Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Gaza health ministry renews warning of unprecedented pharmaceutical crisis

GAZA, (PIC)-- The Palestinian ministry of health in Gaza has warned that the health situation in the besieged Gaza Strip is getting worse as hundreds of medicines and medical consumables are gradually running out from hospitals and medical centers.

Spokesman for the health ministry Ashraf Al-Qudra stated that there are serious indicators that the pharmaceutical and health crisis in Gaza would deteriorate very badly if this situation persisted.

The spokesman warned that the severity of the health crisis may turn very ugly to the extent that it would be hard to control it by the ongoing international efforts to contain it. more

Al-Jazzera investigation points to Yasser Arafat poisoning - Abbas OKs exhuming body

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, sees no reason why Yasser Arafat's body should not be exhumed following an Al Jazeera report that he may have died of poisoning, his spokesman said on Wednesday.

Nabil Abu Rudeinah said that the Palestinian Authority would use "Arab and international scientific expertise" to review the findings.

A nine-month investigation by Al Jazeera found that Arafat's final belongings - his clothes, his toothbrush, even his iconic kaffiyeh - contained elevated levels of polonium, a rare, highly radioactive element.

Scientists at the Institut de Radiophysique in Lausanne, Switzerland, who studied Arafat's personal items, said that his bones could offer more conclusive evidence that he was poisoned.

"There are no political or religious reasons that prevent researching this issue," Abu Rudeinah said, "including the exhumation of Arafat's body by a reliable and trustworthy medical and scientific authority."

Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, also called for an international committee to study Arafat's death, similar to the one investigating the assassination of Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri in 2005.

"[It] is a must," Erekat told Al Jazeera. "And we will do it first through the United Nations security council. We hope everyone will cooperate with us, because we seek the truth and nothing but the truth." more

Committee of US Presbyterian Church votes to divest from Israel

At its annual assembly in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, the Middle East Committee of the Presbyterian Church USA voted to divest from three companies involved in business with the Israeli military, citing human rights abuses carried out by Israel against the Palestinian people. The measure will now go to the full Assembly for a vote on Thursday.

After having voted down a similar resolution last year, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church tasked its Middle East Committee with researching the alleged human rights abuses. The Committee's report details numerous, documented cases of severe human rights abuses against the Palestinian civilian population by the Israeli military, using equipment supplied by the three companies in question: Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola. more