Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Shortages of basic medical supplies such as gauze aggravates misery for Gazans

Shortages of basic medical supplies in Gaza persist. Although this report was written in April the situation has not improved since then, despite the subsequent reconciliation deal between Fatah and Hamas, which should enable more transfers of supplies from the West Bank to Gaza (if only Israel would stop its obstructions) and Egypt's planned opening of the Rafah crossing on a permanent basis.
The Gaza strip must cope with a drug shortage, even though Israeli and Egyptian officials talk about easing the blockade that has left this crowded enclave effectively isolated since July 2007. A political rift between Hamas in Gaza and Fatah in the West Bank hinders communication and coordination between the two Palestinian health ministries -- adding to the hardships already faced by medical patients inside Gaza.

A remedy is needed for the time lag between placing orders to authorities in the West Bank and the delivery of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies for Gaza's 1.5 million inhabitants, who have lived under siege for years. In the Lancet medical journal I reported that Norwegian diplomats hope to initiate negotiations between Gaza and Ramallah in order to solve this medical crisis through better logistics and monitoring. more

Budrus village's mass non-violent action against Apartheid Wall shows a way to win - Huff Post blog

Robert Naiman, policy director at Just Foreign Policy has written an excellent blog at the Huffington Post on the success of the struggle of Budrus villagers in stopping the 'Separation Wall' going through their land, forcing it back to the Green line after a 10-month non-violent campaign. Julia Bacha has made a documentary of the struggle which is available to US audiences here. Under the headline: 'Budrus Shows 'White Intifada' Can Beat the Israeli Occupation' Naiman is asking if this is the way to drive back the occupiers?
Many have long maintained that a mass-based and sustained campaign of nonviolent Palestinian resistance -- a "White Intifada" -- if vigorously supported by a united Palestinian leadership and by Israeli, Arab, and international peace and solidarity movements, could end the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem...

...But one way to provide strong evidence for the claim would be to organize such a campaign in one place in the West Bank, for the campaign to be sustained long enough to attract significant Israeli and international support, and -- crucially -- for the campaign to win.

That is what the Palestinian residents of the West Bank village of Budrus did. They effectively conducted an experiment, by organizing a campaign of nonviolent resistance against the Israeli government's plans to route its "Separation Barrier" through their village lands, confiscating their land and destroying their olive trees in the process, thereby destroying their livelihood and culture; by sustaining the campaign for 10 months; and by inviting Israeli and international peace activists to participate. The experiment was successful, in that the Israeli government was eventually compelled to move the route of the Separation Barrier back towards the Green Line -- the internationally recognized boundary between Israel and the West Bank -- and 95% of the village land and olive trees were spared. It was also successful as a beacon to others, in that other Palestinian villages have sought to replicate its success in resisting the Wall.

The documentary Budrus by Julia Bacha of Just Vision is a well-crafted and compelling account of this successful experiment. And as of yesterday, any American with a DVD player and a bit of extra cash can watch this compelling account, because as of yesterday, the movie is available on DVD from Typecast Films and Netflix.

The widespread availability of this movie in the United States could not come at a more propitious time, because recent political developments have created an excellent environment in which to "scale up" the Budrus "experiment" to all of the Occupied Palestinian Territories; and a crucial component of such a "scaling up" is a "scaling up" of U.S. interest, knowledge, and support. Nonviolent resistance is like a Pete Seeger concert: it works best with vigorous audience participation. more

Right of residency of 140,000 West Bank Palestinians removed after travel abroad

JERUSALEM - Israel quietly revoked the residency of 140,000 Palestinians living in the West Bank when they left to travel abroad in the years after the 1967 Six Day War, a rights group said on Wednesday.

According to official documents obtained by HaMoked, Centre for the Defence of the Individual, the policy affected Palestinians travelling abroad for work or study in the period between 1967 and 1994 when the Oslo Accords came into effect. more

IDF opens fire on peaceful protest as it approaches northern Gaza buffer zone

Israel has imposed a self-declared 300-meter wide buffer zone along its entire Gaza border and has been in the habit of attacking anyone who gets too close. Yesterday it was Palestinian and international activists protesting the nabka who were shot at. Thankfully, no casualties have been reported, according to the Palestine Telegraph.
Gaza Strip, (Pal Telegraph)-Israeli occupation forces intensively and directly opened fire yesterday at international activists and Palestinians who were demonstrating against Israeli illegal acts in the north of Gaza Strip.

Local sources confirmed that the peaceful protest was held by international activists and Palestinian youths in commemoration of the anniversary of Al-Nakba day (the dispossession of thousands of Palestinians from their homes and land in 1948). more

Israeli parliament moves to hand over Silwan in East Jerusalem to settlers

From Electronic Intifada
A new Israeli parliamentary (Knesset) bill that would give direct control of national parks to private organizations is causing alarm amidst Jerusalem-area activists, who say that its underlying aim is to provide legitimacy to a right-wing Israeli group’s control of an archeological site in East Jerusalem.

“[It] is quite incredible that Knesset members would go ahead and privatize one of the most important public assets in order to save one settler group,” said Orly Noy, the spokesperson for Israeli nongovernmental organization Ir Amim, which monitors governmental policies and actions in Jerusalem. “But on the other hand, it also indicates that they do understand that what’s going on today is illegal,” she told The Electronic Intifada.

The situation in question involves Elad, a private, right-wing Israeli settlement organization that controls and manages the City of David National Park, an archeological site just outside Jerusalem’s Old City. The site sits at the foot of the Haram al-Sharif, or Noble Sanctuary, the third holiest site in Islam, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.

Located at the entrance to the Wadi Hilweh neighborhood of the East Jerusalem village of Silwan, the City of David is said to represent the location of biblical Jerusalem, which was captured by King David more than 3,000 years ago. more

See a video on the Elad group's illegal activities.

Spanish, Irish and Dutch MEPs to join Freedom Flotilla 2's European boats

Spanish and Irish MEPs Willy Meyer and Paul Murphy, respectively, will be sailing on the blockade-busting boats, while Dutch MEP Nicole Kill-Nielsen is to meet the flotilla when it reaches Gaza, by entering the Strip through Egypt.
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - At least two MEPs plan to put their personal safety at risk by going on boats in a new flotilla to break Israel's maritime blockade on Gaza.

Flotilla organiser Manuel Tapial told press at the EU parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday (10 May) that Willy Meyer, a left-wing Spanish euro-deputy, and Paul Murphy, a left-wing Irish member, will be on two of the around 15 boats that plan to sail from various European locations in June.

"Those who will be there, who don't hold public office, who don't have a high profile, need these people to protect their lives," he said.

French green MEP Nicole Kill-Nielsen indicated she will enter Gaza via Egypt as part of another group of euro-parliamentarians to meet the boats if they make it that far. more

Sinai to host huge 'march of return' to Gaza marking Nabka (catastrophe) Day - May 15

This buzz around this march is building up nicely - the siege is crumbling on the Egyptian border. Organisers say up to a million could be marching.
Abdel Wahab Mabrouk, Governor of North Sinai, told Ahram Online that the level of preparation in the governorate has been heightened in expectation of a march towards Gaza on 15 May.

People in the governorate are crowding shops and gas stations trying to stock up on rations to cover at least two weeks, because of news that a million will be marching from Egypt and other Arab countries on the 15th towards Rafah. May 15 marks the day of nakba (catastrophe), an annual day of commemoration by Palestinians of the creation of the state of Israel. more

First ever Palestinian corporate bonds issued by PADICO

The organisation is capitalised at $250m and aims to attract investment in the Palestinian economy. Palestine Investment and Development Ltd (PADICO) mission statement is here.
RAMALLAH (AFP) -- Palestinian investment firm PADICO announced Tuesday the first issue of corporate bonds in the Palestinian territories worth $70 million.

At a press conference in Ramallah, PADICO said it was issuing 7,000 five-year bonds, which will be privately placed and neither traded nor listed on the Palestinian stock exchange. more

US Palestine activists facing FBI harassment score victory - get money back from bank

Thanks to Committee to Stop FBI Repression and The Coalition for People's Rights

Palestinian community leader Hatem Abudayyeh and supporters claim victory - Bank returns money, government involvement alleged

By Committee to Stop FBI Repression and Coalition to Protect People’s Rights

May 10, 2011

On Friday, May 6th, the bank accounts of Hatem and Naima Abudayyeh of Chicago were frozen. The bank manager at the TCF (Twin Cities Federal) branch could not explain what had happened but stated that the Bank Security Act prevented him from releasing any assets.

In a strange turn of events, the bank admitted today that they shut down the accounts, stating they no longer want to provide banking services to the Abudayyeh family. Simultaneously, TCF management informed the Abudayyehs today that they were issuing them a check for the value of their accounts.

Hatem Abudayyeh is one of 23 anti-war, Palestinian and international solidarity activists who have been subpoenaed to a federal grand jury in Chicago. Many supporters of the Abudayyehs and the 23 activists suspected that the FBI and grand jury investigation against these activists was the cause of the seizure of the couple’s accounts.

Michael Deutsch, attorney for the family, said, “In my opinion, the bank did not act out of the blue. I suspect that the FBI and U.S Attorney investigation caused the bank to overreact and illegally freeze the Abudayyehs’ banking accounts that had been there for over a decade.”

In response to the seizing of the couple’s accounts, people across the country called the offices of US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald in Chicago, and those of the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) demanding the return of their money and an end to the repression.

A Code Pink activist from Washington, D.C., called Fitzgerald’s office and was told, “We’ve received hundreds of calls.” The OFAC office was bombarded as well, and journalists from a National Public Radio affiliate, Al Jazeera and other agencies contacted them for an explanation.

TCF is well known for having links to the right-wing think tank the Center for the American Experiment.

The Committee to Stop FBI Repression and the Coalition to Protect People’s Rights see the return of the money to the Abudayyeh family and the admission by the bank of their action as a victory for their efforts and an affirmation of the constitutional right of Americans not to be deprived of property without due process of law. However, they are concerned that the actions of TCF management may violate state and federal public accommodations laws by denying the Abudayyehs banking services on a discriminatory basis.

Hatem Abudayyeh expressed his thanks to the many people who called in over the past two days. “Thank you all for your work. The pressure put on the US Attorney and OFAC no doubt caused them to contact TCF, who subsequently broke their silence and ended this frightening incident.”


The Committee to Stop FBI Repression and The Coalition for People's Rights