Palestinian government’s decisions, which adds to the suffering of our people in the Gaza Strip who have gone through disasters caused by three Israeli military offensives,” Abu Tharifa added.
In photos: Scavenging to live
KHAN YOUNIS (EI) 11 Apr by Hamza Abu Eltarabesh & Abed Zaghout — The thin donkey wound his belabored way through the narrow alleys of Khan Younis. Two young brothers, Muhammad, 12, and Karim, 8, helped him pull a cart brimming with cement blocks and stone bricks in various states of disrepair, all collected from the ruins of the many homes and buildings in the area wholly or partially destroyed. Behind them and astride the cart, their mother grew frustrated with the donkey’s leisurely pace, and repeatedly snapped the reins against his bony back, accusing him of laziness. It had no obvious effect. It never does. Like they do up to three times on most days, Jihad Abu Muhsen, 48, and her two boys continued their slow progress to a workshop on the outskirts of town. There, Abu Muhsen called the workshop owner, Abu Shukri. After a quick inspection, he gave her 10 Israeli shekels, some $2.50, for her cargo. The three Muhsens and their donkey had a short rest. Then they started off back to town. “Half an hour,” Abu Muhsen cried over her shoulder to Abu Shukri. “We’ll be back with a second load.”
‘The smell of death hangs everywhere’: Blockade drives Gazans to suicide
GAZA (MEE) 11 Apr by Mohammed Omer — It only took a small spark to extinguish the 43-year-old life of Mohammed Ghazal. Driven to the depths of despair, Ghazal doused himself in fuel and set himself on fire during a visit last week to Al-Aqsa Hospital in Dier al-Balah. Ghazal, from the Nussirat refugee camp in the centre of the Gaza Strip, suffered with depression but had stopped attending appointments and receiving treatment for the condition in 2014, according to Gaza’s health ministry . . . The case is just one among many in recent months, with doctors and officials linking an increase in suicides to the desperate conditions and lack of opportunities endured by many people in Gaza as a result of the decade-long blockade by Israel and Egypt. In the first quarter of 2016, at least 95 people tried to kill themselves, according to unpublished research by the Euro-Med Observers for Human Rights monitoring group, while suicide rates in the first months of 2016 increased by 30 percent compared with the same months between 2013 and 2014. “The last war on Gaza led to a total collapse of the Palestinian economy, and unemployment is one of the main reasons behind most suicidal cases,” Ramy Abdu, the director of Euro-Med, told Middle East Eye. Many cases of suicide are not acknowledged in public because the subject is still considered a taboo in a society where men are expected to provide for their family, dealing with life’s problems without complaining or asking for help. Yet the pressures of the blockade have made it an impossible task for most people to meet those expectations. (Continued)
Egyptian sources: Relations between Hamas and Egypt ‘noticeably’ improved
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 11 Apr — Relations between Hamas and Egypt have “improved noticeably” following rounds of talks held between Hamas and Egyptian officials in March, Egyptian security sources said. The first round of meetings addressed the Egyptian Ministry of Interior’s allegations that Hamas was involved in the assassination of former Egyptian public prosecutor Hisham Barakat, as well as the ongoing insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula. According to the sources, Egyptian officials reportedly told Hamas officials that the Palestinian movement was not serious about protecting their shared borders. The Egyptian government has in the past accused Hamas of assisting the insurgency, although Hamas strongly denies the allegations.
The second meeting, the sources added, took place after Hamas leaders from Gaza traveled to Qatar for consultations with the movement’s exiled leaders, including chief of Hamas’ politburo Khalid Mashal. After the Doha consultations, Hamas officials returned to Cairo and pledged to take quick and serious steps towards reconciliation with political rival Fatah and to prevent any violations of the Egyptian borders through smuggling tunnels from Gaza into the Sinai, the sources said. Egyptian officials also told their Hamas counterparts that talks would start as soon as possible between Egypt and the Palestinian Authority about the possibility of permanently opening the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza . . . Deputy editor-in-chief of Egypt’s state-run al-Ahram newspaper Ashraf Abu al-Houl reiterated to Ma‘an on Sunday evening that Egypt asked Hamas to allow the PA’s presidential guards to take control of the Rafah crossing. (Continued)
Luxury of relaxation in Gaza: Small coffins are the heaviest
GAZA (Palestine Chronicle) 10 Apr — . . . When Candles Become Monsters– I hate candles. “So do I,” said my five-year-old niece Shaimaa. She loved the slim colorful ones though, the birthday candles. “Big ones kill children. My classmate spoke of a specific type of candle, which caused the deaths of children in their sleep,” she continued with her eyes wide open as she tried to draw a big circle in the air to visualize the massiveness of the candle. “It wasn’t that huge, darling. It was the same height and the same diameter of your birthday’s candles. Maybe it was colorful too, the same size of the candles lit in the burned children’s funerals,” I whispered to her . . . Two states have a share in all these murderous crimes; Israel, by tightening the ten-year blockade on Gaza which has intensified the restrictions on the access to fuel to the Gaza Strip. This has led to prolonged blackouts which can last more than twelve hours a day. Egypt is considered the second culprit by closing the Rafah border, preventing the movement of cheap fuel sources from Egypt. People were left with no alternatives but the lights of candles, which have burned a considerable number of houses . . . Elsewhere, candles could be lit on birthdays and festivals, but in Gaza, candles can be the source of fire and death, killing children and bringing in more funeral tents. In Gaza, candles can become a source of more tragedy . . . The bad smell of the emissions coming out of generators is still better than that of the smell of death caused by candles.
UN: 75,000 Palestinians remain homeless in Gaza
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 Apr — A major UN survey has found that up to 75,000 Palestinians remain homeless nearly two years after Israel’s last devastating offensive on the blockaded Gaza Strip. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) made the findings in an unprecedented survey on Gaza’s internally displaced families published Monday, warning that many families were now at breaking point. “After hearing from over 16,000 displaced families in the Gaza Strip, it is clear that most continue to live in desperate conditions,” Robert Piper, UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid, said in a statement. “International support to end this situation is urgently needed.” The survey found that more than 80 percent of the families had borrowed money over the past year to survive, with 85 percent buying food on credit, and as many as 40 percent decreasing their consumption of food. About 63 percent of the displaced Palestinians were renting living space, but nearly 50 percent feared being evicted, OCHA found, adding that the situation for women and girls was of “particular concern.” “Many families report living in shelter conditions that are lacking in safety, dignity and privacy, including living in tents, makeshift shelters, destroyed houses, or the open air,” the UN body said in a statement . . . The Gaza Strip has seen three wars with Israel since 2008, with Israel’s 2014 offensive destroying 12,600 homes, and leaving another 6,500 severely damaged and 150,000 housing units uninhabitable. Reconstruction efforts have been painfully slow — hindered by Israel’s blockade, ongoing disputes with the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority, and a severe shortage of foreign assistance.
Locals: Bulldozers level Gaza land under drone surveillance for 7th day
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 12 Apr — Israeli bulldozers under the surveillance of Israeli military drones razed Palestinian lands near Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Tuesday for the seventh day in a row, locals said. Locals told Ma‘an that the bulldozers crossed through the borderline with Israel into the al-Nahda neighborhood of eastern Rafah as military drones flew overhead. Several bulldozers also crossed from the Kisufim military site into al-Qarrara in northeastern Khan Yunis and leveled land in the area, witnesses said.
Gaza’s architectural heritage fades, but one man resists
[with photos] AFP 11 Apr — A surprise awaits beyond a black door adorned with a silver lotus flower at the end of a tangle of alleyways in Gaza’s chaotic Old City. Through it and behind imposing stone walls sits a small, Levantine-style palace, some 430 years old and recently painstakingly restored. It is among the rare vestiges of Gaza City’s architectural heritage, battered by war, time, population pressure and simple indifference. The palace that had been missing part of its roof and located in what had been the Old City’s Christian quarter was rescued by a 46-year-old university professor. Less than a year ago, the professor, Atef Salama, decided to take action. His wife Kawtar said the idea was “kind of crazy.” But the house has now been given a second life, unlike others around it. Salama spent lots of his savings to make it happen — an amount he preferred not to discuss. “People didn’t say it to our face, but we could tell they were thinking ‘either they’re crazy or they were scammed’,” said Kawtar while receiving guests in her living room with ochre stone walls. Nearby sits a decrepit church. A traditional house across the street has crumbled and is overgrown with weeds. — One of world’s oldest cities — Other historic buildings have disappeared under new construction . . . Salama said his project aimed to “mix modernity and tradition, while preserving our heritage.” Such Levantine houses once stood from Syria and Lebanon to ancient Palestine, said Salama. It includes an “iwan,” a traditional space with three walls opening onto a courtyard housing a fountain, a well and a reservoir. Salama says it has survived the test of time — unlike the new buildings surrounding them. “A house like this has lived for 1,000 years, unlike new apartments — just cardboard boxes.”
United Arab Emirates funds mass wedding of Palestinians injured in Gaza wars
JPost 12 Apr by Maayan Groisman — The Palestinian Center for Humanitarian Communication launched a new project Monday aimed at conducting a mass wedding of handicapped Palestinians injured during the recent wars in Gaza. The organization called on eligible people to send requests to join the project, which was founded by the United Arab Emirates Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development Nahyan bin Mubarak al-Nahyan. Led by Jalila Dahlan, the wife of Mohammad Dahlan, a former senior Fatah official, the project aims at helping 50 handicapped Gazans start their life as couples. Only Gazans who were injured during one of the three recent wars in Gaza (in 2008, 2012 and 2014), who are employed at the Palestinian Authority and whose age is no less than 25 years-old are eligible to apply to the project. The pivotal role performed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in this project demonstrates the close relationship between Mohammad Dahlan and the Gulf State. After he was expelled from Fatah in June 2011, because of repeated claims by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that he had murdered Yasser Arafat, Dahlan moved to the UAE and currently resides there.
Photo essay: Bee-sting therapy
GAZA CITY (Reuters) 12 Apr by Nidal al-Mughrabi — Rateb Samour sees 250 patients a day whose complaints range from hair loss to cerebral palsy and cancer. But he is not a doctor and has never worked in a hospital. Samour inherited the skill of bee-sting therapy from his father, who used to raise bees. Then in 2003, the agricultural engineer started to dedicate all his time to studying and developing the alternative medicine treatment of apitherapy, which uses all bee-related products, including honey, propolis – or bee glue used to build hives – and venom.”I am treating serious and chronic diseases which have no cure in regular medicine, I have achieved excellent results,” said Samour, an Egyptian-educated specialist in entomology and bees in the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian enclave.
Photo essay: Gaza lioness leaves territory for new life in West Bank
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) 11 Apr — Israeli and Palestinian handlers have transferred a lioness from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank. Uri Madar, an official with COGAT, an Israeli defense body responsible for Palestinian civilian affairs, inspected the 7-year-old feline Monday as it entered Israel on the way to its new home at a Palestinian zoo in the West Bank. He said it is a “joyful day for all animal lovers.” Some 41 big cats, including lions and tigers, are held “not in ideal conditions” in Gaza, he said. The lioness had been smuggled into Gaza through a tunnel when it was a few months old . . . The lioness was evacuated from a makeshift zoo in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, to join her mate who was moved earlier to a better zoo in the West Bank. Four adult lions and two cubs were evacuated from cash-strapped, conflict-ridden zoos in Gaza for treatment and better living conditions in the West Bank and Jordan.
Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Army kidnaps a young man in Hebron; child injured after settlers attacked him
IMEMC 12 Apr — Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Tuesday, a young Palestinian man in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, while Israeli colonizers attacked and injured a child in the center of the city. The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) has reported that the soldiers invaded and searched a few homes, and kidnapped one Palestinian, identified as Monjed Akram Rajabi, 20. On Monday evening, a number of fanatic Israeli colonists assaulted a Palestinian child, identified as Farhat Nader Rajabi, 10, in the Sahla neighborhood in the center of Hebron city. The child suffered various cuts and bruises, and received the needed treatment in a local clinic. The soldiers also installed military roadblocks on the main entrances of Sa‘ir and Halhoul towns, in addition to Hebron’s northern entrance, before stopping and searching dozens of cars, and questioned many Palestinians while inspecting their ID cards. Also on Tuesday at dawn, the soldiers invaded the northern West Bank districts of Tulkarem and Bethlehem, searched several homes and kidnapped seven young men.
Non-violent protest in Ni‘lin again met with collective punishment against whole village
NI‘LIN, occupied Palestine 12 Apr by ISM, al-Khalil Team — On Friday, the 8th of April 2016, the villagers of Ni‘lin nonviolently demonstrated against Israeli apartheid politics, the theft of the villagers’ land through the building of the apartheid wall and illegal settlements, and the increasing collective punishment of the village of Ni‘lin by Israeli forces’ use of excessive force. Israeli forces, yet again, were gathering near the apartheid wall that is stealing a majority of village land, long before the start of the midday prayer. After the prayer, the demonstrators walked up towards the soldiers in order to engage them in a dialogue about their actions in the village of Ni‘lin and their excessive use of force against the civilian population in Ni‘lin. They also questioned the soldiers about why they have been stopping the farmers – vast areas of the villages’ farming land have been illegally confiscated – even on the stretches of land that the villagers theoretically can still reach. A main concern for the villagers though was the shooting of tear gas inside the village center, where civilians not involved in the protest are affected by the tear gas. In the last few weeks, Israeli forces have thus targeted a public park including a playground and various family homes, shooting the potentially lethal long range tear gas canisters right inside the homes.
Shortly after this non-violent questioning of the soldiers and their intentions, the soldiers ordered the Palestinians to leave the area, declaring it a ‘closed military zone’. Immediately after, they started using excessive force, inundating the fields and village of Ni‘lin with tear gas. Again, soldiers were shooting endless rounds of tear gas towards the houses in an act of collective punishment that has become a weekly reality for the villagers. Additionally, they shot rubber-coated metal bullets directly at the protestors, injuring one young man in the stomach. Five persons required medical treatment after suffering from excessive tear gas inhalation.
Israeli forces carry out raids across West Bank, arrest 12
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 12 Apr — Israeli forces detained 12 Palestinians during predawn raids throughout the occupied West Bank early Tuesday, including from areas under full Palestinian jurisdiction, locals said. Locals told Ma‘an that three residents of Qalandiya refugee camp near Ramallah were detained. The detainees were identified as Raed Fayiz — head of Qalandiya Youth Center — Muhammad Eid Badran, and Nidal Ahmad Ziyad. Four Palestinians were detained from the Bethlehem district, including Usama Ibrahim Deiriyeh, Issam Abdullah Taqatqa, and Adel Mahmoud Deiriyeh from Beit Fajjar village. Israeli forces raided Bethlehem City, under Area A and under full jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority, and detained Ibrahim al-Shuruf. The forces also detained Abdullah Rashid Mawqadi, a dentist from Salfit, and Amin Bassam Khweiled from Tulkarem. An Israeli spokesperson told Ma’an 12 were detained in total during the raids, citing “suspected illegal activity.”
Since October 2015, 5,000 Palestinians arrested
RAMALLAH (PIC) 12 Apr — The PA committee for prisoners and ex-prisoners revealed in a new report issued Tuesday that 5,000 Palestinians were arrested since the outbreak of Jerusalem Intifada on October 1, 2015. The report pointed out that 1,900 children, 180 women, and 85 injured persons were among the detainees.
Two Jewish teens arrested on suspicion of ‘security crimes’ against Palestinians
JPost 11 Apr by Ben Hartman — Two Jewish teens aged 16 and 17 have been arrested on suspicion of carrying out “security crimes” against Palestinians, a judge cleared for publication on Monday. One of the suspects was arrested on April 5 and was ordered kept in custody until April 18, while the other suspect was arrested Monday morning and ordered kept in custody until the 18 as well. Two adult suspects were also arrested for nationalist crimes on April 5, including one suspected of torching a car belonging to a Palestinian, the court cleared for publication on Monday.
Israeli police banish seven women from Aqsa Mosque, Old City
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 11 Apr — The Israeli occupation police on Sunday issued decisions banning the entry of six Palestinian women to the Aqsa Mosque and another one to the Old City of Jerusalem for several months. Umm Ihab al-Jallad, one of many women already banned from entering the Aqsa Mosque, said that the Israeli police summoned six women to its center in Qishleh area in the Old City and handed them orders banning their entry to the Mosque for different periods. Jallad added that she refused to sign or receive a written verdict ordering her to stay away from the Old City for six months. One of the six women, Samiha Shahin, also refused to take an order preventing her from entering the Aqsa Mosque for six months. The Israeli police started to impose a ban on the entry of Palestinian women to the Aqsa Mosque in Ramadan 2014, especially during the morning hours when Jewish settlers carry out mass break-ins at the Islamic holy shrine under security protection.
Student Affairs Council of Palestinian universities condemns Israel’s violation of right to education in Al-Quds University
IMEMC 12 Apr by Saed Bannoura — This is a press release from the Deans of Students’ Affairs Council of Palestinian Universities, condemning the Israeli army’s continuous invasions into academics institutions, especially the latest invasion into the Al-Quds University on April 5, 2016: Deans of students’ Affairs Council of the Palestinian universities strongly condemns the Israeli Occupation Forces raids to Al-Quds University, on April 5, 2016, as part of the ongoing aggression on academic institutions and Palestinians rights to learn, live and exist. . . .
VIDEO: Humiliation of Palestinians at Israeli checkpoints
posted by Ramallah Mix 17 Dec 2015 [but it could be any day – one person commented “Gratuitous nastiness. All day, every day.” Warning: This video is very upsetting to any normal person.]
As attacks subside, Jerusalem tries to return to normal
JERUSALEM (AP) 12 Apr — One of Jerusalem’s most popular Palestinian hummus joints, Lina, used to serve about 100 Israeli diners a day — the majority of its clientele. But after the outbreak of Israeli-Palestinian violence last fall, the place saw business drop to about three or four Israeli diners a day, and even many Palestinians abandoned the landmark Old City establishment. “It’s been hard,” said Ghaleb Zahadeh, Lina’s manager. “It’s getting better a little bit.” But not by much — over the last two weeks, he said he served about 10 Israeli customers a day, all of them longtime regulars. Although the seven-month wave of violence appears to be subsiding, many Arabs and Jews still avoid each other’s areas. Fewer Palestinians picnic in parks on the Jewish side of town, and both groups are largely avoiding trips to the Old City, home to Jerusalem’s holy sites, where many attacks have occurred. (Continued)
Majd Owaida: From Gaza’s open-air prison to Israeli prisons
GAZA (Palestine Chronicle) 12 Apr by Maram Humaid — Despairingly, Maha Owaida, the mother of Majd Owaida, 23, took part in the sit-in in solidarity with her son, who was arrested two months ago while en route to the West Bank via the Israeli-controlled Eretz crossing . . . Majd Owaida, established the Palestinian talents Club in Gaza, which is the local representative of the Arab Got Talent. After several attempts, Owaida had succeeded at obtaining a license to start the local branch of the program in Gaza. Moreover, for complementing the registration procedures of the program in the West Bank, Owaida got a temporary visit-permit, along with a group of talented members, after being denied many times. While en route to the West Bank last February, Owaida was arrested at the Eretz crossing by the Israeli intelligence without explanation, and amid a media blackout. On 23 March, Israeli intelligence announced arresting a Palestinian The Israeli intelligence presented “sensitive information” which they claimed threatened the Israeli security, by developing E-Systems that controlled surveillance cameras at Ben Gurion Airport and Israeli main roads, or so they said. Majd Owaida has been charged with all these accusations. “I’ve got deeply shocked by the news, I couldn’t take it. I know my son well; he is very peaceful and loving. His time was dedicated for his work in exploring talents around. These accusations are completely false,” Owaida’s mother stated . . . After arresting Majd, the Arabs Got Talent program withdrew the Palestinians Got Talents license in Gaza, after dozens of Palestinian talents registered to participate. The organizers of the Arabs Got Talent said in a statement that they stopped the program after “political pressure” was applied following the arrest of Majed Owaida, the program director in Gaza, at the Eretz crossing. “We call on all international organizations, Human Rights groups, and the Palestinian leadership to intervene to free my son. Majd did not commit any crime. He did not harm anybody. His was only interested in exploring talents. I assure that he did not have any political or military affiliations,” Majd’s father said.
Israel to free 12-year-old Palestinian girl held in prison
JERUSALEM (AP) 11 Apr — A 12-year-old Palestinian girl who was imprisoned after she confessed to planning a stabbing attack in a West Bank settlement will be released early, Israel’s prison service said Monday, capping a saga that drew attention to the dual legal system in the West Bank. The case has put Israel’s military justice system in a tough spot as it deals with a girl who has pleaded guilty to a crime, yet has not even completed the seventh grade. She is believed to be the youngest female Palestinian ever sent to an Israeli prison. According to court documents provided by the military, the girl, whose name [Dima al-Wawi] could not be published because of her age, approached the West Bank settlement of Carmei Tsur on Feb. 9 with a knife hidden under a shirt.
A security guard ordered her to halt, and a resident instructed her to lie on the ground and told her to give up the knife, which she did. An amateur video clip shown on Israeli TV showed the resident asking the girl, who was wearing her school uniform, whether she had come to kill Jews, and she said yes. She later pleaded guilty to attempted manslaughter in a plea bargain and was sentenced to 4½ months in prison . . . B’Tselem, citing court records, said the girl was interrogated twice without either an attorney or her parents being present after being caught outside the settlement. (Continued)
Detainee Fawaghra continues his hunger strike for 30th day
IMEMC 12 Apr — The Palestinian Detainees and Ex-Detainees Committee has reported, Monday, that a Palestinian detainee from Bethlehem, is ongoing with his hunger strike for the thirtieth consecutive day. The Committee said that Eyad Ahmad Fawaghra, from Bethlehem, is also refusing to take any vitamins, and insists on continuing his strike until Israel revokes its decision to prevent his mother and brothers from visiting with him. Detainees’ Committee lawyer Yousef Nasasra said the detainee, who is serving a 27-year prison term, suffers sharp migraines, while the Eshil Prison Administration is trying to pressure him into stopping his strike in return for giving him pills to relieve his pain. Nasasra added that the administration in Eshil confiscated his clothes, bed covers and is even preventing him from showering, in addition to invading his room to search it twice a day. He also said that, besides Fawaghra, there are three Palestinian detainees who are holding hunger strikes, in different Israeli prisons. The three listed below, are striking in protest of their continued arbitrary Administrative Detention, without charges or trial: Sami Janazra, from the al-Fawwar refugee camp in Hebron – started his strike 40 days ago; Adeeb Mafarja, from Beit Leqia in Ramallah – started his strike nine days ago; Fuad ‘Aassi, from Beit Leqia in Ramallah – started his strike nine days ago.
Prisoner’s family detained, investigated at Jalama crossing
JENIN (PIC) 11 Apr — The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) detained Monday morning the family of the prisoner Ahmed Nazal at Jalama crossing in Jenin while on their way to Megiddo prison. Local sources told a PIC reporter that Israeli forces detained and investigated Nazal’s wife and his 4-year-old son at the crossing for several hours before forcing them to return to Jenin city. The wife and her child were on their way to visit the prisoner Ahmed Nazal in Megiddo prison. More than one-third of the prisoners’ families are deprived of visiting their relatives held in Megiddo prison under security pretexts.
Israeli soldiers barricade home of Palestinian detainee from Jerusalem
IMEMC 11 Apr — Israeli soldiers closed, Monday, the family home of a Palestinian detainee from Sur Baher town, south of occupied East Jerusalem. The detainee, along with four others, stand accused of causing the death of a settler by allegedly throwing stones at a vehicle that then crashed. The Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwan (Silwanic) in Jerusalem said the soldiers placed iron plates on all windows and doors, and welded them shut, and also blockaded the road leading to the property. The home belongs to the family of detainee Abed Dweiyat, 19. Dweiyat and four other Palestinians are currently held by Israel under the allegation of “causing the death of an Israeli settler” in August of last year. The Israeli army claims that the five Palestinians hurled stones towards a setter’s car, causing the car to crash. The settler died in the crash. Israel also revoked their families’ residencies in Jerusalem, in addition to canceling their national and health benefits, and issued orders for the demolition or closure of their homes. Dweiyat’s mother said she left her home to attend her son’s trial, and just minutes later, her neighbors called her informing her that the soldiers invaded the neighborhood and started welding her home’s windows and doors shut. The property is 120 square/meter and was built dozens of years ago; the family living in the property is the mother, her son and three daughters. “My home is not, and will never be, more important than Abed,” she said, “But they welded our home shut even before the court made its ruling.”
JLAC manages to revoke a demolition order in Ramallah
IMEMC 13 Apr — In an unprecedented achievement, the Jerusalem Legal Aid and Advocacy Center (JLAC) managed to revoke an Israeli decision to demolish the home of a Palestinian who was killed on Monday January 25, 2016, after carrying out a stabbing attack. The JLAC said it managed to get the Israeli Army general commander to revoke his earlier decision to demolish the family home of Ibrahim Allan, after its lawyer, Raed Nasser Basheer, filed an appeal that includes various detailed field researches and legal documents, proving that the demolition of homes in an act of collective punishment, in direct violation of basic laws and human rights principles. Basheer detailed how collective punishment never worked, as the demolitions of homes belonging to families of Palestinian attackers were not a deterrent, but in fact, led to more escalation and vengeance attacks. “We provided the military judge with all needed documents, comparative and scientific studies that convinced him that all of his previous decisions were wrong as he never took the impacted families into consideration.” Basheer said, “This is an unprecedented move that could cause a change in Israel’s home demolition policies as a punishment for families of Palestinians believed to be involved or responsible for attacks against Israel.” The JLAC said that this was the first decision ever, and carries a great significance on the legal level, adding that Israel recently demolished 27 homes in punitive, collective punishment, rulings against families of Palestinians who attacked Israelis, including soldiers and settlers. It added that there are 91 outstanding demolition orders
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Israel decides to raze power network in Beit Dajan
NABLUS (PIC) 11 Apr — Israeli Occupation Authority (IOA) decided on Sunday to raze an electricity network in the eastern side of Beit Dajan town near Nablus for the claim of being located within the Israeli controlled C Area. The head of the town’s council Naser Abu Jaish told the PIC reporter that the power network that feeds scores of houses and agricultural structures was constructed five years ago with a cost estimated at 120,000 shekels. The IOA hanged the demolition notices on the electricity net pillars in the town, Abu Jaish pointed out
Army dumps rubble and sand on farmland near Bethlehem
IMEMC 11 Apr — Israeli soldiers invaded, Monday morning, a Palestinian agricultural land in the al-Khader town, south of Bethlehem, and dumped rubble and sand on the plants. The land is close to the illegal ‘Daniel’ colony. Ahmad Salah, coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements in al-Khader, said the soldiers placed the rubble and sand on the land that belongs to Ibrahim Hasan Khreisha. Salah added that the total size of this farmland is eight dunams (1.976 Acres), and that the soldiers did this act without any reason or prior notice. The land in question is frequently targeted by Israeli colonists and soldiers in an attempt to illegally occupy it, to pave a road and make it part of the nearby Daniel colony, built on Palestinian lands.
After serving 15 years in Egyptian prison, Israel to raze home of Bedouin ‘spy’
Haaretz 12 Apr by Almog Ben Zikri — The Finance Ministry’s enforcement division has ordered Ouda Tarabin to demolish the home he is building for himself and his fiancée in an unrecognized Bedouin village. Tarabin returned to Israel in December after serving 15 years in prison on charges of spying for Israel. Tarabin says he is building a temporary home in the village, so that he and his future wife will have a place to live while waiting for their permanent home in Rahat to be completed. Two weeks ago Finance Ministry inspectors served Tarabin with a stop-work order instructing him to dismantle the partially built home. New construction is generally not permitted in the unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev. Tarabin expressed indignation at the enforcement, saying that he has had difficulty readjusting since his release from prison and has been unable to find work. He told Haaretz that the authorities were not treating him as he thought they would. Tarabin would not say whether he thought he deserved special treatment because he had served the state, refusing to confirm that he had indeed spied in Egypt on behalf of Israel.
Number of planned W. Bank settlements spirals: watchdog
AFP 12 Apr — The number of West Bank settlements Israel plans to build more than tripled in the first quarter of 2016 compared to the same period last year, an Israeli NGO said Tuesday. Settlement watchdog Peace Now said in a statement that between January and March, projects for 674 housing units passed at least one of the steps in the planning approval process, up from 194 in the first quarter of 2015. Settlement building projects must pass through five administrative stages before winning final approval from Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon, Peace Now spokeswoman Hagit Ofran told AFP. The statement said that in all of 2015, planning for 1,665 homes moved forward, “a substantial decrease from 2014, during which 8,606 new housing units had been promoted.” “But since the start of 2016 the trend has been completely reversed,” Ofran said . . . “The figures for 2016 show that the government of (Israeli Prime Minister) Benjamin Netanyahu is quietly continuing settlement activity with the aim of rendering impossible the implementation of two states — Israeli and Palestinian — and therefore peace between the two peoples,” Ofran said.
Abbas says ‘urgent’ need for UN resolution on Israeli settlements
RAMALLAH (AFP) 12 Apr by Laurent Lozano & Shatha Yaish — Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has said there is an “urgent” need for a UN resolution on Israeli settlements as he embarks on a multi-country tour that may be among his last chances to renew peace efforts. Speaking in an interview with AFP, Abbas criticised what he said was insufficient action from US President Barack Obama’s administration while also firmly backing a French initiative to hold an international peace conference this summer. Abbas spoke ahead of a tour beginning Tuesday that will take him to Turkey, France, Russia, Germany and New York, where the Palestinians are discussing a UN draft resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. The trip comes with the clock ticking for both the 81-year-old and the Obama administration, with speculation the US president could change tack and support a resolution on the peace process before he leaves office in January.
Palestinians meet with Arab states over UN draft resolution
JERICHO (Ma‘an) 12 Apr — The Palestinian leadership has started consulting with Arab nations on a draft resolution expected to be put before the UN Security Council later this month condemning Israeli settlement activity as illegal, a PLO official said Monday.PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat said the consultations were being overseen by Egypt and were aimed at finalizing the Palestinian draft resolution before its expected presentation at the UN headquarters by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. In a statement, Erekat called on the international community and UN Security Council Member States to uphold international law and oblige Israeli authorities to halt settlement activity. The Palestinian Authority last week put the draft resolution into circulation among members of the council in preparation for Abbas’ visit to the UN headquarters in New York from April 21 to 23.The resolution will be the first to directly condemn Israeli settlements as illegal under international law since the US vetoed a similar resolution in 2011.The construction of Jewish-only settlements on occupied Palestinian land has long been considered a violation of international law by the UN, although Israel contests this and has yet to be held accountable by the international community.
Palestinian refugees – Lebanon, Syria
Senior Fatah official killed in car explosion in south Lebanon
BEIRUT (Ma‘an) 12 Apr — A senior Fatah official was assassinated in a car explosion near the southern Lebanese city of Sidon on Tuesday, in the latest violence to strike Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps in recent days. Fatah security official Fathi Zeidan was killed and four of his escorts wounded when his car was blown up in Mieh Mieh refugee camp four kilometers east of Sidon. Lebanese media reported a bystander may also have been killed in the blast. Subhi Abu Arab, Fatah’s military chief in Lebanon, said Fatah would not tolerate the assassination, while Munir al-Maqdah, the Palestinian head of joint security forces, said an investigation team had been formed and there was coordination with Lebanon “at the highest levels.” He said that targeting Zeidan was targeting Palestinian refugee camps at large. “It is not acceptable that any side would take refugee camps as hostage,” he said. Palestinian refugee camps in southern Lebanon have become increasingly unstable in recent years (Continued)
IS seizes most of Damascus camp from Qaeda: PLO
AFP 12 Apr — The Islamic State group took control on Tuesday of most of a Palestinian refugee camp in southern Damascus, seizing territory held by Syria’s Al-Qaeda affiliate, a Palestinian official told AFP. “(IS) began attacking positions of its former ally Al-Nusra and took control of 60 percent of the camp,” the Palestine Liberation Organisation chief in Damascus, Anwar Abdel Hadi, said. “Some Nusra fighters joined (IS) ranks. IS then besieged the last remaining Nusra positions and demanded that they leave the camp,” he said, adding that at least three civilians were killed in the clashes. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights — a Britain-based monitoring group — confirmed the fighting. Once a thriving district that was home to some 160,000 Syrians and Palestinians, Yarmuk has been devastated by violence since late 2012. The Syrian army imposed a tight siege on the camp that reportedly led to deaths because of shortages of food and medicines. IS seized parts of Yarmuk in April 2015, and has fought alongside Nusra battalions inside the camp, although Palestinian factions and pro-government forces pushed the jihadists back in places. Amaq, a news agency affiliated with IS, said the group was now in command of most of the camp. According to the Palestinian official, some 6,000 civilians remain in Yarmuk alongside around 3,000 IS fighters
Amnesty condemns Israel’s threats against BDS activists
EI 12 Apr by Ali Abunimah — Amnesty International is urging the Israeli government to end its threats and attacks against Palestinian and Israeli human rights defenders, including leaders of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. Meanwhile, European civil society groups are launching a new campaign to defend freedom of speech from efforts to curtail it by Israel and European leaders allied with it. “An escalation of acts of intimidation by the government and attacks and threats by settlers and other non-state actors have created an increasingly dangerous environment” for human rights defenders in Israel and the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, Amnesty said on Tuesday. The group expressed particular concern for the “safety and liberty of Palestinian human rights defender Omar Barghouti, and other boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) activists, following calls alluding to threats, including of physical harm and deprivation of basic rights, made by Israeli ministers.” The threats were made at the “Stop the Boycott” conference held in Jerusalem on 28 March and attended by Israeli leaders as well as by EU and US diplomats. (Continued)
Boycott campaign launched against Dutch delivery service TNT
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 12 Apr — Activists called for a boycott campaign against Dutch international courier company TNT Express after its staff reportedly refused to deliver parcels to Palestinian recipients, allegations the company denied. Boycott campaign co-organizer Suhaib Zahdah told Ma‘an on Monday that “the issue surfaced after TNT employees refused to deliver mail parcels to their Palestinian recipients.” The recipients contacted the company, which reportedly said company policy doesn’t allow work with the Palestinians, and suggested the recipients “use addresses in Jerusalem or Nazareth [in Israel] instead,” Zahdah said, referring to the reply of TNT’s headquarters in the Netherlands as “negative.” “This is a violation of international law as the company discriminates by employing people refusing to work with Palestinians while they work with the illegal Israeli settlements,” he said.
The boycott campaign was launched under the slogan “TNT, the people discrimination,” a play on the company’s slogan “the people network.” In response to the allegations, the company told Ma’an that TNT makes regular deliveries to Palestine, “including Ramallah, Gaza, East Jerusalem, Hebron, and the West Bank.” While the company said TNT’s Israel branch “delivers shipments to Israeli towns, including those in the West Bank,” referring to Israeli settlements, shipments to Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory are handled through TNT’s Jordan branch, and delivered by a subcontractor once “for the final delivery.” (Continued)
After BDS pressure, Brazilian province cancels cooperation agreement with Israel’s Mekorot
Palestinian BDS National Committee 11 Apr — The Brazilian state of Bahia decided on April 2 to end its cooperation agreement with Israeli water company Mekorot. The decision comes after pressure from campaigners from the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which works to end Brazilian complicity with Israel’s violations of international law. Civil society campaigners and social movements denounced in various occasions the agreement signed in 2013 by Bahia’s two water utility companies, Embasa and CERB, due to Mekorot’s role in denying Palestinians their water rights. Regional legislator Marcelino Galo, vice-president of the state commission on environment, draught and water resources, demanded a revision of the agreement. This process culminated in the announcement giving the Stop Mekorot campaign a boost. This became the latest in a series of contracts Mekorot lost around the world from grassroots pressure that exposed its role in water apartheid against Palestinians.
To learn more about Mekorot’s role in Israeli policies go to www.stopmekorot.org or read the Amnesty (2009) report Thirsting for Justice: Palestinian access to water restricted.
China’s Fosun to buy Dead Sea cosmetics maker Ahava for $77 mln
SHANGHAI (Reuters) 11 Apr by Adam Jourdan and Matthew Miller — Chinese conglomerate Fosun Group said it has agreed to buy Dead Sea cosmetics manufacturer Ahava for 290 million shekels ($77 million), a deal that will help it to tap increasing demand for health-focused and personal care products in China. Fosun will wholly own Ahava, which makes skin care products from Dead Sea minerals and mud . . . “We will endeavour to extend the success of this brand to China and other countries,” Fosun Group CEO Liang Xinjun said in an emailed statement . . . Ahava, which uses a plant in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, has been the target of pro-Palestinian groups who have called for a boycott of its products. The company has said it may move its plant from the West Bank.
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas grabs power, sidelines Hamas with new court
Reuters 11 Apr — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has quietly established a constitutional court that analysts say concentrates more power in his hands and may allow him to sideline the Islamist group Hamas in the event of a succession struggle. The nine-member body, which will have supremacy over all lower courts, was created without fanfare by presidential decree on April 3 and will be inaugurated once its ninth member is sworn in at a ceremony on Monday, officials said. Critics say the body is packed with jurists from Abbas’s Fatah party and risks deepening Palestinian political divisions. Fatah says it is Abbas’s right to create the court, which it says is independent of the 81-year-old president. “Neither the president nor any of the leaders (of Fatah) has a private agenda regarding this issue,” says Osama al-Qwasmi, the spokesman for Fatah in the West Bank. “The prime task of the constitutional court is to monitor laws. By the law, it is a completely independent body, and we have full confidence in it.” . . . Abbas took office after the death of Yasser Arafat in 2004 and was elected to a four-year term as president in 2005. But new elections were not held in 2009, and he continues to govern by decree. Parliament has not sat since 2007 . . . While Abbas may have the authority to create the court, which is being established 14 years after the Palestinians drafted a basic law, a form of constitution, some analysts see it as a way of circumventing opposition at a critical time.
PLO cancels funds to DFLP faction, a day after targeting PFLP
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 12 Apr — The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) said Tuesday that the PLO had canceled the faction’s funding, a day after it halted funding to the PFLP allegedly for criticizing President Mahmoud Abbas. Sources in the DFLP, who spoke on condition of anonymity, condemned the decision, saying it was also due to the factions’ critical stance towards the current governance in Palestine. On Monday, Abbas ordered the cancellation of funds allocated to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), another left-wing faction member of the PLO. Kayed al-Ghoul, a PFLP leader, told Ma‘an on Monday they believed the suspension of funds was related to recent remarks by some PFLP figures calling for Abbas to resign. Al-Ghoul added that Abbas had previously cut funds to the PFLP for “political opposition.” The Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority has come under increased public criticism in recent years over allegations of corruption and its ongoing security coordination with Israel.
NGO: PA forces mistreat 5 Palestinians in custody as court extends their detention
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 Apr — The Palestinian Authority has extended the detention of five young Palestinians, prisoners’ rights organization Addameer reported on Monday, after their arrests caused criticism over the Palestinian government’s security coordination with Israel. The Palestinian magistrate’s court extended the detention of Basil Mahmoud al-Aaraj, 33, Muhammad Abdullah Harb, 23, Haytham al-Sayyaj, 19, Muhammad al-Salamin, 19, and Ali Dar al-Sheikh, 22, for further interrogation, Addameer said, adding that the five prisoners had been subjected to ill-treatment. An Addameer attorney reported that while in custody, the five young men were endured “stress positions, sleep deprivation, continued interrogation, beating all over the body, insults and denial of using bathroom.” The detainees have also been denied access to attorney visits despite a previous agreement on the matter, Addameer added . . . “Addameer holds that the Palestinian Authority must comply with the conventions to which it is a party, especially considering the ongoing deteriorating human rights situation in the occupied territories.” Al-Aaraj, Harb and al-Sayyaj were detained by Palestinian security forces on Saturday, in a move slammed by the Hamas movement as collaboration between PA and Israeli authorities to thwart a planned attack inside Israel.
Palestinian Authority, PLO appeal US terror support verdict
NEW YORK (Reuters) 12 Apr by Nate Raymond — The Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization on Tuesday urged a U.S. appeals court to toss a more than $655 million award won by a group of American families who accused them of supporting terrorist attacks in Israel. A lawyer for the Palestinian Authority and the PLO, the government and diplomatic representative of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, argued to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York that the case should never have reached trial. A U.S. jury in 2015 found the defendants liable under the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act in a case that could bolster efforts by Americans to use the law to hold foreign entities responsible in U.S. courts for overseas attacks. Mitchell Berger, the lawyer representing the Palestinian Authority and PLO, on Tuesday said U.S. District Judge George Daniels incorrectly concluded his court had jurisdiction over the 10 families’ claims despite changes in law at the appellate level.
WATCH: Arab women speak out over labor exploitation
Israel Social TV 11 Apr — Four years ago, the State of Israel introduced a plan to increase the percentage of working Arab women in order to lift them out of poverty. But did that plan actually work?
Muslim body to focus on Palestinians, terror at Turkey summit
AFP 10 Apr — The world’s Islamic countries began their annual meeting Sunday in Istanbul, where they are set to focus on the Palestinian cause, conflicts in member states and combating terrorism. The meeting of the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) comes once again at a time of turmoil in many Muslim nations, with conflicts in Syria and Yemen dragging on, and several states including Turkey, bloodied by militant attacks. The 13th annual OIC conference began with senior officials adopting the agenda and will be followed by a foreign ministers meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday. Over 30 heads of state and government will attend the summit hosted by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday and Friday. With guests set to include Saudi King Salman, the event is taking place under the highest security, with police stationed all around the venue in central Istanbul. The OIC said the summit was to issue a resolution on the Palestinian issue and support for international efforts to relaunch a “collective political process”.
Israel gives initial approval for construction of West Bank power plant
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 Apr — Israel has given initial approval to a Palestinian request to build a power plant in the northern occupied West Bank, the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) said on Tuesday. In a statement released in Arabic, COGAT said the project for a gas power plant in the industrial zone of the Jenin district “would cause a qualitative shift in electricity consumption which will have a positive impact on all aspects of life.” The power plant, the statement added, would produce 450 Megawatts of electricity, which would “reduce electricity bills and protect the environment.” COGAT added that it planned to intensify its efforts to see the project through in cooperation with relevant Israeli ministries and the Palestinian Authority. Palestine Investment Fund Chairman Muhammad Mustafa, who submitted the construction request to COGAT, said in a statement on Tuesday that the projected plant would cover 50 percent of the West Bank’s electricity needs. The power plant, Mustafa said, “will be built by Palestinian efforts and capacities, benefiting from international experience in this field.” The construction is expected to cost $620 million, with the station expected to start running by the end of 2019, he added . . . Israeli news website Ynet reported that the project still needed to be referred to “relevant Israeli ministries” for final approval.
Bucking Sanders, PM says Israel would not hesitate to act strongly against Gaza again
JPost 12 Apr by Herb Keinon & Michelle Malka Grossman — Two days after Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders charged that Israel acted “disproportionately” during the 2014 fighting in Gaza, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that Israel would not hesitate to hit Gaza hard again, if necessary. “Israel is surrounded by extremist Islamic radicals, and therefore we need to guard our borders, and this is also true regarding the communities surrounding Gaza,” Netanyahu said in Yeroham at the seventh annual Negev Conference. “In another couple of months we will mark two years since Operation Protective Edge, and those who attacked us from the Gaza Strip took an unprecedentedly heavy blow. We will – of course – not hesitate again to act strongly against anyone who wants to endanger Israeli citizens.”
Erdogan’s spokesman: Turkey-Israel reconciliation impossible without lifting Gaza blockade
Haaretz 11 Apr by Barak Ravid — Earlier, Turkish official told Daily Sabah that Israel and Turkey could be two weeks away from ending crisis; the report did not say whether Israel’s demand to shut Hamas HQ has been resolved — A spokesperson for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday that reconciliation with Israel cannot be reached unless the blockade on Gaza is lifted. Ibrahim Kalin said at a press conference that the Turkish demand needs to be addressed first . . . A Turkish official privy to the negotiations between Israel and Turkey told the Daily Sabah that one of the main issues still in dispute is Israel’s response to the Turkish demand to allow it to send a power generator ship to the Gaza coast to supply electricity to the enclave. “Turkey and Israel do not agree 100 percent,” the official was quoted as saying. “There are still certain hurdles we must overcome.” . . . The official said that Israel and Turkey have agreed that in the next round of negotiations, which will take place in the coming weeks, the sides will find solutions to the remaining issues and will publicly announce the end of the crisis that erupted following the takeover of the Turkish flotilla to Gaza, in May, 2010 . . . According to the official, the next meeting will be the final round of negotiations in which Israel will respond to the Turkish request . . . However, a senior Israeli official denied the Turkish official’s assertion. “The issue of sending power-generating ships never came up during the last rounds of negotiations,” he said.
Netanyahu admits Israeli hit Hezbollah-bound arms in Syria
JERUSALEM (AFP) 11 Apr — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu openly admitted Monday for the first time that Israel had attacked dozens of convoys transporting weapons in Syria destined for the Jewish state’s arch-enemy Hezbollah. It was the first clear public acknowledgement by the Israeli premier that the country had carried out attacks in neighbouring Syria with which it is still officially at war . . . “We act when we have to act, including here, on the other side of the frontier, with dozens of strikes aimed at preventing Hezbollah from obtaining weapons that could alter the balance of power,” he said. Several sources say that Israel, which is officially neutral in the conflict that has raged across Syria since 2011, has launched more than a dozen air strikes there since 2013.