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Brutal Israeli Siege of Gaza Causes Food Insecurity, Israeli Occupation Soldiers Kill 3 Palestinian Americans, Injure and Kidnap More Palestinians

December 23, 2015 


3 Palestinian young men wounded by Israeli occupation forces live fire in central Gaza, December 23, 2015

Illegal Israeli Settlers attack Palestinian home with tear gas bombs, in Beitillu, near Ramallah, December 23, 2015

Injuries reported during clashes in Al-Khalil, as Israeli occupation forces fired on Palestinian protesters, December 23, 2015

Palestinian fishermen in Gaza forced to stay near shore by Israeli naval forces or being fired at or kidnapped, file, December 2015


UNRWA: Food insecurity rocking half of Gaza population

December 23, 2015, GAZA, (PIC)--

47% of Palestinian households in the Gaza Strip were food insecure in 2014, with a 2% increase in 2015, revealed the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) in an emergency report on Tuesday.

According to the data released in the Gaza Situation Report issue number 123, 47% of households in Gaza were food insecure in 2014, with a 2% increase compared to the previous year.

The results of the new Socio-Economic and Food Security (SEFSec) survey have been released to the public and were officially presented in Ramallah in December by the Food Security Sector in the occupied Palestinian territory, consisting of the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Food Program, and UNRWA.

The data released in the report shows that food insecurity is higher for non-refugees (49 per cent) than for refugees (45 per cent), although both worsened compared to 2013. This reflects a generalized food access decline in Gaza as a result of increased unemployment, high food prices, and extreme volatility of the economy.

UNRWA also stated that the negative impact on food access is particularly severe on urban households, whose food insecurity soared by three percentage points between 2013 and 2014. 

Rural families instead slightly improved their status, likely due to their capacity to compensate for the reduction in job opportunities and food accessibility with direct production of foodstuffs that can be either consumed or sold to take advantage of higher food prices.

UNRWA noted that SEFSec is the only existing survey that measures food insecurity at a national level for refugees and non- refugees alike.

SEFSec numbers are not used for targeting, since they are extrapolated from a representative sample of households. UNRWA in Gaza determines eligibility to food assistance through its own Poverty Assessment System (PAS) based on actual home visits.

The UNRWA added that high levels of food insecurity in Gaza are the direct consequence of the Israeli blockade on Gaza, now in its ninth year. Long standing restrictions on the movement of people and goods have severely undermined the living conditions in Gaza and reduced households’ access to livelihoods: years of blockade have resulted in a gradual process of “de-development”, increasing food aid dependency and unemployment rates.

Unemployment in quarter three of 2015 reached 42.7 per cent – a 1.2 percent points increase compared to the previous quarter (for refugees the rate stood at 43.3 per cent), according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS). 

According to PCBS, while the female refugee unemployment rate stood at 61.5 per cent in quarter three, for youth refugees it hit almost 80 per cent (79.6 per cent).

Davutoglu: Lifting Gaza siege precondition for deal with Israel

December 23, 2015, ANKARA, (PIC)--

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said on Tuesday talks with Israel are progressing and Ankara is insisting on its demands for compensation and lifting the siege on Gaza.

In a speech to members of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in parliament, Davutoğlu said that the talks were progressing positively but that a final outcome had not been reached.

"Nobody can question our sensitivity on the Palestine issue. Nobody shall test our sensitivity concerning Palestine. We will carry out all the talks in favor of Palestinians," he vowed.

"Those claiming Turkey is forgetting the people of Gaza and is putting aside its support for Palestine to get closer to Israel, are carrying out a defamation campaign [against Turkey]," he said. "Let alone forgetting about Gaza in negotiations, we do not even forget about it in our dreams at night. We will not forget Gaza, Palestine, al-Aqsa, and Jerusalem."

“These talks have not yet been finalized, but I can tell you that they are progressing positively,” Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government spokesperson Numan Kurtulmuş said following a Cabinet meeting on Monday.
The government spokesperson rebuffed criticism that the government had changed its stance towards Israel, saying Turkey insists on its conditions for the restoration of ties, particularly lifting the siege on Gaza and shelling out compensations for the Mavi Marmara victims. 

Palestinian girl detained at Hawara checkpoint

December 23, 2015, NABLUS, (PIC)--

The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) arrested Tuesday morning a Palestinian girl at Hawara checkpoint south of Nablus after searching her.

Eyewitnesses said that Israeli soldiers stopped a Palestinian public transport vehicle while crossing the checkpoint before pulling out a girl and violently searching her.

The unidentified girl was then arrested.

In a similar incident, IOF stopped a Palestinian car at Za'tara checkpoint, south of Nablus, and assaulted the passengers.

The Palestinian car was first chased by Israeli border guards before being stopped at the checkpoint. Two passengers were then brutally beaten by Israeli soldiers.

The reason behind the attack remained unknown.

Meanwhile, Israeli Ofer court sentenced a Palestinian female detainee for three months in administrative detention.

The University student Asma al-Qadah, 21, was arrested last Saturday at Za'tara checkpoint after IOF soldiers stopped a Palestinian public transport vehicle and pulled her out.

Asma, whose father is also held in Israeli jails, was arrested while on her way to Bir Zeit University.

A rights group has recently revealed that IOF arrested over the past five years more than 500 Palestinian students of Bir Zeit University, 17 of them were detained during the Jerusalem Intifada.

Illegal Israeli Settlers attack Palestinian home with tear gas bombs

December 23, 2015, RAMALLAH (PIC)--

A group of illegal Israeli settlers attacked at dawn Tuesday a Palestinian home in a Ramallah-area village in the occupied West Bank with two tear gas bombs.

Hassan Darwish, the targeted house’s owner, told Quds Press that his family members including a 9-month-old baby suffered severe effects of tear gas inhalation during the attack.

The settlers arrived in the village of Beitillu around 1:30 a.m. and vandalized the exterior walls of the house before smashing in a window and throwing two tear gas bombs inside, he explained.

Fortunately, the family survived the house fire after their neighbors managed to evacuate them in the right time.

Darwish pointed out that this is the third attack of its kind targeting his house.

The phrases “revenge” and “hello from the detainees of Zion” were spray-painted in Hebrew on the house according to photos released by Israeli police, in what appeared to be a revenge attack for the arrest of Jewish extremists who carried out a deadly attack last summer.

On July 31, a group of Israeli settlers carried out an arson attack on a Palestinian home in Duma near Nablus. The attack killed three members of the Dawabsha family, including an 18-month-old infant and his parents.

Injuries reported during clashes in al-Khalil, Tulkarem

December 22, 2015, AL-KHALIL, (PIC)--

A number of Palestinians were injured as clashes erupted Tuesday afternoon across Halhul town, north of al-Khalil.

The PIC reporter said that two youths were injured with rubber bullets while others suffered effects of tear gas inhalation as IOF fired tear gas bombs at Palestinian students in the town.

IOF soldiers had earlier carried out a raid and search campaign throughout the town which led to the outbreak of the clashes, the sources added.

Similar clashes erupted Tuesday afternoon near al-Khudari University in Tulkarem, which resulted in a number of tear gas suffocation cases among the students.

Nearly 12 students choked on tear gas during the confrontation. 

Clashes have been continuing at daily basis in the surrounding areas of al-Khudari University in protest against the Israeli occupation of a part of the University.

3 young men wounded by IOF live fire in central Gaza

December 22, 2015, GAZA, (PIC)--

Three Palestinian young men were wounded by live bullets fired by the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) east of Buraij refugee camp in central Gaza Strip on Tuesday evening.

Eyewitnesses said that the three youths were wounded when IOF troops stationed at the eastern borders of Gaza Strip opened machinegun fire at the unarmed Palestinian demonstrators.

Security sources told the PIC that the casualties were transferred to a hospital in Dair El-Bala'h.

The eastern outskirts of the Buraij refugee camp has been witnessing intermittent clashes between stone-throwing Palestinian youths and heavily-armed IOF soldiers over the past few weeks. Dozens of young men were either wounded with live and rubber-coated bullets or suffered from effects of teargas inhalation.

Palestinian woman shot and injured by IOF bullets in southern Gaza

December 22, 2015, KHAN YOUNIS, (PIC)--

A Palestinian woman was shot and injured by Israeli occupation forces (IOF) to the east of Khan Younis, in southern Gaza Strip, at noon Tuesday.

Ashraf al-Qudra, the health ministry spokesman in the Strip, said that medical crews were still trying to evacuate the woman to the nearest hospital but could not reach her so far.

IOF soldiers daily open indiscriminate fire at all border areas of the coastal enclave, which has been under tight IOF siege for the past nine years.

IOF opens fire at farmers north of Gaza

December 22, 2015, GAZA, (PIC)--

The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Tuesday morning opened its machinegun fire at farmers north of the Gaza Strip, with no reported casualties.

A Palestinian field activist told Quds Press that the Israeli troops deployed at Beit Hanoun (Erez) opened fire, with no reason, towards farmers working on their own plots of land.

He added that the gunfire attack forced the farmers to leave the area.

Since it accepted the 2014 ceasefire in Gaza, the Israeli army has carried out several attacks, some of them deadly, on Gazan farmers and fishermen.

Israeli Occupation Soldiers Kidnap Ten Gaza Fishermen, Woman Injured By Army Fire In Khan Younis

Tuesday December 22, 2015 14:02 by IMEMC & Agencies

Israeli Navy ships attacked, Tuesday, several Palestinian fishing boats, close to the Gaza City shore, opened fire on them, before kidnapping ten fishermen, and confiscated their boats. A woman also was injured by the Israeli occupation soldiers' fire in Khan Younis.

Eyewitnesses said the fishers were in the Sudaniyya Sea area, northwest of Gaza City, when the navy fired several live rounds on them and their boats, and kidnapped ten of them.

The kidnapped fishers have been identified as Attaf Aahed Bakr, Soheib Aahed Bakr, Yosri Meqdad, Khaled Bahjat Bakr, Bahjat Khalil Bakr, Shadi Jihad Bakr, Mohammad 'Aahed Bakr, Hasan Zaki Bakr, Mohammad Kamal Bakr, and Mahmoud al-Akhsham, all from the Shaty' refugee camp, west of Gaza city.

On Monday at night, Israeli navy ships attacked several Palestinian fishing boats, in the Beit Lahia sea area, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, and kidnapped four fishers.

On Tuesday at noon, the soldiers, stationed on military towers across the border fence, opened fire on Palestinian farmers, east of Khuza’a town, east of Khan Younis in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, wounding one woman, while working in her land.

Medical sources said the woman was moved to a local hospital, suffering a moderate injury.  

Two Palestinian-Americans killed in December - No U.S. government response

Tuesday December 22, 2015 11:17 by Celine Hagbard - IMEMC News

The U.S. government has yet to respond to the killing of two of its citizens by the Israeli occupation forces over the past three weeks - the latest being Mohammad Abdul-Rahman Ayyad, 21, shot while driving his car near Silwad on Friday December 18th.

On December 4th, Abdul-Rahman Wajeeh Barghouthi, 27, was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers in 'Aboud village, west of Ramallah. Barghouthi was visiting his fiancee in the village and was walking back to his parents’ home when Israeli soldiers

It should be noted that in June 2014, a gang of illegal Israeli settlers kidnapped and burned to death a 16-year old Palestinian boy, Mohammad Abu Khdeir after forcing him to drink gasoline. In the aftermath of that attack, a cousin of the 16-year old victim was badly beaten by Israeli troops during a protest in a Jerusalem neighborhood. The cousin, 15-year old Tariq Abu Khdeir, is a U.S. citizen from Florida who had been visiting his family when he was caught up by Israeli forces, beaten and imprisoned. At that time, after a pressure campaign from Abu Khdeir’s family and friends in the U.S., the State Department did call for an investigation.

And in October of 2014, another Palestinian-American teenager, Orwa Hammad, 14, was killed by Israeli forces during a protest in the West Bank.

A U.S. citizen who had been living illegally as a paramilitary settler, Ezra Schwartz, 18, was also killed in the latest round of violence – after allegedly being shot by a Palestinian in the militarized Israeli settlement ‘Gush Etzion’, built on Palestinian-owned land south of Bethlehem. During that incident, Israeli forces responded to the drive-by shooting by randomly shooting toward Palestinian vehicles in the road, killing a Palestinian passerby.

Nearly 130 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops and settlers since October 1st, including the 2 U.S. citizens.

On October 16th, during the U.S. State Department's daily press briefing, a State Department spokesperson reiterated that the U.S. government would not condemn Israeli violence against Palestinians, saying, "I want to be very clear that we have never accused Israeli Security Forces of excessive force with respect to these terrorist attacks. And, as I said numerous times yesterday, we recognize the Israeli Government’s right and responsibility to protect its citizens and to defend itself. And I think that’s where I’m going to leave it."

One reporter present at the briefing asked if the Israeli military's practice of shooting Palestinians armed with knives might be construed as using excessive force, to which the State Department spokesperson responded, "We never have accused Israeli Security Forces of using excessive force with respect to these terrorist attacks. And as I said, we recognize the right for Israel to protect its citizens."

There has been no statement from any U.S. official on the deaths of American citizens at the hands of the Israeli military over the past two and a half months of escalating attacks.

In November, during a visit to Israel, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reiterated the U.S. government's 'unwavering support' for Israel, despite the numerous attacks against Palestinian civilians and property, and the daily invasions of Palestinian land.

Three of the alleged murderers of a Palestinian family, who were released from jail on Monday without charges, are also dual U.S.-Israeli citizens. They are suspected of illegally entering a Palestinian village in the dead of night and set on fire the Dawabsha family, killing the mother, father and two-year old, and critically wounding the family’s four-year old child.


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