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 Unfortunately for them a recent poster campaign on the London Underground was withdrawn after complaints were received showing that the map of Israel used in the publicity in fact included the Golan Heights and Palestinian Territories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.

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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/