Tuesday, 12 July 2011

56 'fly-in' activists still detained, deportees complain of poor conditions, no lawyer or phone calls

From Haaretz

Israel had expelled most of the 130 pro-Palestinian activists who were denied entry into the country by Tuesday, however, 56 remained in a detention facility.

The activists landed at Ben-Gurion International Aiport near Tel Aviv on Friday, as part of a fly-in organized by a coalition of Palestinian civil groups.

Some 25 activists were flown back to Europe on Tuesday, and a Belgian national was allowed in to Israel after he agreed not to visit the West Bank, Immigration Authority spokeswoman Sabine Hadad told the German Press Agency DPA.

Of the 130, four others were allowed into Israel after questioning. The rest of the activists were put on return flights over the past few days.

Once back in Europe, many complained of poor conditions during their detention. Upon landing in Israel, they said, they were crammed into Prison Service vans for up to five hours, without access to a toilet and only receiving water bottles after asking for them.

Once they arrived at a prison near the southern city of Be’er Sheva, some 16 activists were kept for two more hours in a small cell with just one toilet, before being transferred to a more comfortable open wing.

They also alleged that for the duration of the transit, they were barred from meeting with lawyers or consuls, and were unable to make telephone calls. more

Palestinian civil society's call for military embargo of Israel gathers support

South African trade union conferderation backs embargo call: story here
European anti-arms trade network also backs the call: story here
And the Irish Congress of Trade Unions reaffirms its commitment to BDS and support for the arms embargo: story here
Thanks to the BDS Movement

Statement from the Palestinian BDS National Committee: Palestinian civil society calls for military embargo of Israel

The largest Palestinian coalition encompassing all Palestinian political parties, trade unions, NGOs and mass organisations, the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), today called for an immediate and comprehensive military embargo on Israel.

“A comprehensive military embargo on Israel is long overdue. It forms a crucial step towards ending Israel’s unlawful and criminal use of force against the Palestinian people and other peoples and states in the region, and it constitutes an effective, non-violent measure to pressure Israel to comply with its obligations under international law,” reads the BNC’s call.

The call comes amidst mounting pressure to hold Israel accountable to international law, including from the Freedom Flotilla 2 and the Welcome to Palestine “Fly-in” which began arriving at Tel-Aviv airport this morning amidst chaotic scenes despite many activists being prevented from flying from Western airports.

Palestinian activists with the Hirak Shababi youth movement gathered in front of the United Nations office in Ramallah to symbolically deliver the call along with evidence of international military collusion with Israel.

Youth activist Aghsan said: “We face Israeli repression and violence on a daily basis. Our generation has grown up under occupation and seeing friends and relatives killed, injured or imprisoned. We demand that the international community stops funding and profiting from the military and security apparatus that sustains the colonial Israeli apartheid regime. All trade and cooperation must stop. Young Palestinians demand a comprehensive military embargo now”

Supporters of the military embargo call include Nobel Peace Prize winners Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mairead Maguire, Betty Williams and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel. Alternative Nobel Prize winners Walden Bello and Chico Whitaker and best-selling Canadian writer and journalist Naomi Klein have also supported the demands of the call.

“I endorse this call for an arms embargo because we desire peace and justice for Palestinians and Israelis through non-violent ways,” said Archbishop Tutu.

Trade union confederations such as the South African COSATU and the Brazilian CUT, have announced their support for the campaign.

A spokesperson for COSATU said: “States and inter-state organizations, such as the United Nations, have a legal obligation to ensure that Israel complies with international law, but they have failed to do so. Impunity emboldens Israel while its international military trade relations bankroll and entrench its continued violence, militarism and expansionism..”

Civil society groups from more than a dozen countries are set to announce their support for the campaign and the actions they intend to take over the course of the launch.

The European Network Against the Arms Trade will announce its support of the military embargo call on Monday.

The call has been released to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the International Court of Justice ruling confirming the illegality of Israel’s West Bank apartheid Wall and the sixth anniversary of the Palestinian civil society call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law.

The BNC has today published a detailed legal and political analysis of international military relations with Israel and their impact.



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Website launch

This new website gives information about arms trade and military relations between Europe and Israel. It seeks to inform readers about the nature and extent of these relations and about arms trade regulations. The website is work in progress and people are invited to contribute their information on research results, campaigns and policy developments concerning military relations between Europe and Israel. As an important economic partner of Israel, Europe could use its position to promote a peaceful solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There is no military solution to this conflict.

The website relies on your input. Contact us with questions and/or information via disarmtheconflict@gmail.com

Israeli troops destroy wells and water pumps of three villages in the Jordan valley

NABLUS (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces destroyed water wells and water pumps in several villages in the Jordan Valley on Tuesday.

The villages of Al Nasaryah, Al Akrabanyah and Bet Hassan, all situated in the Jordan Valley, had water pumps and engines confiscated by Israeli soldiers.

The equipment was used by farmers in the villages.

Nabil Jawda, Muhammad Wahdan, and Najih Zaid all had property destroyed by soldiers, Ziad told Ma'an.

The coordinator for the Save the Valley Campaign, Fathi Khuderat, said that the villages are located in Area A of the Jordan Valley, which according to the Oslo Agreements should be under full Palestinian civil and security control. more

Fourth attack on Egypt-Israel gas export infrastructure knocks out pipeline

Saboteurs blew up an Egyptian pipeline distribution station in northern Sinai on Tuesday that supplies natural gas to Israel, the official MENA news agency said. It was the fourth attack on facilities supplying Egyptian gas to Israel this year.

MENA quoted witnesses as saying that the assailants attacked the Al-Tawil security guard before the station, located near the northern town of Al-Arish, was blown up early Tuesday morning.

The security guard and some members of his family were believed to have been hurt, the agency said, quoting witnesses.

The state's Nile television said flames from the station could be seen up to 20 kilometers away. It gave no details on the causes of the explosion or the extent of the damage. more
Jordan is considering an Iranian offer of natural gas supplies due to the persistent disruption of gas pumped via Israel-routed pipeline. Egypt's military rulers have refused to shutdown its supplies to Israel at discounted rates despite overwhelming public pressure and rulings by the courts.

Gaza film festival focuses on the experiences and struggles facing women

GAZA, July 11 (Xinhua) -- Hanin Kulab, a young Palestinian filmmaker from Gaza, is looking forward to showing her talents through the first ever feature film festival in the Islamic Hamas movement-ruled Gaza Strip.

Kulab, a 25-year-old female, produced her film "It was a dream" which will participate in the festival. The film talks about the Palestinian female prisoners in Israeli jails, and the pain and torment they suffer in prisons.

As her film was shown in one of the halls in Gaza city amid the applause of admired audience, she said that the festival is a golden opportunity for young filmmakers to show their creativity during the tough years in the Palestinian enclave.

The film festival, a rare opportunity for Gaza population due to the absence of movie theater in the strip, was inaugurated at the Women Affairs Center in Gaza city on Monday, and it focuses on enabling Palestinian women and supporting their cause. A total of 53 films from the Palestinian territories and other Arab and European countries joined the three-day event. more