Saturday, 16 July 2011

Palestinian prisoner refused visits from daughter who has since died, entering 36th day of hunger strike

(Abeer, pictured above, died after being refused permission to visit her father)

From the International Middle East Media Center

The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) reported Friday that detainee Yousef Skafi, who has been on hunger strike for 34 days, was moved to Al Ramla prison hospital; he is currently in a serious condition. He went on strike after the death of his daughter who suffered nervous breakdown after being prevented from visiting him.

Skafi went on hunger strike after the death of his daughter, Abeer, who came to visit him with her mother, but the Israeli soldiers kept her waiting under the sun for an extended period, and eventually prevented her from visiting him.

After being forced back home without being allowed to visit her detained father, Abeer suffered a nervous breakdown that developed to paralysis before she passed away.

Skafi is suffering from kidney issues, while his health condition is gradually deteriorating; he currently cannot stand or walk and is constantly dizzy.

He needs urgent specialized medical attention that cannot be found at the prison hospital that lacks the basic medical equipment and medications.

Ailing detainees at the Al Ramla Prison Hospital are confined to their beds while shackled despite the fact that they suffer from chronic diseases, serious illnesses such as cancer, and some of them are paralyzed while others had open-heart surgeries. more

Action Alert, July 16th- Call State Dept Emergency Operations Center about Conditions on The Audacity of Hope!

Athens, July 16, 2011 - Day 16 of the imprisonment of the U.S. Boat to Gaza, The Audacity of Hope, at a U.S. Embassy shared pier near Piraeus, Greece, just outside of Athens.

The U.S. Embassy has done absolutely nothing to help us in 100 + degree heat at a U.S. Government shared pier! No shore power, no alternatives provided (like another pier). No consular visits to see the conditions for themselves. NOTHING, ABSOULTELY NOTHING!!!

This weekend, please call the State Department 202-647-4000 and ask for the 24 hour Emergency Operations Center. Tell them that 3 people are still enduring the inhumane, dangerous conditions on the boat.

All are women--2 Americans and 1 UK citizen. They are:

Regina Carey ( from San Rafael, California, is a consultant specializing in strategic planning and planned giving. In her lifetime commitment to human rights she has focused her time and energy to the Rights of the Indigenous (original people), Water Rights and Peace. She is a co-founder of the Black/Jewish Dialogue Group in Marin County, California. She has been an active participant in the World Social Forum and the UN Conference Against Racism (Durban, South Africa).

Crew member Jenny Linnell, is a British citizen from Devon, England, and was a Free Gaza crew member in 2008 on the first boat that broke the naval blockade of Gaza. She stayed in Gaza for a year and worked with the International Solidarity Movement. Her exit from Gaza into Egypt a year later took over 6 weeks because she had arrived by boat. She holds a "Day Skipper" license from the Royal Yachting Association and founded a sailing collective called "Learning the Ropes".

Ann Wright is a former U.S. diplomat with 16 years in the State Department and Deputy Chief of Mission (Deputy Ambassador) at 4 U..S Embassies (Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan and Mongolia) and who got the State Department's award for Heroism for her actions protecting civilians during the civil war in Sierra Leone. She resigned in March, 2003 in opposition to Bush's war on Iraq.

Ann Wright 011 30 694 165 7310
Regina Carey 011 30 694 203 6296
Jenny Linnell 011 30 694 224 6648

us boat to gaza

UNESCO retracts mistaken designation of Jerusalem as capital of Israel

There were stories in the press earlier this week that claimed UNESCO had designated Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, which of course would be a move in breach of international law. UNESCO has now reiterated the fact that East Jerusalem is part of occupied Palestine. Someone obviously made a mistake in the World Heritage list department.
Uk, (Pal Telegraph) - UNESCO reiterated that, contrary to recent allegations, there has been no change in UNESCO’s position on Jerusalem.

In a press release, UNESCO said Friday that the Old City of Jerusalem is inscribed on the World Heritage List and the List of World Heritage in Danger.

“UNESCO continues to work to ensure respect for the outstanding universal value of the cultural heritage of the Old City of Jerusalem, the press release added. “This position is reflected on UNESCO’s official website (”

In line with relevant UN resolutions, East Jerusalem remains part of the occupied Palestinian territory, and the status of Jerusalem must be resolved in permanent status negotiations, the UNESCO concluded.
UNESCO has released a press statement confirming that Jerusalem is no the capital of Israel.

Video: New Straits Times exclusive - video proves breach of illegal blockade of Gaza

KUALA LUMPUR: Even after two months, I can still remember the rush I felt from hearing the sounds of gunshots fired by an Israeli navy ship over the Malaysian humanitarian ship MV Finch on May 16.

I recall vividly the day before the incident when I could barely sleep.

Emotions aside, the spectre of being arrested by the Israelis was real.

On that fateful day at 3am, I joined the other non-essential members of the mission sitting on the open deck of MV Finch as it made its way to Palestinian waters from the El Arish Port waiting area in Egyptian waters.

There, I joined reporters Mohd Faizal Hassan from Bernama and Canadian Julie Lévesque from Global Research, Mohd Radzillah Abdullah from the Malaysian Prime Minister’s Department and Irish humanitarian activist Jenny Graham.

It was a cold night with a visible full moon.

We waited for what seemed to be long hours on a wetmattress laid out on the deck before dawn broke.

This was when we began to see fishing boats with fishermen waving at us. We even passed undetected a stationary Egyptian navy ship.

Then at 6am, the danger began when two Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) ships appeared fleetingly and one of the ships rushed out to intercept us.

At that time, our ship had already entered Palestinian waters, right inside “Security Area L” imposed by Israel to prevent ships from sailing in and out of Gaza port.

MV Finch had sailed almost one mile inside the “security zone” and was approximately 0.5 nautical miles (900m) from the shore, when the IDF spotted our presence and challenged our right to sail to Gaza.

All five of us on deck were watching the approaching IDF ship from the side when suddenly, we heard gunshots from the Israeli ship’s machine gun. Immediately we hit the deck and huddled on the mattress.

My immediate reaction was to promptly delete several important SMS messages in my mobile phone in case the Israelis boarded our ship and arrested us.

But as shots were being fired by the circling IDF boat, my journalistic instincts kicked in.

I decided to record the attack since the TV3 crew from Malaysia were not allowed to join us. more

Settlers fill their swimming pools as Bethlehem starved of water

From the UAE's The National

BETHLEHEM // Water taps have run dry in this venerable West Bank city, fuelling public frustration and alarming Palestinian leaders.

An acute shortage has panicked Bethlehem hoteliers into building massively expensive storage tanks, lest their customers flee to water-abundant Israeli resorts. Freelance profiteers have carved out a thriving black-market trade in water affordable only to a wealthy few.

Meanwhile, Bethlehem's residents, who no longer have enough water to bathe regularly, are sporting scruffy hair and soiled clothing.

While nearby Israeli settlements lavish water on swimming pools and gardens, Mohammed Farraj, 16, barely scrounged up enough for a proper wash for his first day working at Bethlehem's Stars & Bucks Café this week.

Luckily for him, his boss, Youssef Juma, 27, was sympathetic. "We had a week without water here," Mr Juma said. "I didn't bathe."

For years, and especially since 2008, Bethlehem's residents have had to grapple with water shortages even though the city, revered by Christians as the birthplace of Jesus, forms the backbone of Palestinian tourism.

Palestinian Authority (PA) officials, while pointing to several years of drought and population growth, have put the blame squarely on Israel and its control over West Bank water resources. But increasingly, the PA has been the focus of public anger. "The Palestinian Authority says it's because Israel isn't giving them the water; it's always Israel this and Israel that! But if that's the case, then find a solution!" yelled Nabil Giacaman, 26, the owner of Christmas House, a shop that sells religious trinkets in downtown Bethlehem's Manger Square. Water riots have erupted in Bethlehem's refugee camps and angry crowds of people increasingly turn up for answers at local government offices. more

Two militant groups claim responsibility for missile fire after evading Hamas police

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Two militant groups in Gaza, Al-Tawid (Unity) and Al-Jihad, claimed responsibility Friday for firing three missiles at the city of Sderot and the area of Shaar Hanegev, both in southern Israel.

"At 09:00 O’clock on Friday morning, our fighters fired a missile towards the west of the Negev. Despite the heavy presence of the Gaza police in the region which tried to prevent firing the missiles, fighters were successful again in shooting another missile at the same region.

"At 3:30 p.m, our heroes were able to launch another missile towards the town of Sderot and then returned to their home safely,” the Al-Tawid group told Ma'an. more

Sheikh Raed Salah to be freed on bail by British court but will be electronically tagged

From the Guardian
Sheikh Raed Salah was arrested on the orders of home secretary Theresa May after flying into the UK to speak to politicians

A Palestinian activist detained on the orders of home secretary Theresa May after flying into Britain to speak to politicians is to be freed on bail by a high court judge pending the outcome of legal challenges. Sheikh Raed Salah, 52, is challenging the home secretary's decision to detain him in London in late June and wanted to be freed on bail pending the outcome of court proceedings. awyers representing Salah – leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel – told Mr Justice Stadlen during a hearing in London that he did not pose a security risk and should not be held in custody. Home Office lawyers opposed the bail application. Salah will stay in custody until late on Monday to allow Home Office officials to carry out checks on the address in London where he will stay while on bail.

Visit the Justice for Sheikh Raed Salah page at the Palestine Solidarity Campaign

4th day of airstrikes sees one injured, body found in Rafah tunnel following earlier attacks

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- A man was reportedly injured on Saturday morning by an Israeli air strike on Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, medical sources said.

Palestinian medics said a man in his twenties sustained moderate injuries from the Israeli missile and was evacuated to Kamal Udwan hospital in Beit Lahiya...

...Rescue crews in the Gaza Strip found the body of Ibrahim Al-Bayouk, 22, on Saturday in a tunnel near Rafah, southern Gaza.

Ambulance crews said that the body was found inside a tunnel which was bombed in an Israeli air strike on Thursday. more