Monday, 16 May 2011

Video: the Qalandaiya checkpoint protest under attack on Nakba Day 2011


From The Electronic Intifada - This dramatic video documents protesters marching on Qalandiya checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank.

Israeli soldiers fire tear gas at the undeterred youthful crowd.

Approximately 250 protesters were injured during the demonstration, mainly from tear gas inhalation, but forty were seriously wounded from rubber-coated steel bullets fired by Israeli soldiers. more

Israeli occupation forces attack West Bank's Al-Arroub refugee camp's Nakba demonstration


AL-KHALIL, (PIC)-- Israeli occupation forces (IOF) attacked Palestinian citizens in Arub refugee camp in Al-Khalil on Monday with gas and sonic bombs causing suffocation among many of them.

Local sources said that Palestinian students marched in the streets of the camp north of Al-Khalil to commemorate the Nakba but were met with violent force on the part of the IOF.

They said that the soldiers also used rubber-coated bullets to disperse the peaceful march.

Meanwhile, Israeli police arrested a Palestinian youth in Majdal Shams in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights on Monday after managing to cross the border from Syria among hundreds others who were marching on the Nakba anniversary. They were returned to Syria with the exception of a few.

It said in a statement that policemen arrested the 30-year-old youth while in a taxicab en route to Jerusalem. It added that the Jerusalemite driver was also detained.

The Israeli occupation police and border police intensified presence in the Golan and installed roadblocks on the outskirts of Majdal Shams to apprehend those who remained behind and did not return to Syria.

Thanks to PIC

Palestinian Authority condemned for crackdown on Hebron protests


The Palestinian Authority security forces also broke up Nakba protests yesterday (15 May). See below report from the Palestinian Center for Human Rights on events in Hebron. Also report at Electronic Intifada.

From the Palestinian Center For Human Rights

PCHR Condemns the Violent Dispersion of Peaceful Assembly in Hebron on the Anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba

Monday, 16 May 2011 10:30

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the violent dispersion by Palestinian security services of a peaceful demonstration organized in Hebron on Sunday, 15 May 2011. The demonstration was on the 63rd anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba – the uprooting of the Palestinian people from their lands in 1948. Human rights defenders were prevented from carrying out their work and materials relevant to their work were confiscated. PCHR calls upon the government in Ramallah to respect the right to peaceful assembly and public liberties, which are ensured under the constitution and international human rights standards.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR and eyewitnesses’ testimonies, on Sunday at approximately 12:00, 15 May 2011, numerous Palestinian police and security officers were deployed at al-Zawia Square in the old town of the southern West Bank town of Hebron. They prevented dozens of participants from marching towards Area B, which is under full control of Israeli forces, in commemoration of the 63rd anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba. The police and security officers used force to disperse and drive the demonstrators away from the area. A number of demonstrators were violently beaten. Additionally, police and security officers confiscated a camera from Hisham Sharbati, a journalist and a field worker for al-Haq, and prevented him from reporting on these incidents.

Security officers also confiscated the mobile phone of Manal No’man al-Ja’bari, a field worker from B’Tselem – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, while she was photographing a security officer beating a young female student. A person wearing civilian clothes approached al-Ja’bari and introduced himself as a police officer. He took her mobile phone and deleted all the photographs from the phone’s memory. He then prevented her from working in the area.

In light of the above:

1) PCHR calls upon the government in Ramallah to seriously investigate attacks on participants at the peaceful assembly in Hebron.
2) PCHR emphasizes that the right to peaceful assembly is ensured under the Palestinian Basic Law and international human rights standards.
3) PCHR calls upon Palestinian security services to respect international human rights standards, the Palestinian Basic Law and relevant laws.

PCHR

Liberation back on the agenda as Arab Spring comes to Palestine


From the BBC "Palestinians are feeling emboldened and inspired":
"We will fight and fight until the Israelis leave this land. It belongs to us and we will liberate it," cried a Palestinian boy in his teens in the West Bank town of Ramallah on Sunday.

Palestinians are feeling emboldened and inspired.

"The Israelis are on the back foot. The Arab Spring has given us momentum," says Husam Zomlot, a senior official with the Palestinian Fatah Party.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians demonstrated over the weekend from Gaza to the Golan Heights. They were marking the Nakba.

In Arabic it means "Catastrophe" - the moment, 63 years ago, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians lost their homes amid the fighting after the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.

Counting their descendents, the United Nations says there now around five million Palestinians classed as refugees.

These were the biggest Nakba day demonstrations for years. In Ramallah, I watched as more than 1,000 protesters marched down the dusty dual carriageway towards Qalandia, the main Israeli checkpoint dividing the West Bank from Jerusalem. more

Malaysian aid ship will head to Egypt's El Arish port to complete mission to Gaza via land route


KUALA LUMPUR, May 16 (Bernama) -- All 12 people, including seven Malaysians, two Irish nationals, two Indians, a Canadian and crew members on board 'MV Finch' [Spirit of Rachel Corrie - Moldovian-flagged] will now use the land route to accomplish their humanitarian aid mission to the people of Gaza in Palestine.

Perdana Global Peace Foundation (PGPF) representative in Jordan, Tan Sri Dr Samsudin Hitam told Bernama when contacted in Amman today that the vessel was still in Egyptian waters and expected to arrive at the Port of El Arish in Egypt when given the green light by the authorities.

"Currently the ship has been forced to anchor in Egyptian waters, 30 nautical miles from Gaza. We are waiting for word from El Arish," he said.

Dr Samsudin said the journey by land to Gaza would take about three hours and most likely lorries would be used to transport the PVC sewage pipes and the members of the mission.

"All passengers and crew are safe although the journey to Gaza by sea was halted when Israeli naval forces had forcefully turned the ship away while approaching the shores of the Gaza Strip," said Dr Samsudin. more

Two-hour general strike on West Bank for yesterday's fallen as violence flares in Hebron


Israel has extended its closure of the West Bank by 24 hours. At least 100 injured across the West Bank yesterday and 172 (and one dead) in Gaza. Nine arrested in Hebron today. All together 13 people were killed yesterday in Lebanon, Syria and Gaza.
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Islamic and national factions had called for a two-hour general strike in the West Bank on Monday, to mourn those killed during events marking the 63rd anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba.

Coordinator of the factions Wasel Abu Yousef said the strike would begin at 8:00 am and end at 10:00 am, saying the hours would allow Palestinians to commemorate the Palestinians and Syrians killed "while defending their right to return to their land." more

Egyptian police fire tear gas to stop protesters entering Israeli embassy


Egyptian security forces clashed Monday with protesters demonstrating outside the Israeli embassy in Cairo over the anniversary of what they call the Nakba, the disenfranchisement of Palestinian Arabs during Israel's 1948 War of Independence. The rally followed calls on Facebook for Arabs to march on Israel on Sunday in support of the Palestinians.

At least 350 demonstrators were injured and several were arrested when armed forces responded with rubber bullets and tear gas as a group of protesters tried to gain access to the building, Al-Jazeera reported. more

Reports Israel backs down and releases Palestinian Authority tax money frozen since accord


TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma'an) -- The Union of Civil Servants announced Monday that salaries will be in the banks later in the day, following confirmation that Israel would resume tax transfers to the Palestinian Authority.

A PA government spokesman, however, said he could not confirm the announcement, adding that the payments would be made when Israel transferred the cash.

Israel said it "got confirmation from the Palestinians that no [tax revenue] money will be transferred to Hamas or to terrorist operations," allowing the country's finance ministry to resume cash transfers, reports said Sunday night. more

Video: IDF firing on protesters at the Golan Heights to prevent border crossing


New video shows Israeli soldiers firing as mass marchers enter Golan

New video published by the website jawlany.com shows Israeli forces in the occupied Golan Heights attempting to prevent hundreds of marchers crossing across the border fence from the Syrian-controllled side on 15 May 2011.

Exposed: the undercover units rounding up Palestinians after Nakba protests - Electronic Intifada


Photo: Gun-toting Israeli soldier disguised as Palestinian woman

Screenshot of a New York Times photostory documenting an undercover, armed Israeli agent disguised as a Palestinian woman protester.

In this exclusive interview with The Electronic Intifada, independent journalist Jon Elmer describes how undercover Israeli forces disguised as Palestinians arrested demonstrators during a Nakba protest at the Qalandiya checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem today.

Mere seconds after we published the interview, Jared Malsin, a journalist and occasional contributor to The Electronic Intifada, tweeted the above Reuters photo published in a photostory by The New York Times.

The photo depicts an undercover Israeli agent, dressed as a Palestinian civilian, being loaded into an Israeli police vehicle after “helping detain a Palestinian protester,” as The New York Times caption explains. more

Aid ship fired on by Israel forced to anchor in Egyptian waters, 1.5 miles from Gazan territorial waters

(pic: Spirit of Rachel Corrie Ship - Photo by PGPF)
Egypt – PNN – Israeli Naval forces attacked and intercepted on Monday morning aid boat named “The Spirit of Rachel Corrie Mission” off the Gaza coast. The ship’s 12 crew and passengers are safe. Currently the ship has been forced to anchor in the Egyptian waters at one and a half nautical miles from the Gazan waters. The vessel left the Port of Piraeus, Greece on Wednesday, May 11.

The humanitarian initiative is sponsored by Perdana Global Peace Foundation (PGPF) and participating in this mission includes anti-war activists and journalists from the Asian, American and European continents.

The cargo ship The Spirit of Rachel Corrie (officially known as FINCH) is carrying 7.5 kilometers of UPVC (plastic) sewage pipes to help restore the devastated sewerage system in Gaza. The ship was named after the courageous American activist who was crushed and killed by an Israeli bulldozer in 2003 while trying to prevent the demolition of another Palestinian home. She died at 23. more

Egypt coordinates with Israel to stop Gaza-bound Malaysian aid ship delivering sewage pipes


Latest from Global Research
In a subsequent communication from the boat, it would appear that Israel sought the active collaboration of Egypt in the interception of the humanitarian mission to Gaza, involving prior coordination between the Israelis and the Egyptian navy.


UPDATE

AFP REPORT

The first press reports state that

"Israeli naval forces fired warning shots at a Malaysian ship carrying aid to Gaza as it approached the shore, forcing it to withdraw to Egyptian waters, the vessel's Malaysian organiser told AFP."

"The MV Finch, carrying sewage pipes to Gaza, had warning shots fired at it by Israeli forces in the Palestinian security zone this morning at 0654 Jordan time (0354 GMT)," said Shamsul Azhar from the Perdana Global Peace Foundation.

Israeli naval forces fired warning shots at a Malaysian ship carrying aid to Gaza as it approached the shore, forcing it to withdraw to Egyptian waters, the vessel's Malaysian organiser told AFP.

"The MV Finch, carrying sewage pipes to Gaza, had warning shots fired at it by Israeli forces in the Palestinian security zone this morning at 0654 Jordan time (0354 GMT)," said Shamsul Azhar from the Perdana Global Peace Foundation.

"Currently the ship has been forced to anchor in Egyptian waters, 30 nautical miles from Gaza," he told AFP." [emphasis added]

The information we have received from the ship is that (1) these were not "warning shots" as conveyed in the press reports.

The ship was (2) in international waters when it was attacked by Israel in violation of international law.

Global Research Articles by Michel Chossudovsky
more

BREAKING NEWS: Israel Attacks Humanitarian Ship to Gaza in International Waters

--iGaza users - zoom out to see full regional map--
Montreal, 12.30 AM EST,

by Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research has been in contact with the Spirit of Rachel Corrie, a Malaysian ship carrying a humanitarian aid cargo to Gaza, which has been attacked in international waters by Israel.

The vessel left the Port of Piraeus, Greece on Wednesday, May 11 carrying 7.5 kilometers of UPVC (plastic) sewage pipes to help restore the devastated sewerage system in Gaza. The humanitarian initiative is sponsored by Perdana Global Peace Foundation (PGPF) and participating in this mission includes anti-war activists and journalists, consisting of 7 Malaysians, 2 Irish, 2 Indians and 1 Canadian.

The Spirit of Rachel Corrie is an initiative of The Perdana Global Peace Foundation (PGPF) chaired by Malaysia's former Prime minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamed. The Center for Research on Globalization (CRG) (Global Research) is also participating in this mission.

At 10.54 pm Eastern Time (EDT), the Spirit of Rachel Corrie was intercepted by an Israeli ship and a Egyptian ship in international waters.

10:54pm EDT, Gaza 5:54am: We have been intercepted by Israeli ship and Egyptian ship. We are disobeying the orders and sailing ahead to Gaza.

10:57pm EDT, Gaza 5:57am: One Israeli warship coming to us very fast! We are in international waters, therefore they have no right to attack us. We are still sailing ahead.

10:59pm EDT, Gaza 5:59am: They are opening fire across our ship! We are still sailing ahead.

11:09pm EDT, Gaza 6:09am: They are shooting all over the place. We can't continue ...

11:35pm EDT, Gaza 6:35am: They circled our ship twice and fired across our ship. Machine guns. No one was injured. One of the fishing nets caught the propeller, so we can't move now.

11:37pm EDT, Gaza 6:37am: The Israeli ship was coming from one end and the Egyptian ship was coming from another end. Firing. We are just stalled now. Everybody is okay. No one is injured.

In a subsequent communication from the boat, it would appear that Israel sought the collaboration of Egypt in the interception of the humanitarian mission to Gaza, involving prior coordination between the Israelis and the Egyptian navy.

We will be informing our readers as events unfold.