A photo of Aisha smiling softly in her hospital bed, brown curls swaddled in bandages, drew an outpouring on social media. The wrenching details of her last days have shined a light on Israel’s vastly complex and stringent system for issuing Gaza exit permits. It is a bureaucracy that has Israeli and Palestinian authorities blaming each other for its shortfalls, while inflicting a heavy toll on Gaza’s sick children and their parents. “The most difficult thing is to leave your child in the unknown,” said Waseem a-Lulu, Aisha’s father. “Jerusalem is just an hour away, but it feels as though it is another planet.” So far this year, roughly half of applications for patient companion permits were rejected or left unanswered by Israel, according to the World Health Organization. That has forced over 600 patients, including some dozen children under 18, to make the trek out of the territory alone or without close family by their side. The system stems from the Hamas militant group’s takeover of Gaza in 2007, when it violently ousted the Western-backed Palestinian Authority. Israel and Egypt responded by imposing a blockade that tightly restricted movement in and out of Gaza. The blockade, which Israel says is necessary to prevent Hamas from arming, has precipitated a financial and humanitarian crisis in the enclave. For years, Gaza’s 2 million residents have endured rising poverty and unemployment, undrinkable groundwater and frequent electricity outages. Public hospitals wrestle with chronic shortages of drugs and basic medical equipment. Israel blames Hamas,
The Palestinians are planning to hold a “popular uprising” later this month to protest against US President Donald Trump’s controversial “deal of the century”. The protests are scheduled to take place on June 25-26 in conjunction with the US-led conference in Bahrain – where the first part of Trump’s so-called “peace plan” which is spearheaded by his son-in-law Jared Kushner, will be unveiled. The call for the “popular uprising” was made by representatives of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) factions, Palestinian civil society organizations and independent Palestinian figures on Sunday after a meeting in the occupied West Bank city of el-Bireh. Wasel Abu Yusef, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, said the Palestinians need to engage in “struggling action to foil the ‘deal of the century’ and its economic aspect, and voice their rejection of all American policies.” Abu Yusef noted that Sunday’s meeting was the first in a series of gatherings to arrange “popular activities to confront American-Israeli schemes aimed at eliminating the rights of the Palestinian people.” He urged Arab nations to boycott the Bahrain conference “because the rights of the Palestinian people can’t be traded for money.” Late last month, the PLO affirmed its final opposition to the conference and called on the international community to boycott the workshop. Another senior PLO official, Tayseer Khaled, stressed the need to “change the rules of engagement with the policies of the US administration” and the Israeli regime. He cited “the big changes in the policy of the US
The head of the United Nations agency that has supported Palestinian refugees for seven decades hit back on Thursday at a U.S. proposal to have host countries take over the services it provides across the Middle East. The suggestion, from U.S. Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt at a U.N. Security Council meeting on Wednesday, that UNRWA should be effectively dismantled was the latest U.S. attack on an agency that began operations in 1950. Formerly UNRWA’s largest donor, the United States halted its funding to the agency in 2018, deeming its fiscal practices “irredeemably flawed” and stoking tensions between the Palestinians and U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration. “We need to engage with host governments to start a conversation about planning the transition of UNRWA services to host governments, or to other international or local non-governmental organizations, as appropriate,” Greenblatt said after the Security Council was briefed by UNRWA chief Pierre Krahenbuhl. Asked at a Gaza news conference on Thursday about Greenblatt’s remarks, Krahenbuhl said UNRWA’s mandate was a matter for the entire U.N. General Assembly to consider, not by “one or two individual member states”. “Therefore, Palestinian refugees should remember that the mandate is protected by the General Assembly, and of course we will engage with member states to ensure what we hope is a safe renewal of that mandate,” Krahenbuhl said. STRONG BACKING IN U.N. GENERAL ASSEMBLY UNRWA’s mission is due to come up for renewal later this year in the General Assembly, where support for the agency has been
“We will not accept solutions that violate our rights… The deal of century is aimed at liquidating the Palestinian cause and dropping central issues like al-Quds (Jerusalem) and return of (Palestinian) refugees,” Izzat al-Risheq said during a meeting between a Hamas delegation and Lebanese Prime Minister Sa’ad al-Hariri in Beirut.”
Palestinians will stay away from a U.S.-led conference in Bahrain next month that the Trump administration has cast as an overture to its own plan for peace between them and Israel, a Palestinian cabinet minister said on Monday. Washington announced the conference on Sunday, describing it as an opportunity to drum up international investment for the Israeli-occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The Palestinians, who have boycotted the Trump administration since it recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017, have shown little interest in discussing a plan on which they had no input and that they anticipate will fall far short of their core demands. Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said on Monday that his government had not been consulted on the June 25-26 gathering in Manama. After the cabinet met, Ahhmed Majdalani, the social development minister and a member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation executive committee, said: “There will be no Palestinian participation in the Manama workshop.” “Any Palestinian who would take part would be nothing but a collaborator for the Americans and Israel,” he said. Shtayyeh reiterated Palestinians’ aspirations for a two-state peace agreement with Israel entailing control of the occupied West Bank and Gaza – currently run by the Islamist group Hamas – as well as East Jerusalem as their future capital. Internationally-mediated talks to that end have been stalemated for years. Israel calls Jerusalem its indivisible capital and has said it might declare sovereignty in its West Bank settlements, which are deemed illegal by
Gaza’s Health Ministry said a 22-year-old Palestinian, Emad Nassir, was killed by an Israeli airstrike. Six other Palestinians sustained injuries from airstrikes and shelling. In Israel, there were no reports of injuries, and police said a house in the coastal city of Ashkelon was damaged.