By staff & agencies

Gaza #Returnprotests continue with 120 martyrs

May 26, 2018 - 11:54

The Palestinian Health Ministry in a report on Friday said 120 people have been killed and hundreds have been injured since March 30

Felestin Al-Youm (Palestine Today) quoted the Palestinian Health Ministry that some 120 Palestinians were killed and thousands more injured during the six-week “March of Return” protests that first began on March 30 near the fence separating Gaza from the Israeli-occupied territories.

At least 65 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces only on May 14 as they protested the United States decision to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to al-Quds (Jerusalem).

The occupied territories have witnessed new tensions ever since the U.S. President Donald Trump on December 6, 2017 announced Washington’s recognition of al-Quds (Jerusalem) as Israel’s “capital” and said the U.S. would move its embassy to the city.

The dramatic decision triggered demonstrations in the occupied Palestinian territories as well as Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, Iraq, Morocco and other Muslim and non-Muslim countries.

 Israeli forces shoot at Palestinian fishermen off Gaza, arrest two

Elsewhere, Palestinian officials say Israeli naval forces have opened fire on several Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of the besieged Gaza Strip, and arrested two brothers.

Head of the Fishermen Committees in the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, Zakaria Bakr, told Arabic-language Safa news agency that Israeli forces targeted the Palestinian boats off the northern shores of the coastal sliver on Thursday morning.

Bakr added that marines then boarded a boat and arrested two brothers, identified as Rasem and Mohammed Zayed, before taking them to an unknown location.

Over the past few years, Israeli forces have carried out more than a hundred attacks on Palestinian boats, arresting dozens of fishermen and confiscating several boats.

The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli blockade since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in the standard of living as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty.

 Israel mulls over construction of 2,500 new settler units in West Bank

Meantime, Israel has announced plans to construct a total of 2,500 new settler units in the West Bank, once again defying international calls for the regime to stop its settlement activities on occupied Palestinian territories.

Israeli war minister, Avigdor Lieberman, tweeted on Thursday that he would request the Higher Planning Council next week to issue permits for building 2,500 new units in more than 30 West Bank settlements.

He also noted that 1,400 of the housing units would be designated for immediate construction.

“We will promote building in all of Judea and Samaria, from the north to south, in small communities and in large ones,” Lieberman said, using the Israeli term for the West Bank.

He further stressed that Israel had been keeping its word on the West Bank construction activities, saying, “In the coming months we will bring forward thousands more units for approval.”

The remarks came two days after the Palestinian foreign ministry called Israeli settlements “the single most dangerous threat to Palestinian lives and livelihoods.”

“Israel maintains, expands and protects the settlement regime by committing war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of apartheid against the Palestinian people,” the ministry said in a statement to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Most of the United Nations Security Council member states raise alarm over the non-implementation of an anti-Israel resolution adopted in December 2016.

About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built illegally since the 1967 occupation of the Palestinian lands.

Tel Aviv has been emboldened by the all-out support of Obama’s successor, Donald Trump, stepping up even further its settlement construction activities in the occupied territories in defiance of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2334.

The resolution, approved in December 2016, states that Israel’s establishment of “settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-state solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.”

Earlier this month, two-thirds of the 15 UNSC member states raised alarm over the non-implementation of Resolution 2334.

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