Thursday, 26 May 2011

Gaza fishermen call on the international commmunity to protect them from Israeli Navy

Gaza fishermen have asked the international community to intervene to lift the maritime siege imposed upon them by the Israeli government, reduce restrictions on their operations, and provide them with international protection.

Tens of fishermen organized a sit-in in the port of Gaza and chanted for an end to piracy and shooting by the Israeli navy. more

Video: Veolia AGM Paris May 17 - no escaping the boycott, divestment and sanctions backlash

[iGaza users: You can also watch the video in the Video section of the app by searching 'Veolia agm bds' and share from there.]

On Tuesday 17th May 2011 10 BDS activists from the UK, from various groups including London BDS, Palestine Solidarity Camapign, the BDS National Committee, as well as Innovative Minds travelled to Paris to show solidarity and support for french BDS activists in their action outside the Veolia AGM.

Three French BDS groups had come together for the action: Association France Palestine Solidarite (AFPS), Campagne BDS-France and CAPJPO EuroPalestine.

Veolia has long been complicit in Israels illegal occupation of Palestinian land.

Veolia is helping build and operate the Jerusalem Light Railway, a project which the UN Human Rights Council has declared is a "clear violation of international law". The tram line runs across stolen Palestinian land connecting illegal Israeli settlements to Israel thereby helping consolidate the occupation.

Veolia also runs bus services for Israeli settlers running on apartheid highway 443 which is built on expropriated Palestinian land which until recently was totally barred to Palestinians.

Veolia's shameful crimes in Palestine also includes the Tovlan landfill site it operates in the occupied Jordan Valley where it helps Israel dump its toxic waste on to Palestinian land next to the Palestinian village of Abu Ajaj. The villagers now suffer persistent breathing problems and their animals have shorter lives and more still births are recorded.

The Veolia AGM was held at the conference hall in the Carrousel du Louvre, a shopping centre located in the Louvre Palace.

Inside the Carrousel, around 35 BDS activists from france the uk united to inform Veolia's shareholders of Veolia's crimes in Palestine.

Whilst security personnel prevented banners from being unfurled and prevented filming of the action they did not prevent the activists from holding placards and giving out leaflets to shareholders as they entered the AGM. In the AGM, shareholder after shareholder raised concerns about Veolia's actions in Palestine and the resulting loss of contracts around the word due to the BDS movement. Their questions dominated the AGM and received applause from the floor.

Veolia's chairman clearly shaken, abruptly cut the microphone, but it was too late. The bds activists had succeeded. Veolia's dirty secrets were out and Veolia's shareholders were asking questions and demanding answers.

Israel gets ready for internet war as flotilla looms and statehood vote comes in September

From The Marker (Haaretz)
The closer the date of the unilateral declaration approaches, the more the denizens of Internet are coming to life, promoting their opinions with ever-accelerating urgency. Their battle zone is the social media. You can see it in the Facebook statuses - for and against, in Twitter messages and in protest video clips on YouTube. The nearer September approaches, and with it the UN debate, the more this online activity is likely to escalate. But don't think the State of Israel is leaving the battlefield to the amateurs.

"We are intensively preparing ahead of September," says Chaim Shacham, head of the information and Internet department at the Foreign Ministry. Think of him as the Israeli government's tweeter.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor adds: "We all expect something to happen in September. We don't know what yet, but clearly there's going to be some sort of diplomatic development. We have our finger on the pulse in terms of the social media too." more

Egypt demanding Malaysian aid ship's sewage pipes transferred via Israel instead of Rafah

From Ahram Online
Activists on a Malaysian aid ship that had been bound for Gaza refused to hand their cargo to Egypt on Thursday, saying they feared it would end up in Israel.

They had tried to land in Gaza last week but changed course when the Israeli navy fired warning shots.

Matthias Chang, who is heading the mission for the Perdana Global Peace Foundation, told AFP the group was not consulted when the Malaysian and Egyptian governments worked out a deal to end the impasse. Chang said Egypt had insisted the cargo be discharged and transported via Kaern Shalom, at the Israeli border in Gaza.

"We are not assured that this cargo would in fact be delivered to Gaza, as in the past... most of the humanitarian aid was laid to waste in Israel," he added.

Chang also questioned Cairo's refusal to allow the cargo, consisting of 7.5 kilometres (4.6 miles) of sewage pipes, to be transferred via the Rafah crossing -- Gaza's only crossing that bypasses Israel -- given that it would be open this weekend.

"This turn of events demonstrates the insincerity of the Egyptian government and their implicit endorsement of the illegal siege when they explicitly stated they would permanently open the Rafah crossing," Chang said. more

Establishment of $1 billion investment fund announced for Gaza reconstruction

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Muhammad Mustafa, the Palestine Investment Fund president, announced Thursday the establishment of a $1 billion investment fund for the reconstruction of Gaza.

The rumored top candidate for the role of prime minister in the new technocrat government arrived in Gaza on Wednesday, to coordinate reconstruction efforts and meet with prominent contractors and businesspeople. more

Israeli ministers inaugurate massive illegal settlement in East Jerusalem

More land grabbing and ethnic cleansing, Israeli style.
Israeli government Ministers have inaugurated a new Jewish-only settlement in East Jerusalem. A ceremony including Jerusalem mayor Mayor Nir Barkat and Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan officially opened the Ma'aleh Zeitim settlement, in East Jerusalem's Ras al-Amud neighbourhood...

...The settlement is funded by Jewish American millionaire Irwin Moskowitz. more

Three more European boats with passengers from five countries join Freedom Flotilla 2

London, UK – May 26, 2011 – Despite the Israeli government’s continuing use of violence to stop international support from reaching Gaza by sea, three more ships carrying passengers from France, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Italy will join Freedom Flotilla 2 in late June. The European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza (ECESG), one of the flotilla's sponsors, said the ships will carry country-level legislators and members of the European Parliament among their passengers, which will number in the hundreds.

"I am sure the recent Israeli fire on the Malaysian ship, the Spirit of Rachel Corrie, was meant as warning for the flotilla, but we will not be deterred," said Anouar Gharbi, A member of the ECESG. "The ruling South African government also fought back against early attempts to end apartheid, but eventually it was forced to change by the power of the people. Veterans of that fight for human rights say that the Israeli apartheid in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is even worse, and it will take the same kind of international solidarity to bring it down."

The Spirit of Rachel Corrie, a Malaysian-owned ship sponsored by the Perdana Global Peace Foundation and carrying pipes to help repair the devastated sewage system in Gaza, was intercepted and attacked by the Israeli naval forces on May 16. Passengers included seven Malaysians, two Irishmen, two Indians and one Canadian.The ship was forced to anchor in Egyptian waters one and a half nautical miles from the Gazan shore. It remains there today. Nine flotillas have attempted sail to Gaza since August 2008 to break Israel's illegal stranglehold, three of which have been co-sponsored by the ECESG. Five of those flotillas were successful in entering Gaza; however, they were violently intercepted on the past four voyages -- including last years, which was organized by the Freedom Flotilla Coalition -- an international Coalition that brought all of the sponsors under one umbrella. On May 31, 2010, the Israeli military attacked the six-ship Freedom Flotilla, as it was called, killing nine of the passengers on the lead boat, the Mavi Marmara.

Gharbi noted that the Freedom Flotilla 2 -- using the slogan "Stay Human" in honor of Vittorio Arrigoni, an Italian peace activist killed in Gaza earlier this year -- will include the largest number of ships yet (still being finalized, but more than 10), which this time will depart from ports throughout the Mediterranean. The three new ships just announced will leave from Marseille, France; Genoa, Italy; and a port yet to be named in Germany. Other European countries to be represented in the flotilla are Sweden, Belgium, Greece, Spain, the UK and Ireland. Elsewhere, ships are being sent by delegations from the United States, Canada, Latin America, Africa and Asia.

Israel has controlled the Palestinian people for 63 years, since more than 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes or fled out of fear following the creation of Israel in 1948. That control intensified in 1967, when Israel occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip. Although Israel withdrew its settlers from Gaza in 2005, it has continued to control the inhabitants’ lives; since 2007, it has prevented most human traffic in and out of the densely populated Strip, while restricting imports and banning virtually all exports. The impact: More than 75 percent of Palestinians in Gaza live under the poverty line.

“There is nothing in international law that supports Israel’s four-year-long blockade of Gaza, or its attacks on humanitarian shipments in international or Palestinian waters,” Gharbi said. “In fact, as stated by the normally neutral International Committee of the Red Cross, Israel’s collective punishment of the residents of Gaza is itself a clear violation of international humanitarian law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

For more details:

The European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza (ECESG)

Tel.: 00 44 7728021097