Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Make some noise: Malcolm X in Gaza -Islamic University English teacher spreads the word

At the end of the United States’ Black History Month, one week after the 47th anniversary of Malcolm X’s assassination in New York’s Audubon Ballroom, and another week shy of my first year in Gaza, I attended a talk on X at Gaza’s Centre for Political and Development Studies (CPDS) Tuesday.

My friend Yousef Aljamal, a translator at CPDS, coordinated the event. “We are being subjugated to occupation and racism,” he told me when I asked him why. “I see Malcolm X as a role model. He fought against racism, just as Palestinians are doing today.”

CPDS’s lecture hall held a larger crowd than it has during any other event I have attended there. The speaker, Refaat R. Alareer, is a popular teacher of English at the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG). Joining CPDS regulars, dozens of his students had turned out for another opportunity to hear him.

“I don’t claim to be a Malcolm X specialist,” Alareer said. “I’m only a fan.” His interest in X, he said, began twelve years ago. “I was teaching a course, and there was an amazing passage about this man, of whom I had never heard before. The passage was so eloquent, so articulate, so amazing that it pulled me into this personality, this area of knowledge that I, again, never knew before.”

Alareer quickly ordered and read The Autobiography of Malcolm X. “Malcolm X has had, since then, an amazing influence on my life, to the extent that I now name him as my number one role model,” he said.

Alareer’s talk covered the phases and transitions of X’s varied life, with a focus on two main themes: the influence of his childhood, and misconceptions that often cloud modern understandings of him. “If you ask anyone about Malcolm X, he will quote him about violence, and how violence is the most important means to regain and restore rights, dignity, freedom, equality – so many things.”

“By doing this, we are actually not doing justice to this great, amazing man,” Alareer added. “We are zooming in on only one part of his life.” more

Israeli military invade Ramallah and shutdown a local TV station

The Israeli military targeted on Wednesday Watan TV, a local Palestinian television station broadcasting from the central West Bank city of Ramallah.

“Around 2 am a large military force surrounded the station building and stormed our offices; at first we thought they are coming to conduct arrests at the nearby Al Amariy refugee camp.” Hamza al Salaymah, Watan TV reporter, told IMEMC.

The army detained al Salaymah along with Production manager, Abed Al Rahman Al Daher, Graphics designer Ibrajem Milhim, Cameraman Ahamd Zaki and the night gourd Saleh Baker. The four men were detained until the army left the area.

“They took our broadcast equipment, computers, and financial statements and documents; they forced us to go off-air” al Salaymah added.

Watan TV is a local media company that has an online news service and offer press conferences services in Ramallah a city that is under total Palestinian Authority control. The station went on-air 15 years ago.This is the second time the TV is attacked by the military. The first time was back in 2002. more

French court orders retrial into Mohammed al-Dura killing in Gaza captured by TV crew

Controversial footage which purports to show the death of a 12-year-old Palestinian boy in Gaza 11 years ago is to be examined again by the French courts.

The highest French appeal court yesterday ordered a retrial of allegations that a French television crew staged the apparent shooting by Israeli troops of Mohammed al-Dura as he sheltered in his father's arms in September 2000.

Philippe Kersanty, founder of media watchdog Media Ratings, was convicted of libel by a French court in 2006 after he accused France 2 of faking footage which had shocked television audiences all over the world. An appeal court overturned this verdict in 2008, arguing that Mr Kersanty had a right to express his opinion. The Cour de Cassation, the highest French court, rejected this ruling yesterday and ordered the lower court to hear the case again. The ruling was hailed as a victory by France 2 and its veteran correspondent in Israel, Charles Enderlin, who insist the report was accurate. more

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Despite assurances from Egypt Gaza power plant is forced to close down again

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Gaza's only power plant has been forced to shut down for the second time in two weeks due to a fuel shortage, the energy authority in the Gaza Strip said Tuesday.

Energy officials appealed to Egypt to provide Gaza with a sufficient amount of fuel to allow regular operation of the plant, adding that the disruptions were inflicting a heavy toll on the 1.7 million Palestinian residents of the blockaded strip.

The power station had only re-started operations eight days ago, reactivating one of four generators when emergency fuel supplies arrived from Egypt. A crisis in fuel supplies shut the plant on Feb. 14, plunging Gaza into up to 18 hour blackouts per day. more

Egypt blocks attempt to smuggle diesel fuel into Gaza Strip

EL-ARISH (Ma’an) -- Egyptian security forces on Tuesday thwarted an attempt to smuggle large quantities of diesel fuel into the Gaza Strip via underground tunnels, Ma'an's correspondent said.

Egyptian military and police forces stopped four trucks containing more than 7,000 liters of diesel fuel bound for the Gaza Strip.

Four Egyptian smugglers were arrested and are being questioned.

Egypt wants to stop the use of underground tunnels for delivery of Egyptian fuel purchased by Palestinian authorities, and has severely reduced supply through the tunnel network, prompting an energy crisis in the coastal enclave.

Egyptian and Gazan officials reached a deal last week which includes longer-term measures to increase the capacity of Gaza's sole power plant and link Gaza's electricity grid to Egyptian infrastructure.

On Sunday, as part of the first stage of the agreement, Egypt increased its power supply to the Gaza Strip from 17 to 22 megawatts. more

Monday, 27 February 2012

Japanese distributor ends contract with AHAVA in victory for boycott movement

DaitoCrea, Japanese agent of the Israeli cosmetics firm, AHAVA, announced on their Webpage that it has ended all sales of AHAVA products for what it attributed to “financial reasons”. Boycott movement said that decision is the outcome of direct action and protests.

The company stopped all AHAVA sales starting on January 31, 2012. The victory was that of the persistent efforts of a 2-year campaign conducted by the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) that calls for boycotting all Israeli products made in Israel’s illegal settlements in occupied Palestine.

The Forum added that its activists informed the firm, by direct action and advocacy, of the illegality of AHAVA goods and the suffering it inflicts on the Palestinian people.

An Executive at the DaitoCrea told the Palestine-Forum campaign that the company had no idea about the background of AHAVA when they started dealing with them, and had no idea about the location where AHAVA products are made.

AHAVA – Israel products are made in a settlement in the occupied Palestinian West Bank; settlements are illegal under International Law. more

Wikileaks Stratfor leaks show Israel has sights on 'massive' Gaza attack

Claims that Israel has already destroyed a large part of Iran's nuke programme and that the EU is orchestrating the 'bomb Iran' campaign to divert attention from the euro crisis seems unlikely. However, the idea that the real priority for Israel is 'massive attacks' on Hamas in Gaza and 'strikes' on Hezbollah in Lebanon, is much more realistic.
On 11/7/11 7:54 AM, Benjamin Preisler wrote:

Code: IL701
Publication: for background
Attribution: none
Source Description - Confirmed Israeli Intelligence Agent
Source reliability: Still testing
Item credibility: untested
Source handler: Fred

Source was asked what he thought of reports that the Israelis
were preparing a military offensive against Iran. Response:

I think this is a diversion. The Israelis already destroyed
all the Iranian nuclear infrastructure on the ground weeks
ago. The current "let's bomb Iran" campaign was ordered by the
EU leaders to divert the public attention from their at home
financial problems. It plays also well for the US since
Pakistan, Russia and N. Korea are mentioned in the report.

The result of this campaign will be massive attacks on Gaza
and strikes on Hezbollah in both Lebanon and Syria.




Leaked Israeli intelligence report warns of harsh Egyptian response to a new Gaza offensive

...The report also notes that last year's attack on the Israeli Embassy in Cairo demonstrates that the Egyptian "street" has succeeded in forcing its opinions on the military leadership.

"[Egypt's] Supreme Military Council is aware of the benefits of the peace agreement, but even there, there are some elements that are dissatisfied with parts of the agreement," the report says. One of the first things the new Egyptian government will do after it takes office will be to change the security appendix to the peace agreement to allow Egypt to increase its military presence in the Sinai Peninsula, it says.

The change of government in Egypt is also expected to limit Israel's freedom of movement in Gaza.

"Incidents deemed provocative, such as a military operation in Gaza or in the Sinai, will likely lead to a tougher, sharper response than in the past," the report says. more

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Abbas: Israel carrying out 'ethnic cleansing' in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM (Reuters) -- President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel on Sunday of trying to erase any Arabic identity from Jerusalem, drawing a strong response from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Abbas, speaking at a conference in Qatar, said that for the past few years Israel has been waging a "final battle" aimed at erasing the Arab, Muslim and Christian character of East Jerusalem, which Israel captured from Jordan during the 1967 Middle East war.

Abbas said that through settlement building in the West Bank and Jerusalem, Israel is carrying out an "ethnic cleansing, in every sense against the Palestinian residents in order to turn them into minorities in their own city." more

Palestinian female detainee Hana’a Shalabi on tenth day of hunger strike

Detained young woman Hana’a Shalabi has entered her tenth day of hunger strike protesting her administrative detention despite being released late last year in the prisoners’ exchange deal between Hamas and Israel.

Attallah Abulsabh, the minister of prisoners in the Haneyya government, said that Hana’a, 28, is the first freed captive to be re-arrested and sentenced.

The minister said that Hana’a is following the path of Khader Adnan who went on hunger strike for 66 days before the Israeli occupation authority finally submitted and agreed to end his administrative detention.

He said that the health condition of Hana’a was deteriorating and that the Israeli Hasharon prison administration had moved her to solitary confinement and threatened to transfer her to the ward of Jewish homicide convicts in Ramle jail if she continued in her hunger strike.

Abulsabh asked the Egyptian intelligence chief Murad Muwafi to personally intervene to put an end to Israel’s re-arrest of freed prisoners in the exchange deal and to improve the incarceration conditions of all Palestinian prisoners since the deal was brokered by the Egyptian intelligence apparatus. more

European convoy arrives in Gaza through Rafah crossing

GAZA, ( A European aid convoy has arrived in Gaza Strip on Sunday through the Rafah border crossing.
Organizers of the convoy said that the 75 members of the convoy from Holland, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Austria, Denmark, Britain, and France have started to arrive in Cairo as of Friday.

They said that the European coordination of Palestinian humanitarian assistance was the one organizing the convoy, which is also co-organized by charitable societies in Europe.

The convoy aims at alleviating the suffering of the Gaza people who have been under siege for six years. more

Weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the OPT (16–22 Feb)

(Clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian civilians in Nabi Saleh village, northwest of Ramallah)

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Continue Systematic Attacks against Palestinian Civilians and Property in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT)

IOF have continued bombardments and shootings in the Gaza Strip.
IOF implemented 5 airstrikes and fired 9 missiles.
14 civilians, including 2 women and 3 children, sustained bruises and wounds by glass shrapnel.
A metal workshop was destroyed and several houses and civilian establishments were damaged.

IOF have continued to use force against peaceful protests in the West Bank.
7 protesters, including an Israeli peace activist, were wounded.
5 of the wounded were participating in Kafr Qaddoum protest and 2 of them were participating in al-Nabi Saleh protest.

IOF have used force against protests in support of Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan.
4 protesters were wounded in front of 'Ofer prison, southwest of Ramallah.

IOF conducted 74 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and a limited incursion into the south of the Gaza Strip.
IOF arrested 21 Palestinians in the West Bank.
The arrested Palestinians include 4 Palestinians who were released from Israeli jails in the recent prisoner swap, and including the wife and daughter of a Palestinian who was released from Israeli jails in the recent prisoner swap and who was arrested again during the reporting period.
IOF undercover units implemented arrests in al-Bireh city and in 'Anabta village.
IOF raided houses of PLC members and the office of PLC members of Hamas Change and Reform Bloc.
IOF arrested 2 Palestinians in the south of the Gaza Strip while getting ready to hunt birds.

Israel has continued to impose a total closure on the OPT and has isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world.
IOF arrested 3 Palestinians at checkpoints in the West Bank.
IOF held a Palestinian patient at Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing for several hours as he was on his way to al-Maqased hospital for treatment. more

Palestinian refugees to protest UNRWA''s service reduction plans

GAZA, Feb 25 (KUNA) -- The popular committees of the Palestinian refugees in camps in Gaza Strip said Saturday they would stage wide-scale sit-ins in protest of UNRWA's decision to reduce services.

The committees said in different statements the sit-ins would be held in front of the food supply centers of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in six out of eight refugee camps in Gaza.

The sit-ins are in protest of UNRWA's "arbitrary policy aims at stopping financial and material aid to many of our refugee (Palestinian) people here in camps in Palestine and there in camps in diaspora." The committees called on all Palestinians in Gaza to participate in the sit-ins, to remind UNRWA of its commitment to help the Palestinians who were forced out of their homes and lands by Israel in 1948.

During the sit-ins, the protesters will call for "no starvation policy," "no humiliation" and "give us our rights and return us to our lands and houses" in line with UN resolution 194.

Meanwhile, director general of the Camps Affairs Department at the PLO Jawdat Judeh said there were rising concern among the Palestinian refugees in Gaza following UNRWA's decision to reduce its services to refugees. more

IDF pushes law to give settlers another way of grabbing land– unpaved roads

(US AID funded settler road. Photo: Innovative Minds)

The Israeli military is pushing legislation allowing settlers to bypass the state’s convoluted building permit system in the occupied West Bank. The new law would allow settlers to create unpaved roads without a permit. If the law passes, these settlers would be the only Israeli citizens able to build roads in this manner. Currently, only the military is able to build roads without a permit.

Under the proposed legislation, Israeli-only roads in the West Bank will begin to take on a different function. This network of roadways currently exists to speed travel between the settlements and create physical barriers between Palestinian villages. The new law would treat roads as something similar to the caravans in illegal settler outposts - a means of pushing Palestinians off their land. The Civil Administration confirms the land grabbing function of the bill, stating: "the request did not deal with the paving of roads for vehicular traffic to preserve this land." more

Israeli air strikes hit tunnels in southern Gaza, government ministries evacuated

The Air Force bombed several targets in the Gaza Strip after three Qassam rockets were fired at Israel Saturday, Palestinian sources told Ynet early Sunday.

According to other reports, Hamas security officials decided to evacuate all headquarters in the Strip for fear of further Israeli strikes.

According to Gaza sources, IDF aircraft bombed an open area west of Rafah, just hundreds of meters away from the Egyptian border, around midnight. Rescue services in the Strip reported no injuries in the strike but said several structures in the area were damaged.

A short time later, the Palestinians reported that the Air Force struck a tunnel in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip. No injuries were reported in the second attack but the tunnel was damaged.

The IDF confirmed the strikes and added that the army targeted a weapons factory and a terrorists' smuggling tunnel. more

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Video: Israeli soldiers abusing a cuffed, blindfolded Palestinian after wall protest

The video shows a cuffed and blindfolded Palestinian youth who was kidnapped during the weekly nonviolent protest against the illegal Israeli Annexation Wall and Settlements. These protests are organized by the local residents, along with Israel and International peace activists.

The cuffed Palestinian is seen on the ground while the soldiers are just moving him around, dragging his feet sometimes, and placing him in a sitting position against a wall next to another blindfolded and cuffed Palestinian.

It also shows the one of the soldiers standing next to him with his foot raised close to the head of the youth, posing as if he is going to crush his head while filming the abuse using what seems to be his mobile phone.

There have been several incidents where soldiers filmed themselves abusing detained Palestinians at roadblocks, and in other areas in the occupied territories. more

Gaza electricity crisis 'not solved' despite Egyptian supply assurances

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The Gaza Strip has not received enough fuel to resume normal electricity levels, a Gaza energy official told Ma'an on Saturday.

Hamas spokesman Taher al-Nunu said on Thursday that the Gaza government had reached a deal with Egyptian authorities to end the electricity crisis that closed Gaza's sole power plant last week, plunging Gaza into up to 18 hour blackouts per day.

But Gaza energy authority director Ahmad Abu al-Amreen said there has been no change in the situation and the authority is still using the same limited pool of fuel. Egypt says it has delivered emergency fuel to Gaza amid the crisis, but the promised deal did not appear to solve the problem of regular supplies.

The deal as described by al-Nunu includes longer-term measures to increase the capacity of the power plant and link Gaza's electricity grid to Egyptian infrastructure. The shorter-term requirement is the delivery of fuel into Gaza, but a disagreement on the route of the fuel still appeared to be pending agreement.

Egypt wants to stop the use of underground tunnels for delivery of Egyptian fuel purchased by Palestinian authorities, and has severely reduced supply through the tunnel network, prompting the current crisis. more

Gaza’s Hamas prime minister voices support for Syrian protesters

CAIRO — The Hamas prime minister of Gaza on Friday expressed support for Syrian protesters seeking to overthrow President Bashar Assad, the first time a senior Hamas leader has publicly rebuked the group’s longtime patron.

Ismail Haniyeh said after Friday prayers at Egypt’s Al-Azhar Mosque that Hamas commends “the brave Syrian people that are moving toward democracy.

Assad has long hosted and supported leaders of the Islamic militant movement, which rules the Gaza Strip, but the group has significantly reduced the presence of its exiled leaders in Syria since the start of the 11-month-old uprising against the Syrian regime.

Some of the top Hamas leaders are now spending most of their time in Qatar, Egypt and Lebanon, as the group tries to distance itself from Assad’s brutal crackdown on opponents.

The United States, which considers Hamas a terrorist organization, viewed Haniyeh’s remarks on Syria positively.

“It just speaks to how isolated Assad is,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.

Haniyeh’s speech was another sign of Hamas’ drift away from longtime backers Iran and Syria, as it finds new allies in the region. Hamas’ isolation has eased since its parent movement, the pan-Arab Muslim Brotherhood, gained political influence in the region, including in Egypt, in the wake of the Arab Spring uprisings. more

Friday, 24 February 2012

Red Cross provides urgent fuel supplies to Gaza's ministry of health

Yesterday the Red Cross provided emergency supplies to Gaza's ministry of health.
Geneva/Jerusalem (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today supplied the Ministry of Health in Gaza with 150,000 litres of diesel. The fuel will help 13 public hospitals maintain essential health services for the next 10 days.

"The lack of fuel restricts the functioning of vital public services, especially hospitals," said Irfan Sulejmani, the head of the ICRC sub-delegation in Gaza. "Without these emergency supplies, the treatment of thousands of patients could be interrupted and lives endangered."

In the past few years, Gaza has faced continuous shortages of electricity. The situation worsened when the only power station in the Strip was shut down last week. more

Israeli warplanes fire on Gaza City injuring two, rockets hit Israel

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli warplanes fired on a Gaza City neighborhood early Friday, lightly injuring two Palestinian fighters.

The airstrike on the Zeitoun neighborhood injured two militants who were evacuated to hospital, emergency services' spokesman Adham Abu Salmiya said. Their identities and affiliations were not immediately identified.

An Israeli army statement said the warplanes hit "two terror activity sites in the northern Gaza Strip in response to the rockets fired at Israel."

Three rockets fired from Gaza landed in southern Israel on Thursday evening, and two projectiles early Friday, without causing injuries of damage.

The armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees said in a statement on Friday it had launched projectiles at southern Israel early on Friday. more

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Palestinian teens spend three months in Israeli jail due to cops' false reports

Two Palestinian teens who spent three months in jail on suspicion of throwing a firebomb were released this week because the border policemen who incriminated them turned out to have submitted false reports.

The bomb was allegedly thrown at a Jerusalem checkpoint on October 21. But according to Border Police records, there were no firebombings on October 21, and an officer who testified that he had witnessed the incident was not at the checkpoint that day, either.

The border policemen who gave the testimony were apparently "helped" by investigators, who supplied them with information from the teens' confession to serve as the basis for their report.

Nevertheless, the charges against the teens have not yet been dropped. more

Israel transfers 120 Palestinians to unknown location, cancelling all previous agreements

On Wednesday 22nd February, the Israeli prisons' administration transferred approximately 120 prisoners from Negev Desert Prison to an unknown location.

In a press statement issued by the prisoners publicized by the Palestinian Prisoners' Society, they said that 120 prisoners were transferred without allowing them to take their belongings after two special Forces "al-Mutsada" and "Doour" broke into the prison with weapons and dogs.

The prisoners said that "there were no justifications for the prisons' administration, there was an enormous "number of soldiers for each prisoner; four members of the police accompanied each individual. The prisons' administration intended to humiliate them and suppress them without reason."

They also said that the prisons' administration informed the prisoners that it would cancel all previous agreements with them, and that it would escalate the procedures against them.

President of the Prisoner Society, Qadura Fares, called for a condemnation of Israeli officials in front of the International Courts and to forbid them from entering some countries. more

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Gaza bakeries face fuel shortage, may face closure over next few days

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- The president of Gaza's bakery owners association said Wednesday that bakeries in the coastal enclave are suffering from a lack of fuel.

Abdul Nasser al-Arjami told Ma'an that many bakeries will have to close down in the next few days due to the current fuel crisis.

The Gazan ministry of economy provided enough fuel to bakeries to last for five days, al-Arjami said, with establishments now purchasing fuel on the black market. more

Haniyeh says electricity crisis near resolution, Egypt to supply 22Mw per day by next week

Ismail Haniyya, head of the Hamas-led Palestinian government in the Gaza Strip, stated that the electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip will be resolved soon, and that certain mechanisms to resolve the issue will be implemented soon, in direct agreement and cooperation with Egypt.

Haniyya also phoned the head of the Islamic Development Bank, discussed a number of main issues, and agreed on some of them, including means to resolve the Power crisis in Gaza.

Furthermore, Egyptian Minister of Electricity and Energy, Hasan Younis, stated Tuesday that Egypt will be providing Gaza nearly 22 megawatts by the beginning of next week, the Middle East News Agency reported. more

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Confirmed: Khader Adnan has ended his hunger strike, to be released on 17 April

Photo Courtesy of Carlos Latuff, 2012

*At approximately 7:50 PM local time, it was confirmed by Ran Cohen, Executive Director of Physicans for Human Rights-Israel, that Khader Adnan has ended his hunger strike.

Khader Adnan’s hearing at the Israeli High Court was cancelled today, 21 February 2012, only minutes before the hearing was to take place. On Khader’s 66th day of hunger strike in protest of his administrative detention and inhuman and degrading treatment by the Israeli authorities, one of Khader’s lawyers negotiated a deal with the Israeli military prosecutor that Khader will be released on 17 April instead of 8 May and that his administrative detention order will not be renewed. Addameer lawyer Samer Sam’an is actively working to gain permission to visit Khader to confirm whether or not he will continue with his hunger strike. more

Khader Adnan to end hunger strike after Israeli concessions claims prisoners minister

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority minister of prisoners affairs said Tuesday that Israel intends to release hunger striking prisoner Khader Adnan after he completes his current administrative detention term.

In return, Adnan agreed to end his strike, according to Issa Qaraqe, the prisoners minister. The term will end April 17, he said.

Adnan has not confirmed he intends to end the hunger strike, but prisoners rights group Addameer said one of Adnan's lawyers negotiated a deal with the Israeli military prosecutor freeing him on April 17 instead of in May.

He also received guarantees the term will not be extended, the group said. more

Monday, 20 February 2012

Emergency fuel arrives from Egypt via Gaza tunnels but only enough for 2 hours a day

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A limited delivery of fuel arrived in the Gaza Strip on Monday, brought in through underground tunnels from Egypt, as the energy authority director said he expects a long term solution to the widespread blackouts to be agreed with Egypt this week.

The fuel has allowed the power authority to reactivate one of the four generators at Gaza's sole power plant, the authority said in a statement.

The arrival of 300,000 liters of fuel is expected to provide Gaza's 1.7 million residents with an additional two hours of electricity per day. Since the plant shut down last Tuesday, as deliveries were severely reduced from Egypt, Gaza has had only six hours of power each day.

Egypt had earlier pledged a much larger shipment. An Egyptian MP said Saturday that Egypt would begin pumping 500,000 liters of fuel into Gaza per day for the power plant and 100,000 for gas stations starting Sunday.

But Egypt wants to stop the use of underground tunnels for delivery of Egyptian fuel purchased by Palestinian authorities, a Ma'an correspondent said.

Palestinian Energy Authority Director Omar Kattana said Monday that crisis will be resolved this week, after a delegation of energy officials returned from talks in Egypt.

Egypt has agreed to increase electricity to Gaza that comes directly through power lines on the Rafah border, and a joint Egyptian-Palestinian committee has been formed to examine how fuel can be delivered through "official channels", he said. more

What @IDFSpokesperson doesn't say - last year 108 Palestinians killed by projectiles v 3 Israelis

by Yousef Munayyer

This post first appeared on the Palestine Center blog Permission to Narrate (Mondoweiss):

If a rocket from Gaza falls in the middle of the desert, does it make a sound?

It does if you are on Twitter. Regular updates on just about every projectile fired from Gaza is reported by the Israeli military's official twitter account @IDFSpokesperson as well as from the accounts of other Israeli military figures like that of spokesperson @AvitalLeibovich.

But what about projectiles fired by Israel into Gaza? You'd think that since this is actual Israeli military activity the spokespeople from the Israeli military would provide this information.

I often ask the @IDFspokesperson and @AvitalLeibovich to provide this information to allow for a clearer, more accurate picture of the cross border dynamics of violence. One such occasion was on last Friday - you can see the convo on Twitter below:

She clearly dodges the question and finally refers me to their blog after I made it clear that her silence might be indicative of something they are hiding.

I checked out the blog and even though they have plenty of numbers on projectiles from Gaza, they don't present similar data of their own activities. I wasn't expecting them to present such information since the objective of the Israeli military spokesperson is to protect the image of the Israeli military, a feat that is increasingly difficult with every passing year of a soon to be 45 year old occupation and in an era where information is readily available via the internet.

So, what are they hiding? What is it about the numbers that they won't tell you - the data on Israeli military fire into Gaza - that prevents them from sharing it in the same fashion they share information on projectiles from Gaza?...

...In 2011, the projectiles fired by the Israeli military into Gaza have been responsible for the death of 108 Palestinians, of which 15 where women or children and the injury of 468 Palestinians of which 143 where women or children. The methods by which these causalities were inflicted by Israeli projectiles breaks down as follows: 57% or 310, were caused by Israeli Aircraft Missile fire, 28% or 150 where from Israeli live ammunition, 11% or 59 were from Israeli tank shells while another 3% or 18 were from Israeli mortar fire.

Conversely, rocket fire from Gaza in 2011 has resulted in the death of 3 Israelis.

Video: David Rovics's protest song for hunger strike - 'Khader Adnan, Bobby Sands'

Khader Adnan's current hunger strike, presumably to the death, is more than a little reminiscent of the IRA hunger strikes of 1981. As, no doubt, the Israeli occupation of Palestine is more than a little reminiscent of the British occupation of Ireland, most particularly during the Troubles.


Khader Adnan, Bobby Sands

Khader Adnan grew up near Jenin City
You could say he was a product of his time
Ever since he was a kid he'd get arrested
Though he was never charged with any crime
Spending half his life in prison
A life lived like so many of his friends
Arbitrary and indefinite detention
Never knowing if your jail time would end
Khader Adnan was arrested last December
Again he wasn't told the reason why
He was shackled, he was beaten, he was tortured
There beneath the Middle Eastern sky
Perhaps there was a moment when he realized
That right then, with his body, he'd say no
But from then on he refused to eat another meal
Like in Belfast not many years ago

Khader Adnan grew up in a war zone
But all the tanks and planes were only on one side
It was a type of war that they call occupation
Settlement, removal, fratricide
And anyone who talked about resistance
Who thought they did not deserve to be a slave
Would be looking down the barrel of a gun
And often find themselves inside an early grave
Khader Adnan loves his wife and daughters
And he likes to eat his daily bread
But in prison he can't see his children
Or live life with the lady that he wed
So on behalf of all the children without fathers
He decided he had to strike a blow
He said I will have dignity or death
Like in Belfast not many years ago

Each time Khader Adnan was arrested
In prison he would learn a little more
And soon he became the teacher
And he'd talk about the times that came before
They talked about civil disobedience
They talked about the ballot and the gun
They talked about the Occupied Six Counties
And the H Blocks in 1981
Khader Adnan talked of perseverance
And how someday their people might be free
How someday they might hear their children laughing
Unafraid, how someday things could be
And then at 3:30 on one morning
The soldiers came, their rifles pointed low
And they took Khader Adnan from his family
Like in Belfast not many years ago

They say Khader Adnan is a terrorist
Just like they said of Bobby Sands
Because he dares speak out against injustice
Because he dares to make a stand
Because he dares believe that he is human
And he does not deserve to live this way
Because he dares to consider an alternative
Because he dares imagine a new day
Khader Adnan lost his liberty before he was born
To fight for life it's death he must embrace
But just like others come before him
There are others waiting to take his place
And even the great powers can lose interest
In supporting such a vicious status quo
Because you can't break a man who won't be broken
Like in Belfast not many years ago

Oman sends medical aid to Gaza in collaboration with Egyptian Red Crescent

CAIRO — Oman Charitable Organisation (OCO) in co-ordination with the Sultanate’s Embassy in Egypt sent a shipment of medical aid to Gaza Strip within the framework of the Sultanate’s efforts to lessen the blockade on Palestinian brothers in the enclave.

The Egyptian authorities offered all facilities to send the shipment to Gaza Strip through Rafah crossing point in collaboration with Egyptian Red Crescent. The shipment was handed on to the Ministry of Health which will distribute it to different hospitals.

Shaikh Khalifa bin al Harthy, Sultanate’s Ambassador to Egypt and its permanent representative to the Arab League, said in a statement that the medical aid to our brothers in Gaza Strip comes within the framework of the Sultanate’s policy to support Palestinian case and to help the Palestinian brothers who suffer unbearable conditions under the Israeli occupation. more

Power crisis deepens in disagreement over transfering fuel through Israel

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Fuel from Egypt has yet to be transferred to Gaza despite assurances it would arrive on Sunday to alleviate an energy crisis, a power authority official said Sunday afternoon.

Gaza's sole power station has stopped functioning since Tuesday, leaving the Gaza Strip with up to 18 hour blackouts each day.

An Egyptian parliamentarian said Saturday said Egypt would pump 500,000 liters of fuel into Gaza per day for the power plant and 100,000 for gas stations.

But the route of the promised fuel into the Gaza Strip appeared to be holding up the delivery.

Egypt wants to stop the passage of fuel through tunnels under the border between the countries, but the official Rafah terminal is not equipped for goods transfers and its development is restricted by an agreement between Egypt, Israel and the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority.

The only alternative route while this agreement is being renegotiated is for the fuel to cross into Israel, and then back into the Gaza Strip through the Israeli-controlled Kerem Shalom terminal, the sole goods transfer point after Israel closed the fuel crossing Nahal Oz in January 2010.

Energy Authority official Ahmad Abu al-Amreen told Ma'an that while the government does not want to rely on transfers via Israel -- which severely restricts the movement of people and goods from the Gaza Strip since it tightened a blockade on the territory in 2007 -- it will allow shipment via the Israeli crossing temporarily to alleviate the current emergency.

It was not clear whether this solution had been accepted by Egyptian authorities, but Abu al-Amreen said the power authority had not received notification from Egypt about how the fuel would be transferred. more

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Jerusalem Post - Israeli army's southern command wants immediate offensive against Gaza

Senior officer in the Southern Command says "ongoing attacks – by rockets and along the border – are cumulatively more than enough to justify immediate action”.

Calls are mounting within the IDF’s Southern Command to launch a large-scale offensive against Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip in the face of continued rocket attacks over the weekend.

On Saturday night, the Israel Air Force bombed a number of targets in the Strip in response to the firing of a number of Grad-model Katyusha rockets into Israel. One landed in Beersheba on Saturday. In another attack, an RPG was fired at an IDF patrol along the border with Gaza.

“There is no need to wait for a provocation to launch an offensive against terrorist infrastructure in the Gaza Strip,” a senior officer in the Southern Command explained. “The ongoing attacks – by rockets and along the border – are cumulatively more than enough to justify immediate action.” more

Interview: US academics back boycott - Robin Kelley on Palestine and the BDS movement

From Mondoweiss

If there’s one thing the Palestine solidarity movement and Israel lobbyists can agree on, it’s this: American college campuses remain a potent battleground when it comes to the politics of Israel/Palestine.

One group, the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI), certainly recognizes this. And one way to advocate for Palestine on campus is to get professors on board the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

Five professors recently back in the U.S. after a USACBI delegation to Palestine have taken that leap, releasing a statement (published on the Electronic Intifada in full) that describes what they saw in Palestine and that calls on their academic colleagues to join the BDS movement. Mondoweiss caught up with one of the professors on the delegation, UCLA’s Dr. Robin D.G. Kelley, and discussed BDS, the delegation, Kelley’s new project, black Zionism and much more. Kelley is the author of eight books including Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists During the Great Depression, Race Rebels: Culture Politics and the Black Working Class, Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination and 2009's Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original.

Alex Kane: To begin with, talk about yourself, what you do and what your research focuses on.

Robin Kelley: I am a professor of American history at UCLA, and for the last 25 years really, my work has focused on social movements, the African diaspora, radical change, and--it’s sort of a side issue--but I’ve also written about music. My last book was about [the jazz musician] Thelonious Monk. But my academic work, you know, links up to the political work largely because I got into this business as a historian/scholar, through activism and through recognizing, or experiencing or watching social injustice both locally and globally. I’m a product of the 1980s, and the main critical issues were both domestic, in terms of police brutality, Reagan policies on poverty, rising racism in the United States and global issues--the anti-apartheid movement was formative in my own political awakening, the struggles in Central America, the struggles in post-colonial Africa and the Congo, and Palestine, which brings us full circle. The point I’m trying to make is, the issue of Palestinian self-determination is not a new one. It always sort of rebirths (laughs), but it’s not a new one. And so for people of my generation, the Israel-South Africa nexus, dispossession of Palestinians--even back in the days when people talked seriously about the two-state solution, whatever that is--these were the key questions for anyone politically active in the 1980s.

It’s not an accident that Jesse Jackson, for example, whose presidential campaign in the 80s was really formative as well, that his right-hand man, Jack O’Dell, had led a delegation in the 1970s to meet with PLO members and to go to the West Bank and to meet with Palestinians there when the PLO was in exile. And so, there’s been a long tradition after 1967 of various black liberation movements trying to build a connection to Palestine. more

Clashes with Israeli police - Palestinians foil settler attack on Al-Aqsa Mosque

Dozens of Palestinian residents foiled, on Sunday morning, an attempt by dozens of fundamentalist Israeli settlers to break into the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem.

Local sources reported that the settlers gathered near the Al-Magharba Bridge, that leads to the Al-Magharba Gate, west of the Al-Aqsa mosque, while dozens of Israeli policemen were deployed in the area.

The police allowed the settlers through and prevented all Palestinians, aged 45 of under, from entering the area while on their way to pray at the Al-Aqsa mosque, an issue that led to clashes between the Palestinians, and the Israeli soldiers and settlers. Initial Israeli reports stated that three soldiers were mildly wounded.

The Al-Quds Media Center reported that some extremist settler groups, including extremist members of the “Trustees of the Temple”, called on their followers to break into the Al-Aqsa Mosque in order “to affirm the Jewish control and sovereignty on the mosque” a first step towards “rebuilding the temple”. more

Oxfam demands opening of crossings as fuel crisis threatens health, water, sewage systems

"What we are witnessing now with the fuel crisis in Gaza proves that the tunnels are not a sustainable solution to the blockade. The government of Israel's near ban on fuel for private sale has only worsened this crisis and made everyday people less able to cope. If we want to solve the electricity crisis once and for all we need a full and consistent opening of all of Gaza's crossings in accordance with international law," said Catherine Essoyan, Regional Director of Oxfam....

...The Ministry of Health in Gaza warned on 15 February that the health situation was reaching catastrophic proportions in hospitals, where fuel to run generators was running out. Reportedly 72% of emergency fuel stocks for all of Gaza's hospitals had already run out. More than 400 kidney dialysis patients were mentioned as the most at risk right now, given that their treatment requires machines that need to run on electricity for long hours.

The water and sanitation front is also facing widespread disasters, with high risk of sewage flooding in the streets and interrupted water supplies.

Oxfam partner Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU) estimates that with only 80,000 lires of fuel remaining in its stock, it can only power its 180 generators for the next seven days. CMWU's facilities include 190 water wells, 40 main sewage pumping stations, 15 districts pump stations, four wastewater treatment plants, eight desalination units, and 10 water lifting stations.

CMWU warned on 15 February that the power cuts can result in more than a 50% drop in water supply to households with the possibility of creating a public health risk. Water from desalination units is facing a 60% drop while wastewater pumping stations face sewage overflows. In Gaza City, CMWU says that the one main station pumping up to 40% of all the city's wastewater is at risk of total collapse due to the power and fuel shortage.

The water and sanitation cluster in Gaza is also warning of the high risk of flooding and destruction of sewage lagoons which have already claimed lives of dozens of Palestinians drowning in them. The latest victim was 10-year-old Ahmed Al Zein who drowned in a sewage basin in Beit Lahia on 11 February. The Bedouin Village next to this basin was flooded in March 2007, killing five Palestinians and injuring another 20, damaging houses and public facilities. And last December, two siblings aged 5 and 2 drowned in a sewage basin near Khan Younis refugee camp. more

Israeli warplanes fire on Gaza Strip early Sunday, 3 injured as missile hits home

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Israeli warplanes fired at the northern Gaza Strip overnight Saturday, leaving four people injured.

The raids hit a blacksmith workshop in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City late Saturday, causing extensive damage and wounding one man.

Early Sunday, a home in the city's Tuffah neighborhood was hit by a missile, injuring three people. The victims were taken to Shifa hospital in the city for treatment.

Eyewitnesses say Israeli fighter jets continued to hover over the Gaza Strip after the raid. more

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Open letter to EU's Ashton after statement on Khader Adnan

Video: Sinn Féin activists join with members of Belfast Friends of Palestine outside Belfast City Hall to support Palestinian Hunger Striker Khader Adnan as he enters his 63rd day on Hunger Strike.

By Ali Abunimah

Dear Ms. Ashton,

Forty-eight hours after my colleague David Cronin first requested it, your spokespersons found the time to issue a statement on the plight of Khader Adnan, who could die at any moment, shackled to his bed, now in his 62nd day of hunger strike against his arbitrary detention by Israel.

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Carter Center, and numerous civil society groups all over the world have called for Israel to immediately release or charge Mr. Adnan, as well as the more than 300 other “administrative detainees” including 21 elected members of the Palestinian legislative council currently being held by Israel.

But you didn’t do that. Instead, you washed your hands of Khader Adnan, and to the extent that Khader Adnan has become a symbol of Palestinians’ desperate determination to stand up for their rights against overwhelming Israeli oppression, you washed your hands of all Palestinians too.

As Adnan wrote weeks ago:

“The Israeli occupation has gone to extremes against our people, especially prisoners. I have been humiliated, beaten, and harassed by interrogators for no reason, and thus I swore to God I would fight the policy of administrative detention to which I and hundreds of my fellow prisoners fell prey.”

Addressing you and other members of the “international community” he wrote: “I hereby assert that I am confronting the occupiers not for my own sake as an individual, but for the sake of thousands of prisoners who are being deprived of their simplest human rights while the world and international community look on.”

“It is time the international community and the UN support prisoners and force the State of Israel to respect international human rights and stop treating prisoners as if they were not humans.”

But you decided to look away. Your weasel-worded statement merely “requests the government of Israel to do all it can to preserve the health of Mr. Adnan and handle this case while abiding by all legal obligations under international law.” You even affirmed Israel’s right to use administrative detention.

What is this “case”? Let us remind ourselves that Mr. Adnan was abducted from his home at 3.30AM on 17 December. He was taken from his pregnant wife Randa and his two young daughters. He has not been charged with a crime, despite lengthy harsh interrogation, humiliation and abuse. This is what led him to go on hunger strike. He has not eaten since one week before Christmas.

Randa described what might be her last time seeing her husband on Wednesday:

“My father-in-law said to him: ‘We want you to stay alive. You cannot defeat this state on your own.’ He told him he wanted him to end the strike. I told him I wished he would drink a cup of milk. But he said: ‘I did not expect this from you. I know you are with me all the time. Please stop it…. I know my husband. He will not change his mind. I expect him to die.”

He is still alive and he wants to live. Randa Adnan recalled that her husband told one of his lawyers: “I do not want to go to oblivion or death. But I am a man who defends his freedom. If I die it will be my fate.”

You have frequently asserted that “human rights” are at the center of your policy. But we know that any such statements come with an asterisk. Palestinians are exempt from such rights, and Israel is exempt from any accountability. You proved that again today.

What makes this all the more revolting is that you spared no opportunity to call for the release of an Israeli occupation soldier who was held in Gaza, a soldier taken prisoner while bearing arms to enforce the deadly siege and occupation of Gaza.

Perhaps if Khader Adnan had been an armed Israeli occupation soldier, instead of a father who was at home with his family, you would have had more sympathy.

I have not lost hope that Mr. Khader can be saved. I dream of a day when people like you will lead instead of follow. But perhaps that isn’t your function.

What gives me hope still is that people all over Europe, all over the world, are joining the demands that Israel release Adnan, so he can return home.

Read some of their messages to him and his family. Perhaps you will rediscover some of the humanity that your shameful statement so painfully lacks, end your complicity and call on Israel to free this man and all other prisoners of its brutal, merciless, inhumane and EU-subsidized occupation.

Ali Abunimah

The author is the Executive Director of The Electronic Intifada.

Link to the open letter at Maan News here

Video: Jordan Valley - demolitions and arrests of two Palestinians

On February 14, 2012, in the small village of Twael of the Aqraba district, southeast of Nablus in the Jordan Valley, the home of the Bunni Jaber family was destroyed by an Israeli backhoe protected by 20 soldiers in four military vehicles. Two men from the family were arrested – Ayman Bunni Jaber, aged 36, and Rafie Bunni Jaber, aged 30. The family’s tractor was also confiscated by the Israeli authorities.

The Bunni Jaber house was located along the green, rocky hills that dominate the landscape here, built from cloth, plastic sheeting, wire mesh, stones, and dirt. There are four children in the Bunni Jaber family, ranging from toddlers to adolescents. The family are herders, with flocks of sheep and goat, and the arbitrary confiscation of their tractor presents a serious challenge for the family’s livelihood. more

Israeli forces invade north of Gaza, bomb east of Bureij camp, no injuries reported

GAZA, (PIC)-- The Israeli occupation forces carried out a small-scale incursion into northern Gaza Strip on Friday evening and bombed a residential area east of Al-Bureij camp without any reported injuries.

Local sources told the Palestinian information center (PIC) that Israeli tanks and bulldozers advanced hundreds of meters north of Beit Lahia amid intensive gunfire and embarked on bulldozing the area.

A group of civilian passengers also survived miraculously on the same day when two Israeli artillery shells fell close to their car in a residential area east of Al-Bureij camp in central Gaza. more

Egypt pledges to supply fuel for power plant according to Gaza officials

GAZA CITY: Egypt has promised to provide diesel fuel for the Gaza Strip's sole power plant, which went down this week after running out of fuel, a Gaza official said on Saturday.

"Following our contacts with Egyptian officials, there have been serious promises to furnish us fuel from tomorrow (Sunday)," said Ahmad Abu al-Amrin, from the Gaza energy authority.

The power plant, which supplies around a third of Gaza's electricity, suffers frequent outages, leading to daily blackouts across the Hamas-run territory.

When the power plant went down on Tuesday, Amrin said he had called on Egypt "to assume its historical responsibility in supporting the resistance of the Palestinian people by ensuring they had all the necessary fuel to operate the plant." more

Two injured after Israeli Air Force fires missiles at metal workshop in Gaza

Palestinian medical sources in the Gaza Strip reported that two residents were wounded, on Saturday evening, when the Israeli Air Force bombarded a blacksmith workshop in Az-Zeitoun neighborhood, east of Gaza City.

Eyewitnesses said that the Air Force fired two missiles into the workshop that belong to Ashour family; the blacksmith workshop is part of the home of the family an issue that led to the injury of two family members, their injuries were described as mild-to-moderate.

Several hours later, the Israeli Air Force bombarded an area east of Gaza City leading to excessive damage but no injuries. more

Friday, 17 February 2012

Thousands rally in Gaza for Palestinian hunger striker in Israeli jail

Thousands of Palestinians in Gaza City held a rally on Friday in solidarity with an Islamic Jihad member, detained without trial by Israel, on the 62th day of a hunger strike.

"We stand by the heroic symbol of prisoners, brother Khader Adnan, in his unlimited hunger strike," head of the Hamas government in Gaza Ismail Haniya, just back from a tour of Gulf countries via Egypt, told reporters ahead of the event.

Palestinian officials say Adnan's two-month hunger strike is the longest period a Palestinian detainee or prisoner has ever gone without food.

The procession, attended by all Palestinian movements, began at the Al-Omari mosque after Friday prayers and ended at the headquarters of the Red Cross.

"In his hunger strike, Khader Adnan is not fighting for a personal cause, but for the defence of thousands of prisoners," a Gaza leader of Islamic Jihad, Nafez Azzam said in a speech.

This Friday's weekly demonstration in the West Bank village of Bilin, marking the seventh anniversary of rallies against the Israeli separation barrier, was also dedicated to Adnan. An AFP correspondent said it was joined by some 1,000 demonstrators.

Adnan, a 34-year-old baker, was arrested by Israel on December 17 near the West Bank city of Jenin, where he had been spokesman for Islamic Jihad. He has been held since without being charged under a procedure known as administrative detention.

He began refusing food a day after his arrest and is now said to be close to death. more

UN's Richard Falk and foreign ambassadors urged to pressure Israel to release hunger striker

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- Minister of Prisoners Affairs Issa Qaraqe said Friday he will take the case of hunger-striking prisoner Khader Adnan to the UN Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights, as officials said the president was pushing foreign diplomats to step in to save the prisoner.

Qaraqe said he will brief Richard Falk on Adnan's condition in Jordan on Sunday, after the Islamic Jihad leader's administrative detention order was upheld by an Israeli military court on Monday.

Adnan has refused food for over 60 days in the longest-ever hunger strike by a Palestinian prisoner. more

Thousands have rallied in Gaza and the West Bank demanding Adnan's release. See Reuters report here

Journalist released after eight years in Israeli prisons for professional and political activities

(Ya'qoub Al-Hotary -

Journalist Ya'qoub Al-Hotary was released, on Friday, from an Israeli detention facility after spending eight years in different Israeli detention centers for his journalistic and political activities.

The Maan News Agency reported that Al-Hotary worked as the Sound Engineer at the Qalqilia TV, in Qalqilia, in the northern part of the West Bank.

The charges against him were never clear, but included his political affiliation with the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). more

Book Review: ‘A Child’s View from Gaza: Palestinian Children’s Art and the Fight Against Censorship’

By Annie Robbins at Mondoweiss

As a resident of the Bay Area I was looking forward to attending the opening at Mocha. The free exhibit, co-sponsored by nearly twenty local organizations, featured special activities for children and families, including a cartooning workshop and poetry readings, and was sure to be attended at full capacity. Meca's frequent events, as well as raising funds for the Maia project, Plant-a-Tree in Palestine, and Playgrounds (to name a few) are always an opportunity for our local Palestinian solidarity activist community to unite and greet friends. I had already made plans with a couple of friends to commute. The news Mocha was under pressure to close the show right before the opening startled the community to the core and we rallied with letters to the museum expressing our support for the show. Then, as fast as you can say 'censored' we found out the exhibit was was as if a lead hammer had descended and slammed the door shut once again. The overwhelming revulsion at the swift closure still sends chills down my spine, it reached the East Coast in a nanosecond and quickly spread to Europe and the Middle East.

A Child's View From Gaza: Palestinian Children's Art and the Fight Against Censorship presents a step by step, page by page account of the unfolding drama. Walking us through events, told through the voices of participants, citizens and activists, the book is a testament to the sheer will and determination of MECA and the global solidarity community that guaranteed the show must and will go on. Palestinians will be heard, we will be their witness because the truth is being exposed.

The amazing art of Palestinian children that documents the horrors they experience and know all too well is included in the book of course. This is the same art that terrifies the San Francisco Jewish Community Relations Council and the Jewish Federation of the East Bay, the art that screams out in raw unfiltered expression. Page after page after it and support for The Middle East Children's Alliance, be a witness.

My appreciation knows no bounds. more

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Gaza music students find smart ways around travel ban

(pic: Violin teacher Elena Radwan playing with a student at Gaza Music School)

(CNN) -- Elena Lidawi is preparing her piano students to take part in a national competition. Lidawi's students will not perform in front of the judges in person, but by video conferencing.

Lidawi teaches at Gaza Music School and the Palestinian national competition they will enter in March and April is only 50 miles away in Jerusalem.

But the children are unable to leave Gaza because of travel restrictions imposed by Israel and Hamas, which governs Gaza. Israel imposed an economic blockade of Gaza when Hamas took over in 2007, to stop what it says is the transit of weaponry to be used by militants in attacks on Israel. Movement of people is severely limited.

This is one of many logistical problems faced by staff and students at Gaza Music School, the only music school in the 360 square kilometer strip of land controlled by Israel.

The school was set up three years ago by the UK-based Qattan Foundation and is about to be transferred to the Palestinian Edward Said National Conservatory of Music, which has branches in Jerusalem, Ramallah, Bethlehem and Nablus. more

Wife says health of hunger striker Khader Adnan worsening

(MaanImages/Jenny Baboun, File)

By Jihan Abdalla

RAMALLAH (Reuters) -- The health of a Palestinian prisoner on hunger strike for 61 days to protest against his detention, has significantly worsened, his wife said Thursday after visiting her husband in an Israeli hospital.

Khader Adnan, 33, a member of Islamic Jihad, has been refusing to eat since mid-December, shortly after his arrest in the occupied West Bank by Israeli forces.

West Bank officials say it is the longest hunger strike staged by a Palestinian detainee and his supporters have warned of violent reprisals against Israel if he dies.

"His health has drastically deteriorated from the last time I saw him," said his wife, Randa, who visited her husband on Wednesday, a week after the previous visit.

"I expect the worst," she says. more

14 Palestinian pupils killed in school bus crash

Ramallah: At least 14 Palestinian children were burnt alive and some 60 injured when the school bus in which they were travelling burst into flames after colliding with a truck loaded with petrol at the Jaba'a junction, near here, yesterday.

Ambulances from Ramallah hospitals and Red Crescent brought the bodies and some injured children, mostly aged between four and five years, to the Palestine Medical Complex here.

Medical sources at the complex said that most victims were from the occupied East Jerusalem's Anata area.

Nasser Jubran, a representative of the families of the dead and injured children and a member of the Al Salam Committee of Anata, told Gulf News that three more victims have been declared clinically dead. more

Gaza on brink of health and environmental catastrophe due to power outages and lack of fuel

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) is gravely concerned over the current power crisis in the Gaza Strip...

...The Ministry of Health in Gaza declared it is in a state of crisis since the operation of Gaza power plant stopped, suffering from an acute shortage in fuel supplies needed for the operation of electricity generators at hospitals and health care facilities. Mr. Bassam Barhoum, Director of the General Supplies Stores of the Ministry of Health in Gaza, stated that the long periods of outages are combined with an acute shortage of fuel at hospitals across the Gaza Strip. The fuel deficit has risen to 72% while there is an urgent need to operate the electricity generators at hospitals and health care facilities. He added that the level of fuel consumption at all hospitals has been 815 liters per hour.

Mr. Ashraf al-Qidra, Spokesman of the Ministry of Health, emphasized that more than 80% of patients in the Gaza Strip are threatened by a deterioration of their health conditions due to the power outages and the decreasing strategic stock of fuel required for the operation of electricity generators at hospitals and health care facilities. He further warned of a health disaster that may directly affect all patients in vital departments of hospitals whose treatment depend on the availability of electricity supplies, especially prematurely born infants in incubators, who are currently more than 100. Also at risk are more than 400 patients suffering from renal failure, including 15 children, who need dialyses twice or three times a week; and 66 patients who are currently placed in intensive care units. Al-Qidra indicated that 39 operation rooms, in addition to emergency and reception departments, gynecology departments, laboratories, and radiology departments in all hospitals of the Gaza Strip will become completely paralyzed if the crisis does not come to an end. more

Two air strikes on alleged Gaza resistance fighter bases injure six civilians

Six Palestinian civilians have been wounded in two air strikes by the Israeli air force that targeted the besieged Gaza Strip in the early hours of Thursday morning.

According to a Palestinian media source, the first target is allegedly a center for Al-Aqsa brigade, the armed wing of the Islamic Hamas movement, in at-Tuffah neighborhood in east of Gaza city.

The second strike hit a location said to be a center for al-Quds brigade, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad movement in Palestine in the Nusseirat area in the central Gaza Strip causing damage to property but no injuries, the source added. more

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Palestinians call on Egypt to connect Gaza to power grid in line with 2-year-old Arab League policy

GAZA, (PIC)-- Acting speaker of the Palestinian legislative council Dr. Ahmed Bahar has appealed to the Egyptian leadership to help in ending the power crisis in Gaza Strip.

Bahar urged Cairo in a press release on Wednesday to expedite linking Gaza to the regional grid endorsed by the Arab League more than two years ago.

He said that urgent assistance should be extended to the coastal enclave to deal with the stoppage of the sole electricity generation station in Gaza such as fuel and maintenance.

Bahar held the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) fully responsible for the power crisis in Gaza due to its five-year long siege. more

Thirsting for Justice calls for flash mobs for Palestinian water rights on World Water Day 22 March

Take action

The Thirsting for Justice campaign calls on you to take part in a Global Flash Mob in city squares around the world on the occasion of World Water Day (22 March, 2012). This is an opportunity to educate the public about the daily violations of Palestinian rights to water and sanitation and to call on your government to push for accountability for these violations until Israel complies with its legal obligations as an Occupying Power.

An example of a recent flash mob can be found here.

Participants can develop their own concept with support from the Thirsting for Justice Team or choose one of the following scenarios:
Palestinians carrying empty jerry cans standing in line on a Israeli checkpoint to symbolize Israeli restrictions on Palestinian access to water; words like "hope" or "justice" can be written on each jerry can, to express the aspirations of the Palestinian people.

A crowd, representing Palestinians from Gaza, carrying bottles filled with dirty water, acting as if drinking it and falling sick. The crowd should be confined to a limited space to symbolize the Israeli blockade on Gaza.

A water cistern (represented by a box) about to be smashed to pieces by army officers, while people, representing Palestinian villagers, watch helplessly. This is to symbolize the ongoing destruction of water and sanitation infrastructure by the Israeli military in the West Bank. Villagers use cisterns to store water used for domestic consumption and livelihoods.

For each of these suggestions, participants are encouraged to carry banners that will explain the context of the scene. Register and send us your flash mob videos by writing an e-mail to Let´s make the flash mob videos go viral!

Extract from Emergency Water, Sanitation and Hygiene group (EWASH) Factsheet 11: Demolition & destruction of water, sanitation & hygiene (WASH) infrastructure in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT)

The demolition of WASH infrastructure in the OPT has placed Palestinians at increased risk of disease and illness, preventing herding and agricultural communities from practising their livelihoods and leading to significant levels of displacement. International humanitarian law and international human rights law explicitly forbid the destruction of infrastructure vital to public health and water supply.

Destruction of WASH infrastructure by the Israeli authorities in the West Bank has increased since the beginning of 2010, affecting 14,971 Palestinians—over half of whom are children—and displacing 305 individuals between 2009 and 2011. For example, three cistern demolitions occurred in 2009, 21 in 2010, and 32 in 2011.

In addition, Israeli settlements, illegal under international humanitarian law, also confiscate, destroy and hinder access to WASH infrastructure in their vicinity.

The Gaza Strip experienced widespread damage to water and sanitation facilities during the government of Israel’s military ‘Operation Cast Lead’ and continues to experience destruction of water and sanitation facilities as a result of air strikes by the Israeli military. Download the PDF

Dozens of Palestinians declare hunger strike as fasting prisoner Khader Adnan is on day 60

Dozens of Palestinians declared hunger strike in support of the Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan who ended his 60 day of fasting. Palestinian medical sources said Adnan is facing death if not treated properly as many of his main organs including his heart and stomach are in a very bad shape.

A report by Physicians for Human Rights stated that Adnan's health is seriously deteriorating and that he might die at any moment as his immunity system is not functional any more.

Hundreds of Palestinians took to the streets in a number of West Bank towns and cities in support of Adnan, while a number of Palestinians protested at Ofer Military jail near Ramallah. more