Friday, 22 July 2011

Israeli troops attack anti-wall protests across the West Bank, many wounded and detained

Attacks across the West Bank by Israeli troops on non-violent demonstrations at Al Ma'sara, Bi'lin and Nabi Saleh (story below).
Israeli troops attacked on Friday the weekly nonviolent protest against settlements and the Annexation Wall in Nabi Saleh village, near the West Bank city of Bethlehem. Several residents were kidnapped by the army, and several others were wounded. Army also kidnapped several residents.

The army was extensively deployed in the village and the orchards Israel intends to annex for illegal construction of settlements and the Wall in the area.

The protestors chanted slogans rejecting the illegal policies of the Israeli occupation, and in support to the Palestinian detainees held by Israel, demanding their freedom.

Soldiers and members of the so-called Border Guard Units closed all roads leading to the village and declared it a “closed military zone” before firing gas bombs and concussion grenades at random. more

Sign the petition to demand European governments back call for UN to recognise a Palestinian state

Dear friends,

The Palestinian people are calling on the world to recognise Palestine as a state. Over 120 countries have endorsed the call, but the US and Israel are opposing and key European leaders are on the fence. If we can persuade Europe and the UK to support this non violent, legitimate bid now, it could spur a dramatic shift towards peace.Click to sign the urgent petition:

Sign the petition
In four days the UN Security Council will meet, and the world has an opportunity to embrace a new proposal that could turn the tide on decades of failed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks: UN recognition of the state of Palestine.

Over 120 nations from the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Latin America have already endorsed this initiative, but Israel's right-wing government and the US vehemently oppose it. The UK and other key European countries are still undecided, but a massive public push now could tip them to vote for this momentous opportunity to end 40 years of military occupation.

US-led peace initiatives have failed for decades, while Israel has confined the Palestinians to small areas, confiscated their lands and blocked their independence. This bold new initiative could be the best opportunity to jump start a resolution of the conflict, but Europe and the UK must take the lead. Let’s build a massive global call for the UK and other European leaders to endorse this statehood bid now, and make clear that citizens across the world support this legitimate, non-violent, diplomatic proposal. Sign the petition and send this to everyone:

While the roots of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are complex, most people on all sides agree that the best path to peace now is the creation of two states. But repeated peace processes have been undermined by violence on both sides, extensive Israeli settlement-building in the West Bank, and the humanitarian blockade on Gaza. The Israeli occupation has shrunk and fragmented the territory for a Palestinian state and made daily life a crippling ordeal for the Palestinian people. The UN, World Bank and IMF have all recently announced that Palestinians are ready to run an independent state, but say the main constraint to success is the Israeli occupation. Even the US President has called for an end to settlement expansion and a return to the 1967 borders with mutually agreed land-swaps, but Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has furiously refused to cooperate.

It’s time for a dramatic shift away from a futile peace process and on to a new path for progress. While the Israeli and US governments are calling the Palestinian initiative ‘unilateral’ and dangerous, in fact the world’s nations overwhelmingly support this diplomatic move away from violence. Global recognition of Palestine could crush extremists, and foster a growing non-violent Palestinian-Israeli movement in step with the democratic momentum across the region. Most importantly, it will rescue a path to a negotiated settlement, allow the Palestinians access to a variety of international institutions that can help advance Palestinian freedom, and send a clear signal to Israel’s pro-settler government that the world will no longer accept their impunity and intransigence.

For too long, Israel has undermined the hope for a Palestinian state. For too long, the US has appeased them, and for too long Europe has hidden behind the US. Right now, France, Spain, Germany, the UK and the High Representative of the EU are on the fence about Palestinian statehood. Let’s appeal to them to stand on the right side of history and support a Palestinian declaration of freedom and independence, with overwhelming support, and financial aid. Sign the urgent petition now to urge Europe to support the bid and back this move for long-term peace in Israel and Palestine:

Palestinian statehood will not bring a resolution to this intractable conflict overnight, but UN recognition will change the dynamics and will begin to unlock the door towards freedom and peace. Across Palestine, people are preparing, with hope and expectation, to reclaim a freedom their generation has never known. Let's stand with them and push European leaders to do the same, as they have stood with the people of Egypt, Syria and Libya.

With hope and determination,

Alice, Ricken, Stephanie, Morgan, Pascal, Rewan and the entire Avaaz team


Abbas vows to continue UN statehood bid

Arab League will call for Palestinian State at the UN

Palestinians and Israelis march for Palestinian statehood:

Israel campaign against UN vote:

Palestinian call for statehood:

Palestinian statehood and bypassing Israel:

UN says Palestinians able to govern own state

List of countries recognizing the state of Palestine

Only 400 a day allowed through Rafah crossing as hardship of Egypt's restrictions persist

From Al Jazeera

In March, Egypt announced the easing of restrictions at Rafah by allowing men between the age of 18 and 40, and women of all ages into Egypt, though Egyptian security officials say the reason for not increasing the total number of people allowed in is due to the "intense traffic of passengers" and "insufficient staff to work at the crossing".

"At that time, those were very good policies", Abu Shaar explains. But after Egypt announced the new rules, "more people showed up to our gates within these categories and wanted to travel", he said. Three days after that announcement, Egypt revised its restrictions again, and reduced the daily quota from 650 to 400.

Reem Ghelani, Deputy Head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said: "Despite announcements by the Egyptian authorities that Rafah crossing is open, the main change that we have seen is a slight increase in the hours that the crossing is open. Rafah is only a crossing for people, it is not used - nor is it set up to be used - as a crossing for goods."

Ismail Haniyeh, the prime minister of the Hamas de facto government in Gaza, issued a statement calling for greater access at the border crossing. "The suffering of the Palestinian passengers goes on," he said. The crossing "has the capabilities to allow the easy flow of 1,000 passengers" each day.

No certainty

People wishing to leave Gaza must first register with the Palestinian Ministry of Interior. Abu Shaar's office estimates it will be the end of September before they can process the 25,000 people currently registered on the waiting list.

The restrictions on travel are not limited to Palestinians alone. Laila Noureldeen Ramez and her 13-year-old son are both Egyptian citizens who came to Gaza for two weeks in early May to visit her husband in the Rafah hospital. She is now stuck.

"I come here every morning early and wait until the end of the day," she told Al Jazeera. "And then I have to go back home."

Abdelhamid Al Bintaji, also waiting to cross, accuses Egypt of not acting in accordance with its promises. He had to postpone his flight to France for the fourth time. "I have a son in France whom I have not seen for over 10 years," he says. He was told he could leave July 10. He was still waiting on July 20.

Medical nightmare

The Rafah Crossing, given the Israeli control and lockdown of Gaza's sea and land ports, is the region's sole avenue to the outside world. Some waiting to leave are not critical medical cases and simply seek to visit family or to escape factional fighting and Israeli air bombings of the coastal strip. But due to Israel's blockade on supplies, equipment and medicines, Gaza's hospitals continue to function under severe shortages. more

Sit-in at UNRWA Gaza headquarters heralds start of strike against run down down of refugee services

(pic: UNRWA Protest -

For the second day, the Popular Committee for Palestinian Refugees in Gaza, continued the peace sit-in protest in front of the UNRWA building in Gaza City, in protest to due to the sharp decline in services provided by the international agency to the refugee in Gaza, organizers said.

Dozens of refugees gathered in front of the UNRWA building and the nearby UNRWA main headquarters, and prevented staff members from entering the buildings.

Protests organizers said that they will continue their activities until the UNRWA stops the reduction of services.

The Maan News Agency reported that the UNRWA building was closed for two hours, and all UNRWA vehicles were prevented from leaving the headquarters.

Moeen Modarres, an official at the Popular Committee of Refugees, told Maan that “an escalating strike will be held Friday, until the UN submits of the demands of the refugees”.

Last Sunday, the refugees held a protest in Gaza slamming the UNRWA for “ignoring them and for not implementing the Japan-financed project to build homes in Al Shaty’s refugee camp in Gaza”. more

Settlers torch Burin village fields planted with olive trees in ongoing campaign of destruction

NABLUS (Ma’an) -- A group of Israeli settlers torched agricultural fields on Thursday near the village of Burin in the West Bank city of Nablus.

“Some settlers from the Yizhar settlement adjacent to the village set fire to the area south of the village and fled the scene,” Head of Burin village council Ali Ead told Ma'an.

“The fire had erupted in wide areas of fields planted with olive trees.”

Hundreds of residents in the village arrived at the scene and helped extinguish the fire.

An almost identical attack took place one week ago as settlers from Yizhar set fire to dozens of dunams of Palestinian land. more