Monday, 13 February 2012

Egyptian diesel finished, one million Gazans plunged into darkness and cold

(ANSAmed) - GAZA, FEBRUARY 13 - More than a million Palestinians were last night plunged into darkness in the Gaza Strip, with the last reserves of Egyptian diesel from the only local electric power station about to run out. The "lucky ones" are those who live in the far south and north of the Gaza Strip, areas that remain connected to the Israeli electrical network, and the city of Rafah, in the far south, which continues to receive electricity from across the border in Egypt.

For everyone else, there is no alternative but to make use of the deafening family generators. In the centre of Gaza, nearby shop-owners are connected to the same generators to keep at least their shop signs running. But in the major streets, the relentless mechanic whirring of the engines frightens off the few clients in the area, who are forced to cover their ears with their hands. With petrol pumps now dry for the last couple of days, the streets have gradually emptied. Small crowds have gathered along the pavements, waiting (sometimes for hours) for any means of transport that can take them towards their homes. Group taxis are very rare and quickly snapped up. more

Israeli court rejects Adnan appeal, 23 injured at protest as PA fights to save his life

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- An Israeli military court rejected the appeal of hunger-striking prisoner Khader Adnan on Monday, as 23 people were injured in a nearby protest against his continued detention.

Israel's Ofer military court ruled against Adnan's appeal of his four month administrative detention order. The Islamic Jihad leader has refused food for 58 days to protest his treatment by Israeli authorities, and the practice of detention without charge.

His lawyer Jawad Bulus accused the court of failing to pay any attention to Adnan's deteriorating health.

PA Minister of Prisoners Affairs Issa Qaraqe told Ma'an the ruling showed "utter disregard for Adnan's life, effectively condemning him to die."

Prisoners society head Qadura Fares slammed the ruling and called on international organizations to intervene in order to save the prisoner's life.

The PA is racing against time in talks with the UN, Jordan and other nations to save Adnan's life, Qaraqe said. more

Calls for investigation into drowning of boy in sewage water basin in northern Gaza Strip

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) calls upon competent authorities to open an immediate investigation into the circumstances of the death of Ahmed al-Zein, 10, from Beit Lahia, by drowning in a sewage water basin near the Bedouin Village in the northern Gaza Strip. PCHR reiterates its call for competent authorities to take protective measures around sewage basins which threaten the safety and security of Palestinians, especially children, living near sewage water basins in the Gaza Strip.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 18:00 on Saturday, 11 February 2012, crews from the civil defense recovered the body of Ahmed Abdul Menem Ibrahim al-Zein, 10, from Beit Lahia in the north of the Gaza Strip, from a sewage water basin in the east of the Bedouin Village in the northern Gaza Strip. Ahmed's relatives reported to a PCHR fieldworker that at approximately 15:00 on Saturday, 11 February 2012, Ahmed went with five of his friends to hunt birds that gather near the sewage water basin in the east of the Bedouin Village. Approximately an hour later, the al-Zein family learnt that Ahmed fell into the sewage water basin. Ahmed's relatives said that they headed to the sewage water basin and crews of the civil defense managed to find the body of Ahmed three hours after his falling into the sewage water basin. more

Gaza runner ready to fly Palestinian flag at the London Olympcs

(Reuters) - Gaza runner Bahaa al-Farra treads carefully, braving the elements and potholed roads ravaged by years of conflict between Palestinian militants and the Israeli army, as he prepares to race at the London Olympics.

The 19-year-old trains for three hours a day in Gaza's Yarmouk soccer stadium, along the dusty streets and on the beach in well worn trainers that were donated to the Palestine Olympic Committee by wealthy Gulf state, Qatar.

Palestinian athletes complain of a paucity of financial support at home and a lack of vital equipment and coaches that are crucial for success and to nurture talented youth, but by competing in London, a national dream will be realised...

...The Palestinian flag first flew at the Olympics in Atlanta in 1996 when one athlete took part, Sydney 2000 welcomed two competitors and three went to Athens in 2004. All got a roaring welcome, but it was for participation rather than achievement.

A party of four travelled to Beijing four years ago - two track athletes and two swimmers - but as in previous Games, none got there by attaining the minimum Olympic qualifying standard, they were entered under rules for fledgling nations.

Four Palestinians will also participate in London. Joining Farra will be Cairo-based swimmer Ahmed Jabreel and two West Bank women, swimmer Sabeen Kharyoon from Bethlehem and runner Worood Maslaha from Nablus.

Hani al-Halabi from East Jerusalem who will head the Palestinian delegation, said the makeup of the current squad was representative of all Palestinians wherever they live.

"We want to embody the Palestinian issue by including participants from the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Jerusalem and the diaspora. Each of us represents a part of our home," Halabi said. more

Israeli navy seizes four fishermen near Gaza port

The Israeli Navy kidnapped, on Monday morning, four Palestinian fishermen after attacking their fishing boats in Palestinian waters north of the Gaza Strip, and near the Gaza Port.

The four were identified as Adham Mahmoud Abu Ryala, Mahmoud Abu Ryala, Jamal Sultan and Fadel Jamal Sultan.

As part of its siege on the coastal region, Palestinian fishermen are facing further and more serious restrictions on their right to fish in Palestinian waters.

Restrictions on the fishing zone are of considerable significance to Palestinian livelihood. Initially 20 nautical miles, it is presently often enforced between 1.5 – 2 nautical miles (Palestinian Center for Human Rights, PCHR: 2010). The marine ‘buffer zone’ restricts Gazan fishermen from accessing 85% of Gaza’s fishing waters agreed to by Oslo.” more