Sunday, 22 July 2012

Political wrangling leaves Gaza patients stranded

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — A dispute between the two rival Palestinian governments is preventing hundreds of patients in Gaza from receiving urgent medical care abroad, officials said Sunday.

One Gaza man said he has tried unsuccessfully for the past week to get his wife transferred out of Gaza for the removal of a brain tumor. Salman Tawfik said his wife Rasha, 50, lapsed into a coma two days ago, while he was caught in a bureaucratic maze.

"No one wants to help. No one wants to hear," Iyad Alami of the Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights said of the politicians involved in the dispute. He said several patients are in danger of dying if they are not moved quickly.

Alami's group has been trying to mediate between the Hamas government in Gaza and the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority of internationally backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Israel and Egypt restricted movement in and out of Gaza after Hamas seized the territory from Abbas in 2007, leaving him with parts of the West Bank. Gaza and the West Bank are separated by about 40 kilometers (25 miles) of Israeli territory. more

Gaza youth broadcast on new TV station - produced by children for children

1A new TV and radio station was launched in Gaza strip recently tutoring the young population of children in Gaza strip that make about 60% of the 1.5 million people who are living in desperate and hard conditions.PHOTO:NASER NAJJAR/Gulf News

Gaza: A new TV and radio station was launched in the Gaza Strip recently tutoring the young population of children in the Gaza Strip that makes up about 60 per cent of the 1.5 million people who are living in desperate and hard conditions.

The multimedia station was founded by the young journalists club, an independent Palestinian non-governmental organisation broadcasting children’s programmes over the radio and via the internet.

The presenters of the TV channel are all young children between the ages of 9-15 providing talk shows discussing life, dreams and ambitions of the children in the Gaza Strip.

Eman Abu Waked, 15, a presenter at the channel, said: “The programmes we work on are not only made by children but also delivered to children to entertain them and fill their time with useful and good programmes that are inspiring and useful for them in their daily lives.” more

Zahhar: Hamas will not separate Gaza from the West Bank

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Senior Hamas official Mahmoud Zahhar on Sunday denied media reports that the Islamist group is considering declaring the Gaza Strip a separate entity from the Palestinian Authority controlled West Bank.

"Such news is being disseminated by the enemies of Hamas seeking to maintain the siege on Gaza," Zahhar told Ma'an.

"This issue hasn’t been addressed officially within Hamas, but some people posed it privately on their own," he added.

The London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat reported Sunday that Hamas was considering declaring Gaza a separate entity from the PA-controlled West Bank.

According to the report, Hamas officials said Egypt would back the move, which would also see improved trade ties between both parties. more

Blast rocks Egypt's gas pipeline to Israel, Jordan for the 15th time

CAIRO (Reuters) -- An explosion on Sunday rocked the Egyptian pipeline built to carry natural gas to Israel and Jordan, the 15th time it has been attacked since the start of the uprising in early 2011 that toppled President Hosni Mubarak.

The blast occurred in the early hours of Sunday morning at al-Tuwail, east of the coastal Sinai town of el-Arish, at a point before the pipeline splits into separate branches to Israel and Jordan, security officials and witnesses said.

Gunmen in a small truck drove up to the pipeline, dug a hole and placed explosive charges under the pipeline that they detonated from a distance, a security official and witnesses said. more

Morsi meeting opens a door on Gaza blockade

Mr Meshaal hailed a "new era" in Egyptian-Palestinian relations, and there were signals at least of a welcome change. For many years, and certainly since the start of the crippling Israeli siege of Gaza in 2006, Egypt has played a shameful role as an accomplice to the blockade of Gaza.

The crossing at Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip, is the only one not under full Israeli military control. As such, Rafah has always been the one potential link from the Strip to the outside world, as the Israeli military denies Gazans goods, services and the free movement of people. Although Egypt has allowed some items and people through - and often turned a blind eye to the tunnels under the border - traffic has been tightly controlled by quotas.

Already the Morsi era is changing that. The crossing at Rafah now allows more Palestinians through each day, and may soon be open 24 hours a day.

But a new era in relations will bring its own challenges. While Israel's settlement expansion in the West Bank continues, Gaza is being starved. Yet despite the siege, Gazans have shown enormous creativity in making products and finding ways to survive.

In that, there is a challenge: if Egypt opens the border, it is likely that Gaza will continue to draw closer to Egypt, with more business and personal links created. There is nothing wrong with stronger ties with Egypt, but Gazans' compatriots are in the West Bank, not over the border in Sinai. It may also be telling that Mr Morsi met with Mr Meshaal, and not Hamas's Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, who exerts more influence in the Strip.

In any case, closer relations with Palestinians will complicate Egypt's relationship with Israel, and with their mutual benefactor, the United States. more

2012 Rachel Corrie Ramadan Football Tournament closer to reality - donate today

We had a great response to our recent appeal for the 2012 Rachel Corrie Ramadan Tournament in Rafah, Gaza. Generous supporters quickly answered the call with $2,300 in donations! Because of their encouragement, we are extending our fund-raiser deadline to August 1st.

Our goal: $6,000.

Can you help?

This is a special tournament that will provide a cheerful Ramadan community event. It honors the spirit of Rachel Corrie and, this year, especially celebrates Mahmoud Sarsak, a Gazan whose 90-day hunger strike earned his release from a three-year illegal prison detention.

Your donation provides the basics: field rental, new sand for the play-field, new footballs, and other necessities. But it also provides extras that make this tournament special. The final match is a huge event in the community where two teams face off on a well maintained field, banners welcome the fans, local sports commentators call the play from a "mini-grandstand," and first and second place team members receive medals and modest prizes. Special prizes are awarded for "Most Valuable Player" and "Sportsmanship." Mr. Sarsak is invited and will be presented a special Ramadan tournament Jersey. In the evening a delicious Iftar meal celebrates the tournament organizers for a job well done. Learn more HERE.

To Contribute:

Please make your donations to the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice, a 501(c)3 charitable organization.

To donate immediately online, visit our donation page.
Important!: indicate that your donation is for the "2012 Ramadan Football Tournament."

To donate by mail: Make your check to the Rachel Corrie Foundation with the notation: "Ramadan Football Tournament" in the memo line.

Mail to:
Rachel Corrie Foundation
203 East Fourth Ave.
Suite 402
Olympia, WA 98501 more

The latest reason to boycott the Red Sea Jazz Festival - internment camps for Africans

The Red Sea Jazz Festival, held twice a year in “Israel’s Riviera” of Eilat, is once again upon us. The festival, to be held from July 30th to August 2nd, has become known for attracting an eclectic array of artists from across the jazz spectrum. Naturally, it’s become a worthy target for the growing campaign for cultural boycott of Israel.

Last year New Orleans street jazz group Tuba Skinny publicly canceled their appearance at the jazz fest after being approached by members of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement and discussing it among themselves. What appeared to seal the deal for them was the fresh spate of bombings Israel launched against Gaza; launched, specifically, right outside of Eilat.

This year, however, there is an added reason to boycott the Red Sea Jazz Fest in particular—namely that also in Eilat, Israel is interning hundreds of African migrants scheduled for deportation. In mid-June, Israeli authorities began rounding up Sudanese refugees from across the country. And the internment center in which they’re being held is—you guessed it—in Eilat. more