UPDATE – Dozens of Palestinians hurt in West Bank clashes

UPDATES WITH INJURIES IN ISRAELI RAID

By Qais Abu Samra

NABLUS, West Bank (AA) – Dozens of Palestinians suffered a temporary asphyxiation from teargas canisters fired by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank on Monday, according to a local Palestinian official.

Israeli forces used teargas bombs and rubber bullets to disperse Palestinians, who gathered to prevent settlers from attacking their property in the village of Urif, south of Nablus, Mazen Shehada, chief of the village’s local council, said.

“Dozens of Israeli settlers stormed the village and hurled stones on Palestinian homes and a school in the area,” he said.

According to Shehada, Israeli forces provided protection to the settlers, triggering clashes with Palestinian villagers.

There was no comment from the Israeli military on the claim.

Last week, Israeli settlers vandalized a Palestinian vehicle in a suspected “price tag” attack in the same village.

Meanwhile, four Palestinians were injured by Israeli army fire during a raid in the town of Deir Abu Mashaal, west of Ramallah, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

The ministry said one of the injured Palestinians was in a serious condition.

The injuries occurred during clashes that erupted between Palestinian youths and Israeli forces during a dawn raid in the town.

Israeli forces used live ammunition, rubber bullets and teargas canisters to disperse angry Palestinians, according to local residents.

The Israeli army frequently carries out wide-ranging arrest campaigns across the occupied West Bank on the pretext of searching for “wanted” Palestinians.

According to Palestinian figures, more than 700,000 Jewish settlers now live on 196 settlements (built with the Israeli government’s approval) and more than 200 settler outposts (built without its approval) across the occupied West Bank.

International law views the West Bank and East Jerusalem as "occupied territories" and considers all Jewish settlement-building activity on the land to be illegal.

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Israel rounds up 22 Palestinians in West Bank raids

By Abdelraouf Arnaout

JERUSALEM, Palestine (AA) – Israeli forces detained 22 Palestinians in overnight raids across the occupied West Bank, according to the Israeli military on Monday.

The individuals were arrested for “suspected involvement in popular terrorist activities”, the army said in a statement, without elaborating on the nature of these activities.

The Israeli army frequently carries out wide-ranging arrest campaigns across the occupied West Bank on the pretext of searching for “wanted” Palestinians.

According to Palestinian figures, some 6,500 Palestinians continue to languish in Israeli detention facilities, including scores of women and hundreds of minors.

Dozens of Palestinians hurt in West Bank clashes

By Qais Abu Samra

NABLUS, West Bank (AA) – Dozens of Palestinians suffered a temporary asphyxiation from teargas canisters fired by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank on Monday, according to a local Palestinian official.

Israeli forces used teargas and rubber bullets to disperse Palestinians, who gathered to prevent settlers from attacking their property in the village of Urif, south of Nablus, Mazen Shehada, chief of the village’s local council, said.

“Dozens of Israeli settlers stormed the village and hurled stones on Palestinian homes and a school in the area,” he said.

According to Shehada, Israeli forces provided protection to the settlers, triggering clashes with Palestinian villagers.

There was no comment from the Israeli military on the claim.

Last week, Israeli settlers vandalized a Palestinian vehicle in a suspected “price tag” attack in the same village.

According to Palestinian figures, more than 700,000 Jewish settlers now live on 196 settlements (built with the Israeli government’s approval) and more than 200 settler outposts (built without its approval) across the occupied West Bank.

International law views the West Bank and East Jerusalem as "occupied territories" and considers all Jewish settlement-building activity on the land to be illegal.

Siege of Gaza shames humanity: Former top EP official

By Jeyhun Aliyev

ISTANBUL (AA) – Israel’s blockade of Gaza is truly a “shame for humanity,” according to a former top European Union official.

“Israel is committing crimes every day, and it should be brought to the International Court of Justice because of its over 50-year occupation of the 1967 territories,” Luisa Morgantini, former vice president of the European Parliament, told Anadolu Agency in an interview.

Morgantini said she really hopes the international community will be able to reach a truce and stop the “slaughter” of people in Gaza.

“It is not a victory when you see people are dying as they die in Gaza, when you see all the houses have been destroyed,” she stressed.

The current situation is a “shame for the international community,” which allows Israel to always play the role of victim and not be held accountable for its actions, she argued.

She said she hopes the international community can change its approach and try to understand the Palestinian needs, which would serve the cause of freedom and justice.

“I really think it is necessary for Palestinians to be united to not allow Israel to play the game of dividing them from each other,” stressed Morgantini, who spent a decade — 1999-2009 — as European Parliament vice president.

Israel society is growing more and more nationalistic, racist, and apartheid-like, she said.

“Palestine is unique and it should be united,” she said, adding that this is the responsibility of everybody — not only the international community, but also the Palestinians themselves.

– Netanyahu ‘worst thing for both sides’

Morgantini decried the “very bad role” of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Mideast quandary, saying: “I think that Netanyahu is the worst thing that happened to both: Israel and the Palestinians.”

She said she is not sure if Netanyahu stepping down would improve the situation, but that the international community should intervene, arguing: “Enough is enough, it is time for the Palestinians to be free.”

She said the international community should also give voice to Israelis who are opposed to colonization, and who say “occupation kills all of us.”

Palestine protesters hurt near Gaza-Israel buffer zone

By Safiye Karabacak

GAZA CITY/RAMALLAH, Palestine (AA) – Dozens of Palestinians were injured on Friday while taking part in ongoing rallies along the Gaza-Israel buffer zone, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry.

In a statement, ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said that 40 demonstrators had been hurt — including three in critical condition — by Israeli troops deployed along the other side of the buffer zone.

Protesters demand the right to return to their homes in historical Palestine, from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.

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 more than two million inhabitants of many basic commodities.

Since the Gaza rallies began on March 30, more than 210 Palestinians have been martyred — and thousands more injured — by Israeli army gunfire and teargas.

In a related development, several Palestinians were injured by Israeli troops while taking part in anti-settlement demonstrations in the occupied West Bank, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent (PRC).

In a statement, the PRC said three Palestinians had been wounded by rubber bullets while taking part in protests in the village of Ras Karkar near Ramallah and the village of Kafr Qadum near the city of Tulkarm.

Dozens of other Palestinians suffered teargas inhalation after being dispersed by Israeli forces in the village of Bilin west of Bethlehem, the PRC added.

According to Palestinian figures, more than 700,000 Israeli Jews live on 196 settlements (built with the Israeli government’s approval) and more than 200 settler outposts (built without government approval) across the occupied West Bank.

International law views the West Bank and East Jerusalem as "occupied territories" and considers all Jewish settlement-building activity there as illegal.

Settlers vandalize Palestinian vehicle in West Bank

RAMALLAH, Palestine (AA) – Israeli settlers vandalized a Palestinian vehicle in a suspected “price tag” attack in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on Wednesday, according to a local Palestinian official.

“Settlers attacked the car in the village of Urif, south of Nablus, and sprayed racist slogans on it,” Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official responsible for tracking Israeli settlement activity in the area, told Anadolu Agency.

He said settlers have recently stepped up their attacks as Palestinian farmers began to harvest their olive crops.

"Price tag" vandalism is a strategy used by extremist Jewish settlers to attack Palestinians and their property in retaliation for perceived threats to Israeli settlement expansion.

According to Palestinian figures, more than 700,000 Jewish settlers now live on 196 settlements (built with the Israeli government’s approval) and more than 200 settler outposts (built without its approval) across the occupied West Bank.

International law views the West Bank and East Jerusalem as "occupied territories" and considers all Jewish settlement-building activity on the land to be illegal.

Kuwait, Bolivia call for urgent UNSC meeting on Gaza

By Umar Farooq

WASHINGTON (AA) – Kuwait and Bolivia requested an urgent meeting of UN Security Council to discuss the heightened violence in Gaza, according to diplomatic sources.

The Security Council is expected to discuss the matter behind-closed doors on Tuesday.

The request comes amid a ceasefire between Palestinian resistance factions and Israel, following a recent outbreak of military escalations.

Since Sunday, at least 14 Palestinians have been martyred — by Israeli airstrikes and artillery — across the blockaded Gaza Strip.

Germany fails to condemn Israel’s aggression in Gaza

BERLIN (AA) – Germany has urged maximum restraint in Gaza on Tuesday, but failed to condemn Israel’s recent military airstrikes that martyred at least six Palestinians.

“Any further escalation must be avoided. We are calling for maximum restraint and an end to the violence,” German Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding that Israel “has the right to defend its security”.

At least six Palestinians were martyred in renewed Israeli attacks in Gaza since Monday. The Israeli army said the attacks came in response to rocket fire from the Palestinian territory.

German Foreign Ministry voiced support for efforts by the UN, Egypt and other countries to achieve de-escalation in the region.

On Sunday, seven Palestinians and an Israeli soldier were killed in an undercover Israeli operation in the Gaza Strip.

Since March, more than 200 Palestinians have been martyred and thousands more injured by Israeli army fire during protests demanding the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their ancestral home in what is now Israel.

Turkey urges Israel to end attacks on Gazans

By Enes Kaplan

ANKARA (AA) – Turkey’s presidential spokesperson on Tuesday called on Israel to stop its attacks on Gazans and the international community to take responsibility in response to Israel's recent attacks.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency in the capital Ankara, Ibrahim Kalin said: “These attacks have once more shown Israel’s unlawful, tyrant and occupant stance.”

“These attacks on the Gazan people should be immediately stopped. The international community, which has kept silent over Israeli attacks, should take responsibility and act," he said.

Five Palestinians were martyred in renewed Israeli attacks in Gaza on Tuesday and Monday following rocket fire from the seaside territory. The Israeli army said more than 20 people were injured by rocket fire.

Monday’s attacks came one day after seven Palestinians and an Israeli soldier were killed in an undercover Israeli operation in the blockaded enclave.

Since March, more than 200 Palestinians have been martyred and thousands more injured by Israeli army fire during protests demanding the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their ancestral home in what is now Israel.

Thousands of Palestinians protest social security law

By Mohamed Abdullah

RAMALLAH (AA) – Thousands of Palestinians staged a sit-in outside the government headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Monday to protest a controversial social security law.

The law came into force earlier this month, with the Ramallah-based government unveiling a timetable for enforcing the legislation on all firms.

Protesters called for scrapping the legislation and for the resignation of Labor Minister Mamoun Abu Shahla.

Monday’s sit-in is the third by Palestinian protesters against the controversial law in the past four months.

The law calls for deducting 7.2 percent of private-sector employees’ monthly salaries for a social-security fund (which employers would also be expected to pay into) and setting the national retirement age — for both men and women — at 60 years.

The law was not approved by the Palestinian Legislative Council (parliament), which has remained largely non-functional since 2007 due to fundamental political differences between Hamas (which runs the Gaza Strip) and Fatah (which controls the West Bank-based Palestinian government).