Friday, 15 July 2011

Weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the Palestinian Territories (07– 13 July 2011)

· A Palestinian civilian was killed by IOF in the north of the West Bank.

· A Palestinian woman was wounded by IOF the northern Gaza Strip.

· Israeli warplanes attacked a number of civilian facilities in the Gaza Strip.
- Two industrial workshops and a warehouse of fodders were destroyed and a number of civilian facilities and houses were damaged.
- A Palestinian woman was injured.

· IOF continued to use force against peaceful protests in the West Bank.
- A Palestinian child was wounded.
- Dozens of demonstrators suffered from tear Gas inhalation.

· Israeli gunboats opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats in the Gaza Strip.

· IOF conducted 47 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and a limited incursion into the Gaza Strip.
- IOF arrested 12 Palestinian civilians, including a child.

· Israel has continued to impose a total siege on the OPT and has isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world.
- IOF arrested 4 Palestinian civilians at military checkpoints in the West Bank.

· IOF have continued settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.
- IOF demolished a workshop, an animal farm and a garage in al-Jeeb village near Jerusalem.
- IOF uprooted and confiscated 600 olive trees in Deir Estia village in the north of the West Bank. more

Heavily guarded Israeli propaganda festival is a major flop in Milan

(Palestine solidarity activists in Milan protest an Israeli propaganda festival. - Caterina Mari)

By Stephanie Westbrook, the Electronic Intifada

For ten days in June, Milan was the site of a promotional event aimed at presenting “the other side of Israel,” in the words of the Israeli Ambassador to Italy Gideon Meir. Known as “Unexpected Israel,” the event was sponsored by both the Italian and Israeli governments, along with local city and provincial authorities.

When details of the event were first announced in December 2010, it was projected to cost 2.5 million euros ($3.6 million US) and to include a 900-square-meter plexiglass pavilion featuring Israeli technological and cultural wonders in Piazza Duomo, Milan’s main square. In the end, Piazza Duomo hosted nothing more than a small multimedia installation: 15 amplified pedestals spouting classics of Israeli hasbara (propaganda) to the few visitors who dared enter the fenced-off, heavily guarded area.

A pedestal dedicated to agriculture boasted, “For thousands of years, this was an arid, barren land, mostly desert. In just sixty years, Israel transformed the desert into an agricultural miracle,” giving credence to the idea that no agriculture — and by implication, no people — existed in the land before the creation of the State of Israel. more

Palestinians reject Greek goverment's 'charity' and condemn the blocking of flotilla

The following letter was delivered to the Greek Government on July 12, 2011 making it clear that the people of Gaza seek freedom and respect for their human rights, including their right to lead a dignified life, not charity. Seemingly deaf to their call, yesterday a spokesman for the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Delavekouras, repeated the Greek Government's "generous offer" to deliver limited humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza - instead of helping them gain the freedom that is rightfully theirs.

We, members of Palestinian civil society in Gaza, have been watching the actions your government has taken to block Freedom Flotilla 2 from setting sail towards the biggest open air prison - the Gaza Strip - to challenge Israel's criminal blockade. Israel's closure of Gaza has deprived us of things that most people take for granted, first and foremost, our freedom of movement. We are not allowed to pursue adequate health care or educational opportunities because we cannot travel freely. We are cut off from our families in other parts of the occupied territory and abroad; and we are not allowed to invite people to visit us in Gaza. Now, you have imported this restriction on the people whose main mission is to stand in solidarity with us.

The people of Gaza are not only in need of humanitarian aid because we are prevented from building our economy. We are not allowed to import raw materials or to export; our fishermen and farmers get shot at when attempting to fish or to harvest their crops. As a result of deliberate Israeli policy, 80% of our people have become food aid dependent, our infrastructure is in shambles, and our children cannot imagine a day when they will know freedom.

Your offer to deliver the cargo of the Freedom Flotilla entrenches the notion that humanitarian aid will solve our problems and is a weak attempt to disguise your complicity in Israel's blockade.

We are so sorry not to accept your charity. The organizers and participants of the Freedom Flotilla recognize that our plight is not about humanitarian aid; it is about our human rights. They carry with them something more important than aid; they carry hope, love, solidarity and respect. Your offer to collude with our oppressors to deliver aid to us is totally REJECTED.

While it is clear that you have been under enormous political pressure to comply with the will of the Israeli regime, to collaborate with Israel in violating international law and legitimizing the siege, we refuse to accept your breadcrumbs. We crave freedom, dignity and the ability to make choices in our daily lives. We urge you to immediately reconsider and to let the Freedom Flotilla sail.

Finally we recognize the historical relations between our people and your country's support for our legitimate rights. With this history in mind and your previous acknowledgment of the freedoms denied to us, we are calling on you to allow the freedom flotilla boats to leave for Gaza, thus challenging Israel's illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip and illegal occupation of Palestinian land.

Palestinian Network of NGOs (PNGO)
Representing over 60 non-governmental organizations in Gaza

Palestinian International Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza
General Society for Rehabilitation
Deir Al-Balah Cultural Centre for Women and Children
Maghazi Cultural Centre for Children
Al-Sahel Centre for Women and Youth
Rachel Corrie Centre, Rafah
Rafah Olympia City Sisters
Al Awda Centre, Rafah
Al Awda Hospital, Jabaliya Camp
Ajyal Association, Gaza
Al Karmel Centre, Nuseirat
Local Initiative, Beit Hanoun
Beit Lahiya Cultural Centre
Al Awda Centre, Rafah
Middle East Children's Alliance - Gaza office
Alshomoa Club for Women
General Union for Public Services Workers
General Union for Health Services Workers
General Union for Petrochemical and Gas Workers
General Union for Agricultural Workers
General Union of Palestinian Syndicates
General Union of Palestinian Women
Palestinian Congregation for Lawyers
Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU)
Union of Health Work Committees
Union of Synergies-Women Unit
Union of Women's Work Committees
Palestinian Association for Fishing and Maritime
Palestine Sailing Federation
Fishing and Marine Sports Association
Palestinian Women Committees
Progressive Students' Union

For further information go to:

Joint Jewish-Arab march for Palestinian state takes place in Jerusalem

Approximately 2,000 Palestinians and Israelis took part in the "March for Independence" Friday, calling for the recognition of a Palestinian state.

Although the organizers of the march issued a statement saying the march was carried out peacefully, police had to intervene and separate right-wing and left-wing activists.

The event was coordinated with the police, and organizers had pledged to prevent any violence from breaking out, despite the expected right-wing counter-protests.

Participants in the march held signs quoting South African leader and anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela saying "only free men can negotiate", while others bore slogans calling for support of Palestinian independence.

Several MKs participated in the march, including Zehava Galon of Meretz and Dov Hanin of Hadash. Other prominent public figures took part as well, such as former Speaker of the Knesset Avraham Burg and former Attorney General Michael Ben Yair. more

Two thirds of Palestinians see one state in all of historic Palestine as only lasting solution

Only one in three Palestinians (34 percent) accepts two states for two peoples as the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to an intensive, face-to-face survey in Arabic of 1,010 Palestinian adults in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip completed this week by American pollster Stanley Greenberg.

The poll, which has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points, was conducted in partnership with the Beit Sahour-based Palestinian Center for Public Opinion and sponsored by the Israel Project, an international nonprofit organization that provides journalists and leaders with information about the Middle East.

The Israel Project is trying to reach out to the Arab world to promote “people-to-people peace.” The poll appears to indicate that the organization has a difficult task ahead.

Respondents were asked about US President Barack Obama’s statement that “there should be two states: Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people and Israel as the homeland for the Jewish people.”

Just 34% said they accepted that concept, while 61% rejected it.

Sixty-six percent said the Palestinians’ real goal should be to start with a two-state solution but then move to it all being one Palestinian state. more

Third day of airstrikes on Gaza leaves at least five injured and one missing

Israel Air Force strikes left at least five Palestinians wounded and one missing early Friday in the Gaza Strip, witnesses and officials in the territory said.

The witnesses said that IAF fighter jets struck a smuggling tunnel under the border between southern Gaza and Egypt, where five people were wounded. The Israel Defense Forces spokesman's office said the strikes were in response to response to six homemade missiles fired by militants from Gaza toward towns in southern Israel, marking escalating tension along the Gaza border for the first time in two months. more