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. 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

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

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.
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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:
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:

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.