Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Israel's plan for Negev mass expulsions of 30,000 bedouin moves forward


Ha’aretz has reported today that a steering committee in Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office has approved “a five-year economic development plan for Israeli Bedouin”.

This is another step along the road to the implementation of the Prawer recommendations, which are presented as a “development plan” for the “improvement of living conditions” for all citizens of the Negev – but with the mass expulsion of the Bedouin Palestinian citizens at the heart of the proposal.

The exact number of ‘unrecognised villages’ to be destroyed is unclear. While a commonly cited estimate for the anticipated number of displaced is 30,000, an advisor to Shimon Peres told US officials in 2005 that the “development of the Negev” would mean “relocation of some 65,000 Bedouin living in unrecognized villages” (which, taking into account natural population growth, is roughly the total number of Bedouin citizens living in all unrecognized villages).

The person that Netanyahu’s government has appointed as “chief of staff in charge of implementing the relocation” is Doron Almog, a Major General (res.) in the Israel Defence Forces. The name may be familiar, as in 2005, Almog escaped arrest on war crimes charges by staying on his plane at Heathrow following a tip-off. more

Egyptian MPs head to Gaza for fuel crisis report


EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma'an) -- An Egyptian parliamentary delegation will arrive in Gaza on Wednesday to meet with Hamas officials over the ongoing fuel crisis in the coastal enclave, an Egyptian security official said.

He told Ma'an 28 officials from the committee of Arab affairs in Egypt’s parliament, including well-known human rights champion Amr Hamzawi, will cross into Gaza via the Rafah border.

The delegation will meet with government officials to hear their urgent demands over the two-day visit. It will prepare a report on the situation in Gaza for discussion in the Egyptian parliament.

The sole power plant in Gaza has shut down four times since February due to chronic fuel shortages, causing rolling power outages of up to 18 hours a day. more

Major Norwegian retail chain stops sales of occupation products from Ahava

(Photo: Boikott Israel-kampanjen i Bergen)

Norwegian retail chain VITA made public on Friday their decision to stop all sales of products originating from settlements in occupied Palestine. VITA will therefore stop selling products from the cosmetics brand Ahava. VITA has been the main retailer of Ahava products in Norway, and this decision will be a serious blow to the sales of Ahava products in Norway.

The principled decision by VITA not to buy products from Israeli settlements in the West Bank is based on a position of not wanting to contribute to violations of international law. This is also the position of Norgesgruppen, a company holding 49% of the shares in VITA. BAMA, another Norgesgruppen company has implemented the same policy regarding Israeli fruit and vegetables for several years already. more

Hana Shalabi has been on hunger strike for 40 days– A call to action

From Mondoweiss

It has been more than forty days since Hana Shalabi began her courageous fast - and her protest is still being ignored. A group of students from universities across the US and Europe have banded together to highlight her struggle and that of the Palestinians more broadly.

Those students issued the following call to action today:

HANA SHALABI: UNIVERSITY CAMPUSES STAND WITH YOU

As students from American and European universities, we stand in solidarity with Hana Shalabi and her pursuit of justice and human rights as her voice is silenced by arbitrary administrative detention. We call on you to stand this Thursday March 29, 2012 with Hana Shalabi on her hunger strike. On March 25th, 2012 Hana al-Shalabi's appeal in Israeli Military courts against her re-arrest and placement under illegal administrative detention was rejected after 40 days in custody without charge or trial. Her re-arrest comes only four months after her release from over two years of administrative detention and was released in a prisoner exchange negotiated for the release of Gilad Shalit. Since her detention beginning February 16, 2012, Hana has been on an open-ended hunger strike in protest of Israel’s disregard to international law and basic human rights.

This Thursday March 29th, at least one student from each of our participating campuses across the Americas and Europe will go on a 24-hour hunger strike in solidarity with Hana Shalabi, her family, and other Palestinian detainees held in Israeli administrative detention without charge or trial. Students are encouraged to hold a small solidarity action with Hana and other prisoners on their campuses, even one as short as 15 minutes, and send pictures or videos of their action to solidarity.actions@gmail.com. Students participating in the hunger-strike please send us a picture of yourself holding a sign saying:


#HanaShalabi #HanaShalabi

#Dying2Live OR #PrisonerOfConscience

Student groups who stand in solidarity with the action will wear orange ribbons around their arms to encourage others to ask questions and discuss administrative detention, Hana Shalabi’s case, and other ways to get involved such as putting pressure on those complicit in human rights violations

To further defy Israeli unjust security practices, hold those companies accountable for facilitating the violation of political prisoners’ rights. The security company contracted by Israeli prisons to conduct surveillance and imprison Palestinians on a daily basis is the same security company many of our campuses use to keep us safe at our universities – G4S. G4S is a UK and Denmark-based security company that systematically supports the Israeli occupation by providing security equipment and services to Israeli settlements, checkpoints, and prisons including where Hana is being held. By providing services to Israeli prisons, G4S contributes to the facilitation of Israel’s violations of rights of the Palestinian political prisoners. If your university uses G4S security services, ask them to immediately end their relationships with G4S and boycott their services. Draft letters to send to your university asking them to end contractual agreements with G4S can be found here. To send a letter to G4S to ask them to stop facilitating political prisoner rights, please send us an email and we will provide you with all necessary information.

All pictures and videos will be compiled into a montage and sent to Hana’s family and shared with the families of other detainees so they know they are not alone and their efforts are not in vain. Please let us know if your campus would like to get involved. Email: Solidarity.actions@gmail.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FreeHana

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor” --Desmond Tutu more