Middle East Monitor / AntiMedia (8/24/18)
A new report by a human rights organisation has concluded that Israeli troops basically ignored the fact that Palestinian medical staff adhered strictly to international standards while treating demonstrators in Gaza’s Great March of Return protests, and shot them deliberately. This was despite the staff wearing distinct uniforms identifying them as medical personnel, and operating out of medical aid stations and vehicles which were also marked clearly with internationally-recognised symbols. The targeting of the medical staff by Israeli snipers was, claims Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights, “systematic and deliberate”.
Aside from the three medical personnel killed by the IDF, 99 have been injured and 64 vehicles have been damaged.
Al-Mezan points out that the shootings took place in broad daylight, with no obstacles or anything blocking the sightlines of the troops. Moreover, the Israeli forces have access to sophisticated surveillance tools which enable them to identify who is moving in the areas under observation.
The organisation presented a summary of the investigations and information collected about the deaths of three medics: volunteer medic at Life Pulse team, Abdullah Sabry Atia Al-Qatty, aged 22; Razan Al-Najjar, 20, a paramedic at the Palestinian Medical Relief Society; and a medic in the Civil Defence, Musa Jaber Abdul Salam Abu Hassanein, 34. All were shot in the chest and killed.
The right of medical personnel in the field to be protected, along with their places of work and vehicles, was violated by the Israel Defence Forces using live ammunition and tear gas, Al-Mezan says. Medical staff in Gaza’s main hospitals insisted that this was no ordinary tear gas, but “toxic” gas, judging by the nature of the effects on the targets. …
Trump Administration Announces $200 Million Cut In Humanitarian Aid For Palestinians
By Julia Conely
Common Dreams (8/24/18)
The Trump administration announced Friday that it would cut $200 million in Palestinian aid, redirecting the funds to what it called “high priority projects elsewhere.”
The decision comes three months after Trump administration officials including senior advisers Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump celebrated the relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv—a move that provoked outrage among Palestinians as well as in the international community—while Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) shot and fired tear gas at protesters, killing more than 50 people including an eight-month-old baby.
The U.S. had been planning to give the Palestinians a $251 aid package to promote “good governance, health, education, and funding for civil society,” according to the Associated Press.
Palestinians in Gaza live with only a few hours of electricity per day, while about 40 percent of the population is unemployed and the densely-packed enclave—described as the world’s largest open-air prison—suffers from constant food and medicine shortages, due to the U.S.-backed blockade imposed by Israel.
In addition to the funding cut, the Trump administration announced in January that it was freezing $65 million in funding for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, which provides aid to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza as well as Jordan and Lebanon.
Foreign Policy reported earlier this month that the administration was considering cutting the aid package to strengthen its negotiating power as Kushner prepares to introduce a peace plan for the Middle East. …