Saturday, 21 July 2012

John McCarthy was held hostage in Lebanon 25 years ago. Now he is narrating the Nakba

From Mondoweiss
The opening event at an international literature festival in Ireland this month was on the subject of Israeli theft of Palestinian land, history and identity. The inaugural speaker, British journalist John McCarthy, is famous for being held hostage by Lebanese Shi'a militia between 1986 and 1991, and his new book, You Can't Hide the Sun: A Journey Through Israel and Palestine, tells the story of the Palestinian citizens of Israel, from the Nakba to the present day. The publication - and book tour - is significant for two reasons: first, BBC broadcaster McCarthy is a 'national treasure' of sorts in the UK and Ireland - held alongside Irish hostage Brian Keenan for much of his 5 years in captivity, he is a dignified, modest hero known for his commitment to human rights causes, and writes of his captors, 'They, too, were underdogs'; second, he is not a public figure of whom it can be said, 'Well, he would say that wouldn't he' (in the words of one of the book's detractors, 'he comes across as a perfectly decent and reasonable bloke, without agenda or malice'). The book is a personal, at times highly emotional journey, and McCarthy is careful to add the disclaimer that this is not an academic work. more

Palestinian prisoner on 100th day of hunger strike

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) – As Muslims all over the world start fasting the first day of Ramadan, Palestinian prisoner in Israel’s custody Akram Rekhawi enters his 100th day of hunger strike.

Fasting hours in Muslim countries range from nine to 20 hours a day, but Rekhawi, though he is diabetic, has so far been fasting for about 2,400 hours. He has been held in a clinic in Ramle prison since he was detained by Israeli forces in June 2004. He has served eight years of a nine-year sentence.

Rekhawi was detained in June 2004 at an Israeli military checkpoint on the main road as he headed from Gaza City to his home in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. more

Weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the OPT (12-18 July)

Sheikh Sa’ad checkpoint in occupied Jerusalem

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Continue Systematic Attacks against Palestinian Civilians and Property in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT)

IOF opened fire at areas in the Gaza Strip.
Two members of the Palestinian resistance were killed and two others were wounded in the northern Gaza Strip.

IOF use force to disperse peaceful protest organized by Palestinian civilians in the West Bank.
3 Palestinian civilians were wounded.
IOF arrested 7 international and Israeli human rights defenders, including a journalist.

IOF conducted 54 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and two limited ones into the Gaza Strip.
IOF arrested 23 Palestinians, including a child, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and the former Mayor of al-Bireh.

Israel has continued to impose a total closure on the OPT and has isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world.
IOF arrested a Palestinian patient at Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing in the northern Gaza Strip.
IOF arrested two Palestinian civilians at checkpoints in the West Bank.
IOF allowed 40 members of families of Gazan prisoners in Israeli jails to visit these prisoners for the first time since 2006.

IOF have continued settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.
IOF ordered the demolition of two houses in ‘Azzoun village, east of Qalqilya.
IOF demolished 3 agricultural rooms and a well in Hebron.
Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian shepherd north of Ramallah. more

UN committee highlights Israeli detention, torture of Palestinian children

The UN Special Committee on Israeli Practices in the Occupied Arab Territories held a press conference in Cairo on Thursday to announce the conclusions of its annual field mission. The committee's findings, which will be delivered to the UN General Assembly in November, were based on interviews with Palestinian refugees and officials in Amman, Cairo and the Gaza Strip.
The committee's report described the testimonies it heard as "alarming," especially those pertaining to Israel's detention and mistreatment of Palestinian children.

"The mistreatment of Palestinian children starts the moment they are detained" by Israeli authorities, Palitha Kohana, committee chairman and Sri Lanka’s permanent representative to the UN.

The committee report states that Palestinian children's homes are often surrounded by Israeli soldiers late at night. Soldiers fire sound grenades into their houses, break down their doors and fire live ammunition. Judicial warrants, the report noted, are never produced.

Children detained by Israeli authorities are tightly bound, blindfolded and forced into the backs of military vehicles. Their parents are not allowed to accompany them. They are, as a matter of course, insulted, intimidated and at times physically abused by Israeli authorities.

According to the committee, witnesses said the detention and transfer of children can last for hours, while they are denied any legal representation. more

Haniya hails Hamas-Mursi meeting as 'fruit of the revolution'

Gaza City: The head of the Hamas government Esmail Haniya on Friday hailed the meeting between head of the Islamist movement and Egypt’s new president, as the “fruit of the revolution” that ousted Hosni Mubarak.

Egypt’s new Islamist President Mohammad Mursi met Hamas chief Khalid Mesha’al on Thursday — the first encounter of its kind between a delegation from the Palestinian movement and Egyptian head of state.

“The previous occupant of the palace was involved in the siege and perhaps the war against Gaza, and for years refused any meeting with the resistance and its people,” Haniya said about the deposed Egyptian president Mubarak.

“But yesterday, President Mohammad Mursi received Hamas leaders and this is the fruit of patience and endurance of the people of Gaza and expresses the will of the revolution,” of the Egyptian people, he added. more