Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Irish cyclists in final stage of Gaza fundraising trip

Cycling close to double the distance of the Tour de France, three Irish cyclists are now on the final stretch of their journey from Ireland to Gaza. The students, having just reached Israel-Palestine, arrived in Jerusalem yesterday and will attempt to cross into Gaza over the coming days. Their 6,000 km cycle aims to raise money in support of an emergency appeal to provide for neo-natal care and medical resources for burn victims in Gaza. The initiative came from Eoghan Quinn (21), a type-1 diabetic, after he learned of the restrictions on medical supplies reaching Gaza. More at Free Gaza Movement

Video - George Galloway on Press TV defending the Palestinians

Ofcom has criticised George Galloway for speaking some home truths on Press TV about Israel's war on Gaza - see some of the debate for yourself...

CPS drags its feet on prosecution of riot police for Ian Tomlinson killing

Four months after we all saw the video of the riot policeman assaulting Ian Tomlinson at the anti-G20 demos in London the Independent Police Complaints Commission informs the great British public that it has finished its inquiry but still doesn't know if there will be any prosecutions, leaving the ball marooned in the court of the Crown Prosecution Service.

What are they waiting for? Or is bringing the police to account for their crimes, for a change, too much to ask of the British justice system?

In truth the authorities have shown themselves to be more than happy to clampdown on people exercising their right to peacefully protest on issues such as Israel's barbarity in Gaza to workers occupying their factories to stop closures and job losses.

See report from today's Guardian below:
Prosecutors are considering whether to charge the Metropolitan police officer who attacked Ian Tomlinson at the G20 demonstration moments before the newspaper vendor collapsed and died, the police watchdog said today.

Announcing that it had completed its four-month investigation into Tomlinson's death, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said it had handed a file to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which would now decide whether the officer should be charged.

In a statement, the commission said its investigation had been "one of the largest ever undertaken by the IPCC and it has been the subject of huge public scrutiny". More than 40 IPCC investigators and other members of staff from all five regional offices were involved in the case, it said.

"We have had a remarkable response from the public and I would like to thank those people who have contacted us for all their help," said Deborah Glass, the IPCC commissioner for London.

In a statement, Tomlinson's widow, Julia, said: "It has been a very difficult four months since Ian died and it is a relief to see some progress. The last information that the coroner put out was Dr Cary's view that Ian died from internal bleeding.

"Video footage made it clear to us, and everyone else, that Ian was the victim of an unprovoked assault by a police officer. If there is going to be any justice then it must be left for a jury to decide if the police officer is guilty of killing Ian. I hope the CPS will get the case in front of a jury as soon as possible. We would like to thank everyone who came forward as witnesses."

more at the Guardian

Galloway and Press TV criticised by Ofcom for telling viewers the truth

George Galloway - favourite whipping boy of the western media - has been criticised for being biased against Israel with his broadcasts during Israel's war on Gaza in January.

UK regulator Ofcom said the "overwhelming majority of content of the programmes were from a pro-Palestinian point of view and were highly critical of Israeli policy".

Given the overwhelming pro-Israel bias of most of the rest of the UK media at the time Press TV should be applauded for adding some balance to the mix, not castigated.

As an example of the bias Galloway supposedly displayed on Press TV's The Real Deal comment show Ofcom drew attention to his remarks that Gaza was a "killing zone", an area of "mass murder", and his references to the "ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people from Southern Palestine into Gaza".

Now that all sounds like fair and reasonable comment to me but if you lived in a country that banned a humanitarian appeal for suffering people in Gaza because it was 'political', nothing surprises any more. Press TV is funded by the Iranian government.

More at the Guardian

Rafah tunnel collapse kills man, injures three others

More tunnel deaths in the fight for life in Gaza, as the world's leaders ignore populations suffering. Last week nine people were killed; one so far this week.
GAZA CITY — A Palestinian man was killed on Monday and three others were missing when a smuggling tunnel under the Rafah border linking the Gaza Strip to Egypt collapsed, medical sources said.

At least nine people were killed last week in cave-ins and accidents in the vast network of tunnels between Egypt and Gaza used to smuggle food, goods and, according to Israel, weapons and explosives.

Almost 130 people have died in tunnels over the past three years, according to a recent report by the Palestinian Centre for Democracy and Conflict Resolution (PCDCR).


Abbas attacks Hamas but says resistance still an option

Alongside his attacks on Hamas for 'splitting the nation' Abbas was forced to make noises in the direction of 'armed resistance', as Fatah members and supporters ask what has been gained from Abbas's collaboration with Israel and its western backers.
By Mohammed Assadi

BETHLEHEM, West Bank, Aug 4 (Reuters) - President Mahmoud Abbas opened his Fatah movement's first conference in 20 years on Tuesday, saying Palestinians sought peace with Israel but "resistance" would stay an option.

"Although peace is our choice, we reserve the right to resistance, legitimate under international law," the Western-backed Abbas said in a policy speech, using a term that encompasses armed confrontation as well as non-violent protests.

Officials said a draft of Fatah's new programme called for new forms of resistance such as civil disobedience against Jewish settlement expansion and a West Bank barrier Israel says is for security but which Palestinians see as a land grab.

Crucially, the draft leaves open the option of "armed struggle" if peace talks with Israel fail and does not rule out a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood in the West Bank and Gaza Strip if peace negotiations remain at a stalemate.

A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said there would be no immediate comment on the speech.

more at Reuters