Thursday, 21 July 2011

Egyptian military give official approval for Erdogan to visit Gaza through Rafah crossing

The Egyptian Supreme Council for the Armed Forces has given official approval to a Turkish request for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to visit the Gaza Strip via the Rafah border gate. According to Egyptian journalist Ibrahim Al Darrawy, who heads the Palestinian Studies Centre, Mr. Erdogan will visit Gaza next week after he completes a visit to Egypt. The visit is a fulfilment of a promise made to an Egyptian revolutionary youth delegation to Turkey that he would visit Cairo and support Egypt’s foreign policy, especially its solidarity with the Palestinian cause.

"Erdogan's visit to the Gaza Strip and meeting with Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh will be a blow to Mahmoud Abbas," claimed Al-Darrawy. "The Palestinian President hasn't listened to Erdogan's advice on siding with the Palestinian people and ending the damaging national split." more

Video: Fishermen defy Israeli navy - Civil Peace Service Gaza monitoring boat Olivia rammed

Video from Al Jazeera

The Israeli navy attacked Civil Peace Service Gaza volunteers along with international press and Palestinian fishermen Wednesday. One of the Israeli ships targeted the boats with high pressure water cannons.

Meanwhile, a small naval boat approached the Oliva and hit it from behind, stopping the boat and causing serious damage to the engine. The crew aboard the Oliva was evacuated to other boats and all the boats at sea were forced to turn back.

Joe Catron, an American human rights worker aboard the Oliva, stated, "Israel has been regularly attacking Palestinian fishermen within the purported 3 nautical mile fishing limit. The livelihood of many Gazans relies on fishing and Israel has been using live ammunition and water cannons to prevent fishermen from doing their work. We will continue to go out with the Palestinians and document human rights violations, despite the powerful threats we and Gazan fishermen face."

This is the fourth attack on Oliva in less than two week. To watch and read recent reports in the news media about CPS Gaza, visit Al Jazeera and The Guardian.

Journalists and TV Crews are invited to join the CPSGaza boat. The Oliva will be sailing again on Thursday at 8:30am and Friday at 7:30 am. Contact Nathan Stuckey, a US human rights worker with CPS Gaza, for more details 059-765-0864.

Civil Peace Service Gaza is an international, third party, non-violent initiative to monitor potential human rights violations in Gazan territorial waters. CPSGAZA

General strike being planned in solidarity with Ramla prison hunger strikers

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Center for Detainees announced Thursday that it is organizing a general strike in solidarity with detainees on hunger strike.

The strike also aims to bring attention to the poor health of two detainees currently on hunger strike, Yousef Skafi and Atef Rweidat, who are in Ramla prison hospital.

The date of the strike is to be announced.

A lawyer who visited the two detainees on Tuesday told Ma'an that both were confined to wheelchairs and in poor health.


Israel fears soldiers may be indicted for killing of Turkish citizens unless apology issued

Haaretz suggests Erdogan may delay or abandon visit to Gaza if Israel apologises for Mavi Marmara killings. Some inside the state apparatus are urging the Israeli government to do precisely that or risk IDF soldiers being indicted by the international court after the publication of the UN's stalled report on the massacre.
Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein has advised Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israel should apologize for the deadly takeover of the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara ship last year, in which nine pro-Palestinian Turkish activists were killed, sources in Jerusalem said Thursday.

According to the sources, Weinstein believes the UN investigation into the 2010 flotilla incident might prompt lawsuits against IDF soldiers. Therefore, he recommends reaching an understanding with Turkey, even if that means issuing an apology. The Justice Department declined to comment on these details. more