Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Boat crewed by internationals to set sail from Gaza City to monitor violations against fishermen

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The first monitoring boat in Gaza waters crewed by international citizens will set sail on Wednesday morning, activists said.

The vessel, named Oliva, will leave from Gaza City fishing port with crew from Spain, the US, Sweden and the UK, and accompany Gaza fisherman in the waters, organizers said in a statement released Tuesday.

"Violations of international law will be monitored, documented, and disseminated," the release from the Civil Peace Service said.

The organization said the initiative is in cooperation with local groups including the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, the Popular Struggle Coordination Committees, the Union of Agriculture Committees and Fishing and Marine Sports Association.
More background on the Gaza Civil Peace Service initiative can be found here.

Settlers set fire to Palestinian farmland, spray chemicals on grape vines and shoot at farmers

AL-KHALIL, (PIC)-- Jewish settlers from the settlement of Karmi Tzur built on Palestinian land in Halhul and Beit Ummar villages in Al-Khalil on Tuesday set Palestinian farmland on fire.

Local sources said that the settlers burnt three dunums of land cultivated with wheat and sprayed chemicals on grape vines.

They said that one of the settlers fired gunshots to stop farmers from putting off the fire. The settlers routinely embark on such acts to force farmers to abandon their land and annex it to the settlement. more

Rafah crossing to re-open Wednesday according to Palestinian officials

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- The crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip will be re-opened Wednesday after a four-day closure, the Palestinian official responsible for the Rafah terminal said Tuesday.

Ayyoub Abu Sha'ar said in a statement that the transit point would open normally in both directions for travel, and travelers on a list of passengers due to cross last Thursday and Saturday would be given priority. more

Peaceful protester shot marching to Erez crossing from Beit Hanoun in Naksa demo

From the Palestine Telegraph
Gaza Strip, (Pal Telegraph)-A Palestinian youth was shot on Tuesday as Israeli troops opened fire at a nonviolent demonstration organized in the town of Beit Hanoun in the north of Gaza Strip.

Adham Abu Silmiya, medical emergency spokesman, said that the man was injured by a bullet hit his neck after Israeli forces intensively opened fire at a protest near the border fence.

He added that the victim known as Mohammed al-Kafarna, in his twentieth, was evacuated to Kamal Udwan hospital to receive medication; his health condition was described as moderate. more
International Solidarity Movement report has more detail:
According to the doctor treating him, there were three pieces of metal lodged in his neck, thigh and abdomen. Mohammed is in a stable condition, which will be monitored over the next 24 hours while doctors decide whether or not to operate. more

Four Palestinians killed in armed clash between rival groups at funeral for Golan victims

From Lebanon's The Daily Star
DAMASCUS: Four people were killed at the Yarmuk Palestinian refugee camp in the Syrian capital on Monday after the funerals of nine people killed by Israeli fire on the Golan Heights, witnesses said.

They said two people were shot by militants of the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, and the PFLP-GC said two of its people were also killed.

Parents of those killed on the Golan blamed the heads of Palestinian groups based in Damascus, in particular PFLP-GC chief Ahmed Jibril, the witnesses said.

"Members of the PFLP-GC opened fire, killing two Palestinians," one resident of the camp said.

The group issued a statement saying that two of its senior men were also killed, naming them as central committee member Nasser Mubarak and Khaled al-Rayyan, an administrator.

The PFLP-GC in a statement accused "suspect groups... motivated by hostile feelings towards the resistance" of attacking Palestinian leaders. more

Canadian supporters of Israel's right to kill civilians with impunity try to smear flotilla activists

(pic: MP Alex-Atamanenko of Canadian NDP party)

The left-wing NDP party recently tripled its tally of seats in the Canadian parliament to become the official opposition for the first time and one of its veteran parliamentarians is throwing his weight behind Canadian Boat to Gaza. The right-wing pro-Israel crowd doesn't like it:
A year later, Canadian anti-Israel activists are hoping lightning strikes twice and are planning to sail a vessel from our shores to the Gaza Strip, despite the continuing Israeli military embargo. By forcing a confrontation with the Israelis, they hope to bring yet more international scorn down upon the Jewish State. They have a long list of supporters, including the usual suspects — but also one name that is a bit surprising: Alex Atamanenko, the freshly re-elected NDP MP for B.C. Southern Interior.

Mr. Atamanenko, first elected in 2006, has been quite public with his support of the Gazan cause before. He was quick to condemn Israel for the original flotilla incident. He also criticized its military operations against Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip in 2008 and 2009. His endorsement of the Canadian Boat to Gaza is therefore logically consistent, if nothing else.

When the NDP tripled its seat count in the last election, many pundits and politicos wondered how long before an unruly bunch of rookie MPs would begin to cause headaches for NDP leader Jack Layton. How unexpected that it should come from a five-year veteran of the NDP caucus, a veritable wise old man in a sea of new faces. more

Canada Boat to Gaza threatened by law case claiming mission aims to support terrorist group

TORONTO (JTA) -- A lawsuit filed in Toronto is seeking to block Canadian participation in the second international "Freedom Flotilla" to Gaza.

Cherna Rosenberg, a 68-year-old citizen of both Canada and Israel, filed her case June 2 in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Toronto against the Canadian Boat to Gaza and Alternatives International. The complaint charges these groups with raising funds for and providing material support to Hamas, which governs Gaza and which was declared a terrorist group by Canada in 2002.

Under Canadian law, it is illegal to help or support "a designated terror group," said Rosenberg's lawyers, Neil Sher of New York and Ed Morgan of Toronto, in a statement.

Rosenberg, who divides her time between Israel and Canada, is seeking an interim and permanent injunction prohibiting the defendants "from continuing to raise funds, purchasing equipment or supplies, and purchasing or renting a vessel for the purpose of delivering goods or funds to the Gaza Strip."

According to a statement of claim, which outlines a plaintiff's cause for action, the suit also seeks to block the defendants "from sending goods, funds or any other material support, directly or indirectly, to Hamas or any of its representatives, and/or from aiding and abetting Hamas by assisting in bringing imports and exports to and from the Gaza Strip."

An umbrella group representing about 100 Canadian organizations has unveiled plans to send a Canadian boat, called the Tahrir, to the Gaza Strip as part of the second international "Freedom Flotilla." more

Settlers set fire to mosque near Ramallah and leave racist graffiti on remains

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- A Ramallah-area mosque was torched overnight and its remains graffitied with racist anti-Arab slogans; witnesses said Israeli settlers were seen setting the fire at 3 a.m. on Wednesday morning.

Al-Mughayyir's village council said the building was nearly destroyed, and its contents incinerated, drawing condemnation of the third mosque torching in three years.

Eyewitnesses told Ma’an that a group of Israeli settlers arrived in the village before dawn, and shortly after they saw flames rising into the sky.

The vandals spray painted "Alei Ayin" on the walls, which is the name of a nearby settlement outpost demolished by Israeli police last week, sparking fierce clashes with the settlers. more

UN panel on Mavi Marmara killings due to report sometime in July says Ban Ki-Moon

(Reuters) - A much-delayed U.N. panel set up to investigate last year's Israeli attack on an aid convoy bound for Gaza is now due to report back next month, U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said on Monday.

"This panel is still discussing the incident," Ban told reporters. "They will bring me their recommendations and their findings some time in July."

...Diplomats and U.N. officials have said the panel has been held up by disputes between its Turkish and Israeli members. U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky suggested last month the group might not be able to produce a consensus document.

Ban said there was still no exact date for the panel to report and that it was "still working very, very hard." more