The Palestine Festival of Literature (5th—9th May) is set to take place in Gaza for the first time, though organisers said they had yet to receive a response from the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to a request for travel permits to the area.
PalFest is planning to bring a group of writers, educators and artists through the Rafah crossing from Egypt to perform free public events, run workshops with students and meet civil society leaders in Gaza.
However while the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs was scheduled to respond to PalFest's request for visas for Gaza on 29th April, the festival has yet to receive a response.
PalFest producer Omar Robert Hamilton said: "Justice for Palestine was among the most urgent demands of the Arab revolutions. In Egypt, Tahrir called for the Rafah crossing to be opened-yet the movement of people and goods remains severely restricted. PalFest has always worked to forge cultural ties and now, more than ever, regional and global partnerships must be used to place justice for Palestine at the centre of the growing global struggle for justice." more
The Islamic Jihad movement warned that the Egyptian-mediated truce with Israel will be voided should any hunger-striking detainee die in Israeli prisons and detention camps.
Khader Habeeb, a political leader of the Islamic Jihad, stated in a press conference in Gaza, that should any detainee die “Israel will be held responsible for his death, and will bear the consequences of what will happen”.
The press conference was held after the health conditions of detainees Thaer Halahla and Bilal Thiab witnessed a sharp deterioration while Thiab was also moved to Assaf Harofeh Israeli Medical Center.
“We received news that Thiab could die at any given moment”, Habeeb said, “The situation is heading for escalation, and we cannot remain silent while Israel continues its violations against the detainees; any death will be dealt with as an assassination”.
Islamic Jihad leader, Khaled Al-Batsh, stated that the movement contacted President Mahmoud Abbas, Fateh official Dr. Saeb Erekat, in addition to the Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, informing them of the latest developments.
The Islamic Jihad also contacted the Egyptian leadership in an attempt to save the lives of Thiab and Halahla.
On Monday, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) – Israel Branch, warned that the health condition of Thaer Halahla and Bilal Thiab, who entered their 63rd day of hunger strike is causing grave concern, adding that both detainees suffer from an acute decrease of muscle tone and are bedridden, which puts them under dual threat; muscle atrophy and Thrombophilia, which can lead to a fatal blood clot. more