Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Victory for boycott movement as Deutsche Bahn pulls out of Israeli rail project

The German national railway company, Deutsche Bahn, has pulled out of all work on the building of the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem rail line because it cuts through Palestinian territory but will be used only by Israelis. This is a major victory for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. See clip below from the Financial Times (subscription). There's also a report here that isn't behind a pay wall.
Deutsche Bahn, the German railway operator, has pulled out of an sraeli project that cuts through the occupied Palestinian West Bank, after pressure from activists and Berlin.

The move marks a victory for pro-Palestinian groups and their so-called boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign, which tries to use economic pressure on Israel to help the Palestinian cause.

Campaigners were angered by the activities of Deutsche Bahn’s international consulting arm, which provided advice on the electrification of the new track linking Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The high-speed line, due to be completed by 2017, has attracted sharp criticism from Palestinian officials because a 6-km stretch cuts through the West Bank. more

European Union parliamentarians to join Gaza flotilla in boost for activists

The organizers of a new Gaza flotilla on Tuesday vowed to carry out their plan to break an Israeli naval blockade and deliver aid to the Gaza Strip, in what an Israeli official warned would be a "political provocation."

The flotilla is expected to reach the waters off Gaza in the third week of June, Greek organizer Vangelis Pissias said at a press conference hosted by European Union parliamentarians in Strasbourg.

The attempt would come one year after Israeli commandos boarded a similar flotilla on the high seas and clashed with those aboard the main Turkish ship, resulting in the deaths of nine Turkish activists.

Several EU lawmakers have pledged to take part in the new flotilla, with organizers saying that their status will help protect others on board.

The ships will carry school materials, medical equipment and possibly construction equipment for Gaza citizens, according to organizer Manuel Tapial.

"Civil society has a responsibility, a responsibility when the political class is hesitant," the Spanish activist said. "I feel that this is the case here." more

France urges citizens not to join flotilla due to 'security risk' but offers no protection

According to an agency report on Ynet News the French government is urging its citizens not to join Freedom Flotilla 2 because of the 'security risk'. Wouldn't it be better for France to discharge a duty of protection towards its citizens on a peaceful aid mission in international and Gazan waters, instead of bowing to Israeli criminality?
The French Foreign Ministry made a recommendation to its citizens "not to go on ships whose goal is to break the maritime blockade on Gaza" due the security risk involved in such endeavors.

The ministry spokesman also recommended that those wishing to send aid to the Gaza Strip do so through existing land crossings. (AFP)

Homeless Gazans hope for reconstruction after reconciliation deal

Thousands in Gaza are anxious about the reconciliation with hope of rebuilding their homes that have been lost during the last Israeli war over 2 years ago. The reconciliation agreement that was signed by Fatah and Hamas, ending the division and conflict that lasted over four years.

“The reconciliation took place…I want them to rebuild my home. What are they waiting for? I’m tired of waiting,” said Nizar Sultan, one of the many Palestinians whose homes are still in ruins.

Abu-Mohammed Al-Atatra expressed to “Islam Online”: “the dream of rebuilding our homes after the Israeli war is a dream that was long lost for over two years. We are used to homelessness; it’s a part of our daily lives.”

“But now, and after the reconciliation, that dream of rebuilding our homes is revitalized. We no longer want to think about how we’ll live and survive through the cold winters and scorching summers.” more

Head of Arab League, Amr Moussa, says Hamas is not a terrorist organisation

In an interview with the Washington Post the long-time general secretary of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, points out that only a minority of countries consider Hamas to be a terrorist organisation.
Going back to U.S.–Egyptian relations, how will they change?

Egypt conducted its relations in the region in a way that the people did not accept. Egyptian-Arab relations is one thing; the Palestinian question is another. . . .

Blocking Gaza and enforcing the siege along Gaza — people didn’t like that. We should have insisted and used Egyptian-Israeli relations to try and undo and put an end to the siege that caused a lot of suffering to the people of Gaza. The whole world has said exactly what I am saying — that the siege has to come to an end. The old regime was not of the same view.

Now you have brought Hamas to Cairo.

The view that Hamas is a terrorist organization is a view that pertains to a minority of countries, not a majority. Being a terrorist is not a stigma forever. more

UK vigil to commemorate the Nabka and end siege of Gaza - May 14


Join the Protest - Saturday 14 May 2011

Assemble 12noon Opposite Downing Street on Whitehall
SW1A London

Speakers include Prof. Karma Nabulsi, Dave Randall, Andy Slaughter MP, Caroline Lucas MP, Baroness Jenny Tonge, Reem Kelani, Jody McIntyre, with more speakers to be announced!

Download a leaflet to be printed for the event HERE!
Called by Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War Coalition, British Muslim Initiative, CND, Palestinian Forum in Britain
Supported by: Amos Trust, Association of the Palestinian Community in the UK, Communications Workers Union (CWU), Fire Brigades Union (FBU), Friends of Lebanon, Friends of Al-Aqsa, GMB, The Green Party, ICAHD UK, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, Lib Dem Friends of Palestine, Pax Christi, Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), The Russell Tribunal on Palestine, Twinning with Palestine, UNISON, Unite the union, University Colleges Union (UCU), War on Want, Zaytoun.

Join us to commemorate the Nakba and to demand the government act to end the siege on Gaza.

Sign the PSC petition here
More information at the Palestine Solidarity Campaign website.

Settlers attack Nablus school - call for killing of Arabs

A group of Israeli settlers attacked on Monday morning a Palestinian school in the southern part of Nablus, northern West Bank.

Witnesses told local media that the settlers smashed windows and put-up a banner and wrote slogans on the outer wall of the school calling for the killing of Arabs.more

Thanks to the International Solidarity Movement

France donates $14.3 million to Palestinian Authority after Israel freezes tax transfers

RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories — France on Monday announced it would donate 10 million euros ($14.3 million) to the Palestinian Authority after Israel froze tax revenue transfers following a Palestinian unity agreement.

The aid infusion came as Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad told reporters his government was unable to pay employees because of Israel's decision to halt revenue transfers after Fatah and Hamas inked a unity deal.

"The Palestinian Authority cannot pay the salaries for the month until the Israeli government transfers the money," he said.
"If Israel transfers this money we will be able to pay the salaries immediately."

The French foreign ministry criticised Israel for suspending transfer of Palestinian money after the Fatah movement signed a surprise unity deal with rival Islamist group Hamas. more

Hamas's Mashaal says no recognition of Israel until Palestinian state a reality

Head of the Political Bureau of the Hamas movement, Khaled Mashal, urged the United States and the European Union to support the Palestinian Unity Agreement, and added that a Palestinian recognition of Israel cannot be conducted before an independent state is established. more