Ma'an News Agency
Israeli court upholds force-feeding hunger strikers
The Israeli Supreme Court ruled on Sept. 11 that a law that permits force feeding hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners is constitutional, rejecting petitions filed last year by the Israel Medical Association (IMA) and by several human rights groups who argued the law contravened medical law and ethics regarding patients’ rights. The ruling comes after three Palestinian prisoners detained without charge by Israel have continued their hunger strikes for more than 60 days, despite each of their medical conditions having seriously deteriorated.
Palestinians recall 1969 al-Aqsa arson attack
Palestinians on Aug. 21 commemorated the 47th anniversary of an arson attack on al-Aqsa Mosque, with Palestinian officials emphasizing that the Muslim holy site is still under threat today. On Aug. 21, 1969, an Australian Christian fundamentalist set fire to a pulpit in al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem, aiming to bring about the second coming of Jesus Christ. In a press conference, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Sheikh Muhammad Hussein said that Israeli violations, which include detaining and killing Palestinians in al-Aqsa compound, allowing Israeli extremists to storm al-Aqsa, and demolishing Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem, were "another type of fire which keeps burning the al-Aqsa mosque and the city of Jerusalem, and has been burning for 47 years."
Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike again
A mass hunger strike across Israeli prisons continued on July 23 in protest of Israel's detention of Palestinians without charge or trial. At least 48 Palestinian prisoners now participating in the open hunger strike in support of hunger-striking prisoners Bilal Kayid and brothers Muhammad and Mahmud al-Balboul, according to a statement released by the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners' Affairs. The committee said in a statement that solidarity hunger strikes are continuing to put pressure on the Israeli prison administration and government to comply with the demands of the striking prisoners and to end Israel’s controversial policy of administrative detention—internment without charge or trial based on undisclosed evidence almost exclusively used against Palestinian detainees.
Dozens of Palestinians detained in East Jerusalem
Israeli forces detained 10 Palestinians, including a journalist, in overnight raids July 2 in occupied East Jerusalem, amid increasing tension on the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City. Head of the Jerusalem Committee for Families of Prisoners, Amjad Abu Asab, told Ma'an News Agency that Israeli police detained 10 Palestinians, nine of whom were from the Old City. Two Old City residents were identified as former prisoners Ahmad Ghazala and Laith Shalabi. Israeli forces also detained journalist Amjad Arafah after raiding his house in Ras al-Amoud southeast of the Old City. Arafah was called for interrogation and released, only to be detained again on July 3. Israeli spokesperson Luba al-Samri confirmed in a statement that morning that nine Palestinians had been detained overnight in Jerusalem in connection with "disturbing order" and throwing stones in the al-Aqsa Mosque compound as well as in the Silwan neighborhood south of the Old City. She added that some of the Palestinians had been detained for suspected involvement in an assault of an Israeli police officer Saturday night at Damascus Gate, an entrance to the Old City, where the al-Aqsa compound is located.
Israel implements full closure on West Bank, Gaza
Israeli authorities implemented a full closure on the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip on June 10, adding to a long line of punitive measures that have been carried out since the deadly attack in Tel Aviv two days earlier. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that all passages to the West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip would be sealed until Monday June 13 at midnight after an army "situation assessment," with the exception of humanitarian and medical cases. However, the spokesperson said Palestinians from the West Bank with permits to attend Friday prayers at the al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem would be allowed passage. The sealing of the West Bank and Gaza is one of several punitive orders that have been implemented by the Israeli government following an attack in Tel Aviv that left four Israelis killed and another six wounded.
ICC receives report on Israeli war crimes in Gaza
In ongoing efforts to hold Israel accountable for gross violations of international law, Palestinian legal rights group Badil has published key findings on alleged war crimes during the 2014 Gaza war that the group submitted to the International Criminal Court earlier this month. The report documents in detail the accounts of Palestinian victims of Israel's large-scale military offensive on the besieged enclave and charges high-level Israeli officials with war crimes and crimes against humanity. In the report, "No Safe Place" (PDF), Badil focused in particular on Israel's mass forced displacement of some half-a-million Palestinians at the height of hostilities, around 28% of Gaza's population.
Israeli forces demolish school in Bedouin community
Israeli forces on Feb. 21 demolished a Bedouin school for children in the Abu al-Nuwaar community near the town of al-Eizariya in the occupied West Bank, a spokesperson for the al-Jahalin Bedouin community said. Atallah al-Jahalin told Ma'an News Agency that Israeli forces, accompanied by 30 vehicles and a delegation from Israeli's Civil Administration, raided the area and destroyed the sole school in the community. Residents said Israeli forces told them the school was demolished because concrete structures were forbidden in the area. The Israeli forces also reportedly seized the contents of the school. Al-Jahalin added that Israeli forces briefly detained two youths who were protesting the demolition, both of whom were released after the demolition. After the demolition, primary students held a "sit-in" where the school once stood while wearing their uniforms and holding school books in protest.
Palestinian fugitive 'assassinated' in Bulgaria
Escaped Palestinian prisoner Omar al-Nayif was found dead inside the headquarters of the Palestinian embassy in Bulgaria on Feb. 26, in what senior Palestinian officials and his family say was an "assassination" carried out by Israel. Nayif, a 52-year-old man from Jenin, had been living in Bulgaria for years, but late last year sought refuge in the Palestinian embassy after Israel demanded his extradition so he could see out a life sentence over the killing of an Israeli settler. Palestinian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Taysir Jaradat told Ma'an News Agency that embassy staff found Nayif lying in the embassy's garden covered in blood. He was rushed to hospital but died en route.
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