Thursday, 17 September 2009

Scottish MP demands release of Palestinian parliamentarians

EDINBURGH, (PIC)-- Scottish lawmaker HughO'Donnell, the spokesman for the liberal democratic party, strongly denounced the arbitrary policy of kidnapping Palestinian lawmakers and their detention in Israeli jails for more than three years.

O'Donnell,in a letter addressed to the Israeli ambassador in Britain on Tuesday, expressed his strong condemnation of Israel’s clear violation of international law and the fourth Geneva convention through detaining Palestinian lawmakers in its jails.
He stressed in the letter that the kidnapping of lawmakers is not only a violation of democracy, but also a contempt for the will of the Palestinian people and their voice.

The letter demanded the Israeli ambassador to answer a number of questions about the reasons behind the detention of lawmakers, and the charges leveled against them as well as the expected time of their release.

Palestinians in Israel call general strike against racism

By Jonathan Cook - Nazareth

The increasingly harsh political climate in Israel under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing government has prompted the leadership of the country’s 1.3 million Arab citizens to call the first general strike in several years.

The one-day stoppage is due to take place on October 1, a date heavy with symbolism because it marks the anniversary of another general strike, in 2000 at the start of the second intifada, when 13 Arab demonstrators were shot dead by Israeli police.

The Arab leadership said it was responding to a string of what it called “racist” government measures that cast the Arab minority, a fifth of the population, as enemies of the state.

“In recent months, there has been a parallel situation of racist policies in the parliament and greater condoning of violence towards Arab citizens by the police and courts,” said Jafar Farah, the head of Mossawa, an Arab advocacy group in Israel. “This attitude is feeding down to the streets.”

Confrontations between the country’s Arab minority and Mr Netanyahu’s coalition, formed in the spring, surfaced almost immediately over a set of controversial legal measures.

The proposed bills outlawed the commemoration of the “nakba”, or catastrophe, the word used by Palestinians for their dispossession in 1948; required citizens to swear loyalty to Israel as a Zionist state; and banned political demands for ending Israel’s status as a Jewish state. Following widespread outcries, the bills were either watered down or dropped.

But simmering tensions came to a boil again late last month when the education minister, Gideon Saar, presented educational reforms to mark the start of the new school year.

He confirmed plans to drop the word “nakba” from Arabic textbooks and announced his intention to launch classes on Jewish heritage and Zionism. He also said he would tie future budgets for schools to their success in persuading pupils to perform military or national service.

more at Palestine Chronicle