Two Palestinians killed as Israel hunts missing teenagers

admin   •   June 23, 2014   •   1477

Israeli soldiers take part in an operation to locate three Israeli teens near the West Bank City of Hebron June 21, 2014.
CREDIT: REUTERS/AMMAR AWAD

(Reuters) – Israeli troops killed two Palestinians on Sunday, Palestinian medics and a militant group said, as Israel pressed on with its crackdown on Hamas, the Islamist group it accuses of abducting three Israeli teenagers.

In a sign of growing Palestinian anger, Palestinian police loyal to Western-backed President Mahmoud Abbas also came under attack – by a rock-throwing crowd that wanted them to confront Israeli troops on a raid of the de facto capital of Ramallah.

Gunfire – apparently warning shots fired by police from the balcony and windows of their station house – echoed for several minutes in the heart of Ramallah as dozens of protesters crouched or ran for cover. There were no reports of casualties.

Demonstrators taunted police with the chant of “collaborators” during the night-time Israeli operation. The windows of three police cars parked outside were smashed.

The Israeli military said soldiers entered several Palestinian cities and villages overnight, rounding up six suspected militants.

Israel has said its West Bank operation is twofold – to find Gil-Ad Shaer and U.S.-Israeli national Naftali Fraenkel, both aged 16, and Eyal Yifrah, 19, who went missing near an Israeli settlement on June 13, and to deal a substantial blow to Hamas.

The crisis has put pressure on a unity pact between Abbas and Hamas, an Islamist group sworn to Israel’s destruction. Hamas has neither confirmed nor denied involvement in the disappearance of the youths.

Abbas has condemned the abduction of the three Israelis, and his security forces have been helping in the search. But he has also called the Israeli sweeps “collective punishment” of the Palestinian people.

During an overnight raid in the city of Nablus, Israeli soldiers fired at stone-throwing Palestinians, killing Ahmad Famawi, 26, residents and medics said. In Ramallah, the Islamic Jihad militant group said one of its members was killed by Israeli gunfire. The Israeli military said it was investigating the incident.

LOW MORALE

A Western official who works with Palestinian security forces described their morale as low and said they were aware their effective confinement to barracks during Israel’s operations had hurt their standing among ordinary Palestinians.

Hamas officials have said the Palestinian people are heading towards a third intifada, or uprising, against Israel. Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyal al-Maliki said on Friday that would not happen as long as Abbas was in charge.

Abbas’s Fatah movement, however, issued a statement on Sunday cautioning that its patience “has started to run out because of the daily crimes committed (by Israel) against our people”.

Warning that Israel was “bringing the situation towards an explosion”, the Palestinian Authority said it had launched efforts to convene an urgent session of the U.N. Security Council to try to end the offensive.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in public remarks to his cabinet on Sunday, said Israel had conveyed its evidence against Hamas to several countries and would soon make it public. He defended Israel’s military action in the West Bank.

“We have no intention of deliberately hurting anyone, but our forces are acting as necessary for their self-defence and, on occasion, there are fatalities or casualties on the Palestinian side,” Netanyahu said.

The military has so far searched some 1,350 sites in the West Bank and detained more than 330 Palestinians. The raids have triggered street clashes in which four Palestinians have been killed, including in Sunday’s incidents.

(Reporting by Ali Sawafta, Writing by Ari Rabinovitch, Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Mark Trevelyan)

Israel allows re-entry of foreign caregivers

Marje Pelayo   •   October 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The State of Israel’s Ministry of Interior (MOI) has allowed the entry and re-entry of foreign workers in the caregiving sector, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) said in an advisory.

These include Filipino caregivers who were not able to return to Israel due to the travel restrictions amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. 

“The re-entry policy covers licensed foreign caregivers who left Israel to visit their home country prior to the country’s March 18, 2020 travel restriction as a preventive measure against the spread of COVID-19,” the POEA said.

Israel’s Ministry of Interior also expanded the entry outline of foreign workers in the caregiving section including issuance of work permits for foreign caregivers entering Israel for the first time. 

“The entry of both vacationing and new caregivers will be subjected to an official application from the employer/patient’s family with the Population and Immigration Bureau, as well as required to follow all the conditions on their quarantine,” the agency explained. 

As such, upon arrival in Israel, the caregiver must undergo quarantine for 14 days in a facility which is not at the employer/patient’s home. 

The expenses and financial needs of the caregiver during the entire quarantine period will be shouldered by the employer, while the worker will not be paid of his/her salary during the quarantine.

53 Filipinos stranded in Israel back in PH – DFA

Robie de Guzman   •   October 6, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – A group of 53 Filipinos who were repatriated from Israel has arrived in the country, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

In a statement on Monday, the DFA said the repatriates landed in Manila on Friday after leaving Istanbul on Oct. 1.

The Filipinos were assisted by the Philippine Embassy in Tel Aviv under the voluntary repatriation program (VRP) of Israel’s Population and Immigration Authority (PIBA), the department added.

The flight included six senior citizens, a student, a lady with a medical case, and a one-and-a-half-month-old baby born in Israel who was issued an emergency travel document by the embassy.

The embassy said Filipinos have long wanted to go home but were stranded in the country due to the global pandemic and the series of lockdowns imposed by the Israeli government.

“Many of them have overstayed their visas in Israel, and I am glad that they will be able to at last reunite with their families after a long absence,” Philippine Ambassador to Israel Neal Imperial said.

Imperial said the embassy and Israel’s immigration authority have been working together since last year to ensure orderly treatment for Filipino with no valid visas to enable their return to the Philippines.

“The embassy evaluates the applications and endorses them to PIBA, for further assessment and approval,” he said.

“VRP grantees are exempt from arrest and detention, and are provided free plane tickets to the Philippines,” he added.

The ambassador also expressed gratitude to Filipinos who have provided assistance to stranded fellowmen and those affected by the lockdowns.

The DFA said the second batch of 36 VRP grantees from Tel Aviv is expected to arrive in Manila on Tuesday, Oct. 6.

Like Pac-Man, innovative Israeli coronavirus mask gobbles food

UNTV News   •   May 19, 2020

Israeli inventors have developed a coronavirus mask that allows diners to eat food without taking it off, a device that could make a visit to a restaurant less risky.

A squeeze of a lever, much like a cyclist operates a handbrake, opens a slot in the front of the mask so that food can pass through.

The process could get messy with ice cream or sauces, but more solid morsels can be gobbled up in a flash in the style of Pac-Man in the iconic video game.

“The mask will be opened mechanically by hand remote or automatically when the fork is coming to the mask,” said Asaf Gitelis, vice president of Avtipus Patents and Inventions, who demonstrated the device at its offices near Tel Aviv.

“Then you can eat, enjoy, drink and you take out the fork and it will be closed, and you’re protected against the virus and other people sitting with you.”

The company said it plans to start manufacturing the mask within months and had already submitted a patent. It said it would likely sell at a 3 to 10 shekel ($0.85 to $2.85) premium above the price of the simple pale blue medical masks many Israelis wear.

Outside a juice bar in Tel Aviv, Reuters showed a cellphone video of the mask in action. Opinion was divided.

“I think this mask that enables me to eat while I’m still wearing it, it’s a must have,” said Ofir Hameiri, a 32-year-old graduate student.

But maskless and eating an ice cream cone, Ron Silberstein, a 29-year-old musician, said: “I don’t think this mask could hold this kind of ice cream – it’s dripping all over. I wouldn’t want to wear it afterward”.

Israel has largely reopened its economy after a dramatic drop in cases of the novel coronavirus. But restaurants are open only for takeout for the time being. (Reuters)

(Production: Eli Berlzon, Rami Amichai, Rinat Harash, Jeffrey Heller)

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