Sunday, 22 May 2011

Obama at AIPAC: backs Israel ahead of any consideration of Palestinian aspirations

Obama makes it clear where the US stands on the September vote on recognition of Palestinian state:
A unilateral United Nations recognition of an independent Palestinian would be a meaningless empty gesture, U.S. President Barack Obama told the BBC on Sunday, adding that Hamas and Fatah must consolidate to form a clear stance on Israel before peace talks could resume. more
Obama also addressed the annual gathering of AIPAC (American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee) to reassure them that US guarantee of Israeli security was 'ironclad'. US an honest broker? Don't think so.
US president goes before Jewish lobby in DC, says US commitment to Israel's security 'ironclad,' Washington won't stand for Israel's isolation in international arena. President further reassures: Israel, PA, to negotiate border different than 1967's more

Hebron settlers set fire to farmer's field as their childern chant 'death to Arabs'

(pic credit ISM)

From the International Solidarity Movement

22 May 2011 | International Solidarity Movement

On Thursday May 19 a part of the field of Abd al Kareim al Jabari in Western Hebron, where International Solidarity Movement activists have been present for the past ten days, was set on fire.

Settler children started to throw stones at the ISM activists as soon as they arrived at the farm on Thursday. At 3.40 PM, when the activists were helping the farmer on the land, smoke appeared from another part of the field which is just below a kindergarten in the illegal settlement of Givat Ha’avot. After approximately ten minutes the fire brigade of Kiryat Arba came and started to extinguish the fire, while children from the settlement sang songs and chanted “Death to the Arabs”.

The Israeli military, boarder police and police arrived and straight away requested proof of identity from the ISM activists, a B’tselem activist and one of the daughters of the family. Abd al Kareim al Jabari was told that a man from the illegal settlement claimed that he had seen the ISM activists setting fire to the field! This accuse was apparently confirmed by a settler guard from Kiryat Arba. After checking the identity of the activists and keeping their passports and ID cards for half-an-hour, the military and police drove away.

As ISM has reported earlier, the Jabari land is very exposed to settler violence as it lies between the illegal settlements of Kiryat Arba and Givat Ha’avot in Western Hebron.

Thanks to ISM

Contractors in Gaza to plan reconstruction including bomb shelters in homes and schools

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Some 100 businessmen from the West Bank will visit Gaza on Tuesday to push forward plans to reconstruct the coastal enclave.

Contractors' union chief Osama Ikheil said the plans included building bomb shelters in schools and homes to protect children and families from Israel's frequent raids on the Gaza Strip.

"That is part of the reconstruction plans to try and prepare for Israeli offensives," Ikheil said. more

Israeli occupation forces launch attacks on homes in Hebron and settlers go on racist rampage

AL-KHALIL, (PIC)-- Israeli occupation forces (IOF) fired teargas into citizens homes in the Old City of Al-Khalil on Saturday night and earlier wreaked havoc in a nearby village.

Witnesses said that Jewish settlers during a march in the Old City threw stones at Palestinian homes and burnt Palestinian flags and banners while shouting racial slurs.

They said that soldiers escorting the march fired teargas and sonic bombs at the Palestinians who retaliated to the settlers’ provocations.

The locals said that Palestinian ambulance vehicles carried 8 Palestinians to local clinics to be treated for gas inhalation including four children.

Meanwhile, an Israeli border police patrol stormed the village of Qalqas southeast of Al-Khalil city escorting an officer of the civil administration and military bulldozers. They closed the main road in the village and blocked hundreds from heading to their fields. more

Thanks to the Palestinian Information Center

Audio: Electronic Intifada's Ali Abunimah on US media coverage of Palestine after Nakba protests

This week on CounterSpin, the audio program of media watchdog FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting), The Electronic Intifada’s Ali Abunimah discussed US media coverage of Palestinian rights after the 15 May Nakba day protests and marches.

Listen to the MP3

30,000 Gazans denied passports by Palestinian Authority despite reconciliation agreement

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Demonstrators gathered in Gaza City on Saturday to protest the Palestinian Authority's refusal to grant passports to 30,000 Gaza residents.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza have have been unable to get passports issued by the Fatah-led PA, residents say, because of factional tensions, despite the recent reconciliation agreement signed between Fatah and Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip. more

Gaza students break siege with innovative and collaborative film project over Skype

(pic: still from Tears of Gaza - the Doha Film Institute providing funding for the award-winning film by Norwegian director Vibeke Lokkeberg)
Since March, for just a few hours every Thursday, a group of students in Gaza has been able to break the Israeli blockade of the Palestinian territory that has been in place since 2007. Their tools haven't been boats or tunnels, or anything that can be intercepted at the border, but technology.

Through Skype, this group of eight between the ages of 18 and 21 have been taking part in a film-making programme, with lectures and workshops that would normally be experienced face-to-face in a classroom instead given through a computer screen. The project, organised by the Doha Film Institute in co-operation with Al Fakhoora, an international organisation helping provide educational facilities and rights to Palestinian students, will give the students the knowledge and resources to shoot two short films, and should help establish an educational programme that will see many more follow in their footsteps. more

Flotilla organisers appeal to international community to protect humanitarian mission to Gaza

Gaza Strip, (Pal Telegraph)The European campaign to end the siege on Gaza Strip has appealed the international community to provide protection for the upcoming Freedom Flotilla 2, which is expected to sail in late June to Gaza Strip.

The campaign said in a press release that the Israeli threats to attack the flotilla is considered a violation to the international laws and conventions.

The campaign added that Israel in the last week opened fire at the Malaysian aid ship, which was sailing in the international territorial water, indicating that Israeli government will also attack participants of the next flotilla.

Malaysian foreign minister meeting Egyptian counterpart today over stranded aid ship

(pic: Matthias Chang, mission leader, is still on hunger strike)

The MV Finch (Spirit of Rachel Corrie got within one mile of the Gaza coast, the closest any ship has got since the blockade was imposed in 2007. See report at Global Research.
Bernama reporter Faizal Hassan who is onboard the ship, informed the Malaysian national news agency's headquarters in Kuala Lumpur via SMS that the situation was getting critical as the port authorities had not sent medical aid and clean water to the ship.

"Our water supply will run out any time soon," he lamented.

Faizal said the decision whether to allow MV Finch to enter and berth at El-Arish Port would depend on the meeting in Jakarta between Malaysia's Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman and his Egyptian counterpart.

He said all the 12 passengers and crew members of the ship hoped the meeting would bring good news to enable the PVC pipes meant for the people of Gaza to be unloaded and sent there.

Turkey to give 'necessary response to any repeated act of provocation by Israel on high seas'

From Haaretz
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu warned Israel not to act against a planned new aid flotilla to the Gaza Strip, the French Press Agency AFP reported on Saturday.

"It should be known that Turkey will give the necessary response to any repeated act of provocation by Israel on the high seas," Davutoglu was quoted as saying in an interview on NTV television. more