Palestinian Stabs Israeli; Anti-Trump Protests rise in Beirut

An Israeli security guard was stabbed by a Palestinian at Jerusalem’s main bus station on December 10th, 2017. According to reports from Reuters, U.S President Donald Trump’s acknowledgement of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel lead to the eruption of violent protests in the areas surrounding the U.S Embassy in Beirut.  The police regarded this as a terrorist act and described the attacker as a 24-year-old man from the West Bank. CCTV footage revealed the attacker flashing out a knife when asked to take off his jacket during a security check outside the bus station. The attacker who tried to escape was grounded and arrested by the police, while the 35-year old victim is battling for life in a hospital. The doctors suggest that he is in a critical condition.

Street protests sparked in Palestine following Trump’s announcement on December 6th. The U.S policy on Jerusalem – the holy city of Jews, Christians and Muslims, angered the foreign ministers of the Arab region. The Arabs foreign ministers who had a meeting in Cairo warned Trump to retract his decision as they claim it to be a grave problem that might damage the peace in the middle eastern region.

Reports from Reuters stated that during the protests in Beirut, tear gas and water cannons was used by the Lebanese security forces to suppress the protesters. The mob was waving the Palestinian flag and set ablaze the U.S and Israeli flag near the U.S Embassy.


Sources: Reuters, ABC News

Three gunmen rock Jerusalem: 2 killed

In the wake of the Friday morning, two Israeli policemen have been killed and a third wounded in a shooting attack near a sacred site in Jerusalem. They were shot by three Israeli Arabs near the compound known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary). Police say that the three assailants were aged between 19 and 29 and came from Umm-al-Fahm, a city in North Israel.

The assailants claimed to be of Palestine origin, opened fire at 7 am by the Lion’s Gate in the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif.

Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld said that the three armed men, whom he identified as terrorists, mainly targeted the police units in the area. There was an attempt made to stab a police officer as well.

The three gunmen were confirmed shot dead and the area was immediately closed off. The injured were taken care of in the nearby hospitals.

According to BBC, The two policemen who died of their injuries were Advanced Staff Sergeant Major Kamil Shanan aged 22 and Advanced Staff Sergeant Major Hail Sattawi aged 30.

The police has sealed off the area in search for weapons. It is the first time that the compound which contains the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque has been closed for Muslim Friday prayers, in decades.

No terrorist group has taken responsibility for the shootout as yet, but the assailants were praised for the attack as a “natural response to the Zionist ongoing crimes.”

News Source:  BBC, CNN

Image Source: Standard


Israel legalises Jewish settlements on Palestinian property

Israel has passed a bill that allows Jewish settlements along the West Bank, an area occupied by Palestinians in their demand for a separate state.

The law allows the settlements of more than 3,800 homes in areas that have been privately occupied by Palestinians. These settlements, under international law, have been built without official authorisation. The Israeli courts will order evacuation and demolition of Palestinian homes in the West Bank and along East Jerusalem.

The ruling legislature, Knesset, passed the bill with a vote count of 60 to 52. The Israeli opposition has opposed this bill, which is now being challenged in the High Court. The Palestine Liberation Organisation has stated that the bill legalises theft of lawfully-occupied Palestinian land.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, argues for the bill, by saying that this protects the settlers from being driven out of their homes. The cabinet will look to provide compensation to the Palestinian land owners in the form of alternative land or cash.

This move has been widely condemned by the international community, and is seen further as proof of US President Donald Trump’s soft approach towards Israel. Within the past fortnight, more than 6000 illegal Jewish settlements have occupied Palestinian property.

The passing of the bill further divides the already complex situation between Israel and Palestine. The urgency to reach a political solution for territorial occupation by the Israelis and Palestinians has suffered a huge setback with this move by the ruling government.

Source: BBC, Aljazeera

Image source: BBC

At least four killed in a truck attack in Jerusalem

At least four were killed on Sunday in Jerusalem after a truck rammed into a group of Israeli soldiers on a popular promenade.

As reported by Reuters, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it was an attack by the Islmaic state. “We know the identity of the attacker. According to all the signs he is a supporter of Islamic State,” the Prime Minister said.

The military informed that one female officer and three officer cadets were killed leaving 17 others injured.
Police said that out of the four dead, three were women. After shooting the driver dead on the spot the police identified him as Fadi Ahmad Hamdan Qunbor. The 28-year-old truck driver was from East Jerusalem and a father of four from the Jabel Mukabar neighbourhood.

As reported, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that nine Jabel Mukabar residents were arrested on suspicion of aiding the attacker. These residents include five members of the attacker’s family.  A source from the government said ministers had called for demolition of the driver’s house and that his body will not be returned to the family for burial.

United States condemned the attacks ‘in the strongest terms’ and offered aid to Israel. A security guard identified as “A” told Channel 10, “ I shot at a tyre but realised there was no point as he has many wheels, so I ran in front of the cabin and at an angle, I shot at him and emptied my magazine”

However the footage shows the soldiers fleeing from the scene as the attack took place with their rifles hung by their shoulder.

The wave of Palestinian street violence has slowed down but not stopped.




Actor Kal Penn donates Masterchef prize money to Palestinian refugees

Indian-American actor and White House Official Kalpen Modi, who goes by the stage name Kal Penn, has donated his MasterChef Celebrity Showdown prize money to support the Palestinian refugees.

The ‘Harold and Kumar’ star donated a whopping $25,000 that he won on the show to the UN refugee work agency, UNRWA.

His generous contribution won him many accolades from the activists of the Palestinians cause, who term it as ‘priceless’. Abby Smardon, executive director of UNRWA USA, said the agency has seen an influx of donations after the show, but supporters are more thrilled about the awareness that Penn brought to the humanitarian cause.

Palestine is one of the many countries that is seething under a terrible refugee crisis. After the conflicts between June 1, 1946 and May 15, 1948, when the state of Israel was established, thousands lost their homes and came on streets. Around 44 per cent of the world’s refugees are Palestinians.

The cooking show Masterchef USA invited eight celebs for a special cooking challenge round where they had to choose an NGO to donate the money raised by them.The actor also urged his followers on twitter to donate for this cause and promised to send thank you cards to the donors.

Sources: Middle East Eye, The Daily Meal

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India abstains in UNHRC vote on Palestine resolution

India abstains in UNHRC vote PC:
India abstains in UNHRC vote

Geneva/New Delhi: India abstained from a UN Human Rights Council vote to adopt a UN Inquiry Commission report on ‘Operation Protective Edge’ conducted by Israel in Gaza last year. India, later clarified that there was no change in its stance, on support to the Palestinian cause. The resolution on “ensuring accountability and justice for all violations of international law in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem” was adopted on Friday at the UNHRC.

There were 41 votes in favour. Five abstentions – India, Ethiopia, Kenya, Macedonia and Paraguay. United States was the only country to vote against it. “We are not a party to the Rome Statute or the International Criminal Court (ICC) for reasons that have been enumerated earlier. Taking that into account India has decided to abstain from this resolution”, as stated by Ajit Kumar, The Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations Office at Geneva.

While Israeli media described India’s decision as “an unprecedented achievement for Israel”, the Indian Ministry for External affairs quickly put out a statement saying there was no change in India’s, “long standing position on support to the Palestinian cause.”

On Monday, an independent UN commission of inquiry came out with its report on Operation Protective Edge. The report indicated that both Hamas and Israel had committed war crimes in the Gaza strip last year.

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Netanyahu Vows “Harsh Response” to Win a “Battle of Jerusalem”

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Two Palestinian men armed with a gun and a meat cleaver killed five people. Of the five killed four were U.S citizens. Obama condemned the attack and in his statement said that many Palestinians and Israeli’s had lost their lives in the recent incidents of violence and called on both sides to lower tension.

Four of the killed were ordained rabbis and the fifth victim was a police officer who had responded to the scene. The police officer was shot at and he later died of his injuries. There were about 25 people praying in a service when the attack happened.

The police shot the two Palestinians dead who have been identified by Palestinian media as cousins Udai Abu and Ghassan Jamal from Jabal Mukaber district in Jerusalem.

According to Israel’s ambulance service at least eight people were grievously injured making this the deadliest attack since 2008 when a Palestinian gunman had killed eight people in a religious school in the city.

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a militant organization took responsibility for the attack calling it a heroic operation. Palestinian radio has dubbed the attackers as martyrs and Hamas has praised the killings.

Benjamin Netanyahu the Israeli Prime Minister has called the attack a part of battle over Jerusalem and has accused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbasof inciting violence. He also warned in his statement that Israel will settle the score with every terrorist and their dispatchers. Whereas, President Abbas condemned the attack on Jewish worshippers.

In the light of the attack, fearing a new Palestinian uprising, Israel’s Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitchhas called for partial easing of gun control so that security guards and military officer can carry weapons even while off duty.


Source: Reuters