Palestinian Minister Released After Claims Of Violating Israeli Laws

 

Israeli police Sunday released from custody the Palestinian minister for Jerusalem affairs after questioning him over claims he organised activities in the city in violation of Israeli rules, his lawyer said.

Palestinian minister for Jerusalem affairs Fadi al-Hadami had been arrested in his east Jerusalem home early Sunday and taken for questioning, with a police spokesman saying he had been involved in unspecified “activities in Jerusalem”.

His lawyer Mohannad Jbara said the arrest was due to recent activities that have included accompanying Chile’s president during a visit to Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque complex.

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Jbara said Hadami was released Sunday afternoon.

On Tuesday, Hadami was seen alongside Chilean President Sebastian Pinera on a tour of the holy site.

This infuriated Israel, which said the tour constituted a violation of regulations and a breach of understandings reached with Santiago for the head of the state’s visit.

The status of Al-Aqsa, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and located above the Western Wall, is one of the most sensitive issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

It is the holiest site in Judaism and the third holiest for Muslims after Mecca and Medina, administered by the Muslim Waqf but secured by Israeli police.

Chile later said Pinera’s visit was private, with Hadami’s presence not part of official protocol.

Hadami’s arrest also comes after days of violent unrest in Jerusalem.

Overnight Saturday, Israeli police “continued dealing with riots and disturbances in a number of neighbourhoods when stones were thrown at officers and fireworks fired at them,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said in a statement.

Two officers were wounded and six suspects arrested, Rosenfeld said.

The continued unrest follows the shooting of a 20-year-old Palestinian in the east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Issawiya by Israeli police after he had allegedly thrown fireworks at them.

The young man, identified as Mohammed Obeid, died of his wounds, the  Palestinian health ministry said.

Israel occupied east Jerusalem and the West Bank in the 1967 Six-Day War. It later annexed east Jerusalem in a move never recognised by the international community.

Israel sees all of Jerusalem as its undivided capital, while the Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

AFP

Palestinians Say Truce Reached With Israel To End Deadly Escalation

A picture taken on May 5, 2019, shows the remains of a building in Gaza City after it was hit during Israeli air strikes. Israel’s military carried out waves of retaliatory strikes in the Gaza Strip today after Palestinian rockets hit Israeli cities as a deadly escalation showed no signs of slowing, raising fears of war. MAHMUD HAMS / AFP

 

Palestinian leaders in Gaza announced a ceasefire with Israel on Monday to end a deadly two-day escalation in violence that threatened to widen into a fourth war between them since 2008.

An Israeli military spokeswoman declined to comment on the deal, but there appeared to have been no rocket fire or Israeli strikes in the hours after it was due to take effect, an AFP correspondent in Gaza said.

Israel also lifted restrictions on civilian movements in communities around the Gaza border on Monday morning.

Egypt brokered the agreement to cease hostilities from 4:30 am (0130 GMT), an official from the strip’s Islamist rulers Hamas and another from its allied group Islamic Jihad said on condition of anonymity.

An Egyptian official also confirmed the deal on condition of anonymity.

It came after the most serious flare-up in violence between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza since a 2014 war.

The escalation began Saturday with massive rocket fire from Gaza, drawing waves of Israeli retaliatory strikes, and continued throughout Sunday.

At least 25 Palestinians, including at least nine militants, were killed.

Four Israelis civilians were also killed.

Sensitive Time

The flare-up came as Hamas sought further steps from Israel toward easing its blockade under a previous ceasefire brokered by Egypt and the United Nations.

Israel at the same time faced pressure to restore calm and put an end to the rockets hitting communities in the country’s south.

It commemorates the country’s Memorial and Independence Days later this week and is due to host the Eurovision song contest in Tel Aviv from May 14-18, which is expected to draw thousands to Israel.

On the Gazan side, the Muslim holy month of Ramadan began Monday.

Palestinian officials in Gaza accused Israel of not taking steps to ease its blockade as promised under previous ceasefire deals.

The Islamic Jihad official said the new truce agreement was again based on Israel easing its blockade.

Among the steps, he said, were the relaxing of limits on fishing and improvements in Gaza’s electricity and fuel situation.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not address the ceasefire in a Monday statement, but said: “We’ve forcefully struck Hamas and Islamic Jihad.”

“The battle is not over and demands patience and discretion,” he said.

Israeli opposition politicians — and at least one from Netanyahu’s own party — criticised the agreement.

Former military chief Benny Gantz, who challenged Netanyahu in Israel’s April 9 general elections, called it “capitulation to blackmail”.

Brink Of War

Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza have fought three wars since 2008 and the escalation brought them to the brink of another.

The Palestinian dead included a commander for Hamas’s armed wing who Israel said it targeted due to his role in transferring money from Iran to militant groups in Gaza.

It was a rare admission of a targeted killing by Israel’s army.

Israel said its strikes were in response to Hamas and Islamic Jihad firing some 690 rockets or mortars since Saturday, with air defences intercepting more than 240 of them.

In addition to those killed and injured, the rockets repeatedly set off air raid alarms in southern Israel and sent residents running to shelters while also damaging houses.

The army said its tanks and planes hit some 350 militant targets in Gaza in response.

Several buildings in Gaza City were destroyed, including one Israel said included Hamas military intelligence and security offices.

Turkey said its state news agency Anadolu had an office in the building and strongly denounced the strike.

Gaza’s health ministry said the dead from the Israeli strikes included a 14-month-old baby and a pregnant woman, 37. It first identified the woman as the baby’s mother, but the family later clarified she was the aunt.

Israel strongly disputed the claim, with army spokesman Jonathan Conricus saying that based on intelligence the deaths of the woman and baby were not due to an Israeli strike.

“Their unfortunate death was not a result of (Israeli) weaponry but a Hamas rocket that was fired and exploded not where it was supposed to,” he said.

The Gazan ministry reported late Sunday that another four-month-old baby was among those killed in Israeli strikes in the northern Gaza Strip. Israel’s army had no comment.

On Sunday, Hamas and Islamic Jihad said their armed wings had targeted an Israeli army vehicle with a Kornet anti-tank missile.

Conricus said a Kornet missile had hit a vehicle and killed an Israeli civilian.

Calls for Calm

Egyptian and UN officials held talks throughout to reach a truce, as they have done repeatedly in the past, and there were international calls for calm.

US President Donald Trump meanwhile assured Israel on Sunday that it had Washington’s full support against “these terrorist acts”.

The escalation followed a gradual uptick in violence that threatened a previous ceasefire, including Friday clashes along the Gaza border that were the most violent in weeks.

A ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, brokered by Egypt and the United Nations, had led to relative calm around Israel’s election last month.

That truce saw Israel allow Qatar to provide millions of dollars in aid to Gaza, paying salaries and financing fuel purchases to ease severe electricity shortages.

Palestinian Stabs Israeli In West Bank Mall

Israeli forensic policemen inspect the place where an Israeli man was stabbed by a Palestinian near the entrance to a mall at the Gush Etzion junction, a settlement bloc next to the Palestinian town of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, on September 16, 2018. AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP

 

A Palestinian fatally stabbed an Israeli-American man near the entrance to a mall in the occupied West Bank on Sunday before being shot and wounded at the end of a brief foot chase, officials said.

The man killed, Ari Fuld, was a right-wing activist who has appeared regularly on television, but a police spokesman said there was no indication he was targeted for that reason.

Fuld, 45, was a father of four who lived in the Israeli settlement of Efrat, near the mall where he was stabbed.

The Palestinian attacker was 17-year-old Khalil Jabareen, from the village of Yatta in the southern West Bank, according to Palestinian security sources.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Jabareen was moderately wounded.

The incident took place at the Gush Etzion Junction south of Jerusalem and Bethlehem, according to Israel’s military, which provided the details of the stabbing.

Surveillance footage shared on news sites and social media showed the assailant approaching an older man near the mall entrance and stabbing him several times.

He is then pursued by civilians and shot nearby.

There is regular friction between Israelis and Palestinians at the junction, which lies near a major Israeli settlement bloc and has been the site of numerous lone-wolf Palestinian attacks.

Vocal defender of Israel 

Fuld created a Facebook page called “Israel Defense Page” and was a hardline defender of Israel in his television appearances.

During last year’s march by right-wing Israelis through east Jerusalem’s Old City to commemorate 50 years since Israel seized control of it in the Six-Day War, Fuld said it was a “miraculous day” for Jews.

“Today we are celebrating the unification of Jerusalem,” he said.

US ambassador to Israel David Friedman said on Twitter that “America grieves as one of its citizens was brutally murdered by a Palestinian terrorist.”

“Ari Fuld was a passionate defender of Israel & an American patriot.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “in the name of every citizen of Israel, I send my condolences to the family of Ari Fuld, who was murdered today in a terrorist attack”.

“He was an advocate for Israel who fought to spread the truth about Israel.”

A wave of Palestinian knife attacks against Israelis broke out in 2015, but they have since become sporadic.

On September 3, a Palestinian wielding a knife approached an Israeli military checkpoint near the hardline Kiryat Arba settlement in the Hebron area and was shot dead by soldiers, according to the army.

In a stabbing attack on July 26 in the West Bank settlement of Adam, one Israeli was killed and two wounded. The 17-year-old Palestinian attacker was shot dead.

There are concerns that tensions between Israelis and Palestinians will increase this month as Jews celebrate their high holidays and pay more visits to holy sites.

In previous years, increased Jewish visits to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City — what Jews call the Temple Mount — have led to such tensions.

Israel annexed east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.

While protests and clashes have continued at varying levels along the blockaded Gaza Strip border since March 30, the West Bank has remained relatively calm.

In the Gaza unrest, at least 179 Palestinians have been killed since March 30. One Israeli soldier has been killed in the Gaza border area since then.

Israel accuses Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip, of seeking to use the protests to carry out attacks or infiltrations.

It says its actions are necessary to defend the border.

Palestinians and rights groups say protesters have been shot while posing little threat.

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008.

AFP

Palestinian Wounded In Gaza Border Protests Dies

A Palestinian man hurls a stone during clashes with Israeli forces on May 15, 2018 near the border fence with Israel east of Jabalia in the central Gaza Strip.  MOHAMMED ABED / AFP

 

A Palestinian shot by Israeli forces on the Gaza border four months ago has died, the health ministry in the coastal enclave has said.

Ahmed al-Ayeda, 17, was shot on March 30 — the first day of months of protests and clashes along the border — the ministry said in a statement late Sunday.

He had been in critical condition since being shot east of Bureij in the central Gaza Strip.

At least 160 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since the protests began.

One Israeli soldier was shot dead by a Palestinian sniper.

The protests are calling for Palestinians to be able to return to the land they or their families fled in the 1948 war surrounding the creation of Israel.

Israel says any such return would mean the end of it as a Jewish state.

Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas have fought three wars with Israel since 2008.

The United Nations and Egypt are currently trying to secure a deal between Israel and Hamas for a lasting truce.

AFP

Palestinian Killed In Israeli Strike – Ministry

File photo: A man holds a Palestinian flag during clashes with Israeli forces near the border between the Gaza strip and Israel, east of Gaza City. THOMAS COEX / AFP

 

A Palestinian was killed in an Israeli strike in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, the enclave’s health ministry said, after Israel said one of its aircraft targeted a group launching balloons carrying firebombs.

Three other people were wounded east of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, the ministry said. A family member said the person killed was working as a border policeman in the Hamas-run Palestinian enclave.

Following the incident, Israel’s army said Palestinians launched mortar shells at soldiers near the border fence, causing no injuries.

Israel has pledged a tougher response to Palestinians who have for months sent balloons and kites carrying firebombs over the border fence to burn Israeli farmland.

Israel’s fire service says hundreds of fires have caused damage amounting to millions of shekels (hundreds of thousands of dollars or euros).

The military has opened fire at or near those launching the devices in recent days, but Thursday would mark the first time someone was killed in such strikes.

“Earlier today, a Hamas terrorist squad was launching arson balloons from the southern Gaza Strip into Israeli territory,” a military statement said.

“In response, an IDF aircraft fired towards the squad.”

Last weekend saw the most severe exchange of fire between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza since a 2014 war.

Israel hit dozens of sites it said belonged to militants in the Gaza Strip in Saturday’s strikes, killing two Palestinian teenagers.

The same day, around 200 rockets and mortars were fired at Israel from Gaza and four Israelis were wounded when a rocket hit a house in the nearby Israeli city of Sderot.

Israeli Air Strike Kills Palestinian In Gaza

Credit: Rami al SAYED / AFP

 

A Palestinian was killed in an Israeli strike in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, the enclave’s health ministry said after Israel said one of its aircraft targeted a group launching balloons carrying firebombs.

Three other people were wounded east of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, the ministry said. A family member said the person killed was working as a border policeman in the Hamas-run Palestinian enclave.

 

Following the incident, Israel’s army said Palestinians launched mortar shells at soldiers near the border fence, causing no injuries.

Israel has pledged a tougher response to Palestinians who have for months sent balloons and kites carrying firebombs over the border fence to burn Israeli farmland.

Israel’s fire service says hundreds of fires have caused damage amounting to millions of shekels (hundreds of thousands of dollars or euros).

The military has opened fire at or near those launching the devices in recent days, but Thursday would mark the first time someone was killed in such strikes.

“Earlier today, a Hamas terrorist squad was launching arson balloons from the southern Gaza Strip into Israeli territory,” a military statement said.

“In response, an IDF aircraft fired towards the squad.”

Last weekend saw the most severe exchange of fire between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza since a 2014 war.

Israel hit dozens of sites it said belonged to militants in the Gaza Strip in Saturday’s strikes, killing two Palestinian teenagers.

The same day, around 200 rockets and mortars were fired at Israel from Gaza and four Israelis were wounded when a rocket hit a house in the nearby Israeli city of Sderot.

 

AFP

Palestinian Dies After Being Shot In Gaza Clashes

Palestinian demonstrators burn tyres near the Gaza-Israel border, east of Gaza City, as Palestinians readied for protests over the inauguration of the US embassy following its controversial move to Jerusalem on May 14, 0218. PHOTO: MAHMUD HAMS / AFP

 

A Palestinian has died days after being shot by Israeli forces in clashes along the Gaza border, the enclave’s health ministry said Tuesday.

Sari al-Shobaki had been transferred to Jerusalem for treatment after being shot several days ago east of Gaza City, the ministry in the Hamas-run territory said.

A ministry spokesman said the 23-year-old died at the St Joseph Hospital in Jerusalem.

There was no immediate confirmation from the hospital.

At least 144 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since protests and clashes broke out along the border on March 30.

No Israelis have been killed.

Israel says its use of live fire is necessary to defend its borders and stop infiltrations.

Critics accuse it of disproportionate force against protesters.

AFP

Israel To Withhold Families’ Payments From Palestinian Markets

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks as he welcomes the President of Panama prior to their meeting at his Jerusalem office on May 17, 2018. GALI TIBBON / POOL / AFP

 

Israel’s parliament has passed a law to freeze money transferred to the Palestinian Authority over its payments to the families of Palestinians jailed for attacks on Israelis.

The legislation was approved late Monday and gives the Israeli government powers to withhold an amount of money based on what is paid to the prisoners and their families.

Israel collects around $127 million a month in customs duties levied on goods destined for Palestinian markets that transit through Israeli ports and then transfers it to the Palestinian Authority.

A sponsor of the legislation says the PA pays around $330 million a year to prisoners and their families, amounting to seven percent of its budget.

Israel has withheld payments in the past, notably in response to the Palestinians’ 2011 admission to the UN cultural agency UNESCO as a full member.

When Israeli ministers first backed the new legislation in February, the Palestinian government called it “piracy and theft” as well as a breach of international law.

Israel says the payments to the families of Palestinians jailed for security offences or killed by Israeli forces while carrying out attacks encourages further violence.

Many Palestinians view the prisoners and those killed while carrying out attacks as heroes or “martyrs” in the struggle against Israeli occupation.

The payments can be a key source of income for families, who have in many cases lost their main breadwinner.

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman hailed the passing of the new law saying: “Every shekel (president) Mahmud Abbas will pay for terrorists and assassins will be automatically withdrawn from the Palestinian Authority’s budget.

“An effective war on terrorism also passes through the pocket — of the terrorists, of their families and of Mahmud Abbas.”

AFP

Palestinian Shot While Attempting To Breach Gaza Border

Israeli troops take a position as they clash with Palestinian youth in the Amari refugee camp near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank after they stormed the camp on May 28, 2018.
ABBAS MOMANI / AFP

 

A Palestinian armed with an axe was shot dead trying to breach the Gaza-Israel border on Monday, the Israeli army said.

An army statement said troops thwarted an “infiltration attempt” by “two terrorists who damaged the security fence and were armed with an axe.”

Soldiers “fired towards the terrorists, killing one of them,” it added, without clarifying what happened to the second suspect.

There was no immediate confirmation from the health ministry in Gaza.

The death brings to 125 the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli fire in Gaza since March 30.

The vast majority have been killed during weeks of protests along the border.

Protests peaked on May 14 when at least 61 people were killed as tens of thousands approached the heavily fortified border in a demonstration coinciding with the controversial opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem.

On Friday a 21-year-old female medic was shot dead in southern Gaza.

No Israelis have been killed.

The Jewish state accuses Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas of using the protests as an excuse to carry out attacks.

AFP

Israeli Army Shoots Palestinian For Attempted Murder

Israeli troops                                                                                                                ABBAS MOMANI / AFP

 

A Palestinian man who tried on Saturday to hit Israeli soldiers with his car in the southern occupied West Bank city Hebron was shot dead, the army said.  

“A terrorist attempted to run over IDF troops located at the site with his vehicle. In response, the troops fired towards the terrorist, killing him. No IDF troops were injured,” an army statement said.

A military spokesman told AFP the alleged attacker was a Palestinian.

On Friday a 21-year-old Palestinian woman was shot dead by Israeli soldiers near the Gaza border fence, where clashes were taking place.

Razan al-Najjar was a volunteer with the Gaza health ministry, wearing the white uniform of a medic when she was shot in the chest.

According to the health ministry in Gaza, another 40 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli gunfire in Friday’s clashes.

The Israeli army said on Saturday that cases such as Najjar’s, “in which civilians are allegedly killed by IDF fire, are thoroughly examined by the relevant levels of command and are checked by the General Staff Fact Finding Assessment Mechanism”.

AFP

Palestinian President Abbas Improving In Hospital – Officials

Palestinian President Abbas Improving In Hospital - Officials
Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas . Photo: Francois Mori / POOL / AFP

 

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas’s condition was improving and he could leave hospital as early as Tuesday, a senior official and a medical source said Monday.

Abbas, 83, was admitted to the Istishari Arab Hospital near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank on Sunday with complications following an ear operation.

He was awake and his condition was improving on Monday, a senior official said on condition of anonymity. A medical source confirmed Abbas was getting better.

The Palestinian president is expected to leave the hospital Tuesday and could return straight to work, the official added.

Abbas’s health is the subject of regular speculation, with no clear successor identified.

Senior official Saeb Erekat downplayed fears about his condition late Sunday.

“The president is suffering from an inflammation of the ear that developed following the operation he undertook recently,” Erekat told AFP.

A source familiar with his condition had earlier said he was suffering from chest pain and a high fever.

It is the third time Abbas has been in hospital in a week, initially for the ear operation on Tuesday then for tests on Saturday.

In February, he underwent what was then described as routine medical tests in the United States.

Abbas won a four-year term as president in 2005, but he has remained in office in the absence of elections.

Abbas argues the split between his Fatah party and Islamists Hamas, who control the Gaza Strip, has made elections politically impossible.

A moderate, he has been involved in decades of negotiations with Israel but is unpopular among Palestinians, with the majority wanting him to step down.

AFP

Iran Decries ‘Day Of Great Shame’ Over Palestinian Deaths

 

Iran Decries 'Day Of Great Shame' Over Palestinian Deaths
A Palestinian boy holding his national flag looks at clashes with Israeli security forces near the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel east of Gaza City on May 14, 2018, as Palestinians protest over the inauguration of the US embassy following its controversial move to Jerusalem. 
MAHMUD HAMS / AFP

 

Iran decried “a day of great shame” over the deaths of dozens of Palestinians protesting Monday’s controversial move of the US embassy to Jerusalem.

“Israeli regime massacres countless Palestinians in cold blood as they protest in the world’s largest open-air prison,” Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote on Twitter.

“Meanwhile, (US President Donald) Trump celebrates move of US illegal embassy and Arab collaborators move to divert attention. A day of great shame,” he added.

Israeli forces killed 52 Palestinians and injured more than 2,400 during protests against the opening of the US embassy in the divided holy city, in the bloodiest day of the conflict since the 2014 Gaza war.

Earlier, Iran’s parliament speaker Ali Larijani, a key establishment figure, said the US had “entered a crisis of strategic decision-making that looks at the international arena immaturely and adventurously”.

“I believe the current US president is not capable of identifying and judging the long-term consequences of his actions,” Larijani told a televised conference on Palestine in Tehran.

“Spur-of-the-moment and uncalculated actions cannot continue in today’s world. Feeblemindness is costly for statesmen and they will eventually have to pay the price,” he added.

Iran Decries 'Day Of Great Shame' Over Palestinian Deaths
Palestinians take cover from shots during clashes with Israeli forces near the border between the Gaza strip and Israel east of Gaza City on May 14, 2018. MAHMUD HAMS / AFP

 

Iran is a key backer of Palestinian militant groups, including Hamas, and opposition to Israel has been a central tenet of its regime since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Larijani called for an “immediate reaction” from Palestinians, Islamic countries and the international community — including boycotts and official complaints to the United Nations.

The US “must not think that such actions… can remain without a response,” he said.

AFP