Monday, 16 July 2012

Palestinians rally to support prisoners, Akram al-Rekhawi on 96th day of hunger strike

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- At a rally to support prisoners in Gaza on Monday, the daughter of a detainee on hunger strike in Israeli jail for 96 days reiterated that his health is failing.

Akram al-Rekhawi, 39, is seeking an early release due to illness, and is being held in solitary confinement in Ramle prison clinic, according to prisoners group Addameer.

A diabetic, he has been held in the prison clinic since he was detained by Israeli forces in June 2004. He has served eight years of a nine-year sentence.

His daughter Rawan condemned the world's silence over his state at a solidarity demonstration outside the International Red Cross office in Gaza City.

"I don't even want to appeal or make demands, as no one cares," Rawan said of her father's case.

Dozens came out to attend the rally, organized by Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements. more

Russian surgeons arrive in Gaza Strip to perform operations and teach Palestinian colleagues

A group of Russian doctors has arrived in the Gaza Strip to help their Palestinian colleagues in local hospitals.

The trip was organised at the request of Palestinian authorities by the Solidarity charity foundation with the participation of the Russian Foreign Ministry and the Russian Embassy in Cairo.

The Russian voluntary medical team consists of two surgeons, one of whom is a specialist in heart surgery, a gynaecologist, a cancer specialist and an ophthalmologist. They will be performing surgery and giving master-classes for their Palestinian colleagues for a week. more

Backer of New York ads exposing Palestinian land-loss says 'positive responses' pouring in

Henry Clifford's advertisement at the Chappaqua Metro-North train station July 10, 2012. (Photo: Seth Harrison / The Journal News )

Last night I talked to Henry Clifford, the 83-year-old Connecticut man who paid for the smashing ads on New York commuter train platforms that describe the dispossession of Palestinian lands over the last century.

"I've been plowing this field for many years and I am absolutely astounded by the response I've received, and the news coverage," the former financier said. "We've been begging for coverage for years. Now it's pouring in."

He said he had been interviewed by CBS, Fox News, NBC and many radio stations, and the questions were fair ones.

"I have received nothing but positive responses with two exceptions [by email]," said Clifford, whose email address, is on the ads. "This has produced an overwhelming response." more

Palestinian Authority embarrassed as Qatar readies Gaza-reconstruction project

The Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority is acutely embarrassed by the State of Qatar's decision to begin reconstruction projects in the Gaza Strip by the end of August, Palestinian sources said on Wednesday.

Qatar has decided to cooperate with the Palestinian government in Gaza on the reconstruction of the besieged territory. This decision has aroused in the PA a lot of anger, although it has decided against taking any reactive measures.

A couple of months after the Israelis invaded the Gaza Strip during 2008/2009, causing massive destruction, the Qatari government announced it would fund a huge reconstruction project in the Strip. The PA and the ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak asked Qatar to postpone the project until Palestinian reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah is achieved. Even so, the start date was included in an agreement signed between the head of the Hamas political bureau, Khalid Meshaal, and Fatah chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Doha several months ago. more

Gaza families visit jailed relatives in Israel for first time in six years

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Families in the Gaza Strip will visit relatives detained in Israeli jails on Monday for the first time since 2007, a prisoners group said.

Gaza-based group Husam told Ma'an that 48 family members would visit 25 relatives being held in Israeli jails. There are a total of 473 Gazan prisoners detained in Israel, group spokesman Muwaffaq Hmeid said.

The families left Gaza City at 4.00 a.m. to travel to the Erez crossing, he added.

Another group of families is expected to visit relatives on July 23, Hmeid said.

"This is a first step and we hope that visits by residents of Gaza will resume in full," said Juan Pedro Schaerer, the head of the ICRC delegation in Israel and the occupied territories. more