Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Gaza horse riders have to jump unusual hurdles

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories — Horse riding has become a popular hobby in the Gaza Strip but local Palestinians face constant hurdles -- from a conservative society to Israel's blockade on the territory -- to practise the sport on their home turf.

The Al-Faisal equestrian club, on the seafront in Gaza City, attracts around 50 riders a day, according to Samir Salama Saad, director of the "Beautiful Life" society which bought the club several months ago.

Founded in 2003, the club now attracts both male and female equestrians ranging in age from eight to 40 years, Saad said.

But the club, which occupies some 10 dunams of land -- around 100 hectares (247 acres) -- has had to resort to unusual methods to obtain the 60 horses it owns, smuggling them in through tunnels from Egypt.

"We don't have medicine because of the blockade, and this affects the horses we have locally, so their numbers are constantly diminishing because of deaths," Saad told AFP.

To make up the numbers, horses are brought in through the tunnels dug under Gaza's border with Egypt, but the process is dangerous and often leaves the animals with injuries and psychological problems. more

Israeli authorities release former hunger-striking administrative detainee Khader Adnan

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities released former hunger-striking administrative detainee Khader Adnan late Tuesday, a Ma'an correspondent reported.

Adnan arrived at his home in Araba in the northern West Bank to meet his family before returning to a tent reception where he spoke to well-wishers and officials in the village.

Hundreds of Palestinians chanted slogans in solidarity with prisoners as they welcomed the former detainee, whose 66-day hunger strike inspired others to protest administrative detention.

Under the provision, Israel can imprison suspects indefinitely, without ever informing them of the charges they face or presenting their lawyers with any evidence. Over 300 Palestinians are held without charge in Israel.

Inspired by Adnan's protest, a female prisoner, Hana Shalabi, refused food for 43 days before the Israelis decided to deport her to Gaza, barring her from returning to her native West Bank for at least three years.

On Tuesday, at least 1,200 prisoners in Israeli jails launched an open-ended hunger strike. more

Woman injured by army fire in Gaza as Israeli soldiers open fire on farmers

Palestinian medical sources reported that a woman was shot and wounded, on Wednesday morning, after Israeli soldiers opened fire at farmers working in their lands in Khuza’a town, east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

The woman was identified as Renad Salem Qdeih, 33, she was shot in her head; her injury was described as moderate-to-severe.

Her land is at least 1 kilometer away from the Israeli “security fence” that separates Gaza from Israel.

On Monday soldiers shot and wounded a Palestinian farmer in the same area; the army claims that the resident approach the “security fence”. more