Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Israel asks Apple to remove 'The Third Intifada' app from store for being 'anti-Israel, anti-Zionist'

Since when was it a crime to be anti-Zionist and pro-Palestine? This is the complaint of the Israeli government against the arabic-language 'The Third Intifada' iPhone app. Hopefully Steve Jobs will remember his Arabic ancestry (his birth father was/is Syrian) and ignore this censorship of the just struggle for Palestinian rights. Is iGaza next in the firing line?
Jerusalem (CNN) -- The Israeli government is asking Apple Inc. to remove a mobile application called "The Third Intifada" from its popular App Store.

The country's Minister for Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs, Yuli Edelstein, wrote a letter to the computer giant Tuesday voicing concern about the content of the application.

"Upon review of the stories, articles and photos published by means of the application, one can easily see that this is in fact anti-Israel and anti-Zionist. Furthermore, as is implied by its name, the application calls for an uprising against the State of Israel," he wrote.

The letter asked Apple to yank the Arabic-language application, which allows users to comment and post photos and stories about protests opposing Israel and Israeli policies.

According to Reuters, the app offers a stream of news stories and editorials in Arabic, announces upcoming protests, and includes links to nationalistic Palestinian videos and songs.

There was no immediate comment from Apple. more
The app can be downloaded from this page:

The website for the app is:

The 3rdIntifada Facebook page was eventually removed by Facebook after similar complaints from pro-Israel groups. A US lawyer named Larry Klayman has filed a $1billion lawsuit against Facebook and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg claiming the page was not removed in a timely enough fashion.

67 people displaced including many children after demolition of bedouin village

(pic: International Solidarity Movement - A Bedouin girl plays amongst possessions scattered by the Israeli Occupational Forces)

From the International Solidarity Movement

On June 20th at 7am a Bedouin village, south of Hebron in Khirbet Bir al’Idd was struck down with Israeli bulldozers destroying seven tin homes and several other sheds and tents. The Israeli army and border police arrived to demolish the homes claiming the area was classified as a closed military zone because of “illegal” building taking place.

There was no warning of the demolition in advance. Following the destruction of the village, 67 people were left homeless and displaced, including a large number of children. more

Racist settler gangs in wave of attacks on West Bank mosques with connivance of occupation forces


In recent months, there have been repeated attacks by Israeli settlers against mosques across the West Bank. They were carried out with the complicity of Israel's occupation army and encouraged by the leaders of settler groups and political blocs, as well as the rabbinic guides of extremist gangs; gangs who own weapons and operate under the full knowledge and gaze of the occupation forces.

A few days ago, settlers from one of the oldest colonies established on the territory belonging to the villagers of al-Mughair and Qaryut in the north-east of the governorate of Ramallah in the West Bank, set fire to the great mosque in al-Mughair. A significant amount of the mosque's contents was destroyed in the blaze. The perpetrators left their trade mark in Hebrew grafitti scrawled on a nearby wall which read; "this is the beginning of revenge".

About a year ago, on the morning of 4th May 2010, settler gangs set fire to a mosque in the eastern district of al-Labn in the south of Nablus city which represents one in a series of terrorist operations against Palestinians and their sanctuaries undertaken by settler groups.

The burning of the al-Mughair mosque came after the burning of the al-Labn mosque in the east before which there was the burning of the Grand Hassan al-Khader mosque in the district of Yassouf near the city of Nablus in the West Bank. It was targeted by a group of settler gangs who burnt large parts of it after smashing the mosque's main door and dousing the interior in petrol. The blaze completely gutted the mosque's library which was full of Qurans, along with parts of the carpet before the village inhabitants arrived to extinguish the flames. more

Abbas and Mashaal both in Turkey as unity government negotiations stall

Istanbul - PNN - The head of Hamas polit-bureau, Khalid Mish'al, arrived in Istanbul today in an unexpected visit while Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is in Ankara, Turkish NTV reported on Wednesday.

ImageNTV reported that Mish'al is in Istanbul but did not confirm whether he will meet Abbas or not. Turkish foreign ministry officials refused to comment, AFP reported on Wednesday.

President Abbas arrived in Ankara on Tuesday amidst disagreements between Palestinian factions on the formation of the new government. more

UN's World Food Program says Israel's 'easing' of blockade has had only 'marginal impact'

From Hurriyet
The World Food Program study "Gaza: eased or un-eased?" found that although an outright ban on shipment of building materials to the strip has been lifted for some projects, the administrative hurdles still remaining made implementation slow and expensive.

It also said that a planned enlargement of goods crossings from Israel had not taken place.

"In effect, the easing of the blockade has had only marginal positive impact in Gaza," it said. "The new access regime has brought mainly additional consumption [consumer] goods, with potential increase in availability of better quality and a wider range of products for consumers," the report went on. more

On eve of sailing to break blockade, US Boat to Gaza passengers remain committed to non-violence

[22 June 2011 - The US passengers are now en route to Athens where some of the boats will be gathering, and from there the entire flotilla will converge in the seas south of Cyprus before sailing to Gaza]

---- Press Conference with Passengers of U.S. Boat to Gaza ----


New York, NY, June 20, 2011 ---

Fifteen of the 36 passengers on the U.S. flagged boat, The Audacity of Hope, are joining with supporters today at 11 AM at the Church Center for the United Nations (44th Street and First Avenue) to discuss their plans and reasons for joining the international Freedom Flotilla II - Stay Human (for live streaming video of the press conference click here). They are departing for Athens today to join the rest of the passengers on the U.S. boat, and people from over 20 countries who will take part in the Freedom Flotilla sailing the last week of June to break the blockade of Gaza.

The passengers who will be on the U.S. boat, from 14 states and the District of Columbia, represent virtually every geographic region of the United States. Fifty eight percent women and 42% men, they are of all ages, and a variety of occupations. The group is approximately one-quarter people of color, and one-quarter American Jews.

The effort has been endorsed by more than 85 organizations across the United States and supported by thousands of small individual donations. The international Catholic peace group, Pax Christi, said, "The passengers are people of peace and compassion, as well as people of selfless courage. Their commitment to justice for those who are unjustly oppressed is an example for us all." The group added that "...we believe firmly that the blockade of Gaza is a crime against humanity."

The Israeli- and U.S.-backed siege and blockade is the longest in modern warfare, lasting 1,830 days. The European Parliament, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and many human rights organizations have all called the siege and blockade a violation of the human rights of the 1.5 million Palestinians who live in the Gaza strip. Contrary to statements by the Israeli government, the siege continues and the restrictions of imports, exports, and human movement remain severe, according to the most recent report of the United Nations.

Passenger Ann Wright (Ret. Col. U.S. Army reserve), an organizer of the U.S. boat and participant in Freedom Flotilla I, noted, "Citizen activists are coming to the Mediterranean from all over the world to confront the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza and U.S. government protection of Israeli criminal acts. As a former U.S. diplomat and retired military colonel, I strongly believe it is the responsibility of citizens to act when our governments fail to protect the human rights and dignity of any people--in this case, the Palestinians."

Passenger Ray McGovern, minister and retired CIA analyst, credited the inspiration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., "Injustice, like a boil, can never be healed until it is exposed."

Passenger Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CodePink, who traveled to Gaza in 2009, said, "I was appalled by the level of destruction, death and suffering brought about by the Israeli invasion. I feel a responsibility to do something when my government will not."

Leslie Cagan, U.S. boat organizer, who will chair the press conference, pointed out that the Israeli government acted with extreme violence against Freedom Flotilla I in 2010, killing nine passengers and injuring more than 50, and has threatened the use of attack dogs and snipers against this Freedom Flotilla II.

Cagan said, "Following the example of years of non-violent Palestinian protests, everyone participating in this project is deeply committed to non-violence. We hope and plan to arrive in Gaza City safely by the beginning of July. Any other outcome is the responsibility of the U.S. and Israeli governments' decisions to maintain the illegal and unjustifiable imprisonment of 1.5 million people in the Gaza strip."

Cagan added that the flotilla organizers have urged United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to put into place a UN inspection of the ships but have received no official response as yet.


For more info email: or sending your question in a tweet @USBoatToGaza.

For regular updates follow the US Boat to Gaza on Twitter: and visit the US Boat to Gaza website.

For additional information, including fact sheets, videos and the passengers' letter to President Obama, please go to the following links:
Letter to President Obama from Audacity of Hope passengers
Bios for passengers and crewmembers




Thank you for your support

Please distribute widely

Video features Hedy Epstein:

Passenger Hedy Epstein talks about why she is going aboard the US Boat to Gaza with the Stay Human Flotilla at the end of the month.

Bio: Hedy Epstein was born in Germany in 1924. She was 8 years old when Hitler came to power in 1933. In 1939, she left on a Kindertransport (children's transport) for England. Her parents and other family members perished during the Holocaust. After World War II she returned to Germany and worked as a research analyst at the Nuremberg trial of the Nazi doctors who performed medical experiments on concentration camp inmates.

Epstein came to the U.S. in 1948, and quickly became involved in civil rights, human rights and peace related issues, both professionally and in her personal life. In 1989, she visited Guatemala, Nicaragua and Cambodia as a peace delegate. Since 2003, she has visited the Israeli occupied West Bank five times, and has made four attempts to visit Gaza by land and sea. She has written and traveled extensively in the U.S. and Europe to speak about social justice issues, with an emphasis on the Israel/Palestine issue. In 1999, her autobiography -- "Erinnern ist nicht genug" (Remembering is Not Enough) was published in German, in Germany.

Epstein will be on the U.S. Boat to Gaza, part of Flotilla 2, her fifth attempt to reach Gaza.

More passenger videos can be seen here

Nine-year-old plays dead to stop Israeli Navy's unprovoked attack on fishing boats

From the International Solidarity Movement

At around 9am on June 21, two fishing boats were attacked by the Israeli Navy, with bullets piercing both engines, rendering them unusable.

The first boat was shot at in the motor, at the rear end and, when the 4-man crew took cover at the front of the boat, away from the shots directed at the motor, the front of the boat was fired upon.

Yaser Baker is one of the four fishermen who were aboard the first boat which was shot. “We were at around two and a half miles out to sea when they shot at our engine and it broke. We stopped the boat and all moved to the front, away from the engine so that we wouldn’t get hit. Then they shot at the front, right at us, the bullets just missing our bodies and one landed right by my leg.”

A second boat, manned by Mohammed Bakri Sabir came to assist the first, but was also attacked, both in the engine and the front of the boat, where the crew was taking cover.

Aboard the second boat were three fishermen and two of their children, aged nine and ten years old.

The boats managed to escape when around twenty other local fishing boats surrounded them and escorted them back to shore as the nine-year-old feigned an injury. “He had to play dead,” Baker explained, “it was the only way we could get them to stop firing.”

Thanks to ISM

Helicopter gunships attack tunnel after Israel says rocket and mortar fired into desert

Israel says a rocket and mortar were fired into the Negev but no group has claimed responsibility. From Haaretz
The Israel Air Force carried out an air strike on a target in Gaza in the early hours of Wednesday, after a mortar and Qassam fired from the Strip landed in Israel overnight.

The target of the air strike was a tunnel in central Gaza.

The Israel Defense Forces said that the tunnel was being used by terror groups in the Strip to infiltrate Israel and to carry out terror attacks against soldiers and Israeli citizens. The IDF reiterated that they hold Hamas responsible for keeping the quiet in Gaza.

The mortar and Qassam fired from Gaza overnight landed in Israel's southern region, causing no damage or injuries. more

Israel permits importation of materials for two major housing projects in southern Gaza

Is this the first fruits of success for the upcoming flotilla, as Israel tries to insist to the rest of the world that there is no humanitarian crisis or obstruction of reconstruction works in Gaza?
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israel has approved construction of two housing projects in the southern Gaza Strip, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees said Tuesday.

UN Relief and Works Agency spokesman in Gaza Adnan Abu Hasnah said two major projects would be constructed to house families from Rafah and Khan Younis whose homes were demolished by Israel in 2001.

The new buildings will also provide housing for families made homeless during Israel's 2002 Operation Defensive Shield, Abu Hasnah said.

Major Guy Inbar, spokesman for the defense ministry department responsible for liaison with the Palestinian territories, told AFP Israel had approved materials to build 1,200 homes and 18 schools. He said the materials would be consigned to UNRWA. more

An American Jew sails to Gaza - Jane Hirschmann on why she'll be aboard The Audacity of Hope

From CounterPunch

How Could I Not Go?

An American Jew Sails to Gaza


People often ask me why I am part of a team to organize a U.S. Boat to Gaza that will be sailing this month with the next International Flotilla to break the siege of Gaza. They often make clear they are asking because I am an American Jew, whose family survived the Holocaust with some surviving family members ending up in Israel. And my only answer is: How could I not?

My parents raised me with stories about what happened in Germany and their family's escape. I came to see that Israel represented for them a safe haven should there be another attempt at annihilating Jews. And yet, at the same time, they worried it was not so safe a haven given the animosity and physical threats and violence in the area.

But no one ever mentioned the displacement of 750,000 Arabs that was the result of the creation of Israel. I vaguely knew there were people living there, but I was never curious about who these "others" were. All I took away from my family's history and the atrocities endured was that this should never happen again to anyone, anywhere.

Growing up in the '60s, I became active in opposition to the war in Vietnam, the anti-apartheid struggle and the women's rights movement and later became involved in opposing the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. As a social worker, I was focused on social justice issues but never questioned the relationship between the U.S. and Israel and their policies regarding Palestinians.

Then came the war on Gaza and a real political awakening for me. Operation Cast Lead and the Goldstone Report were the catalysts. In November 2008, the ceasefire ended: Israeli soldiers broke it in a cross-border raid killing six members of Hamas and, in response, rockets were launched into Israel. Israel, fortified with American weaponry, attacked the people of Gaza. Approximately 1,400 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed compared to 13 Israelis. Gaza was pulverized. Judge Richard Goldstone and his team did a thorough report of the causalities on both sides. There was no doubt that the people of Gaza were disproportionally affected. more