Saturday, 14 May 2011

Palestinian teen shot in stomach by settler buried as mourners clash with occupation forces

Milad Said Ayyash, 17, was shot in the stomach by a settler near Silwan south of the old city, Jerusalem. From Maan
Witnesses and police said that the crowd marched from Ayyash's home in the Ras Al-Amud neighborhood past a nearby Jewish-only settlement where Israeli security forces fired tear gas at stone-throwing youngsters in the crowd. There were reports of injuries and arrests in Israeli media.

Carrying Palestinian flags and the banner of President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement, the mourners, some of them masked, chanted "Allah Akbar" (God is great) and "With our blood and our soul, we shall sacrifice for the martyr," as they marched to the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City.

On arrival at the mosque, some hoisted the Palestinian flag from its roof. After prayers Ayyash was interred at a Muslim cemetery just outside the city walls.

US Middle East peace envoy Mitchell resigns as UN Palestine statehood vote looms

Mitchell resigns, but will anyone notice?
WASHINGTON (AFP) - President Barack Obama announced his "tireless" envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, was resigning, but vowed the US administration remained committed to the faltering peace process.

Describing Mitchell as having taken on "the toughest job imaginable," Obama paid tribute to the veteran diplomat who had "worked grueling hours to advance the interests of the United States and the cause of peace." more

Tahrir to Gaza convoy activists defy police ban as new buses secured for 500 marchers

From Ahram Online
The tourism company that was supposed to provide anti-Israel demonstrators with busses ‎‎heading to Rafah crossing from Cairo has backed out of its deal pursuant to orders ‎‎from Egyptian authorities, but the march to Gaza will take place as planned after the ‎organisers secured other busses. ‎
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Halim Heniesh, member of the Coordination Committee for Supporting the Palestinian ‎‎Cause, says he was informed of the trip’s cancellation late last night and did not have ‎‎enough time to book another trip, implying that the march would be called off. ‎
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However, the committee managed to find other means of transportation at ‎very short notice. ‎

It’s understood that 18 busses should transport around 900 protesters to the Rafah border crossing.‎ more

Turkey ups pressure on Israel over Mavi Marmara - demands names of killers

From YNetNews
Turkey demands names of soldiers involved in flotilla raid

Ankara Prosecution sends Justice Ministry letter demanding to receive names of all Naval, military and ministerial officials involved in decision to raid Marmara in May 2010.

The Turkish Prosecution demands Israel divulge the identity of the Naval Commandos who participated in the deadly raid on the Mavi Marmara, in May of 2010.
A Justice Ministry official said Israel was unfamiliar with the demand.

The Marmara was the lead vessel in last May's aid sail to Gaza Strip. Israeli commandos attempting to stop the ship from breaching the Gaza blockade boarded the ship after it refused the Navy's hails to stop. The ensuing violence resulted in the death of nine Turkish activists. more

80 Italian activists arrive in Cairo for Nabka Day march on Gaza

About eighty Italian activists arrived in Cairo on Wednesday as part of the "Stay Human" convoy heading to Gaza to participate in Nakba Day, the day that commemorates the creation of the state of Israel and the expulsion of Palestinians from their homeland.

Declining to give their names due to safety concerns, the group calls itself “We are all Vittorio” in memory of the Italian activist who was killed in Gaza on 15 February. “The Nakba will be three months from Vittorio’s killing and the day on which we will pay tribute to him by carrying on his work and building new projects in Gaza,” said one of the convoy members. more

22 injured after march on settlement building site at Nabi Saleh village near Ramallah

From the International Middle East Media Center
A large march started after the Friday prayers midday towards the construction site of the new settlement Israel is building on the land of the villagers of Nabi Saleh near the central West Bank city of Ramallah.
Israeli soldiers fired a number of tear gas bombs and rubber-coated steel bullets at the nonviolent protesters wounding at least 22 civilians.

One American protester was wounded in the head when he was hit with a tear gas canister. He was moved to the hospital for treatment and his wounds were described as critical.

Israeli troops also kidnapped two women identified as Nida and Iqbal Tamimi. Eyewitnesses said they were handcuffed and blind-folded and were taken to unknown destination. Troops also arrested two Israelis from the site. Dozens other were treated for gas inhalation and for being beaten by the Israeli soldiers.

Israeli soldiers also assaulted photojournalist Hilmi Tamimi, and broke his camera during the protest. more

Egypt's Israeli embassy saved from anger of protesters after army fires shots into the air

The Israeli Embassy in Cairo (situated on the top floor of a residential building overlooking the Nile- pictured above) would have been stormed yesterday (Friday 13 May) if it had not been for the army firing shots into the air. From Ahram Online
Protesters fled the scene on hearing the shots but quickly regrouped chanting "We are going in."

Minutes later, protesters began chanting "Silmiya, Silimya" (Peaceful, peaceful) as several of them sat down on a nearby bridge blocking traffic.

The protest -- which would have been banned under the regime of ousted president Hosni Mubarak -- was timed to coincide with establishment of Israel 63 years ago, commonly referred to in Arabic as the "Nakba" or "catastrophe."

The Israeli embassy, on the top floor of a residential building overlooking the Nile, was protected by army and police officers who barricaded the narrow street leading to the entrance.

But protesters had massed on surrounding streets and the nearby bridge.

Pointing to the flag raised above the embassy, they chanted "Bring it down, Burn it!".

At one point, army and police officers were showered with flyers thrown from the bridge which read: "Stemming from our belief in the Palestinian cause, and the desire to free the Palestinian people, a segment of Egyptian youth has decided to take responsibilty for reviving this cause." more

Teenager dies of wounds after Friday clashes with occupation forces in Jerusalem


Milad Ayyash, the 17 year-old who was critically injured yesterday in East Jerusalem passed away at the Muqassed Hospital, after all attempts to save his life failed. The killing comes as tensions soar over the upcoming Nakba anniversary. more

Jane Hirschmann from Jews Say No! on why she's joining 1,000 activists on flotilla 2 to Gaza

From Redress Information and & Analysis
Making a stand for human rights and dignity in Gaza

By Jane Hirschmann from Jews Say No!

14 May 2011

Jane Hirschmann outlines the compelling humanitarian case behind the planned 1,000-strong human rights flotilla due to set sail for the beleaguered Gaza Strip this June in order to highlight the Israeli-designed and Western-backed catastrophe gripping the people of Gaza. (This article was originally intended as an indirect rebuttal to a disinformation editorial in the New York Daily News. However, the New York Daily News turned it down.)

Gaza is crumbling under the weight of an Israeli siege backed by the Obama administration. Roughly 80 per cent of Palestinians in Gaza now depend on aid. Vast amounts of infrastructure destroyed in the Israeli attack of 2008-09 require repair. Thousands of families still live doubled up with relatives or are homeless.

Children are being short-changed educationally because of damaged and horribly overcrowded schools and a lack of textbooks. Their health is compromised by polluted water and food insecurity.

“Israel insists it has a right to blockade Gaza, to keep its population on a restricted diet and to destroy its economy by cutting it off from international trade.”

In response, over 1,000 human-rights workers from around the world will sail this June on a dozen boats for the Gaza Strip to highlight this human-made tragedy.

Our boat – the American boat – is The Audacity of Hope. It will be carrying approximately 60 students, nurses, artists, journalists and film-makers, lawyers, academics and ordinary civilians of many beliefs from around the country. Many of us are Jewish.

Last May, Israeli forces stormed the Mavi Marmara and killed nine passengers, including an American citizen. A fact-finding mission of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights found that the "circumstances of the killing of at least six of the passengers were in a manner consistent with an extra-legal, arbitrary and summary execution". All the civilian deaths on board the humanitarian vessel were inexcusable. Yet, once again, the Israeli government has threatened to initiate violence against us.

Israel insists it has a right to blockade Gaza, to keep its population on a restricted diet and to destroy its economy by cutting it off from international trade. The rest of the world disagrees. UN chief Ban Ki-moon has called the siege “unacceptable” and has said it must end immediately. Even President Obama has termed the siege “unsustainable”, notwithstanding our government’s full support of Israeli policy.

Israel states that the purpose of the blockade is to keep weapons out of the hands of the Hamas government in Gaza. There are many ways to do this without imprisoning 1.6 million people inside an area about twice the size of Washington, DC. Gaza’s children, women, elderly and other civilians pay the price for Israel’s refusal to use international inspections, diplomacy and negotiations to achieve its goal. Under international law, this is known as collective punishment and can be regarded as a crime against humanity.

The US and European governments have not acted to end Israel’s siege. Those of us sailing to Gaza on The Audacity of Hope have chosen to support international humanitarian law where our governments have not. We sail as an expression of human solidarity with the beleaguered people of Gaza.

We will be unarmed and non-violent. Representatives from the media, who are invited to sail with us, will be able to testify to this. The boats’ cargo will be open to international inspections before sailing. Our cargo consists of letters of solidarity to the people of Gaza from thousands of Americans.

As the world witnessed this year in Tunisia and Egypt, human solidarity is far more powerful than the force of arms. Despite the Israeli government’s propaganda against us, we believe that most of the world opposes the attempt to reduce Gaza to desperation and dependence. Dov Weisglass, an advisor to Israel’s former prime minister, put Israel’s effort succinctly: “The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.” We reject this cruelty.

Nevertheless, the Israeli government has launched a scare campaign, accusing us of being “terrorists” with ties to Hamas, who are “willing to become martyrs”. This is false. Our goal is to end the illegal siege of Gaza and highlight the injustice of Israel’s ongoing occupation of the Palestinian territories.

The Audacity of Hope sails in peace and will not be deterred by Israeli threats. Our actions are very much in keeping with the moral impetus that drove Freedom Riders 50 years ago to travel south to stand non-violently with African Americans against government-backed violence and Jim Crow discrimination. We intend to promote both Palestinian liberty from Israeli domination and an economic opening to the world for Gaza.

Jane Hirschmann is a member of Jews Say No! in New York City and one of the national organizers of the US Boat to Gaza. Hirschmann has been active in anti-war efforts for the past four decades. She is a psychotherapist and the co-author of three books. Redress Information & Analysis