Posts Tagged ‘Israeli soldiers’

Children among dead as Israeli troops fire on Palestinian protesters in Gaza — “War without end”

September 29, 2018

Israeli troops killed seven Palestinians, two of them children, and wounded dozens more in the deadliest day in recent weeks as Gaza’s Hamas rulers stepped up protests along the border fence Friday.

Thousands of Palestinians gathered at five locations along Gaza Strip’s frontier with Israel in response to calls by Hamas, the militant group that has controlled Gaza since seizing it from the Palestinian Authority in 2007.

© Said Khatib, AFP | Palestinian protesters holding national flags run next to burning tyres during clashes along the Israeli border fence, east of Gaza City on September 28, 2018

Two of the dead were children, aged 12 and 14, the Gaza Health Ministry said, adding that all the dead had gunshot wounds. At least 90 other protesters were wounded by live fire, officials said.

Hamas has led weekly protests since March, but accelerated them in recent weeks to near daily events, pressing in large part for an end to a crippling Israeli-Egyptian blockade imposed after Hamas’s violent takeover of Gaza in 2007. Hamas ousted forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in an armed coup.

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Mahmoud Abbas. Credit Mohamad Torokman-Reuters

At the fence, protesters burned dozens of tires, using the thick black smoke as a screen to throw rocks and explosives toward Israeli troops stationed on the opposite side of the fence. The soldiers responded with tear gas and gunfire.

The Israeli military said in a statement that in response to “grenades and explosive devices” hurled at troops during the protests, Israeli aircraft carried out two airstrikes on Hamas militant positions in the Gaza Strip. There were no Israeli casualties reported in Friday’s clashes.

Hamas has led and organized the protests, but turnout has also been driven by growing despair over blockade-linked hardship, including lengthy power cuts and soaring unemployment.

Israeli troops have killed at least 143 Palestinians since protests began in late March, and a Palestinian sniper killed an Israeli soldier in August.

Israel argues it’s defending its border and accuses Hamas of using the protests as a screen for attempts to breach the border fence to attack civilians and soldiers. Human rights groups have accused Israeli troops of excessive and unlawful use of force against unarmed protesters.

Hamas and Israel came to the brink of serious conflict this summer as violence escalated along the border. The two sides attempted to reach an agreement through indirect talks mediated by the United Nations and Egypt to ease tensions in exchange for lifting some restrictions on the economically crippled enclave. But those negotiations have stalled in recent weeks.

Earlier this week, a Hamas official, Sami Abu Zuhri, said the movement would escalate its border protests after the talks failed. He accused Abbas, who governs parts of the West Bank, of disrupting the negotiations.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri

Hamas vowed to continue the marches until the blockade is lifted. It also promised to accelerate protests after Abbas, speaking at the U.N. on Thursday, threatened more measures to force Hamas into surrendering power.

Abbas slashed funding to Gaza and cut salaries of Palestinian Authority employees there to pressure Hamas, making it increasingly difficult for it to govern. Hamas fears Abbas may further reduce funding to health care and other services for Gazans provided by the Palestinian Authority.

Hundreds of Hamas supporters marched in anti-Abbas protests late Thursday, burning his posters after his speech at the U.N.




A child works at a shop across from a poster of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat

U.S. envoy Kushner calls UNRWA corrupt, inefficient, unhelpful for peace

A Palestinian woman takes part in a protest against possible reductions of the services and aid offered by United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), in front of UNRWA headquarters in Gaza City August 16, 2015. (photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMMED SALEM)


Palestinian dies during arrest by Israeli army: officials

September 18, 2018

A Palestinian died after being arrested during a raid in the occupied West Bank overnight, the Israeli army said Tuesday, with his family accusing soldiers of beating him.

The army confirmed the death of Mohammed Khatib, 24, in custody but said he not resisted arrest.

“The army apprehended a Palestinian suspected of hostile activities in Beit Rima during the night,” an army spokeswoman told AFP, referring to a village north of Ramallah in the West Bank.

“He was arrested without violence or resistance from his part. He lost consciousness and was treated by Israeli soldiers at the scene.”

© AFP | Israeli forces, seen here during a drill on August 13, 2018, regularly stage overnight raids to arrest Palestinians in the West Bank

He died later in hospital, she added.

The military did not provide further details on the reasons for his arrest.

Khatib’s brother Bashir told AFP by phone that the army had raided the house in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

“They entered Mohammed’s room while he was sleeping, and they beat him violently and we heard screaming,” he said.

“After a while he went silent, and a soldier carried him out on his back.”

The Palestinian Prisoners Club also said family members had accused the army of beating Khatib.

It said it held Israel responsible for his death.


Gaza treated with contempt by international community

May 21, 2018

What chance Israeli authorities will ever be held accountable for the killings in Gaza? Will there be a proper, independent investigation of what has transpired since March 30, with Israeli soldiers killing 104 Palestinians and injuring 12,600, many with live fire? One Israeli soldier was injured by a stone, but no doubt accountability was already dished out to the perpetrator with a bullet. We may never know.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh delivers a speech on the first Friday of the  Muslim holy month of Ramadan on May 18, 2018, at al-Omary mosque in Gaza City. (AFP/Mohammed Abed)

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh delivers a speech on the first Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on May 18, 2018, at al-Omary mosque in Gaza City. (AFP/Mohammed Abed)

By Chris Doyle
Arab News

Let us start with a credit card. The theft of a cheap, lousy piece of plastic and its use to withdraw $398 was the sole crime the Israeli authorities admitted to during the entire 22 days of the 2008-2009 war on Gaza. The soldier was sentenced to seven-and-a-half months in a military jail. Israeli forces killed 1,383 Palestinians, more than 80 percent of whom were civilians, schools and hospitals were bombed, and white phosphorous was used, but somehow the only crime Israel admitted was petty theft.

Protesters in Gaza running (Reuters/I. Abu Mustafa)

Stealing money from Palestinians seems to be of greater concern than killing them. One Israeli soldier shot dead a 17-year-old Palestinian at a checkpoint north of Jerusalem and he got just a nine-month jail sentence. He did have to pay $14,000 damages to the family. Elor Azaria, who shot a Palestinian in cold blood as he lay on the ground in Hebron, must feel hard done by as he got a sentence, albeit curiously for manslaughter not murder, of 18 months, which was later reduced to 14 and he was released after nine. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not alone in Israel in demanding that Azaria got a full pardon, reflecting the soldier’s near-hero status.

For comparison’s sake, slapping an Israeli soldier — that is, if you are born a Palestinian and are a child — merits eight months in prison, as Ahed Tamimi has discovered.


Gaza is treated with contempt. The world just watches Israel bludgeoning the planet’s largest open-air prison, where life has become nothing more than a struggle for survival, typically on food handouts

Chris Doyle


Settlers are a different category. The Israeli army is effectively the “sovereign power” in the occupied West Bank but protests it cannot arrest Israeli citizens there including settlers. It can arrest a Palestinian child for slapping a soldier but not a settler for killing a Palestinian. The police have to come to arrest an Israeli, if they turn up at all.

According to Israeli human rights group Yesh Din, only 8 percent of ideologically motivated attacks on Palestinians — 94 out of 1,163 cases since 2005 — were investigated. Palestinians are, it says, increasingly reluctant to even file a case, seeing it as a waste of time.

About the only point that Israeli war crimes apologists do have is the lack of accountability elsewhere in the region. To even conceive that Syrian regime figures will be held accountable for the inhumane siege and bombing of Yarmouk refugee camp in south Damascus any time soon is optimism on steroids.

Hamas also has to be held accountable. Did it seek to exploit the Gaza protests, to make them violent and to breach the fence with intent to kill? Maybe, though nothing the Israeli authorities have presented as yet demonstrates there was any imminent threat to life posed to their heavily armed and protected forces. Moreover, Israel has a gilded status of immunity as an ally to the powerful, whereas Hamas is a pariah, sanctioned and isolated. Israel enforces accountability against Hamas leaders largely through dropping bombs on them. Those who enjoy seeing Palestinians killed are all too keen to present Hamas as gospel truth tellers when it claimed 50 out of 62 of those killed last Monday were members of the group. Moral inversion was taken to new depths when a notorious apologist claimed: “Israel’s actions saved the lives of Gazans.”

The increasingly fictional international community is largely inactive on Israeli settler crime and on Israeli soldiers using live fire in the West Bank when there is no imminent threat, as it was after Israel’s four wars on Gaza since 2006. Will it be any different now over the Gaza killings? Gaza is treated with contempt. The world just watches Israel bludgeoning the planet’s largest open-air prison, where life has become nothing more than a struggle for survival, typically on food handouts.

The UN Human Rights Council has announced an independent inquiry. Firstly, it will not be allowed access to Israel or Gaza. Secondly, whatever the findings of the inquiry, they will just be ignored and shrugged off as partisan. The body is too weak, and its failure to hold other states to account undermines its efforts to do the same for Israel. Even so, for countries like Britain to abstain in the vote is yet another act of miserable collusion with Israeli crimes. The US has blocked calls for an investigation into the killings at the UN Security Council, which would have been perhaps the only chance of establishing an investigation that might have been taken seriously.

It begs the question just how far does Israel have to go to get a minor ticking off by the US administration? If Israeli snipers had killed 500, 1,000 or 10,000 Palestinians, would the reaction have been the same? Israeli stooges claim this was a restrained and proportionate action, so good luck to the Palestinians if they are on the end of an unrestrained and disproportionate attack by Israeli forces. The scary thought is what would stop them?


  • Chris Doyle is director of the London-based Council for Arab-British Understanding (CAABU). He has worked with the council since 1993 after graduating with a first class honors degree in Arabic and Islamic Studies at Exeter University. Twitter: @Doylech
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News’ point-of-view

17-year-old Palestinian teenager should have been shot at least in the knee, Israeli deputy says

April 23, 2018

Ahed Tamimi became a hero to Palestinians for standing up to Israel…..

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That girl (Ahed Al-Tamimi) should have been shot at least in the knee, that way she would have been sentenced to house arrest for life,” Israeli deputy Bezalel Smotrich tweeted late Sunday.

The member of Knesset from Jewish Home party drew fire upon the statement, with Meretz deputy Michal Rozin slamming him with a question.

“You should be ashamed of yourself. Last week, Israeli settlers threw stones against Israeli soldiers, were they shot?” he asked.

Ahed Tamimi, 17, became a hero to Palestinians after the Dec 15 incident outside her home in the village of Nabi Saleh was streamed live on Facebook by her mother and went viral.

The teenager, who was detained soon afterwards, is currently serving eight months in prison after serving three months in pretrial detention, and will have to pay a $1,500 fine.

The 17-year-old girl comes from a well-known Palestinian family, which has been quite active in the West Bank protests over the past years. Many of her family members were either killed or detained during Israeli military operations.

Some 356 Palestinian minors were being held by Israeli authorities in detention centers as of the end of February 2016, Israeli human rights group B’Tselem said.

UN calls on Israel to rein in security forces at Gaza border

April 6, 2018

A picture taken on April 6, 2018 from the southern Israeli kibbutz of Nahal Oz across the border from the Gaza strip shows Palestinian men protesting, burning tires. (AFP PHOTO / Jack GUEZ)

A picture taken on April 6, 2018 from the southern Israeli kibbutz of Nahal Oz across the border from the Gaza strip shows Palestinian men protesting, burning tires. (AFP PHOTO / Jack GUEZ)


GENEVA: The UN human rights office urged Israel on Friday to ensure that its security forces do not use excessive force against Palestinian protesters at the Gaza-Israel border.
Firearms should only be used as a last resort, and unjustified recourse to their use may amount to willful killing of civilians, a breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention, UN human rights spokeswoman Elizabeth Throssell told a briefing.
A Palestinian died on Friday of wounds suffered a week ago during protests against Israel along the enclave’s border, health ministry officials said. That raised to 20 the death toll in confrontations with Israeli soldiers that began on March 30.

Campaign urges Israel soldiers to refuse to shoot unarmed Palestinians

April 5, 2018


© AFP | A Palestinian demonstrator throws stones at Israeli soldiers across the border (background) east of Gaza City on March 30, 2018

JERUSALEM (AFP) – A prominent campaign by an Israeli rights group on Thursday urged soldiers to refuse to shoot at unarmed Palestinians as tensions increased ahead of new protests along the Gaza border.The campaign by the B’Tselem NGO, which included advertisements in Israeli newspapers, led Israel’s public security minister to suggest the group should be investigated for calling for sedition.

The calls come after a mass protest along the Gaza border last Friday that led to clashes with Israeli forces, who killed 17 Palestinians. New mass protests are expected again on Friday.

B’Tselem’s campaign included advertisements saying: “Sorry Commander, I cannot shoot.”

“Soldier, rules of engagement that can cause the death of civilians who do not pose a danger to human lives are illegal,” the NGO said.

Israel has pledged to stop attempts to damage the heavily fortified fence on the Gaza border and to prevent illegal infiltrations, including with live fire if necessary.

Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman issued another warning this week, saying those who approach the fence will put “their life in danger”.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan told Israel’s army radio on Thursday that he had asked the attorney general to examine whether B’Tselem should be investigated for “calling for sedition.”

“Concerning rules of engagement, soldiers treat any activity putting Israel’s security in danger as terrorist acts,” he said.

Israel’s use of live fire last week has come under criticism from rights groups, while the European Union and UN chief Antonio Guterres have called for an independent investigation.

Israel has defended its soldiers’ actions, saying they opened fire only when necessary against those throwing stones and firebombs or rolling tyres at soldiers.

It said there were attempts to damage the fence and infiltrate Israel, while alleging there was also an attempted gun attack against soldiers along the border.

Israel accuses Hamas, the Islamist group that runs the Gaza Strip, of using the protests as cover to carry out violence.

Palestinians say protesters were fired on while posing no threat to soldiers.

UN Chief Calls for Independent Investigation Into Palestinian Deaths at Gaza Border

March 31, 2018

Senior UN official: ‘Israel must uphold its responsibilities under international human rights, humanitarian law’ after at least 15 Palestinians killed by Israeli fire

.Protesters run for cover during clashes with Israeli security forces in a demonstration commemorating near Gaza's border with Israel on March 30, 2018.
Protesters run for cover during clashes with Israeli security forces in a demonstration commemorating near Gaza’s border with Israel on March 30, 2018.SAID KHATIB/AFP

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an independent and transparent investigation into the deaths and injuries along Gaza’s border with Israel, his spokesman said in a statement Friday.

At least 16 Palestinians were killed earlier on Friday in clashes along the Gaza-Israel border as 30,000 Gazans participated in the “March of Return,” a series of mass protests slated to continue for weeks.

Organizers of the march said they plan to return to the border fence Saturday in memory of the killed.

The UN Security Council was slated to gather for an emergency meeting after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas asked the organization to provide protection for Palestinian demonstrators.

A senior United Nations official told the Security Council on Friday that the situation in Gaza “might deteriorate in the coming days” and called for civilians, particularly children, not be targeted.

“Israel must uphold its responsibilities under international human rights and humanitarian law. Lethal force should only be used as a last resort with any resulting fatalities properly investigated by the authorities,” UN deputy political affairs chief Taye-Brook Zerihoun said.

According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, 1,416 people were wounded in the clashes: 758 from live fire, 148 from rubber-tipped bullets, 422 from inhaling tear gas and 88 from other causes.

<<Gaza mass protests force Israeli military to maneuver between two contradictory goals | Analysis

In a separate incident, the Israeli military exchanged fire with two armed Palestinians who approached the border fence and opened fire toward Israeli soldiers. The IDF targeted three Hamas positions with tank fire and Israel Air Force fighter jets in response.

The Israeli military declared the area along the border a closed military zone, responding with live ammunition and other riot control methods in hopes of dispersing the protests. The army has also fired artillery at Hamas and Islamic Jihad positions in the Strip.

The “March of Return” marks Land Day, a day Palestinians worldwide have commemorated since 1976, when Israeli security forces shot dead six Israeli Arabs who were protesting the expropriation of Arab-owned land in northern Israel to build Jewish communities. About 100 others were wounded and hundreds were arrested during the protest on March 30 of that year.

Backed by the Hamas government in Gaza, Palestinians have established several tent camps housing thousands near the border. Thousands of Palestinians will camp out near the fence as an extended protest until Nakba Day in mid-May, with weekly demonstrations on Fridays.

Southern Command chief Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir said that Hamas was attempting to carry out attacks under the guise of demonstrations, adding that “We recommend to civilians not to come near [the fence], and warn Hamas that it is responsible for everything that happens in the Gaza Strip with all its consequences.”

Egypt, Jordan and the Arab League condemned Israel for what they termed excessive force against demonstrators. The committee organizing the march appealed to the United Nations and Arab League to establish an international commission of inquiry to investigate what they call Israel’s excessive force against Palestinian demonstrators. They added that demonstrations will continue on Saturday in memory of those killed on Friday.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced that Saturday will be a day of mourning in the Palestinian territories.

The Palestinian casualties, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry and local media, have so far been identified as: Mahmoud Saudi Rachmi, 33, killed by gunfire in eastern Gaza; Jihad Faranh, 34, killed in eastern Gaza; Mohammed Kamal al-Nagar, 25, killed in Jabalia; Mahmoud Abu Maomar, 27, killed during clashes in Rafah; Iyad Abed Al-el; Ahmed Ibrahim Odeh, 19, killed by gunfire in the northern Gaza Strip; Abed al-Qader al-Khawajri, 42; and Abdullah Abu Hajir, 25.

Haaretz reported that a seven-year-old girl was sent to the border fence by Hamas. According to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, the military made sure she was safely returned to her parents.

In a statement, the IDF Spokesman’s Office said “The IDF deployed large numbers of troops in advance and is prepared to act in different scenarios. We will not allow a violation of Israel’s sovereignty or an attack on the infrastructures defending the fence.”



Palestinians Hold Protests Against Backdrop of Crumbling Gaza Economy

March 31, 2018

At least 15 Palestinians are killed in clashes with Israeli forces during demonstrations along the border

GAZA CITY—Tens of thousands of Palestinian protesters massed Friday along the Israeli border, as Western officials warn the economic situation in Gaza is at breaking point, raising the risk of civil unrest or even war.


At least 15 Palestinians died in clashes with the Israeli military and more than 1,000 were injured, Palestinian authorities said. Crowds rolled burning tires and threw stones and fire bombs at Israeli soldiers, the Israeli army said.

Friday’s demonstrations called for a right to return to homes in what is now Israel. But Gaza’s flat-lining economy—battered by fighting, blockades and an intensifying power struggle between Palestinian factions—has further inflamed tensions.

Members of the Palestinian Civil Defense carried a man who was injured during clashes with Israeli security forces on Friday.
Members of the Palestinian Civil Defense carried a man who was injured during clashes with Israeli security forces on Friday. PHOTO: WISSAM NASSAR/DPA/ZUMA PRESS

Growth is near zero, unemployment is 44% and consumer spending has plummeted in this strip of Palestinian territory, sandwiched between Israel and the Mediterranean Sea.

Gazans live with three to six hours of electricity per day due to shortages and more than half of the strip’s nearly two million residents receive food assistance from the United Nations.

The economic situation is so dire that some warn it could lead Gaza’s rulers, the extremist group Hamas, to start a war with Israel. U.S. and Israeli officials believe Hamas started a conflict with Israel in 2014 in part because Israeli and Egyptian officials squeezed the group economically.

Gaza is on the brink of “total institutional and economic collapse,” Nickolay Mladenov, U.N. special coordinator for the Middle East peace process told the Security Council last month. “This is not an alarmist prediction…it is a fact.”

A beggar walked through Al Zawiya market in Gaza last week.
A beggar walked through Al Zawiya market in Gaza last week. PHOTO: WISSAM NASSAR FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Israel strictly limits the flow of goods and people in and out of Gaza. And an internecine struggle between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, on which it depends for funds, has made the situation worse.

The authority’s president, Mahmoud Abbas, last year began cutting salaries of Gaza’s 40,000 doctors, teachers and other public sector employees in a bid to pressure Hamas to surrender control of Gaza’s government. The Palestinian Authority says it plans further reductions.

Business SlumpGaza merchants are making fewer tripsoutside the enclave, reflecting tighter Israeliborder control and fewer economic prospects.Palestinian merchant exits from GazaSource: Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom ofMovement
Dim OutlookA drop in consumer spending and trade isstifling economic growth.Gaza GDP, change from previous yearSource: The World BankNote: 2017 through September

Despite the rift between Hamas and Fatah, both factions blame their economic situation on Israel. Israel jointly manages security with Palestinian forces in the West Bank but remains in conflict with Hamas, which Israeli officials say spends tens of millions of dollars a year on its military.

For Mohammed Sebakhy’s falafel business, the impact of all the economic dislocation has been devastating. Today, he says, he is lucky if he can ring up sales of $50 a day—half the amount he made on an average day last year.

Falafels, fried balls of chickpeas, are ubiquitous in Gaza, where it is one of the most affordable foods, but fewer people can afford to buy even this modest fare. As patrons dwindle, Mr. Sebakhy says he has discounted his falafels, laid off one worker and cut the wages of another.

“We are so down,” said the 24-year-old Mr. Sebakhy, wearing a tattered sweater in his dimly lighted shop. “I don’t know how long we can survive.”

Due to the depressed economy and weak consumer spending, the number of trucks crossing into Gaza from Israel fell to 8,205 in February down from a monthly peak last year of 12,183 in January 2017, according to Tel Aviv-based nonprofit Gisha.

Image result for Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, photos

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh

U.N. and World Bank officials also are now worried that U.S. cuts to refugee body Unrwa to encourage reforms threaten the jobs of thousands of aid workers in the strip.

The organizers of Friday’s protest had planned the event for weeks.

“This is a message to Trump that our people will not give Jerusalem or Palestine,” Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said at the event, referring to the U.S. leader’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. “This march is the beginning of the return to all of Palestine.”

The Al Nada towers in Gaza were destroyed during the last war between Hamas and Israel in 2014.
The Al Nada towers in Gaza were destroyed during the last war between Hamas and Israel in 2014. PHOTO: WISSAM NASSAR FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

More than one million Gazan residents are refugees from the 1948 and 1967 Arab-Israeli wars, according to the U.N. Israel has said that it won’t allow significant numbers of Palestinians to return to Israel as it would threaten the state’s Jewish majority.

Israeli officials this week became increasingly concerned about the scale of the protest, deploying troops to the border and warning Gazans that soldiers would use live fire on those breaching the security fence.

“To Gaza inhabitants, Hamas is gambling with your lives,” Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman tweeted in Arabic on Friday. “You go close to the fence, you put your life in danger.”

International pledges amounting to $3.5 billion to reconstruct the strip began boosting the economy in 2015 and 2016, but delivery of that cash slowed last year, according to the World Bank. Aid for reconstruction fell to $55 million last year from $400 million in 2016, while donors until this month had disbursed only $1.88 billion of the total pledges, the bank says.

Mr. Abbas and Hamas have been in talks on returning control of the strip to the Palestinian Authority, which is dominated by the Fatah party, but negotiations broke down in recent weeks over a refusal by Hamas to disarm its militant wing.

Mohammed Sebakhy’s falafel business in Gaza has been devastated by the deteriorated economy.
Mohammed Sebakhy’s falafel business in Gaza has been devastated by the deteriorated economy. PHOTO:WISSAM NASSAR FOR THE WALL STREE

With talks stalled, some analysts say Hamas is likely to continue to promote armed resistance against Israel, even as it redirects some income from arms procurement to support the economy and govern Gaza.

Hamas “will continue in investing money and resources in their military capabilities,” said Kobi Michael, senior research fellow at the Tel Aviv-based Institute for National Security Studies. “They haven’t neglected the idea of armed resistance against Israel.”

Hazem Qassem, a Hamas spokesman, said the group doesn’t want a war with Israel but that the economic situation could lead to an explosion of anger among Gazans. A spokesman for Mr. Abbas didn’t respond to a request for comment.

With the prospect of another conflict looming, Israeli and U.S. officials are scrambling for ways to ease strains on the strip. White House adviser to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Jason Greenblatt, convened a meeting earlier this month in Washington with Israel and 20 international donor states and discussed potential aid projects.

Palestinian children played outside their home in a refugee camp during a power cut. Power outages happen regularly in Gaza.
Palestinian children played outside their home in a refugee camp during a power cut. Power outages happen regularly in Gaza. PHOTO: WISSAM NASSAR/XINHUA/ZUMA PRESS

“Israel is trying to facilitate international aid to avoid an escalation in violence and keep stability in the area,” an Israeli official said.

For ordinary Gazans, the threat of conflict takes a back seat to finding enough cash to eat. Mr. Sebakhy, the falafel vendor, said Friday he didn’t plan to go down to the demonstration.

“It is dangerous there,” he said. “And I can’t leave my shop.”

One of his customers owes him 400 shekels for the past few months. And one family in this neighborhood stopped walking past his shop as they are too ashamed to owe him money, he said.

“I can’t be here knowing there’s a family that can’t afford breakfast or dinner,” Mr. Sebakhy said. “I’d love to see people getting paid again.”

Israeli security forces stood on a hill as a Palestinian man waved the national flag during the demonstration on Friday.
Israeli security forces stood on a hill as a Palestinian man waved the national flag during the demonstration on Friday. PHOTO: JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

Write to Rory Jones at

Appeared in the March 31, 2018, print edition as ‘Palestinians Protest, as Gaza Woes Mount.’



Two Israeli Soldiers Killed in West Bank Car-ramming Attack — Islamic Jihad: “These are legitimate acts by the Palestinian people, meant to defend themselves and their lands and their holy sites.”

March 17, 2018


ourth soldier moderately wounded ■ Driver questioned at the scene ■ Hamas says attack comes 100 days after Trump’s Jerusalem recognition

.A member of the Israeli security forces stands next to the destroyed vehicle that was used by a Palestinian assailant in a car-ramming attack, West Bank, March 16, 2018.
A member of the Israeli security forces stands next to the destroyed vehicle that was used by a Palestinian assailant in a car-ramming attack, West Bank, March 16, 2018.JACK GUEZ/AFP

Two Israeli soldiers were killed and two others were wounded Friday in a car-ramming attack near the West Bank settlement of Reihan.

The victims were taken to Petah Tikva’s Beilinson Hospital by helicopter. According to the hospital, one of the wounded soldiers suffered a head injury and is in critical condition, while the fourth victim sustained moderate wounds.

The attacker, Ala Rateb Abd al-Latif Kabha

The attacker, Ala Rateb Abd al-Latif Kabha

According to the Israeli military, the deadly incident was a terror attack deliberately targeting soldiers. The driver, Ala Rateb Abd al-Latif Kabha, who has served a prison sentence for security felonies, was arrested and questioned at the scene. He sustained light to moderate injuries and was taken to a hospital near Hadera.

Kabha, 27, is a resident of the town of Barta’a, which straddles the Green Line. Kabha was discharged in April 2017 after serving a 17-month prison term. The Shin Bet said he has been taken in for interrogation.

Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the coordinator of government activities in the territories, has ordered the immediate suspension of work permits for Kabha’s family, which has 67 work permits in Israel and 26 commerce permits.

A relative told Haaretz that Kabha is a house painter. “He came to Jenin to purchase paint and was on his way home. He’s not politically affiliated or a part of any organization. We believe this is an unfortunate accident and not a terrorist attack, as they claim,” the relative said.

In a statement, Hamas stopped short of claiming responsibility for the attack but noted that the car ramming happened exactly 100 days after U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

One of the wounded arrives at Bellinson hospital, March 16, 2018
One of the wounded arrives at Bellinson hospital, March 16, 2018Nir Keidar
Snapshot of a video from the scene
Snapshot of a video from the sceneMDA Israel Spokesperson

Islamic Jihad stated that they “commend the continued intensification of attacks against the occupation’s soldiers and settlers. These are legitimate acts by the Palestinian people, meant to defend themselves and their lands and their holy sites.”

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, writing on his Twitter account, condemned the attack as an act of terrorism supported by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and promised that “we will act” for the destruction of the terrorist’s home and the punishment of all those who aided him.

Earlier this month, an Israeli Border Police officer and two soldiers were lightly wounded in two separate car-ramming attacks in the northern Israeli city of Acre. The driver was shot by a witness and was hospitalized in critical condition.

Palestinians Killed By Israelis in Gaza flare-up after soldiers were wounded by an explosive device

February 18, 2018



Israeli soldiers and border police stand guard as Israeli hydraulic shovels demolish a Palestinian building near road 35, north of the occupied West Bank city of Hebron in the so-called “Area C” on February 14, 2018. (Hazem Bader/AFP)

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories: Two Palestinians were killed by Israeli army fire in Gaza in a flare-up after soldiers were wounded by an explosive device along the Palestinian enclave’s border, Gaza medical sources said Sunday.

The fatalities were identified by the Gaza health ministry as Salam Sabah and Abdullah Abu Sheikha, both 17, who were killed during a strike east of Rafah in southern Gaza.

According to Palestinian eye witnesses, the two were killed by shots near the border.

The Israeli army said that its forces had fired “warning shots” at a number of Palestinians approaching the border fence “in a suspicious manner.”

Their death comes after Israel launched a series of air strikes targeting 18 “terror targets belonging to Hamas” in Gaza, after the explosive device wounded soldiers and a projectile from Gaza hit in an Israeli border town.