Thursday, 9 June 2011

Palestinian prisoner denied treatment for brain tumour enters seventh day of hunger strike


Ramallah - PNN - Issa Qaraqe, Palestinian Minister of Political Detainee Affairs, warned on Wednesday of an uprising that may happen by Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli military detention facilities.

The Palestinian official explained that Akram Mansour, a Palestinian political prisoner, is undergoing a hunger strike for the sixth consecutive day, in protest of the military refusal to provide him with medical care after he was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Karka said that this situation, if it continues, will lead to an uprising by the political detainees, who demand the release of the sick prisoner.

Qaraqe announced that the Israeli prison administration is responsible for the life of the prisoners, adding that the policy it is implementing to deal with the Mansour case is slowly killing him. more

Sixty settlers storm Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque and vandalise courtyard


Occupied Jerusalem, June 08 (QNA) - Extremist Israeli groups of settlers broke into the courtyards of Al-Aqsa mosque on what they called the occasion of "Shavuot Holiday".

Media coordinator in Al-Aqsa Foundation for Islamic Heritage Mahmoud Abu Atta said that a group of extremist settlers consists of about 60 persons stormed the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque, and began breaking and vandalizing its contents.

He added that Israeli forces, which came and supported extremist settlers, kidnapped one of prayers. On Tuesday morning, Israeli extremist settler burnt a mosque in Almogheir village in Ramallah. (QNA)

Deliberate medical neglect at Ramle prison hospital leads to rising number of sick detainees


GAZA, (PIC)-- The Waed society catering for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails has called on human rights groups to visit those jails especially the Ramle prison hospital to see for themselves the medical neglect and the conditions of those who are permanently held there.

Waed said in a statement on Wednesday that the number of sick detainees was constantly rising amidst growing deliberate medical neglect on the part of the Israeli prison service (IPS).

Recalling that many prisoners died as a result of such policy, the society warned of the recurrence of that phenomenon especially when the IPS imposes absolute secrecy on files of those prisoners.

It called for accelerating surgeries for those in need, pointing out that list of names include one who has been waiting for his turn for surgery for the past three years.

The society blamed the Red Cross and human rights groups for not shedding light on and catering for those cases. It finally invited Palestinian masses to attend its rallies in support of prisoners to be organized next week. PIC

Israel worries over impact of international activists on occupation's ability to repress protests

(Bassem Abu Rahme, killed at Bi'lin protest against the Apartheid Wall)

From Israel's Ynet News
Naksa Day, 11 am. Tensions are already palpable near the Qalandiya checkpoint. IDF soldiers equipped with crowd dispersal means are confronted by dozens of Palestinians including a small group of youngsters with gas masks and Palestinian flags.

Two tall European-loking girls suddenly emerge from the crowd and approach the photographers standing in between the parties. Behind them, and unknown to the two, two Palestinians emerge and hurl bottles full of foul-smelling material at the soldiers and escape. The soldiers respond by firing shock grenades. The conflict begins.

This is just one example of the presence of new players in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in recent years. Foreign solidarity activists can be found in Qalandiya, Bilin, Nabi Saleh and virtually any other site where Palestinians and security forces clash.

"Our organization, which started as small group about a decade ago, has become an all-out phenomenon in which solidarity movements from around the world take part," Netta Golan, one of the founders of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) says.

"Before we started, the IDF would use live ammunition to disperse demonstrations. Our presence has brought on the use of non-lethal means since they know that we, as well as Israeli activists, are among the protestors."

Golan, an Israeli woman residing in Ramallah, claims this is an ISM victory which "allows protestors to resist without killing or being killed."

Israel, on its part, tries to trace the activists before they arrive in Israel and prevents them entering the country by arresting and deporting them. The activists plan on fighting this policy by staging an event at the Ben Gurion Airport next month. Many solidarity activists, hoping to embarrass the Israeli government, plan on arriving in Israel. more

Iran and Indonesia plan parliamentary-led aid mission to Gaza before Ramadan


Iran and Indonesia plan to organize a multi-national parliamentary mission in an effort to break the Israeli-imposed siege of Palestine's impoverished Gaza Strip since 2007.

Visiting Iranian Majlis (parliament) Speaker Ali Larijani called on Thursday for a timetable to dispatch an aid mission led by parliamentarians from Iran and Indonesia to the besieged Palestinian territory, IRNA reported.

In June 2007, Israel tightened its blockade of the Gaza Strip after the democratically-elected government led by the Palestinian Hamas movement was forced to limit its rule to the coastal sliver.

The Israeli-imposed blockade has had a disastrous impact on the humanitarian and economic situation in the Gaza Strip, where nearly 1.5 million people are being denied their basic rights to appropriate living conditions, work, healthcare and education.

Despite repeated international calls, Israel has refused to lift the blockade even after its December 2008- January 2009 offensive on Gaza killed more than 1,400 Palestinians and inflicted more than USD 1.6 billion in damages on the region's economy.

Larijani, who arrived in Jakarta late Wednesday, stressed that other countries could take part in the humanitarian convoy, referring to efforts made by his Syrian counterpart Mahmoud al-Abrash in this regard.

The speaker of Indonesian House of Representatives, Marzuki Alie, also expressed hope that the mission could set sail to Gaza before the fasting Muslim month of Ramadan as “a gift” to the impoverished people in the coastal enclave. more

Netanyahu leads Israel into deeper isolation, democratic uprising laps inside and outside borders - FT


Great article in the Financial Times yesterday (access to the FT is free for a month, registration may be required) and you may need to register
Anyone who saw Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to the American Congress can be forgiven their fatalism. Israel’s prime minister will never negotiate seriously with the Palestinians. As a former Israeli diplomat said of Mr Netanyahu’s speech: “Everything is changing, but he is determined that everything remains the same.”

This time the world is unlikely to wait. Events are leaving Israel behind. The Arab uprisings are remaking the geopolitics of the Middle East. The Palestinians will seek international affirmation of their statehood when the United Nations General Assembly convenes in September...

...The democratic wave is lapping against Israel’s borders. The old order had it that Arab tyrants could be beaten on the battlefield, or squared, or sometimes both. It’s harder to suppress a democratic awakening. The nightmare for Mr Netanyahu is a peaceful uprising joined, as it was briefly last month, by protesters from Syria and Jordan. How will Israel respond if Palestinians borrow the tactics of Tahrir Square? The days are gone when tear gas was an answer.

Mr Netanyahu has led Israel to international isolation. His fractured relationship with Mr Obama is mirrored by a rupture with Europe. Britain and France no longer conceal their frustration. Germany, for obvious reasons of history a stalwart ally, has lost all patience...

...Mr Netanyahu’s ambition in all this may extend no further than clinging to office. Another explanation would say he was never ready to contemplate a Palestinian state – a position inconveniently exposed by the rush of events.

Either way, Israel’s prime minister has put himself in the company of those Middle East leaders whose only vision is of the past. He has one or two allies in the effort to turn back the tide of history. Syria and Saudi Arabia spring to mind. But is this the company that Israel – the region’s first democracy – really wants to keep? more

Egypt's generals continue with Mubarak policies by destroying vital smuggling tunnel near Rafah


Although the Rafah crossing reopened on Wednesday after a four-day closure, the Egyptian generals are still fixated with carrying on with as much of the dirty work of Mubarak as possible - so now they have destroyed a tunnel. Tunnels into Egypt are still the main way vital supplies and consumer goods get into Gaza.
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma'an) -- Egyptian border guards raided a tunnel used to smuggle cars between Gaza and Egypt, Egyptian security sources told Ma'an Wednesday.

The forces located the site south of the Salah Ad-Din gate in Rafah, on the Egyptian side of the border with the coastal strip.

Smugglers escaped through the tunnel to Gaza during the raid, the sources said, but the Egyptian guards seized four Hyundai vehicles. more

Egypt limits Rafah crossing to just 550 people a day in new accord with Hamas


From the New York Times
After days of acrimony between Hamas and Egypt over limitations on who could pass through the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt, Hamas said Egypt had agreed to allow 550 people a day to leave Gaza and to lengthen the operating hours of the crossing. The crossing was shut for much of the past four years after Israel, with Egyptian cooperation, closed it to pressure Hamas, which rules Gaza. Hamas said differences remained, chiefly concerning blacklists of Gazans who were forbidden to travel during Hosni Mubarak’s rule. more

Urgent appeal to Canadians: Contact MPs NOW to support the Canadian Boat to Gaza

The orchestrated campaign against the attempt to break the blockade of Gaza is intensifying with two $1m dollar lawsuits now being taken out against organisations supporting Canadian Boat to Gaza. See press release from Canadian Boat to Gaza below:

URGENT ACTION REQUIRED

NDP MP Alex Atamanenko has taken a conscientious decision to support the Canadian Boat to Gaza's efforts to help the 1.5 million Palestinians of Gaza who have been living for years in an open air prison and to end the inhumane and illegal blockade of Gaza.

Tuesday's National Post carried a vicious smear article against both the Boat to Gaza and Alex Atamanenko. Please write to or call Jack Layton, Paul Dewar and other members of the NDP caucus NOW, tell them you support the Canadian Boat to Gaza and ask them to support it as well.

It is VERY important to do this NOW to counter media and lobbyist pressure. They need to hear from us (and our friends and families) NOW!

MP contact information (both in Ottawa and in their ridings) can be found at webinfo.parl.gc.ca.

European Union science research project helping to fund Israeli war machine


From Mondoweiss
Silence over EU science grants to Israel’s war machine

by David Cronin

Top European Union officials seem to be in denial about how they are subsidising Israel’s war industry in the name of innovation.

Although it probably won’t send pulses racing in many newsrooms, a vitally important debate is taking place at the moment about the future of Europe’s policy on scientific research. The debate directly concerns Israel because it is the most active non-European participant in the Union’s multi-annual programme for research. Manufacturers of the weapons used to blitz Gaza during Operation Cast Lead have proven especially adept at accessing funds from the programme, which has been allocated 53 billion euros ($37 billion) between 2007 and 2013.

The ethical and legal questions behind handing over taxpayers’ money to Israeli arms companies are being avoided by the Brussels elite. On Friday, June 10, Europe’s science commissioner Máire Geoghegan Quinn will host a conference to discuss what the priorities of the successor programme – beginning in 2014 –should be. If the agenda for the event is anything to go by, the discussion will be dominated by big picture themes like “strengthening competitiveness”and “tackling societal challenges”. Israel is barely mentioned in preparatory documents – or at least in those that have been made public.

The EU’s cowardice towards Israel is in stark contrast to the stance taken by Norway. In 2009, the Oslo government decided that a state-owned pension scheme should withdraw its investment in Elbit because that Israeli company had supplied an electronic surveillance system to the annexation wall in the West Bank. Yet despite how the wall was declared unlawful by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2004, Elbit has been deemed eligible to take partin at least four EU-funded science projects for the 2007-13 period.

Both Elbit and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) made the pilotless drones or unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) used to bomb Gaza’s civilians in 2008 and 2009. IAI has similarly contributed components to surveillance equipment fitted into the West Bank wall. And IAI is doing nicely,too, out of the EU, taking part in no fewer than 15 of its research projects. more