July 18, 2024

Palestinian women walk in the old city of Jerusalem during a general strike by shops in support of the Shuafat refugee camp as Israeli forces continue manhunt for gunman. (AFP)

Moon Desk: Israeli troops on Wednesday shot and killed a Palestinian teenager during clashes that erupted in a refugee camp in the West Bank, the Palestinian Health Ministry said, and the latest deadly incident as violence surges in the occupied territory.

The ministry identified the Palestinian as 18-year-old Osama Adawi. He was among the more than 100 Palestinians killed in the West Bank so far in 2022, the worst spasm of violence in seven years.

There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military on the clashes that erupted in the Al-Aroub refugee camp in the southern West Bank. The Palestinian health ministry said Adawi was struck in the abdomen by a bullet.

Tensions have surged across the West Bank and east Jerusalem as Palestinians protest Israeli incursions and Israeli forces continue to search for gunmen who carried out two recent shooting attacks. Thousands of Jewish worshippers are also flocking to Jerusalem to mark the weeklong holiday of Sukkot, putting the city on edge.

In east Jerusalem, Palestinian shops and businesses shut down on Wednesday to protest Israeli police raids in the area that have prompted fierce clashes between police and Palestinian protesters.

Israeli police have been operating in the Shuafat refugee camp in Jerusalem’s eastern sector to hunt for a suspect in a deadly shooting attack at a checkpoint on Saturday that killed a soldier.

Police have been combing Shuafat, a hardscrabble camp for Palestinian refugees on the outskirts of Jerusalem, for the suspect, setting up checkpoints and deploying groups of armed officers to question residents. The heavy police presence has sparked intense clashes with local youth. The checkpoints have choked off entry and exit points out of the area, disturbing daily life for residents.

The general strike was called to protest the crackdown. Schools and shops closed across east Jerusalem, including in the Old City, whose colorful stores catering to tourists and locals alike are usually abuzz with activity.

“Showing solidarity with Shuafat means more than a day’s income,” said Anan Sabah, a butcher in the Old City. “The camp has been closed and surrounded for days. We are closed to say that’s collective punishment.”

Fueling the tensions are monthslong, nightly raids conducted by the Israeli military in the occupied West Bank, which began after a spate of attacks against Israelis earlier this year. More than 100 Palestinians have been killed in the violence, making this year the deadliest since 2015. Most of those killed have been militants, according to Israel, but some local youth protesting the raids as well as civilians have also been killed in the violence.

The raids have sparked a series of shooting attacks in recent weeks against Israelis in the West Bank, including one near the Palestinian city of Nablus Tuesday that killed an Israeli soldier.

The Israeli military said it had closed some roads leading in and out of the city and set up roadblocks in its search for the gunmen. Despite the tensions, it said it would still allow and escort Jewish worshippers to visit a Jewish shrine in Nablus that has been a flashpoint for violence.

Israel captured the West Bank, along with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, in the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians seek those territories for a future independent state.

MOON DESK: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged the countrymen to make all-out efforts so Bangladesh never has to face any situation like famine and food insufficiency due to prolonged Russia-Ukraine conflict and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

“We have soil and manpower. So, we have to take initiative from now on so that Bangladesh never has to face famine and food insufficiency-like situations. We will have to grow our food,” she said.

The premier was virtually addressing a programme organised to hand over Bangabandhu Jatiya Krishi Puroshkar-1425 and 1426 (Bangla year), the highest state recognition in the agriculture sector, to 44 individuals and organizations in 10 categories, from her official Ganabhaban residence here.

The Ministry of Agriculture organised the function at the Osmani Memorial Auditorium here this morning.

The prime minister referred to her talks with the heads of the government and state of the different countries mostly developed ones in the United Nations General assembly in New York and in the funeral of Queen Elizabeth 11 in London.

She said during her talks with the world leaders, they apprehended that a famine or food insufficiency may hit the world in 2023 due to the war.

She said she doesn’t think the war will end immediately as it benefits those who sell arms and some other countries despite commoners across the globe are suffering immensely due to skyrocketing prices of goods and services for the war.

“I called upon the global community to take measures to stop the war and arrange food, treatment and education for the mankind, particularly for the children,” she said.

The premier said her government is working tirelessly to ensure food security for the countrymen, hoping that they would be successful in doing so, as they have effectively tackled the Covid-19 situation.

Referring to the remarks on not keeping a single inch of land uncultivated by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, she urged the countrymen to grow food grains on whatever places they have.

She said, “We have to be self-reliant by growing food for ourselves and we have to give some produced grains to the neighbours.”

Agriculture Minister Dr Muhammad Abdur Razzaque, Fisheries and Livestock Minister SM Rezaul Karim and Agriculture Ministry’s Parliamentary Affairs Standing Committee Chairman and former Agriculture Minister Begum Matia Chowdhury spoke at the function.

Secretary of the Agriculture Ministry Md Sayedul Islam gave the address of welcome while one of the award recipients, Sharmin Akhter expressed her feelings on behalf of the award winners.

A documentary on the success of the Agriculture Ministry and its activities was screened at the function.

On behalf of the prime minister, the agriculture minister distributed the award among the recipients for their contribution to agriculture research and expansion, cooperatives, motivation, technology innovation, commercial farming, aforestation, rearing livestock and poultry and fish farming.

Of the winners, 15 individuals and organizations got the award for the Bangla year of 1425 while 21 individuals and organizations for the Bangla year of 1426.

Three gold medals, twenty-five bronze medals and sixteen silver medals were distributed among the selected persons and organizations.

Each of the gold medal winners received Taka one lakh along with 18-carat gold medal weighing 25 grams, while each silver medal winner got Tk 50,000 along with a medal of 25 grams pure silver and each bronze medal winner received Tk 25,000 along with a bronze medal.