Israeli military jails commander over shooting of Palestinian motorist

Israeli military jails commander over shooting of Palestinian motorist
Israeli security forces argue with Palestinian protesters following a demonstration against the expropriation of Palestinian land by Israel in the village of Qaryut, south of Nablus city in the occupied West Bank on September 15, 2023. (AFP/File)
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Updated 19 September 2023
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Israeli military jails commander over shooting of Palestinian motorist

Israeli military jails commander over shooting of Palestinian motorist

JERUSALEM: Israel on Tuesday sentenced an army commander in the occupied West Bank to 10 days in military prison after an investigation into his shooting last week of a Palestinian motorist who was found to be innocent.

The Israeli military said that security forces stationed at the Israeli settlement of Rimonim, east of Jerusalem, had received reports of gunshots in the area and, sometime later, spotted a Palestinian vehicle fleeing the scene that they believed to be behind the shooting.

The forces opened fire at the Palestinian man’s car, the military said, hitting and wounding the driver. The army arrested him and took him to a hospital for treatment before releasing him the next day.

An Israeli military investigation determined the army’s shooting was the result of mistaken identity. “This is a serious incident in which the force acted contrary to procedures,” the army said, announcing that the force’s commander had been sentenced to 10 days in military prison.

Palestinian media identified the driver as 22-year-old Mazen Samrat from a village near the Palestinian city of Jericho.

Rights groups and other critics have accused Israeli soldiers and police officers of being too quick to pull the trigger, particularly in response to a recent surge in attacks by Palestinians that have killed 31 people so far this year.

They have noted that Israeli military investigations into accusations of crimes committed against Palestinians rarely lead to prosecutions in the West Bank, which Israel captured along with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip from Jordan in the 1967 Mideast war.

According to Israeli human rights group Yesh Din, of the 248 investigations into cases of harm inflicted on Palestinians opened by the Israeli military in the West Bank between 2017 and 2021, only 11 indictments were issued. There were over 1,200 complaints of wrongdoing by Israeli forces during that period, meaning that officers prosecuted 0.87 percent of the time, Yesh Din reported.

Penalties for Israeli soldiers raise a host of thorny political issues in the country, which has compulsory military service for most Jewish men. Right-wing lawmakers responded angrily to the sentencing of the commander on Tuesday. “Wake me up and tell me it’s a bad dream,” Tally Gotliv, a lawmaker with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party, wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, adding that the commander was “punished for being a hero.”

The Israeli military said that all army divisions would take a “learning break” to review lessons from the incident in an effort to prevent its recurrence.


Arab League urges aid for Gaza, condemns deprivation as ‘death sentence’

Arab League urges aid for Gaza, condemns deprivation as ‘death sentence’
Updated 5 sec ago
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Arab League urges aid for Gaza, condemns deprivation as ‘death sentence’

Arab League urges aid for Gaza, condemns deprivation as ‘death sentence’
  • Israel responsible for blocking aid, which is form of ‘collective punishment,’ says Arab League official

CAIRO: The Arab League has called for urgent aid to be sent to Gaza and condemned those attempting to block this support.

The Arab League’s Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said at the organization’s headquarters on Sunday that the blocking of aid was passing a “death sentence” on the Palestinian people, and was a form of “collective punishment.”

Aboul Gheit made the comments during a meeting on Sunday with Sigrid Kaag, the UN’s under-secretary-general and senior coordinator for humanitarian affairs and reconstruction in Gaza, according to a report by Jordan’s news agency Petra, quoting an Arab League statement.

Jamal Rushdi, spokesperson for the secretary-general, said there was a dire humanitarian situation in Gaza and that Israel was responsible for blocking much-needed aid.

Aboul Gheit and Kaag called for an immediate ceasefire, for the return of the Palestinian Authority to Gaza to support reconstruction efforts, and coordination by the international community to deliver aid.

This appeal was made during the Arab League’s commemoration of Arab Water Day 2024, themed “Save Water. Save Life.”

There was a water crisis in Gaza, exacerbated by Israel’s military actions targeting vital sanitation infrastructure, which could cause the outbreak of disease, the Arab League stated in its release.


French envoy calls for Gaza ceasefire, condemns West Bank violence

French envoy calls for Gaza ceasefire, condemns West Bank violence
Updated 48 min 32 sec ago
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French envoy calls for Gaza ceasefire, condemns West Bank violence

French envoy calls for Gaza ceasefire, condemns West Bank violence

AMMAN: The ⁠French ambassador to Jordan has pledged ongoing financial assistance to the UN Relief and Works Agency.

During a meeting with the Jordanian-French Friendship Committee of the Senate, Alexis Le Cour Grandmaison highlighted the need to prioritize a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and curb settler violence in the West Bank.

Grandmaison reiterated France’s support for UN resolutions concerning Gaza and pledged ongoing financial assistance to UNRWA, reported Jordanian news agency Petra.

The ambassador praised Jordan’s efforts in providing aid to Gaza and lauded King Abdullah II’s stance on the Palestinian issue and Israel-Hamas war. He also reiterated his country’s support of Jordan’s role in ensuring regional peace and stability and backing for its custodianship of holy sites in Jerusalem.

Senator Issa Murad stressed a ceasefire in Gaza was urgently needed and commended King Abdullah II’s humanitarian efforts to alleviate conditions there. He emphasized the importance of international support for UNRWA.

The committee urged France to increase aid to Gaza and to use its influence on the international stage, particularly in the UN Security Council, to address the Palestinian question and end the Gaza conflict.


Israel carries out biggest Ramallah raid in years, witnesses say

Israel carries out biggest Ramallah raid in years, witnesses say
Updated 56 min 56 sec ago
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Israel carries out biggest Ramallah raid in years, witnesses say

Israel carries out biggest Ramallah raid in years, witnesses say
  • Witnesses in Ramallah said Israeli forces had driven dozens of military vehicles into the city
  • Israeli forces shot and killed 16-year-old Mustafa Abu Shalbak while raiding Am’ari refugee camp

RAMALLAH: Israeli forces swept into the Palestinians’ administrative capital of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank overnight, killing a 16-year-old in a refugee camp during their biggest raid into the city in years, Palestinian sources said on Monday.
Witnesses in Ramallah said Israeli forces had driven dozens of military vehicles into the city, which is the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority led by President Mahmoud Abbas.
The Palestinian health ministry said Israeli forces shot and killed 16-year-old Mustafa Abu Shalbak while raiding Am’ari refugee camp.
The Palestinian news agency WAFA said confrontations broke out as Israeli forces stormed the camp, “during which live bullets were fired at Palestinian youths,” wounding Abu Shalbak in the neck and chest.
The Israeli military did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Violence has surged across the West Bank in parallel to the Gaza war, with at least 400 Palestinians killed in clashes with Israeli soldiers and settlers, and Israel regularly raiding Palestinian areas across the territory it occupied in 1967.
Israeli forces also tore up a main road in the West Bank city of Tulkarm during a raid there, witnesses said.
WAFA also reported that Israeli forces had stormed the West Bank city of Nablus, and blew up the home of a man previously accused by Israel of carrying out an attack in which a British-Israeli mother and her two daughters were killed in April in the West Bank.
The man, Moaz Al-Masri, was killed by Israeli forces in Nablus last May.
Israeli forces detained at least 55 Palestinians in raids across the West Bank overnight, according to The Palestinian Prisoners Club.


Erdogan and Abbas to discuss delivering aid to Gaza

Erdogan and Abbas to discuss delivering aid to Gaza
Updated 04 March 2024
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Erdogan and Abbas to discuss delivering aid to Gaza

Erdogan and Abbas to discuss delivering aid to Gaza
  • Ankara has no direct involvement in truce talks

ANKARA: President Tayyip Erdogan is set to discuss Turkiye’s efforts to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during talks this week in Ankara, a Turkish diplomatic source said on Monday.
Speaking at a diplomatic forum in Turkiye at the weekend, the Palestinian Authority’s Foreign Minister Riyad-al Al-Maliki said Abbas would pay a visit to Ankara on Tuesday and meet Erdogan.
Turkiye, which has harshly criticized Israel for its attacks on Gaza and backed measures to have it tried for genocide at the World Court, has repeatedly called for a ceasefire. But Ankara has no direct involvement in truce talks.
Unlike its Western allies and some Gulf nations, NATO member Turkiye does not view Hamas, the Palestinian militant group which runs Gaza and on Oct. 7 carried out an attack inside Israel that prompted the Israeli campaign, as a terrorist organization.
Erdogan and Abbas will discuss recent developments in Gaza as well as the situation in the West Bank, the diplomatic source said.
“Turkiye has been delivering extensive humanitarian aid to Gaza in coordination with Egypt since the beginning of Israel’s attacks... Within this scope, humanitarian aid operations will also be discussed during the meetings with President Abbas,” the source said.


UN rights chief says essential to avoid conflagration in Gaza war

UN rights chief says essential to avoid conflagration in Gaza war
Updated 04 March 2024
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UN rights chief says essential to avoid conflagration in Gaza war

UN rights chief says essential to avoid conflagration in Gaza war
  • The war in Gaza had already spilled over in neighboring countries
  • Turk said last week that war crimes had been committed by all parties in the conflict between Israel and Hamas

GENEVA: The United Nations human rights chief on Monday it was imperative to avoid any exacerbation of the war in Gaza, warning that any conflagration could have broad repercussions across the Middle East and beyond the region.
Addressing the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Volker Turk said the war in Gaza, which has been raging since the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas gunmen in southern Israel, had already spilled over in neighboring countries.
“I am deeply concerned that in this powder keg, any spark could lead to a much broader conflagration,” said Turk, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
“This would have implications for every country in the Middle East, and many beyond it.”
Turk described the military escalation in southern Lebanon between Israel, Hezbollah and other armed groups as “extremely worrying.”
“It is imperative to do everything possible to avoid a wider conflagration,” he said.
The Iran-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah and Israel have been locked in hostilities for months in parallel to the Gaza war. It has marked the worst conflict between them since 2006.
The Gaza war began when Hamas stormed Israel on Oct. 7 in an attack that killed 1,200 people and resulted in another 253 being abducted, according to Israeli tallies.
The attack drew an Israeli offensive in Hamas-run Gaza. Health authorities in the enclave say more than 30,000 Palestinians have been confirmed killed during the offensive.
Turk said last week that war crimes had been committed by all parties in the conflict between Israel and Hamas. They should be investigated and those responsible be held accountable, he said.