Saturday, 21 May 2011

Spreading prisoner hunger strikes enter sixth day as coordinating committee formed

GAZA, (PIC)-- Palestinians jailed in Israeli prisons have formed a joint committee to manage a wide-ranging hunger strike, the Gaza prisoner affairs ministry reports.

The move was made so that decisions are strong and unified, and so the prison administration would not be able to influence decisions and divide the participants.

The committee specifies the days when the prisoners would fast and the time the fast would turn into an open-ended strike, said Riyadh al-Ashkar, the ministry's media director, on Friday.

Palestinians held in six Israeli prisons have gone on hunger strike for the sixth straight day after they were joined by prisoners at the Hadarim and Jilboa facilities earlier in the week.

The prisoners have pledged not to break the strike until they receive their rights as the prison authority has taken heavy sanctions against them.

Prisoners in Hadarim have been placed in isolation and denied use of the laundry room and undergone restrictions in recreation time and movement after the strike began.

Also as a penalty, the Ramon prison has banned family visits and purchasing canteen products. All prisoners receive their needs from canteen as the prison does not give them supplies.

The ministry called for the public's participation with the prisoners in order to manifest their suffering and ensure pressure on Israel.

Thanks to PIC

Russia expels Israel's military attache over espionage targeting military ties with Arab states

MOSCOW, (PIC)-- Russia has confirmed that it expelled Israel's military attaché Vidal Leidermen after arresting him for trying to obtain information on Russia's military relations with Arab countries.

A statement by the Russian federal security services (FSB) said Leiderman was assigned by the Israeli intelligence to get secret information from government officials about the range of bilateral relations between Russia and the Arab countries in military and technology, and the aid Russia was giving to those nations.

The documents and evidence clearly demonstrate that Leiderman had taken hostile steps against Russia, the statement added. more

Palestinian refugees plan mass return marches to Israel's borders on 5 June

JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Masses of Palestinian refugees will march to Israel's borders and ceasefire lines again on June 5, organizers of the May 15 "return rally" said. more

Palestinian teenager shot dead by Israeli troops east of Gaza City near border fence

TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian man in Gaza early Saturday, medical officials and the army said.

The unidentified man's body was removed from Al-Bureij refugee camp and transferred to Al-Aqsa Hospital, medics said. more

update from PIC:
BREIJ, (PIC)-- A Palestinian teen was killed at dawn Saturday when the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) fired at him east of Breij refugee camp in central Gaza Strip.

The IOF command announced that its forces spotted the Palestinian while crawling toward the security fence and shot at him.

Local sources earlier said that the IOF troops opened intensive fire at agricultural land in the same area.

Spokesman for the medical services Adham Abu Salmiya told the PIC that ambulance teams retrieved the body of a 17-year-old youth from the area. Local sources identified the martyr as Ibrahim Farajallah from Nusseirat refugee camp.

Dwindling water supplies on Malaysian aid ship with Egypt still refusing permission to berth

From Bernama

JITRA, May 21 (Bernama) -- The Perdana Global Peace Foundation (PGPF) will continue with its mission to send humanitarian aid to besieged Gaza Strip despite its aid ship, the MV Finch, encountering a number of problems and obstacles.

PGPF advisor Datuk Mukhriz Tun Mahathir said the foundation had from the outset realised the risks involved in undertaking the endeavour.

Mukhriz hoped that the cargo vessel, which had been blocked by Israeli forces from approaching Gaza, would be allowed to berth at the El-Arish port by the Egyptian authorities...

..."Food supplies have been brought to the ship but it's facing dwindling water supply," said Mukhriz.

He expressed hope that the Egyptian authorities would be more considerate, given that the sole objective of the mission was to deliver much-needed humanitarian supplies to Gazans.

"We also hope that Wisma Putra (Malaysian Foreign Ministry) would be able to help us out. We consider Egypt as a friend of ours," he added. more

While US and Israel argue rest of the world moves on as Israel isolation deepened by Arab Spring

From US Washington politics site The Hill
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is sure to grab the lion’s share of the spotlight with speeches scheduled at a joint session of Congress and at AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee) and a meeting with President Barack Obama.

But in the world beyond the Beltway, Netanyahu is seen as the main stumbling block to peace, and his expected media blitz won’t help him spin his vision of a greater Israel dominating most of the land and resources between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, with a Palestinian statelet under its control. Nor will the pre-visit announcement that Israel is planning to construct even more illegal settler homes in occupied East Jerusalem.

It’s just as well that President Obama did not present a detailed vision for Middle East peace in his State Department speech today. He has lost considerable credibility given his inability to secure a settlement freeze, let alone a withdrawal of Israeli soldiers and settlers from the occupied territories. Instead, President Obama simply restated some known U.S. positions with seeming firmness – two states, agreed land swaps – and assured Israel of unwavering U.S. support without sticking his neck out on issues such as the Palestinian refugees’ right of return or Jerusalem. Sadly, his silence about the illegality of Israel’s settlement enterprise only emboldens the settlers.

Israel and America – the former accustomed to exercising absolute power over the Palestinians and the latter so practiced in pressuring the weaker party – still insist that direct negotiations are the only way forward, an absurd posture after 20 years of failure.

Meanwhile, the world has moved on. more

Exposed: proof Ahava Cosmetics steals Palestinian resources and violates international law

From the International Solidarity Movement
After years of strenuous denial, Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories, an Israeli cosmetics firm with its main manufacturing plant in an illegal West Bank settlement, is proven by documentary evidence to be in violation of international law through its theft of Palestinian resources. This evidence was recently discovered by Who Profits, a research project of the Israeli Coalition for Peace, which documents corporate activity in the Israeli occupation of Palestinian and Syrian territory.

Prior to this finding representatives of Ahava repeatedly claimed that the company does not make use of natural resources from the West Bank: “the mud and materials used in Ahava cosmetics products are not excavated in an occupied area. The mud is mined in the Israeli part of the Dead Sea, which is undisputed internationally”. The new findings prove that the company was given a license for excavating minerals in 2004 from the Israeli Civil Administration, which is the representative of the Israeli government in the Occupied West Bank, and that the excavation site on the occupied shores of the Northern Dead Sea is currently active. By making use of mud that is excavated in the occupied area the company is violating international humanitarian law (the laws of occupation), which prohibits the plundering of natural resources from the occupied territory. Merav Amir, Coordinator of Who Profits, said, “Ahava can no longer continue misleading consumers about where they get the mud used in their products. This mud is from the Occupied West Bank and is stolen from the Palestinian people.”

Nancy Kricorian, the manager for CODEPINK’s Stolen Beauty Ahava Boycott (, an international campaign against the company’s violations of international law, said, “Ahava’s CEO has been circulating a letter to retailers that we thought was filled with lies, and now Who Profits has provided us with the evidence to prove it.”

The company is still reeling from the public relations setback of an explosive new report issued on May 5th by B’tselem, a leading Israeli human rights group, which calls Ahava out by name as an occupation profiteer. Ahava representatives have yet to respond to B’tselem’s report, and the company’s reputation is now further tarnished by this just discovered documentary proof of its violations of international law.

Two seriously injured at weekly Bil'in village anti-apartheid wall demonstration

(video: from last week's Bil'in demo)
On Friday, in the weekly march in Bil'in organized by the Popular Committee Against the Wall with the participation of Sa'di Tameezi, the Palestinian ambassador to Vietnam, two young men were injured, and dozens of people suffered from the effects of tear gas fired by Israeli soldiers.

Dozens of Palestinians were joined by international and Israeli activists, commemorating the 14 people who were killed in the demonstrations held on the anniversary of the Nakba last Sunday. more
Bil'in village website is here

Hamas says Netanyahu intransigence shows 'absurdity of useless' talks, calls for resistance

Gaza City: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's rejection of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders shows the "absurdity" of talks with Israel, according to Hamas.

"The announcement from Netanyahu that there would be no retreat from the borders of the Occupied Territories proves the absurdity of negotiations and the pointlessness of continuing to run after the mirage of a compromise...," spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said yesterday.

"We call for the adoption of an Arab and Palestinian strategy based on resistance and the preservation of our rights in the face of this Israeli arrogance," he added.

"We in Hamas confirm our response to these declarations that we do not recognise the legitimacy of the (Israeli) occupation of an inch of the land of Palestine," he said. more
Hamas is calling for a strategy of resisitance:
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said Netanyahu's remarks showed that "negotiations with Israel were useless and it would be a mistake to continue to count on reaching a compromise."

In light of Netanyahu's remarks, Hamas would not recognize Israel's occupation of any part of Palestine, Abu Zuhri added.

The Hamas official called on Palestinians to confront "Israeli arrogance" with a Palestinian and Arab strategy based on resistance and insistence on in the inalienable Palestinian rights. more

Video: Omar Barghouti responds to Obama speech - US still opposes our basic rights

Leading Palestinian human rights activist and BDS advocate Omar Barghouti: "The US continues to oppose Palestinian basic rights, Arabs will make their own democracy." But Obama's speech was still too much for Netanyahu: he won't accept 1967 borders or return of refugees.