Occupied: Headlines From Palestine

Blogging From Gaza, Palestine

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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.

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Israeli Air Strikes Hit Gaza Before Dawn

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) – Israeli warplanes attacked multiple targets in the Gaza Strip early Thursday morning, witnesses and Palestinian security sources said.Airstrikes targeted three training bases of the Izzadine al-Qassam brigades, the military wing of Hamas, in Gaza City and a fourth in the southern city of Khan Younis.No injuries or casualties were reported.
An Israeli military statement spoke only of three hits in total and did not give their location or identify the targets.The airstrikes came after the Israeli army confirmed two rockets fired from the Gaza Strip late Wednesday night.”Yesterday, June 3, 2015, two rockets were launched at southern Israel from the Gaza Strip,” it said adding that they fell on open ground near the southern city of Ashkelon and the town of Netivot, with no injuries or damage immediately reported.
A militant Salafi organization, identified in a statement posted on Twitter as Sheikh Omar Hadid Brigade, claimed responsibility for the rocket fire saying it was in response to the “killing of an IS fighter in Gaza a day ago by Hamas militants.””We are continuing with our jihad against the Jews, the enemies of God and no one will be able to deter us,” the statement added.Hamas security forces reportedly shot dead a Salafist leader in Gaza City Tuesday during an attempt to arrest the man for having “illegal” weapons.
The incident came as Hamas stepped up measures against militants belonging to “Islamic extremist groups,” some of whom self-identify as Salafists.Little is known about the Sheikh Omar Hadid Brigade, the group’s claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s rocket attacks, or any potential influence they hold inside of the Gaza Strip.Israel has a general policy of holding Hamas responsible for every rocket attack from the territory under its control, regardless of which group actually launched it.
Israeli public radio alleged that Tuesday’s rocket fire was related to current infighting between the Gaza Strip’s Hamas rulers and its extremist opponents.Since the 50-day war between Israel and Hamas last summer there have reportedly been growing signs of internal unrest between Hamas security forces and extremist splinter groups.Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon warned of the potential for greater force, Israeli media reporting the minister saying, “We will not tolerate attempts to hurt our citizens…tonight the IDF responded resolutely to the rocket fire. We will strike harder if we must, and last summer has proven that.” Meanwhile, UNRWA and rights groups have warned that continuing restrictions by Israel are hampering the ability for Gaza’s 1.8 million residents to rebuild and recover from last summer’s war- the third war in six years- and is resulting in growing unrest.
Thursday morning’s airstrikes came as Israeli forces continued near-daily incursions into the Gaza Strip, shooting and injuring one east of Khan Younis and detaining four fishermen off the coast of Gaza City the day prior.AFP contributed to this report.

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Israeli Occupation Takes Five Fishermen Captive, Shoots And Injures Farmer In Gaza

KHAN YOUNES, June 3, 2015 (WAFA) – The Israeli navy on Wednesday arrested five Palestinian fishermen while sailing offshore the coast of Khan Younes, in southern Gaza Strip, according to local sources.

WAFA correspondent said a number of Israeli naval boats attacked the fishermen and arrested them. The five fishermen were taken to nearby Israeli Ashdod seaport by the navy.

Thje fishermen were identified as Mohammad Baker, Haitham Baker, Hassan Mahmoud Abu Sam’an, Hassan Abder-Rahman Abu Sam’an, and Mohammad Ali Morad.

Meanwhile, a farmer was injured by Israeli soldiers’ live bullets near the border east of Khan Younes.

The farmer, 22-year-old Farid Najjar, was injured with a bullet in the abdomen, and was transferred to hospital for medical treatment. His medical condition was described as moderate.

Israeli naval boats routinely open fire at Palestinian fishermen sailing within the six-nautical-mile allowed zone for fishing as well as on farmlands along the borders, flagrantly violating the ceasefire deal.

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

Under the ceasefire deal, Israel was to immediately ease the blockade imposed on the strip and expand the fishing zone off Gaza’s coast, allowing fishermen to sail as far as six nautical miles from shore, and would continue to expand the area gradually.


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Israeli Occupation Jet Fighters Launch Series Of Airstrikes Across Gaza

GAZA, May 27, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli jet fighters launched a series of airstrikes last night across the Gaza Strip, hours after Israeli media said that a rocket fired from Gaza landed in southern Israel, according to local sources.

WAFA correspondent said Israeli F16 fighters launched a number of airstrikes on multiple locations, causing damages to properties and spreading fear among local residents, especially children.

Israeli jet fighter fired three missiles targeting agricultural land in the vicinity of the destroyed Gaza international Airport to the east of Rafah in the southern strip, causing a deep hole in the ground.

They further targeted another location in Rafah city with four missiles, causing damages to nearby Palestinian homes.

Israeli warplanes also targeted a location to the southwest of Khan Younis in the southern strip, causing damages to properties.

two Khan Younes, the destroyed Gaza International Airport, Gaza City, and Beit Lahia,

Meanwhile in Gaza city, Israeli warplanes fired two missiles targeting a location to the northwest of the city, causing damages to residents’ homes.

There were no reports of any casualties.

Yesterday, Israeli media sources said a projectile which was fired from Gaza exploded in an open area near the port city of Ashdod, some 20 kilometers north of the Gaza Strip.

It said that there was no damages reported, but medical services said a 15-year-old girl from Ashdod arrived at the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon suffering from shock, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported. There was no immediate claim of responsibility in Gaza for the rocket launching.

Shortly afterwards, the Israeli army issued a statement saying it had struck Hamas and Islamic Jihad facilities in the southern Gaza Strip, and blamed Hamas for the rocket fire.

Later on Wednesday morning, Israel ‘Defense’ Minister Moshe Ya’alon warned Hamas, the de facto authority in Gaza, must rein in any attempts by factions in Gaza to attack Israel, or “pay a heavy price.”

“[Israel] will not abide any threat on the residents of the south. If it isn’t quiet in Israel, the Gaza Strip will pay a heavy price,” he was quoted by the Times of Israel.

Last year, Israel launched a relentless war on Gaza which claimed the lives of about 2,400 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and left more than 10,000 injured. Hundreds of thousands others are currently displaced and live in makeshift caravans or in UNRWA-run schools.


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Israeli Occupation Refusing To Repair Disconnected Gaza Electricity Grid- While Gaza Experiences Heat Wave

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Gaza’s electricity distributor has accused Israel of refusing to repair a 12 megawatt grid supplying power to Gaza City that became disconnected in Israeli-controlled territory on Thursday.

The Gaza Electricity Distribution Corporation said in a statement on Tuesday that the loss of the al-Qubba electricity grid was having a serious effect on the power supply to Gaza City, which has suffered an insufficient supply for years. The statement said that Gazan technicians would need to enter Israeli territory to repair the disconnection, requiring special permission from the Israeli military, but this has so far been denied.

The statement said that Israeli authorities were neither allowing Gazan technicians in, nor was the Israeli electricity company making any efforts to repair the damage.Gaza currently receives electricity from the Israeli electricity grid, the Egyptian electric company, and from a power station inside Gaza.However, these supply lines fall far short of the Gazan population’s needs. While they provide 230 MW of electricity, it has been estimated that Gaza requires 350 to 450 MW.Israel and Egypt have maintained a severe blockade of the Gaza Strip for the last eight years that has crippled the coastal enclave’s economy by limiting imports, exports, and movement of people.Although the power plant inside Gaza has a potential output of 140 MW it has been unable to produce that much due to Israeli restrictions on fuel imports.Last summer the plant was targeted during the 50-day Israeli offensive on Gaza, completely knocking it out of commission. The Gaza power authority said at the time that the damages from the attack could take up to a year to fix completely.Gaza suffers 12 hours of power outages each day. Many individual homes have their own generators, and households can purchase extremely expensive fuel that comes into Gaza for private consumption.