Saturday, 30 June 2012

PA security clash with protesters opposing proposed meeting between Abbas and Netanyahu

Palestinian protesters (R) clash with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' plainclothes security personnel (L) as they tried to march on the headquarters in protest against the meeting between Abbas and Israeli Vice Premier Shaul Mofaz, even though it had been put off, in Ramallah on June 30, 2012. (Reuters/Mohamad Torokman)

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Dozens of young Palestinians clashed with PA security forces in Ramallah on Saturday at a protest against the leadership's scheduling of a meeting with Israeli vice premier Shaul Mofaz.

The youth gathered in central Ramallah and tried to march on the headquarters of the leadership, the Muqataa, where they were blocked by riot police and some plain clothes agents.

"They beat them badly," a witness who asked not to be identified told Ma'an, adding that three people were taken to hospital but the extent of their injuries was not immediately clear. They were identified as journalist Muhammad Jaradat, Hassan Faraj and Waed Barghouti.

Activists told a Ma'an correspondent that six people were injured, and six others detained when forces attempted to disperse the crowd.

Other witnesses told Ma'an that security forces used more force than at past demonstrations, pushing and in some cases punching and kicking people who joined the rally. more

Two wounded, dozens suffer asphyxiation due to gas inhalation at Bil'in anti-wall protest

On Friday, 29th June, two Palestinians were injured, Ahmad Bornat, 18, who was shot in his leg by a rubber bullet and Abdallah Yaseen, 19, who was hit by a gas canister in his back and dozens of Palestinians and peace activists from foreign countries suffered from suffocation due to poison gas inhalation in the weekly march organized by the Popular Committee Against the Wall in Bil'in.

A delegation from the United States and European Union, a foreign group from different countries came under a program that is known as "travel & knowledge program", the people of Bil'in and Israeli and foreign peace activists participated in this march.

The march began after Friday prayers from the center of the village and took place at the land that was liberated. Participants raised Palestinian flags and chanted slogans calling for national unity, the occupation to be dissolved, the destruction of the apartheid wall and the release of the prisoners. more

Night march in Al-Khalil in solidarity with political prisoners in PA prisons

AL-KHALIL, (PIC)-- A massive march was organized in Al-Khalil city on Friday evening in solidarity with the six political detainees on hunger strike in the PA prisons.

Hundreds of citizens participated in the march, which was organized by the committee representing families of political prisoners and the Association of Muslim Youth, raising flags and banners condemning the continued political detention and the disregard of the suffering of the hunger strikers in Bethlehem and Ramallah prisons.

The march stopped outside the sit-in tent pitched in front of the house of the political prisoner on hunger strike Othman Qawasmeh. A speech was delivered on behalf of the political prisoners' families condemning the continued detention of the strikers, who have been detained for two years in PA prisons, despite courts’ decisions ordering their release. more

Palestinian family of 12 in Aqaba receives order to demolish their own home

(Muhammed Al-Jabbar holds a demolition order for his family's home)

On Sunday, June 24 in Aqaba, Muhammed and Nassa Al-Jabba received a demolition order by Israeli authorities demanding that they evacuate the premises of their home within the next 3 days. The Al-Jabba family have not evacuated the home as it is the sole residence for their family of 10 children. The Israeli military may arrive at any time to demolish the building in the Area C (Israeli civil and security control) village.

Upon arriving in the village of Aqaba, International Solidarity Movement (ISM) volunteers spoke with the mayor, Haj Sami, an older man left wheelchair bound after suffering 3 gunshots from Israeli soldiers while working on his farm in 1971. He was only 16 years old at the time and fortunate to survive.

Haj Sami introduced ISM volunteers to Nassa Al-Jabbar, the mother of 10 who has been faced with a demolition order, giving her only 3 days to abandon the premises before the Israeli army is able to arrive with bulldozers and raze her home.

Nassa and her husband Muhammed have spent 10 years building their home. When asked why it took them so long, Nassa replied that because a permit to build on their own land is impossible to attain from Israel, the house was built in 7 different stages in order to avoid the soldiers attention. more

Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the OPT (21– 27 June)

(Al-Bustan neighborhood, Jerusalem – A Palestinian civilian holds a demolition order of his house issued by the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem, which also ordered the demolition of another 4 houses in the area)

IOF launched a series of air strike on the Gaza Strip.

4 Palestinians, including one civilian, were killed by IOF in the Gaza Strip.
32 Palestinians, including a child and two women, were wounded.
A number of houses and shops were damaged.

A Palestinian was wounded at the entrance of an Israeli settlement in occupied East Jerusalem.

IOF use force to disperse peaceful protest organized by Palestinian civilians in the West Bank.
A Palestinian civilian was wounded.
IOF arrested a Palestinian civilian and two human rights defenders.

IOF conducted 51 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank.
IOF arrested 19 Palestinians, including 6 children.

IOF continued to attack Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip.

Israel has continued to impose a total closure on the OPT and has isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world.
3 Palestinian civilians were arrested by IOF at various checkpoints in the West Bank.

IOF have continued efforts to create a Jewish demographic majority in East Jerusalem.
Israeli authorities ordered the demolition of 5 houses in al-Bustan quarter in Silwan village.
Israeli authorities approved the construction of 180 housing units in “Armona Hanatsiv” settlement, south of occupied Jerusalem.

IOF have continued settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.
Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian property in Bethlehem. more

Friday, 29 June 2012

25 prisoners start hunger strike in Israel jail

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Two dozen prisoners in an Israeli detention facility in the occupied West Bank have launched a hunger strike against their living conditions, the Palestinian prisoners society said Thursday.

The 25 detainees in the Etzion detention facility near Bethlehem started refusing food over two weeks ago, said Jaclyn Fararjeh, a lawyer for the prisoners rights group.

The prisoners say Etzion is crowded and for that reason, breaks have been reduced from an hour to only 30 minutes. Additionally, there is not enough food for the number of prisoners, they say.

Some of the prisoners accused the Israel Prison Service of placing them in solitary confinement without justification and beating them.

Before the 25 in Etzion, there were three prisoners remaining on hunger strike. more

Islamic University of Gaza celebrates graduation of 3,658 students

By Yousef M. Aljamal, The Center for Political and Development Studies, Gaza

The Islamic University of Gaza (IUG), the biggest university in Palestine, ranked the 14th in the Arab World, celebrated yesterday, 26th June, the graduation of a group of students from the Faculty of Arts.

The graduates attended four-year programs in various fields, majoring in English Literature, Mass Communication, History, Geography, Arabic Literature and Geographic Information System (GIS). This is the 31st group to graduate from IUG since its establishment.

The total number of graduates this year is 3658 and the number of graduates since the establishment of the university in 1978 exceeds 46,000, studying in more than 100 majors. more

Thursday, 28 June 2012

UK foreign office funded report slams Israel's inhumane treatment of Palestinian child prisoners

An important report published by a group of British lawyers, funded by the Foreign Office, has highlighted the inhumane treatment of Palestinian child prisoners by Israel.

In the report’s damning conclusion, the lawyers stated that the reluctance to treat Palestinian child prisoners in accordance with international law may stem from the Israeli view that every Palestinian child is a ‘potential terrorist’ which leads to a ‘spiral of injustice’.

It shows how Israeli settlers and Palestinians are subject to different laws, so a Palestinian child can be held for up to 90 days without access to a lawyer and for 188 days without charge, whereas an Israeli child could only be held for two and 40 days respectively. When arrested, Palestinian children are not informed of their right to silence or a lawyer and are routinely held in solitary confinement. At present, 192 Palestinian children are imprisoned in Israeli jails, 39 of these are under the age of 16. more

Sign the Palestine Solidarity Campaign petition for Palestine's child prisoners

Grants for medical treatments abroad a "lifeline" for Gaza children

GAZA, June 27 (Xinhua) -- Mona Abu Aasi, a 14-year-old Palestinian girl from Shatti (Beach) Refugee Camp in western Gaza City, left Gaza few days ago to the Italian city of Florence after she had finally received a grant abroad to treat her brain cancer.

Abu Aasi had been suffering from cancer for several years due to lack of medical services in Gaza and ongoing Israeli siege until Relief Palestine, a non-profit American Charity Organization that has been operating for 20 years, offered her the medical grant.

Receiving the grant from the charity organization, which has been helping Palestinian and Arab children suffering from serious diseases, ended the torture and pain of the girl's family helpless to treat her disease.

Farah Abu Halima, a 5-year-old girl who had suffered a lot from a second degree burns after being badly injured in Israeli shelling in eastern Gaza city, has travelled to the United States and Dubai for treatment.

Steve Susbi, an American activist and director of Relief Palestine, told Xinhua in an interview that those children have been either injured in war or infected with chronic and serious diseases, but they can't find a proper medical treatment in Gaza due to lack of medical services.

"The organization was founded in 1992 and it focuses on providing proper and free medical treatment to children who can't be cured in their countries," said Susbi.

Relief Palestine has branches and volunteers in the United States, mainly in San Francisco, Boston, New Jersey and San Diego, as well as the United Arab Emirates of Dubai and Abu Dhabi and Kuwait. Ailing children usually stay with local Arab and Palestinian families. more

Video: Max Blumenthal on the pro-Israel lobby's campaign of hate against Islam in America

By Max Blumenthal

Nine years after 9/11, hysteria about Muslims in American life has gripped the country. With it has gone an outburst of arson attacks on mosques, campaigns to stop their construction, and the branding of the Muslim-American community, overwhelmingly moderate, as a hotbed of potential terrorist recruits. The frenzy has raged from rural Tennessee to New York City, while in Oklahoma, voters even overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure banning the implementation of Sharia law in American courts (not that such a prospect existed). This campaign of Islamophobia wounded President Obama politically, as one out of five Americans have bought into a sustained chorus of false rumors about his secret Muslim faith. And it may have tainted views of Muslims in general; an August 2010 Pew Research Center poll revealed that, among Americans, the favorability rating of Muslims had dropped by 11 points since 2005....

...Besides providing the initial energy for the Islamophobic crusade, conservative elements from within the pro-Israel lobby bankrolled the network's apparatus, enabling it to influence the national debate. One philanthropist in particular has provided the beneficence to propel the campaign ahead. He is a little-known Los Angeles-area software security entrepreneur named Aubrey Chernick, who operates out of a security consulting firm blandly named the National Center for Crisis and Continuity Coordination. A former trustee of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, which has served as a think tank for the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a frontline lobbying group for Israel, Chernick is said to be worth $750 million.

Chernick's fortune is puny compared to that of the billionaire Koch Brothers, extraction industry titans who fund Tea Party-related groups like Americans for Prosperity, and it is dwarfed by the financial empire of Haim Saban, the Israeli-American media baron who is one of the largest private donors to the Democratic party and recently matched $9 million raised for the Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces in a single night. However, by injecting his money into a small but influential constellation of groups and individuals with a narrow agenda, Chernick has had a considerable impact. more

Hamas says one of its leaders has been assassinated in Damascus

GAZA CITY, GAZA STRIP — Hamas said Thursday that one of its members was assassinated in his home in the Syrian capital, Damascus.

An official in the Palestinian militant movement said Kamal Ghanaja was a former aide to Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a senior commander who was himself assassinated in Dubai in 2010.

The official said Hamas had been informed that a group of people entered Ghanaja's home, killed him and took some files. He said a senior member of the movement has gone to Damascus to follow the official investigations.

He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

Hamas in a statement posted on its website that it was working to identify the assassin and that Ghanaja's "noble blood shall not be shed in vain." more

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Official: Egypt to allow more Gaza passengers through Rafah

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Egypt has agreed to increase the number of passengers passing through its Rafah crossing with the Gaza Strip to 1,000 per day, the Palestinian crossings director said Wednesday.

Maher Abu Sabha told Ma'an the terminal -- the only entry and exit point for travelers from Gaza -- currently has 500 registered passengers per day in July, but now has a quote for 500 more.

Palestinians are required to register in advance with the Gaza Ministry of Interior before travel via Egypt.

The Egyptian boost to the number of terminals comes as politicians and residents of the Gaza Strip expressed high hopes that the country's newly elected Muslim Brotherhood president would work to ease the situation of Gaza, which is under an Israeli blockade. more

Canadian Archbishop appeals to prime minister to restore Gaza hospital funding

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, has asked Prime Minister Stephen Harper to re-commit funds to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency so it can continue to support Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City, Gaza Strip. The hospital is run by the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and serves about a million people, regardless of religious or ethnic background.

“So many people are turning to us in desperation,” wrote Hiltz in his letter to Harper. “Let us not be blind to their suffering nor deaf to their cry.”

Suhaila Tarazi, hospital director, recently informed Diocese of Jerusalem partners that UNRWA abruptly had ended its financial contractual support of the hospital in May. The reason given for this decision was UNRWA’s diminished budgets due to non-payment of pledges from donor countries.

In his letter to Harper, Hiltz wrote, “UNRWA, not Hamas, nor the Palestinian authority is the sole provider of education and emergency medical services to 2/3 of the population of Gaza who are refugees.” more

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Six Palestinian children sentenced to imprisonment for terms of 5 to 12 years

QALQILYA, (PIC)-- Israeli court issued harsh verdicts against six Palestinian children from the town of Azzun east of Qalqilya in the West Bank, in addition to heavy fines against each of them.

Hassan Shebeita, the responsible for the Israeli attacks file in Azzun, told Quds press that Salem military court west of Jenin issued recently a harsh actual sentence between 5 and 12 years against six Palestinian children aged between fourteen and sixteen, and imposed heavy fines on each one of them. The six boys had been arrested in April of last year where their trial was postponed several times since then, he said.

The Palestinian official added that the court has sentenced Khaled Abu Haniya to twelve years, Othman Omran to nine years, and Muhanna Meshaal to eight years. The court also issued five-year sentence against Saji Imran, Mohammed Abu Haniyeh, and Saad Abu Haniyeh. more

Rabbi who called for slaughter of a million Palestinians is to supervise Israel’s ‘Red Cross’

By Ali Abunimah, co-founder of The Electronic Intifada
A notoriously racist rabbi who once called on Israel to slaughter a million Palestinian civilians has been appointed to head a supervisory committee for Magen David Adom (MDA) – Israel’s equivalent of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.

Haaretz reported that under pressure from ultra-Orthodox Jewish groups MDA decided to set up a rabbinical committee to dictate religious guidelines – including gender relations – for volunteers in the rescue service.

The committee is headed by Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the Chief Rabbi of Safad, whose salary is paid by the Israeli government. Eliyahu has a long, well-documented history of extreme racism and has called for violence against Palestinians.

Since 2006, Magen David Adom – whose name means Red Star of David – has been a full member of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and is Israel’s internationally recognized agency for disaster management, ambulance service and blood banks.

The organization also raises tax-exempt donations in the United States through the American Friends of Magen David Adom.

‘Kill a million’

In 2007, Eliyahu advocated mass slaughter of Palestinians in order to deter rocket fire from Gaza, while defending a ruling by his late father that Israel was permitted to indiscriminately kill civilians. “If they don’t stop after we kill 100, then we must kill a thousand,” Shmuel Eliyahu advised, adding, “And if they do not stop after 1,000 then we must kill 10,000. If they still don’t stop we must kill 100,000, even a million. Whatever it takes to make them stop.” more

Jordan Valley: Palestinian family’s water confiscated, internationals arrested

By Rosa Andersson and Amina Simonsson (International Solidarity Movement)

The Jordan valley is a fertile are ideal for agricultural production. When Israel took control of the West Bank, it immediately took hold of water resources and began to target Palestinian communities and empty them from the Jordan Valley. The villages left are isolated from each other not only by distance but by Israeli checkpoints, closed military zones, and other restrictions on movement. The Israeli military performs military training in proximity to many communities, putting them at constant risk.

The illegal occupation of water resources has made water access an urgent problem. The United Nations declares water a basic human right. The World Health Organization has declared that each individual need access to 100 litres of water per day, but Palestinians use on average between 50 to 70 litres per day. Many Palestinians in the Jordan Valley however, receive as little as 10-20 litres per day. This is a figure lower than both the recommended daily intake and the absolute minimum daily consumption required to avoid ‘mass health epidemics.’ Families in the Jordan Valley are forced to buy water at incredibly inflated prices. Some households spend 40-50% of their income to buy water from Israeli companies.

“When we came to the Bedouin camp, children were crying and there were a lot of soldiers trying to drag them away from the tractor that they tried to block. There were no men, only women and children, and around 60 soldiers and policemen. The Bedouin men were scared to show any resistance because of the risk of administrative detention,” says Rosa Andersson, one of the women who was later arrested. more

Eyewitness: Attacked off the coast of Gaza by the Israeli navy

“Stand at the front of the boat…we are going to take you.”

This is it. It’s not enough to break my camera and drown me in salty, chemical water; now they have to arrest me too.

Two weeks ago, I set sail on a human rights observation boat with a crewmate, journalist and a captain. I’ve done this tens of times before. I film, photograph and jot down attacks that the Israeli navy carries out on Palestinian fishermen. In the past it was easier for the fishermen to fish if they stayed within the three nautical miles that Israel restricts them to. They were originally guaranteed 20nm under the Oslo accords. It’s sardine season, but the sardines are six miles out, beyond the reach of the blockaded fishermen.

Back in the calmer days I would sometimes go for a swim out at sea- one time I was chased by a large fish, another I had to do an embarrassing emergency pee at sea. And I often throw up. Basically, it is highly glamorous work.

But fishermen are increasingly being attacked- even while fishing in the three-mile limit. In April alone, 12 fishermen were arrested at sea. They are forced to jump into the water to swim to their own abduction.

That morning, we were around 300m closer to shore than the 3-mile marker that the Israeli navy positioned at sea. Without warning, a navy warship steamed towards us in an enormous cloud of smoke. I saw a huge stream of water shooting out of the side and, in one move, shoved my camera into a plastic bag and into the boat’s ‘camera hiding place’.

The Israeli gunboat was on our line, as if it were about to Titanic our asses. And our tiny boat’s engine choked along as fast as possible. Before I knew it, I was also choking on seawater sprayed directly into my nostrils and throat. The water was icy but it burned my nose. After the attack, I smelled like chemicals and have a cough that still lingers today.

I kept spitting out water, barely able so see and I pushed the captain of our boat to go faster.

“Wagifoo” the leading Israeli naval officer shouted (“stop,” in Arabic)

We had done nothing wrong. Of course we were not stopping. Even if we had done wrong, we received no instructions, warning or indication that we would be attacked.

We told the boat to leave us- that we weren’t a threat, that we were within their three mile limit and on our way home anyway. They didn’t give a floating poo. They told us to shut up, while firing high-power water cannons in our faces.

So we tried to go back to Gaza. We turned against the wind so the water wouldn’t reach us but the navy kept cutting us off. We were left with only one route back to Gaza’s shore. They still managed to water cannon us another four times. They alternated between filling our faces with water to aiming their water cannon at our camera hiding place.

The boat started filling with water, getting heavier and slower. I was soon knee deep. Our on-board radio was not working- possibly because of all the water but I miraculously managed to send a few text messages to some friends as I took the full blow of the water cannon in the back. I couldn’t see my phone’s screen. I really felt like I was fighting for my survival. I was going to be pirated away to some cell and nobody would realize for hours.

The water was pouring down my face, I could feel every single drop coordinating to engulf my whole body. On the plus side, my shoes needed a good wash, so thanks for that. If you were the water cannon operator, please get in touch so I know where to send the fruit basket.

After around 15 minutes of this high-sea chase, our engine died.

This is it. I’m going to told to jump into the water, handcuffed and blindfolded as they try to arrest me. No engine; no getaway.

The Israeli warboat spokesperson said something in Hebrew-Arabic.

“Do you speak English?” I responded

“Shut up!” He responded, again in Arabic. more

Abbas urges visiting Russian leader Putin to pressure Israel to stop building settlements

Today, 26th June. The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed the President of Russia Vladimir Putin in Bethlehem today for a historical visit to the Palestinian territories.

A Russian broadcast has reported that the President of the Palestinian Authority Abbas said in an interview that Netanyahu hasn't responded to the pre-conditions to resume negotiations, and that Israeli settlements are on the top of the list of such pre-conditions.

President Abbas told Russian news agency Interfax that the freezing of the political situation is due to Israeli settlement activities that Netanyahu has refused to cease. He also said that Netanyahu is considering Putin's invitation to meet Abbas for "public relations" but this has been totally refused by the Palestinian leadership.

Abbas has once again called for the freeze of settlements if Israel is serious about the peace process.

President Abbas welcomed Putin, who arrived in Bethlehem at 10 am this morning. The two Presidents will sign bilateral agreements between the two countries. Putin will also participate in the opening ceremony of the Russian Centre of Science and Culture. more

Six political prisoners in Palestinian Authority jails now in hunger strike

RAMALLAH, (PIC) -- Two political prisoners joined the open hunger strike launched by the political detainees bringing the number of hunger strikers in PA jails to six detainees held in the preventive security and the general intelligence detention centers of Bethlehem and Ramallah.

Prisoner Islam Aruri launched his hunger strike on Friday in the preventive security prison in Ramallah demanding his release, stated sources close to his family noting that he has been detained since 7 October 2010 on political charges and sentenced to three years.

Another political prisoner from Al-Khalil city, "Abu Anas Markhiyah" who has been held in the general intelligence prisons in Ramallah since 19 December 2011, affirmed joining the empty stomachs battle since last Friday. more

Monday, 25 June 2012

Charities' report shows only 5% of Gaza's water is fit for human consumption

The water and waste infrastructure in Gaza has been slowly deteriorating for years now. War damage, political conflict and dwindling resources are all part of the problem – however, the most troubling aspect is that there is little hope for improvement. According to the latest report by Save the Children and Medical Aid for Palestinians, Gaza’s water is too contaminated to drink and the number of children treated with diarrhoea has doubled in the last five years. The report also remarked that Israel’s five year blockade of the territory is preventing important sanitation equipment from reaching the people of Gaza.

The report found that sanitation related diseases – with serious implications for child mortality, such as typhoid fever and watery diarrhoea – had increased in children under the age of three in clinics serving refugees in the Gaza Strip. In 2012 alone, three children also drowned in pools of open sewage and there were calls for an investigation to look into the causes and ways to prevent similar incidents.

It is believed that just 5% of the available water in Gaza is suitable for consumption and so projects such as the desalination plant which is backed by Europe are very important. However, political wrangling and the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip are real barriers that such projects struggle to overcome. more

Negotiator: UN Palestinian statehood bid underway, US asked for delay

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- PLO negotiator Muhammad Ishtayya said Monday that the US and other foreign nations are pressing the Palestinian leadership to suspend their campaign for membership of UN bodies until after the US presidential election.

Ishtayya told official PA radio Voice of Palestine that the leadership has initiated the process of obtaining a UN General Assembly resolution which recognizes a Palestinian state on borders prior to Israel's occupation in 1967.

Palestinian officials have opened talks with Arab states and France to get the process started, he said.

Paris broke from its allies in October when it backed Palestinian efforts to become a full member of UNESCO, the UN's cultural arm and the first UN agency to grant the Palestinians full membership.

The US cut off funds to UNESCO after the vote to admit Palestine last year, and earlier cut Palestinian aid after President Mahmoud Abbas made a bid for recognition of Palestinian statehood at the United Nations Security Council. more

Ronnnie Kasrils, a former leader of ANC's armed wing to speak out against Israeli apartheid

ANC's Ronnie Kasrils (founding member of Umkhonto we Sizwe - the ANC's armed wing - and member of the high command) speaks in Tottenham - Boycott Israeli goods now!
Tuesday 3rd July, doors open 7pm
Also speaking: Gary McFarlane (local community activist and developer of the iGaza iPhone app)
Venue: St John Vianney Church Hall,
386 West Green Road, Tottenham N15 3QL
Buses: W4, 41, 67, 230 Nearest tubes: Turnpike Lane or Seven Sisters
In April and May this year, thousands of Palestinian prisoners went on hunger strike, protesting against their imprisonment without trial (‘administrative detention’) by the Israeli authorities. But it’s not only adults who suffer this way, hundreds of Palestinian children are also incarcerated in Israeli jails.

RONNIE KASRILS, ANC activist and veteran of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, has consistently spoken out against the oppression of the Palestinian people, and we are delighted to be able to welcome him to Tottenham. He has agreed to discuss the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Campaign in support of the Palestinian struggle.

This initiative was directly inspired by the huge boycott campaign that helped undermine the South African apartheid regime. Ronnie was a leading member of the ANC underground struggle that overthrew apartheid. He organised the armed resistance from inside South Africa and from his base in London – much of the resistance work had to be done outside the country after Nelson Mandela and the rest of the ANC had been imprisoned and the Black opposition to apartheid had been temporarily crushed. When the first post-apartheid government finally achieved power under Mandela, Ronnie was made Deputy Minister of Defence. This will be an inspiring meeting – come along to hear how we can help the Palestinians in their struggle against injustice and oppression.

download the flyer here

Egypt closes and then re-opens Rafah crossing with no explanation

On Sunday after Egyptian authorities closed the Rafah Border Terminal on the Gaza Strip without any prior notice and without providing any explanation for the move. The terminal was re-opened late Monday morning.

Security sources in Gaza stated that Egypt closed the terminal approximately at 2 in the afternoon Sunday after allowing five trucks into the coastal region; eight more trucks were preparing to enter Gaza but remained the Egyptian side of the terminal after Egypt decided to shut it down.

The terminal has been closed repeatedly in recent weeks in the lead up to Egyptian elections for parliament and president.

Egyptian media sources reported that Egypt boosted its security measures in Al-Arish area and in Sinai, and also closed the As-Salaam Bridge. more

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Hamas's Ismail Haniyeh hails Mursi victory in Egypt as step forward for Palestinian liberation

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Hamas premier Ismail Haniyeh and President Mahmoud Abbas congratulated Muhammad Mursi on his victory in Egypt's presidential elections on Sunday.

Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mursi was declared Egypt's first democratic president by the state election committee, which said he had defeated former general Ahmed Shafik with 51.7 percent of last weekend's run-off vote.

Haniyeh phoned Mursi to congratulate him, and supporters marched to the prime minister's home in Gaza City to celebrate the victory.

"We will look to Egypt to play a big, leading role, a historic role, regarding the Palestinian cause, in helping the Palestinian nation get freedom, return home, and totally end the Gaza siege," Haniyeh told Reuters Television.

In Gazan streets, the jubilation recalled that which greeted Hamas' shock victory in Palestine's 2006 elections, as thanksgiving sermons and calls of "Allahu Akbar" echoed from mosques across the enclave and sweets were handed out in the street. more

Susya: Entire village under threat of demolition, several hundred protest

On Friday, June 22, several hundred Palestinians and solidarity activists gathered in Susya to demonstrate against the demolition orders imposed on them. Earlier this week, Israel issued orders threatening to demolish the entire the southern West Bank village of Susya.

At least 5 full buses as well as private cars, taxis, and media, arrived in Susya join the demonstration on Friday morning. Among them were several different human rights and solidarity organizations. One such group included drum-players and clowns giving spontaneous performances.

Israeli army, border police, and police arrived immediately and began to fire sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the peaceful protest. Israeli military attempted to arrest a Palestinian man but he was successfully de-arrested by fellow demonstrators. When demonstrators formed a human chain, soldiers approached and were directly violent with them. The demonstration lasted some 4 hours.

Earlier this week, demolition orders were issued for over 50 structures which add to numerous demolition orders given earlier. more

Maan agency: Gaza 'truce' takes hold overnight

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A truce reportedly brokered by Egypt between Israel and Gaza militants seemed to have taken effect overnight Saturday, as airstrikes and rocket fire held off after a week of deadly fighting.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said no rockets fired from the Gaza Strip had landed in Israel overnight, nor had the army conducted military operations.

Hamas official Ayman Taha told Gaza-based news site Safa press on Saturday that an agreement to halt hostilities that evening had been reached following Egyptian mediation. The deal is based on "calm for calm," Taha said.

The Egyptian ambassador to the Palestinian Authority did not return calls seeking comment.

Ofer Gendelman, spokesman for the Israeli Prime Minister, declined to discuss any efforts made via Egypt to reach a truce, but insisted that Israel will continue military actions on the Gaza Strip as long as rockets are fired into Israel. more

Saturday, 23 June 2012

BDS victory - Pension fund giant removes Caterpillar from its Social Choice Funds portfolio

June 21, 2012- Pension fund giant TIAA-CREF has removed Caterpillar, Inc. from its Social Choice Funds portfolio. As of May 1, 2012, financial data posted on TIAA-CREF’s website valued Social Choice Funds shares in Caterpillar at $72,943,861. Today it is zero.

“We applaud this decision,” said Rabbi Alissa Wise, Director of Campaigns at Jewish Voice for Peace and National Coordinator of the We Divest Campaign ( “It’s long past time that TIAA-CREF began living up to its motto of ‘Financial Services for the Greater Good’ when it comes to the people of Israel and Palestine.”

Since 2010, We Divest has been urging TIAA-CREF to drop Caterpillar and other companies profiting from and facilitating Israel’s 45-year-old military occupation and colonization of the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip.

“By selling weaponized bulldozers to Israel, Caterpillar is complicit in Israel’s systematic violations of Palestinian human rights,” said Rabbi Wise. “We’re glad to see that the socially responsible investment community appears to be recognizing this and is starting to take appropriate action.”

Caterpillar has come under increasing criticism from human rights organizations in recent years for continuing to supply bulldozers to Israel, which uses them to demolish Palestinian civilian homes and destroy crops and agricultural land in the occupied territories, and to build illegal, Jewish-only settlements on Palestinian land.

In the coming weeks, many will be watching the Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly taking place in Pittsburgh, where church commissioners will vote on a motion to divest from Caterpillar and two other companies, Motorola Solutions and Hewlett-Packard, that remain in TIAA-CREF’s Social Choice Funds.

Last month, Friends Fiduciary, a Quaker institution, divested $900,000 worth of shares in Caterpillar stating: “We are uncomfortable defending our position on this stock.” more

Ministry: 6-year-old boy killed by Israeli air raid, 19 others wounded

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- A six-year-old boy was killed and seven others wounded as Israeli forces targeted areas in southern and northern Gaza on Saturday, medical officials said.

Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said Muatazz al-Sawwaf, 6, was killed and three others injured, one seriously, by an Israeli air strike in the Abasan neighborhood east of Khan Younis.

Meanwhile, three people were wounded in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza, when Israeli forces opened fire at farmers tending their land, witnesses said.

Explosions were also reported in Gaza City and Rafah, witnesses said. Hamas medical officials said a baby was wounded in an attack in Rafah, at the Egypt border.

An Israeli military spokeswoman, commenting on the boy's death, said: "an initial examination shows the military was not involved in this incident." She had no immediate comment on the report about the baby. more
IMEMC reports 19 wounded in Saturday morning air raids.

New "Green Israel" ads on CNN greenwash sewage of occupation and apartheid

By Ali Abunimah co founder of The Electronic Intifada

The Israeli government is launching a new international propaganda campaign, featuring ads on CNN International, that seeks to brand Israel as a haven of green technologies and environmentalism.

But don’t expect the campaign to talk about the environmental catastrophes brought about by Israeli occupation and apartheid.

The campaign, which includes sponsorship of CNN International’s world weather bulletins, is being launched to coincide with the UN’s Rio +20 Summit on Sustainable Development....

Some of the things the Green Israel ad campaign is unlikely to talk about:

According to the OECD, Israeli “water quality” is ranked 35 out of 36 countries, better only than the Russian Federation. Israel’s water score “is much lower than the OECD average” according to the OECD, “and suggests Israel still faces difficulties in providing good quality water to its inhabitants.”

Similar problems face air quality: Israel is ranked 27 out of 36 for harmful particulate matter in the air and, “Particulate matter and ground-level ozone concentrations frequently exceed limit values for the protection of human health.”

Because of Israeli discrimination, Palestinians face severe shortages of water, a report from Amnesty International found. Palestinians are systematically denied water for basic needs, and hundreds of thousands don’t even have running water. Israel hogs 80 percent of the water from the West Bank’s main aquifer, while allowing Palestinians a mere 20 percent. In the West Bank, 450,000 settlers use as much or more water than the Palestinian population of some 2.3 million.

The fact that 95 percent of Gaza’s water is unfit for human consumption due to Israel’s siege and military attacks, and the use of desalination technology as a means to further isolate Gaza.

The frequent contamination of Palestinian villages by flows of raw sewage from Israeli settlements; more

Medics: 1 Palestinian fighter killed and 2 injured as Israel bombs Gaza

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- An Israeli airstrike on Friday killed one man in the central Gaza Strip, medics said.

Israel warplanes bombed an area east of al-Bureij camp, signaling an end to an Egyptian-brokered truce reached Wednesday.

Qassem Abdullah Ahmed, 24, was killed and two people were injured in the strike, Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said.

The Israeli military said in a statement that it hit "a terrorist squad during preparations to fire a rocket at Israel from the central Gaza Strip."

The Popular Resistance Committees said the man killed in the attack belonged to their group.

Earlier Friday, the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, said it fired four rockets at Israeli targets. more

Friday, 22 June 2012

Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the OPT (14–20 June)

8 Palestinians, including a child, were killed by IOF in the Gaza Strip.

17 Palestinians, including 3 children, a woman and a blind old man, were wounded.

5 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children, sustained bruises.

A house, a workshop and two cars were destroyed, and a number of houses, a school and a workshop were heavily damaged.

Two Palestinian civilians were killed and a third one was wounded by an Israeli settler south of Hebron.

IOF use force to disperse peaceful protest organized by Palestinian civilians in the West Bank.

5 Palestinian civilians were wounded.

IOF conducted 54 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 3 limited ones into the Gaza Strip.

IOF arrested 17 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children, in the West Bank.

IOF demolished an under-construction house, razed 5 dunums[1] of agricultural land and burnt 15 dunum of agricultural land planted with wheat in the Gaza Strip.

IOF continued to attack Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip.

IOF launched 9 attacks against Palestinian fishermen and fishing boats.

Israel has continued to impose a total closure on the OPT and has isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world.

IOF have continued efforts to create a Jewish demographic majority in East Jerusalem.

The Israeli municipality of Jerusalem forced a Palestinian civilian to demolish his house and a subordinate farm.

IOF have continued settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.

IOF delivered notices to demolish houses in Areas C.

Israeli settlers set fire to a mosque in Jaba’ village, northeast of Jerusalem.

Israeli settlers burnt 22 trees in Kufor Qaddoum village, northeast of Qalqilya. more

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Brigades: 2 Hamas militants die inspecting bombed tunnel

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Two Hamas militants died Thursday after inhaling gas in a tunnel bombed by Israel two days earlier, the Al-Qassam Brigades said.

Thaer al-Bik, 30, and Muhammad al-Khalidi, 26, on Thursday went to inspect a tunnel in northern Gaza that was damaged Tuesday by an Israeli airstrike, the brigades said in a statement.

Members al-Bik and al-Khalidi inhaled an unidentified gas in the tunnel and died from suffocation, the group said.

On Sunday evening, Israel bombed a site used by the Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, south of Gaza City, Palestinian medics said. Israel's army said it hit "a terror activity site" in the area.

Over the next three days, eight Palestinians -- including two Al-Qassam Brigades fighters -- were killed in a series of Israeli airstrikes and tank shelling. more

Six Palestinian fishermen arrested and detained by Israeli Navy

Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Wednesday at night, six Palestinian fishermen in Palestinian territorial waters, near the As-Sudaniyya area, northwest of Gaza City.

Local sources reported that several Israeli Navy ships surrounded three small Palestinian fishing boats before opening fire at them and ordering the fishermen to remove their clothes and swim towards the navy boats.

The kidnapped fishermen were identified as Fadel Saleh Abu Warda, Hazem Saleh Abu Warda, Mahmoud Mohammad Abu Warda, Mohammad Mata Khalla, No’man As-Saksak, and Abed Sa’dallah.

The Israeli Navy repeatedly attacks Palestinian fishing boats, and kidnaps fishermen in addition to causing serious damage to their boats; dozens of casualties were reported since Israel imposed its illegal siege on Gaza in June 2006.

Israel restricts the fishing area to Palestinian fishermen in Gaza to only three nautical miles. Restrictions on the fishing zone are of considerable significance to Palestinian livelihood. more

Al-Qassam Brigades say ready for truce if Israeli stops killing Gazans

GAZA CITY (Reuters) - Hamas' military wing said on Wednesday it was ready to sign up to an Egyptian-brokered truce to end cross-border fighting after Israeli air strikes killed eight Palestinians in three days.

In a statement, the Al-Qassam Brigades said: "Responding to the Egyptian efforts, we and the armed resistance announce our commitment to stop this round of confrontation as long as the occupation stops this aggression."

Israel had no immediate comment. It customarily avoids responding whenever intermediaries reach an accord with Gaza militants as Israel refuses to recognize them citing the Islamists' refusal to acknowledge Israel's existence.

The Israeli military had earlier said in a statement it would "continue to operate with perseverance and determination against those who use terror against the State of Israel".

An Egyptian source had earlier told Reuters that efforts were afoot to try to achieve a ceasefire in fighting seen as risking a wider conflict at a time when Egypt faces political uncertainty after a contested presidential election. more

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Ministry: Boy killed as Israel bombs Gaza City

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A 14-year-old boy was killed Wednesday afternoon as Israel bombed Gaza City in the third day of strikes on the enclave, Gaza's health ministry said.

Momen al-Adam was killed and two people were injured, including Momen's father, in the strike east of the Zaitoun neighborhood, ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qidra said.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said Israeli forces had hit the area.

Witnesses told Ma'an that Israeli warplanes targeted a group of civilians.

A 2-year-old girl was killed in the same neighborhood on Tuesday evening when militants launched a rocket nearby, witnesses said. more

Palestinian fighter killed after missile hits motorbike in Rafah

A Palestinian militant has been killed in an Israeli air strike in the Gaza Strip, medics say, hours after more than 20 rockets were fired into Israel.

Ghalib Armilat died after a missile hit his motorbike in the southern town of Rafah. Another militant was injured.

Israel said Armilat had been involved in an attack on its border with Egypt on Monday, which left an Israeli dead.

Earlier, Gaza militants fired another barrage of rockets and mortars into Israel. No casualties were reported. more

Israel launches seven airstrikes early Wednesday across Gaza Strip, 4 injured

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Three Palestinians were injured in the Gaza Strip early Wednesday as Israeli airstrikes continued across the coastal enclave.

Later Wednesday morning 17-year-old Yahya Hattab was injured by shrapnel, when Israeli forces fired artillery shells at Wadi al-Salqa, south of Deir al-Balah, medics said. An Israeli army spokeswoman said she had no record of the incident.

Overnight, Israeli jets struck a blacksmith workshop in the Zaitoun neighborhood of Gaza City, leaving one man moderately injured, witnesses said.

Nearby, an Israeli helicopter fired on a civilian vehicle near Ali Ibn Abu Talib Mosque. The driver narrowly escaped after his vehicle was damaged, a Ma'an reporter said.

Warplanes also fired on a group of Palestinian militants east of Gaza City. Two were injured and evacuated to hospital.

There were also raids on a military site in al-Sudaniyya, northwest of Gaza City, and an agricultural area in Rafah, south Gaza. more

2-year-old child killed in Israeli shelling, total of 7 Gaza dead in past 24 hours

Palestinian medical sources in the Gaza Strip reported that a 2-year-old child was killed, on Tuesday at night, and her brother was injured, when a missile fired by the Israeli air force hit their home in Az-Zeitoun neighborhood south of Gaza city.

The child was identified as Hadeel Ahmad Al-Haddad, 2, her brother suffered moderate injuries, and was moved to a local hospital for treatment.

The Israeli missiles and shells targeting the Gaza Strip led to the death of 7 Palestinians in the last 24 hours, while dozens of injuries were reported, some seriously. more

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Alice Walker refuses to authorise Israeli publication of 'The Color Purple' in protest against apartheid

Alice Walker, author of “The Color Purple,” refused to authorize a Hebrew translation of her prize-winning work, citing what she called Israel’s “apartheid state.”

In a June 9 letter to Yediot Books, Walker said she would not allow the publication of the book into Hebrew because “Israel is guilty of apartheid and persecution of the Palestinian people, both inside Israel and also in the Occupied Territories.”

In her letter, posted Sunday by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel on its website, Walker supported the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement and offered her hope that the BDS movement “will have enough of an impact on Israeli civilian society to change the situation.”

It was not clear when Yediot Books, an imprint of the daily Yediot Achronot newspaper, made the request, or whether Walker could in fact stop translation of the book. At least one version of the book has already appeared in Hebrew translation, in the 1980s.

Walker said Israeli policies were “worse” than the segregation she suffered as an American youth and said South Africans had told her it was worse than Apartheid. more

Hunger-striking footballer Mahmoud Sarsak will be released on July 10th

Mahmoud's brother Imad al Sarsak celebrates news that hos brother will be released

After 92 days of hunger striking in protest of three years of detention without charge of trial, Palestinian footballer Mahmoud Sarsak is to be released.

Ma'an news agency reported that Sarsak's lawyer, Mohammad Jabareen, had told them that Sarsak was to be released on July 10th, after agreeing to begin eating food again. Mohammad Jabareen was also quoted by Associated Press as saying that the deal was reached at an Israeli prison clinic, where Sarsak broke his 92 day hunger strike by eating a piece of chocolate given to him by his lawyer.

Mounting international pressure on Israel from the likes of FIFA president Sepp Blater and footballer Eric Cantona, as well as the severity of Sarsak's deteriorating health helped to lead to the Israeli Prison Authorities brokering a deal with Sarsak's lawyer for his release. more

Tourism in Israeli settlements: practice shooting Palestinians

Israeli newspaper Yidioth Ahronot published today (June, 18th, 2012) about a tourist’s activity offered by Gush Etzion settlements, where visitors can practice how to shoot “terrorists”.

Stories about such tours both in settlements and army bases are always published, but no serious attention given to such scary culture of hatred and violence. (see here one example in Hebrew from 2003)

Tourists from across the globe visit Gosh Etzion settlements, where they are offered by settlers “enjoyable” package under the name “Hebrew Extreme Tourism” with range of activities that include: story telling about battles, view live shooting performance and an activity where visitors can practice shooting at “terrorists-mechablim”‘s cardboard pictures hung on the wall.

The word used for terrorist in Hebrew is “Mechabel” (mechablim for terrorists). In Israeli discourse this is a synonym for Palestinian. more

Israel fires on Gaza Strip, 2 teens killed, al-Qassam Brigades fires rockets at Israel

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Two Palestinian teens were killed in an Israeli operation in the central Gaza Strip overnight Monday, medics told Ma'an.

Israel's army said warplanes "targeted a terrorist squad identified handling an explosive device near the security fence," adding that a hit was identified.

Locals told Ma'an Israeli tanks fired on Palestinians after crossing the Gaza border south of al-Maghazi refugee camp. Red Crescent teams evacuated the bodies of two teens on Tuesday morning, after a two-hour search operation.

Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra identified the victims as 16-year-olds Muhammad Bassam Abu Mueliq and Yousif Talbani, noting that their bodies were riddled with bullets.

Meanwhile, Hamas' military wing claimed responsibility for firing four rockets at an Israeli military base in Zikim, north of Gaza. An Israeli military spokesman said three rockets hit the Hof Ashkelon regional council, without causing damage or injuries. more

Monday, 18 June 2012

Official: 2 killed, 3 injured in renewed Gaza shelling, brings Monday death toll to 4

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Two people were killed and three injured as Israel shelled the Gaza Strip for the second time on Monday, a medical official said.

Ashrad al-Qedra, spokesman for Hamas' health ministry, told Ma'an that Israel targeted a street east of Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza.

The remains of those killed were taken to hospital, but they could not be identified by medics.

Israel's army said it had targeted a terrorist squad attempting to fire a rocket from the northern Gaza Strip. It confirmed a direct hit. more

World opinion scores one! Negotiations ongoing for footballer Sarsak's release

Rights groups members, concerned supporters and friends and family now have a glimmer of hope that global campaign of appeals on behalf of imprisoned Palestinian National Football Team player Mahmoud Sarsak may come in time to save his life.

The latest breaking news from various sources – and as it is being reported now by both GazaTV and Radio Gaza - is that the 25 year-old Sarsak will be released sometime between July 10 - 15, 2012.

News from an agency in Gaza called "Palestine Al-Yaum" stated that "Sarsak will be released on July 10.”

Recent medical reports on Sarsak – who has been on a hunger strike now for 91 days, and from the prisoner support group Addameer, have said that the young footballer was in grave condition and “very near death.”

Word came just hours ago from a friend of Sarsak’s and the family, who says the family has heard from Sarsak’s legal counsel on this.

“The facts are still very cloudy in this, but still, we are jubilant! Ecstatic! I’ve just also heard this news from the radio,” said a joyous Malaka Mohammed, who has run a diligent campaign on Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter since his friend was arrested at a checkpoint in July of 2009.

Yael Kahn, who is chairman of Islington Friends of Yibna,and artist support group in the Rafeh Refugee Camp where the Sarsak family lives, has provided this information from a Gaza resident and neighbor of Sarsak’s family in Rafeh, (paraphrased for English translation):

“What I expected (was a) deal by Israelis to release the captive hero Sarsak of Gaza,” said Hatem Taha.

The release went on to state, “Sarsak’s lawyer, and the prisoner have said there (will be an) agreement by which the release of Sarsak by the Israeli occupation on (or near) July 13 - but only if Sarsak quit his hunger strike.more

Medics: Israeli forces shell north Gaza in hunt for snipers, 2 killed

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Two Palestinian men were killed on Monday when Israeli military forces shelled the northern Gaza Strip, medics said.

Witnesses told Ma'an the men were riding a motorcycle in a field near Beit Hanoun when Israeli forces bombed the area. Four others were injured and taken to Beit Hanoun hospital, they said.

The Israeli military said it hit "a terrorist squad of snipers" operating near the border. The snipers were among those responsible for several recent attacks along the Gaza border, including the attempted shooting of an Israeli farmer on Thursday, the army said in a statement.

A Ma'an correspondent said the men were identified as Muhammad Shabat and Ismael Abu Ouda in their 20s.

They were members of Islamic Jihad's military wing the Al-Quds Brigades, the group said, adding that they were en route to take part in a militant operation after Israeli troops entered the Gaza Strip.

Earlier, witnesses told Ma'an that seven Israeli military vehicles entered the Gaza Strip near the Erez crossing. Forces fired on local farmers, but no injuries were reported, they said. more

Three Palestinians and one Israeli killed in clashes on Egyptian border

Three Palestinians and one Israeli were killed during clashes that took place, Monday morning, along the Egyptian border with Israel. The army claims that a Palestinian armed group, on the Egyptian side of the border, fired an RPG at the army before engaging in an automatic fire attack.

The fighters, according to initial information, opened automatic fire at Israeli military vehicles driving in the area before firing a Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) shell.

According to the Israeli Ynet News, the fighters intended to use roadside bombs to target two army contractor crews responsible for building the wall Israel is building along the border with Egypt; one Israeli was killed and two others were wounded.

The Ynet reported that the attack took place close to the so-called Philadelphia Route, near what Israel called “dune sector”; the Philadelphi Route is a 14 kilometer road along the border between Gaza and Israel. The route was built on the expense of Palestinian lands, and led to the destruction of numerous homes. more

Medics: Palestinian injured by tank fire on central Gaza

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- A Palestinian man was injured by Israeli tank fire near the borders of the Gaza Strip on Sunday, medics said.

The man suffered moderate wounds east of Deir al-Balah and was transferred to Al-Aqsa Martyrs hospital, Palestinian medics told Ma'an.

Witnesses said that 10 Israeli military vehicles entered the Gaza Strip by approximately 300 meters earlier Sunday, and opened fire without prior warning.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said eight mortars were fired at soldiers "during routine activity adjacent to the security fence ... in response forces fired towards suspicious areas." more

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Settler kills 2 Palestinians south of Hebron

HEBRON (Ma'an) -- A settler shot and killed two Palestinians on Sunday in the Hebron village of al-Samu, medics and local officials said.

Anwar Abed Rabbo, 27, and Naeem al-Najjar, 32, were killed and a third unidentified man injured when a settler opened fire on them, medics said.

The two men were on their way to work at the time of the shooting, head of Yatta municipality Zahran Abu Qbetta told Ma'an.

The settler claimed that the men had attempted to kidnap him as he drove near Suseya settlement and he had opened fire in response, Abu Qbetta added. more

Saturday, 16 June 2012

20 imprisoned Palestinian children start hunger strike in Hasharon prison

Twenty Palestinian children, detained in Hasharon prison, launched on Tuesday June 12, an open hunger strike protesting the harsh prison conditions and the prison administration’s neglect of their demands.

A 17-years-old child Ahmed Lafi, who was one of the strikers, told the Ministry of the prisoners in Gaza that 20 detained children started an open hunger strike to protest the bad and deteriorating living conditions in the prison, where they are not allowed to visit each other and are deprived from their study.

He also revealed that “the prison administration continues to torture and humiliate the child prisoners even after the agreement signed between the strike leadership committee and the prison administration.”

Ahmed Lafi also stressed that the prison administration holds in solitary confinement every prisoner trying to demand his rights amid the bad conditions he witnesses in the jails. more

Palestine federations urges UEFA to remove Israel as 2013 European Under-21 Championship host

WARSAW, Poland, June 14, (AP): Palestine football leaders have urged UEFA to remove Israel as the 2013 European Under-21 Championship host nation for jailing Palestine national team players without trial.

Palestine federation president Jibril Rajoub wrote to UEFA President Michel Platini to say that Israel’s government is in “direct violation of FIFA regulations.”

“We ask, your excellency, to not give Israel the honor to host the next UEFA Under-21 Championship,” Rajoub said, in a letter seen by The Associated Press on Thursday. “We are deeply concerned about the situation of our footballers.”

UEFA declined official comment.

Israel is set to stage the eight-nation tournament across four venues from June 5 to 18 next year.

The UEFA executive committee voted for Israel in January 2011 over competing bids from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, England and Wales.

Rajoub is pressuring Platini to intervene on Palestine’s behalf as player Mahmoud Sarsak approaches a fourth month on a hunger strike. more

Israel continues campaign against Gaza fishing industry as three kidnapped

update Israeli Navy opens fire on fishing boats on Saturday 16 June - more

The Israeli Navy kidnapped, late on Thursday evening, three Palestinian fishermen, while in Palestinian territorial waters, close to the Gaza shore, the Palestinian Fishermen Syndicate reported.

The Syndicate said that an Israeli Navy chased the fishermen's boat and fired several rounds of live ammunition before boarding it, and kidnapping the fishermen.

The three were taken to an unknown destination, while the boat was towed and confiscated.

On Thursday, the army fired a number of shells into al-Kurd Hill, located between al-Qarara town, near the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis, and Dir al-Balah city, in central Gaza.

On Wednesday, 13 June 2012, the Israeli Navy attacked the Oliva Boat, which monitors the situation off the Gaza coast, and held a fishing boat in Rafah waters in the southern Gaza Strip with 2 fishermen on board. more

Friday, 15 June 2012

Amnesty: 'Palestinian hunger striker on verge of death must be admitted to hospital or released'

A Palestinian footballer who is at risk of death after more than 90 days on hunger strike in protest against his detention by Israel should immediately be admitted to a civilian hospital or released so that he can receive life-saving medical care, Amnesty International said.

Mahmoud al-Sarsak is from the Gaza Strip and has been detained by Israel since July 2009. He is the only detainee currently held under the Internment of Unlawful Combatants Law, which allows Israel to hold individuals without charge or trial based on secret information.

Under the law, detainees can be held indefinitely unless they can prove they do not threaten Israeli security.

Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director, Philip Luther said:

“After almost three years in detention, the Israeli authorities have had ample opportunity to charge al-Sarsak with a recognisable criminal offence and bring him to trial. They have failed to do so, and instead repeatedly affirmed his detention order on the basis of secret information withheld from him and his lawyer.”

Al-Sarsak has been denied proper access to medical treatment repeatedly during his hunger strike. For someone on the verge of death, this amounts to inhuman and degrading treatment in violation of Israel’s international obligations. more

Two injured by Israeli shelling near Khan Younis

Palestinian medical sources reported Thursday that the army fired a number of shells into Al-Kurd Hill, located between Al-Qarara town, near the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis, and Dir Al-Balah city, in central Gaza.

The Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA) reported that one of the wounded residents suffered moderate injuries and was moved to the Al-Aqsa Hospital in Dir Al-Balah. Medics could not reach the second wounded resident, until the time of this report, as the army continued to fire into the area.

The incident took place after a number of tanks and armored vehicles, based at the Kissufim military base on the border east of Al-Qarara, advanced several hundred meters into the town and fired several tanks shells and rounds of live ammunition. more