Saturday, 30 May 2009

Hope convoy leaves Gaza after delivering another blow against siege

GAZA, (PIC)-- The PA government committee for breaking the siege has announced Thursday it had achieved the full program that was prepared for the Hope convoy, which departed the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing point.

Hamdi Sha'ath, the committee's president, said in press release from the Gaza Strip that members of the convoy visited hospitals, schools, universities, government departments, adding that the delegation saw for themselves the volume of the destruction left by the Israeli war on Gaza in many areas in the Strip.

He added, "The delegation also held two separate meetings, one with families of the Palestinian prisoners, and the other with disabled persons and those who have special needs".

The Hope delegation, Sha'ath pointed out, was shocked by the human tragedy in the Gaza Strip, and by the volume of destruction inflicted on the tiny Strip as a result of 22 days of merciless Israeli bombardment of it.

Sha'ath, in this regard, hailed efforts of the PA police in Gaza for facilitating the mission of the delegation, expressing hope that more convoys would be dispatched to the besieged coastal Strip in a bid to finally break the Israeli blockade that paralyzed all aspects of life in the densely populated Strip.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Resistance vows to avenge Dudeen murder


AL-KHALIL, (PIC)-- The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Thursday murdered Abdul Majid Dudeen, a prominent guerilla leader affiliated with Hamas’ military wing, the Izzidin Al-Qassam Brigades.

Eyewitnesses said Israeli occupation troops, backed by some 16 military vehicles, stormed the small village of Skak, near Dura, 30 kilometers west of al Khalil (Hebron), and killed Dudeen at his hideout.

Local sources said Dudeen was killed during a brief clash with Israeli occupation troops.

The IOF accuses Dudeen of having carried out or masterminded several military operations against Israeli targets both in the West Bank and Palestinian lands occupied in 1948.

Palestinian resistance fighters are constantly targeted by both the Israeli occupation army and the security agencies of the American-backed Palestinian Authority.

Dudeen is survived by his wife and their two sons and three daughters. It is not clear if the Israeli occupation authorities will hand Dudeen’s body over to his family for burial.

Israel normally holds the bodies of Palestinian guerillas killed in battle in order to inflict emotional pain on their families and consequently discourage resistance to the Israeli occupation.

A math teacher, Dudeen had served several years in Israeli jails and detention camps before going underground and joining Hamas's military wing.

He had also served more than 4 years in PA custody in Jericho and Hebron.

Comments

US citizens to break Gaza blockade in protest marking Obama Egypt speech

CAIRO — To increase international pressure for Pres. Obama to call on Israel to end its blockade of war-torn Gaza, just days before Obama delivers his first speech from the Arab world here, TOMORROW a 66-person, largely American delegation will attempt to cross through the heavily policed, blockaded Egyptian city of Rafah into Gaza.

The delegation, which will bring toys and playground building materials for Gazan children, will also collect signatures for an international petition calling on Obama to visit Gaza during his upcoming Middle East tour so he can witness the damage himself. The delegation will deliver to the U.S. Embassy in Cairo by June 4 in time for his historic speech. more

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Obama, Abbas talk while Israel carries on stealing land

Obama and Abbas are meeting in Washington DC today to talk about the weather...and perhaps even the Middle East. I put it this way because you can't help thinking Abbas and Obama's conversation is about as relevant to the lives of ordinary Palestinians as musing about the weather.

And to make it clear to anyone who wants to know, Israel will not be taking a blind bit of notice of the ritual pronouncements about the 'peace process' that will surely follow the end of the talks.

They have made it known that the illegal settlement building and ethnic cleansing in East Jerusalem will continue whatever the Hillary Clinton says in public. And the US is likely not saying anything too threatening to their Israeli buddies in private either.

El-Al flies into Gaza turbulence as tourism campaign falls flat

This news comes on hot on the tracks of a renewed push by Israel to boost tourist travel. Unfortunately for them a recent poster campaign on the London Underground was withdrawn after complaints were received showing that the map of Israel used in the publicity in fact included the Golan Heights and Palestinian Territories

TEL AVIV, May 26 (Reuters) - El Al Israel Airlines lost money in the three months to March as the economic crisis and fighting in the Gaza Strip hit passenger numbers, though costs fell along with fuel prices.

Israel's national carrier said on Tuesday its first quarter net loss was $39.8 million or 8 cents a share, compared with a loss of $50 million or 10 cents a share in the same period last year.

Revenue fell 26 percent to $346.7 million.

Fighting in the Gaza Strip in early 2009, which impacted air traffic in and out of Israel, and a decline in business travellers led to a drop of 13 percent in the number of passengers in the quarter, while cargo revenue fell 52 percent. more

Lieberman's anti-Arab allegiance pledge gains support

Israel intends to introduce a new law that demands allegiance to the 'Jewish state' from Palestinians living inside Israel. It is a ploy to deny citizenship to Arabs and maintain the "Jewish' identity of the state. Sounds horribly racist to me.

Guantanamo detainee Mozzam Begg to speak out in north London

Haringey Stop the War Coalition
Email haringey@stopwar.org.uk
Bulletin: 27 May 2009

PUBLIC MEETING: ISLAMOPHOBIA: INNOCENCE BEHIND BARS
DATE: TUESDAY 2ND JUNE, 7.00PM
VENUE: TURNPIKE LANE MOSQUE, 389 WIGHTMAN ROAD, N8 0NA

There is now extensive evidence of collusion by the British secret
services in the torture of Muslims who were kidnapped and "rendered"
to countries where torture of prisoners is allowed. Following the
latest case to come to light, Britain's home secretary Jacqui Smith
faces legal action over allegations that MI5 agents colluded in the
torture of Jamil Rahman, a British former civil servant, by
Bangladeshi intelligence officers. (See http://bit.ly/RaB9P)

On Tuesday 2 June, MOAZZEM BEGG, former detainee at Guantanamo
prison, is speaking in Haringey at a public meeting on the issue
ISLAMOPHOBIA: INNOCENCE BEHIND BARS. The venue is Turnpike Lane
Mosque. The meeting is supported by Haringey Stop the War and is
open
to all.

MOAZZEM BEGG, a British citizen, was held for three years in
Guantanamo Bay. He was never charged with any offence and since his
release in 2005 he has campaigned tirelessly for the defence of
civil
liberties and against the Islamophobia which has led to the
demonising of Muslims as part of the so-called "war on terror".

Also speaking are ZACHARY KATZNELSON (http://bit.ly/wXnh9), senior
counsel for Reprieve, the charity that campaigns for prisoners
facing injustice, and IMAM HASSAN ALI.

PUBLIC MEETING: ISLAMOPHOBIA: INNOCENCE BEHIND BARS
DATE: TUESDAY 2ND JUNE, 7.00PM
VENUE: TURNPIKIE LANE MOSQUE, 389 WIGHTMAN ROAD, N8 0NA
Speakers:
MOAZAM BEGG, former detainee Guantanamo Bay
ZACHARY KATZNELSON, Reprieve
IMAM HASSAN ALI
Supported by Haringey Stop the War Coalition

For more information and leaflets, contact: Mehraj 07960 280032

Part of Hope convoy gains access to Gaza


From the Ma'an News Agency
A delegation of European parliament members and pro-Palestinian activists toured key sites in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday after arriving with a shipment of medical supplies on Monday night.

Twenty-two members of the Hope for Gaza Convoy entered through the Rafah crossing after Egypt turned dozens of other riders back at the border. The hundred-strong party travelled from Italy with ambulances and truckloads of wheelchairs and other supplies that have been made scarce in Gaza by Israel’s import restrictions.

The delegation visited Gaza’s largest hospital, Ash-Shifa, delivering some of the medical supplies there. Doctors explained the conditions of treatment for the sick and wounded.

Then the delegation went to the the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) building, which was destroyed by an Israeli air raid in January. Acting PLC speaker Ahmad Bahar received the group there.

Bahar praised the efforts the delegation made to enter Gaza, and expressed regret for the Egypt’s action. He called on Egyptian authorities to facilitate the entrance of solidarity delegations and to open the Rafah crossing permanently.

The delegation also bore witness to the destruction left behind by Israel’s army, in the Atatra, Saltayn and Izbat Abed Rabbo areas.

Israel’s three-week onslaught on Gaza in December and January left nearly 1,500 Palestinians dead. A two-year long blockade has also made reconstruction impossible, as all building materials are prohibited by Israel.

Deliberate neglect leaves Palestinian prisoner blind in one eye

AL-KHALIL, (PIC)-- Saadi Al-Najar, a 25-year-old Palestinian held in administrative detention, without trial or charge, in Israeli occupation jails, has lost eyesight in his left eye due to deliberate medical neglect, the Palestinian prisoner's club said on Wednesday.

Amjad Al-Najar, the director of the club in Al-Khalil, held the administration of the Negev prison fully responsible for the loss of Najar's eyesight.

He explained that the administration refused doctors and legal societies' requests for the treatment of Najar.

The detainee has been suffering from a health problem in his left eye ever since his detention two and a half years ago, the director elaborated.

He noted that Najar was now in need of a speedy cornea transplant operation, and called on legal and international societies to pressure Israel into releasing Najar to enable him to undergo the surgery and restore his eyesight.

Thanks to the Palestinian Information Center

Israel behind Lebanese assassinations?


The appearance of a story in the German magazine Der Spiegel claiming Hezbollah was behind the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri comes after the recent breaking of an Israeli spy ring based in southern Lebanon, which we reported on a couple of weeks ago. The Der Spiegel article, as Nasrallah points out, seems to be a pre-emptive move by Israel before the fingers get pointed their way.

Nasrallah: Der Spiegel, Israel teamed for murder

Hezbollah's Secretary General, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, calls the recent accusatory article in the German daily, Der Spiegel a cover-up for Israeli assassinations in Lebanon.

"I consider the report in the Der Spiegel an Israeli accusation," Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in the Lebanese capital, Beirut on Monday calling the move "a plot" of "far-reaching aims".

"The Israelis are acting preemptively before it is discovered that their spying networks were involved in the assassinations in Lebanon," he added.

The resistance leader made the comments after the magazine referred to an unnamed source as claiming that the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri was "planned and executed by Hezbollah".

Nasrallah's comments also bore reference to Hezbollah and Lebanese intelligence counterespionage forays which have led to the apprehension of around 30 suspected Israeli-commissioned spies. One suspect, Ziad Homsi, has admitted to being tasked to organize the assassination of the secretary general.

While "we are witnessing the uncovering of Israeli espionage networks...," the Israelis thought "let's implement this plot against Hezbollah," Nasrallah continued with regards to the article.

He said the report deliberately coincided with the June 7 Lebanese elections which, he said both the US and Israel feared an overwhelming resistance triumph, the Israeli military maneuvers that begin on May 31 and the growing international expectation from Tel Aviv to submit to a two-state solution and give the right of the Palestinian refugees to return.

"Der Spiegel is ready for this mission" which he said was, on a broader scale aimed at "creating an Arab-Iranian conflict and a Sunni-Shia conflict."

Within hours of the appearance of the report, the Israeli media headlined the story and Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, and Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, called for the International Tribunal's issuance of an arrest warrant against Nasrallah.

"They made the accusations. They made the judgment. And they want to call for punishment."

Addressing thousands of his supporters on the occasion of the Resistance and Liberation Day, which marks Hezbollah's liberation of southern Lebanon in the year 2000 from 22 years of Israeli occupation, the Hezbollah chief concluded with an appeal to the international community to "punish Israel" before Tel Aviv could bring its conspiracy to fruition. http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=95977§ionid=351020203

Vote for Palestinian olive oil maker Zaytoun in Ethical Business Awards


VOTE ZAYTOUN IN THE TIMES WOMEN IN ETHICAL BUSINESS AWARDS

*Vote for Zaytoun!*
Zaytoun, which exports fair trade olive oil from Palestine, and makes a big difference to Palestinian farmers, is now in the news with its director Heather Gardner-Masoud a candidate for the Times ‘Women in Ethical Business Awards’. Please go to the link, read the fifth page of the article and press on the blue link in order to vote for Heather of Zaytoun:

As the Times says: ‘Heather Gardner-Masoud is a director at Zaytoun the company she was inspired to set up after a visit to Palestine when she joined human rights observers accompanying farmers to harvest their fruit - she learnt about the scale of injustice first hand and was determined to find a UK market for the olive oil and other products.’

Thanks to Manchester University students for this info.

Israel dumps its toxic waste at West Bank villages

In addition to the depleted uranium and sewage lakes the Palestinians have to contend with in Gaza, on the West Bank it's the Israeli's simply dumping their unwanted toxic waste that is a growing concern, and is probably partly responsible for growing number of cancers in the region
Israeli toxic waste threatens Palestinian life
Fri, 22 May 2009 05:03:37 GMT

Israeli waste disposal companies send dozens of refuse-filled trucks to Palestinian villages every day.

Tel Aviv illegally dumps hazardous waste in the Palestinian West Bank, gifting cancer, sterility and mental disorders to the local population.

In an exclusive interview with Press TV, Deputy Director of the Palestinian environmental authority Jamil Mtoor confirmed that Israel cuts disposal costs by discarding its waste on Palestinian territory at the expense of the population.

"For several years, Israeli companies have been dumping solid and hazardous waste in different West Bank villages," Mtoor said.

"They have been using the Palestinian land in a village called Shoukba near Ramallah to dump x-ray films, releasing carcinogens into the environment, and this has left many people with asthma-related illnesses," he explained.

Witnesses report that Israeli companies have also buried the carcasses of thousands of chickens infected with the avian flu virus in Nablus, to the north of the West Bank.

More

CodePink Delegation Enters Gaza

CodePink were last in Gaza for International Women's Day in March and were joined by Alice Walker on that occassion. Code Pink activists recently disrupted the AIPAC policy conference, the biggest meeting of its kind held by the main pro-Israel organisation in the US
Report from Cairo, Tuesday, May 26th

We have some great news to report!!! The day started out with a 3am call from one of our delegations in Al Arish saying that secret police had contacted them at 2pm to intimidate them and say they would not get into Gaza. We, in Cairo, told them to go on to the border and see what happens.

Then at 9am in the morning, when all three groups got in their buses to go to the border, they were stopped at the first checkpoint, surrounded by riot police, and not allowed to even get off the bus. They were told that there were military exercises going on in the area and that they could not move forward to the border. Meanwhile, they saw other cars going in and out. But they were forced to turn around to go back to Al Arish.

Ann, Tighe and I were furious, planning all sorts of things—press conferences to denounce the treatment of our delegations, protests, etc. Our first step, however, was to go to the Egyptian foreign ministry’s Office of Palestinian Affairs to see if they could help. We ended spending about 4 hours with the two people in charge of Egyptian relations with Gaza while they talked to the intelligence services and police, trying to get the group official permission and get that permission to all the officials of various Egyptian agencies at the checkpoints and the border.

Phone calls were flying back and forth, back and forth, as we followed the group’s progress, step by step, from Al Arish through all the checkpoints and finally to the border.

Out of all three delegations (Canadian, New York and student delegation from Cairo), only one person was turned back--a Palestinian student with a brand new passport that had not had her basic visa for Egypt transferred into it.

But all the rest—66 in total—made it through into Gaza. Yipppppeeee.
We are all thrilled, and are eager to get the next group of 70 who will be crossing on Saturday, May 30.

It was terrific teamwork between the folks at the border, those of us in Cairo, and our contacts back in the US and Canada who were advocating on our behalf. Thanks to all who helped.

Today we made another dent in the armor that is imprisoning the people of Gaza. Thanks everyone.

Free Gaza!!!

Medea Benjamin, Ann Wright, Tighe Barry


CodePink Delegation

CODEPINK is a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, stop new wars, and redirect our resources into healthcare, education, green jobs and other life-affirming activities. Visit the website at http://www.codepinkalert.org/

Monday, 25 May 2009

Living with 75 tons of depleted uranium in Gaza

Gaza is littered with the depleted uranium Israel uses to strengthen its warheads. Now there will be many children born with deformities and even more precious land beyond human habitation or farming.
Gaza / PNN - 'Citizens Action to Dismantle Nuclear Weapons Completely' has prepared a 33 page report showing the presence of tens of tons of depleted uranium in the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli attacks of late December and January are the culprit, report the international organization.
“The quantity of depleted uranium may amount to no less than 75 tons found in the soil and subsoil in the Gaza Strip,” is the study’s quote.

As many have suggested, the Israeli military used or may have used depleted uranium in the ground and air assaults on the Strip during the operation in the period between 27 December 2008 and January 18, 2009.

The report indicated that Norwegian Dr. Mads Gilbert, during the first few days of participation in voluntary humanitarian work at Gaza City’s Al Shifa Hospital, condemned the presence of radioactive material that may have been depleted uranium in the bodies of the victims.

And now the accusation emerged more strongly after several months of investigations carried out in close association with the peoples concerned, and with the assistance of international expert on sustainable development and use of prohibited weapons Jean - Francois Feacheno.

The international mission itself was composed of four members, including expert Feacheno, adviser to the reduction of pollution, and experts accredited to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). more

Latest news - Hope convoy blocked at Rafah by Egypt



Report by the Anti-imperialist Camp's delegation

Rafah, May 24, late night

For 10 days we have been waiting in Egypt to get into Gaza with the caravan "Hope" initiated by the "European Campaign to end the siege on Gaza". The caravan is composed of 120 people from a dozen European countries and about 40 vehicles (ambulances and trucks packed with medical goods).

It has been planned to take over the vehicles coming from Genoa by ship in Alexandria. But the Egyptian authorities imposed a change of programme claiming "security reasons". We had to go to Port Said were we were forced to wait for the ship which in the meantime had to go the long way round.

These – foreseeable – difficulties did not break our determination but helped to highlight once again the gravity of the situation in Gaza. Humanitarian help is still systematically blocked from entering Gaza. And the so-called "international community" keeps silent!

Eventually on May 23 the convoy was allowed to move ahead accompanied by Egyptian army and police. Once again we had to stop, this time in Al Arish.

On May 24 the decisive moment seemed to have arrived. All of us have the necessary visa to enter Gaza but the Egyptian border control continued to raise problems. So we could not enter and were forced to sleep at the border station.

Tomorrow morning we will see.

Maria Grazia Da Costa
Italian participant to the Caravan Hope
Member of the Anti-imperialist Camp

************************************
Anti-imperialist Camp
www.antiimperialista.org
camp@antiimperialista.org
************************************

OIC medical aid convoy arrives in Gaza

Gaza – Ma’an – A convoy of medical aid arrived in Gaza on Saturday, delivered by the Organization of Islamic Conference in support of the Palestinians.

A’wni Al-A’klouk, head of the public service hospital in Gaza, said, "The hospital received this delivery which contained eight truckloads of medication, equipment and other aid to be distributed among all hospitals and non-governmental health centers in Gaza according to the need of each."

Manal Siyam, head of the hospital's projects department, expressed gratitude for the efforts made by the Islamic Conference "and the role it is playing in supporting the Palestinians," affirming that the hospital will continue with efforts and contacts with international organizations and donor parties to continue delivering aid.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Jerusalem and right of return core issues say resistance fighters

GAZA, (PIC)-- The Salahuddin Brigades, the armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, said on Friday that Jerusalem and the right of return are core issues of the Palestinian cause and cannot be relinquished.

Secretary General of the Brigades, Abu Qasem, said, in a statement on Friday, that the statements made daily by Zionist leaders about Jerusalem and the Israeli occupation measures in the holy city are met with a suspicious Arab and Islamic official silence as if Jerusalem and the Aqsa mean nothing to the Muslims.

He added that such silence encouraged Zionist leaders to go further in their statements and talk about abolishing the right of return of Palestinian refugees and even to reject the two-state solution as stipulated in the so called "peace accords" leaving Palestinians alone in the face of Zionist atrocities.

He said that Zionist statements regarding Jerusalem and the right of return are rejected, stressing that these issues are used as means of putting pressure on Arab and Muslim states, adding that the Palestinian resistance will not give up the Palestinians' right to self determination, the return of refugees and the restoration of Palestinian towns and villages to their rightful owners.


Balloons for Ian Tomlinson, Sean Rigg and many more killed by police

Latest from police violence demo: Scotland Yard surrounded - Kettled!

Kettling Scotland Yard against police murderers

Front of anti-police demo

Stop police brutality demo pics latest

Pic from demo against police brutality

Police say we don't have right to march! Well see.

Demo against police violence Trafalgar Square today

Friday, 22 May 2009

Ken Loach attacked for siding with Palestinian over Edinburgh Film Festival

Jeremy Issacs is missing the point. This isn't a question of censorship but rather a determination to boycott Israel and all its works for as long as it continues to oppress the Palestinian people. Well done Ken Loach for leaning on the festival organisers to return the blood money.



From The Times

A row threatened to engulf the Edinburgh International Film Festival yesterday after it bowed to pressure from the director Ken Loach and returned a £300 grant it had received from the Israeli Embassy.

Sir Jeremy Isaacs, the former chief executive of Channel Four, accused the festival’s organisers of making “an appalling decision” and called on them to rescind it. Describing Loach’s intervention as an act of censorship, he said: “They must not allow someone who has no real position, no rock to stand on, to interfere with their programming.”

The grant was intended to enable Tali Shalom Ezer, a graduate of Tel Aviv University, to travel to Scotland for a screening of her film, Surrogate.

After days of protest against the award from pro-Palestinian organisations, Loach, an outspoken opponent of Israel’s policies in Lebanon and Gaza, urged filmgoers on Monday to boycott Edinburgh.

“The massacres and state terrorism in Gaza make this money unacceptable,” he said. “With regret, I must urge all who might consider visiting the festival to show their support for the Palestinian nation and stay away.”

The intervention brought an immediate capitulation from the organisers. In a statement the festival said it accepted that Loach spoke “on behalf of the film community, therefore we will be returning the funding issued by the Israeli Embassy”.

Sir Jeremy said that he was disgusted both by Loach’s actions and by the capitulation of the festival organisers. “Ken Loach has always been critical of censorship of his own work, albeit it was many years in the past. The idea that he should lend himself to the denial of a film-maker’s right to show her work is absolutely appalling,” he said.
See our earlier report on the film festival here


UK Foreign Office doing nothing to pressure Egypt over medics refused entry to Gaza


Dr Shove, second from right, with fellow protesters outside the Egyptian embassy Gaza protester backs hunger strike by barred medics team


A RETIRED consultant from Angel has voiced support for colleagues who have gone on hunger strike after being refused permission to enter war-devastated Gaza.

Dr David Shove accused Britain’s Foreign Office and the British Embassy in Cairo of failing to put sufficient pressure on the Egyptian authorities to allow a medical aid team access to an area which suffered Israeli bombing early this year.

In protest, three British medics went on hunger strike on the Egyptian border this week.
A Solidarity Tent has been set up outside the Egyptian Embassy in the West End in support of Omar Mangoush, a cardiac surgeon at Hammersmith Hospital, sister Kirsty Wong, a theatre sister in the cardiac surgical unit at Hammersmith, and Dr Chris Burns-Cox, a retired consultant physician from Bristol.

More at the Islington Tribune

Hope convoy ready to cross the Sinai for Gaza

From the Palestine Telegraph
The Hope for Gaza Convoy, organised by the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza (ECESG), are making final preparations in Port Said for the departure this morning to head to Al Areesh and Al Rafah.

The organisers gathered the delegation into groups in order to consult on urgent procedural matters and to review current progress.There have been numerous delays since the cargo arrived in Alexandria on Saturday last.
Since then the organisers have been awaiting the arrival of a ship in Alexandria to take the medicines and medical equipment to Port Said where it will leave by road for the border crossing at Al Rafah. Parliamentarians and other elected officials from Europe contacted the Foreign Ministry to clarify outstanding matters and to seek assurances of co-operation from the Egyptian authorities.

Convoy Leader, Senator Fernando Rossi, from Italy said:

“The Foreign Ministry have pledged their support for the humanitarian aims of the convoy to relieve the suffering of innocent men, women and children in Gaza.” more

Israel kidnaps, beats and imprisons growing number of Palestinian children

The Palestinian ministry for prisoners’ affairs in Gaza says that the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) are kidnapping Palestinian children, physically attacking them and using violence to interrogate them.

The ministry underlined that international conventions prohibit the detention of children except in limited special cases on condition that they are well treated and their rights under international law protected.

The statement pointed out that Israel does not respect any of these conventions and systematically kidnaps children from their homes, schools or on the streets and at checkpoints.

The kidnapped children, according to the statement, are exposed to severe beatings and threats by IOF troops in order to inflict psychological harm on them so that they cannot think of resisting the occupation when they grow up.

The statement pointed to the kidnapping of six Palestinian children a few days ago in one of Ramallah's nearby villages, saying that they were maltreated and interrogated for 14 hours without allowing them to eat, drink or use the toilets.

The statement also noted that the number of children in Israeli jails rose to more than 430, and many of them are less than 12 years of age, adding that the children suffer from deliberate medical neglect, and are forced to wear orange uniforms and sleep on the ground.

Thanks to the Palestinian Information Center

Police surveillance of protesters using FIT units ruled illegal

Judge rules that the police use of photographers against peaceful law-
abiding protesters is illegal. London Met police Forward Intelligence
Teams (FIT) are regularly seen at protests taking pics of protesters.

This is a serious setback for the cops and a victory for the right to
protest, but much more needs to be done to roll back police powers in
the UK.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/may/21/police-surveillance-ruling-andrew-wood

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Full house for Two plays for Gaza at the Hackney Empire tonight

UN's Goldstone to proceed with war crimes investigation despite Israel's objections


The UN is to go ahead with its war crimes investigation with or without the cooperation of Israel. Good, but let's hope something comes of this.
GENEVA (AP) — A U.N. investigation into possible war crimes in Israel and Gaza will go ahead with or without Israel's cooperation, the chief investigator said Wednesday.

Israel regards the probe as "intrinsically flawed" because it was ordered by the U.N. Human Rights Council, which has an anti-Israel track record.

But Richard Goldstone, a veteran prosecutor of war crimes in Rwanda and former Yugoslavia, said he wants his team to bring a balanced approach to the January conflict and was upset that Israel has turned a deaf ear to his appeals for cooperation.
"I'm disappointed, and the members of the mission are disappointed, that we've had no positive response from the Israeli government," said Goldstone, a Jew with close ties to Israel.

He said the team wanted to start in Israel, visit the southern part of the country and town of Sderot, which was hit repeatedly by Palestinian rockets, and then enter Gaza "through the front door."

Goldstone says the team will travel to Gaza through Egypt if the Jewish state bars them. more

More Israeli attacks on farmers

Not content with stealing Palestinian land, the Israeli state is determined to drive the people off what land they still have.

ISM Gaza Strip video. Interview in Abou Yousef An Najar Hospital in Rafah with Randa Shalouf, a palestinian woman from the village of Shawka, east of Rafah, injured on the 7th of May by Israeli gunfire in her hand and chest. In the video you can aso see the x-ray photos with the bullet. (with English translation).


Wednesday, 20 May 2009

At least four injured in Israeli air strikes

Israeli aircraft have bombed several targets in the Gaza Strip several hours after a rocket was fired at an Israeli town.

Al Jazeera's Ayman Mohyeldin, reporting from Gaza city, said at least four people, including two civilians, were injured in the Israeli raids. more

March to and 'kettle' New Scotland Yard 23 May - end police violence


Saturday 23 May - assemble 3pm Trafalgar Square
March via Downing Street to New Scotland Yard.


The United Campaign Against Police Violence has called a national demonstration to highlight the issues of police violence and demand justice for those who have died in police custody.

The police tactic of "kettling" demonstrators - essentially detaining protestors and bystanders without charge - will be turned on its head on the protest, when we kettle New Scotland Yard.

At the end of the protest there will be a naming of the dead for those who have died in police custody, led by the families of the bereaved who have yet to receive justice. Over 1000 people have died in police custody in the last 40 years - yet no one has been found responsible.

Protestors will demand the disbanding of the Territorial Support Group, the resignation of "Independent" Police Complaints Commission chair Nick Hardwick, justice for those killed in police custody and for the right to protest.

John McDonnell MP, chair of Labour Representation Committee, said:
"Increasingly, evidence demonstrates policing of major demonstrations has got out of control and specialist police units have been acting with virtual impunity.

"This campaign is about achieving democratic control over policing and securing protection from state violence and harassment for members of our communities."

Mark Serwotka, General Secretary, Public and Commercial Services union, said:
"The right to protest is a fundamental right which in these times is more important than ever. That's why everyone should support this campaign to ensure people can protest without the threat of brutality."

The Sean Rigg Justice and Change Campaign, said:
"We believe in standing up for our moral and human rights and for speaking for our loved ones who can no longer speak for themselves - Christopher Alder, Brian Douglas, Roger Sylvester, Azelle Rodney, Mikey Powell, Ricky Bishop to name a few... They are among thousands who have received no justice for their death and their blood is crying out from beneath the grave - these lost lives must not be forgotten, their cases need to be re-opened and re-examined, like that of David Oluwale, so that true justice can prevail.

"For Sean Rigg, Paps Ullah, Ian Tomlinson and many others we expect independent investigations that are robust, fully competent and unbiased towards the police in their search for the unequivocal truth - the IPCC are not fit for that purpose . Overall we demand full accountability of police officers who kill due to violence or negligence - why should they have impunity from prosecution? No Justice, No Peace!"

Jenny Jones, Green Party member of the Greater London Assembly and Metropolitan Police Authority, said:
"This is a demo with a difference - we are going to show the Met that we are tired of the illegal imprisonment that they call 'containment' and that we want them to change their attitude to protesters and become law abiding themselves.

"Change is hard, but the Met is losing public confidence and it's time they understood that their job is to reduce violence, not add to it."

Chris Nineham, Stop the War Coalition, said:
"What happened at the G20 was part of a trend. In recent months the police have attacked many of our protests. They have raided the homes of people who came on our demonstrations in solidarity with Gaza. They are trying to prosecute others who protested against George Bush's visit in 2008. This is a very important demonstration because the attempt to criminalise protest and intimidate protestors must be stopped."

Remembrance vigil for people who have died in police custody 6.30pm New Scotland Yard

New Scotland Yard - Wednesday 20 May, 6.30pm

In preparation for demonstration on Saturday, the families of some of those who have died in police custody will join campaigners to lay flowers and candles at New Scotland Yard in remembrance.

This is before the demonstration on Saturday from Trafalgar Square to New Scotland Yard, where campaigners for justice and the right to protest will "kettle" New Scotland Yard.

UNITED CAMPAIGN AGAINST POLICE VIOLENCE
office@againstpoliceviolence.org.uk - www.againstpoliceviolence.org.uk
07894 49 7705

UK medics on hunger strike at Gaza border

Solidarity Tent at Egyptian Embassy: UK medics on hunger strike at Gaza border

 
From Islington Friends of Yibna:

Dear All,

 

Please join the Solidarity Tent with the UK medics who started today a hunger strike at the Gaza border.

 

We hope enough people would be able to keep the Solidarity Tent going for as long as the UK medics continue with their hunger strike.  

 

Please join the Solidarity Tent at any time you can from noon tomorrow, Wednesday 20 May. We hope to keep the Solidarity Tent going at all hours, so please come at any time you can.

 

We'll be protesting against the collusion of the Egyptian authorities with the barbaric siege imposed by Israel and against the UK Foreign Office obstruction of even humanitarian aid.

 

Place:  Egyptian Embassy, 26 South Street, London W1K 1DW [nearest tube: Hyde Park Corner]

Time: Wednesday 20 May from noon onward

 

At the Solidarity Tent we'll hold a symbolic hunger strike to express solidarity with besieged Gaza and the medics who refuse to give up on their humanitarian mission to Gaza.

 

Details of the UK medics' hunger strike see:

www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/may/19/british-medics-refused-gaza-access

The full Guardian article is included below.

 

Also below is a letter from Dr David Shove, who was with the PIMA group of doctors, and has just returned from the Gaza border.

 

Look forward to seeing you and please let us know of any help you may be able to offer.

 

Regards,
Yael Kahn
Chair of Islington Friends of Yibna [IFY]
Islington_Yibna@yahoo.co.uk
07880 731 865

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////

www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/may/19/british-medics-refused-gaza-access

UK medics go on hunger strike after being refused entry into Gaza

• Hammersmith team stuck in Egypt at Rafa crossing since 4 May
• Group on humanitarian mission to set up cardiac hospital unit

Three British medics began a hunger strike in Egypt today to protest against being refused entry into Gaza for a humanitarian mission.
Their aim is to establish a cardiac surgery unit at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, which currently has no such facility, and to help train medical students and junior doctors there. But the British medics have been denied access to the Palestinian territory at the Rafah crossing since the beginning of May.
Omar Mangoush, a cardiac surgeon at Hammersmith hospital, in London, told guardian.co.uk he had been to the crossing with his colleagues every day since arriving in Egypt on 4 May, only to be told they did not have permission to enter.
"We are on hunger strike until they let us through," he said. "We'll stay [at the crossing] until they let us in. We want to put pressure on the British embassy. We believe if the British embassy wanted us to do this they could exert pressure [on the Egyptian authorities]."
Mangoush said he had been told by the British embassy that it had received a letter from the Egyptian foreign ministry saying the medics' request for access to Gaza had been "postponed".
But he claimed American aid workers had gained entry to Gaza at their first attempt with the support of the US embassy.
Mangoush named the other British medics on hunger strike as Christopher Burns-Cox, a retired consultant, and Kirsty Wong, a nurse at Hammersmith hospital. Another six people are on hunger strike, including three Belgians, he said.
The cardiac surgeon took a month's holiday from work to take part in the mission for the Manchester-based charity Palestine International Medical Aid (PIMA)
"This is very important for us," he said. "There are loads of people with heart disease [in Gaza]. They can't get here [to Egypt], they can't get to Israel. If it's this hard for us to get to, how difficult is it for the Palestinians to get out?"
PIMA's director, Dr Ahmed Almari, said: "It's unbelievable. They're a group of doctors, they went for education and teaching, to set up a cardiac unit. It's unfair and sad that it is only as a result of a hunger strike that anybody pays attention. There's no reason to stop them from crossing."
Egypt has kept the Rafah crossing largely closed since Hamas won the Gaza elections three years ago. One of the main demands of Hamas has been that all crossings into Gaza should be allowed to reopen permanently. A number of aid groups have said the closure of the crossings is contributing to a humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Palestinian medical sources reported today that a one-year-old infant died yesterday at a local hospital in Rafah owing to several complications, including pneumonia, as his transfer to a hospital outside of the Gaza Strip was not possible due to the ongoing Israeli siege.

 

/////////////////////////////////////////

 

---------- Forwarded message ----------

From: David Shove <david.shove@googlemail.com>

Date: 2009/5/19

Subject: British Doctors on Hunger Strike at Gaza Border

To: IslingtonYibna@googlegroups.com

 

I have just returned from my second unsuccessful attempt to enter Gaza through the Rafah crossing as part of a PIMA group of doctors. PIMA (Palestine International Medical Aid) is a non profit organisation set up in response to the growing medical needs of Palestinians within the Palestinian Territories as well as within refugee camps outside Palestine.

 

The mission of a cardiac surgeon and theatre sister from the Hammersmith hospital was to help in the setting up of a much needed cardiac surgical unit in Gaza.

The mission of a senior consultant physician from Bristol was to offer his considerable knowledge and experience in the teaching of junior doctors.

My own particular Mission was to deliver much needed textbooks to Medical Students at the Rafah European Hospital in Southern Gaza. It was also my hope to visit the Yibna Refugee Camp which is supported by Islington Friends of Yibna, of which I am a member

Previous PIMA convoys had found the trips exceptionally moving and inspirational as they were able to bring not only medical aid and expertise, but also hope to the beleagued and persecuted Palestininians and the knowledge that they are not forgotten.

From the beginning of May we travelled every day from Al Arish where we were staying to The Rafah border on the Egyptian side. Although we were in daily contact with the British Embassy in Cairo and were assured that it had passed on our names to the appropriate Egyptian Authorities, the Egyptian Security at the border claimed not to have received the faxes from the Embassy and each day we were denied entry to Gaza.

After a week, it was necessary for me to return to London, but with the assurance that the border would be open on the 16th and 17th May allowing our team to cross into Gaza. It now transpires that once again the PIMA group was denied entry on these days. The group believes that this decision was in the hands of the Egyptian Authorities, but they also have no doubt that the British Embassy in Cairo did not help them. This is in contrast to the Irish and US groups who put huge pressure on their Embassies, and who were allowed to enter Gaza.

The implication is that the Foreign Office and the British Embassy in Cairo could have done more to expedite entry.

As a consequence, our five British citizens, as well as three Belgians and one Greek citizen are to go on hunger strike, starting today. These comprise three doctors, four aid workers and one nurse.

The assessment by previous PIMA convoys of the medical crisis in Gaza is that there is a lack of essential medical equipment and supplies. In addition, medical staff in Gaza lack sufficient knowledge and training to deal with day to day problems, exacerbated by the recent devastating bombardment.

It is a scandal that highly skilled medical staff from this country, who have offered their services freely to help alleviate the suffering in Gaza should be denied entry, and this, it would appear, due possibly in part to the unwillingness of the Foreign Office to offer as much help as they could have.    

Dr David Shove 

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Pro-Israel lobby steps up harassment to force sacking of UCSB professor


SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Noam Chomsky is no newcomer to harassment by pro-Israel organizations.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) once compiled a 150-page dossier on the famous author and linguistics professor, apparently to find information it could use against him, Chomsky said in an interview in late April.

An ADL insider sent Chomsky the file, which included conversations, correspondence and other materials. Chomsky said it read like an FBI file.

“It’s hard to nail this stuff down in a court of law, but it’s clear they essentially have spies in classrooms who take notes and send them to the ADL and other organizations,” Chomsky said. “The groups then compile dossiers they can use to condemn, attack or remove faculty members. They’re like J. Edgar Hoover’s files. It’s kind of gutter stuff.”

Such covert tactics have yet to emerge publicly at the University of California at Santa Barbara. But the effort to discredit and censor criticism of Israeli policies has taken a potentially ominous turn.

The ADL and the Israel advocacy group “Stand With Us” are leading an aggressive, direct campaign to pressure UCSB administrators and faculty to investigate and discipline sociology professor William I. Robinson for having introduced materials critical of Israel in a course on global affairs.

The materials included a photo essay that Robinson forwarded to students from the Internet juxtaposing images of Israeli abuse against Palestinians with Nazi abuses during the holocaust. Two students took offense at the images and withdrew from the course, prompting the ADL to pressure the university to pursue charges of “anti-Semitism” against Robinson.

The pressure campaign includes face-to-face meetings with university officials and faculty, use of Internet-based media to influence public opinion, and a formidable letter-writing effort that relies particularly on UCSB donors, some of whom have threatened to withdraw their support for the university.

Some meetings — such as an hour-long encounter between ADL National Director Abraham Foxman and UCSB officials and faculty — may have seriously violated university policies. The Foxman meeting generated concern that pressure by the Israel lobby may have influenced the Academic Senate in its decision to open a formal investigation against Robinson.

Other meetings are only now coming to light.

Aaron Ettenberg, a UCSB psychology professor and member of the Academic Senate’s Charges Advisory Committee, has confirmed that he met with Rabbi Arthur Gross-Schaefer prior to the committee’s recommendation to investigate Robinson.

Gross-Schaefer is interim director of the local chapter of Hillel, an organization that works with Jewish communities on college campuses. Hillel met with the two students who withdrew from Robinson’s class before those students filed their grievances against Robinson.

Both Gross-Schaefer and Ettenberg told Anthony Fenton — a reporter based in Vancouver who writes for the “Asia Times Online” and “The Dominion” of Canada — that they had met and discussed the Robinson case.

“I really didn’t discuss that with him very much,” Gross-Schaefer told Fenton in a telephone interview. “We see each other socially, it wasn’t any meeting or anything in particular…It wasn’t…set up to discuss that at all actually.”

Ettenberg told Fenton he is “just friends” with Gross Schaefer.

“I can’t say anything at this point,” he said. “I didn’t have a meeting with him formally to discuss any of these kinds of things.”

Whether formal or not, that they met and discussed the Robinson case may constitute a serious breach of Academic Senate procedures for dealing with student complaints.

In a public statement on May 4, Robert Potter — professor emeritus of the Department of Theater and Dance and former chair of the Academic Senate Committee on Privilege and Tenure — expressed deep concern about the “campaign of accusations” against Robinson.

“This orchestrated attempt by outside agencies to pressure the university into disciplining a faculty member over the content of a course is an entirely improper attack on academic freedom,” Potter said. “The campus community should express concern over this very troubling sequence of events.”

Members of the California Scholars for Academic Freedom, which includes nearly 140 academics at 20 institutions, say the campaign at UCSB reflects a major escalation by the Israel lobby to silence criticism at universities in California and elsewhere.

Mark Levine, a Jewish professor of Middle Eastern Studies at UC-Irvine, said pro-Israel groups have, in effect, created a “large machine” to attack Israel critics on college campuses.

“That’s why this case is so important,” Levine said. “These are powerful, organized groups in the Jewish community who use fear and intimidation to try to make sure Israel doesn’t get criticized. They go after anyone, even more so when the critics are Jews, because they fear that if we can criticize them, then everyone can.”

Sondra Hale, a UCLA professor and founder and coordinator of the California Scholars, said the Robinson case stands out because the Israel lobby’s pressure tactics have been so public.

“A lot of incidents at other campuses have been more subtle types of pressure, but this case is very straightforward,” Hale said. “The evidence is right there. It’s very clear cut.”

For detailed information about the Robinson case, visit the Committee to Defend Academic Freedom Web site at www.sb4af.wordpress.com.

For media inquiries, call Alba Peña-Leon at (626) 665-9212.

Join the bike ride to Palestine for peace

Stand Up for Justice - Cycle for Peace!

Join the Peace Cycle this October from Amman to Jerusalem

Starting in Amman, the Peace Cycle will visit Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan before cycling to villages around Haifa and Nazareth and then riding as an international group through Jenin, Al-Fara, Qalqilya, Tulkarem, Nablus, Ramallah, Bil’in, Bethlehem, Hebron, and finally into the extraordinary city of Jerusalem.

Get On Your Bike and Join Us!

  • Learn about Palestinian culture and stay with Palestinian families
  • See the land and the current situation with your own eyes
  • Show solidarity and raise awareness about life under occupation
  • Meet and support the people and groups working for justice and peace in Israel and Palestine.


Go to www.thepeacecycle.com

Israel to attack Iran before year's end


The looming crisis in US/Israel relations is all over the front of Israeli newspaper Haaretz today.

ShinBet says there is 'no chance of peace' as long as Hamas continues to rule Gaza while Netanyahu gives the US until the end of the year to stop Iran's alleged bid to become nuclear-armed to counter Israel's aggression in the region.

Hamas is not impressed with Obama, commenting:
Hamas' spokesperson in Gaza, Fauzi Barhoum, said on Tuesday that the Islamist organization is disappointed in the positions expressed on Monday by President Barack Obama during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to the White House.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Fatah leaders accuse Abbas of attempting coup

Splits deepen for Fatah. As reported at the end of April their sixth conference arrangements are in disarray and now this:
82 Fatah leaders accuse Abbas of declaring coup against their Movement


LONDON, (PIC)-- The London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper on Saturday said that 82 senior Fatah leaders issued a statement accusing Mahmoud Abbas of declaring a coup against the leadership of the Fatah Movement and using his clout and the advice of his corrupt entourage to control their Movement.

The Fatah leaders criticized Abbas in their statement for taking unilateral decisions on behalf of the Movement with regard to its internal affairs and the convening of its sixth conference.

The statement said that Abbas’s attempt to impose unilateral decisions on Fatah is a blatant infringement on the Movement’s internal statute and a defiance of its will, warning that Fatah is exposed to a systematic scheme aimed to eliminate it.

The statement recalled the assassination of late PA president Yasser Arafat by Israel and its spies, and castigated the attempts to make Fatah leaders attend their conference with Israeli permits which puts them at the mercy of the occupation.

British activist held by Egyptian state security as aid workers try to enter Gaza

Some comrades of mine are in Egypt and have been trying to enter Gaza these past two days. Egyptian state security has detained student activist Assem Baig: From Solomon's Minfield
Assed texted. He's ok. He's not held separately from the rest of group anymore. The group includes Brits, Belgians and at least 1 Italian.

More on mine and hossams twitter.

http://twitter.com/solomonsmfield or arabawy

Will email more once known.

Other International activists are camping out in Rafah and will start a hungerstrike till Egyptian authorities allow them entry to Gaza

And this from Hossam's site:
Aid workers to enter into hunger strike at Rafah-Gaza border

18/05/2009
British, Belgian and Greek doctors, nurses and aid workers will go on hunger strike tomorrow over the Egyptian Authorities’ refusal to allow entry into Gaza.

After constant attempts aid workers, doctors and nurses, have been refused entry in to the Gaza strip by the Egyptian authorities. Some doctors have been waiting for forty days. Out of utter desperation and witnessing the treatment of Palestinians by the Egyptian authorities, aid workers and activists have been left with no choice except to go into hunger strike and stay at the Rafah crossing until they are allowed through into Gaza.

Although the Egyptian authorities had said the border was open for two days the fact is that non-Palestinians were not allowed to enter, even though some were Palestinian but held different nationalities.

Contact Dr Omar Mangoush
Tel: 0020193764783
Assed Baig
0020178126819

Hope Convoy set to arrive in Gaza this week as European solidarity strengthens


GAZA, (PIC)-- Hamdi Sha’at, the head of the government committee for the reception of delegations, stated Monday that a number of foreign activists intend to organize intensive solidarity campaigns in different European states against the Israeli siege imposed on the Gaza Strip.

In a press release issued by the committee’s information office, Sha’at said that the solidarity campaigns include the opening of photo exhibitions about the Israeli war on Gaza and the organization of symposia, lectures, protests and new anti-siege convoys.

The Palestinian official pointed out that a powerful anti-siege movement emerged in Europe, adding that the multinational activists who returned from Gaza work as ambassadors for the distressed Gaza people and carry their sufferings and concerns worldwide.

The official also explained that the government committee had organized field visits for many delegations to bombed areas in Gaza and meetings with prisoners’ families, and worked on keeping these visiting delegations informed about different aspects of Gaza people’s daily suffering under the siege which gave them the impetus to interact strongly with the besieged people’s issues.

The government committee had announced earlier that it finished all preparations to receive the European "Hope" for Gaza convoy that is expected to arrive in the Strip this week.

British activists were on the streets of London this Saturday (16 May) marching to Remember Gaza and to step up action to help break the siege.


Worried looking Netanyahu overplays his hand with US


Gaza Solidarity will be taking part in tomorrow's Press TV live global discussion on Palestine, featuring a girl who has been trying to get out of Gaza to seek medical treatment. Good to hear Obama actually mention the fact that Palestinians in Gaza struggle daily to find fresh water and that no reconstruction has taken place because of Israel's criminal collective punishment policy (although Obama didn't say that last bit explicitly).

Makes a change from the usual approach where the oppressor - Israel - can do no wrong. Ok, so it's only words from the US, but it was good to see Netanyahu looking uncomfortable. He didn't sound very convincing either when he likened the support of the Iranian government for the Palestinian resistance as a threat as great as that presented by the Nazis to European Jews. In fact his comments only served to belittle the real meaning of the Holocaust perpetrated in Hitler's industrial-scale genocide. The wilder Zionists keep overplaying their hand.
Dear Viewer - PressTV do a Live show of Remember The Children on Palestine this Tuesday at 17:00 GMT - Be part of this show as its Your Show

If you really want to say your message to the world then webcam into this show and tell the world, guests and presenter whats on your mind

Webcam= email me on rcp@presstv.co.uk
Call/ Voice messages: +44 20 3070 2535
Text messages: +44 7800 000 377

THIS IS THE PLATFORM WHERE YOU CAN TELL The World What should be done about Palestine

Spread This message - http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=62305028853
Watch old shows here - http://www.presstv.com/programs/archive/?secid=3510533

I've got my tickets today for the Two Plays for Gaza show this Thursday at the Hackney Empire and confirm that show is almost sold out so ring the number below now if you want to see Caryl Churchill's Seven Jewish Children and David Wilson's The Trainer. All funds raised are going towards the rebuilding of the Gaza Music School.

For tickets (£15) call: the Hackney Empire box office on 020 8985 2424 or visit: www.hackneyempire.co.uk
Two Plays for Gaza

A benefit evening for the Gaza Music School & Stop the War Coalition

Hackney Empire, Thursday 21 May @ 7.30 PM

This exciting evening will include Caryl Churchill's powerful Seven Jewish Children , a 10-minute play about Gaza. The playwright Tony Kushner and Alisa Solomon said of it " . . . dense, beautiful, elusive and intentionally indeterminate. It's disturbing, it's provocative, but appropriately so given the magnitude of the calamity it entails." Caryl will introduce her play which will include some of the cast members from its Royal Court premiere in February 2009.

The second play is The Trainer by David Wilson & Anne Aylor (and with contributions from Keith Burstein) which explores the love story between a British Jew, Josh, and his Palestinian fiancée, Taghreed, who works in a gentlemen's gym. Their story is interwoven with the bankrupting of composer, Keith Burstein, who was accused of "glorifying terrorism" in his opera, Manifest Destiny . The Trainer casts a sly, satiric look at the absurdity of many of the UK's terror laws. This eclectic, contemporary drama uses a multimedia approach with excerpts from Manifest Destiny , film footage and TV interviews with a terrorism "expert". You will laugh and cry about the savagery and stupidity of the times we are living in. The star cast includes Janie Dee , fresh from her starring role in Alan Ayckbourn's A Woman in Mind at the Vaudeville, Roger Lloyd Pack , "Trigger" from Only Fools and Horses and Lebanese-American actress Jana Zeineddine who has appeared in The West Wing, Law & Order and Saturday Night Live. Corin Redgrave, who appeared at the first sold-out rehearsed reading in March said, " The Trainer takes the scandal of an artist bankrupted by the state . . . and brilliantly exposes the threat to our freedoms and civil liberties."

Also appearing on the bill will be renowned Palestinian singer, Reem Kelani , rap poet Lowkey and ex-SAS soldier Ben Griffin who will read from the Winter Soldier Investigation into the Vietnam war. The benefit will be introduced by Tony Benn and directed by Tom Platten.

"David and Anne Aylor's play makes a surreal case for less government interference in our lives and an emotional plea for peace, love and understanding." Tim Pigott-Smith

"The Gaza Music school must be re-built so the children will again have a place to sing, dance and make music." David Wilson , former Director, Pavarotti Music Centre, Mostar, Bosnia

7.30pm Thursday 21 May 2009
Hackney Empire, 291 Mare Street
London E8 1EJ

For tickets (£15) call: the Hackney Empire box office on 020 8985 2424 or visit: www.hackneyempire.co.uk

UN demands access to Israel torture camp

From The Electronic Intifada
Jonathan Cook, The Electronic Intifada, 18 May 2009

The United Nation's watchdog on torture has criticized Israel for refusing to allow inspections at a secret prison, dubbed by critics as "Israel's Guantanamo Bay," and demanded to know if more such clandestine detention camps are operating.

In a report published on Friday, the Committee Against Torture requested that Israel identify the location of the camp, officially referred to as "Facility 1391," and allow access to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Findings from Israeli human rights groups show that the prison has in the past been used to hold Arab and Muslim prisoners, including Palestinians, and that routine torture and physical abuse were carried out by interrogators.

The UN committee's panel of 10 independent experts also found credible the submissions from Israeli groups that Palestinian detainees are systematically tortured despite the banning of such practices by the Israeli high court in 1999.

The existence of Facility 1391 came to light in 2002, when Palestinians were detained there for the first time during Israel's re-invasion of the West Bank. more

Edinburgh International Film Festival returns Israeli Embassy funding


Good news from Scotland as film festival responds to protests and tells Israeli embassy they don't want their money and to be associated with a state that sees nothing wrong with killing hundreds of children in Gaza.
The 2009 Edinburgh International Film Festival organisers announced on Friday they were returning money donated by the Israeli Embassy. The return of the money was accompanied by an admission that it had been “a mistake to accept the £300 from the Israeli Embassy” and followed a torrent of angry letters expressing incomprehension, fury or sadness at the EIFF being associated with the Israeli State. Many pledged to support SPSC pickets of screenings throughout the 2009 Festival, and an initial public protest planned for the following day (yesterday).

Many were shocked at such a public association with the pariah state so soon after the massacres in Gaza, given Israel’s continuing siege and its ongoing ethnic cleansing and illegal settlement in the West Bank. The EIFF was also pressured into returning money to the Israeli Embassy in the wake of the Israeli massacres (during their defeat) in Lebanon in 2006. more

Thanks to Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign

IED's target Israeli troops as Fatah and Hamas set to create joint force in Gaza

Palestinian militants attacked Israeli troops with two remote-controlled Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) on Sunday north of the Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanun, witnesses told AFP.

The army retaliated with tank fire without causing casualties, they said.

Two groups -- the Al-Quds Brigades armed wing of the radical Islamic Jihad militant group and the Palestine Liberation Front -- claimed to have carried out the attack in statements released in Gaza.

And in a surprise move Fatah and Hamas have agreed to create a joint security force in Gaza. The final round of Egyptian hosted reconciliation talks will take place in early July.

Egypt set to open border?

Egypt is thought to have promised Fatah and Hamas that if they can reconcile their differences in the name of national unity then they will open the border on a permanent basis. Such a move would be a major defeat for Israel, furthering undermining its strategic position position following its failed effort to wipe out the Hamas-led resistance in Gaza.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Commemorating the Nakba

Stop the Wall Campaign's weekly newsletter:

THE GRASSROOTS PALESTINIAN ANTI-APARTHEID WALL CAMPAIGN WEEKLY E-NEWSLETTER

StoptheWall.org - regular update
from the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign
Newsletter 6 - May 17th, 2009

The Nakba at 61

Remembering 61 years of Nakba
On May 15, Palestinians officially commemorated 61 years of the Nakba. From May 14 – 16, activities and demonstrations were organized across historic Palestine. This photo story features images from the '48 and the West Bank, including the central demonstrations, anti-Wall protests, and other activities. [MORE]


Remembering Basem Abu Rahma

Friday protests and a Saturday funeral
This Friday, Basem Ibrahim Abu Rahma was martyred in Bil’in, where he was shot during a protest. Soldiers also attacked several other anti-Wall demonstrations in the West Bank, wounding scores of people. In these past months, the deaths of Abu Rahma, along with Arafat Khawaja, Mohammed Khawaja, Ahmed Mousa and Youssef Amirah are not isolated examples of “unauthorized fire” or protocol breach, but rather reflect a violent, institutionalized military policy. [MORE]

Young man martyred in Bil'in
Basem Ibrahim Abu Rahma was martyred this afternoon in Bil’in when he was shot at close range by a high velocity tear gas canister at the weekly demonstration against the Wall. This is the second time soldiers have fired on unarmed demonstrators from a lethal range in the past two months. [MORE]

37 injured in protests following the killing of Abu Rahma

Anti-Wall demonstrations this week commemorated the life of Basem Abu Rahma, who was killed last week in Bil’in. Several were detained and at least 37 were wounded in Ni’lin, Bil’in, Jayyus and al-Ma’sara. 25 of the wounded are residents of Bil’in, where a memorial was set up on Friday for Abu Rahma. Youth in Jayyus have also reported that soldiers have started using only live ammunition against village demonstrations. [MORE]

Basem Abu Rahma
Abdullah Abu Rahma, coordinator for the popular committee in Bil’in, recently spoke to us about Basem Abu Rahma. Basem had participated in actions against the Wall since they began in the village in 2005 until 17 April, 2009, when he was martyred at age 31 during his last protest in Bil’in. Abdullah described Basem's life in the village and detailed the day he was killed. [MORE]

Canadian demonstration for Abu Rahma
On May 8, activist groups in Montreal organized a demonstration to commemorate Basem Ibrahim Abu Rahma, and to express continued solidarity with the struggle against the Apartheid Wall in the West Bank. [MORE]

Free the Ma'sara prisoners!

Four al-Ma’sara popular committee members arrested
This week, anti-Wall demonstrations held to commemorate the first of May were met with violence and organizers arrested. Occupation forces attacked a May Day festival and demonstration in al-Ma’sara, injuring nine people and arresting the village popular committee. Soldiers also fired upon residents in Bi’lin and tried to break the protest in Ni’lin, where they occupied homes in the early morning. [MORE]

Protests for the Ma’sara prisoners
Nearly 20 people were injured in protests against the Wall this Friday, several of which were held in solidarity for the five activists who were arrested in al-Ma’sara last week. In addition to a large demonstration in the Bethlehem area, the demonstrations in Ni’lin and Bil’in also called for their release. The people of Bi’lin themed the weekly action around “Occupation Flu”, and a demonstration was also held in Jayyus. [MORE]

Release the Palestinian Activists Arrested in al-Ma’sara!
After arrests and injuries on Workers Day, the Bethlehem branch of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) and the popular committees against the Apartheid Wall in al Ma'sara and the district call on trade unions around the globe to increase solidarity and join the BDS call. [MORE]

Fighting the Wall in Jayyus

The struggle for land in Jayyus
The Wall has had a devastating effect on the 4,000 residents of Jayyus, separating the farmers from 75 percent of their agricultural land. Villagers describe the permit system, the rerouting of the Wall, attempts at forcing local youth to act as collaboraters, and the ongoing Friday demonstrations. [MORE]

The village of Jayyus asks Norway to divest from Lev Leviev’s Companies
"Leviev is destroying the olive groves and farms that have sustained Jayyus and other Palestinian villages for centuries, profiting from human rights abuses and violating international law. We call on the government and people of Norway to end Norway’s relationship with Leviev’s companies due to their construction of Israeli settlements." [MORE]

Youth break through the Wall in Jayyus
Last night youth from the village of Jayyus broke through the Wall in the village. A small group then proceeded to the site where the new path is being constructed, destroying and setting fire to building materials. Occupation forces responded by raiding the village, where they remained into the early hours of the morning. [MORE]

Checkpoints tighten throughout the West Bank

Checkpoint assaults in Jenin, Qalqilya
In separate incidents last week, soldiers in isolated ghettos in Jenin and Qalqilya assaulted Palestinians passing through checkpoints. These attacks reflect a wide-spread practice of harassment, itself part of a broader strategy aimed at furthering silent transfer and cleansing particular areas of their Palestinian populations. [MORE]

Checkpoints along the Wall to be computerized
Earlier this week, Occupation authorities announced their intentions to computerize the permit system that controls West Bank Palestinians’ access to ’48 Palestine. This move increases the control exercised over the Palestinian population, adding to the hardships faced by workers and further sealing off Jerusalem. These high-tech additions also create space for the growth of particular sectors of Israeli industry, in turn increasing their strength in the international defense and homeland security markets. [MORE]

New checkpoint another obstacle for isolated residents in ‘Azzun 'Atma
The siege on 75 isolated villagers of ‘Azzun 'Atma has tightened in the past weeks, and permit restrictions continue to make life difficult for children, business owners and workers. Occupation forces appear to be expanding the checkpoint that the isolated residents must pass through to reach their village, indicating that movement restrictions will tighten further. [MORE]

More news:
Hundreds to be affected in Hebron demolitions
This month in Jerusalem
Two shot and hospitalized on Friday
‘Azzun fence destroys trees, isolates land
Student shot with live bullets at Land Day protest

Two new BDS resources

Two separate briefings have been released addressing the Norwegian Pension Fund’s investment in Israeli companies. One looks at IEC, Nesher, and Emblaze, while the second is a detailed report about on Israeli arms supplier Elbit Systems. Both demonstrate that the actions of the above firms run contrary to the Fund’s ethical guidelines and demand divestment. [MORE]

Worldwide Activism

Legal activism in Europe
A growing number of lawyers and activists are utilizing European courts to prosecute Occupation military figures for war crimes. In Spain, an older case is moving forward, while in Norway a new war crimes investigation is beginning. UK lawyers have also expressed interest in pursuing this track, despite efforts by the British government to dissuade them from doing so. This legal activism is being utilized not only to prosecute war criminals, but also to push forward divestment by targeting companies like Veolia and Alstom which are engaged in violations of international law. [MORE]

South-south solidarity grows in Latin America
Throughout Latin America, activists, civil society groups, and community organizers came together on March 30th to commemorate Land Day and to participate in the first annual Global BDS Day of Action. From north to south, the entire continent was involved in launching boycott campaigns, lobbying governments and the UN, and engaging in wide-scale awareness raising activities. These actions continue Latin America’s strong trend of solidarity with the Palestinian people, which has become especially visible in the past several months. [MORE]

Protesting the arms trade in Brazil

Merchants of war visiting Brazil for the Latin American Aerospace and Defense (LAAD) Trade Show were met with a noisy protest made up of social movements, unions, student organizations, left parties and other popular organizations. The LAAD Fair showcased some of the biggest global names in war profiteering from across the world, including Elbit Systems, Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI), Rafael Advance Defense Systems, and Israel Military Industries (IMI). [MORE]

Building the boycott of Veolia/Connex and Motorola
On March 30, local boycotts against Connex and Motorola were launched respectively in Melbourne and New York City, building on larger, established campaigns. The boycott of Connex and Veolia for their roles in the Jerusalem light rail has achieved a series of victories in Europe, while the Motorala boycott is a nation-wide initiative of the US Campaign to End the Occupation. The expansion of the two into local contexts not only serves to expand the reach and awareness of the BDS movement, but also has the potential for concrete victories. [MORE]

Italy rallies for BDS

The first annual Global BDS Day of Action, which coincided with Land Day on 30 March, was a major success in Italy, where several campaigns and initiatives were launched and awareness-raising activities took place throughout the country. This has been the largest mobilization in Italy to date, marking a milestone for BDS in the country [MORE]

More WWA:
BDS Newsletter #14 - April 2009
BDS Newsletter #13 - March 2009
Major Canadian retailer to consider boycott motion
Scottish trade union federation backs BDS

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