Thirteen Palestinian Schools Severely Damaged By Israeli Missile Attacks

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Buildings destroyed by Israeli bombing of Gaza City on Saturday

THIRTEEN Palestinian schools in the besieged Gaza Strip were severely damaged on Tuesday, in the Israeli escalation across the Strip, which has claimed the lives of 27 Palestinians and injured at least 154 others.

The Palestinian Ministry of Education in Gaza said in a statement that the windows and doors of 13 schools were completely damaged, as well as the walls cracked.

The ministry also said that the shrapnel of the Israeli missiles and debris of the targeted buildings directly hit the classrooms.

The ministry expressed its ‘strong condemnation’ regarding the Israeli escalation on Gaza, which damaged basic infrastructure in all fields, and stressed that this is a violation of the international laws and conventions.

The ministry called for the international community to halt Israeli practices and hold Israel accountable for its violations.

A Palestinian was shot and injured by Israeli forces, east of Beit Hanoun, in the northern besieged Gaza Strip.

According to local sources, Israeli forces opened fire at a group of Palestinians workers, near a waste collection site, east of Beit Hanoun.

Sources confirmed that one of the workers, whose identity remained unknown, was shot and injured in his foot.

Medical sources said that the Palestinian, in his twenties, was transferred to the Indonesian Hospital, in northern Gaza, to receive medical treatment.

The reason for the shooting remained unknown.

Also on Tuesday, an Israeli court released the settler involved in the killing of 48-year-old Palestinian mother of eight, Aisha Muhammad Rabi from the town of Bidya in the north of the West Bank, and placed him under house arrest.

Rabi was killed in front of her husband and nine-year-old daughter when Israeli settlers threw rocks at the car she was in with her husband on a northern West Bank road on October 12, 2018. The husband was moderately injured.

The situation in Gaza after two days of Israeli bombardment that left 27 people dead, among them two pregnant women and two infants, and the destruction and damage of hundreds of homes, was highlighted on the front page of the three Palestinian Arabica dailies on Tuesday.

The main headline in al-Quds said: ‘19 martyrs were buried as calm prevails in the Gaza Strip.’

Al-Ayyam said in its main headline: ‘The new ceasefire holds in Gaza: calm in return for fishing rights, fuel, import and export.’

Al-Hayat al-Jadida said ‘The Gazans welcomed the month of Ramadan with funerals and digging out corpses from under the rubble.’

The paper said Egyptian and United Nations efforts succeeded in ending the Israeli military escalation in Gaza.

It also said the government called on the Palestinian factions to set their differences aside and allow it to carry out its duties in helping the people of Gaza.

Al-Hayat al-Jadida said Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian permanent representative to the United Nations, discussed with the president of the UN Security Council the Israeli aggression on Gaza.

The front page of al-Ayyam was almost entirely focused on news from Gaza with one item saying Hamas expressed shock at a statement by the spokesman of the UN Secretary General on the Israeli aggression on Gaza in which he blamed Hamas for the escalation while totally neglecting the fact that Israel killed two young Palestinian protesters during border demonstrations on Friday and assassinated two others in the same day which prompted a response from Hamas.

It also said in other news that Israel has imposed a total closure on the occupied Palestinian territories as it celebrates its founding 71 years ago.

Al-Quds said that calls were made for large participation in the Nakba (1948 catastrophe) march on May 15 in Ramallah and other activities commemorating this traumatic event that led to the dispersal of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and the creation of Israel on their land and in their homes.

The Mediterranean Alliance of News Agencies (AMAN) strongly condemned, in a statement issued on Tuesday, Israeli destruction of the building housing the office of the Turkish Anadolu news agency, stressing that ‘the security of media people is of paramount importance for the freedom of speech and democratic values.’

Israeli warplanes bombed the building housing the news agency during two days of airstrikes on Saturday and Sunday totally destroying it.

AMAN said it has been notified by its member agency Anadolu (AA) that its office in Gaza had been damaged during an Israeli air attack.

While no injuries or death were reported, the building was totally collapsed, Anadolu reported.

Meanwhile, Israeli forces forced 15 Palestinian families to evacuate from their homes in northern Jordan Valley, in the northern occupied West Bank, on Tuesday, in order to make way for active military training.

Mutaz Bisharat, a Palestinian official who monitors settlement activity in the Jordan Valley/Tubas district, said that Israel ordered 15 families, consisting of 98 individuals, mostly women and children, to evacuate the in the Hamsa al-Fawqa area, in the Jordan Valley.

The evacuation orders oblige the families to evacuate their homes for the next four weeks for three days per week; on Sunday from 1:00 p.m., on Monday from 4:00 p.m. to Tuesday 10:00 a.m., and on Wednesday from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Palestinian residents of the Jordan Valley regularly face evacuations and interruption due to Israeli military exercises on or near their land. The district of Tubas, meanwhile, is one of the occupied West Bank’s most important agricultural centers.

The majority of the Jordan Valley is under full Israeli military control, despite being within the West Bank.

At least 44 per cent of the total land in the Jordan Valley has been reappropriated by Israeli forces for military purposes and training exercises.

According to the Palestinian nonprofit Applied Research Institute –Jerusalem (ARIJ), more than 400,000 dunams (98,842 acres) of the 720,000 dunams (177,916 acres) that make up the total area of the Jordan Valley has been transformed into closed military and firing zones, with at least 27,000 dunams (6,672 acres) confiscated for illegal Israeli settlement building.

The Israeli rights group B’Tselem has emphasised the detrimental effects such trainings have on communities that are dependent on farming and shepherding.

‘B’Tselem’s research has found that over the course of the military manouvre, ten sheep and goats died in the evacuated communities.

In addition, ammunition remnants from the military training caused fires.

Israeli military training exercises in the Jordan Valley have increased dramatically since 2012 and are one of many tools used to forcibly displace rural Palestinian communities, NGO Jordan Valley Solidarity says, part of a historic process of creeping annexation of the valley by Israel’s military.

Forming a third of the occupied West Bank and with 88 per cent of its land classified as Area C, the Jordan Valley has long been a strategic area of land unlikely to return to Palestinians following Israel’s occupation in 1967. Israeli forces detained at least nine Palestinians, including a woman and a former prisoner, during predawn raids in the occupied West Bank, on Tuesday.

Palestine Prisoners Society (PPS) said that Israeli forces detained two Palestinians in the southern West Bank district of Hebron. They were identified as Alaa Muhammad Hashem al-Titi and Baraa Hassan Hureinat.

In the Beit Safafa neighborhood, in the central West Bank district of Jerusalem, PPS said that a 19-year-old Palestinian woman was detained by Israeli forces. She was identified as Fatmeh Yahya Suleiman.

In the northern West Bank district of Qalqiliya, another five Palestinians were detained. PPS identified them as Muhammad Mounir Mashal, Muhammad Nidal Mashal, Louay Anwar Mashal, Adi Samir Abu Haniyeh,k and Jaafar Abed al-Karim Salim.

In the northern West Bank district of Jenin, a former Palestinian prisoner was detained and identified as Salim Ahmad Ali.

According to prisoners rights group Addameer, there are 5,440 Palestinian prisoners, including 48 female prisoners, being held in Israeli prisons.