Israeli soldiers, settlers attack West Bank school

BETHLEHEM, Palestine (AA) – Israeli troops and Jewish settlers on Friday attacked a Palestinian school near the West Bank city of Bethlehem, firing live ammunition at students, teachers and Education Ministry officials, according to a Palestinian official.

“Soldiers and settlers surrounded the school in the village of Beit Tamar before opening fire with live ammunition and teargas,” Sami Marwa, a Palestinian Education Ministry official, told Anadolu Agency.

"The mere presence of the soldiers and settlers terrified the children, who began crying and running all over the place,” he said.

Palestinian Education Minister Sabri Saidam, for his part, was quick to condemn the incident.

“Words can’t describe what happened today in Beit Tamar,” he said. "The day began with children at play and ended with teargas and terror."

More than 650,000 Israeli settlers currently live on 196 Jewish-only settlements (built with the Israeli government’s approval) and more than 200 settler “outposts” (built without its approval) across the occupied West Bank, according to Palestinian figures.

Advertisements

Syrian painter opens solo show in Istanbul

By Hilal Ustuk

ISTANBUL (AA) – A solo show by a Syrian painter on Monday opened its doors in Istanbul.

Ibrahim al-Hasan's exhibit "Childhood on the Sidewalk," featuring 20 paintings, had a gala opening at the Independent Arts Foundation in the Fatih district's Cagaloglu neighborhood, on the city’s European side.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, al-Hasan said that he lived in Turkey for four years. Stating that his new technique can be seen in the exhibit, al-Hasan said that it concentrates on children as they are the most vulnerable to the effects of war.

"All of these wars must end now,” he said.

“These children will grow up after a while. We are all responsible for the children who are uneducated and we all have to do something individually."

At the opening gala, Hulya Yazici — founder and chair of the Independent Arts Foundation – praised al-Hasan as an important artist who has enriched Turkey.

The exhibit will be open for visitors through Nov. 25.

Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating civil war that began in 2011. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict and millions more displaced, according to the UN.

Turkey hosts some 3.5 million Syrian refugees, more than any other country in the world.

As of November 2017, there were some 620,000 Syrian school-age children enrolled in school in Turkey, according to Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

PLO urges ICC probe into Gaza child killings by Israel

By Qais Abu Samra

RAMALLAH, Palestine (AA) – The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) on Monday called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to launch an investigation into an Israeli airstrike that killed three children in the Gaza Strip.

“The international community and its institutions must break their silence towards the incessant crimes committed by the occupation army,” the PLO said in a statement.

Three children aged between 12 and 14 were martyred late Sunday in the Israeli raid near the eastern border of the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli army claimed that "the children were trying to tamper with the security fence and apparently planted an explosive device".

The PLO accused the Israeli army of “deliberately killing” the three children.

“The ICC is requested to launch an immediate investigation into this crime,” it added.

In late December, 2014, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas signed the Rome convention and appendixes related to the ICC, which accepted the Palestinian request to become one of its members in April 2015.

For the last seven months, Palestinians in Gaza have been staging regular demonstrations along the Gaza-Israel buffer zone to demand the right to return to their homes in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948.

They also demand an end to Israel’s 12-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has gutted the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its two million inhabitants of many basic commodities.

Since the rallies began on March 30, more than 200 Palestinians have been martyred– and thousands more injured — by Israeli troops deployed along the other side of the buffer zone.

Gazan group vows response to Israel’s killing of 3 kids

By Nour Abu Aisha

GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) – The Gaza-based Islamic Jihad group on Monday vowed “response” to an Israeli airstrike that killed three children in the blockaded Palestinian territory a day earlier.

“The resistance factions will respond to the [Israeli] crime in the way they see fit,” the group said in a statement.

Three children aged between 12 and 14 were martyred late Sunday in the Israeli raid near the eastern border of the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli army claimed that "the children were trying to tamper with the security fence and apparently planted an explosive device".

But the Palestinian group described the Israeli narrative as “lies and misleading”.

“This is a complex crime that reflects how far the [Israeli] occupation’s fascism and terrorism has gone,” the Palestinian group said.

For the last seven months, Palestinians in Gaza have been staging regular demonstrations along the Gaza-Israel buffer zone to demand the right to return to their homes in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948.

They also demand an end to Israel’s 12-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has gutted the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its two million inhabitants of many basic commodities.

Since the rallies began on March 30, more than 200 Palestinians have been martyred– and thousands more injured — by Israeli troops deployed along the other side of the buffer zone.

6 children die from viral outbreak in US state

By Umar Farooq

WASHINGTON (AA) – Six children died Tuesday and 12 are being treated for an outbreak of an adenovirus in a health center in the state of New Jersey, officials said.

The state’s health department issued a statement confirming 18 cases of the virus were detected among children at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation.

"A Department team is at the facility today and an inspection team was also there Sunday. The team on Sunday found minor handwashing deficiencies and the Health Department is continuing to work closely with the facility on infection control issues," the agency said.

The facility is not accepting new patients until the outbreak ends and there are no more signs of the virus.

Adenoviruses are a group of virus strands that can cause a wide range of illnesses from cold-like symptoms to bronchitis or conjunctivitis, otherwise known as pink eye.

The viruses can be spread by close contact with others, coughing and sneezing, or lack of hand sanitation, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

This particular strain, however, affects children with weak immune systems, according to the N.J. Department of Health.

"The strain has been particularly associated with disease in communal living arrangements and can be more severe," it said.

Turkish NGO provides Gaza children with school supplies

By Mohamed Majed

GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) – Turkey's non-governmental Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) on Thursday supplied the blockaded Gaza Strip with school supplies and equipment for some 2,000 children, according to an IHH official in Gaza.

“We have provided school equipment for 2,000 orphans and poor children in Gaza at a total cost of 60,000 euros,” Mahmoud al-Shurafa, a spokesman for the IHH’s office in Gaza, told Anadolu Agency.

The project, al-Shurafa said, is intended to ease the difficult economic circumstances faced by orphans and poor children in the besieged coastal territory.

“We are continuing to provide humanitarian aid to Gaza residents forced to live under the Israeli blockade,” he added.

According to reports, some 80 percent of the people in Gaza rely on international aid to survive, while 40 percent live under the poverty line.

Israel first imposed its blockade on Gaza in 2006 after Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, which supports armed resistance to Israel, swept Palestinian legislative polls.

The following year, Israel ratcheted up its blockade after Hamas seized the entire strip — which it still governs today — from rival Palestinian faction Fatah.

Still in effect, the blockade has crippled Gaza’s economy and deprived the strip’s more than two million inhabitants of many basic commodities.

Israel refers prisoner to trial for writing kids' book

JERUSALEM (AA) – The Israeli authorities have referred a Palestinian author — who is already serving a life prison sentence — to trial for writing a children’s book.

According to Israeli media reports, Palestinian prisoner/author Walid Daka will be tried Wednesday evening at Israel’s Megiddo Prison for writing the book.

Daka is already serving out a life prison sentence after having been convicted for abducting and killing an Israeli soldier in 1984.

Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri has reportedly banned the sale of the book — entitled “The Story of the Oil Secret” — in Daka’s hometown of Baka al-Garbiyeh in northern Israel.

According to Daka’s family, the book was issued with the approval of the Israel Prison Service, which later claimed that it never approved it.

Daka is a Palestinian writer and researcher who managed to earn a Master's Degree in political science during his many years behind bars.

His 96-page book tells the story of a child who wants to visit his father in prison, but can’t do so because of the draconian restrictions imposed by Israel’s occupation.

The child eventually manages to enter the prison by hiding inside an olive tree.

But instead of using the tree’s special sap to leave the prison again, he gives it to other children who cannot go to school because of Israeli restrictions.

INFOGRAPHIC – PKK/KCK has armed 679 children

By Muhammed Boztepe

ANKARA (AA) – PKK/KCK terrorist organization has currently armed 679 children who were forcibly taken away from their families, according to a security source.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said PKK/KCK wants support from women and youngsters.

It does not hesitate to recruit teenagers who are impressionable, the source added.

The PKK/KCK uses psychological traps to attract children to its ranks, hiding its terror motives under the grab of bravery and self-sacrifice.

The children in PKK/KCK ranks are aged 14-18.

The terror group recruited 47 children below 15 years of age over the past nine months, by threatening or kidnapping them, the source said.

Between the years 1990-2018, PKK/KCK has recruited a total of 1,466 children under the age of 15 by force.

In 2014, the terror group recruited 305 children, while these numbers are 424 in 2015, 222 in 2016 and 88 last year.

The number has drastically dropped owing to the efforts of Turkish security forces.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU — has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women and children.

Ex-terrorists narrate how PKK recruits children

By Ahmet Salih Alacaci

ANKARA (AA) – Former PKK/KCK terrorists in Turkish custody have described in detail how children were coerced or misled into joining the group.

It is widely known that the terror group recruits large numbers of children — in many cases kidnapping them — from the regions where it is active.

A.Y., identified only by his initials, said he was abducted along with 15 other people aged 12-20 from a festival and taken to northern Iraq.

“I was able to escape somehow three days later,” A.Y. said.

Another former terrorist was picked up from his home in Turkey’s southeastern Mardin province.

“I was taken to a training camp in Iraq. Here, I was trained with roughly 250 other children,” he said.

Others were tricked into joining the group with false promises of monetary benefits.

O.B. in a confession to security forces said that PKK terrorists had promised to provide 2,000 Turkish liras ($330) every month to their families.

At an office of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), H.A. was told by a terrorist they would be “rich” and “comfortable” if they joined the PKK.

Others like B.R. were targeted for refusing to join at first.

“Those who did not take part in these acts were branded as agents and marginalized.

“They [the PKK] did not hesitate to push us into the fire. Many members who were looking to flee the organization during the operations [by security forces] were executed.”

Another former terrorist — forced into the group at 13 — related that children as young as 11 years old were taken to assassin training camps in the Gara region of Iraq.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU — has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people.

UN: 4 million refugee children are out of school

By Fatih Erel

ANKARA (AA) – Four million refugee children do not attend school, an increase of half a million from a year earlier, a UN report warned on Wednesday.

"While the population uprooted by wars and persecution is on the rise worldwide, the numbers of refugee children enrolled in schools is failing to keep pace," a new report by the UN refugee agency, UNHCR said.

According to the UN, there were more than 25.4 million refugees around the world by the end of 2017 while more than half of them were children and among them, 7.4 million were of school age.

Only 61 percent of refugee children attend primary school, compared to 92 percent of children globally, 23 percent of refugee children attend secondary school, compared to 84 percent of children globally, the report said.

"Globally, enrollment in higher education stands at 37 percent, while only one percent of refugees have the same opportunity," the report added.

In a statement, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi said: "Based on current patterns, unless urgent investment is undertaken, hundreds of thousands more children will join these disturbing statistics."