Thursday, 19 July 2012

Gaza's Ark will build Boat in Gaza and sail out with trade goods

The Canadian Boat to Gaza, in cooperation with international initiatives in the U.S., Australia and other countries, is launching a new initiative to challenge the illegal and inhumane Israeli blockade of Gaza, the only Mediterranean port closed to shipping.

This new initiative: Gaza's Ark, will build a boat in Gaza, using existing resources. A crew of internationals and Palestinians will sail it out of Gaza carrying Palestinian products to fulfill trade deals with international buyers.

Gaza's Ark will be constructed in Gaza by Palestinian hands and expertise, with international assistance.

Gaza's Ark will help revitalize the dwindling ship building industry in Gaza and help ensure the transmission of this disappearing expertise (another effect of the blockade) to the younger generations.

Through Gaza's Ark and trade deals secured between Palestinian producers in Gaza and international businesses and NGOs, a channel will be established to export Palestinian products from Gaza that are available despite the blockade.

Gaza's Ark will also provide training to Gaza's sailors in the use of up-to-date electronic sailing equipment and techniques which they have been denied for years as a result of the blockade.

Although it will help in a very limited manner to alleviate Gaza's unemployment crisis by paying wages to the boat builders and providing business opportunities to traders, Gaza's Ark is not an aid project. It is a peaceful action against the blockade which Israel unilaterally and unreasonably imposes on Gaza.

Gaza's Ark also stands in solidarity with the Palestinian fishery in Gaza whose ability to operate in territorial waters and to derive a livelihood is threatened by the same Israeli blockade which our campaign is challenging.

Gaza's Ark challenges the blockade by building hope on the ground in Gaza, and affirms our confidence that the Palestinians of Gaza can rebuild their economy through outbound trade that threatens no-one's security.

With your support, the work on Gaza's Ark will start this summer. You will be able to follow its progress with regular updates on the web (, on Facebook ( and Twitter (@GazaArk).

You can reach us by email at

h/t Jane Hirschmann. more

Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal meets Egypt president, hails "new era"

(Reuters) - The leader of Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist movement which rules the Gaza Strip, met new Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi on Thursday and hailed Mursi's election as the start of a "new era" for Egypt and the Palestinians.

It was Khaled Meshaal's first visit to Egypt since Mursi won the country's first free leadership vote.

The founding of Hamas was inspired by Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood - Egypt's oldest and most established Islamist movement - but the Palestinian group now operates independently because of its location and the conflict with Israel.

Hamas, which seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, is regarded by the West as a terrorist group for its refusal to recognise Israel and renounce violence.

Meshaal and Mursi discussed ways to ensure that Gaza, which borders Egypt, gets the gas and petroleum it needs despite an Israeli blockade of the territory.

"We have entered a new era in Palestine's relationship with Egypt, the big sister and the leader of the Arab nation," Meshaal said after the meeting. "We were happy with what we heard from President Mohamed Mursi and his vision to handle all these issues."

The talks lasted almost two hours, twice as long as Mursi's meeting a day earlier with Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority and leader of Fatah, Hamas's rival. more

Prisons minister: Israel arrests 700 children annually subjecting 90% of them to torture

On Wednesday, July 18th, the Minister of Prisoners' Affairs, Issa Qaraqe, said that Israel arrests 700 Palestinian minors annually. These minors are all under the age of 18, and include children as young as 12 or 13. 90% of the children are also subjected to torture, ill-treatment, pressure, and bargaining.

Qaraqe also said that Israel treats the children as constant threats or "ticking bombs" as the Israeli law puts it. Classifying a child as a "ticking bomb" grants the Israeli prison system the ability to apply certain forms of torture and bypasses International law, effectively stripping the children of their immunity. He also said that since Israel does not respect International law in relation to detained children, the institutions of the international community form a campaign to protect the children of Palestine. more

Egypt must allow more fuel into Gaza, Hamas official says

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Egypt's new president must help lift the siege on Gaza by allowing more fuel to enter the coastal enclave, a senior Hamas figure said Wednesday.

Ismail Radwan made the comments during a demonstration in the Gaza Strip, adding that the Arab community has a responsibility to help ease humanitarian problems in Gaza.

The international community must also increase pressure on Israel to end the blockade on Gaza, he added.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Israeli officials during her visit to the country on Monday that Muhammad Mursi had promised her he would not end the closure of the Gaza Strip, an Israeli news site said.

Officials in the Gaza Strip have expressed optimism that Mursi, whose Muslim Brotherhood party is close to Gaza rulers Hamas, would break a hole in the blockade by fully opening the Rafah border. more