Sunday, 15 May 2011

Egyptian activists defy authorities to hold Nakba protest at Rafah crossing


EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma'an) -- At least 80 Egyptian political activists arrived at Egypt's Rafah crossing to commemorate the 63rd Nakba Day, after eluding that country's security services.

The activists carried Palestinian flags and changed slogans demanding and end to Israel's siege on Gaza, the recognition of the right of Palestinians displaced in 1948 to return to their homes, and condemned Israel's occupation of Palestine. more

Bethlehem family faces demolition of their home, newly rebuilt by international volunteers


From the Middle East Monitor
Yesterday evening a demolition order was served on a home in the village of Al Walajah just outside Bethlehem on the West Bank. If this action goes ahead, this Sunday morning (15 May) the home will be bulldozed by the Israeli army. The home that is set to be destroyed has just been rebuilt by a group of volunteers from UK human rights charity the Amos Trust, together with local Palestinian people. The home belongs to the Aburizeq family and the land has been owned by the village for centuries. more

Stolen Beauty boycott culture jam turns Ahava’s online marketing contest into a social media #FAIL


From BDS Movement
On Wednesday, May 11 and Thursday, May 12, Ahava US, the U.S. arm of the Israeli cosmetics firm based in an illegal West Bank settlement, and @birchbox, an online cosmetics retailer, ran a marketing contest on the social media site Twitter using the hashtag #AhavaReborn, which is the slogan for Ahava’s current rebranding campaign. Members of the public were invited to submit beauty care questions with the lure of a prize of $300 worth of Ahava products for the best query.

US group CODEPINK Women for Peace, which manages the Stolen Beauty Ahava Boycott campaign, alerted other BDS activists about the marketing campaign and suggested using the opportunity for a culture jam to subvert Ahava’s rebranding effort.

What followed can only be described as a total disaster for Ahava. From early Wednesday European time and for the next 48 hours BDS campaigners flooded the twitter stream #AhavaReborn with hundreds of messages advocating the boycott of Ahava products. The BDS campaigners hailed from the US, UK, Netherlands, Belgium, South Africa, Singapore, Occupied Palestine and elsewhere, reflecting the international nature of the campaign against Ahava. more

One man shot dead 90 injured, mostly children, at Beit Hanoun al-Nakba protest


BEIT HANOUN, (PIC)-- An 18-year old Palestinian young man was shot dead at noon Sunday east of Gaza city in Shujaiya district.

90 other citizens, mostly children, also sustained different injuries when the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) opened intensive fire and shelled a peaceful march held on the nakba anniversary near Beit Hanoun crossing.

Doctors said most of these citizens were moderately wounded and one of them is in critical condition.

A reporter for the Palestinian information center (PIC) said the IOF fired five artillery shells and machine guns at the march which led to this number of casualties, while ambulances rushed to the scene to transfer the wounded to hospitals.

Thousands of Palestinians participated in this peaceful march and raised Palestinian flags and symbolic keys to indicate their determination to return to their homes in the 1948 occupied lands. Dozens of Italian peace activists were also in the march. more

Israeli soldiers kill 15 on Lebanon and Syrian border - protesters break through fence to Golan Heights


From Slate
15 Killed in Clashes at Israeli Borders
Could the violence be a sign that the wave of protests sweeping the Arab world are ready to turn on Israel?

Israeli soldiers opened fire on hundreds of protesters as deadly violence erupted along its borders with Syria, Lebanon, and Gaza, leaving as many as 12 people dead, according to the Associated Press count. But the numbers are far from clear. The Los Angeles Times, for example, says as many as 15 people were killed. Pro-Palestinian demonstrators attempted to cross into Israel as they marked the anniversary of what they refer to as the “nakba,” or “catastrophe,” of Israel’s founding in 1948. Protests take place every year, but this is the first time demonstrators have tried to cross the border. more

Peaceful protesters including 11-year-olds violently arrested on al-Wallajeh march to apartheid wall


ISM - For immediate release
At 11 AM on al-Nakba remembrance day, 500 residents from the West Bank village of al-Wallajeh and international supporters marched towards the Israeli Apartheid Wall. The Wall was built to separate the villagers from their original land from which they were expelled in 1948. The demonstration was violently attacked by the Israeli military with rubber coated steal bullets, tear gas and protesters were beaten with batons and rifles. One youth was hospitalized after being injured by a rubber coated steal bullet .

Eight Palestinians including twins aged 11 and 6 internationals (American, Dutch, German and Canadian nationals) were arrested. The army proceeded to raid the village and invade each house, searching for people who had participated in the demonstrations. The raids as well as confrontations between the army and the village youth are ongoing.

The Arrested Palestinans are:
Mazen Qumsiyah
Basel Al Araj
Ahmed Al Araj
Mohammad Al Araj
Allah And Mohammed Abu Tin 11 year old twins
Tarek Abu Tin
Adel Abu Tin

Al-Walaja is an agrarian village of about 2,000 people, located south of Jerusalem and West of Bethlehem. Following the 1967 Occupation of the West Bank and the redrawing of the Jerusalem municipal boundaries, roughly half the village was annexed by Israel and included in the Jerusalem municipal area. The village’s residents, however did not receive Israeli residency or citizenship, and are considered illegal in their own homes.

Once completed, the path of the Wall is designed to encircle the village’s built-up area entirely, separating the residents from Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and almost all their lands – roughly 5,000 dunams. Previously, Israeli authorities have already confiscated approximately half of the village’s lands for the building of the Har Gilo and Gilo settlements, and closed off areas to the south and west of it. The town’s inhabitants have also experienced the cutting down of fruit orchards and house demolition due to the absence of building permits in Area C.

According to a military confiscation order handed to the villagers, the path of the Wall will stretch over 4890 meters between Beit Jala and al-Walaja, affecting 35 families, whose homes may be slated for demolition.

For more information call

Mahmud Zawahre 0599586004

--
The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) is a Palestinian-led non-violent resistance movement committed to ending Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian land. We call for full compliance with all relevant UN resolutions and international law.

60 injured by shells and machine guns in Gaza march to Erez crossing


From Maan news agency
Medics told Ma'an that at least 60 demonstrators were injured by artillery shells and gunfire as they approached the Erez crossing with Israel.

A medic told AFP that several hundred people had bypassed a Hamas checkpoint to come within a few hundred meters of a concrete border barrier installed by Israel along the pre-1967 border.

The injured were mostly children, and some were critically injured, medical officials said. One journalist was also injured. They were taken by ambulances to hospitals in the northern Gaza Strip...

...Meanwhile, violent clashes broke out at the Qalandiya checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem as Palestinian youngsters hurled stones, and troops responded with tear gas and rubber bullets.

At least five Palestinians were injured, one of whom was hit in the head by rubber bullets, medical sources said. more

Shooting on Lebanese border - plus reports 45 Gazans injured by Israeli fire

(pic: IDF soldier on wrong side of the Lebanese border)

Breaking news: Jerusalem Post - Unconfirmed reports at JPost that 45 Palestinians have been injured by IDF fire in Gaza and confrontation with Israeli troops on Lebanese border as they open fire to repel protest.

UN under-secretary-general calls for end to forced displacement of Palestinians as 4-day tour begins


Jerusalem (CNN) -- The U.N. humanitarian chief appealed Saturday for an end to forced displacement, one day before Palestinians are set to mark what they call the Nakba -- a day to commemorate the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians that accompanied the creation of Israel.

United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos arrived in Jerusalem for a four-day tour to the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel, her office said. She is expected to meet with members of the Palestinian leadership and also hopes to meet with Israeli authorities.

"These policies lead to forced displacement of Palestinians from Jerusalem and from the rest of the West Bank," Amos said in a statement about rules that limit new construction and the land available for Palestinian use.

"Palestinians must be able to plan and develop their communities. They must be able to access education and health care facilities and to conduct their professional and personal lives without restriction," she said.

She spoke just one day before Palestinians are expected to commemorate the Nakba -- translated as "catastrophe" in Arabic -- which commemorates the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in warfare that led to the establishment of Israel in 1948. More than 700,000 people fled or were forced from their homes during the fighting. more

Ramallah protester hit in head with rubber bullet as clashes with occupation forces intensify


Heavy clashes broke out near Ramallah in the West Bank on Sunday when youths clashed with Israeli troops as Palestinians mourned the anniversary of Israel's creation in 1948.

Palestinian youngsters hurled stones, and troops responded with tear gas and rubber bullets near the Qalandiya crossing between Ramallah and annexed east Jerusalem, medical sources and an AFP correspondent said.

At least five Palestinians were injured, one of whom was hit in the head by rubber bullets, medical sources told AFP. more

Military checkpoints were put in place this morning in Nablus.
West Bank, (Pal Telegraph)-Several military procedures were issued today by Israeli occupation authorities in Nablus city as Palestinians are marking the 63rd anniversary of A-Nakba Day.

Witnesses told SAFA News agency that Israeli soldiers erected military checkpoints along Nablus-Qalqilya road and at the main entrance of the city, searching Palestinians who confronted those checkpoints. more

IDF tanks fire two shells and machine guns as march approaches Gaza border fence


GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — A witness says Israeli troops have fired two tank shells and several rounds from machine guns as Palestinian marchers approached Gaza's border with Israel.

Medics say three people were wounded by gunfire. A witness says the tank shells landed in an empty field several hundred yards (meters) from the marchers. more

Italian activists follow in slain Vittorio Arrigoni's footsteps, crossing into Gaza Friday


Italian activists arrive in Gaza on Saturday as part of Freedom Flotilla 2. "Stay Human" was added to the name of the flotilla mission in honour of activist Vittorio Arrigoni, kidnapped and killed by salafists in Gaza last month:
Finally in Gaza

by the Stay Human Convoy

The sun had not yet risen in Cairo, as the Stay Human convoy began to prepare the departure for Gaza. The journey about to be embarked upon was one filled with expectations and hope. The importance of crossing the border at Rafah following the protests that brought down the Mubarak regime was on the minds of everyone, as well as the desire to remember Vittorio Arrigoni in the same place where he dedicated his life. The convoy will carry a message to the people of Palestine addressed to the entire world: Palestine is not alone, Vik's dreams are also ours, solidarity with those who struggle against oppression and exploitation knows no borders.

Ten checkpoints slow the journey. One in particular blocks it for 2.5 hours in the Sinai desert, with the usual issues, the same from the previous days, about not being able to cross Rafah. The Italian embassy "concerned and earnest" had announced that the convoy would never enter Gaza, but obviously the facts have proved him wrong: we are here!

The Stay Human Convoy now follows in the footsteps of Vittorio, imprinted in the land of Gaza and underscored by the spontaneous affection shown by the Palestinians who welcome our arrival. The Stay Human Convoy breathes in the determination, courage, and extreme humility of Vittorio, characteristics that we recognize in the unrelenting resistance of the Palestinian people. For many of us this is the first time crossing the border of the Gaza Strip, a victory for those who never surrendered, whether by land or by sea, to the categorical "Denied Entry": nothing to see here, no one to meet.
Vik 2 Gaza

The historical importance of the moment is heightened by the infectious enthusiasm of the many Palestinians present to welcome the convoy, who accompany us to Gaza City. Once there we retrace Vittorio's footsteps, in the places he frequented during his long stay in Gaza, where he met the friends that we now meet. To the tunes of Bella Ciao, Unadikom, and Gazawi rap, images of Vittorio greet our arrival.

Ciao Vik, Free Palestine.
Follow the Stay Human Convoy via vik2gaza.org/en/, twitter.com/vik2gaza, or www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002318810069&sk=wall.

Egypt's military prevents Gaza nakba convoy leaving from Tahrir Square


(pic: members of the Asia Aid Convoy arrive in Gaza in January this year - why no Egyptian convoy allowed?)

The Egyptian military has made all the right noises with regards Gaza, such as announcing its intention to permanently reopening the Rafah crossing, but its inaction in that regard is disappointing. The limits of the regime's solidarity is shown today in their banning of the convoy from going to Gaza. It will will be the Egyptian revolutionaries that will have to force the pace. From Egypt's former Mubarak mouthpiece, Ahram online:
As planned, hundreds gathered on Saturday in Tahrir Square with the aim of heading to the Egypt-Gaza border at Rafah. However, organisers say, the ruling military council ordered tourism offices not to send the buses rented as transport for the convoy as it set a ban on all journeys to the border.

Starting 9am, several hundred stood in Tahrir Square waving Palestinian and Egyptian flags, hoping to march towards Gaza to stage a sit-in on Sunday, 15 May, which marks the Palestinian Nakba Day, or day of catastrophe, in reference to the founding of Israel in May 1948. The convoy was not able to leave Cairo. more

UN to investigate night arrests, beatings, detention and torture of children by Israel


From the Popular Struggle Co-ordinating Committee
The Special Rapporteur’s expert opinion will be filed to the Ofer Military Court by the defense next Monday in a pre-trial hearing in the case of 14 year-old Islam Dar Ayyoub who was taken from his bed at gun-point by Israeli soldiers in the middle of the night and questioned unlawfully.

14 year-old Islam Dar Ayyoub was arrested on January 23 by a large group of soldiers who stormed his family’s home in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh in the middle of the night. He was taken from his bed at gunpoint , beaten up by the soldiers who arrested him and denied him sleep. His arrest, only a week after a previous military night-time raid on his house, is in line with a common Israeli tactic of callously arresting minors in order to use their confessions against many others in the quest to suppress anti occupation demonstrations.

In addition to the report prepared by the Special Rapporteur in regards to such unjustified arrests of minors in night-time military operations, defense witnesses will also include Adv. Lymor Goldstine on the denial of legal counsel, a psychiatrist’s expert opinion on the psychological effects of such arrests, as well as the testimony of the 14 year-old himself.

Despite being a minor, Dar Ayyoub was questioned by the Israeli police the following morning for nearly five hours, without being allowed sleep since his arrest. He was denied his right to legal counsel even while his lawyer was present at the police station, as well as his right to have a parent present during his questioning. more

Millions to march in Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt for Nakba Day as clashes erupt in Jerusalem


Clashes have broken out in East Jerusalem, with some arrests but no casualties reported as yet. 10,000 police are on duty throughout Israel, especially in areas with an Arab population, and the occupied territories. Meanwhile, at least seven extra battalions have been brought into the West Bank by the army. The West Bank was closed off by the Israelis on Saturday. According to Haaretz soldiers and border police have been given special instructions to restrain from using live fire. If that's the same restraint showed in Silwan on Friday which left one teenager dead (probably shot by a settlers according to relatives), then unfortunately, more deaths are likely.
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) – Millions of Palestinians are expected to join rallies Sunday to commemorate the Nakba, or "catastrophe," of 1948, when Israeli troops displaced hundreds of thousands from their lands and homes.

In the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, sirens will be heard at noon to mark the Nakba's 63rd anniversary as thousands of Palestinians take to the streets to demand the refugees' right to return to their homes and lands.

Huge rallies are expected in cities in Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and across the region. Thousands of protesters plan to head towards Israel's borders to show solidarity with Palestinians on Nakba Day. more