Sunday, 8 May 2011

Prisoners on hunger strike for second day in Nafha, Ramon, Ashkelon and Eshel prisons

(Pic: Ahrar - Prisoners as Ashkelon sent back food for second day)

JENIN, MAY 8, 2011 (WAFA) – Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons continue their hunger strike under the motto of “Release Solitary Confinement Prisoners” for the second day in a row, to end prisoners' solitary confinement and improve their conditions.

Ahrar Center for prisoners’ studies and human rights issued a statement to al-Quds newspaper that prisoners in Nafha, Ramon, Ashkelon and Eshel prisons are continuing the hunger strikes and will escalate them to end solitary confinement and sanctions imposed by prison administrations. more

UK group says EU funds 'incitement against Israel' as Ayalon denies existence of a Palestinian nation

The Taxpayers Alliance in the UK poses as an independent organisation when it is in fact staffed by supporters of David Cameron's Conservative party. No surprise then that it's research director Matthew Sinclair, speaking at a press conference in Jerusalem, shows himself to be a blind backer of the Israeli state, seeing the funding of Palestinian education as "incitement against Israel" and fomenting anti-semitism. As usual no proof is provided of the alleged anti-semitism the European Union is meant to be unwittingly funding. Israel's foreign minister Ayalon was also at the press conference and had some racism of his own to dish out.
A British taxpayer watchdog group unveiled two reports on Monday detailing the role of European foreign aid in the transmission of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic narratives in Palestinian Authority schools and media in Jerusalem.

The reports, “Palestinian Hate Education Since Annapolis” and “Funding Hate Education,” detail what the Taxpayers’ Alliance refers to as a campaign of “demonizing Israel” largely funded by European taxpayers, a policy it says diminishes long-term hopes for peace.

The Taxpayers’ Alliance said it has taken up the issue of incitement against Israel in the Palestinian territories because it believes there must be greater scrutiny of aid programs for the PA, so that taxpayer money from the UK and the EU no longer funds programs that harm the peace process and the national interests of British and EU citizens.

Matthew Sinclair, research director for the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said at a press briefing in Jerusalem, held with Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, that in Palestinian society, “we’re looking at a population where 42 percent are under the age of 15. You have a huge younger generation whose views are going to shape the situation for a long time...

...He then related an anecdote from a debate with a British man at the London School of Economics, whom he asked: “‘Can you name one leader of Palestine, one king, one leader?’

“Of course they couldn’t because Palestine never existed,” Ayalon said.

“There has never been a Palestinian state,” he said. When we came here we didn’t find any other nation here. We aren’t going to argue narratives with the PA, he said.more

Egypt studying plans to open consulate in Gaza City

RAFAH, Gaza Strip (Ma'an) -- Gaza's caretaker Minister of Foreign Affairs and Planning Mohammad Awad told Ma'an on Sunday that Egypt's transitional leadership was seriously studying the option of opening a consulate in Gaza City to facilitate communication with Gaza officials. more

Israel pressured to restore tax revenue transfers after freeze since Hamas/Fatah accord

Israel has been refusing to hand over tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority since the national reconciliation accord was signed, with Mark Ragev saying Israel couldn't "transfer the money to a terrorist organisation". The EU has stepped in to provide funds "for the most vulnerable" but civil servants, for example, have still not been paid.
Israel is under pressure to release tax revenues belonging to the Palestinian Authority (PA) which it has blocked in response to the reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas.

The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, and an umbrella group of countries that make donations to the PA have urged the Israeli government to hand over a sum of around 300m shekels (£53.1m). The income is used to pay the salaries of PA employees and to provide services.

The EU announced an extra €85m (£74.3m) in aid to the Palestinians after a request from the prime minister, Salam Fayyad, to cover salaries and welfare payments. more

Israeli occupiers seal off West Bank for national holiday to celebrate founding of state

JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli troops will seal off the West Bank for three days starting Sunday as Israel celebrates the 63rd anniversary of its founding, the army said Saturday. more

Gaza rally by salafists for Osama bin Laden broken up by Hamas

Western hypocrisy surrounding the execution of Osama bin Laden plays into the hands of the salafists. After all, how many innocent people have died as a result of western inspired wars and the continuing drone attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan? But then again it was Hamas that only a few days ago defended bin Laden as a 'holy warrior'. Clearly there is now an attempt by Hamas to rein in the medievalists, especially with regards to their sporadic and ineffective military actions against Israel that could threaten the current ceasefire, if allowed to break out again.
Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas on Saturday broke up a Salafist protest against the killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in a U.S. raid in Pakistan this week.

Dozens of Salafists -- conservative Islamists who have clashed with Hamas -- gathered in Gaza City's main square holding up posters of bin Laden and chanting "We warn you America, we warn you Europe."

Some banners read "We are all your soldiers Osama" and "Osama is alive inside us."

Hamas police forces cordoned off the square, stopped protesters from marching through the streets and ordered them to leave. more