Monday, 17 October 2011

Israel meets hunger strikers demands by agreeing to end solitary confinement of prisoners

RAMALLAH, October 17, 2011 (WAFA) – Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails on hunger strike for three weeks Monday suspended their strike after reaching an agreement with the prison administration to end the solitary confinement punishment, according to Minister of Prisoners Issa Qaraqi.

He said the Israeli prison administration agreed to the prisoners’ demands and will end the solitary confinement, which was the reason the prisoners have went on hunger strike on September 27, immediately after the release of the 1027 prisoners planned for Tuesday. more

Women's growing role in the Gaza economy fails to overcome entrenched inequalities

RAMALLAH, October 17, 2011 (WAFA) – A UN Women report discussed the varying coping strategies Gaza women have employed to compensate for their household’s income collapse under the combined impact of Israeli siege, internal political strife, military destruction and ongoing economic blockade, authors of the report said on Monday.

Launched in Ramallah on the occasion of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, the report, “Who Answers to Gazan Women?”, focuses on women in the three main areas of economic activity in which they are predominantly engaged -- public sector employment, agriculture and self-employment in the informal sector.

It shows how crucial their economic contributions are in maintaining Gazan households’ survival.

The report is the first UN Women research in the occupied Palestinian Territory looking at Gaza Women’s economic survival strategies on behalf of their households in the context of Gaza’s protracted crisis.

The research highlights that, despite the critical and growing role of Gaza women in securing their households’ income over a decade of crisis, they still benefit from limited economic rights. Access to and control over assets remains a major constraint to Gaza women’s empowerment.

As the research indicates, although they have full legal rights to own and accrue property and personal savings, women in the Gaza Strip have faced longstanding disadvantages in actualizing these rights.

“It is critical that interventions address Gazan women's continued lack of access to and control over assets if the expanded economic roles women have undertaken in response to the protracted crisis are to be translated into meaningful and sustained economic empowerment”, emphasized Rema Hammami, professor of Anthropology and Women’s Studies at the Birzeit University in the West Bank and main contributor to the UN Women research.

The research, while reaffirming that women have actively sought out and taken advantage of resources and services provided through humanitarian interventions in the Gaza Strip, also shows that the nature of the interventions themselves largely contributed to reinforce normative gender inequalities rather than supporting the process of change due to women’s economic survival strategies. more

PFLP warns Israel of retaliation if condition of its imprisoned leader on hunger strike deteriorates

(Palestinians participate in a protest in support of Ahmed Saadat, jailed leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, in the West Bank city of Nablus, on December 25, 2008. - MaanImages/Rami Swidan)

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- PFLP central committee member Jamil Mizhir warned on Monday that the movement will take action against Israel if the health of their imprisoned leader deteriorates.

Ahmad Saadat is on hunger strike as part of a mass prisoner protest against worsening Israeli prison policies launched on Sept. 27. The Popular Front leader had been held in solitary confinement for three years.

Mizhir said in a statement that the group blamed Israel for his health condition, after receiving reports that Saadat had been transferred to hospital.

"If Saadat's condition is at risk, the PFLP response will be very harsh," Mizhir warned.

The PFLP official said the deal agreed last week for the release of over 1,000 prisoners in exchange for captured soldier Gilad Shalit will push the movement to continue resistance to eventually free all Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jail. more

Hamas leaders in Cairo to meet 40 released prisoners to be exiled as part of swap deal

(Image By Arabs48)

Vice president of the Political Bureau of the Hamas movement in Gaza, Mousa Abu Marzouq, will be heading to Cairo Monday as part of a Hamas delegation to welcome 40 detainees who will be forced into exile as part of the prisoner-swap deal. Khaled Mashal, head of the Hamas Political Bureau in Syria, will be heading the delegation.

Hamas sources reported that Qatar and Turkey will be hosting the exiled detainees, while Syria also expressed willingness to host some of them, the Al Hayat Arabic paper in London reported.

Contrary to initial reports by Hamas officials and media agencies, not all female detainees will be released from Israeli prisons.

Abu Marzouq commented on the issue stating that the mediated swap-deal signed with Israel states that all female detainees will be released, while Israel interpreted the issue in a different way; all female detainees will be released, except those arrested and imprisoned by Israel after the prisoner-swap talks stated. This left behind nine female detainees. more

Video: what do ordinary Gazans think about the prisoner exchange deal?

The prisoner swap is sure to improve Hamas's standing among Palestinians, but the people of Gaza have suffered greatly for the capture of Shalit.

So what ordinary Gazans think of the deal?

Al Jazeera's Nicole Johnston reports from Gaza.