Occupied: Headlines From Palestine

Blogging From Gaza, Palestine

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Israeli Occupation Fighter Jets Hit Target In Gaza

GAZA (Ma’an) — Israeli fighter jets attacked a target in the Gaza Strip early Thursday morning after a missile fired from the strip hit an open area near the town of Ashkelon in the western Negev, an Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an. No injuries or damages were reported in Israel and have yet to be confirmed in the Gaza Strip.

An Israeli spokesperson could not give any information regarding the location of the airstrike in Gaza, only that the target was “terror infrastructure.”

On June 24 a similar exchange took place between the enclave and Israel.
The exchanges come as Israel and Hamas have allegedly been holding indirect talks for cementing a long-term truce in the Gaza Strip, Hamas sources said last month.While an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire came into effect on Aug. 26, ending a nearly 50-day war between the two sides, pledges to resume follow-up talks regarding longer term relations were delayed several times and never formally resumed.The conflict left over 2,200 Palestinians dead, the majority civilians, and 73 on the Israeli side, most of them soldiers.It also caused heavy damage to Gaza’s infrastructure and damaged more than 160,000 homes.

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Israeli Occupation Navy Opens Fire On Gaza Fishermen

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israeli naval forces opened fire on Palestinian fishermen in several locations off the coast of the Gaza Strip with no injuries reported, witnesses said. Fishermen said their fishing boats came under fire off the coast of al-Waha northwest of Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip. Separately, Israeli forces fired at Gaza fishermen off the coast of Sudaniyya northwest of Gaza City, as well as off the coast near Sheikh Ijlein in the central Gaza Strip.No injuries were reported.

An Israeli army spokesperson said that Israeli forces fired warning shots into the air after the boats had “deviated from the designated fishing zone,” but was unable to elaborate on how far from shore the vessels were at the time of the incident.Israeli forces have repeatedly opened fire on Palestinian fisherman and farmers since the ceasefire agreement signed Aug. 26, 2014 that ended a devastating 50-day Israeli military offensive against the Gaza Strip.In May alone, there were a total of 51 incidents of shootings, incursions into the coastal enclave, and arrests, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights.This included 41 shootings, which left nine injured, including one minor.The attacks come despite Israeli promises at the end of the ceasefire to ease restrictions on Palestinian access to both the sea and the border region near the “security buffer zone.”

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Israeli Occupation Warplanes Target Farmland North of Gaza

GAZA, June 24, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli warplanes targeted a farmland in the town of Beit Hanoun to the north of the besieged Gaza Strip with at least one missile on Wednesday before dawn, reported local media sources and witnesses.

There were no reports of casualties in the aerial attack, which came only hours after Israeli media outlets said a projectile, which was fired from Gaza, landed near the seaport city of Asqalan. No injuries were reported however.

In the summer of 2014, Israel launched a relentless onslaught on Gaza, which claimed the lives of about 2,200 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and left more than 10,000 injured. Hundreds of thousands others remain displaced and live in makeshift caravans or in UNRWA-run schools.


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Collective Punishment: Israeli Occupation Bars Palestinians From Gaza From Traveling To Jerusalem For Ramadan

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) – Worshipers from the Gaza Strip will be barred from travelling to Jerusalem for prayer in the Al-Aqsa mosque this week after rocket fire from Gaza, the coordinator of Israeli government activities in the Palestinian territory said Wednesday.The announcement came after rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit an open area near the town of Ashkelon in the western Negev during the early hours of Wednesday, causing no damage or casualties.The 500 men and women scheduled to leave the strip Thursday and Friday will not be allowed to travel because “the security conditions around the crossing aren’t stable,” Yoav Mordechai said, adding that the recent rocket fire landed “not far from the Erez crossing” on the Gaza-Israel border.Mordechai said that Israeli authorities would reevaluate the security conditions next week in order to determine future travel by Gazans into Jerusalem, emphasizing the role that Gaza’s current governing power Hamas plays in the decision.“Hamas is responsible for depriving worshipers of prayer in Al-Aqsa mosque during Ramadan,” Mordechai said.“I am not saying that Hamas fired the missile, but Hamas is responsible because it controls the Gaza Strip.”A round of sporadic rocket fire from the Gaza Strip towards Israel this month has been claimed by smaller political groups allegedly aiming to undermine Hamas’ control of the strip. Hamas has attempted to vamp down on such groups who are reportedly growing more active.The rocket fire comes despite the August 26 ceasefire agreement reached between Israel and Hamas last summer that ended a devastating war inside of the Gaza Strip.Meanwhile, near daily Israeli incursions continue into the coastal enclave that have left three Palestinians dead and dozens injured since September.’Relaxed’ restrictionsWednesday’s travel restrictions come as a major blow to Palestinians planning to travel to the mosque compound in East Jerusalem during the holy month of Ramadan.While Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are subject to strict limitations on movement into East Jerusalem, part of the occupied Palestinian territories, Israel has historically made gestures ahead of and during Ramadan, partially easing restrictions.In response to this year’s good-will gesture, the director of the Palestinian Ministry of Endowment Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib told Ma’an that every Palestinian Muslim has the right to pray at the holy site during Ramadan, criticizing heavy Israeli restrictions on access.“All the people of Palestine have the right to access the city and pray in the Al-Aqsa Mosque in full freedom without the need for permits,” he said.Several Palestinians have been detained or barred from the compound by Israeli forces this week, and heavy security has been seen around Jerusalem’s old city since the start of Ramadan.Israeli easing of restrictions came on the condition that security wasn’t “breached.”After an Israeli hiker was killed in the occupied West Bank and an Israeli policeman was stabbed in East Jerusalem last week, Israel on Sunday revoked entry permits for residents of the West Bank village home to the Palestinian who had stabbed the policeman.It also cancelled permission for 500 West Bank Palestinians to fly via Israel’s Ben Gurion airport.
AFP contributed to this report.

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Israeli Occupation Forces Shoot, Injure Palestinian In Southern Gaza

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israeli forces deployed near the Sufa crossing in the southern Gaza Strip opened fire at and injured a Palestinian Saturday, local sources told Ma’an.

An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed the report, telling Ma’an that a “Palestinian suspect approached the security fence” and Israeli forces opened fire at his lower extremities after firing warning shots into the air. One hit was confirmed, and Israeli forces took the man to a hospital in Israel for treatment, she added.

The spokesperson did not have confirmation if the injured man would be detained after treatment or returned to the Gaza Strip.Sufa was one of several crossings between Gaza and Israel to be sealed by Israeli authorities in 2007 and was permanently closed in 2009, however is sporadically opened for humanitarian needs, according to Israeli rights group Gisha: Legal Center for Freedom of Movement.The border area where Israeli forces opened fire Saturday is part of an Israeli-enforced “buffer zone” along the Gaza-Israel border as well as on the western seaside border of the strip.The parameters of the buffer zone are regularly changed by Israeli authorities, and Israeli forces have repeatedly opened fire toward Palestinian civilians inside of the buffer zone since the signing of a ceasefire agreement that ended a more than 50-day war between Israel and Hamas last summer, according to documentation by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PHCR).Despite shorter distances set by Israeli authorities, PHCR reports that attacks against Palestinians have taken place up to approximately 1.5 kilometers inside the border fence.

Constituting around 17 percent of the total territory of the Gaza Strip, the buffer zone effectively turns local farms into no-go zones.The buffer zone, which Palestinians are prohibited from entering, “is illegal under both Israeli and international law,” according to PHCR.

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Israeli Occupation Forces Open Fire At Palestinian Fishing Boats In Gaza

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of the northern Gaza Strip on Friday, forcing fishermen to flee the area in fear for their lives, a local union said.The union also reported that Israeli forces confiscated eight fishing nets late Thursday. The report comes as several Palestinian fishermen have been detained this month, and three have been shot dead by Israeli forces since September.Risk of death or detention by Israeli forces is compounded by ongoing harassment and interference with their work from Israeli naval forces who frequently confiscate boats and fishing materials, according to documentation by the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights.An Israeli army spokeswoman did not immediately return calls seeking comment on Friday’s incident.In a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas last summer, Israel agreed to expand the fishing zone off Gaza’s coast, allowing fishermen to sail as far as six nautical miles from shore and to continue to expand the area gradually, however fishermen are routinely stopped within the zone.Near-daily confrontation with Israeli naval forces come as many Gazan residents are food insecure, and over 90 percent of Palestinians working in the fishing industry live below the poverty line in Gaza, the Secretary-general of the Union of Fishermen told Ma’an.

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Israeli Occupation Tanks And Bulldozers Infiltrate Gaza And Raze Land In The South


Israeli military vehicles this morning entered into civilians’ agricultural lands in the village of al-Qurara north-east of Khan Yunis city in the south of Gaza. Sources reported shots fired.

According to the official agency, around 7 military vehicles, including three bulldozers and four tanks, moved into civilians’ farmlands in east al-Qurara, on the basis that the military base ‘Kesufim’ is located on those lands east of the village.

The bulldozers razed land amid heavy fire, during which military planes flew air reconassaince missions.

Sources confirmed that the occupation vehicles penetrated up to 200 meters into the citizens’ farmland, firing towards the farmers and preventing them from entering their land.

Gazan farmers have been repeatedly targeted on their lands by the Israeli occupation.

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Israeli Occupation Targets North Gaza, Shuts Down Crossings In Early Hours Of Saturday

GAZA, June 7, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli warplanes Sunday shelled a location north of the Gaza Strip while the Israeli army declared a full closure of both Beit Hanoun and Karem Abu Salem border crossings under the pretext of rocket fire from Gaza.

According to WAFA correspondent in Gaza, Israeli warplanes have targeted one location in the besieged strip, causing severe damage to civilians’ properties.

Meanwhile, lawmaker Jamal al-Khudari, head of the popular committee against the siege, denounced the closure of Gaza’s two crossings and only gates to the world, describing it a tightening of the suffocating siege, which leads to increasing Gaza’s crises.

In a press release, he said that such decision would hinder the entry of essential products and material, which are usually delivered through Karem Abu Salem crossing and obstruct the partial movement through Beit Hanoun crossing; both considered a blatant targeting of Gaza’s fragile stability.

Al-Kudari affirmed that all crossings are already closed except for Karem Abu Salem and Beit Hanoun, both working part-time, thus shouldn’t be subjected to closures. In this context, he called for opening all crossings to ensure freedom of movement for Palestinians in Gaza.

“What is delivered through the crossings into Gaza comes within the framework of humanitarian aid. Therefore, hindering the work of and closing these crossings stand against all international agreements and require international penalties against Israel.”

The closure of these crossings will also affect the delivery of Diesel used to run the Gaza power plant, which might affect the work of hospitals and municipalities among other institutions.

The Israeli Channel 7 reported on the Israeli deputy army minister Eli Ben Dahan saying that Israel is considering a permanent closure of construction materials’ entry into Gaza.

He said that such move is one of many, which should be adopted until a final halt of rocket fire from Gaza.

Last Thursday, Israeli warplanes shelled multiple locations across the besieged Strip with at least five rockets, after reports of rocket fire from Gaza.

Israeli Army Minister Moshe Ya’alon said, “We advise no one to test the patience of Israel against terrorism… If the need arises, the Israeli army will respond to any attacks with a larger force.”

Even though Israeli security reports indicated that Salafi groups other than Hamas might be responsible for the rocket fire, Israel held Hamas responsible for the situation in the Gaza Strip.

The situation in Gaza continues to be a critical humanitarian crisis. Palestinian refugees in Gaza continue to live a nine-year-old siege from both land and sea.

The United Nations’ Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs in the Palestinian Territories, James Rowley earlier this year called for lifting the siege imposed by Israel on the people of Gaza.

Rowley said in a press conference which was held in al-Shifa hospital in Gaza city that the siege has greatly affected health and humanitarian Services and emphasized that the blockade should be lifted to end the suffering of Gaza’s patients.

Whole neighborhoods across the strip have been reduced to rubble by the extensive Israeli airstrikes, leaving about 475,000 Palestinians refugees displaced for yet another time.

Israel and the Palestinian factions inked a ceasefire deal on August 26, ending the 2014 deadly Israeli onslaught on Gaza that claimed the lives of over 2,200 people, overwhelmingly civilians.

The ceasefire deal stipulated that Israel must ease the blockade imposed on the strip and the restrictions on the unilaterally-imposed fishing zone off Gaza’s coast.

According to UN institutions’ statistics, around 15,000 Gaza refugees are still living in UN-run schools almost a year after the end of the latest war, as they have no other choice after losing their homes.

Even without rockets being fired from Gaza, Israel has failed to adhere to its agreement, repeatedly violating the ceasefire deal through opening fire on Palestinian fishermen within the fishing zone and farmers who tend to their land close to Gaza’s borders.

Israel has imposed a tightened blockade since 2007 after Hamas won the democratic legislative elections and took over power in the strip.

The Egyptian authorities continue to close the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt almost entirely and are only opening it for extreme humanitarian cases.


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Israeli Occupation Forces Conducting Military Drills Today Around Gaza

PNN/ Bethlehem/

Israeli occupation army on Sunday will conduct drill in residential areas surrounding Gaza, as part of its annual training plan.

The IOF spokesperson said that the drill aims to keep the soldiers in the Gaza front “ready” for all field happenings, as the Seventh Israeli channel has reported.

Israeli forces this morning fired a rocket on Gaza, hitting two sites in the north, in addition to closing the Gaza crossings.

Maariv Israeli news outlet today said that the Israeli army has constructed a new Iron Dome in Rehovot city (central Israel), in addition to the intents of setting two others in the South.

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Israeli Occupation Bulldozers Enter Gaza And Raze Land


A number of Israeli military units, including bulldozers, today infiltrated east of the neighborhood Shaje’iya east of Gaza City, in a leveling operation on agricultural border lands.

Eyewitnesses reported that 4 military bulldozers entered the eastern lands in Shaje’iya neighborhood.

Gazan farmers have been repeatedly targeted on their lands by the Israeli occupation.

On Wednesday morning, one farmer was injured by indiscriminate firing from Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on the border of Khuza’a town east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.