Wednesday, 28 April 2010

PFLP attacks Hamas over Gaza taxes, warns of 'explosion'

GAZA CITY — A leftist Palestinian faction warned on Tuesday of an "explosion" if the Islamist Hamas movement continues collecting a raft of new taxes in its impoverished Gaza enclave.

The rare harsh criticism of the movement that has ruled Gaza since June 2007 came in response to new taxes that the Hamas-run government says are necessary to address a financial "crisis."

"The pressure that Hamas forces are exerting in Gaza undermine the idea of improving the steadfastness of our people, who are already exhausted," the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) said.

"The increase in pressure and burdens on our citizens in this miserable economic and social reality will give rise to problems and social maladies and will push the youth towards emigration.

"It may push society to rebel against these behaviours, but the explosion will be in the face of the perpetrators," it said. more

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

FT blogger: Hatred of Obama similar to Brit hatred of US over Irish peace process

Interesting blog from Gideon Rachman at the Financial Times on the hatred directed against Obama on the right and left of Israeli politics.
Israel’s alarm at the deterioration in its relations with the US is palpable. In Jerusalem recently, even a liberal commentator told me: “Barack Obama is a disaster for Israel. I don’t think the general public realise just how much of a disaster he is.” Government officials are more careful – but only a bit. Danny Ayalon, the deputy Israeli foreign minister, says that it would be a “grave mistake” for America to present its own Middle East peace plan, an idea that the US president’s people are known to be considering.

Listening to all this, I could not help thinking back to the early stages of the Northern Irish peace negotiations. In part, this is because some of the same cast of characters have moved from Belfast to Jerusalem. George Mitchell, Mr Obama’s envoy to the Middle East, played a crucial role as a go-between in Ulster. Tony Blair Is also on the scene, this time installed in the American Colony hotel rather than Stormont castle.

But there is more to the parallel than familiar faces. The Israelis’ furious reaction to the pressure they are under from the Obama administration is reminiscent of the British rage early in the Northern Irish peace process, when it became clear that our American allies were intent on “talking to the terrorists” of the Irish Republican Army. But, as it turned out, the Americans were right to insist that there was a peace deal to be made with the IRA. They are right again on the Middle East peace process. There is still a deal to be had – and if Israel does not take it soon, the long-term survival of the Jewish state will be imperiled. more may require subscription

Viva Palestina international flotilla readies for 15 May solidairty mission to Gaza

From Viva Palestina
Flotilla to break Gaza siege

On May 15th, an international flotilla of cargo and passenger ships will depart from various European ports and set sail for Gaza. 3 cargo ships will carry over 5,000 tonnes of medical and building supplies, and 5 passenger boats will carry over 600 people.

This flotilla is been led by the IHH charity from Turkey, and is supported by many groups worldwide, including the Free Gaza Movement, Free Palestine Movement, European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza and the Greek and Swedish Boat to Gaza groups amongst others. more

Make a donation
Facebook Viva Palestina flotilla group

Non-violent protests against Israeli occupation growing

Non-violent direct action by against the Israeli occupation of Palestine is growing, and so is active international support and unfortunately Israeli repression.
Gaza: The non-violent movement is still alive and well and has spread from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip.

Two small towns near Ramallah, Bil'in and Nil'in in the West Bank, have been the flashpoint for consistent non-violent Gandhi-like demonstrations against Israeli occupation.

Since 2005, these villages, whose combined populations do not exceed 10,000, hold weekly demonstrations against the Israeli wall.

These demonstrations have attracted hundreds of international activists from around the world who stand in solidarity with the Palestinians daily.

More recently however, these types of demonstrations have been gaining momentum in Gaza.

Mohammad Harbed, a protester against the buffer zone in the Gaza Strip, said: "I have been protesting against the occupation for years."

This past weekend, Bianca Zammit, 28, a Maltese pro-Palestinian activist, was shot in the leg during a demonstration against the blockade of the Gaza Strip close to the border with Israel.

"This type of resistance is good for the long term and it can bring peace for the people here some day," Zammit told Gulf News after leaving the hospital for treatment. more

Monday, 26 April 2010

IDF shoots peaceful demonstrators protesting Israel ban on farming in 'buffer zone'

From the International Solidarity Movement
El Maghazi, Deir Al Balah, Gaza, Occupied Palestinian Territories, 24th April 2010, 12PM – At a peaceful nonviolent demonstration against the forceful cessation of farming within what Israel defines as a “buffer zone,” which was attended by 150 people, two Palestinians demonstrators and one International activist were shot. Israeli soldiers opened fire on the demonstrators from the border fence. Nidal Al Naji (18) was shot in the right thigh. Hind Al Akra (22) was shot in the stomach and is undergoing emergency surgery. Bianca Zimmit (28) from Malta was filming the demonstration when she was shot in her left thigh. The wounded are currently being treated in Al Aqsa Hospital. more, including video

Saturday, 24 April 2010

al-Qassam brigades soldier killed in mysterious Gaza explosion say reports

Gaza - Ma'an - An explosion in the central Gaza Strip killed a Palestinian teenager late Friday, medics and Hamas' armed wing said.

Muawiya Hassanein, head of ambulance and emergency services in the Gaza Health Ministry, told Ma'an that the body of Ahmad Al-Hajin arrived riddled with shrapnel injuries following a "mysterious explosion" in the Zaytoun neighborhood east of Gaza City.

The Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, announced that one of its affiliates, Ahmad Abu Al-Hajin, 18, was killed during a "Jihad" mission in the Zaytoun neighborhood.

Challenge to Israel's UK ambassador on West Bank oppression

By Alan Watts - Haringey Justice for Palestinians [Haringey is a borough in north London, UK], reporting on his recent trip to Palestine where he witnessed Israeli oppression first hand.

Next time Ron Prosor (DNA of the Jewish state, 20 April) travels home, perhaps he should go to the Jerusalem bus station and take a No 36 out of East Jerusalem and into al-Azaria, and there he will soon see the price Palestinians are paying for the Zionist progress he expects us to applaud. He can ask the mayor of Azaria how much his constituents pay for the water stolen by Israeli water companies from under their feet. He could travel out to Salfeet and view the villages where the water in their streams is heavily polluted by the Israeli factories sited atop hills in the surrounding area. He might instead like to visit Bilin and see the Israeli fence and wall cutting 5km inside the 1967 UN ceasefire line, and visit the young people facing tear gas and bullets fighting back to defend their land.

If those things are too much bother, what about staying in Jerusalem and going to visit people who have been thrown out of their homes and into the street by Jewish religious fundamentalists who, defended by troops, are occupying Palestinian homes. All these things I saw in the last two weeks. I am sure Ron Prosor could see them with a lot less hassle.

From the Guardian letters page

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Israel lobby fears UK election will give leverage to 'pro-Palestinian' Liberal Democrats

Interesting article over at the UK's Jewish Chronicle newspaper about the pro-Israel lobby's fears about the outcome of the UK election in which the Liberal Democrats, led by Nick Clegg, are increasingly likely to hold the balance of power in the new parliament. JC thinks the Lib Dems are rabidly pro-Palestinian and is worried.
When it comes to the Middle East the portents are not encouraging. Clegg is a long-term critic of Israel's policies and led the charge to denounce Israel and impose sanctions during the 2009 Gaza war.

In an inflammatory opinion-page article in The Guardian in January 2009 he called on Labour to "condemn unambiguously Israel's tactics" and called for an immediate arms boycott by Britain and the EU. more

Open letter to Gil Scott-Heron: don't play in Apartheid Israel

Rap pioneer Gil Scott-Heron is scheduled to go to Israel for one performance on May 25 in Tel Aviv’s Barbie club.

Dear Gil,

We write to urge you not to perform in Israel next month. This is done in the name of millions of Palestinians living under an Apartheid system no different (and probably worse) than the system that existed in South Africa before Nelson Mandela liberated his land. We urge you to stand by justice for the Palestinians who have suffered for 62 years of colonial occupation under the Zionist Israeli regime. You know it. You have seen it. You saw Gaza last year and you saw what Israel did there. If you stand for justice and international law, then you will stand up for the Palestinian people.

Do not let commercial interests stand in the way of a decision that can be courageous and pro-active. If you do have to go, then say something courageous about Israeli inhumanity and injustice. Call for the end of occupation and do not be afraid. Mandela was never afraid to say what he believed in. Your art has no boundaries.

We hope you will stand up for justice in Palestine.

Antoine Raffoul · Thursday April 22, 2010

Antoine Raffoul

From the U.S. Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel

Rockets fired towards Israel from Sinai hit Jordan - Egypt denies the reports

Israel claims two rockets were fired from Egypt's Sinai desert towards the Israeli town of Eilat but missed and landed in Jordan, hitting a warehouse. No one was injured. Egypt denies that the rockets were fired from its territory.
A rocket has exploded near the southern Jordanian city of Aqaba. No casualties have been reported.

The rocket was one of two fired early on Thursday morning which landed in Jordanian territory, the other splashed harmlessly into the sea.

There are conflicting reports as to where the rockets were fired from.

Israeli military sources say they came from Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, but Egypt denies this and Jordanian officials denied the missiles came from there.

Israeli media reports say that the rockets were aimed at the Israeli town of Eilat.

Israeli military sources told the BBC the rockets came from Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, but Egyptian officials later said that was untrue. - from the BBC

First deportation from West Bank to Gaza under new apartheid-style IDF pass law

The new IDF order has swung into operation already with the first Palestinian deported yesterday from the West Bank to Gaza. where are the condemnations from world leaders at this blatant act of colonial-style oppression?
RAMALLAH, West Bank — Israel deported a Palestinian prisoner to the Gaza Strip instead of releasing him to his West Bank home, the man and Palestinian officials said, charging Israel with using controversial new military orders.

The prisoner, Ahmad Sabah, 40, was refusing to leave the Palestinian side of the main crossing between Israel and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

"It is inhumane what they are doing. He has no connection to Gaza, no relatives there, nothing," said Issa Qaraqi, the minister of prisoner affairs in the government of the Western-backed Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.

Qaraqi claimed Israel was implementing a new set of military orders that critics fear could lead to mass deportations from the occupied West Bank. more
On Wednesday there was protests in Gaza against the IDF order. The rally was notable in that it brought together Hamas and Fatah for the first time since 2007.
Representatives of rival Hamas and Fatah movements attended the rally near Erez terminal which connects the Gaza Strip and Israel and is only open to foreigners, patients and people with special arrangements.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Hamas in clampdown on painkillers - Gaza's opium of the people

Yet another indication of the dire circumstances in which human beings are expected to exist in Israel's open-air prison called Gaza, is shown by the fact that the use of painkillers to dull the senses and blot out the daily hardships is widespread in the Strip. Now Hamas is clamping down.
GAZA–Gaza's Hamas rulers burned nearly 2 million painkiller pills Tuesday that many Gazans take recreationally because they say it relaxes them and provides temporary relief from the territory's hardships.

The drug disposal at a hospital incinerator comes days after the Islamic militant group confiscated cigarettes from Gaza shops to collect taxes on them.

Hamas Health Minister Basim Naim said authorities burned some 1.7 million Tramadol pills seized from smugglers who sneak it by tunnel under the Egyptian border.

The powerful painkiller is related to morphine and heroin but most countries do not treat it as a controlled substance. Experts have said those who stop taking the drug after regular use often develop flu-like withdrawal symptoms, though long-term effects are rare.

Gaza's health ministry views the painkiller as addictive, Naim said, but allows its sale by prescription.

Tramadol's popularity in Gaza has grown as quality of life here worsened. more

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

IDF order 1650 aims to undermine unity of West Bank/Gaza and to expel Palestinians

More on IDF order 1650 demanding Palestinians carry apartheid-style passes to move about their own country - or be deported as 'infiltrators'. The order, naturally, does not apply to Israeli settlers. Most Palestinians are unaware of many of the orders emanating from the occupation forces as they are issued in Hebrew.
Has Israel Reneged on the Unity of West Bank and Gaza? by Daoud Kuttab, Palestinian journalist residing in Jerusalem and Amman, writing for the Huffington Post.
...Such was the case on October 13, 2009, when Major General Gadi Shamni, commander of the Israeli army in the West Bank, redefined who is an infiltrator (anyone without a special Israeli-issued valid permit) and what the punishment of infiltration is: up to seven years in jail, NIS 7,500 ($2,000) and deportation.

The Israeli military order number 1650 gave Palestinians six months to get their act in order. However, few Palestinians were even aware of this military order until an Israeli reporter quoted Israeli human rights organisations saying that the six months are to expire on April 13, putting tens of thousands of Palestinians in danger of imprisonment, fine and deportation.

While public deportation which are contrary to the Geneva Conventions had stopped in 1992, a much more sinister plan appears to have been implemented. The new undeclared policy is called by some "the transfer policy," whereby Palestinians are "encouraged" to leave and not return by use of various administrative orders, such as this latest order.

Ironically, this infiltration order does not apply to Jewish settlers who are indeed infiltrating into Palestinian territories, nor does it apply to Jewish settlers residing in the so called "outposts" that have not been even authorised officially by the occupying state of Israel. This is yet one more example of the fact that Israel is applying an apartheid regime in the occupied territories with Jewish settlers living under a different set of legal codes unlike what is applied to Palestinians.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Prisoners' Day marked with show of unity from Fatah and Hamas

GAZA CITY — Hamas and Fatah closed ranks on Saturday to mark Palestinian Prisoners' Day on Saturday, in the first joint initiative by the bitter rivals since the latter was routed from Gaza in 2007.

Representatives of the two factions, joined by members of smaller militant groups, relatives of prisoners and international activists, staged a sit-down protest and 24-hour fast outside the Gaza City offices of the Red Cross.

Ismail Haniya, head of the Hamas government in Gaza, made a brief visit to call for Palestinian reconciliation and urge all Palestinians to fight Israeli occupation "by any means" and pressure Israel to free thousands of prisoners.

"We must put aside anything that can harm our unity," Fatah representative Raafat Hamdouna said, hailing Saturday's joint protest with the Islamist movement Hamas which expelled Fatah in deadly street fighting in June 2007. more

Friday, 16 April 2010

IDF kills Fatah-aligned Palestinian resistance fighter

GAZA CITY — A Gaza militant was killed by Israeli gunfire at the border fence east of Gaza City, Palestinian medics said.

Military sources in Israel confirmed that a Palestinian gunman was killed.

Palestinian medics identified the gunman as Mohammed Saleem, 24.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, which is linked to the Fatah movement of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, said it was involved in the fighting and that one of its militants was missing. more

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Outrage as Goldstone pressured not to attend grandson's bar mitzvah

Judge Richard Goldstone has been asked not to attend his grandson's bar mitzvah after coming under pressure from pro-Israel extremists.
Jewish groups had planned to organize a protest outside the synagogue if Goldstone was in attendance, according to reports.

Reached in Washington, where he is now based, Goldstone was reluctant to comment, but did say that “In the interests of my grandson, I’ve decided not to attend the ceremony at the synagogue.”

Arthur Chaskalson, a retired chief justice of South Africa, said it was “disgraceful” to put pressure on a grandfather not to attend his grandson’s bar mitzvah.

“If it is correct that this has the blessing of the leadership of the Jewish community in South Africa, it reflects on them rather than Judge Goldstone," Chaskalson said. "They should hang their heads in shame.” more

Imprisoned for six months for supporting Palestinian liberation struggle

Imprisoned for criticizing Israel

April 12, 2010

I AM writing to you on behalf of Convergencia de Izquierda, a Trotskyist party in Argentina.

Our leader, Juan Carlos Beica, has been sentenced to six months in jail by the justice system of the city of Buenos Aires. The current mayor of Buenos Aires is Mauricio Macri, a prominent businessman with close links to Israel.

Beica has been condemned because of his participation in several demonstrations that took place last year against the occupation of Gaza by Israel. He has been accused of "discriminating" against the Jewish community in Argentina.

The main witness of the prosecutor was Eduardo Elsztain, who is the chairman of the World Jewish Congress and one of the richest businessmen in Argentina. He personally took part in the trial. That will give you an idea of the importance given to this "leading case" by Israel and the organizations that serve the Zionist state worldwide.

Beica has been the first in a list of popular leaders who will be prosecuted under the same charges. This month, another judge will announce the sentence against Ruben Saboulard, another political activist. The prosecutor has asked for Saboulard to be sentenced to one year in jail.

These are very serious attacks against democratic liberties in our country, as well as a serious threat to all those who want to oppose the terrorist policies carried out by Israel against Palestinians. That is why we are asking your support.

There is a petition being circulating here in Argentina supporting the demand that Beica be absolved and and that the prosecution against the other popular leaders be stopped. It has already been signed by Noam Chomsky; Gilad Atzmon, the prominent saxophonist born in Israel and exiled in London; Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel; Colombian writer Laura Restrepo; former Argentinian House representative Luis Zamora; current Argentinian House representatives Eduardo Macaluse and Victoria Donda; Vilma Ripoll, a former legislator from the city of Buenos Aires; all the socialist parties in Argentina; the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo and other human rights organizations; Víctor de Gennaro of the Central de los Trabajadores Argentinos; Pedro Fuetes of the Brazilian PSOL; Orlando Chirino of the Venezuelan UNT; José Bodas and Miguel Hernández.

We are organizing an international campaign to repeal this serious attack against the freedom of expression of those who support Palestinian struggle throughout the world.
Carmen Carrasco, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Eyewitness: West Bank lockdown as IDF order threatens thousands with deportation

Manal Khalil is a Palestinian resident of the West Bank who spoke to The Sitch Web site in March when the IDF put the West Bank on lockdown. With the situation intensifying and the threat of mass deportations looming, Adriano Contreras and Brian Lenzo spoke again to Manal about the latest developments in Israel's occupation.
ACCORDING TO Haaretz, the IDF has issued new orders to deport Palestinians in Israeli territory and expel those in the West Bank who it deems to be "infiltrators." What are your thoughts on that?

FIRST, I would just like to point out that those who Israel calls infiltrators are Palestinian citizens. Some of them were born in Gaza, or their parents were, and that's what their Palestinian ID states.

For Israel, this means that they cannot be living in the West Bank and should be deported. So it's not only that Palestinians can't travel between the West Bank and Gaza, but if a Gazan is married to a Palestinian in the West Bank, they can't live there anymore! This implies that many families are going to be affected by this, because they will be forced to leave, or at least one of the parents or kids will--if not imprisoned, then charged with fines. more

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Hamas shuts down tunnels in response to kidnap threat against Israelis

Last night Israel issued a warning to its tourist citizens in the Sinai to come home immediately. In response it appears Hamas has shut down the tunnels for fear that a kidnapped Israeli might be smuggled into the strip. The Guardian claims Hamas may have come under pressure from Egypt.
Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip have ordered the immediate closure of all smuggling tunnels along the Egyptian border after a security alert in Sinai.

Hamas, the Islamist movement which controls Gaza, told smugglers to shut down the tunnels last night and then barred them from the area today.

With Gaza under a tight economic blockade from Israel, hundreds of tunnels have been dug under the southern border with Egypt to smuggle in food, fuel, construction materials, cars and even live animals. Hamas has made money on the smuggling business, imposing taxes and importing goods itself.

It is understood the closure is temporary and follows a security alert issued to all Israeli tourists in Sinai yesterday.

The tunnel closure appears intended to stop militant groups bringing in kidnap victims from Egypt into Gaza and could have been due to pressure from the Egyptian government. Hamas officials would not say why the tunnels were shut. more

Hamas facing mounting criticism from other resistance groups for curtailing rocket fire

Middle East Online reports four fighters were killed by Israel yesterday. Apparently tension is rising between Hamas and the other resistance groups who claim Hamas is going soft.
GAZA CITY - The Hamas rulers of Gaza -- the site of a deadly gun battle on Tuesday -- fear an escalation of violence could bring a crushing Israeli response but do not want to be seen by rivals as having given up the armed struggle, observers say.

In recent months Hamas has claimed to have reached an agreement with other fighters to halt rocket attacks on southern Israel, but according to Israeli figures 77 rockets and mortar shells were fired in the first three months of the year.

And on Tuesday, four Palestinians were killed and two wounded in a firefight in central Gaza between Israeli troops and fighters of the Islamic Jihad, a smaller group than Hamas.

There are indications that conflicts are simmering between Hamas and armed groups, who reject the unofficial period of calm that has prevailed since the 2008-2009 Gaza war.

Hamas has done little to test the mostly right-wing Israeli government that came to power a year ago as Israel has warned of massive retaliation should there be a return to the near-daily attacks that preceded the war.

At the same time, however, Hamas faces an internal challenge from groups that have accused it of going soft.

On Monday, Islamic Jihad said Hamas briefly detained four of its fighters to prevent them from attacking Israeli troops, a stinging criticism for Hamas, which views itself as the vanguard of the armed struggle. more

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Palestinian fighter killed as IDF tanks enter Gaza

Islamic Jihad soldier killed by IDF and three injured near the Al-Bureij refugee camp.
Israeli security forces have killed a Palestinian fighter from the Islamic Jihad armed group and wounded three others during clashes in the Gaza Strip.

An Islamic Jihad spokesman said Israeli tanks fired shells and a helicopter launched a missile at its men in al-Bureij refugee camp on Tuesday after crossing into the Palestinian territory. more

Monday, 12 April 2010

IDF order could lead to expulsion of thousands of Palestinians from West Bank

Any Palestinians or foreigners unable to produce a valid permit risks being deported within 72 hours or being faced with a lengthy seven-year spell in prison, under new orders issues by the IDF. Rights groups say the order is so loosely worded it could become an excuse for driving thousands of Palestinians out of the West Bank. It is all very reminiscent of the pass laws of Apartheid-era South Africa.
Israel's leading human rights groups are trying to stop two new Israeli military orders which will make any resident of the occupied West Bank who does not have an Israeli-issued permit liable for deportation or jail.

The new Order Regarding Prevention of Infiltration and Order Regarding Security Provisions, which comes into force on Tuesday have "severe ramifications," the rights groups say. Palestinians, and any foreigners living in the West Bank, could be labelled infiltrators and deported within 72 hours or jailed for seven years if they are found without the correct permit. It does not define what Israel considers a valid permit.

"The orders … are worded so broadly such as theoretically allowing the military to empty the West Bank of almost all its Palestinian inhabitants," said the 10 rights groups, which include Ha-Moked, B'Tselem, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, and Rabbis for Human Rights. Until now the vast majority of Palestinians in the West Bank have not been required to hold a permit just to be present in their homes, the groups say.

"The military will be able to prosecute and deport any Palestinian defined as an infiltrator in stark contradiction to the Geneva conventions," they said. The law broadens the definition of an "infiltrator" and could allow Israel to transfer some Palestinians from the West Bank to Gaza, or to deport foreign passport holders married to West Bank Palestinians, or to deport Israelis or foreigners living in the West Bank. The groups said tens of thousands of Palestinians were in those categories.

Israel effectively controls the Palestinian population register and since 2000, apart from once in 2007, the Israeli authorities have frozen applications for renewal of visitor permits for foreign nationals, or applications to grant permanent status in the occupied territories. As a result, many Palestinians live in the West Bank without formal status and are now vulnerable under the new orders. The human rights groups wrote to the Israeli defence minister, Ehud Barak, today asking him to delay or revoke the orders, which they said were "unlawful and allow extreme and arbitrary injury to a vast number of people".

The Israeli military said the purpose of the orders was "the extradition of those residing illegally in Judea and Samaria," an Israeli term for the West Bank. The orders had been "corrected" in order to "assure judicial oversight of the extradition process," it said.

However, Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said the orders would make it easy for Israel to imprison or expel Palestinians from the West Bank. "These military orders belong in an apartheid state," he said. "They are an assault on ordinary Palestinians and an affront to the most fundamental principles of human rights. Israel's endgame is not peace. It is the colonisation of the West Bank." more

Israel threatens to cut off water to Palestinians on West Bank

Israel blames the victims again. This time the occupiers are complaining about untreated water going back into the system. But it is Israel that has been preventing Palestinians from building water treatment plants. Worse than that, earlier his year Israel deliberately flooded some Palestinian areas by opening the Al-Wadi dam east of Gaza without warning the Palestinian side.
An Israeli minister has threatened to cut off some water supplies to Palestinians in the West Bank unless they stopped “dumping untreated sewage”.

“If the Palestinians continue to dump their waste water, polluting rivers and the aquifer, Israe
l will stop supplying them”, Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau told army radio.
“Palestinians must meet their duties and connect to sewage treatment plants. Otherwise, we’ll give them drinking water but none for industrial or agricultural needs”, Landau added.

The West Bank aquifer is a crucial source of water for both Israel and the occupied West Bank.

The Western-backed Palestinian Authority, which is aiming to build the institutions and infrastructure of a viable, independent state by mid-2011, has blamed Israel for the lack of treatment plants.

“This is not a new position and we reject it completely. It is the Israelis who are keeping us from building waste water treatment plants”, commented Shaddad al-Attili, the head of the Palestinian Water Authority.

“We have been asking to carry out projects since 1997 but the Israelis have not given us permits to build stations in Areas B and C”, he added, referring to large areas of the West Bank that are under strict Israeli restrictions. more

Goods allowed into Gaza last week mostly destroyed beyond repair after years in Israeli storage

Last week's opening of some commercial crossings into the Strip turns out to have been something of a sick joke on the part of Israel - all the goods delivered were ruined. The goods had been stored in warehouses at the Israeli port of Ashdod since 2007. Meanwhile, two terminals were temporarily opened today to allow in fuel.
Gaza – Ma'an – Gaza merchants were relieved last week when Israeli officials announced an easing of a ban on clothing items that would soon be permitted to enter the Strip; stocks relegated to storage units in Ashdod since 2007 were finally set to be transferred in.

However, when merchants received the goods on Thursday, they were damaged beyond repair...

...Khan Younis clothing retailer Khaled Abu Sahlul said he was devastated when he unpacked a container of jeans stored in Ashdod since 2007. "I was shocked when I opened the containers, the jeans had been left out in the rain for days, months, maybe even years and were damaged beyond repair." more

Gaza power plant back online after forced three-day shutdown

After three days offline, the power station in Gaza is up and running again.
The sole power plant in the besieged Gaza Strip was shut down on Friday because fuel supplies ran out, with Palestinians and Israel blaming each other.

"The power plant shut down completely this morning as a result of a shortage of fuel caused by the Israeli siege," said Kanaan Obeid, assistant director of Gaza's electricity authority, referring to the Israeli blockade of Gaza since its 2007 takeover by the Islamist Hamas movement.

But Israel said the shut-down was caused by a rift over funding among the Palestinians, and that the Hamas rival, the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority, had stopped fuel purchases. more

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Israel temporarily opens two commercial crossings into Gaza

The Israeli occupation authorities decided to open Kerem Abu Salem and Carney commercial crossings partially today, to let in limited quantities of food, aid and fuel.


Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Hamas reigns in rocket fire from other armed groups in Gaza

Palestinian groups agree to Hamas demands to cease rocket fire.
Hamas and several other Palestinian factions have decided to stop rocket attacks against Israel, so as not to give the IDF an excuse to launch a major offensive in the Gaza Strip, sources in Gaza City said on Monday.

Representatives of the factions, which held emergency discussions over the past few days, “stressed the need to maintain the unofficial cease-fire with Israel,” The sources said.

The groups that agreed to stop firing rockets at Israel are Islamic Jihad, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), in addition to Hamas, the sources added.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Egypt uncovers arms cache in Sinai desert

Egypt has been helping the US and Israel with their dirty work by uncovering an arms cache, thought to be destined for Gaza.
The El Youm Al Sabe’ (The Seventh Day) Egyptian paper, reported Thursday that the cache includes 100 antiaircraft missiles, 45 Rocket Propelled Grenades, and 40 explosive devices.

The paper said that the Egyptian officer in charge of security in northern Sinai, obtained information stating the smugglers are storing explosives and ammunition left from previous wars in the area.

Egyptian security sources stated that some smugglers use explosives left from previous wars in order to extract TNT, and smuggle it to Gaza through the tunnels.
Egypt previously located and confiscated dozens of tons of explosives in Sinai, and in the Egyptian city of Rafah. more