Thursday, 9 July 2009

update: Viva Palestina US buying vehicles in Egypt and heading for Al Arish in Sinai

Today, the group will be splitting up. Some of us will head north to another city and purchase the vehicles that we will make up the convoy to Gaza. The other half will stay in Cairo to continue packing aid and will meet us in Al Arish, the city right by the Rafah crossing on the Egyptian side. The supplies are packed and the people are ready to push ahead. More to come, the real mission begins today….

Viva Palestina US

Palestinian MP Abu Salem released from prison - 36 still illegally incarcerated

GAZA, (PIC)-- The minister of prisoners' affairs in the PA government in Gaza, Mohammed Al-Ghoul, sent his congratulations to MP Ibrahim Abu Salem on his release after serving 38 months in Israeli occupation authority (IOA) jails.

Ghoul pointed out that the release of MP Abu Salem decreases the number of MPs detained in IOA prisons to 36 out of 132 MPs, in addition to 3 former ministers.

The minister labeled the IOA arbitrary arrest of MPs and former ministers as illegal and in contravention of international conventions and charters, adding that international laws don't permit the detention or prosecution of members of parliament.

He called on the international community to enforce and implement the law upon all without exception.

Campaign to free Ahmad Sa'adat pressures UN to act

http://freeahmadsaadat.org/little-latuff.gif

http://www.freeahmadsaadat.org/

Today, July 8, 2009, the Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa'adat sent the below letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, demanding that he and the United Nations uphold their responsibilities to protect the rights of Palestinian prisoners and secure their freedom. Well over 400 international organizations and individuals(see below for the full list)have supported this call, and we thank you all for your endorsement and support and urge you to distribute this letter widely, link to the website of the Campaign from your own websites, and continue your important work.

Signatories of the letter include youth, student and workers' unions, solidarity organizations, lawyers' associations, political parties, human rights groups, and numerous activists, academics and supporters of Palestine from around the world. Please visit our website at http://www.freeahmadsaadat.org/and contact the Campaign at info@freeahmadsaadat.orgto discuss forming local Friends of Ahmad Sa'adat committees and further coordinated statements, days of action and additional activities to inform the world about the case of Ahmad Sa'adat and the struggle of Palestinian prisoners. The Campaign also supports the struggles of political prisoners around the world who fight for justice, freedom and national liberation.

The thousands of Palestinian prisoners are facing an ongoing campaign in denial of their rights - from denial of family visits, to the imposition of solitary confinement and isolation. Every day, they stand on the front lines, confronting the injustice and repression of the occupation, as prisoners for the freedom of Palestinian land and the Palestinian people.

Ahmad Sa'adat,the General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and a Palestinian national leader, is a leader in the Palestinian prisoners' movement. His recent hunger strike galvanized attention upon the prisoners' struggle. He is a living symbol of the oppression of the occupier and the steadfastness of the Palestinian people and the prisoners as they struggle for freedom, justice, liberation and return.

International action and attention are critical to stand in defense of Ahmad Sa'adat and all Palestinian prisoners. Contact the Campaign today - your involvement, support and solidarity are much needed!

Dear Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon;

We, the undersigned organizations and individuals, call upon you to immediately take action in defense of the lives, health and rights of the over 11,000 Palestinian political prisoners held inside Israeli occupation jails. This number includes numerous elected members of Palestinian Legislative Council, among them Ahmad Sa'adat, General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine; Marwan al-Barghouthi, Fateh leader; Abdel-Aziz Dweik, Hamas leader and President of the Council, just freed after three years in prison, and dozens of other elected political leaders, in addition to thousands of other Palestinian activists, union members, community organizers, fathers, mothers, sons and daughters.

Palestinian prisoners suffer in conditions that violate international standards and norms, and are imprisoned because they refuse to accept a brutal occupation of their land and their people. Ahmad Sa'adat recently waged a nine-day hunger strike in protest of the policy of isolation and solitary confinement that has recently been escalated against Palestinian prisoners. Palestinian prisoners have been denied family visits, at times for years, denied access to all books and magazines, and denied even communication with their fellow prisoners in the isolation units. Palestinian prisoners, including Sa'adat, are currently denied necessary health care and medical treatment.

Palestinian prisoners are placed into isolation because they are national leaders and because the Palestinian prisoner movement has been an inspiration to all Palestinians and all who struggle for freedom. Ahmad Sa'adat's hunger strike has sparked thousands of people around the world to appeal for his release, as a living example who symbolizes the steadfastness and strength of the Palestinian prisoners amid isolation and dire conditions, and it must compel all of those outside the prisons to act. Many Palestinian and international human rights and social justice organizations have called for the release of Sa'adat and to ensure the safety of his life and health, as well as for freedom and protection for all Palestinian prisoners.

The fate of these 11,000 Palestinian political prisoners is a fundamental issue of justice. Palestinians, in Palestine and in exile, are denied their rights - to return home, to self-determination, and to freedom, and those who seek to secure those rights are subject to imprisonment, whether within the open-air prisons of Gaza under siege or the walled-in West Bank, or the jails of the occupation. The silent, and at times, active, complicity of international agencies, particularly the United Nations, in the denial of Palestinian rights must not continue.

We call upon you to uphold your responsibilities and exert all pressure to end torture, cruel and inhuman treatment of Palestinian prisoners, and to free every Palestinian political prisoner from Israel's occupation jails.

Sincerely,


Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa'adat

Al-Awda NY

Al-Awda Newspaper and Publishing House, Chicago
Al-Awda Omaha
Al-Fajr News, Tunisia
Alliance for People's Health
Almubadara USA
Al-Nakba Awareness Project
American Iranian Friendship Committee
A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition - Act Now to Stop War and End Racism
Anti-Imperialist Camp
Artists to End the Occupation
Association Réveil des Consciences
Arab American Community Center, Youngstown, OH
Arab American Union Members Council
Arab Muslim American Federation
Arab Resource and Organizing Center, San Francisco, CA
Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine
BAYAN USA
Bay Area Labor Committee for Peace & Justice
Campaign to Free Marwan Barghouti and All Prisoners
Canadian Arab Federation
Canada Palestine Association - Vancouver
Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (Toronto)
Comité 'Libérez-les!'
Comité pour une Paix Juste au Proche Orient, Luxembourg
Committee of Solidarity with the Palestinian People - Argentina
Committee of Solidarity with the Palestinian People - Brazil
Committee of Solidarity with the Palestinian People - Ecuador
Committee of Solidarity with the Palestinian People - Uruguay
Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism
Communist Organization of Greece (KOE)
Coordination de l'Appel de Strasbourg pour une Paix juste au Proche-Orient
Danish Communist Party
Droit Solidarite, France
EuroPalestine
Free Gaza Movement
Free Mumia Abu-Jamal/NYC
Free Palestine Alliance
The Freedom Archives
Freedom Road Socialist Organization
French Committee to Free Georges Ibrahim Abdallah(Collectiv pour la libération de Georges Ibrahim Abdallah)
Friends of Al-Aqsa
General Union of Palestine Students/NY
General Union of Palestine Students/SF Bay Area
General Union of Workers of Chile
Hammerhard MediaWorks
International Action Center
International Association of Democratic Lawyers
International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network
International Platform Against Isolation (IPAI)
International Platform of Jurists for East Timor, Leiden, Netherlands
International Republican Socialist Network
International Socialist Organization
International Solidarity Movement - France
Irish Republican Socialist Committees of North America
Irish Republican Socialist Party
Jericho Movement - NYC
Jewish People's Liberation Organization

Justice for Palestinians, San Jose, CA
Kommunistische Initiative Deutschlands (KI)/Communist Initiative Germany
L'Observatoire Tunisien pour les Droits et les Libertés Syndicales
Left Formations of the Youth, Greece
Middle East Children's Alliance
National Boricua Human Rights Network
National Democratic Action Society of Bahrain
National Lawyers Guild
New Jersey Solidarity - Activists for the Liberation of Palestine
New Orleans Palestine Solidarity
NYC Labor Against the War
NY Committee For Human Rights in the Philippines
No One Is Illegal - Vancouver
PalestineFreeVoice
Palestine House
PNN - Palestine News Network
Palestine Solidarity Group - Chicago
Palestine Solidarity Committee - Seattle
Palestine Think Tank
Palestinian American Youth, Youngstown, OH
The Palestinian Cultural and Political Club of Boston
Palestinian Democratic Committee - Chile
Palestinian Federation of Chile
Palestinian Youth Network
Palestinian Youth Organization
PATOIS: New Orleans International Human Rights Film Festival
PROGRESS Lawyers Network
Progressive Labor Action Front, Palestine
Progressive Student Action Front, Palestine
Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism!
Revolutionary Communist Group, Britain
Revolutionary Left Movement (MIR) of Ecuador
Secretariat Nationale de la Voie Democratique Maroc
Socialist Action
Socialist Party of Malaysia
SOUL School of Unity & Liberation, Oakland, CA
TLAXCALA activist translators' collective
Union of Palestinian Women's Committees
Union of the Working People, Greece
US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
US Palestinian Community Network (USPCN) (Popular Conference)
Vent Libertaire 29, France

Voice of Palestine, Canada
War Times/Tiempo De Guerra
WESPAC Foundation
Women Against Military Madness
Women's Peace Speakers Series, Honolulu, Hawaii
Workers Party of New Zealand


Leila Khaled
MP George Galloway, UK Parliament Member and coordinator of Viva Palestina USAmedical aid caravan to Gaza
Ulla Sandbaek, former Member of European Parliament, Denmark
Eleni Sotiriou, 1st stand-in MEP of the Coalition of Radical Left (SYRIZA) , Greece
May Abboud, Lebanon
Chbari Abdelmoumen, journalist, Morocco
Rami Abu Ayash, Jordan
Prof. Bashir Abu Manneh, Columbia University
Susan Abulhawa, author, Pennsylvania
Nader Abuljebain, writer
Yousef Abudayyeh, California
Nasser Abu-khdeir, Jerusalem University Political Science Department, Jerusalem-Shuafat, Palestine
Sheriff Abuzahra, Cambridge, MA
Darwish Addassi, Walnut Creek, CA
Musil Akinsanya, Lagos, Nigeria
Ghassan H. Alami, Jordan
Abdul-Rahman Alawi, publisher and journalist, Cologne, Germany
Reham Alhelsi, Jerusalem, Palestine
Musa al-Hindi, Omaha, NE
Sonia Almonacid, Spain
Abdelwahab Amri Secretary-General of the Federation of PDP, Gabes, Tunisia
Steve Amsel, DesertPeace
Giuseppe Ardizzone, Perugia, Italy
Emmanuel Arenes, France
Justo Arriola, Euskal Herria
Jamal Aruri, attorney, Andover, MA
Prof. Emeritus Naseer Aruri, University of Massachussetts at Dartmouth
Boniardi Ambrogio, Milano, Italy
Mary Avice, Canada
Rahef Awadallah, Chicago, IL
A. R. Ayoubi, UK
Mike Baldwin, California, USA
George Elfie Ballis, Prather, CA
Khaled Barakat, Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa'adat, Canada
Nidal A. Barakat, California
Patrice Bardet, France
Anees Barghouthi, Palestine
Halim Bari, France
David Barsamian, Director, Alternative Radio, Boulder, CO
Pawel Michal Bartolik, journalist, Poland
Abdul-Nasser J.G. Baston, London, UK
Levent Basturk, Red Hook, NY
Tahmeena Bax, UK
Dr. Oren Ben-Dor University of Southampton, UK
B. Benhamid, USA
Arnauld Bengochea, Bordeaux-France
Cheryl Benson, Canada
Simone Bilotta, Faenza (RA), Italy
Patricia Blair, Hawaii, USA
Jeff Blankfort, Ukiah, CA
Yoon Bok-Dong, Korea Truth Commission - Hawaii Representative, USA
Thomas Bolt, England
Giulio Bonali, Italy
Hadassah Borreman, Jeshurun-Judaism Against Zionism, Belgium
Yamina Bounir, Comité Verviers Palestine, France
Glenn Bowman, University of Kent at Canterbury, UK
John P. Brassard, elementary teacher, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Andrea Breuer, Klagenfurt, Austria
Richard Brinton, Salinas, CA, USA
Peter Brown, Olives for Palestine/Olives for Peace
Dr.C.J. Burns-Cox MD FRCP, Gloucester UK
William Buttrey, Los Angeles, CA
George Cammarota, San Jose, CA
Daniele Campione, Milan, Italy
José Canali, France
Hadi Chammah, Gainesville, FL, USA
Sukant Chandan, Chair of the British Section of the International Union of Parliamentarians for Palestine
Vassilis Chatzilabrou, prefectural council of Achaia (Western Greece)
Sharon Clarke, Cambridge, MA
Irene Clausen, Denmark
Ana Cleja, France
Catherine Cobham, St. Andrews University, Scotland, UK
Prof. William A. Cook, University of La Verne
Sebastiano Cosenza, Milano, Italy
Claude Coursin, Assistante Sociale, Marseilles, France
Maya Cutler, Stanley, ID
Professor Seif Da'Na, University of Wisconsin-Parkside
Ilgvar Daga, USA
Elena Davinca, Austria
Rosylin Dean, USA
Prof. Emeritus Dr. Herman De Ley, Ghent University (Belgium)
Paul Delmotte, France
Graham Derrick, UK
Deborah Dexter-Mendez, Fresno, CA
Shaheen Sultan Dhanji, Chairperson, African Socialist Movement
Nicholas Dibs, Long Beach, CA
Waroquiez Dominique, LCR Belgique
Dennis E. Donohue, New York, NY
Idrissi K. Driss, France
Peter Durant, New York, NY
Dr. Adel Elsaie, USA
Ali Faraj, Rennes, France
James C. Faris, Director Emeritus, University of Connecticut Program in Middle East Languages and Area Studies
Mahmoud Faris, Gaza, Palestine
Priscilla Felia, Whitestone, NY
Enrique Ferro, Brussels, Belgium
Franco Ferro, teacher, Italy
Nadia Ferro, teacher, Italy
Sara Flounders, co-director, International Action Center
Linda Frank, Northwest Middle East Peace Forum, USA
Donnie Fraser, UK
Stephanie Frizzell, Garland, CA
Nikos Galanis, member of the National Secretariat of the Coalition of Radical Left (SYRIZA), Greece
Yolanda Garza-Birdwell, Houston, TX
Elisabeth Geschiere, Minneapolis, MN
Ron George, USA
Sarah Gillespie, musician, London
Francesco Giordano, educator, Milano, Italy
Prof. Emerita Sherna Berger Gluck, California State University Long Beach
Richard Gomez, Fresno Greens, Fresno, CA
Margaret Goodheart, Honolulu, HI
Maligorn Gouez, France
Stephen Gowans, Canada
Phil Grace, Liverpool, England
Michela Graham, Italy
Dr. Anne Gray, London, UK
Anne Gwynne, Aberystwyth, Wales
Lamari Habib, Al-Fajr News, Tunisia
Anita Hadjadji, Bordeaux, France
M. Hadjuk, USA
Prof. Emerita Elaine Hagopian, Simmons College
Samia A. Halaby, artist, New York, NY
Corrinne Hales, Fresno, CA
Hatem Hammad, Canada
Dr. Leila Hanaineh, Jordan
Kamal Hassan, USA
Jean Hays, CA, USA
Jennifer Heath, Boulder, CO
Gary Heisinger, Peace Fresno, Fresno, CA
Monadel Herzallah, San Francisco, CA
Nadia Hijab, writer
Isabella Horn, Italy
Paul Hubbard, Providence, RI
Jay Hubbell, Peace Fresno, Fresno, CA
Mary Hughes Thompson, Women in Black Los Angeles, CA
Prof. Mahmood Ibrahim, CSU Pomona, Los Angeles, CA
Barbara Ida, Malone, NY
Sascha Iversen, International Forum, Denmark
Firas Jaber, writer and researcher, Palestine
Karl Ange Angri Jacobsen, Red-Green Alliance, Denmark
Dr. Mohammed Jadallah, Jerusalem Centre For Development
Francois Jadoul, Belgium
Intisar Jardaneh, Jordan
Randa Jazairi, Gainesville, FL
Humberto Jijón, Ecuador
Richard Jones, Swansea, UK
Maya Joulkva, France
Akis Kaloudis, member of the administration of the Private Employees' Union , Greece
Sana Kassem, Athens, Greece
Charlotte Kates, attorney
Stathis Katsoulas, member of the administration of the Teachers' Union of Western Athens, Greece
Ahmad Kawash, Boston, MA
Prof. Mujid S. Kazimi, Massachusetts Institiute of Technology
Nabil Keilani, California
Basem Khader, Chappaqua, NY
Sobhi Khalaf, Gaza, Palestine
Hocine Khelfaoui, Montreal, Canada
Annette Klepzig, Wilhemsfeld, Germany
Peter Klosterman, Ph.D. Oakland, CA
Norman Koerner, educator, Philadelphia, PA
Khaled Kouteich, France
Pantelis Koutsianas, coordinator of Thessaloniki's Popular Committees against price hikes, Greece
Zbigniew Marcin Kowalewski, researcher and editor, Poland
Garold Langley, Hawaii, USA
Bahauddeen Latif, UK
Carlos Latuff, cartoonist, Brazil
Joelle Laurent-Laneau, France
David Letwin, Brooklyn, NY
Michael Letwin, Co-Convener, New York City Labor Against the War; Former President, Assn. of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local 2325
Mariah Leung, Al-Nakba Awareness Project, Eugene, OR
Dr. Renee Levant, Instructor, Master of Liberal Studies Program, Fort Hays State University
Nessim Liamani, Italy
Catherine Lieutenant, Belgium
Britta Lillesøe, Denmark
Tammy Bang Luu, Los Angeles, CA
Amir M. Maasoumi, Quebec, Canada
Professor Moshé Machover, London School of Economics
Patrick MacManus, Rebellion, Denmark
Rania Madi, Switzerland
Dr. Bruce J. Malina, Dept of Theology, Creighton University
Hanif Manjoo, South Africa
Polly Mann, Women Against Military Madness, Minneapolis, MN
Sharon Martinas, San Francisco, CA
Professor Nur Masalha, London
Beatriz Maturana, President, Architects for Peace, Australia
Bill McGrath, Minnesota, USA
Marcelo Mendoza Azat, Arauco, Chile
Roberto J. Mercado, photographer, Social Impact Photography, New York, NY
Ali Mili, Phillipsburg, NJ
Emil Mishriky, Palestine
Harald Molgaard, Twickenham, UK
Serajeddin Momeni, Phoenix, AZ
Michael Moore, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Lillian Morgan, East Aurora, NY
Talaat Ahmed Mosallam, Retired General, researcher, co chairman Al A'mal Party, Egypt
Tawfieq Mousa, California, USA
Atiya Munir, Policy Analyst, London, UK
Catherine Myles, UK
Linda Nedjaa, France
Marlene Newesri, New York City, USA
Dr. Marcy Newman, Associate Professor of English, An Najah University, Nablus, Palestine
Prof. Osamu Niikura, Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo, Japan
Hiyam Noir, PalestineFreeVoice.org, USA/Palestine
Christopher North, Antalya, Turkey
Henry Ode, California
Alain Ollivier, Quebec, Canada
Ivan Olsen, San Francisco Bay, CA
Ardeshir and Eleanor Ommani, Founders, AIFC
Michael Opperskalski, Journalist and Editor, Germany
Manlio Padova, Italy
Yiorgos Papaioannou, member of the administration of the Accountants' Union of Athens, Greece
Marie-Ange Patrizio, psychologist, Marseille, France
Daniel Perez Creus, Ingenio {Gran Canaria} Spain
Jørgen Petersen, Danish Communist Party, Denmark
Lily Phan, Calgary, AB, Canada
Andrea Pietropaolo, Italy
Paola Pisi, Uruknet.info
Gabriel Proulx, Quebec
Karina Rahef, USA
Jespers Raf, Progress Lawyers Network, Belgium
Ahmed S. Rajah, South Africa
Hussin Ramadan, Palestine
Dr. Nagesh Rao, Assistant Professor of English, The College of New Jersey
Gabriele Rapaci, student, University of Milan, Italy
Angel Rebollar, Spain
Dick Reilly, Chicago, IL, US
Mary Rizzo, writer, translator, S Benedetto Tr, Italy
Julian Rodriguez Veiga, Argentina
Diane Roehm, New York, NY
Francesca Rosa, San Francisco, CA
Nadine Rosa-Rosso, recognizeresistance.net, Belgium
Mimi Rosenberg, Esq., Producer & Host Building Bridges: Your Community & Labor Report WBAI Radio, NY
Bob Rossi, union organizer, Salem, OR
Mireille Rumeau, Bordeaux-France
Doug Russell, Dallas, TX
Tony Ryan, Australia
Dr. Hamoudi Hadj Sahraoui, Setif University, Algeria
Nizar Sakhnini, Toronto, Canada
Samia Saleh, northern Virginia, US
Professor Therese Saliba, The Evergreen State College, Washington
Susanne Scheidt, writer, journalist, Italy
Carol Scheller-Doyle, Genève, Switzerland
Guenter Schenk, Strasbourg, France
Einar Schlereth, Sweden
Penny Schoner, paralegal, San Francisco, CA
Paolina Scoccimarro, Italy
Marco Antonio Sechi, Sassari, Italy
Shahin Shabanian, Williamsport, PA
Mark Shapiro, UK
Meena Sharma, USA
Michel Shehadeh, San Francisco, CA
Kemal Sidhoum, Paris, France
Júlio da Silveira Moreira, International Association of People's Lawyers, Brazil
Hilary Smith, UK
Dr. Ahdaf Soueif, author
Professor Mustapha Soueif, University of Cairo
Maryloo Souied, house cleaner/office worker, New York, NY
Edna Spennato, Maceio, Brazil
Stan Squires, Canada
Burton Steck, Chicago
Robert H. Stiver, Hawaii, USA, retiree and activist
Prof. Emeritus Dr. Y.N. Tamimi, University of Hawaii
Zaid Tayem, the Netherlands
Richard S. Thomas, former Hampden County Commissioner, retired
Angie Tibbs, Canada
Brian Tierney, Union organizer, Washington, DC
Luciano Torresani, Italy
Madjid Tounsi, Montreal, Canada
Mary Tuma, artist, USA
Vic and Barby Ulmer, Our Developing World, Saratoga, CA
Peter Urban, International Republican Socialist Movement
Laura Vance, California
JoAnne VanDatta MS, Eugene, OR
Fay Van Dunk, United Kingdom
Ivan Vanney, student, Haifa, occupied Palestine
Nils Vest, Denmark
Valdemar Vest-Lillesøe, Denmark
William Vest-Lillesøe, Denmark
Erin Wade, Seattle, WA
Claudia Wainerman, occupied Palestine
Darlene Wallach, San Jose, CA
Donna Wallach, San Jose, CA
Viola Ware, Artists to End the Occupation
Dr. Dahlia Wasfi, M.D., USA
Alison Weir, If Americans Knew, USA
Tony Whelan, London, UK
Katherine Wilson, CUNY, New York City
Betsy Wolf-Graves, San Jose, CA
R. Worrell, US
Rami Yaseen, Jordan
Ra'ana-Dilruba Yasmin, USA
Patrick Young, USA
Anthony Joseph Geha Yuja, Italy
Dr. A. B. Zahlan, London and Beirut
Edgar Zarifa, Canada
Dr. Ismail Zayid, Canada
Omar Zietawi, Arab American Community Center, Southern California
Said Zulficar, Network for Colonial Freedom

Hamas losing patience with Mubarak's Israel love-fest


Hamas is losing patience with Mubarak and his sucking up to Israel, as this report from AP attests, following Mubarak's insistence that the Israeli prisoner of war Shalit is 'alive and well':
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Egypt's president didn't know what he was talking about when he said an Israeli soldier held by Palestinian militants was alive and well, a top Hamas official announced Wednesday, in rare public criticism of the Egyptian leader.

Egypt has been mediating attempts to trade hundreds of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel for Sgt. Gilad Schalit, the soldier captured by Hamas-allied militants three years ago in a cross-border raid from Gaza. Schalit has not been seen since then, and the Red Cross has not been permitted to visit him.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said Monday that Schalit was in good condition and hopefully would be released soon. Mubarak, who made the announcement during a visit to Cairo by Israeli President Shimon Peres, gave no details on where he got his information.

In Gaza, Hamas negotiator Osama al-Muzaini said Mubarak's comment was meant for "public relations consumption" and reflected his "wishful thinking." He said "nobody knows if Schalit is dead or alive," except for his captors.

Hamas has been upset with Egypt for joining Israel in an economic blockade of Gaza since the Islamic militant group seized power there two years ago. Still, up to now Hamas officials have been careful not to insult Mubarak in public, wary of antagonizing their powerful neighbor. It was not clear why al-Muzaini used such unusually blunt language. Egyptian officials did not immediately react.

Gaza's only power plant collapsing as Israel straves it of parts


Power plant shuts down due to lack of repair equipment

The power plant in Gaza has begun to collapse as lapsed maintenance and repair efforts reach a critical stage. Some areas of the grid have ceased to function and others are in dangerous condition.

Head of Public Relations at an electricity company in Gaza Jamal Al-Dardasawi said on Thursday that the Israeli ban on maintenance equipment and spare grid parts was to blame for recent power outages.

Al-Darasawi explained that parts for the power station have not been able to enter Gaza for more than a year, and local supplies for repair are totally exhausted. Areas in the northern Biet Lahia sector will have no electricity until new switches and generators can be provided.

Thanks to the Palestine Media Center (PLO)

Visit to Gaza was an assault on sense of justice

By Joyce Ravitz

When I was growing up, my parents instilled in me the knowledge that Jews were hardworking people who would not stand for injustice. My Jewish education taught me that Jews were obliged to fight against discrimination and other wrongs whenever they occurred.
And we met discrimination ourselves. My parents left the Lower East Side and I grew up in a small Pennsylvania town. My uncle, brother and I were the only non-Christians in the school system. A friend asked to see my horns. It was difficult. No wonder I returned to the Lower East Side...

...I am heartbroken and appalled by what Israel, the land I loved, is doing in Gaza today. On my trip in late May of this year, I witnessed physical and psychological damage from the Israeli occupation of Gaza...

...Thirteen Israeli soldiers were killed during the December-January bombing. The number of deaths is disproportionate for Israel’s claim to be acting in self-defense...

...Israeli pressure is shrinking the actual area available to the people of the Gaza Strip further. I met fishermen who fear the Israeli gunboats because they are kidnapped and shot at while trying to make a living. These kidnapped fishermen are either taken to Israeli jails or returned to Gaza with their equipment and boats ruined. The Palestinian farmers are in a similar situation. The Israelis recently built automated (without soldiers) watchtowers along the border that open up when activated and fire machine guns toward Gaza, killing people...

...What can Americans do to change this? Encourage elected officials and others to travel to Gaza to discover what the area is really like; and be sure they talk to ordinary people who hope to lead ordinary lives but suffer attacks and privations. We must let our representatives know that we do not want our money to continue to support a government that attacks and kills civilians. We do not want our government to support a government that traumatizes and embitters the lives of survivors and a new generation. The continued hostilities directed toward Gaza undermine any hope of stability in the Middle East and the world. Read the full article here
Joyce Ravitz is a Lower East Side resident living on Grand St. and member of Community Board 3. She visited Gaza in May at the invitation of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in Gaza with the assistance of Code Pink: Women for Peace.