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Palestinian, Israeli forces clash during Nakba Day demonstrations

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Palestinian, Israeli forces clash during Nakba Day demonstrations

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Palestinian health authorities said that at least 65 people had been injured in the clashes, which broke out at rallies to mark Nakba Day.

Nakba means “catastrophe” in Arabic and Palestinians use it to refer to the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, which they commemorate every year on May 15 with mass protests that often turn violent.

Medics at Shiffa Hospital in Gaza City said that the grandson of the late Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmad Yassin was among the injured.

Ahmad Abdulghani Yassin, 19, suffered injuries to both his legs, the medics said. Israel assassinated Yassin in 2004.

The Hamas-run Health Ministry also said that the 65 injured included 22 children, five women and three field paramedics.

“We tell the occupation and its leaders leave away because the day of slaughtering you and getting rid of you is near.

“You have no place in Palestine, Jerusalem, Haifa and Jaffa,” said Fati Hamad, a member of Hamas’ political arm.

Witnesses said that Israeli soldiers showered the demonstrators with foul-smelling water and also fired tear gas canisters and rubber bullets to disperse them and keep them away from the border fence.

Palestinians also reported the use of live fire, but an Israeli army spokeswoman did not confirm the use of live ammunition.

The army said some 10,000 rioters and demonstrators were protesting at the border fence and that the army used riot dispersal means.

Rioters were burning tyres and hurling rocks and explosive devices, and there were a number of attempts to approach the border fence, the army added.

The Hamas-run al-Aqsa Radio station reported that thousands are expected to join the Nakba March in eastern Gaza, which is organised by the highest commission of the Great March of Return.

For over a year, Palestinians in Gaza have been holding weekly protests along the border fence.

They are calling for the right of return of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to the territory of today’s Israel, as well as for an end to the 12-year-long blockade imposed by Israel.

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News Analysis: Political ties between Palestine, Israel hard to be disengaged despite Palestinian abolition of bilateral agreements

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The political ties between Israel and Palestine are difficult to be disengaged although the Palestinians announced the abolition of all the agreements reached with Israel in response to Israeli annexation plan, said Palestinian political analysts.

Nabil Amro, a former Palestinian diplomat, said that “the absence of a political track to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has turned the relationship between the two sides to be so hard to get disengaged.”

“The transitional Oslo Accords had established a de facto status during the past 25 years, which included administrative and economic ties and daily life coordination that it is hard to skip nowadays,” said Amro.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced two weeks ago that the state of Palestine and the Palestine Liberation Organization are not bound to all the bilateral agreements that had been reached with the governments of Israel and the United States.

A few days later, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Ishtaye announced that the Palestinian side began to implement the leadership’s decision on the ground and has stopped coordination with Israel on all levels, including security cooperation.

The Palestinian decision was made in response to an Israeli government plan of annexing the Jordan Valley and imposing Israeli sovereignty on Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which is expected to come into effect on July.

However, some local Palestinian political analysts told Xinhua in separate remarks that the practical implementation of the Palestinian decision of ending all the agreements with Israel is very complicated in regards to the nature of entanglement in the ties between the two sides over the past two decades.

Hani al-Masri, director of Masarat Center for Researches and Studies in Ramallah, said that “the intertwining relationship between Israel and Palestine is very big and large, and both sides’ interests are linked. Therefore, it will be so hard to overcome the existing agreements.”

“Implementing the decision of ending all the agreements with Israel is a hard disengagement and needs a long process that must start with gradual steps until reaching the level of the abolition of all agreements and understandings,” said al-Masri.

He suggested that the Palestinian side can put a multi-stage plan to make a gradual disengagement from all agreements and understandings reached with Israel.

“Then, the Palestinians can reach a stage of changing facts on the ground and reach the goal of ending the Israeli occupation,” al-Masri added.

Peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians had stopped in 2014, nine months after it had been sponsored by the United States without achieving any breakthrough to resolve the conflict which has been going on for so many decades.

United States President Donald Trump‘s controversial peace plan, known as the Deal of the Century, made it more complicated for both sides to resume their peace talks after the Palestinians slammed the United States plan and rejected it.

While Israel insists on annexing around 30 percent of the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley and several Israeli settlements, the Palestinians said that this plan means that Israel on purpose is undermining the vision of the two-state solution.

(XINHUA)

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Palestine accuses Israel of paralyzing industrial zone for Palestinians in East Jerusalem

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Palestine on Monday accused Israel of attempting to take over the only industrial zone for Palestinians in East Jerusalem, after Israeli authorities ordered the demolition and eviction of nearly 200 private establishments in the area.

The Israeli authorities’ demolition orders in Wadi al-Joz neighborhood of East Jerusalem will paralyze the only area where Palestinians own car repair workshops and commercial enterprises, said the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement.

“At the same time, Israeli authorities upscale the construction of industrial zones for settlers, as part of its colonial scheme to Judaize the city,” said the statement.

Palestinians want the eastern part of Jerusalem, which was occupied by Israel in 1967, as the capital of their future state, while Israel insists that the city is its undivided capital.

(XINHUA)

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Palestinian woman makes ice cream rolls at shop

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Palestinian woman Fatima Al-Zatma makes ice cream rolls at her ice cream shop in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah, May 31, 2020. (Photo by Khaled Omar/Xinhua)

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Israeli defense minister apologizes over Palestinian’s death

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Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz apologized on Sunday for Israeli police’s shooting to death an unarmed, autistic Palestinian man in East Jerusalem on Saturday.

Gantz, who is also the leader of the centrist Blue and White party and Israel’s “alternate” prime minister under a unity government deal, made the remark during the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.

Video footage showed him seating alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who made no remarks related to the deadly shooting.

“We are really sorry about the incident in which Iyad Halak was shot dead and we share in the family’s grief,” Gantz said, adding that “this matter will be investigated quickly and conclusions will be reached.”

The incident took place near the Lions’ Gate in East Jerusalem‘s Old City.

The police issued a statement, saying that Halak carried “a suspicious object that looked like a pistol.” Police officers on patrol “called upon him to stop and begun to chase after him on foot, during which they also opened fire at him.”

The object was Halak’s mobile phone, according to the Hebrew-language Ha’aretz newspaper.

Halak, 32, lived in the neighborhood of Wadi al-Joz in East Jerusalem. His family said that Halak, diagnosed with autism, was on his way to an institution for people with special needs when the incident happened.

His funeral is scheduled to take place later on Sunday.

Following the shooting, police officers involved were questioned by the Department of Internal Police Investigation.

Police Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said in a statement that a gag order has been issued on the incident, banning the publishing of information on the identity of the policemen involved and further details of the case.

Palestinian and Israeli human rights groups condemned the shooting. On Saturday night, dozens of Israelis and Palestinians rallied in Jerusalem in a joint call against police violence.

(XINHUA)

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Palestinians condemn Israel for killing mentally disabled Palestinian

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The Palestinians condemned on Saturday the Israeli police for killing a mentally disabled Palestinian man in East Jerusalem.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah Party said in a press statement that it holds Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fully responsible for the killing of the disabled Palestinian man in East Jerusalem.

“It is a real crime in the first place and those who committed it must be brought to justice, and be convicted by the International Criminal Court,” said the statement.

In the Gaza Strip, Hamas‘ spokesman Hazem Qassem said in a press statement that the killing of the disabled Palestinian was committed in “cold blood.”

“These crimes against humanity will remain the fuel for the revolution of the Palestinian people, who will carry on with their struggle until the liberation of their occupied land,” said Qassem.

Earlier in the day, an Israeli police force shot dead a Palestinian man with “special needs” in the Old City of East Jerusalem after suspecting he was carrying an “object that looked like a pistol,” according to a police statement.

However, Israel Radio reported that the killed Palestinian man, identified as 32-year-old Iyad Hallak, was unarmed and mentally disabled.

(XINHUA)

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Palestinians condemn Israel for killing mentally disabled Palestinian man

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The Palestinians condemned on Saturday the Israeli police for killing a mentally disabled Palestinian man in East Jerusalem.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah Party said in a press statement that it holds Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fully responsible for the killing of the disabled Palestinian man in East Jerusalem.

“It is a real crime in the first place and those who committed it must be brought to justice, and be convicted by the International Criminal Court,” said the statement.

In the Gaza Strip, Hamas‘ spokesman Hazem Qassem said in a press statement that the killing of the disabled Palestinian was committed in “cold blood.”

“These crimes against humanity will remain the fuel for the revolution of the Palestinian people, who will carry on with their struggle until the liberation of their occupied land,” said Qassem.

Earlier in the day, an Israeli police force shot dead a Palestinian man with “special needs” in the Old City of East Jerusalem after suspecting he was carrying an “object that looked like a pistol,” according to a police statement.

However, Israel Radio reported that the killed Palestinian man, identified as 32-year-old Iyad Hallak, was unarmed and mentally disabled.

(XINHUA)

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Israeli police shoot dead suspicious Palestinian in Jerusalem

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A Palestinian man, spotted with a suspicious object in the Old City of Jerusalem, was shot dead during a police chase, the Israeli police said Saturday.

The incident occurred in the area of the Lions’ Gate in the eastern part of the Old City walls.

The object carried by the suspect looked like a pistol, according to a police statement.

“The police units identified the suspect, called upon him to stop and started to chase after him on foot,” the statement said.

The Hebrew-language news website Ynet reported that the man killed was identified as Iyad Hallak, 32, who lived in Wadi al-Joz neighborhood in East Jerusalem.

Hallak has special needs and was on his way to an institution for people with special needs when the incident happened, the website said.

After Hallak was shot dead, it turned out that he was unarmed, it added.

Following the incident, police officers involved were questioned by the Department of Internal Police Investigation.

(XINHUA)

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Israeli soldiers shoot at Palestinian for car-ramming attack: sources

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The Israeli soldiers on Friday shot at a Palestinian man after an alleged car-ramming attack northwest of the West Bank city of Ramallah, Israeli and Palestinian sources said.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed in a press statement the man’s death.

An Israeli army spokesman wrote on Twitter that a report was received regarding an attempted car-ramming attack adjacent to the community of Halamish. The spokesman did not say if the Palestinian was killed.

Local sources said that the Palestinian man who drove the car was identified as Fadi Adnan Samarah, 24 and from Ramallah.

Tension in the West Bank between Israel and the Palestinians were expected to escalate after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared ending all reached agreements with Israel, including security coordination.

Abbas’s announcement was made in response to an Israeli government’s plan to annex the Jordan Valley and impose Israeli sovereignty on settlements in the West Bank. The plan is expected to take effect on July.

(XINHUA)

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Spotlight: Palestinian farmers struggle to obtain irrigation water in West Bank amid Israeli measures, COVID-19

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Ghassan al-Najjar, a Palestinian farmer from the northern West Bank village of Burin, has been struggling to obtain sufficient irrigation water for his cultivation land.

With summer approaching, al-Najjar believes that the strict Israeli measures in the remote villages as well as the consequences of COVID-19, have led to the scarcity of water resources for Palestinians.

Although Nablus municipality supplies al-Najjar’s land with water twice a week, al-Najjar and other Palestinian farmers are asking to increase the quantity of irrigation water in the hot summer months to avoid crop failure.

Until that demand is met, the farmer, who owns a 10-donum (or 1 hectare) farm in the village, is forced to buy water four days a week to irrigate his crops.

“I spend about 30 U.S. dollars every day to buy water for irrigation. Coronavirus has negatively affected our cultivation season in light of the lockdown that prevents us from reaching our lands and taking care of them,” explained the father of five, while he was watering his harvests.

Nevertheless, this is not the only problem that al-Najjar faces. Israel controls some parts of the West Bank (Area C) and has tightened its grip as a result of the pandemic that erupted in mid-March including preventing recently Palestinian farmers from digging wells, citing security measures.

Area C, which takes up over 60 percent of the West Bank‘s area of 5,655 square km, is under Israeli control according to the Oslo Accords, signed between the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Israeli government in 1993.

At that time, West Bank was divided into three areas: Area A under Palestinian control, Area B under control of both sides, and Area C.

Shady Ghassan, 40-year-old Palestinian farmer, also suffers from the water shortage.

However, he decided to take matters into his own hands, buying a tank of water to overcome the ongoing water shortage in his village.

“The villagers have been suffering from water problems for years because of the Israeli measures, but the situation has deteriorated recently under the spread of the pandemic that made people consume more water,” said Ghassan.

Several days ago, the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) said in a statement that Israel significantly reduced the amount of water allotted to the West Bank districts of Ramallah, Nablus, Jenin and Hebron, during the past few days.

“We are under great pressure to manage and distribute the available amount of water in a fair manner,” PWA leader Mazen Ghneim told Xinhua.

He pointed out that the demand for water has increased in the summer season by nearly 30 percent compared with the winter.

Therefore, the cultivation areas, especially in the northern West Bank, have seen an increase in the water consumption of 50 percent in the summer.

In comparison, the southern governorates need to increase the water supply by 17 to 22 percent, according to the PWA leader.

“Israel controls about 85 percent of the Palestinian water sources,” the official said, adding that “it denied the supply of sufficient water to the Palestinians despite the spread of COVID-19.”

He noted that Israel uses the water resources as a tool to restrict the Palestinians, calling on the international communities to pressure the “occupation” to abide by the international laws.

“The water crisis is affecting most districts of the West Bank as the summer’s approaching,” Ramallah-based water expert Abdul-Rahman al-Tamimi told Xinhua.

He said that the complicated political situation caused by the Palestinian-Israeli conflict denied the population from accessing water resources.

Al-Tamimi stressed that the Palestinians could overcome this crisis by finding a final political solution with Israel through brokered-negotiations.

“Only then, the Palestinians will have their own decision to extract and distribute water and benefit as much as possible from the rainwater by building dams devoted to agriculture, and taking advantage of the water of the valleys, especially the Jordan River,” he explained.

The Palestinian expert warns that the coming years may be “bad and scarce” if the water issue continues with the increase of population and urban growth in Palestine, the risks of declining agricultural areas and a decrease in the quantities of water allocated for drinking.

(XINHUA)

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