Nablus under siege for two weeks!

Israeli troops on the outskirts of Nablus

A DELEGATION of five ministers from the Palestinian cabinet visited the northern West Bank city of Nablus on Monday to investigate the ongoing Israeli siege of the city.

For nearly two weeks, Nablus and the neighbouring villages have been under a tight Israeli military siege, with most of the entrances to the city shut down by earth mounds, heavy concrete barriers, metal bars, and military checkpoints.
The cabinet delegation included Minister of National Economy Khaled al-Ossaili, Minister of Transport Assem Salem, Health Minister Mai Alkaila, Minister of Public Works and Housing Mohammad Ziara, and Minister of Labour Nasri Abu Jeish.
So far, only two out of more than 10 entrances to the city have been left partially open for the city’s and nearby villages’ nearly 160,000 inhabitants, resulting in daily delays and traffic jams, with drivers often finding themselves with no choice but to drive on rough terrain in their way in and out.
According to the Ministry of Economy, the Israeli siege of Nablus has stifled the lives of the city’s residents and dealt a hard blow to its economic activity, resulting in an estimated 60% decline in economic activity up to last Thursday.
The delegation listened to the demands of institutions, including the national factions, to support the steadfastness of the Palestinian people and other matters.
They also met with the Governor of Nablus, Ibrahim Ramadan, and the head of the Palestine Trade Unions, Shaher Saad, who confirmed that nearly 7,000 workers have been unable to reach their workplaces in Israel due to the siege, which means they have become unemployed.
He said that many workers in local factories were laid off because the factories had to cut down on production since they cannot export goods outside Nablus.
The Israeli army has imposed a strict siege on the northern West Bank city since October 11, blocking all entrances with military checkpoints and earth mounds, while Israeli drones constantly hover overhead.
Israeli officials say the siege will continue until further notice, but it has had severe economic repercussions on a city that has a particular industrial and commercial importance for the West Bank, and has been widely condemned as ‘collective punishment’.
Earlier, amid heightened tensions in the occupied territories, Palestinian resistance fighters of the Arin al-Osoud (Lion’s Den) group had opened fire on Israeli occupation troops in Nablus killing one, then the siege was imposed on the whole area.
Then, in the early hours of last Sunday, a Lion’s Den member, Tamer al-Kilani, was killed by a bomb blast in the city, which has been roundly blamed on Israeli forces, and the group vowed a strong response to the assassination.
They opened fire on an Israeli military position on Gerizim Mountain overlooking Nablus on Sunday night.
Israeli forces have been conducting overnight raids and killings in the northern occupied West Bank, mainly in the cities of Jenin and Nablus, where the new groups of Palestinian resistance fighters have been formed.
Meanwhile on Monday, the Israeli army continued to close the iron gate at a checkpoint at the main entrance to Nabi Saleh and several other villages and bulldozed local land.
The army had closed the gate for several days, preventing people from getting in and out, and forcing them to look for alternative routes that take double the time to leave or enter the villages.
At the same time, an army bulldozer razed privately-owned land near the checkpoint, where an army watchtower is also located, apparently to build a military camp in the area.
Also on Monday, a pro-Palestine activist was injured after he was assaulted by Israeli settlers in the village of al-Ouja, north of the occupied West Bank city of Jericho.
Ayman Ghareeb, an activist, told Palestine news agency WAFA that Israeli settlers had attacked international activists and Palestinian shepherds, injuring one.
There is concern the settlers will carry out more attacks against the Palestinian shepherds, as on Monday morning settlers also attacked Palestinian homes and cars in the town of Tuqou, which is just southeast of Bethlehem, causing much damage.
Palestinian security sources told WAFA that the settlers threw rocks at several homes and cars in the town smashing windows. No one was hurt.
On Sunday night, settlers also attacked homes and cars in the village of Almenia, east of Bethlehem, causing damage but no injuries.
Settler terrorism against Palestinian civilians in the occupied territories has increased in recent months and is often carried out under the cover of and with support from Israeli soldiers, as confirmed by several Israeli rights organisations and media outlets.
Later reports said the Israeli army closed an iron gate at the northern entrance to Almenia and prevented people from entering or leaving.
As residents gathered at the gate trying to get in and out, clashes broke out between them and the soldiers who fired tear gas canisters and sound bombs to disperse them.
Separately, Israeli occupation authorities recently renewed the administrative detention order against Musllam Gwanmeh, 22, from Jalazon refugee camp, near Ramallah, despite a decision by the military court that says his current administrative detention order is the last one to be issued against him, said the Palestinian Prisoner Society (PPS) on Monday.
It said that the occupation authorities deliberately issued the order against him on the day he was scheduled to be released.
Gwanmeh was detained on October 16, 2020. He was sentenced to prison for seven months but then placed in administrative detention at the end of his prison term.
Since then, five administrative orders – where a prisoner is kept without charge or trial – have been issued against him.
Then on Sunday evening, the Israeli navy opened fire on Palestinian fishing boats as they were sailing in the areas of al-Waha and al-Sudaniya, north of the Gaza Strip.
A WAFA correspondent said that the Israeli navy fired sound and tear gas bombs, preventing them from fishing and eventually forcing them to shore in fear of getting shot.
Since October 2000, human right centres in Gaza have documented several Israeli violations, including killing and confiscation of boats, against fishermen who are allowed, in accordance with international guaranteed Palestinian- Israeli agreements, to fish within four to six nautical miles off shore.
Despite the signed agreements between Palestinians and Israel, which allow fishermen to go 12 nautical miles inside the Mediterranean Sea, Israeli navy targets Gaza fishermen almost daily and does not allow them to go further than three nautical miles, which the fishermen say is not enough to catch fish.
A large number of Gazans rely on fishing for their daily living because of the tight decade-old blockade imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip.

  • Syrian air defence units have managed to intercept and bring down most of the missiles launched by the Israeli military at various targets near the capital city Damascus.

Syria’s official news agency SANA, citing a military source, reported that Israeli warplanes fired several missiles from the north of the occupied Palestinian territories at targets near Damascus at about 2.00pm local time on Monday.
‘Our forces intercepted the missiles and brought most of them down,’ the source noted, adding that the aggression resulted in the injury of one soldier and some material damage.
Earlier, the state-run and Arabic-language al-Ikhbariyah Syria television news channel reported that two loud explosions were heard across Damascus after the Israeli military fired several missiles towards Syrian military positions in the countryside around the capital.
The Israeli attack is a rare example of strikes during the daytime in Syria, as the Tel Aviv regime usually hits military installations under cover of darkness.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups that are wreaking havoc in the country.
Israel frequently targets military positions inside Syria, especially those of the resistance movement Hezbollah which has played a key role in helping the Syrian army in its fight against the foreign-backed terrorists.
The Tel Aviv regime mostly keeps quiet about its attacks on Syrian territories, which many view as knee-jerk reaction to the Syrian government’s increasing success in confronting terrorism.
Israel has been a main supporter of terrorist groups that have opposed the government of President Bashar al-Assad since foreign-backed militancy erupted in Syria.