Thursday, 14 June 2012

Israeli navy attacks Civil Peace Service Gaza international monitoring boat

By Ruqaya Izzedien

At 8:40am, on Wednesday, June 13th, 2012, an Israeli warship attacked international observers, a journalist and the Palestinian captain of the Civil Peace Service Gaza (CPSGAZA) boat Oliva, in an attempt to harm the crew members and threaten them with arrest.

"We were behind the buoy that Israel put out at sea to mark the three mile limit and they attacked us with heavy water cannons for half an hour, chasing us towards the northen nautical border, " said Rosa Schiano, an Italian observer. "Then they accused us of crossing the border, when they had forcibly chased us in that direction. "

Ruqaya Izzedien, a British journalist who accompanied the mission, is available for media questions or interviews. Her attached photo may be used with attribution.

The Oliva was near one fishing boat within three nautical miles of the shore when an Israeli warship drew closer and began circling around the boat, chasing it towards Gaza's north coast. The warship soon attacked the Oliva with a water cannon, causing the boat to fill up with water. The crew stated that they did not pose any danger and asked the warship to stop firing water. A soldier replied: "Shut up".

The warship ordered the Oliva to shut down its motor, and its crew to stand in the front of the boat. When they asked whether they were being arrested, a soldier replied: "We'll take all of you". Finally, radio commanders decided alternately and the Oliva and its crew were allowed to sail away. "This is your last warning. Next time we won't be as nice, if you know what I mean", a soldier added as the Oliva prepared to leave. more

50 international aid groups demand immediate end to Gaza blockade

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Fifty international charities and UN agencies called Thursday on Israel to lift its years-long blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Marking the fifth anniversary of the siege, the organizations -- among them Amnesty International, Médecins du Monde, Oxfam, and Save the Children -- joined agencies like the World Health Organization, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights UNICEF and four other UN agencies in urging Israel to lift the siege "now."

"For over five years in Gaza, more than 1.6 million people have been under blockade in violation of international law. More than half of these people are children. We the undersigned say with one voice: 'end the blockade now,'" the petition said.

Israel imposed restrictions on trade to Gaza in 2001 following the outbreak of a Palestinian uprising and tightened them further in 2007 after Hamas took over in the coastal enclave adjacent to Egypt, which also enforces a blockade. more

Palestinian man killed working in Rafah tunnel

Palestinian medical sources reported that one resident was killed on Wednesday evening when a barrel fell on him as he was working in a siege-busting border tunnel, in Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

Adham Abu Salmiyya, spokesperson of the Medical and Emergency Services in Gaza, reported that Ghassan Ramadan Radwan, 40, was killed, while resident Kamal Mohammad Abu Reeda, 45, was injured. more