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Palestinians in Iraq under attack, but unable to flee

Amid widespread sectarian violence in Iraq, Palestinian refugees in Iraq face particularly grave security threats, including targeted killings by mostly Shi’a militant groups and harassment by the Iraqi government, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Countries in the region such as Jordan and Syria must open their borders to Iraqi Palestinians at risk, and the international community must urgently respond to their plight by providing financial assistance to the host countries and third-country resettlement opportunities on a humanitarian basis. 

Gaza shelves bare

Gaza City’s shopping markets used to be the richest in the Palestinian territories, but six months into a crippling trade embargo, stocks are running low. “This is the tenth store I approach to buy a single box of powdered milk for my little baby. I do not know what to do. I am ready to pay double price for having only one package, but there is none”, said 32-year-old Tareq Omar after he failed to find any powdered milk for his one-year-old baby in Gaza’s Al-Zawiya market. An economic embargo by the United States, the European Union (EU) and Israel was imposed on the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) following the democratic election of a Hamas-led Palestinian government in February. 

The long road back to school for children in southern Lebanon

Now that the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah has ceased, the children of southern Lebanon are trying to return to normal life. But the challenges are enormous. In the village of Srifa, half the buildings have been damaged or destroyed. The local high school is unusable after a bomb hit the house next door. A massive crater has dented the ground just a few metres away. The explosion shattered every pane of glass in the building. Exterior walls were blown in and cracked walls lean precariously. The classrooms are full of debris. 

A Year After 'Disengagement': Gaza Still Occupied and Under Attack

One year ago, on 12 September 2005, Israel completed its unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip under the ‘Disengagement Plan’. In the year that followed, the Gaza Strip endured military incursions, shelling, attacks on infrastructure, targeted assassinations, sonic booms, aerial surveillance, border closures, and fishing restrictions. Also Israel retains control of the civil population registry. The unilateral withdrawal aimed to establish that the Gaza Strip was no longer occupied, thereby relieving Israel of its duties as the Occupying Power. In reality, Israel has retained effective control of the Gaza Strip and consequently has never ceased its occupation. 

Report: Settlers continue to commit violence against Palestinians with impunity

Since the 1980’s many reports have been published on law enforcement upon Israelis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. All of the reports - whether published by official government bodies or produced by human rights organizations - warned against the failure of the authorities to enforce the law effectively upon Israeli offenders, especially those who committed offenses against Palestinian civilians. The conclusion that arises from all the reports is serious: Israel is abusing its obligation to defend the Palestinian civilian population in the OPT against the criminality of Israeli civilians. 

Powerless in Gaza

Mohammed Aqdeir drinks a glass of lukewarm water despite the summer heat. The room is sweltering - but above his head the rotor blades of the fan are motionless. “I am going crazy without electricity. There is even a shortage of candles now - I had to use the two my wife and I had received from our marriage. I worry about [starting a] fire,” said the 36-year-old from Beit Lahiya. For the past two months, Gaza residents like Aqdeir have lived without a regular supply of electricity after the Israeli military bombed Gaza’s only power station on 28 June. 

UN conference adopts action plan to help Palestinians living under occupation

A two-day United Nations International Conference of Civil Society in Support of the Palestinian People concluded in Geneva today with the adoption of a Plan of Action aimed at addressing their plight. The Plan of Action commits civil society organizations to ending the Israeli occupation and to achieving the rights of self-determination and return of the Palestinian people. It acknowledges that the war against Lebanon and the continuing assault on Gaza have created new realities. The Plan notes that the conditions of Palestinians under occupation continue to deteriorate and Palestinian refugees continue to be denied their international rights. 

Deported from our own homeland

On the night of Sunday, July 30, my husband and I became deportees. We had left the West Bank a few days earlier when our one-month visa was due to expire. Since arriving in Ramallah in January 2005, we had been leaving the occupied territories right before our visa expired and re-entering the country to get a new visa at the border. But since the Hamas victory in the Palestinian Legislative Council elections, we had been hearing about other US passport holders who were being denied re-entry when they left to renew their visas. We left nervously but still thinking we would be able to return, if only for a month. 

Weekly Report of Human Rights Violations

As the international community has remained silent, IOF have continued to wage a full scale offensive on the Palestinian people, especially in the Gaza Strip. During the reported period, IOF have continued their attacks on Palestinian civilians and property. IOF have continued to impose a total siege on the OPT; IOF have imposed a tightened siege on the Gaza Strip and there have been shortages of foodstuffs and fuels; and IOF positioned at a various checkpoints in the West Bank arrested 4 Palestinians, including Head of the Presidential Guard in Ramallah. 11 Palestinians, including a child and a man and his son, were killed by IOF

Refugees displaced by military offensive

Palestinian Rashida al-Malalha, 65, never imagined she would become displaced from her refugee camp. The mother-of-six was forced to flee her house in Shouka, a remote area in the south of the Gaza Strip, after Israeli troops took over the neighbouring Gaza Airport in late July to use it as a base from which to launch military operations in the rest of the Gaza Strip. “The Israeli army warned us that we must leave our houses as soon as possible because they were going to enter the area and reoccupy it together with Gaza Airport,” said al-Malalha.