Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Rights body condemns Israel over refusal to allow repair of electricity line after 13 days


The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the Israeli authorities from preventing technical crews from repairing one of the major lines that carries electricity from Israel to the Gaza Strip. The line has been disrupted for 13 days which has resulted in aggravating the electricity crisis affecting the Gaza strip, and increasing the power shortage by 37.3%.

The PCHR is concerned over the consequences of the continued disruption of the line, especially the increase in the duration of electricity outages and the resulting impact on daily services provided to the Palestinian population.

Mr. Jamal al-Dirdissawi, Director of Public Relations in Gaza Electricity Distribution Company (GEDCO), stated to the PCHR that on 17 November 2011, one of the major lines which carry electricity from Israel to the Gaza Strip was disrupted near the northern border. According to al-Dirdissawi, this line provides 112 megawatts of electricity to the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli authorities have not allowed the Israeli supplier or Palestinian technical crews to have access to the line to repair it. The prevention of repairs to the damaged line coincides with threats made by Dani Ayalon, Deputy Israeli Foreign Minister, that Israel is examining the possibility of Israel pulling out of the Gaza Strip in terms of infrastructure in response to the Palestinian reconciliation meeting in Cairo. more

Israeli tanks and bulldozers enter Gaza under heavy covering fire destroying farmland


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli army vehicles entered the Gaza Strip early Wednesday as soldiers fired from military towers by the border, witnesses said.

Four bulldozers, three tanks and several other military vehicles were seen leveling farm land in the Juhor al-Dik and Maqbola neighborhoods near al-Bureij refugee camp, onlookers told Ma'an. more
Fishermen detained by Israel yesterday have been released but the boats have been confiscated

Israeli naval forces seize 10 Gaza fishermen, being held in Ashdod


At least 10 Palestinian fishermen have been kidnapped by Israeli naval forces off the coast of the Gaza Strip, Palestinian officials say.

The incident took place near the northern shores of Gaza on Tuesday after Israeli military naval ships blocked two Palestinian fishing boats, DPA reported.

The report added that the Palestinian fishermen were taken to the Israeli seaport of Ashdod.

According to Palestinian sources, Israeli naval forces on Monday arrested two other fishermen while they were in the sea off the coast of al-Shati refugee camp west of Gaza. more

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Pregnant NY Times photographer accuses Israeli soldiers of humiliating and cruel treatment at Gaza crossing


Israel’s Defense Ministry apologized on Monday for forcing a pregnant New York Times photographer to remove her clothes and submit to a physical search after she had already passed through an X-ray machine three times at a checkpoint in Gaza last month.

The photographer, Lynsey Addario, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning war photographer who was one of four Times journalists subjected to brutal treatment in March after being captured by Libyan government forces and held for six days.

In a letter to the Israeli ministry last month, Ms. Addario wrote that soldiers at the Erez Crossing in northern Gaza had treated her with “blatant cruelty” when she arrived there on Oct. 24 and asked not to have to pass through the X-ray machine. Because she was seven months pregnant at the time, she had been advised by her obstetrician to avoid exposure to radiation.

Ms. Addario had phoned an official at the border crossing in advance to make her request and had been assured that there would be no problem. When she arrived at checkpoint, however, she was told that if she did not pass through the X-ray machine, she would have to remove all of her clothes down to her underwear for a search. To “avoid the humiliation,” Ms. Addario decided to pass through the X-ray machine.

“As I passed through,” she wrote, “a handful of soldiers watched from the glass above the machine smiling triumphantly. They proceeded to say there was a ‘problem’ with the initial scan, and made me pass through two additional times as they watched and laughed from above. I expressed each time that I was concerned with the effect the radiation would have on my pregnancy.”

She added:
After three passes through the X-ray, I was then brought into a room where a woman proceeded to ask me to take off my pants. She [asked me to lift] up my shirt to expose my entire body while I stood in my underwear. I asked if this was necessary after the three machine checks, and she told me it was “procedure” — which I am quite sure it is not. They were unprofessional for soldiers from any nation.
In an e-mail to the head of Israel’s government press office on Monday, the Defense Ministry wrote that, after “a deep and serious investigation into the matter of Ms. Addario’s security check last month,” it had concluded that her request to avoid the machine had not been passed on to the security officials at the checkpoint because of “faulty coordination between the parties involved.”
Although the statement said, “We would like to apologize for this particular mishap in coordination and any trouble it may subsequently have caused to those involved,” the ministry dismissed Ms. Addario’s concern about radiation. “The relevant machine is situated at numerous borders and airports across the world and presents no danger for those who use it,” the statement said.

The ministry added that although the search “was carried out according to the accepted security procedure,” officials have “decided to hone the procedure for foreign journalists.” more

Hamas and Fatah agree to release all political prisoners held by both factions


GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Fatah and Hamas are in talks to release political prisoners in a bid to end all outstanding disagreements, an official said Monday.

"(President Mahmoud) Abbas gave instructions to the director of the Palestinian Authority’s general intelligence service, Majid Faraj, to release Hamas-affiliated detainees stated in a list received from Hamas," Fatah affiliated lawmaker Faysal Abu Shahla told Ma'an.

There are no political detainees in Ramallah, only suspects held on security-related charges, Abu Shahla added.

"We submitted a list of 47 names of Fatah affiliates detained by the de facto government’s security services, and we highlighted that others were being summoned for interrogation," the Fatah official said.

Hamas has submitted a list of detainees held in the West Bank and a special committee is reviewing the names. Both parties will agree soon on a date for the simultaneous release of Fatah and Hamas detainees, Abu Shahla said.

Both factions have agreed to end longstanding disagreements, the lawmaker added, which include an end to politically motivated detentions, travel restrictions, the reopening of respective offices and freedom of political and popular activities. more

Monday, 28 November 2011

Gaza asks Turkey for assistance in rebuilding some of 34 mosques destroyed in last Israeli war


The administration of Gaza City has requested assistance from Turkey in the construction of several mosques needed after many were destroyed or severely damaged in the 2008-2009 Gaza War, the Anatolia news agency reported Monday.

According to a report released by government officials in Gaza, Anatolia noted, there is an urgent need for mosques in the city due to rapid population growth and the fact that most mosques were damaged during the Gaza War, which broke down the infrastructure of the coastal city.

During the war, 34 mosques were destroyed. Another 161 were damaged and need to be renovated. The cost of such renovation projects have pushed officials in Gaza to seek outside assistance. more

Video: Never Before Campaign issues 'The Story of Palestine' for solidarity day


When the United Nations, in 1977, proclaimed 29 November of each year as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, it was a clear admission of guilt towards this people. It was recognition that the Palestinian people deserve international solidarity and support, in the name of justice and rights. This was merely one small event in a long story.

The story of Palestine and its people is one that will go down in history. In fact it has already started to do just that. One might say that the victor is the one that writes history. The victor in this case will inevitably be justice, and justice is at the core of the Palestinian struggle against apartheid, colonialism and oppression. And as in every episode in history, everyone will be mentioned according to their positions, and more importantly their deeds with respect to each story.

In the day of solidarity, let us remember that.

Never Before Campaign

BDS action: UN Day of Solidarity with Palestinian people on November 29


• Fruit and vegetable imports from Israel facilitate violations of Palestinian rights and international law, European campaigners say

• More than 60 actions take place across 10 countries

Occupied Palestine, November 27 – A wave of demonstrations, flash mobs and lobby actions by European human rights campaigners, trade unionists, NGOs and faith groups have called for an end to the trade with Israeli agricultural export companies such as Mehadrin and Agrexco over their complicity with Israeli violations of international law and Palestinian rights.

The actions, organised under the banner Take Apartheid off the Menu, timed coincide with the UN Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on November 29, aimed to raise awareness about the role Israeli agricultural companies play in the theft of Palestinian land and resources in illegally occupied Palestinian territory and their exploitation of Palestinian workers.

Demonstrations were held outside the British and French headquarters of leading Israeli fruit and vegetable exporter Mehadrin, which exports produce from illegal Israeli colonies in occupied Palestinian territory and works with state owned company Mekerot to deprive Palestinian communities of water. Campaigners in Rome organised a Palestine contingent on a national demonstration for affordable access to water.

Jamal Juma’, coordinator with Stop the Wall, the Palestinian anti-apartheid wall campaign that is currently working to support Al Hadidiye, a Bedouin community in occupied Palestinian territory recently served with demolition orders by the Israeli authorities, said, “The residents of Al Hadidye are denied access to water and can only rear livestock as a result. In the nearby illegal settlements of Ro’I and Beqa’ot, agricultural produce is grown with an abundance of stolen water for export to Europe by Mehadrin and other companies, and it is these companies that stand to benefit from the threatened demolitions at Al Hadidye.”

“Companies like Mehadrin profit from and are often directly involved in the ongoing colonisation of Palestinian land and theft of our resources. Trade with such companies constitutes a major form of support for Israel’s apartheid regime over the Palestinian people and must be brought to an end,” Juma’ added.

Campaigners in Belgium, Britain, Germany, Switzerland, Norway and Sweden picketed supermarkets, calling on consumers to boycott products from Israeli agricultural export companies and on supermarkets to stop selling them. Many focused on Co-Operative supermarkets, which are traditionally thought to have higher ethical standards than other high street supermarkets.

“Popular BDS campaigns and the public pressure that results from them have already forced supermarkets in a number of European countries to implement policies they claim prevent the sale of produce from Israel’s illegal colonies,” said Hind Awwad, coordinator with the Palestinian BDS National Committee.

“But it’s Israel’s agricultural export companies that bear responsibility for complicity with Israel’s violations of international law, not the individual pieces of produce. These companies have been proven to mislead consumers about the origin of the produce they sell. That’s why campaigners are calling for a complete end to trade with these companies,” she added.

In Belgium, campaigners held lobby actions at the offices of the Ministry of the Economy, to protest the sale in Belgian supermarkets of produce grown in Israel’s illegal settlements in occupied Palestinian territory.

“European governments have a duty to hold Israel accountable for its violations of international law but Europe remains the biggest market for Israeli agricultural produce, including produce from illegal Israeli settlements. A ban on trade with Israeli agricultural produce exporters would be in line with stated policies on the illegality of Israel’s illegal settlements,” said Awwad.

In Britain, campaigners also picketed the offices of British subsidiaries of Israeli agricultural companies including Bickel Flowers and Edom. Along with fellow Israeli company Orian, Bickel Flowers recently purchased troubled Israeli export company Agrexco, which was ordered into liquidation after posting record losses and failing to pay its creditors. Campaigners say their European wide campaign against the company, which included popular boycotts, pickets of supermarkets, blockades of company premises and lobbying, was a major factor behind the company’s collapse.

The actions took place as part of the rapidly emerging Palestinian-led movement for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law. more

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Israel threatens to cut water and electricity supplies to Gaza if unity government formed

(Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon - image from coteret.com)

The Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister told reporters Saturday that the Israeli government is considering cutting off the Gaza Strip’s meager supply of electricity and water if the Palestinian Authority manages to form a unity government.

The two main Palestinian political parties, Hamas and Fateh, have been meeting in Cairo in recent weeks to try to work out a plan for a unity government until elections are held in the Palestinian Territories this spring. Israeli authorities have condemned the effort, claiming that the Hamas party is a terrorist entity, and any government including the Hamas party would be a ‘terrorist government’.

In 2006, after the Hamas party won the Palestinian legislative elections and control of the Palestinian Authority, the Israeli government attempted to use the rival Fateh party to instigate a coup against the elected government. The coup failed in Gaza, but succeeded in the West Bank, where the Fateh party took power in 2007.

According to the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahranoth, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon told reporters, "The foreign ministry is examining the possibility of Israel pulling out of the Gaza Strip in terms of infrastructure", adding that any unity government would be considered a terrorist entity. more

Airstrikes hit southern and central Gaza, no injuries reported


GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Israeli warplanes hit several targets in the Gaza Strip early on Sunday, causing material damage but no reported injuries.

Ma’an’s reporter said an Israeli plane fired a missile at an open area in the Nuseirat refugee camp, central Gaza. No casualties have been reported.

Also on Sunday, Israeli fighter jets launched two missiles at greenhouses in the Khan Younis district, southern Gaza, causing material damage.

"In response to rocket fire towards Israel this weekend, the air-force targeted sites of terrorist activity in the south and the center of the Gaza strip during the night," an Israeli spokesman said.

Militants in the Gaza Strip fired a projectile into the Eshkol region of southern Israel on Saturday morning causing no casualties, Israeli police said. more

Friday, 25 November 2011

Weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in Occupied Palestinian Territory (17-23 Nov)


3 Palestinians, including a media worker, were wounded in a peaceful demonstration in al-Nabi Saleh village, northwest of Ramallah.

The Israeli Navy has continued to attack Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip.
Israeli naval troops opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats in the north and the south of the Gaza Strip.
IOF opened fire at bird hunters in the north of the Gaza Strip but no casualties were reported.

IOF conducted 66 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 2 limited ones into the Gaza Strip.
IOF arrested at least 19 Palestinians, including 4 children.
IOF raided the houses of many Palestinians who were released recently from Israeli jails, delivered them notices to appear before the Israeli intelligence and threatened some of them.

Israel has continued to impose a total closure on the OPT and has isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world.
Israeli soldiers arrested at least 5 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children, at a checkpoint in the West Bank.

IOF have continued settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.
IOF delivered 10 notices requiring Palestinians to stop construction works in the south of Hebron. more

Siege conditions on Gaza traders and businesses tightened despite Israeli claims


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israel has set new restrictions on business owners in Gaza, the head of Palestinian contractors said Thursday.

At a news conference in Gaza City, Osama Kahil said conditions were more difficult despite a recent meeting between businessmen from Gaza and Israeli officials.

"Media reports said the meeting between businessmen from Gaza and Israel resulted in facilitating the work for the Gazan businessmen, but Israel implemented that in its own way.

"Israel stopped issuing permits for businessmen, traders, and contractors to Israel and set some new restrictions that prevented them from continuing their work," Kahil said.

He said Israel had permitted the import of construction materials into the Gaza Strip "to recycle the blockade."

"Allowing construction materials, which are sold for a much higher price than those sent through tunnels, was done after Israeli traders pressured the government. They want to use us and keep the blockade on Gaza," Kahil said. more

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Palestinian leaders Abbas and Mashaal meet for national reconciliation talks in Cairo


CAIRO — The long-estranged leaders of the two rival Palestinian political movements held rare talks Thursday in Cairo to try to rescue a power-sharing arrangement that has stalled over who should lead an interim unity government.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, a Western-backed pragmatist, and Khaled Mashaal, chief of the Islamic militant Hamas, held their first working meeting since Hamas seized the Gaza Strip in 2007, leaving Abbas with only the West Bank. Abbas hopes to establish an independent state in both territories.

In May, the two reached an agreement in principle that called for setting up an interim unity government, holding parliamentary and presidential elections within a year and merging rival security forces.

However, talks on carrying out the agreement quickly deadlocked over who should serve as interim prime minister, with Hamas rejecting Abbas’ candidate, West Bank-based Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas official, said all elements of the power-sharing agreement were on the table Thursday. After meeting one-on-one for about 90 minutes, the leaders were joined by their delegations, Barhoum said. more

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Second batch from prisoner exchange deal to be released by mid December


DAMASCUS, (PIC)-- The second batch of Palestinian prisoners to be released from Israeli occupation jails according to the prisoners exchange deal would be set free within three weeks, Sheikh Saleh Al-Aruri, political bureau member of Hamas, said on Wednesday.

He told Al-Resalah net website that the Israelis had categorically turned down an Egyptian request to re-open negotiations over the second batch.

He said that the Israelis were obstinate and said that the file was closed and no talks would be held over improving the standards by which the second batch of prisoners would be freed.

Aruri noted that the second batch of 550 prisoners would be chosen by Israel but would not include anyone imprisoned on criminal charges. more

Parliamentarians and academics from around the world issue declaration against Gaza siege


Dozens of academics and parliamentarians from over 40 countries across Asia, Africa, Europe, and North and South America, along with revolutionary representatives from Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, have come together to affirm their opposition to and condemnation of the continuing siege of the Gaza Strip.

The announcement came in the context of condemnation of siege tactics being used against any group of people, but with particular emphasis on the siege against Palestinian civilians. It was made at a conference in Gaza City on Tuesday; several members of the Palestinian Legislative Council were in attendance.

During the proceedings, the European delegation called on governments and human rights organisations across the world to utilise all peaceful means at their disposal to force Israel to end its siege of Gaza. It emphasised the need to put an end to the ban on imports and exports of materials relevant to the healthcare industry, as well as industrial, commercial and construction materials. It called for the lifting of all forms of control over Gaza's territorial waters and the establishment of a buffer zone between it and the Israeli occupation. The Europeans also condemned the violation of the rights of civilians in the Gaza Strip. more

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Israeli tanks fire on Rafah city houses while airstrikes target military training centre


GAZA, Nov 22 (KUNA) -- Israeli artillery and bulldozers surrounded the eastern part of the city of Rafah, south of Gaza Strip, on Tuesday.

Five Merkava Israeli tanks were scene accompanied by military bulldozers entering 300 meters inside Al-Nahda area east of Rafah, Palestinian sources told KUNA.

The sources added that Israeli forces were heavily firing on Palestinian houses amid during the incursion along with recon warplanes hovering over.

On a different front, an Israeli recon plane fired at a training center which belonged to Salah Eddin Brigades, the military wing of Palestinian Popular Committees. more

Israel allows construction materials to enter Gaza through Kerem Shalom, exports still at zero

(pic: Construction materials are in short supply in the Gaza Strip after Israel banned them for four years, fearing Hamas would use them to build military bunkers (Lo Yuk Fai, PNN)

On Tuesday, Israeli forces opened the Karem Abu Salem crossing in the southern Gaza Strip, admitting nearly 300 trucks loaded with aid and supplies for the industrial, agricultural, and transportation sectors.

Palestinian liaison official Ra’ed Fattouh said that 12 trucks loaded with cement and other construction materials, as well as another 53 trucks full of gravel entered Gaza through the crossing. He said a limited amount of cooking gas would be pumped in as well.

The crossing was open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m, in which 298 trucks were admitted to Gaza: 11 of them carried aid supplies, 183 were designated for the industrial sector, 40 of them carried livestock feed, nine were designated for the agricultural sector, and five for transportation carrying 20 new vehicles. Twenty-two trucks loaded with gravel provided materials for 10 factories ruined in the last war on Gaza and 18 trucks full of cement and iron were provided for construction.

In addition, 50 trucks entered with supplies for UNRWA projects and over 175,000 kilograms (about 192 tons) of cooking gas were pumped to Gaza.

The amount of cooking gas pumped into Gaza, according to Oxfam’s weekly report on Gaza from November 6 – 12, was as high as 330 tons two weeks ago and 637 the week before that. All three figures represent less than a quarter of the 1,750 tons of cooking gas needed per week to avoid a humanitarian crisis in the blockaded territory. more

'Arab Spring' solidarity convoy arrives in Gaza for meetings with political and social figures


A solidarity convoy made it into the Gaza Strip, on Monday evening, through the Rafah Border Terminal, between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. Members of the "Freedom Spring" convoy will be holding meetings with political and social figures in Gaza.

Representatives of Arab Spring movement are part of the convoy; convoy members plan to hold a meeting with Ismail Haniyya, Prime Minister of the dissolved Hamas-led government in Gaza, and several Palestinian officials, in addition to holding meetings with Gaza businessmen, representatives of women movements, and representatives of local NGO’s.

The visiting convoy members will be touring refugee camps in Gaza, to observe the dire situation, and also intend to visit the UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East).

The convoy is distinguished by the participation of representatives of the Arab Spring, sweeping across the Arab world demanding justice and change, in addition to parliamentarians from different countries around the world. more

Monday, 21 November 2011

US lawmakers put forward bill to designate Gaza flotilla organisations as 'terrorist' groups


From Mondoweiss

Palestine solidarity activists and human rights lawyers are decrying a Congressional bill that would investigate whether organizations involved in last summer's thwarted flotilla to Gaza should be designated as "terrorist" groups. Critics of the House of Representatives bill see it as the latest in a decades-long effort to intimidate Palestine solidarity activists in the United States.

Introduced to the House on October 6, the bill seeks to:
direct the Secretary of State to submit a report on whether any support organization that participated in the planning or execution of the recent Gaza flotilla attempt should be designated as a foreign terrorist organization
The legislation also demands that the State Department, in the same document, report on
Any actions taken by the Department of State to express support and gratitude for the principled stance taken by the Government of Greece to prevent the recent Gaza flotilla attempt to violate Israel’s lawful blockade of Gaza.
"It’s a tool of intimidation," said Maria LaHood, a senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights who is involved with efforts to hold Israel accountable for flotilla-related human rights abuses. "It's just one of the many ways in which there is an effort to suppress advocacy and dissent by international solidarity activists trying to advocate for Palestinian human rights." more

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Miles of Smiles convoy donates $60,000 to Jordan Field Hospital in Gaza


The latest Miles of Smiles convoy to Gaza has donated $60,000 to the field hospital established by Jordan in the aftermath of the Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip in 2009. According to the coordinator of the convoy Miles of Smiles 7, participant NGOs donated the money to the hospital to purchase much-needed medical equipment. Dr. Essam Mustafa pointed out that Miles of Smiles 6 had donated an electrical generator to the hospital two months earlier valued at $40,000.

Speaking to the media, Dr. Mustafa hailed the efforts of the King of Abdullah II of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in supporting the Palestinian people. He pointed out that the aid convoys organised by the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organization (JHCO) played an important role in easing the suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza and the occupied West Bank. more

Gisha report: how Israel keeps a vice-like grip on Gaza despite 'withdrawal'


Mondoweiss has an excellent breakdown of a report by the Israeli non-profit organisation (Legal Centre for Freedom of Movement) Gisha - from its Gaza Gateway project

Gisha's Gaza Gateway has published a position paper presenting a brief overview of how Israel continues to maintain control in Gaza. Here are some examples:

The tax system
Israel continues to control taxation in the Gaza Strip, which forms part of a single customs envelope along with Israel and the West Bank. This means that Israel sets the customs and Value Added Tax rates collected for goods and in so doing influences product prices as well as Palestinian fiscal policy. To illustrate: a merchant in Gaza who purchases clothes from an Israeli manufacturer pays VAT at a rate determined by Israel, and Israel is responsible for transferring this amount to the Palestinian Authority. If the merchandise is imported, Israel sets and collects the customs for it and is responsible for transferring the amount to the Palestinian Authority. The VAT and customs rates set by Israel then affect the price the consumer pays for clothes in Gaza.

Physical control of the Gaza Strip
Following “disengagement” in 2005, Israel continued to control the area adjacent to its border with the Gaza Strip on the Palestinian side. In 2008, Israel expanded this area, referred to as the “no-go” zone, and today it covers a distance ranging from 300 to 1,500 meters from the border1. The area which is restricted in practice includes both areas which have officially been declared off-limits and areas where one risks being shot at. It amounts to some 17% of the entire territory of the Gaza Strip and a third of its agricultural lands.

The land crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt
The 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access marked the end of Israel’s military presence at the Rafah Crossing on the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, yet allowed Israel to maintain substantial control over the terminal. This control was exercised via Israel’s continued control of the Palestinian population registry, which determines who may travel through Rafah, the ability to monitor individuals traveling through the crossing, and the power to decide when and if to close Rafah. The crossing operated routinely as per the Agreement on Movement and Access until June 2006.

Territorial waters
Israel has complete control over Gaza’s territorial waters and prevents movement of people and goods by sea. It also limits fishing to a distance of three nautical miles from Gaza’s coastline. In 2008, Israel made an exception and allowed six ships to reach Gaza, but has since prevented the arrival of any vessels. Israel has cited various legal sources as the basis for the ban on maritime travel off the Gaza coast: until 2005 it maintained the ban was imposed pursuant to the laws of occupation; beginning in 2005, it justified its control of Gaza’s territorial waters as “security restrictions on fishing areas off the Gaza Strip coast” , and, at times, as an exclusion zone or a combat zone. On January 3, 2009, in the midst of the large scale military operation “Cast Lead”, Israel declared a maritime blockade off Gaza’s coast, and though the operation ended that same month, the blockade has remained in force. In 2001, despite its commitment to allow the construction of a seaport in the Gaza Strip, Israel destroyed the site facilities belonging to the foreign company which was about to begin construction of a port and has since prevented construction by failing to provide donors with assurances that such port would not be destroyed. more

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Joint Palestinian-Israeli ‘peace radio’ station shut down by Israeli authorities


by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC News

A radio station that has worked for 7 years to bring together Palestinians and Israelis in joint broadcasts and dialogue was shut down by Israeli authorities on Saturday, with the claim that the station lacked the proper license – despite the fact that the station broadcasts from the West Bank and is not under Israeli jurisdiction.

The station was founded by Israeli and Palestinian peace groups seven years ago, and is called ‘Kol Hashalom’ which means ‘Whole Peace’. Its broadcast facility is in Ramallah, which is the base of the Palestinian Authority and considered to be under Palestinian Authority control according to the Oslo Agreement of 1993.

According to the Israeli Communications Ministry, “The Ministry carried out wireless supervisory activities in cooperation with Israel Police against a pirate radio station, just as it carries them out against all other illegal station”.

The shutdown came after Israeli Knesset (Parliament) Member Danny Danon demanded that the station be shut down, appealing to the Israeli Attorney General and demanding immediate action against the station.

After a November 4th letter to the station claiming that its broadcast was illegal, the station’s management requested time to reply, saying that the station was fully licensed by the Palestinian Authority’s Communication Ministry and therefore not an illegal broadcast.

Israeli peace groups have recently come under fire from Israeli Knesset members, who have passed draconian measures limiting freedom of speech and limiting foreign funding for Israeli peace groups. more

Weekly report on Israeli rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (3-16 Nov 2011)

(pic: Palestinians mourn during the funeral of Mohammed Kelani who was killed in an Israeli attack on a Palestinian Navy Site in the northern Gaza Strip - PCHR)

· 4 Palestinians, including a civilian, a member of the Palestinian Marine Police and two resistance activists, were killed by Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip.
- 14 Palestinians, including 6 civilians and 5 members of the Palestinian Marine Police, were wounded by IOF in the Gaza Strip.
- The site of the Palestinian Marine Police in al-Soudaneya area, north of the Gaza Strip, was totally destroyed.

· IOF have continued to use force against peaceful protests in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
- 2 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded in a peaceful demonstration in al-Nabi Saleh village.

· The Israeli Navy has continued to attack Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip.
- Israeli naval troops arrested three Palestinian fishermen and confiscated their fishing boat.

· IOF conducted 91 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and a limited one into the Gaza Strip.
- IOF arrested 14 Palestinians.
- IOF wounded a Palestinian civilian in his house in Hebron city before arresting him.
- IOF raided the houses of many Palestinians who were released recently from Israeli jails, delivered them notices to appear before the Israeli intelligence and threatened some of them.

· Israel has continued to impose a total closure on the OPT and has isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world.
- Israeli soldiers arrested at least one Palestinian civilian at a checkpoint in the West Bank.

· IOF have continued settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.
- Four houses were bulldozed in 'Ein al-Dyouk al-Tahta, northwest of Jericho.
- IOF destroyed electricity poles between al-Twana village and Kherbet al-Mafqara, south of Hebron.
- IOF bulldozed lands in Azzoun 'Etma, southeast of Qalqilya, to establish a security wall around "Oranit" settlement.
- Israeli settlers uprooted 25 olive trees in Madma village, north of Hebron.
- Three civilian vehicles set alight in Beit Ummar village, north of Hebron.

Gaza tunnel worker dies after electrocution accident, over 200 killed since 2006


RAFAH, (PIC)-- A Palestinian worker on Friday morning died as a result of being electrocuted while working in a smuggling tunnel at the Egyptian Gaza border.

Palestinian medical sources told PIC correspondent that Salamah Abu Hammad, 20 years, a resident of Bani Suhaila to the east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip died as a result of being electrocuted during his work inside one of the smuggling tunnels.

More than 210 Palestinians died and 800 injured during work inside smuggling tunnels since the Israeli occupation imposed a siege on the Gaza Strip in 2006, forcing residents to resort to smuggling tunnels to smuggle essential goods. more

Friday, 18 November 2011

Palestinian land confiscated by Israeli government and given to illegal settlements


Israeli daily, Haaretz, reported that the Israeli government confiscated privately owned Palestinian lands in the Jordan Valley, and gave the lands to Kibbutz Merav, inhabited by Jewish settlers.

The Israeli government re-routed the Annexation Wall in the area in order to secure the illegal takeover of nearly 1500 Dunams (375 Acres) of privately owned Palestinian lands, effectively declaring the lands as part of Israel.

The move in question is not new, as Israel’s settlements and settlements blocks in the occupied territories are mostly built on Palestinian lands. This instance is different as the ownership of West Bank Palestinian-owned lands is transferred to a Jewish community that is considered inside Israel itself.

Haaretz said that Maj. Guy Inbar, a spokesperson for the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the occupied territories, stated that the expropriated Palestinian lands are in the West Bank, and claimed that Jewish settlers in Merav “have been farming the lands for decades”.

Spokesperson of the Jewish Settlements Division of the World Zionist Organization, Ofer Amar, stated that the division has no authority on the land that is classified as “farmland”, and falls under the control of the Emek Mayanot Regional Council.

Director of Peace Now Movement, Dror Etkes, stated that the annexation order effectively robs the lands in order to give them to Amona, Givat Asaf and Migron illegal settlement outposts. more

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Ashrawi denies reports: PLO will not be paid off with its withheld tax revenues to drop UN bid


PLO Executive Committee member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi issued a press release on Thursday saying she "strongly denies" that the PLO would be paid off with its withheld tax revenues in order to drop its bid for membership in the UN.

The Ha'aretz report, citing unnamed European diplomats, said the PLO would freeze all moves to achieve full membership for Palestine in various UN agencies until the end of January if Israel let go of the $100 million in Palestinian tax revenues it had withheld as punishment for Palestine joining UNESCO.

“This report is completely untrue, and the Israeli media tools are not the source of information for the Palestinian positions and decisions,” Ashrawi said. “The report is a new Israeli maneuver and an attempt to create confusion to stop the Palestinian bid to the UN." more

36% of essential medicines in short supply in Gaza says MSF, lives of kidney patients threatened


Health facilities in the Gaza Strip face a serious shortage of drugs and medical supplies. In late September, 36% of essential drugs were lacking. While MSF makes regular donations, no aid actor can meet the full range of needs.

The Israeli embargo of the Gaza Strip, which began in 2007, together with years of financial crisis within the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and the chronic lack of cooperation between the Palestinian Authority and Gaza authorities, have caused harm and threaten Gaza's health system and its patients.

Last spring, drug companies stopped supplying the Palestinian Authority. The situation, which had been worsening steadily for several years, deteriorated further in 2011 and has reached an alarming level.

As Israeli bombs struck the Gaza Strip in mid-August, local health authorities called on international aid actors working in the area for help. Since that time, they have asked for donations on a regular, long-term basis. However, no humanitarian actor – including Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) – has the financial and/or logistical resources to provide the drugs and medical supplies needed by the Territory's health facilities.


164 essential drugs completely unavailable

Stock-outs represent a real threat to patient health. In late September 2011, 164 essential drugs (36% of necessary supplies, compared to 25% in 2010) were completely unavailable. Only 260 of the 900 required medical supply items (specifically, single-use items) were supplied. For now, UNRWA clinics, run by the U.N. relief agency for Palestinian refugees, provide patients with chronic illnesses access to treatment.

The medical areas most affected are:

* surgery;

* intensive care (certain anesthetics are lacking altogether);

* hemodialysis;

* treatments to prevent organ transplant rejection;

* oncology;

* hematology (no coagulants);

* psychiatric medications (only 33 of the 46 essential psychiatric drugs are available);

* ophthalmology (all eye surgeries have been halted);

* maternity;

* pediatrics and catheterization laboratory procedures for the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease.


The five medical centers that treat kidney disease in Gaza will face drug shortages within a few weeks and their patients' lives will then be in grave danger. more

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

France summons Israeli ambassador to complain about airstrike that wounded consul


France has summoned the Israeli ambassador to Paris to a meeting at the foreign ministry after an air strike wounded the French consul in Gaza, along with his wife and daughter.

A spokesman for the ministry said on Wednesday that France's ambassador in Tel Aviv had complained to Israeli authorities over the bombing, and that Israel's envoy had been required to meet with senior officials in Paris.

The consul, his wife and 13-year-old daughter were injured during an Israeli air strike on Sunday night, Bernard Valero, the French foreign ministry spokesman, said on Tuesday.

Valero told reporters that the three were were hit by shrapnel at their residence in Gaza, which is located 200 metres from the site of an Israeli missile attack.

"France condemns the consequences of the raid," he said. "While we are all for Israeli security, France recalls the utmost necessity to avoid civilian harm," Valero adde.

Though Valero did not comment on the nature of their injuries, French media reported that Majda Shaqqoura, the consul's wife, suffered a haemorrhage and miscarried. more

Video: Interview, followed by arrest of Palestinian Freedom Rider Fadi Quran


A brief interview, followed by the arrest of Palestinian Freedom Rider Fadi Quran, taken from the livestream of the November 15 protest. Quran was one of seven Palestinian Freedom Riders who were violently arrested while attempting to ride on segregated Israeli public transportation transporting settlers from inside the West Bank to occupied East Jerusalem in an act of civil disobedience inspired by the Freedom Riders of the U.S. civil rights movement.

Two injured in airstrike as Israel threatens new Gaza invasion


Israeli defence forces chief Benny Gantz has threaten a new invasion of Gaza if rocket fire continues. He said: "recent rounds of escalated violence and the injury of both lives and the daily routine of citizens of Israel's south are leading to a reality in which the IDF will have to take significant, aggressive action in the Gaza Strip."
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli airstrikes injured two people in Gaza City early Wednesday, a Ma'an reporter said.

Israeli F16 jets fired at least one missile in the Tuffah neighborhood, lightly injuring one woman who was taken to Shifa Hospital. Several homes were also damaged in the strike, a Ma'an correspondent reported.

Meanwhile an Israel warplane struck a group of militants west of Gaza City. Medics said one man suffered light wounds in the attack. more

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Avaaz.org: Freedom Riders set to make history in Palestine by boarding 'Jews-only' bus


In the next few hours, history could be made in Palestine. A small number of brave Palestinians will risk attack and arrest to commit a forbidden act -- they will board a public bus.

Lacking their own state, Palestinians are forbidden to use buses and roads reserved for non-Arabs -- part of a host of race-based rules that US President Jimmy Carter has called "apartheid". 50 years ago, African-Americans in the US challenged these rules by simply and non-violently refusing to follow them. In a few hours, Palestinians will take the same approach, and their actions will be live webcasted by Avaaz teams at the link below.

As diplomats stall in the fight for a Palestinian state, the Palestinian people are taking the fight into their own hands, one public service at a time. And they're doing it with the simple, elegant and unstoppable moral force of non-violence in the tradition of Gandhi and Martin Luther King. The Palestinian spring begins right now - click below to watch it LIVE, register support, and give these brave activists the global solidarity and attention they urgently need to win:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/palestine_freedom_riders/?vl

Non-violence is the game-changing force in this long-standing conflict. Boarding buses is a symbolic act, but so was Gandhi's salt march, and Rosa Park's own courageous ride on a segregated bus in the US. Just as non-violent protest was able to topple dictators in Egypt and Tunisia, so can it finally free the Palestinian people from 40 years of crippling military oppression by a foreign power.

There are many dangers. Israel has been arming the extremist settler population, a tactic which is likely, if not intended, to provoke awful violence that will draw the news cameras away from the brave acts of non-violence. Even the Palestinian authorities are pushing back on the action which they fear will start a democratic protest movement that they cannot control. But these few brave Palestinians have had enough, and if we stand with them now, we can help them ignite a flame that will burn its way all the way to a free and peaceful Palestinian state:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/palestine_freedom_riders/?vl


We have no idea what will happen in the next 24 hours. Maybe the authorities will crush this brave action. Maybe it will spark into a massive conflagration. Maybe it will sow the first seed of an unstoppable movement with tremendous integrity. But we can watch it live, and lend our voices to the effort. And maybe one day, we can tell our grandchildren that we were there when Palestinians boarded the buses that would ultimately take them to freedom.

With hope and determination,

Ricken, Emma, Alice, Raluca, Pascal, Diego and the rest of the Avaaz team

Fatah and Hamas reported to have agreed on main controversial issues blocking reconciliation


BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Fatah and Hamas have agreed on several controversial issues as part of a reconciliation deal signed on May 4 between both parties, a Fatah official said Monday.

Senior Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad told a local radio station that details of the agreements will be released after a meeting set to take place in late November between President Abbas and Hamas leader in exile Khaled Mashaal.

Last Friday, the official PA news agency had reported that Abbas and Mashaal would meet in Cairo in the last 10 days of November.

The Fatah official said that both parties had agreed that elections will take place next May, although he stressed that certain conditions must be secured before a vote can take place. more

Monday, 14 November 2011

Israel breaks prisoner swap agreement by breaking into houses of ex-detainees


Israel continues to breach the terms of the prisoner-swap deal by breaking into the houses of ex-detainees’ throughout the West Bank , Palestinian news agency, Ma’an reported.

Palestinian officials in charge of the detainees’ , asserted that the Israeli Prison Administration is still punishing and isolating the detainees. In addition, (IPA) has refused to lengthen visiting times and prevented the prisoners from buying sweets and visiting each other within the same jail.

Ex-detainees, Nae’l al-Barghouthi and Fakhri al-Barghouthi, were freed after 34years within the swap last month and were called for interrogation in Ofer detention center near Ramallah.

They demanded the Egyptian mediator to exert pressure on Israel to stop the humiliating policy against them and their families.

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society condemned the move and called for a solution to be found to save the lives of the ex-detainees. more

Airstrike on Gaza City kills policeman and injures four others


GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- One police officer was killed and four others injured early Monday morning when Israeli warplanes targeted a naval police building in Gaza City.

Medical sources in Gaza identified the victim as Muhammad Kilani. His body was found amid the rubble.

Four other officers were evacuated to Ash-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. Two sustained serious injuries while two were lightly injured, medics said. more

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Israeli settlers gas a 10-year-old boy, and stop olive harvest


Thanks to Mondoweiss

Israeli forces arrested three Palestinians from the town of Qabatya, south of Jenin, on Wednesday morning, while Israeli settlers in the southern West Bank sprayed a family of Palestinians, including a 10-year-old boy, with gas. In Jenin refugee camp, local sources reporting to Palestinian government news wire Wafa said that “a huge number” of forces accompanied by a low-flying helicopter conducted a four hour raid in which troops searched all the neighborhoods in the camp. By dawn soldiers had arrested Anas Atta Kamil, 27, Ahmed Hisham Kamil, 26—a student in the American University in Jenin and released prisoner—and 24-year-old Yazan Ateb Obaideh. more

Civil suit against Israel over shooting of Tristan Anderson to begin in Jerusalem next week


Thanks to the International Solidarity Movement

On 13 March 2009, Israeli Border Police officers shot US activist from California,Tristan Anderson, in the head with a high velocity tear-gas projectile during a demonstration in the West Bank Village of Ni’ilin. He was shot from a distance of about 40 meters away, at a time when no clashes or protesters were in his immediate vicinity. As a result of the shooting, Anderson suffered serious brain damage and the loss of his eye, as well as being paralyzed on half of his body. His injuries prevent him from functioning as an independent adult. A criminal investigation into the incident by the Israeli police is still pending.

Proceedings in the Anderson family’s civil suit against the State of Israel will begin on Thursday at the Jerusalem District Court in Jerusalem. The suit was filed by attorney Ghada Hleihil of the Lea Tzemel Law Office to demand reparations for the unjustified shooting and for damages incurred by Anderson and his loved ones.

The opening hearing will include the testimony of Gabrielle Silverman, Anderson’s partner. Silverman was standing near Anderson when he was shot. She was also inside the ambulance that evacuated Anderson from the scene, which was stopped by the army for long minutes at the Ni’ilin checkpoint despite the clear indications that Anderson was in critical condition with a life threatening head injury.

Proceedings are scheduled to continue on Nov 24th, Nov 27th and Dec 18th. more

Israel's military advocate burys its own report proving outpost built on Palestinian land


The Military Advocate General (MAG ) is delaying the publication of an internal report from a year ago which shows that most of the West Bank outpost of Derekh Ha'avot is on private Palestinian land. The report, a copy of which was obtained by Haaretz, indicates that 60 percent of the Etzion Bloc community is on Palestinian farmland.

The outpost, also known as Nativ Ha'avot, was established in early 2001 and is home to about 35 families. In 2002, the Palestinian landowners petitioned the High Court of Justice for the return of their land. A government team appointed to conduct a land ownership survey never completed its work. more

IDF opens fire on houses east of Khan Younis, no injuries reported


Gaza Strip, (Pal Telegraph)-Israeli military towers on Saturday opened fire at Palestinian houses and agricultural lands in Khuza'a town and al-Farrahin area in the east of Khan Younis city, southern Gaza Strip.

Local sources confirmed that Israeli soldiers stationed inside military towers in the eastern borders of Gaza strip opened massive fire at civilians' houses for several hours with no injuries reported.

Israeli forces often open fire at Palestinian houses along Gaza's borders with Israel creating a state of panic among civilians and inflicting great damage to their properties. more

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Israel takes counter measures after claims Palestinian resistance fighters have surface-to-air missiles


Let's hope these stories of arms smuggling from Libya will not be used as another pretext for further wars against the people of Gaza.
(Reuters) - Israel has accelerated the installation of anti-missile defences on its airliners, a security official said on Friday, seeing an enhanced risk of attack by militants using looted Libyan arms.

Jets flown by El Al (ELAL.TA) and two other Israeli carriers are being equipped with a locally made system known as C-Music that uses a laser to "blind" heat-seeking missiles, the official said, giving a 2013 target for fitting most of the fleet.

As a stop-gap, Israel is adapting air force counter-measures for use aboard civilian planes, said the official, who declined to elaborate on the technologies involved, or to be identified.

"We have long been aware of the threat and were ahead of the rest of the world in preparing for it. Libya has meant government orders to step things up even further," the official said, citing intelligence assessments that chaos during the North African nation's uprising against Muammar Gaddafi allowed trafficking of Libyan shoulder-fired missiles to Palestinians and al Qaeda-linked groups in the Egyptian Sinai. more

Peaceful protesters attacked by Israeli troops across West Bank on Friday

Thanks to the International Middle East Media Center

Non-violent protests took place in five locations on Friday, in different parts of the West Bank, resulting in injuries at all five locations and arrests in the village of al-Ma'sara, near Bethlehem, Kafr Qaddum, near Qalqilya, and an-Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah.

In Kafr Qaddum, whose villagers have begun weekly protests in the last month, three resident of the village were injured today by direct hits from tear gas cannisters. One of those injured was arrested whilst being treated by medics.

The firing of tear gas canisters directly at protesters contravenes international law that states that tear gas canisters must be fired in a upwards arc, and never directly at persons.

In al-Ma'sara, local protest organizer, Mahmoud Alaaeddin, was arrested whilst returning home from the village's protest. The Popular Committee in the village reported that the protest took place without injury and in a peaceful manner, and that the protest had ended when Alaaeddin was arrested.

In Bil'in, near Ramallah, where weekly protests have been carried out for over six years, one injury was reported, when a Brazilian activist was evacuated from the scene of the protest following tear gas inhalation.

In the village of Ni'lin, also near Ramallah, the Popular Committee reported that the Israeli military fired tear gas canisters directly at protestors as they marched in the direction of the wall that separates villages from their land. The firing of live ammunition was also reported, but no injuries.

Finally, in an-Nabi Saleh, more than 10 persons were injured, two requiring hospitalisation. Again, the Israeli military fired tear gas canisters into the crowd of protesters, and also struck an unnamed child in the torso with a rubber coated steel bullet, and local organizer Abu Hussam Tamimi in the face, resulting in a hairline fracture, loss of blood and shock.

Local journalist Bilal Tamimi was arrested by the military during his coverage of the protest. more

Former Mossad chief Dagan's bloody past exposed in court - beheaded Palestinian fighters


An Israeli court has given the go-ahead for the publication of ex-Mossad Chief Meir Dagan's testimony in a murder trial. The accused has claimed that he killed a British tourist in cold blood in part due to the psychological effects of his service in an elite Special Forces unit once commanded by Dagan.

Sayeret Rimon unit operated on the southern front, including Gaza, and is held responsible for killing 290 Palestinians on a wanted list of 300. Dagan told the court that he didn't count the Palestinians who were killed and that for every one who was killed there were hundreds who were arrested.

Reports in Israel claim that the Israeli Army's Southern Command is reviving the Sayeret Rimon unit to work undercover in the Gaza Strip. Recruits, it is said, must be fearless and experienced soldiers. Several dozen have been recruited for the unit, whose targets include the leaders of the Palestinian resistance in Gaza.

It is alleged that the then General Ariel Sharon was pleased to see Dagan personally beheading the bodies of the Palestinian fighters killed by the notorious Sayeret Rimon. more

Friday, 11 November 2011

Likud MK Danon: Destroy Gaza neighborhoods for every rocket fired


From Mondoweiss

Ami Kaufman of +972 Magazine highlights this disgusting message from Danny Danon, a Likud Party member of the Israeli Knesset:
I am currently in Ashkelon to witness the security problem facing the city specifically in neighborhoods with new Olim and have come to two main conclusions. Firstly, we must do everything we can to ensure the safety of all residents with an emphasis on areas with new immigrants who greatly lack protection, and more importantly, to deal with Hamas leaders in Gaza, and for every missile that falls in our southern towns, we retaliate by deleting a neighborhood in Gaza

It is disturbing to hear such a blunt call for collective punishment and the wholesale destruction of civilian life in Gaza from a politician with power in Israel. Unfortunately, it is no surprise--a similar mentality was behind Israel's conduct during Operation Cast Lead.
Danon's call echoes what former combatants in the Israeli army told the UK-based Channel 4 early this year:

24-year-old tank commander Ohad remembers being told the night before the operation that the entry into Gaza was to be "disproportionate". Once into Gaza, he says his orders were unambiguous:

"The order was very clear that if a car came within 200 metres of me I could simply shoot at it. Shoot a shell at it."

Some of the most disputed claims about the operation centre around firing at family homes and mosques.

Ohad also says: "We needed to cleanse the neighbourhoods, the buildings, the area. It sounds really terrible to say "cleanse", but those were the orders....I don't want to make a mistake with the words."
Thanks to Mondoweiss

Muslim graves in ancient Jerusalem cemetry desercrated again with racist graffiti by settlers


(pic: Ma'man-Allah Graveyard - IMEMC)

The Al Aqsa Foundation for Waqf (Islamic Endowment) and Heritage issued a press release on Thursday evening, denouncing a fresh attack carried out by extremist Israeli settlers against the Ma’man-Allah (Mamanullah) historic Islamic cemetery in Jerusalem.

The cemetery is in West Jerusalem is one of the largest cemeteries in the city, and stands on an area of 200 Dunams (nearly 90 acres).

The settlers wrote racist graffiti, destroyed gravestones, and tried to dig-up some of the graves.

The foundation held the Israeli government responsible for the attack, and demanded
Prosecution of the assailants, especially since the graveyard has become subject to frequent Israeli attacks.

Israel wants to build the so-called Museum of Tolerance in place of the ancient cemetery that contains graves going back to the Muslim caliphate in Palestine.
The foundation stated that “Recently, extremist settlers carried out repeated attacks against Islamic and Christian sites and cemeteries, and even signed their attacks, yet, Israel fails to stop them, and they continue their violations with impunity.”

“We consider any attack against holy and ancient sites as an unforgivable crime, but the attack against Ma’man-Allah graveyard is the mother of all sins,” the foundations added. “This graveyard is 1,400 years old, its original size is nearly 200 Dunams, and it contains graves of the Sahaba, scholars, and martyrs. Now it is under direct and official Israeli attack, being carried out by the government.” more

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Gas supply to Israel cut as explosions hit Egypt export pipeines again


CAIRO (Reuters) -- Saboteurs blew up the gas pipeline between Egypt, Israel and Jordan on Thursday in Northern Sinai using remote controlled bombs, forcing it to shut down, Egyptian security sources said.

The first blast, the sixth since the uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak and the seventh this year, was near Mazar area, 30 kilometers west of the town of Al-Arish, security sources and witnesses said.

Witnesses saw a second, smaller explosion west of Al-Arish near a pumping station, state news agency MENA reported. The report said it was not clear whether any damage was done. The explosions are the first since pumping resumed on Oct. 24.

"Primary examination showed that Improvised Explosive Devices were put under the pipeline and were detonated from a distance," a security source told Reuters.

"The attackers used two trucks and extended wires were found at the scene," he added. more

Canadians detained in Israel arriving home Thursday after five days in prison


Despite a threat from an Israeli judge that they could face 2 months in prison, Freedom Waves to Gaza activists David Heap and Ehab Lotayef are being released and deported back to Canada today. They will arrive on Thursday, November 10.

ARRIVAL

What: Heap and Lotayef will arrive in Toronto after 5 days in Israeli prison, following their abduction from international waters en route to Gaza to challenge Israel’s illegal blockade.

When: Scheduled flight arrival time is 6:40am, with likely disembarkation completed by 7:20, Thursday, November 10, 2011.

Where: Arrivals Gate, Pearson International Airport, Toronto

PRESS CONFERENCE


What: Heap and Lotayef will discuss their experiences on Freedom Waves to Gaza aboard the Canadian ship Tahrir and their time in Israeli prison.

When: 1pm, Thursday, November 10, 2011

Where: Charles Lynch Room, 130-S, Parliament Hill, Ottawa

The third Canadian who was aboard the Tahrir, Karen DeVito, has also been released and will be returning home to Vancouver next week. The remaining delegates from Ireland and Australia are also expected to arrive home by the end of the week, but the status of UK journalist Hassan Ghani is still unclear.

The reason why those who were detained undertook this journey in the first place was to show solidarity with the ordinary people of Gaza who have lost their basic freedoms as a result of a blockade imposed by the military forces of Israel, and to take action that would contribute to the end of that blockade.

Freedom Waves was never intended to focus attention on the 27 people aboard the MV Saoirse and the Tahrir, but on the 1.6 million people of Gaza – half of whom are children under the age of 16 – who continue to suffer collective punishment at the hands of the Israeli military. While Canadian and international citizens were languishing in prison in Israel for the “crime” of coming to their aid, the population of Gaza continues to languish in what is, in effect, the world’s largest open air prison.

This latest of eleven attempts to break the blockade of Gaza via the sea demonstrates once again that Israel is able to act with impunity when it comes to the welfare of the Palestinian people and anyone trying to help them. It is because of the continuing inaction of governments around the world, including the Canadian government, that ordinary people feel compelled to act. more

Irish Ship to Gaza activists refused flight out of Israel


The seven Irish human rights activists due home in Ireland this afternoon at 2:25 pm were at the last minute prevented from boarding their flight out of Ben Gurion airport by Israeli armed guards. They had been taken last night to a holding cell and were ready to board their 7:40 am flight to London this morning when at the last minute they were prevented from doing so by Israeli security forces and returned to Givon prison. All seven are now being detained indefinitely, with no further news available from Israeli authorities or the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs about when they will be released.

An Irish Ship to Gaza shore team coordinator spoke briefly on the phone with Fintan Lane before communication was abruptly cut off. Lane said: “This is a deliberate and calculated attempt by the Israelis to break our spirit. It won’t succeed.”

Lane also reported that the seven had been subject to “continuous harassment and repeated, humiliating body searches” and were shackled and “denied sleep”.

Gay Lawlor, Zoe Lawlor’s brother, spoke briefly with Zoe, who described what was happening as “sheer malice” on the part of the Israelis.

The families of the detainees are phoning member of the Irish Ship to Gaza shore team this morning in great distress.

Laurence Davis, Irish Ship to Gaza spokesperson, commented: “We are outraged by this latest attempt by the Israeli authorities to break the morale of the human rights activists, their families and their supporters, all of whom had been looking forward to the homecoming this afternoon in Dublin. This is yet another example of the cruelty and arrogance that the Palestinians face every day.”

Irish Ship to Gaza spokesperson Claudia Saba added: “It is particularly distressing for the families to learn that their loved ones won’t be coming home as they had expected, and distressing that they have no update as to what exactly is happening or when they will be finally freed.” more

The Israeli ambassador to Ireland has tried to defend its outrageous actions here

Settler attacks across West Bank sees Palestinian killed, family gassed, cars torched


(pic: Israeli settlers invade Artas village under military guard - IMEMC)

Three separate settler attacks on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning resulted in one Palestinian dead and three injured, in different parts of the West Bank.

On Tuesday evening, a Palestinian man identified as Abdul Muttaleb Hakim was rammed by an Israeli settler car, killing him instantly. The settler left the scene without being identified, and Israeli police called to the scene made no effort to identify the perpetrator.

In a separate incident just before dawn on Wednesday, a group of Israeli settlers set fire to parked Palestinian cars near Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank.

According to local sources, three cars belonging to Habes Husein Baragheeth, Suheil Muhammad Hussein Baragheeth, and his brother Yousef, were completely destroyed by the fires. Anti-Palestinian graffiti was found spray painted on the walls next to the torched cars.

The graffiti read 'price tag', which is a frequently-used term by Israeli settlers who say they wish to extract a 'price tag' from the Palestinian population who are living on land that the settlers want to take over.

In another attack by Israeli settlers on Wednesday morning, a group of settlers from Etzion settlement near Bethlehem fired tear gas on a family of Palestinians in Artas village. A ten-year old child was among those attacked, and he was transferred to a hospital in Beit Jala after being rendered unconscious by the gas. more

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Tunnel collapse on Egyptian border kills 22-year-old Gazan man


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A man died on Tuesday in a tunnel collapse in the southern Gaza Strip, medics said.

Ramiz al-Shaer, 22, was working in the smuggling tunnel in Rafah near the Egyptian border when it collapsed, medical officials told Ma'an.

His body was taken to the Abu Yousef Najjar Hospital. more

IAF carries out two airstrikes on southern Gaza, no casualties reported


The Israeli Air Force carried out, on Wednesday at dawn, two airstrikes targeting Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip; damage was reported, no injuries.

Local sources reported that the Air force fired a missile at a hothouse, northwest of Khan Younis, followed by another missile into the same area a few minutes after the initial attack.
The two attacks came only hours after Israeli tanks fired several shells into Al Waha area, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip leading to damages. more

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Irish prisoners in Israel strip searched, shackled, deprived of sleep and property stolen


It seems that Israel is punishing the Gaza blockade runners that remain in its prisons in an effort to deter others from attempting to break the illegal naval blockade. Irish Friends of Palestine member John Mallon was shackled and handcuffed after refusing a second body search. Meanwhile, Paul Murphy MEP has managed to smuggle out a letter highlighting Israel's total disregard for the human rights of the prisoners. If this is what they do to Members of the European Parliament we can only imagine the the horrors that are inflicted on the thousands of Palestinians in the occupation jails.
BRUSSELS - Irish left-wing MEP Paul Murphy has said he was badly treated after he and 26 activists were detained by Israeli armed forces when they tried to sail to Gaza at the weekend.

"Our boat was almost sunk by the manner in which it was approached and boarded by the Israeli navy. People were shackled and deprived of all personal belongings," he said in a written statement from his detention centre.

"In Givon prison the authorities tried to disorientate us through sleep deprivation and the prison clock recording the wrong time. We have been given no time frame as to how long we will be kept here before the deportation trial. We were denied our right by Israeli law to contact our families within 24 hours of our arrest," he added.

A spokeswoman for the Irish Ship to Gaza campaign, Claudia Saba, noted that Murphy was allowed one phone call to his family "But he called a party spokesperson instead, pretending him to be his brother."...

...Murphy said earlier on his blog he chose to participate in the mini-flotilla "in response to the call from people within Gaza to try to break the siege they suffer under." more

Monday, 7 November 2011

Democracy Now exclusive: video report with eyewitnesses to Israeli violence against Gaza boats



www.DemocracyNow.org - Israeli forces intercepted two Gaza-bound boats in international waters on Friday to prevent the boats from breaking the naval blockade of Gaza. The Canadian and Irish boats made up the "Freedom Waves to Gaza" flotilla. Israel detained the 27 activists on board, as well as all of the journalists — including Democracy Now! correspondent Jihan Hafiz. According to flotilla organizers, 21 people remain in Israeli custody, including Hafiz. The flotilla marked the latest failed attempt by international activists to challenge the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza. Democracy Now! speaks to journalist Lina Atallah who was on the Canadian boat named "Tahrir" in the flotilla and was deported to Egypt yesterday. She is the managing editor of Al-Masry Al-Youm English Edition, an independent news website. The Israeli navy "cornered our boats from all sides. We were all equally put at gunpoint. Even before they boarded our boat, everyone was put at gunpoint from Israeli ships," Atallah says. "Although we were clearly showing that we were journalists, Jihan Hafiz, for example, who is a Democracy Now! journalist, had her press card out and clear, but she was one of the first people asked to lean on her knees and to raise her hands." Atallah said some passengers were tasered.

For the complete interview, read the transcript, download the podcast, and for additional reports about the flotilla and years of Democracy Now! reports on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, visit http://www.democracynow.org/

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