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