Israel-Palestinian conflict

June 3, 2022 | 8:24am
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Israel-Palestinian conflict
June 3, 2022

Israeli troops shot dead a teen in the West Bank on Thursday, the Palestinian health ministry said, the fourth Palestinian killed in the occupied territory in two days.

The ministry identified the slain Palestinian as 17-year-old Odeh Odeh, who was hit in the chest by what it said was an Israeli bullet near the village of Al-Madiya, west of Ramallah.

The Israeli army said "three suspects threw a firebomb" at soldiers "operating near the security barrier" adjacent to Al-Madiya. — AFP

June 1, 2022

Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian woman after she approached a soldier with a knife in the southern West Bank, the army said Wednesday, with Palestinian officials pronouncing her dead.

A statement from the army said the "attempted stabbing" took place near Al Aroub camp, north of the city of Hebron. 

"An assailant armed with a knife advanced toward an IDF soldier who was conducting routine security activity on Route 60. The soldiers responded with live fire," the army said.

"No IDF injuries were reported." — AFP

May 29, 2022

Jerusalem is bracing for a controversial "flag march" by Israelis on Sunday that has sparked warnings of a new escalation from Palestinian factions.

The "March of the Flags" threatens to exacerbate weeks of tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, and comes as Israel marks "Jerusalem Day", commemorating the city's unification following the capture of east Jerusalem in 1967.

Some 3,000 policemen are to be deployed ahead of the march, due to begin at 4:00 pm (1300 GMT). — AFP

May 15, 2022

Israel reopened on Sunday its only crossing with the Gaza Strip to Palestinian workers nearly two weeks after closing it over unrest, the defense ministry said.

"Following an assessment of the security situation, it has been decided... to open Erez Crossing for passage of workers and permit holders from the Gaza Strip into Israel, beginning Sunday," said COGAT, a unit of the Israeli defense ministry responsible for Palestinian civil affairs.

The crossing is used by 12,000 Palestinians with permits to enter Israel for work.

Israel had closed the crossing on May 3 ahead of Israel's national memorial and independence days, and amid Palestinian violence in the occupied West Bank, although the Gaza front was quiet.

Israel and Hamas, the militant rulers of the impoverished coastal enclave, have fought repeatedly over the last 15 years, most recently in May last year.

Israeli authorities feared tensions and violence in and around Jerusalem during April, when Muslims observed the holy fasting month of Ramadan, would bring another conflict with Gaza, but that did not happen. — AFP

May 2, 2022

A proposal by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees to delegate some services to other United Nations agencies has sparked outrage among Palestinians, who have warned of a plot to "dismantle" the body. 

UNRWA is "not just about the delivery of services", said Muhammed Shehada from the Swiss-based Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor.

"As long as UNRWA is there, it's a reminder that the international community has a responsibility to solve the issue of Palestinian refugees," he told AFP. — AFP

April 26, 2022

Israel will re-open its only crossing from Gaza for workers two days after closing it, the defence ministry said Monday, following a lull in rocket fire from the Palestinian enclave.

"Following a security assessment, it has been decided... that as of tomorrow... labourers and merchants will again be permitted to enter Israel from Gaza through the Erez crossing," said COGAT, a unit of the Israeli defence ministry responsible for Palestinian civil affairs.

The crossing is used by 12,000 Palestinians with permits to enter Israel for work. — AFP

April 25, 2022

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said Sunday that Israel was "committed" to the status quo that prevents Jews praying at Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, the epicentre of repeated clashes.

His comments follow violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories that has killed 38 people since late March, with tensions further fuelled by the clashes in Jerusalem and exchanges of fire between Israel and the Gaza Strip Palestinian enclave.

"Muslims pray on the Temple Mount, non-Muslims only visit," Lapid said, using the Jewish term for the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, the holiest place in Judaism and the third-holiest in Islam. — AFP

April 22, 2022

The United Nations voices "deep concern" at the escalating violence between Israel and the Palestinians, as clashes erupted Friday again at Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound.

"We are deeply concerned by the escalating violence in the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel over the past month," says Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the UN's Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. — AFP

April 21, 2022

Palestinian militants fired volleys of rockets from Gaza into Israel, which responded with air strikes in the early hours of Thursday in the biggest escalation since an 11-day war last year.

A rocket from Gaza on Wednesday evening fell harmlessly in a garden in the southern Israeli city of Sderot, police said.

Israel struck back in central Gaza after midnight, witnesses and security sources said, prompting further launches of at least four rockets by militants in the besieged territory.

Israel said its jets had targeted a military post and a tunnel complex "containing raw chemicals used for the manufacturing of rocket engines". 

Hamas, the Islamist movement which rules the Gaza Strip, said it had fired surface-to-air rockets at Israeli planes.

The exchanges come after nearly a month of deadly violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories, focused on Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.

Israeli police said Thursday that dozens of rioters had thrown stones and petrol bombs from the mosque.

"A violent splinter group is stopping Muslim worshippers from entering the mosque and causing damage to the site," the police alleged.

Seven Palestinians, all residents of Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, had been arrested on suspicion of taking part in "violent incidents" on Wednesday, it added. -- AFP

April 21, 2022

Israeli jets strike Gaza early Thursday morning, witnesses and security sources said, hours after militants in the Palestinian enclave fired a rocket into the Jewish state.

The strikes, the second in 48 hours after a previous rocket strike, were concentrated on the centre of the blockaded coastal territory, they say. — AFP

April 20, 2022

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urges Israeli and Palestinian leaders Tuesday to "end the cycle of violence" after a sharp escalation in tensions between the two sides in recent days.

In separate calls with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, Blinken stressed "the importance of Israelis and Palestinians working to end the cycle of violence in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza by exercising restraint and refraining from actions that escalate tensions," the State Department says. — AFP

April 19, 2022

Israel carried out strikes early Tuesday in the Gaza Strip after a rocket was fired from the Palestinian enclave into Israel, witnesses and its ruling Islamist movement said.

Israeli aircraft hit the southern Gaza Strip, witnesses said, while the armed wing of Hamas announced that it fired on Israeli planes.

"Congratulations to the men of the resistance who confronted the fighter jets with our anti-aircraft defence," Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said in a statement, claiming the Israeli raid hit "empty sites". — AFP

April 17, 2022

Clashes between Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli police wounded ten protesters on Sunday morning in and around Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, the site of major clashes two days earlier.

Early on Sunday morning, "hundreds" of Palestinian demonstrators started gathering piles of stones, shortly before the arrival of Jewish visitors to the site, the police said.

Jews are allowed at certain times to visit -- but not to pray -- at the site, also known as Temple Mount, the holiest place in Judaism and third-holiest in Islam.

The police said its forces had entered the compound in order to "remove" the demonstrators and "re-establish order".

The Palestinian Red Crescent said its medics had treated ten wounded.

"Eight people were wounded in the (police) incursion and two others by rubber-coated bullets," it said, adding that three were taken to hospital. -- AFP

April 13, 2022

Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian in the city of Nablus on the fifth day of military operations in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian health ministry said Wednesday. 

"The young man, Muhammad Hassan Muhammad Assaf, 34, died after being shot in the chest by the Israeli occupation army during the aggression on the city of Nablus," the ministry said.

The Israeli army did not immediately comment but said earlier that troops were "conducting counterterrorist operations" in Nablus and other West Bank cities. — AFP

March 30, 2022

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemns what he calls a "terrorist attack" Tuesday near Tel Aviv that killed five people, calling a recent spate of gun and knife violence in Israel "unacceptable."

"We strongly condemn today's terrorist attack in Bnei Brak, Israel, that killed five innocent victims," Blinken says, adding that "this violence is unacceptable. Israelis — like all people around the world — should be able to live in peace and without fear." — AFP

March 30, 2022

Gun attacks in two different locations in an Israeli town near Tel Aviv killed at least two people on Tuesday, emergency responders said.

"Five were wounded in two separate locations of Bnei Brak, of whom two died," said Eli Bin, the head of the Magen David Adom emergency responders. Bnei Brak is an ultra-orthodox town near Tel Aviv. — AFP

March 15, 2022

Israeli troops killed a second Palestinian in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday, the Palestinian health ministry said.

Alaa Shaham, in his twenties, was killed in Qalandiya, outside Jerusalem, by a "live round to the head," a health ministry statement said.

Earlier, Israeli troops killed a 16-year-old in a refugee camp in the northern West Bank, the ministry said. — AFP

March 7, 2022

Israeli soldiers killed a Palestinian in the occupied West Bank on Sunday after he threw Molotov cocktails at a military post, the army said.

Israeli soldiers "acted to stop the attack by firing at one of the suspects" near Abu Dis, east of Jerusalem, an army statement said, adding that "the suspect was hit and later succumbed to his wounds."

It said another suspect managed to flee. — AFP

February 7, 2022

An Israeli woman wounded in rocket fire from Gaza during last May's conflict between Israel and the Palestinian enclave's Islamist rulers Hamas died of her wounds Sunday, the army said. 

"Hamas fired 4500+ rockets at Israeli civilians over 11 days in May 2021," the Israeli military said in a statement.

One of the rockets wounded "Holocaust survivor Naomi Pearlman," it said. "Today, she sadly succumbed to those injuries and became another victim of Hamas terrorism." — AFP

January 17, 2022

Israeli police were in a standoff Monday with a Palestinian man who carried a gas cannister on the roof of his home in a Jerusalem flashpoint as his family faced eviction.

Israeli media reported that Mohammed Salhiya had threatened to set himself on fire if the eviction order from Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem was carried out. 

Salhiya, whose family has been facing an eviction threat since 2017, was on the roof of his home with a large gas cannister, police and an AFP journalist said. — AFP

December 23, 2021

A Palestinian man who reportedly fired on Israeli troops in the occupied West Bank Wednesday was shot dead by Israeli forces returning fire, the army and Palestinian health ministry said. 

The Palestinian health ministry said Mohammed Issa Abbas, 26, died after being shot in the back by Israeli forces in the al-Amari refugee camp in Ramallah. Israel's army said its troops "responded with fire and hit (an) assailant" who had fired at troops from a vehicle. — AFP

November 15, 2021

The South African government says on Sunday it was dissociating itself from a decision by the reigning Miss SA to take part in the annual Miss Universe in Israel.

The decision comes after growing calls for the reigning Miss South Africa to boycott the pageant over Israeli's alleged atrocities against Palestine. 

Local beauty pageant organisers have been adamant that the recently crowned Miss SA Lalela Mswane should go.

"It has proven difficult to persuade the Miss SA pageant organisers to reconsider their decision to partake in the Miss Universe event," the arts and culture ministry says in a statement. — AFP

September 26, 2021

A Palestinian was killed Sunday by Israeli gunfire near Jenin in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian health ministry said, amid reports of heavy clashes in the area. 

The ministry said a Palestinian man from the village of Borqin west of Jenin who had been shot with a live bullet died from his wounds after reaching hospital. 

Israeli public radio Kan reported early Sunday that troops were involved in gun battles with armed Palestinians near Jenin, which broke out as the army moved in to arrest "suspects" in the area. 

An Israeli army spokesman told AFP it would comment on the incident later Sunday morning. 

The Jenin governorate is a flashpoint area in the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

Four Palestinians were killed in Jenin refugee camp last month by Israeli forces during heavy clashes.  — AFP

September 7, 2021

Israel launched airstrikes against Gaza on Monday night, the army says, retaliating after incendiary balloons launched from the blockaded Palestinian enclave had started fires.

Blaming Hamas for the balloons, the Israeli army says it had targeted locations belonging to the militant group that controls the Gaza Strip. 

"Overnight, IDF fighter jets struck a Hamas rocket manufacturing workshop, as well as a Hamas military compound in Khan Yunis," the Israeli army says in a statement. 

"The strikes were in response to Hamas launching incendiary balloons into Israeli territory," the statement adds. — AFP

August 26, 2021

About 20 Palestinians were injured in unrest with Israeli forces at Gaza's border on Wednesday, medical sources said, but the protest was more muted than a weekend demonstration that left dozens wounded.

Israel's army had reinforced its Gaza division following Saturday's border violence, that left an Israeli officer in critical condition from a gunshot wound and killed a 32-year-old Palestinian.

There were indications that Hamas Islamists, who have ruled the Israeli-blockaded strip since 2007, wanted to prevent Wednesday's protest from escalating. — AFP

July 2, 2021

Israel hit Islamist militant sites in Gaza with air strikes on Friday in retaliation for incendiary balloon launches from the Palestinian enclave, in the latest unrest since a ceasefire ended May's conflict.

Security sources with Hamas, the Islamist group that runs Israeli-blockaded Gaza, said the strikes hit training sites. There were no injuries reported. 

A statement from Israel's army said: "In response to the arson balloons fired towards Israeli territory today, (military) fighter jets struck... a weapons manufacturing site belonging to the Hamas terror organisation."

On Thursday, Israel's fire service said that incendiary balloon launches from Gaza had sparked four minor fires in the southern Eshkol region, on the Gaza border. 

The blazes were "small and not dangerous" and were quickly brought under control, a statement from the fire service said. — AFP

May 30, 2021

More than 1,000 rally in Washington in support of  Palestinians and calling for an end to US aid to Israel.

The demonstration on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial came as a ceasefire that ended 11 days of intense fighting between Israel and the Islamist movement Hamas in the Gaza Strip has so far held.

"We are hoping to send a clear message to the United States government that the days of supporting the Israeli state without repercussions are over," one of the demonstrators, 39-year-old Washington lawyer Sharif Silmi, says as he stood in the crowd where many protesters held red, white, green and black Palestinian flags. —  AFP

May 24, 2021

The United States' Secretary of State Antony Blinken departs Monday for a Middle East trip aimed at consolidating the ceasefire that brought 11 days of deadly bombardment between Israel and Hamas to a halt.

"Secretary Blinken will meet with Israeli leaders about our ironclad commitment to Israel's security," US President Joe Biden said in a statement. 

"He will continue our administration's efforts to rebuild ties to, and support for, the Palestinian people and leaders, after years of neglect." —  AFP

May 23, 2021

The UN Security Council calls for "full adherence to the ceasefire" in the conflict between Israel and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in its first statement since violence erupted on May 10.

Security Council members also stress "the immediate need for humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian civilian population, particularly in Gaza."

The statement received backing from the US delegation — which had blocked earlier drafts — only after the removal of a paragraph condemning the violence, a sensitive issue since it raised the question of blame. —  AFP

May 21, 2021

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to the Middle East "in the coming days," the State Department said Thursday after Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire halting 11 days of fighting.

Blinken spoke with his Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi, who "welcomed Secretary Blinken's planned travel to the region, where the secretary will meet with Israeli, Palestinian, and regional counterparts in the coming days to discuss recovery efforts and working together to build better futures for Israelis and Palestinians," State Department spokesman Ned Price said. — AFP

May 21, 2021

Ceasefire between Israel, Hamas officially comes into force. — AFP

May 20, 2021

The UN Human Rights Council says Thursday it would hold a special session on the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, amid deadly violence between Israel and armed Palestinian groups in Gaza.

The session, planned for next Thursday, will address "the grave human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem," the council says in a statement.

The session was requested by Pakistan, which is the coordinator of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and the Palestinian authorities, it says. —  AFP

May 19, 2021

Israel's army says it fired artillery shells towards southern Lebanon after four rockets were launched on Wednesday from Lebanese territory towards the Jewish state.

"Four rockets were fired from Lebanon into Israeli territory. The Iron Dome Aerial Defence System intercepted one of them and the rest most likely fell in open areas," it says in a statement, adding that in response army "artillery are striking a number of targets in Lebanese territory." — AFP

May 19, 2021

The Israel-Gaza conflict is pushing the whole region "in the wrong direction," Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan said Tuesday, calling for an end to the violence.

"This all pushes us absolutely in the wrong direction. It means that we are making a path toward a sustainable peace more difficult," bin Farhan told AFP, as the international community steps up its diplomatic efforts to push for de-escalation.

The conflict is "empowering the extremists," he added.

"It empowers the most intolerant voices in our region and makes (finding) a path to real peace harder," he added, speaking on the sideline of summits in France on Sudan and Africa.

"We have to all work together to encourage all the parties to engage (seriously), he said. "First of all, to de-escalate, to stop the violence and then to engage in serious peace talks toward a final settlement."

That final settlement "must include a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital," Saudi Arabia's top diplomat stressed. — AFP

May 18, 2021

Israeli jets kept up a barrage of air strikes against the Palestinian enclave of Gaza Monday evening, as a week of violence that has killed more than 200 people pushed world leaders to step up mediation.

Air strikes sent dust clouds billowing into the skyline, as the Hamas militant group that controls the besieged and densely populated coastal strip threatened more rocket strikes on Tel Aviv if bombing of residential areas does not stop.

In a call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Monday night, US President Joe Biden said he backed a ceasefire, shortly after diplomats said Washington had blocked a third draft of a UN Security Council resolution calling for an end to the violence.

Gaza resident Roba Abu al-Awf, 20, said she was bracing for a rough night.

"We have nothing to do but sit at home," she said. "Death could come at any moment — the bombing is crazy and indiscriminate." — AFP

May 17, 2021

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday urged Israel and Palestinians to "protect civilians, especially children", reiterating that Israel "as a democracy has an extra burden" to do so.

"We'll continue to conduct intensive diplomacy to bring this current cycle of violence to an end" and "we are ready to lend support, if the parties seek a ceasefire", Blinken told a press conference in Copenhagen. —  AFP

May 17, 2021

Israeli warplanes bombarded the Gaza Strip overnight Sunday to Monday, said witnesses in the Palestinian enclave, from where armed groups have launched rockets into the Jewish state.

"IDF fighter jets are striking terror targets in the Gaza Strip," the Israeli army said in a statement in the first hours of Sunday. 

Dozens of missiles crashed into different parts of the densely populated coastal territory, AFP journalists said. —  AFP

May 16, 2021

Israeli air strikes on Gaza killed 17 Palestinians Sunday, raising the death toll in the crowded coastal enclave since bombardments escalated last Monday to 174, Gaza's health ministry said.

Among the people killed are 47 children, it said. In Israel, 10 people have been killed in total, with barrages of rockets fired from Gaza. —  AFP

May 16, 2021

Israeli air strikes hit the home of Yahya Sinwar, head of Hamas' political wing in the Gaza Strip, the army said Sunday, but without saying if he was killed.

"Among the targets struck are the residences of Yahya Sinwar, Chairman of the Hamas Political Bureau in Gaza, as well as of his brother, Muhammad Sinwar, Head of Logistics and Manpower for Hamas," Israel's army said in a statement, releasing a video showing plumes of smoke and intense damage.

"Both residences served as military infrastructure for the Hamas terror organisation." —  AFP

May 16, 2021

Canada stresses "the fundamental importance of protecting journalists" following an Israeli attack on a building housing international media in Gaza, and called for "immediate steps" to end the violence.

Foreign Minister Marc Garneau says Canada was following the situation in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza "with grave concern" and urged "all parties to take immediate steps to end the violence, deescalate tensions, protect all civilians, refugees, journalists and media workers."

He reiterates "the fundamental importance of protecting journalists," stressing they "must be free to do their work." —  AFP

May 16, 2021

US President Joe Biden expresses his "grave concern" over violence in Israel and Gaza in a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Saturday while separately telling Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas that Hamas must "cease firing rockets."

Speaking on the sixth day of a paroxysm of Israeli-Palestinian violence that has left scores dead or wounded, Biden expresses his "strong support" for Israel's right to defend itself against rocket attacks by "Hamas and other terrorist groups," in his call with Netanyahu, while also emphasizing his clear concern over the deadly flare-up and casualties on both sides.

"He condemned these indiscriminate attacks against towns and cities across Israel," the White House statement says. —  AFP

May 16, 2021

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was "dismayed" by civilian casualties in Gaza and "deeply disturbed" by Israel's strike on a building containing international media outlets, a spokesman said in a statement released Saturday.

Guterres was "deeply disturbed by the destruction by an Israeli airstrike today of a high-rise building in Gaza City that housed the offices of several international media organizations," his spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said in the statement.

He was also "dismayed" by the "increasing number of civilian casualties, including the death of ten members of the same family, including children, as a result of an Israeli airstrike last night," Dujarric continued. —  AFP

May 12, 2021

The Philippines expresses concern over the recent violence in Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

"The Philippines urges all parties to exercise restraint and seek dialogue to de-escalate tensions and avoid further actions that could affect future Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations," the Department of Foreign Affairs says in a statement.

May 12, 2021

A man and a girl were killed Wednesday in the Israeli town of Lod after the car they were in was hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, Israeli police said.

The girl, whose age was not given, was killed immediately, and the man in his forties was declared dead at the hospital, said the police. They did not specify whether the two were related. The new deaths take the number of people killed in Israel by rocket strikes from Gaza since Monday to five. —  AFP

May 12, 2021

Spiralling violence between Israel and Hamas Islamists who control Gaza is "escalating towards a full-scale war," the UN envoy for Middle East Peace said Tuesday. 

"Stop the fire immediately," Tor Wennesland said after a day that saw Palestinian militant groups fire more than 600 rockets towards Israel, which responded with hundreds of air strikes. 

"We're escalating towards a full-scale war. Leaders on all sides have to take the responsibility of de-escalation," Wennesland said.  —  AFP

May 12, 2021

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz said Tuesday that Israeli strikes so far on Palestinian targets in Gaza were "just the beginning," after Hamas Islamists launched a barrage of rockets towards Tel Aviv.

"There are many targets," to hit in Gaza, Gantz said following Israeli strikes on hundreds of targets in the territory since Monday evening.

"This is just the beginning," he said. "Terror organisations have been hit hard and will continue to be hit because of their decision to hit Israel. We'll return peace and quiet, for the long term." —  AFP

May 12, 2021

An Israeli woman was killed by rocket fire near Tel Aviv on Tuesday after Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas launched a barrage of projectiles towards Israel's economic hub, police said.

"One woman killed in the city of Rishon Letzion in rocket strike," Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. —  AFP

More than 100 rockets were fired Monday from Gaza towards Israel by multiple Palestinian armed groups, Hamas Islamists who control the blockaded enclave said. 

The Israeli army had earlier confirmed at least 45 rocket launches, most targeting areas near the Gaza border, but seven were directed towards Jerusalem. 

The army later sent an update that the rocket fired had continued through the night. No Israeli fatalities have been reported. —  AFP

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