RAMALLAH (AFP) -- A Palestinian Authority minister said on Wednesday he would seek an international inquiry into a hacking attack that took down Internet service across the occupied West Bank and Gaza.
Communications minister Mashur Abu Daqqa said the government would ask the International Telecommunications Union, a UN agency, to officially investigate Tuesday's cyber-attack.
"We will begin today our communications with the ITU to request an international committee to investigate the facts," Abu Daqqa told a news conference.
On Tuesday, Internet service across the occupied Palestinian territories went down after a coordinated hacking attack against Palestinian servers, the PA says. more
- Irish and Canadian boats in international waters on their way to challenge illegal siege policy - Palestinian activists call for end to international complicity in Israel’s crimes - Support actions taking place throughout the West Bank and inside Israel
[Ramallah] Two civilian boats, the Canadian Tahrir (Liberation), and the Irish Saoirse (Freedom), carrying 27 people from nine countries, are currently in international waters making their way to the beleaguered Gaza Strip to challenge Israel’s ongoing criminal blockade of the territory. A Palestinian youth activist from Haifa has joined this renewed international mission to challenge Israel’s unrelenting stranglehold on Gaza via the sea. The message they carry is one of unity, defiance, and hope, in spite of Israel’s policies that have physically separated Palestinians from each other. The “Freedom Waves to Gaza” organizers chose not to publicize the effort in advance given Israel’s efforts to block and sabotage Freedom Flotilla II last July. The boats, which set sail from Fethiye, Turkey, are expected to arrive in Gaza on Friday afternoon, sailing from international waters straight into Gaza’s territorial waters without entering Israel’s waters. The boats carry symbolic cargo – $30,000 in medicines, along with a diverse group of passengers, all committed to nonviolent defense of the flotilla and Palestinian human rights.
“Israel has caged Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, prohibiting physical contact between us. We want to break the siege Israel has imposed on our people,” said Majd Kayyal, a Palestinian philosophy student from Haifa on board the Tahrir. Kayyal added, “The fact that we’re in international waters is already a victory for the movement. Israel’s siege of Gaza is untenable and it’s a moral responsibility to put an end to this injustice.”
Meanwhile, a statement signed by Palestinian youth urged the international community and the U.N. in particular “to take urgent action to protect this mission as well as to end its compliance with Israel’s criminal blockade of Gaza.” They condemned the U.N. Secretary General’s previous declarations calling for aid to Gaza to go through “legitimate crossings and established channels,” despite the U.N.’s own admission that Israel’s failure to own up to its responsibilities has created an unprecedented crisis of human dignity.
Throughout the week Palestinian activists in the West Bank and inside Israel are organizing solidarity actions with the Freedom Waves mission, including a presence outside the UN compound (Tokyo Street, Ramallah) and rallies across West Bank towns.
This is the 11th attempt to break the siege of Gaza via the sea, with five missions arriving safely in Gaza between August and December 2008 and the remaining violently intercepted by Israel. On May 2010, Israel attacked passengers of the Freedom Flotilla in international waters, killing nine civilians and injuring over 50. Israel’s actions were widely condemned and led to protests around the world. Efforts to bring a second flotilla to Gaza were foiled by the government of Greece last July following pressure by Israel and Western governments, as well as by acts of Israeli sabotage.
Israel has intensified in the past days its aerial bombardments on Gaza, underlining the need for international initiatives of deterrence similar to this one.
Israel and the U.S. outsourced the siege of Gaza to Athens last summer by preventing 8 boats in the Freedom Flotilla 2-Stay Human from sailing from Greek ports to Gaza. Despite this we were able to bring world-wide attention to the blockade of the Gaza Strip. Our efforts in Greece only fueled our determination to challenge the imprisonment of the people of Gaza. We said we would continue to sail and so we are!!!
At this moment, two boats are in international waters in the Mediterranean heading to Gaza. One boat, the Saoirse from Ireland, includes parliamentarians among its passengers. The other, the Tahrir, carries representatives from Canada, the U.S., Australia, and Palestine. The U.S. Representative on the Tahrir, Kit Kittredge, was a passenger on the U.S. Boat to Gaza, The Audacity of Hope mission in Athens in July. A journalist from Democracy Now is on the Tahrir also. Civil society organizations in Gaza await their arrival, and look forward to the delivery of letters collected from thousands of U.S. supporters in the To Gaza With Love campaign.
We need your help to make this mission a success. Please take these actions immediately.
1. Check these websites for updates: U.S. to Gaza, Irish Ship to Gaza and Canadian Boat to Gaza, watch or listen to Democracy Now for live coverage from the Tahrir. Look for twitter hashtag #Freedomwaves.
2. Spread the word far and wide - send this alert to your contacts.
3. Call the State Department and the White House- demand that they take immediate action to ensure the safe passage of these boats and to put an end to the siege of Gaza.
Call the State Department: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton 202-647-5291 U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro 011-972-3-519-7575 Office of Israel/Palestinian Affairs Paul Sutphin 202-647-3672 Office of Consular Affairs, Kim Richter 202-647-8308 and the White House: 202-456-1414 email President Obama at http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact
Here are some talking points or suggested messaging:
Gaza has been under siege since mid-2006, depriving 1.6 million people of their liberty and basic human rights. Although the siege has been condemned by the United Nations, the Red Cross, and many national governments, nothing has been done to ease the plight of these civilians. Civil society has had to act where governments would not. Two ships with 27 passengers from 5 countries are sailing to Gaza to confront the Israeli naval blockade, and to bring medical supplies and letters of support.
As Americans we insist that our government (which sends Israel $3 billion in military aid every year), demands that Israel insures the ships' safe passage and ends its illegal blockade of Gaza. There is absolutely no excuse to subject 1.6 million people to collective punishment. Ask your local press to cover this story. Up-to-date information will be available at www.ustogaza.org, www.irishshiptogaza.org and www.tahrir.ca
FORWARD THIS ACTION ALERT TO ALL YOUR CONTACTS, PLEASE INCLUDE THE PRESS RELEASE.
THANKS FELICE GELMAN, JANE HIRSCHMANN AND ANN WRIGHT ----------------------------------
For immediate release, November 2, 2011 Contact: In New York: Felice Gelman, 917-912-2597, 917 679 8343 At sea: phone numbers will be released when you call the above press contact
TWO BOATS WITH PASSENGERS FROM 5 COUNTRIES (INCLUDING THE U.S.) HAVE SET SAIL TO GAZA
Organizers say: "It is time to lift the siege of Gaza which deprives 1.6 million civilians of their rights to travel, work, study, develop their economy and be free."
The Canadian ship Tahrir and the Irish ship Saoirse have successfully reached international waters, initiating the "Freedom Wave to Gaza." The boats have embarked from Turkey and are on the Mediterranean Sea. In all, the 2 boats carry 27 passengers from Canada, Ireland, U.S., Palestine, and Australia.
Kit Kittredge on board the Tahrir was previously a passenger on the American ship, The Audacity of Hope, which attempted passage to Gaza last July. Kittredge says, " The only obstacles in our way are Israel's military and the complicity of the Obama administration but in our sails is the wind of worldwide public opinion which has turned against the illegal blockade."
Ann Wright retired US army Colonel and former US Diplomat says, "We carry inspiration from the Arab Spring and the worldwide "Occupy" movements that are demanding freedom and justice. Where governments fail, civil society must act. As Americans we are fed up with our government's unquestioning support of Israel no matter how violent, illegal and oppressive its actions. We will not stand by and watch $30 billion of our tax money committed to buying Israel weaponry used to carry out this illegal occupation of Palestine including the blockade of Gaza."
Jane Hirschmann added, "Our sailing coincides with UN agency UNESCO's recognition of Palestine as a member state, defying US threats to cut off $80 million of US funding in retaliation. This shows the growing strength of opposition by the international community to U.S. and Israeli policies in Palestine. We call on the international community to go further and take effective action to lift the siege of Gaza. Hirschmann was one of the organizers this past summer of the U.S. Boat to Gaza, The Audacity of Hope which is still captive in Greece.
The LSE Palestine Society has extended it’s academic programme with the Islamic University of Gaza to include lectures by LSE Professors. Academics in the Departments of International Relations, Law and History have agreed to participate in the scheme by delivering lectures via online video conferencing.
The decision to twin the LSE Students’ Union with the Islamic University of Gaza was passed at the Union General Meeting (UGM) on 26th November 2009, in order to “show solidarity with the students there who have had their campus bombed and their colleagues killed by the Israeli Occupation Forces.” Proposer of the motion, Samer Araabi, stated that the twinning was in “no way a sign of support for Hamas” but to support the people of Gaza and their right to education. Prior to this, the Students’ Union was twinned with the An-Najah National University in the Middle East since January 2007, but this expired in November 2009.
The academic programme was first established as part of the Palestine Society’s “Right to Education” campaign, launched in 2010, under which the UGM motion was also launched. Originally the programme just partnered LSE students with their counterparts at the Islamic University of Gaza in a mentoring initiative. Last year, LSE students partnered with “pen-pals” at the Middle-Eastern university using Skype and e-mail. However, the Palestinian Society has decided to invite academic involvement to provide better support for the students there. more