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Israeli forces kill Palestinian officers in ‘undercover mission’ | Middle East News

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At least three Palestinians killed, including two intelligence officers, in a predawn Israeli raid in Jenin city, occupied West Bank.

Israeli forces have shot dead at least three Palestinians, including two Palestinian Authority (PA) military intelligence officers, in a predawn raid in the city of Jenin in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian authorities said on Thursday.

The Palestinian health ministry identified the two officers as Adham Yasser Alawi, 23, and Tayseer Issa, 32, the Palestinian Wafa news agency reported, adding that the third victim was Jamil al-Amuri, who had been imprisoned in Israeli jails.

Another Palestinian officer, Muhammad al-Bazour, 23, was critically injured during the Israeli undercover mission and has been moved to an Israeli hospital, according to Wafa.

An online video the Associated Press had access to appears to show Palestinian officers taking cover behind a vehicle as gunshots are heard in the background. One shouts that they are exchanging fire with Israeli “undercover” forces.

Israeli media reported that al-Amuri was a former prisoner and member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, but this has yet to be confirmed from the Palestinian officials.

Reporting from occupied east Jerusalem, Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett said the incident was “an undercover operation in a civilian vehicle.”

“The understanding is that they (Israeli forces) were targeting at least one member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

“One guy was killed in that operation, and another was injured and taken away by the Israel forces. The man who was killed is understood to be a member of the PIJ,” said Fawcett.

According to reports, the second man who was taken away was a Palestinian man named Wissam Abu Zaid. He was reportedly arrested during the operation.

‘Dangerous Israeli escalation’

A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned what he called a “dangerous Israeli escalation”, saying the three were killed by Israeli special forces who disguise themselves as Palestinians during arrest raids.

The spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudaina, called on the international community and the United States to intervene to halt such attacks.

There are conflicting reports about the details of the incident.

The Israeli military and police did not immediately respond to requests for comment. However, an Israeli official anonymously told Reuters news agency that the Palestinian officers were killed in the crossfire.

“Witnesses on the ground say the Israeli forces also fired at members of the Palestinian military intelligence – officers who were there near the scene, outside their own security building,” Al Jazeera’s Fawcett said.

“Israeli media reports talk about the Israelis returning fire in their direction but whatever took place, it is known that two of those military intelligence officers were killed and a third was critically injured and taken to an Israeli hospital as a result.

“This is another instance of Palestinian military intelligence officers being killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank,” he added.

Under interim peace agreements signed in the 1990s, the PA has limited autonomy in scattered enclaves that together make up approximately 40 percent of the occupied West Bank. Israel has overarching security authority in the West Bank and routinely carries out arrest raids in Palestinian cities and towns administered by the PA.

Under the 1993 Oslo agreements, the PA is obliged to share information with Israel about any armed resistance to the Israeli occupation in a practice known as “security coordination”, which was briefly suspended last year after Israeli plan to annex the occupied West Bank.

Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, has criticised the PA for the so-called “security coordination”. Many Hamas members have been arrested due to PA’s cooperation with Israeli authorities.

Relatives of Palestinian Jamil al-Amuri, killed by Israeli special forces, mourn in Jenin [Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP]

Israeli forces frequently carry out arrest raids in the occupied West Bank. On May 25, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian during one such raid near Ramallah.

Palestinian media reported that, following the withdrawal of Israeli forces  from Jenin, Israel deployed reinforcements at the northern entrance to the Palestinian town.

Funeral processions will be held later on Thursday for the three Palestinian men who were killed. There have also been calls for a general strike across Palestinian towns.

The incident comes weeks after a fragile peace was agreed following an 11-day Israeli war on besieged Gaza left more than 250 Palestinians dead, including 66 children.

At least 12 people were killed in Israel in rockets attacks carried out by Palestinian armed factions.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Trauma and mental health in Gaza | Mental Health

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The May 20 ceasefire between the Israeli government and Hamas brought the latest round of conflict in the region to an end and led to a collective sigh of relief from the beleaguered Palestinians of the Gaza Strip.

But the deep wounds the violence opened remain fresh.

Eleven days of Israeli bombardment on the besieged enclave left 256 Palestinians, including 66 children, dead. Nearly 2,000 have been injured. Homes, offices and hospitals have been destroyed.

As the fragile ceasefire appears to hold, those who survived the conflict are once again trying to rebuild their lives. But the damage inflicted during those 11 days was not only physical and material. The mental health of Palestinians in Gaza was also bombarded during those dark days.

Living in fear of the next air attack, the spectre of death looming. Losing loved ones and homes. It is hard to imagine how utterly traumatising their reality has been.

Residents of Gaza have been enduring layer upon layer of trauma for decades. The deadly Israeli onslaughts are the most damaging – four in the last 14 years – but they occur against the background of chronic trauma imposed by the occupation.

Atrocities like the seizure and demolition of homes, oppressive policing, unlawful killings, detention without trial and torture all inflict profound psychological damage. Such perpetual subjugation can destroy self-esteem and leave victims in a state of “learned helplessness” – resigned to their fate and vulnerable to depression.

Israel’s illegal blockade on Gaza also amounts to a psychological stranglehold. The resulting economic deprivation has caused widespread unemployment and poverty – well-recognised risk factors for mental illness – and left health services underfunded, underdeveloped and unable to meet the demand. Each war on Gaza decimates them further – at least six hospitals, two clinics, a health centre and a Palestine Red Crescent Society facility sustained damage this time.

For most other countries, COVID-19 is currently the primary public and mental health concern. In Palestine, it is almost an afterthought, superseded by more dangerous assailants – air attacks and oppression. Nonetheless, more than 110,000 people in Gaza have been infected with the virus thus far, with more than 1,000 deaths. There are only enough doses available to vaccinate 60,200 people in a population of more than 2 million. So pandemic anxiety is also rampant in Gaza, adding to the mental burden.

All this turmoil translates to actual mental illness. In Gaza, rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which features disrupted sleep, feeling permanently on edge and easily startled, flashbacks and nightmares of the trauma and emotional numbing – are incredibly high. A 2017 study found 37 percent of the adults living on the Strip qualify for the diagnosis.

In my work as a psychiatrist, I have treated refugees with PTSD from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It can be severe, complex and protracted. It would be almost impossible to start the healing while the root causes persist. The head of mental health services in Palestine once said her people do not suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder because their trauma is ongoing. Present-traumatic stress disorder may be a more fitting description of their experience.

As is often the case in these situations, children suffer the most in Palestine. A study conducted in 2020, before the latest conflict, found that 53.5 per cent of children in Gaza were suffering from PTSD. Nearly 90 percent had experienced personal trauma. The Norwegian Refugee Council reported the devastating news that 11 of the children killed by the recent Israeli air attacks were participating in its trauma programme. No wonder UN Secretary-General António Guterres described Gaza as “hell on earth” for children.

Of course, Israelis have suffered too. Twelve were killed by Hamas rockets in May, two of them children – a tragic loss of human life. But for the Israelis, the Iron Dome defence system and bomb shelters provide a vital safety net and sense of security that Palestinians live without. Their highly developed healthcare services are far better equipped to deal with both physical injuries and the psychological impact of rocket fire. They are not living through the mental anguish of occupation either. All this is reflected in their lower PTSD rates, ranging from 0.5 to 9 percent of the population.

Back in 2008, I went on a trip to post-conflict Somaliland to teach psychiatry to medical students. The civil war affecting the area ended in 1991 but its effects on the mental health of the population and health infrastructure were still evident some 17 years later. They still continue to this day. It will take time to rebuild the fragmented minds and health services in Gaza, but there is little hope for them until Israel ends its illegal occupation, settlement expansion and blockade on Gaza.

The oppression of Palestinians has led Human Rights Watch to the conclusion that Israel is committing the crime of apartheid. Perhaps viewing this situation through the prism of human rights violations and their grave impact on mental health might prompt the international community to pressure Israel to act. Palestinians and Israelis both deserve security and protection from trauma. The best way to achieve this is by affording Palestinians their basic human rights.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Ex Museveni Bodyguard, Capt. Opolot, Succumbs to COVID-19

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Retired UPDF Captain, Alex Opolot, is dead.

Opolot, who served for over 20 years in special military operations, lost the battle to COVID-19 this past weekend at Prime Hospital in Namugongo, Wakiso district.

Friends described him as a “great family man who was loved by his children to the moon and back.”

Born on January 21, 1962 in Bukedea district, Eastern Uganda, Opolot was among the first officers in the Presidential Protection Unit (PPU).

He survived action in Somalia where served as a peacekeeper.

Opolot attended Kumi Primary School and Father Hilders Primary school.

He later moved to Soroti Secondary School before joining Busitema College of Agriculture and Mechanization.

Opolot also worked with Peko Machinery Works in Soroti before joining the army.

He recently retired from the army and was working with Arrow Security Group of Captain Mike Mukula at the time of death.

He was attached to Internal Security Organisation (ISO), Presidential Protection Unit/Brigade.

Opolot was later deployed in Northern Uganda to battle the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels where he excelled in field intelligence operations.

He recently retired from the army and was working with Arrow Security Group of Captain Mike Mukula at the time of death.

The deceased’s friends say he was a very skilled footballer, great dancer, very peaceful and cheerful soldier.

Opolot during his footballing days. He was know as Opolot Wizard
Opolot served in Somalia under AMISOM

He is survived by a widow and four children.

Opolot will be buried on Tuesday, June 15, 2021 in Odoot Etom, Okolotum, Kocheka Sub-County, Bukedea District.

Results of COVID-19 tests done on 11 June 2021 confirmed 1,727 new cases. The cumulative confirmed cases are 61,977 with 428 deaths.

To prevent infection and to slow transmission of COVID-19, do the following:

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, or clean them with alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Maintain at least 1 metre distance between you and people coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
  • Stay home if you feel unwell.
  • Refrain from smoking and other activities that weaken the lungs.
  • Practice physical distancing by avoiding unnecessary travel and staying away from large groups of people.

The post Ex Museveni Bodyguard, Capt. Opolot, Succumbs to COVID-19 first appeared on ChimpReports.



Source – chimpreports.com

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Palestinians not counting on change as Bennett replaces Netanyahu | Benjamin Netanyahu News

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Palestinian leaders say new Israeli PM Naftali Bennett is likely to pursue the same right-wing agenda as Benjamin Netanyahu.

Palestinian groups have dismissed the change in Israel’s government, saying new Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is likely to pursue the same right-wing agenda as his predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s office called the Israeli parliamentary vote on Sunday an “internal Israeli affair” while groups in the besieged enclave of Gaza pledged to keep up their fight for Palestinian rights. Gaza has been under an Israeli air, land and sea blockade since 2007.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, issued a statement saying it was “inaccurate” to call Bennett’s coalition government a “government of change” unless there was a significant shift in its position on the Palestinian right to self-determination and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Bennett, who heads the ultra-nationalist Yamina party and describes himself as “more right-wing” than Netanyahu, has said that the creation of a Palestine state would be “national suicide” for Israel. He has also called for the annexation of most of the occupied West Bank.

The millionaire former high-tech entrepreneur faces a tough test maintaining an unwieldy coalition from the political right, left and centre. Analysts say Bennett’s government will likely avoid sweeping moves on hot-button issues such as policy towards the Palestinians and instead focus on domestic reforms.

Palestinians unmoved

“This is an internal Israeli affair,” said Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for Abbas. “Our position has always been clear, what we want is a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital.”

In a statement, the Palestinian foreign ministry posed a host of questions to Bennett’s government. “What is the position of the new government regarding the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination and the establishment of their independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital?”

“What is its position of the settlement and annexation processes? What is its position on Jerusalem and respect for the historical and legal situation there? Its position on the signed agreements? Its position on the resolutions of international legitimacy? Its position on the two-state solution and negotiations on the basis of the principle of land for peace?”

In Gaza, Palestinian groups vowed to keep resisting Israel.

“We aren’t counting on any change in the occupation governments, since they are united on the policy of killing Palestinians and confiscating Palestinian rights,” said Sami Abu Zuhri, a senior Hamas official.

And prior to the Israeli parliament vote, Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas said: “Regardless of the shape of the government in Israel, it will not alter the way we look at the Zionist entity. It is a settler occupier entity that must be resisted by all forms of resistance, foremost of which is armed resistance.”



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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