Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Islamic aid agencies battle the odds in Gaza because of Israeli and western 'anti-terror' legislation

GAZA CITY - Secours Islamique France is a respected aid agency, part of the global Islamic Relief network based in the UK, but when it comes to helping Palestinians in Gaza, its operations are challenged by both Israeli bureaucracy and its own “no-contact” policy with the Hamas officials who control the territory.

Hamas is branded a “terror” organization by most western countries, despite their victory in the 2006 Palestinian legislative council elections. That requires Secours Islamique France, and all other international charities working in Gaza, to tread extremely carefully to avoid falling foul of anti-terror legislation.

US rules, specifically their definition of providing support to terrorism, are the most stringent, according to a paper on Counter-terrorism and Humanitarian Action by the Humanitarian Policy Group (HPG), part of Britain’s Overseas Development Institute. “In the US, no knowledge or intention to support terrorism per se is required [for criminal responsibility] if support is knowingly provided to a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization,” says the report.

In the UK, “having reasonable cause to suspect” that support will contribute to terrorist activity is enough to attract criminal responsibility.

This notion of "support" under US and UK anti-terror legislation means that, for example, when Secours Islamique France distributes milk and fortified biscuits daily to 10,000 pre-school children in Gaza, the INGO must only deal directly with the schools, to avoid any contact with the Education Ministry. more

Israeli Prison Service to use force to break Adnan’s hunger strike

NAZARETH, (PIC)-- The Israeli prison service has decided to break the hunger strike of detained Islamic Jihad leader Sheikh Khader Adnan by force, the Hebrew radio said on Tuesday.

Adnan earlier on Sunday announced that he would not break his strike, which started 46 days ago, until his release.

Riyadh Al-Ashqar, a researcher with the Palestinian center for the defense of prisoners, held the Israeli occupation authority fully responsible for the life of Adnan after the decision to break his strike by force. more

Son of Gaza's ministry of interior among detained after raids near Rafah and al-Maghazi

Israeli soldiers invaded, on Monday at night, the eastern area of the Al-Maghazi refugee camp, in the central Gaza Strip, and kidnapped two residents east of Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

Local sources reported that several tanks, and two military bulldozers, advanced 200 meters into the Al-Maghazi refugee camp, and bulldozed farmlands while the army fired bursts of live ammunition, and several flares; no injuries were reported.

Furthermore, human rights organizations in Gaza reported that Israeli soldiers kidnapped on Monday two Palestinians east of Rafah.

Undercover forces of the Israeli army infiltrated into the area and kidnapped Ahmad Hussein Aathra, 19, a member of the National Security Forces in Gaza, and the son of the advisor of the Gaza-based Minister of Interior. The undercover forces also kidnapped Hajjaj As-Soufi, 17, who was with Aathra.

Israeli soldiers have kidnapped at least seven Palestinians in the Gaza strip this month. more