UN’s Mideast Envoy Nickolay Mladenov Blasts israel Over Gaza Deaths: ‘Stop Shooting at Children



Jerusalem (CNN)UN Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov expressed anger over the killing of a teenage boy in Gaza on Friday during protests along the Israel-Gaza border.

Israeli forces killed Mohammed Ayyoub, 15, near Jabaliya in northern Gaza during demonstrations there, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
“It is OUTRAGEOUS to shoot at children! How does the killing of a child in Gaza today help peace?” Mladenov said on Twitter. “It doesn’t! It fuels anger and breeds more killing. Children must be protected from violence, not exposed to it, not killed! This tragic incident must be investigated,” Mladenov tweeted.
Ayyoub was among four Palestinians killed on Friday. Ahmad Abu Aqel, 25, and Ahmad al-Athamneh, 24, were shot and killed near Jabaliya. Saad Abd al-Majid Abd Aal, 29, was killed east of Khan Younis in southern Gaza.
In addition, the Palestinian Ministry of Health reports treating 729 people with injuries, of which, it says, 156 were the result of live ammunition fire.
In the statement, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said protesters had burned tires and flown kites — with what the statement described as burning items attached — over the border.
This is the fourth straight Friday that Palestinians have participated in the “March of Return” along the border fence with Israel.
They are calling for an end to Israel’s blockade of the territory and say they want to highlight their right to return to lands where their families once lived, in what is now Israel.
Since the protests began, thousands of Palestinians have been injured and 39 have been killed, according to a CNN count, based on figures from the Palestinian Health Ministry.
No Israelis have been killed or injured.
Israel says Hamas is playing a leading role in the protests. Early Friday, the IDF dropped leaflets over parts of Gaza, in which it accused the militant group of exploiting the protests to pursue its own interests.
The Israeli military has accused some demonstrators of trying to cut through the fence and enter Israel, and has warned that anyone who tries to do so will be shot.
In its statement, the IDF reiterated the military’s position that troops respond with riot dispersal means and fire in accordance with the rules of engagement.
Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee, said earlier this month that the Israeli military’s responses were “unlawful violations of international law and international humanitarian law.”
The UN Security Council has repeatedly failed to pass a draft statement condemning the violence

Vicious, evil bastards: On Land Day, israeli forces kill 14 Palestinians, injure hundreds more in Gaza #enoughisenough

On Land Day, Israeli forces kill 14 Palestinians, injure hundreds more in Gaza

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israeli forces shot dead 14 Palestinians and injured over a 1,000 more along the Gaza border on Friday, as thousands of Palestinians demonstrated in “The Great March of Return” on the 42nd anniversary of Land Day.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza confirmed that 14 Palestinians were killed on Friday. They were identified as:

  1. Mohammad Kamel Najjar
  2. Wahid Nasrallah Abu Samour
  3. Mahmoud Abu Muammar
  4. Mohammad Abu Amro
  5. Amhad Ibrahim Odah
  6. Jihad Farina
  7. Mahmoud Rahmi
  8. Ibrahim Abu Shaer
  9. Abd al-Fattah Bahjat Abd al-Nabi
  10. Abd al-Qader al-Hawajri
  11. Sari Walid Abu Odah
  12. Hamdan Ismail Abu Amsha
  13. Omar Samour
  14. Bader Fayek al-Sabbagh

The ministry added that 1,272 Palestinians were injured. While the majority suffered from severe tear-gas inhalation, tens of Palestinians were injured with live ammunition, some critically. The ministry called on Palestinians across Gaza to donate blood at hospitals.

Leading up to the march, the Israeli army released a statement saying it had declared the border area along Gaza a “closed military zone,” meaning that any Palestinian who got close to the border fence could risk getting shot.
The Israeli army released statements on Twitter describing the protests as “violent riots.”
“17,000 Palestinians are rioting in 5 locations along the Gaza Strip security fence. The rioters are rolling burning tires and hurling firebombs & rocks at the security fence & IDF troops, who are responding w riot dispersal means and firing towards main instigators,” the statement said.
Despite the Israeli army’s claims, Palestinian activists and leaders in the Gaza Strip have maintained that the “March of Return” was organized as a massive non-violent, weeks-long protest advocating for the return of Palestinian refugees to their original homelands in historic Palestine, now present day Israel.
Leading up to Friday, the first official day of the march — which will continue until the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, or catastrophe, in May — Palestinians set up tents along the border with Gaza, where protesters plan to stay until the Nakba anniversary.

The Blood of Gaza Will Be on the Hands of Mahmoud Abbas in israel’s Next Attack

BY Robert Inlakesh

54 patients died waiting for israel to let them out of Gaza. Their treatment would have been better had they been ISIS terrorists


Cancer patients take part in a December 2016 protest in Gaza City demanding that they be allowed to travel for treatment. In 2017, 54 patients died in Gaza after Israel denied or delayed such permits, the majority of them cancer patients.

Mohammed Asad APA images

Fifty-four Palestinians died last year waiting for Israeli permits to leave the Gaza Strip for medical treatment.

One of them was Faten Ahmed, a 26-year-old with a rare form of cancer. She died in August while awaiting an Israeli permit to travel for chemotherapy and radiotherapy not available in Gaza.

She had previously missed eight hospital appointments after Israeli “security approval” was delayed or denied, according to the World Health Organization.

Ahmed was one of five women who died from cancer in that month alone waiting for Israeli permission that never came.

Overall, 46 of those who died last year waiting for permits were cancer patients.

Shocking number of deaths

This staggering toll highlights the lethal impact of Israel’s ever-tightening siege on the two million people who live in Gaza.

“We’re seeing Israel increasingly deny or delay access to potentially life-saving cancer and other treatment outside Gaza, with shockingly high numbers of Palestinian patients subsequently dying, while Gaza’s healthcare system – subjected to half a century of occupation and a decade of blockade – is decreasingly able to meet the needs of its population,” Aimee Shalan, CEO of Medical Aid for Palestinians, said on Tuesday.

Her charity, along with Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights and Physicians for Human Rights Israel, has issued an urgent call on Israel to “lift the unlawful sweeping restrictions on the freedom of movement of people from Gaza, most critically those with significant health problems.”

In 2017 Israeli occupation authorities approved just 54 percent of applications for permits to leave Gaza for medical appointments, the lowest rate since the World Health Organization began collecting data in 2008.

Israel has dramatically tightened the deadly squeeze; its approval rate for permits fell from 92 percent in 2012 to 82 percent in 2014 and then 62 percent in 2016, before hitting its lowest point last year.

The health and human rights groups note that the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross have declared Israel’s land, sea and air blockade on Gaza, preventing the movement of its population, to be “collective punishment” – a war crime.

“Palestinians from Gaza missed at least 11,000 scheduled medical appointments in 2017 after Israeli authorities denied or failed to respond in time to applications for permits,” the groups state.

Egypt and Palestinian Authority complicit

The groups also note that Egypt and the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority played a role in worsening the situation: “Egypt has kept the Rafah crossing mostly closed for the population in Gaza since 2013, which contributed to restricting access to health care.”

“As a state bordering a territory with a protracted humanitarian crisis, Egypt should facilitate humanitarian access for the population,” they state. “Nevertheless, ultimate responsibility remains with Israel, the occupying power.”

The Palestinian Authority also sharply reduced its financial approvals for medical treatment outside Gaza as part of its sanctions aimed at forcing Hamas to hand over control of the governance of Gaza.

These PA restrictions resulted in at least one death, according to the groups. But medical authorities in Gaza have said that more than a dozen people, including a 3-year-old girl with a heart condition, died waiting for payment approval from Ramallah.

All of this comes amid the protracted siege-induced crisis which has brought the collapse of key parts of the health system.

“Amid widespread poverty and unemployment, at least 10 percent of young children are stunted by chronic malnutrition, up to half of all medicines and medical items in Gaza are completely depleted or below one month’s supply, and chronic electricity shortages have caused officials to cut health and other essential services,” the human rights and medical groups state.

End the siege

Earlier this month, hospitals in Gaza began shutting down as emergency generators ran out of fuel, forcing the postponement of hundreds of operations.

On Wednesday, RT posted this report from Gaza about the plight of cancer patients. Correspondent Anya Parampil spoke to Zakia Tafish whose husband Jamil died after he was repeatedly blocked from traveling to Jerusalem for surgery.

The channel also aired a report about the worsening situation in the territory’s hospitals.

Following UN warnings of looming catastrophe, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates last week pledged $11 million in short-term funding to stave off an even worse catastrophe for another few months.

However, as the human rights groups note, there is no long-term solution but to end the siege.

“The Israeli government’s restrictions on movement are directly connected to patient deaths and compounded suffering as ill patients seek permits,” Al Mezan director Issam Younis said.

“These practices form part of the closure and permit regime that prevents patients from a life of dignity, and violates the right to life.”

The UK-based Medical Aid for Palestinians is calling on the public to contact lawmakers in the British parliament and “ask them to urge the UK government to take action and save lives in Gaza.”


Gaza: A Concentration Camp of 1.5 Million People


By Jean Shaoul,

Israel mounts fresh military assault on Gaza

Israeli forces attacked 18 targets in the Gaza Strip belonging to Hamas, which controls the besieged enclave, in the second such action over the weekend.

The strikes followed an explosion during a demonstration of Palestinians on the southern border with Israel Saturday that injured four Israeli soldiers. The Israeli military shot and killed two Palestinian teenagers in response. It was the worst such border incident since Israel’s war against Gaza in 2014 and portends a broader offensive.

None of the militant groups in Gaza has claimed responsibility for the explosion. Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman accused the Popular Resistance Committees, one of the smaller armed groups in Gaza, of detonating the bomb. Nevertheless, as always Israel holds Hamas, the Islamist national bourgeois party that controls Gaza, responsible for the attack.

For months, there have been almost weekly demonstrations against Israel’s blockade of Gaza and the deteriorating economic conditions. Last December, tensions rose after US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Earlier this year, Gaza’s traders closed in protest over the deteriorating situation.

Israel’s Army Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot warned the cabinet recently that tensions were rising due to the worsening humanitarian crisis, that demonstrations were increasing in size and that an incident along the fence could spark an escalation of hostilities. His purpose was to get cabinet approval for harsh measures to deal with the crisis in the face of Gaza’s economic collapse.

Conditions in Gaza, a narrow coastal strip on the Egyptian-Israeli border, after 11 years of living under a land, sea and air blockade, are hellish.

Last year, a United Nations report stated that the living conditions for two million Palestinians had deteriorated “further and faster” than the prediction made in 2012 that the enclave would become “unlivable” by 2020. Large numbers of people are destitute. Forty-six percent of the population are without work. Sixty five percent live on $1.90 or less a day. This collapse in purchasing power has led to a huge drop in the number of trucks entering Gaza with food and equipment—from 800-1,200 a day to just 300.

Power shortages mean that most Palestinians are lucky if they get four hours of electricity a day. There is not enough power to pump sewage, so 95 percent of Gaza’s drinking water is not fit to drink. The coastal aquifer is almost unusable and will soon be irreversibly-depleted unless remedial action is taken.

The health system is collapsing, medical supplies are dwindling and clinics are closing, causing untold suffering and unnecessary deaths. Unable to get treatment in Gaza for complicated or chronic medical problems, many seek treatment in Egypt, Israel, the West Bank or Jordan. Yet last year, Israel granted just 54 percent of 25,000 applications for travel permits in time for patients to attend their scheduled appointments, down from 92 percent in 2012. As a result, at least 54 people died in 2017 waiting for visas.

Children are in school for just four hours a day.

There is no escape from this open-air prison. Israel has surrounded the Gaza Strip with a high-tech barrier and spent almost $1 billion building an underground-barrier project to seal its border to the attack tunnels into Israel. It controls two of the three exit points, while Egypt controls the third. Last year, Israel issued one-third of the number of exit visas issued two years earlier and just one percent of the number in early 2000. Movement between the two Palestinian territories, Gaza and the West Bank, in either direction is all but impossible.

The economic and social plight of the two million Palestinians living in the tiny enclave has been dire ever since Israel, with the full support of the US, European Union and the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority (PA)—particularly since 2013—imposed a blockade on Gaza. Jordan, by imposing strict transit conditions on Gazans, and Egypt, which controls the Rafah crossing, have played a key role in the siege.

The siege of Gaza was mounted following the unexpected victory of Hamas over Fatah in the January 2006 elections which the major powers had intended as a means of strengthening the hand of Mahmoud Abbas, Fatah leader and PA President. Winning 44 percent of the vote in the West Bank and Gaza, compared to Fatah’s 41 percent, Hamas took 74 of the 132-seat Palestinian Legislative Council.

Hamas’ election victory was the result of widespread disgust at Fatah’s corruption and subservience to Israel. The Oslo Accords, which Hamas had earlier opposed, had brought wealth for a few and unemployment, poverty and military oppression for the majority, while the Israeli settlements on land to be included in any future state had increased.

Despite Hamas’ willingness to accept some form of a “two state solution” and take a minority role in a coalition with Fatah, Israel and the US rejected this. They demanded Hamas abandon its three core tenets and renounce the use of arms, recognise Israel and sign up to the Oslo Accords in return for international recognition of a Hamas-controlled PA, or face an international boycott. The other members of the Quartet, the UN, European Union and Russia, soon fell in line with Washington’s demands, and the EU too cut its aid to the PA.

The US and Israel were determined to prevent any attempts by Fatah and Hamas to reach an agreement, deepening the split between the two factions in order to divide and rule, while increasing Hamas’ economic dependence on Qatar and Iran.

In June 2006, Israel launched an attack on Gaza, knocking out its power station, making Gaza increasingly dependent on Israel for its electricity and precipitating daily power cuts lasting for hours at a time. Israel tightened its blockade on Gaza after Hamas forestalled and defeated an attempted coup by Fatah in a brief but brutal civil war in June 2007. Three military assaults on Gaza in 2008-09, 2012 and 2014 killed 1,417, 147 and 2,250 Palestinians respectively, and destroyed much of Gaza’s basic infrastructure together with tens of thousands of homes. Around 90,000 of the 500,000 people displaced by the 2014 assault remain displaced or homeless.

The blockade worsened after the military coup in Egypt that toppled the Muslim Brotherhood-led government of Mohammed Morsi and the clampdown on the Brotherhood and Hamas—a Brotherhood affiliate—by the military junta of Abdul Fattah el-Sisi.

El-Sisi closed Egypt’s border crossing at Rafah and forced Hamas to close the tunnels between Gaza and Egypt that had provided a means of circumventing Israel’s blockade and a source of income, by taxing the goods brought in, for Hamas.

Last year, Abbas imposed further hardship on Gaza. He stopped paying Israel for fuel for Gaza’s power station and electrical transmission into the Gaza Strip and ended or cut salary payments to thousands of public sector workers. This was to force Hamas into “reconciliation” talks with Fatah that culminated in a Cairo-brokered agreement in October. But the talks have stalled and the promised relief has failed to materialise.

In October, the World Food Programme announced a cutback in its food voucher programme in Gaza due to a budget shortfall.

Earlier this year, the Trump administration withheld $65 million in funding for the United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA), which supports some 1.2 million in Gaza, as well as $45 million in food aid in the West Bank and Gaza that it had promised for an emergency UNRWA appeal.

UNRWA has for decades provided key social services as well as a vital lifeline for the poorest Palestinians. Now that too has gone and the viability of the agency itself is in question.


Featured image is from Defend Democracy Press.

Genocide? As Gaza Dries Out, israel Turns Off Fresh Water Spigot


Rather than heeding the warnings from the UN to open up Gaza’s blockade and allow vital aid, what we have witnessed over the course of the last decade is a periodic all-out Israeli assault on Gaza’s vital infrastructure.

GAZA  (Analysis) — Near the end of last month, Haaretz reported that, according to an expert hydrologist, 97 percent of Gaza’s drinking water has been contaminated by sewage and salt. The UN also confirmed that this was the case early last year, and clearly, the situation has remained unchanged even up until 2018. Robert Piper, the UN’s local coordinator for humanitarian and development activities, has called the situation “really very serious” and stated that “[w]e are falling far behind the demand for clean drinking water for Gazans.”This kind of mistreatment is part and parcel of an overall package of deprivation that continues to plague the Palestinian people. There are some 2 million residents in Gaza affected by this egregious policy, famously one of the most densely populated areas on the planet. Gaza’s water resources are fully controlled by Israel and the division of groundwater is something that was provided for in the Oslo II Accord. However, despite the fact that under the Accord Israel is allocated four times the Palestinian portion of water resources, it has been revealed that Israel has been extracting 80 percent more water from the West Bank than it agreed to.

In 2009, the World Bank wrote that the responsibility was on the government of Israel to recognize that water and sanitation is a central component of the Gaza Strip humanitarian crisis and make arrangements to facilitate fuel distribution to some 170 water and sewage pumps in Gaza; maintain the Beit Lahiya Sewage Lake; and restore regular electricity supply in order to reduce dependence on fuel for generators.

<img src=”https://www.mintpressnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Citizen-Activist-email.png”/> According to the World Bank, at the time, almost all of Gaza’s population was without running water and was dependent on stored water supplies. The World Bank also noted that nearly all sewage and water pumps were out of operation due to lack of electricity and diminished fuel supplies, something that we will address below. But once again, these deficiencies fall squarely on the shoulders of the Israeli government, which is wholly responsible for Gaza’s electricity and water supply.

In order to rectify the issue, the Deputy UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Maxwell Gaylard, called for the immediate opening of Gaza’s crossings to allow the entry of spare parts and materials critical to the restoration of Gaza’s water and sanitation services. Israel famously closed Gaza’s crossing points in June 2007 and the local population has been suffering ever since.

However, there are many other factors that have helped to create this humanitarian catastrophe. Israel routinely unleashes bombing campaigns on the Gaza Strip every few years, targeting vital infrastructure, including destroying Gaza’s only power plant in 2014. The blockade single-handedly prevents vital materials and equipment from making its way into Gaza, making redevelopment impossible, even some four years later.


Electricity supply

A Palestinian family warm themselves on a fire outside their makeshift home during a power cut in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. (AP/ Khalil Hamra)

A Palestinian family warm themselves on a fire outside their makeshift home during a power cut in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. (AP/ Khalil Hamra)

According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the Gaza Strip endures dry, hot summers that are subject to drought.

Exploiting these conditions, Israel has used electricity as an inventive point of leverage to torture the Palestinian people, while the international community has stayed largely silent. This is the same international community that cites human rights abuses in Syria, Iran, and North Korea to promote military intervention and regime change to suit its geopolitical needs, yet stays silent as 2 million Gazan residents are suffering immensely in what is widely regarded as an open-air prison and the world’s largest ghetto.

On a good day, residents in Gaza over the last six months have been receiving three to four hours of electricity per day, the flow of which is controlled by Israel. However, according to the Times of Israel, Gazans were only able to obtain four hours’ worth of electricity thanks mainly to fuel supplies sent from Egypt. On a bad day, some estimates cite that Gazans have been receiving as little as two hours electricity per day if any at all.

After the Palestinian Authority said it would begin resuming payment for Israeli electricity flows to the Gaza Strip (at a cost of some $2.8 million per month), Israel announced it would restore its share of the electricity supply. However, this will increase Gaza’s electricity supply only to approximately six hours’ worth of electricity per day. The outage of electricity is expected to last for 12 hours a day at least, according to the Electronic Intifada.

One should bear in mind that, with a Gazan population of around 2 million residents, the effects of this stringent electricity supply are felt far beyond just the average household. In August of last year, Gaza’s children’s hospitals also warned of a health “catastrophe,” as power cuts routinely take place during four-hour-long dialysis treatment.

For years, Israel has attempted to shed blame from its inhumane policies and instead point to the debacle solely on an internal Palestinian issue between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. Last year, Human Rights Watch’s director for the region, Omar Shakir, told the right-wing pro-Israel publication Algemeiner that because Israel is “legally the occupying power,” it bore the brunt of the responsibility for this crisis. “Israel controls the borders, the airspace, the waters of Gaza, so Israel has an obligation that goes beyond merely responding to a request from Palestinian authorities,” Shakir reportedly said.

The Electronic Intifada also notes that Israel has been using electricity as a politically viable blackmail tool, with Israel’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) stating it would restore electricity after Israeli prisoners held in Gaza were returned, as well as the bodies of two Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul. It is also worth noting that Egypt, too, shares a great deal of the blame for this horrific treatment of the Palestinian people


Assaults on Gaza

a Palestinian girl walks next to destroyed houses, in the Shijaiyah neighborhood of Gaza City

A Palestinian girl walks next to destroyed houses, in the Shijaiyah neighborhood of Gaza City after a devastating bombing campaign by Israel in March of 2015.

Rather than heeding the warnings from the UN to open up Gaza’s blockade and allow vital aid, what we have witnessed over the course of the last decade is a periodic all-out assault on Gaza’s vital infrastructure.

Since the blockade was enforced, there have been three major IDF operations in Gaza: Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009, Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012, and Operation Protective Edge in 2014.

Following Operation Cast Lead, the World Bank reported that there had been severe damage to the water and sanitation infrastructure in the Gaza Strip.

Read more by Darius Shahtahmasebi

After Operation Protective Edge in 2014, the UN reported that more than 20,000 Palestinian homes, 148 schools and 60 healthcare centers in Gaza were damaged or destroyed. Israel even bombed a disability center at the time. Gaza has no air force, no air defenses, and no substantive military to defend its people.

While most pro-Israeli pundits would point to Hamas rocket fire as an excuse for the interventions, the truth on the ground tells a different story.

The Submission to the United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict, published by Truthout, quite clearly demonstrates that Israeli airstrikes and ground attacks preceded Hamas rocket fire; and that Hamas rocket-fire had been nonexistent since Israel’s previous assault in 2012. In other words, Hamas had been abiding by its terms of the ceasefire — even while Israel had been starving Gaza of basic human rights, as argued and outlined above.

Further, in July 2014, The Guardian published a blog by investigative journalist Nafeez Ahmed, which claimed Israel’s brutal assault on Gaza in 2014 was rooted in a desire to control Palestinian gas off the coast of Gaza and had nothing to do with concerns about Hamas rocket fire. The Guardian axed his blog not long after.

The Jerusalem debacle

Israeli police fire tear gas at Palestine protesters during protests against US. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Ramallah, Occupied Palestine. Feb 2, 2018. (AP/Majdi Mohammed)

Israeli police fire tear gas at Palestine protesters during protests against US. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Ramallah, Occupied Palestine. Feb 2, 2018. (AP/Majdi Mohammed)

Israel modus operandi has been to attack Gaza by punishing the civilian population with these heavy sanctions affecting its basic life necessities. It is almost as if the Israeli government has been attempting to provoke a response from the Gaza Strip, which could then be used again to justify yet another intervention — given it has been proven that Israel has lied about its stated reasons for intervention in the past. This response, however, never came in the form that Israel might have hoped for.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to unilaterally declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel, inflaming an already tense situation, was the political icing on the cake of Palestinian suffering. Regardless of one’s views on the Israel-Palestine conflict, which continues to divide people all along the political spectrum, the fact remains that this decision alone pushed an already volatile situation to a point of outright violence. According to Reuters, since Trump’s infamous decision, at least 13 Palestinians have been killed in clashes with Israeli forces.

Further, it wasn’t long after Trump’s announcement that Israel began resuming air strikes in the Gaza Strip. Perhaps this is a sign of things to come in the not-too-distant future. While tensions are heating up between Israel and Syria, Lebanon and Iran, it has been largely overlooked that Hamas and Israel are preparing for an imminent war even as we speak.


Gaza in crisis

A Palestinian man and his son warm themselves by a fire during cold, rainy weather on the outskirts of the Khan Younis refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip, Jan. 5, 2018. (AP/ Khalil Hamra)

A Palestinian man and his son warm themselves by a fire during cold, rainy weather on the outskirts of the Khan Younis refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip, Jan. 5, 2018. (AP/ Khalil Hamra)

In 2015, the UN predicted that Gaza would become uninhabitable by 2020. Not pulling any punches, the UN concedes the cause of this crisis is based on two important factors: Israeli military operations and the decades-long blockade that has crippled Gaza’s economy and infrastructure. Reportedly, Gaza has an unemployment rate of some 50 percent, the highest unemployment rate in the world, with a youth unemployment rate of at least 60 percent.

According to The New York Times, UN officials are warning that Gaza is facing a total collapse. Rather than exporting some much-needed freedom, human rights and democracy, the Trump administration instead announced that it would withhold $65 million from UNRWA — vital money required for providing basic necessities for some 1.2 million Palestinians in Gaza. The Times also wrote:

Still, whether out of bluster or desperation, Gazans both in and out of power have begun talking openly about confronting Israel over its blockade in the kind of mass action that could easily lead to casualties and escalation.”

No matter how one cuts it, whether Israel has been intentionally trying to elicit a response from Gaza or not, the fact remains that the Israeli government is intentionally pursuing a long list of policies that will almost certainly lead to a hostile escalation, as the international community continues to turn a blind eye to the everyday suffering of the Palestinian people. Israeli policies indeed border on a systematic genocide that will, if unchecked, completely erode the Gaza Strip to nothingness in just a few short years.

Top Photo | Palestinian children fill their bottles with water from a UNICEF tap in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. (Photo: UNICEF)

Darius Shahtahmasebi is a practicing attorney with an interest in human rights, international law, and journalism. He is a graduate of the University of Otago, where he obtained degrees in Law and Japanese. Follow him on Twitter at @TVsLeaking.

Palestinian Kindergarteners Protest israel’s Detention of 350 Children (VIDEOS)


Palestinian children from the West Bank city of Hebron protest Israel’s detention of minors. (Photo: Mashhour Wihwak, via Mondoweiss)

Yesterday Palestinian kindergarteners protested Israel’s jailing of 350 Palestinian children, in a march organized by the Hebron (Al-Khalil)-based group Human Rights Defenders and the Palestinian residents of Shuhada Street. Israel detains children as young as 12 years old.

The kindergarteners rallied for three child prisoners in particular, a young girl named Razan Abu Sal, 13, who was sentenced to 13 and a half months and a fine of $870, Shadi Farrah, 12, who has already served two years of his three year sentence, and the infamous Ahed Tamimi, 17, who was detained (at age 16) on charges of incitement and slapping an Israeli soldier. She has become a worldwide symbol of child imprisonment and the Palestinian struggle for freedom.

Activists with Human Rights Defenders, Badee Dwaik and Arif Jabar, organized the rally in one of the most contentious areas of Hebron, the Tel Rumeida neighborhood where Palestinians systematically experience violence from settlers, and the Israeli soldiers in the area tend to turn a blind eye, or back up those settlers.

Badee Dwaik told the group that the demonstration marked the start of the annual campaign, “Dismantle the Ghetto,” an effort to publicize and protest the horrors of life under the illegal occupation in the city of Hebron.

The campaign is a call for the lift the closures inside of the city and the suppression of its population.  It will be held on the 24th anniversary of the massacre at the Ibrahimi mosque by Baruch Goldstein. On February 25, 1994, Goldstein opened fire on Palestinians worshippers inside of the mosque, killing 29.

At the demonstration the children carried signs protesting the occupation, an all encompassing-word for the abuses and indignities that are carried out against them by Israeli soldiers and settlers. They chanted, “every child deserves a childhood.” They asked the international community to protect them and for international law to be upheld.

The demonstration culminated with settler attacks on two Palestinian journalists, Du’aa Yahya al-Atrash from Ma’an television and Zidan al-Sharbat. When the event ended, Israeli soldiers prevented the children from returning to their homes.

(Mondowiess, PC, Social Media)

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