Friday, 3 August 2012

Video: Freedom Flotilla 3 activists get set to launch new flotilla to break blockade of Gaza Strip

European activists are organizing a new flotilla in solidarity with residents of Gaza. Their boat is expected to leave the Baltic Sea in the coming weeks and pass through several harbors in the Mediterranean for events aimed at raising awareness, before reaching the sealed off Strip. Previous flotillas were intercepted by the Israeli Navy, which is expected to stop this trip too.

Activists posted a clip on YouTube on Wednesday showing the Estelle, a ship they recently bought for the journey to the blockaded Gaza Strip. The ship is currently on its way to Oslo after going through maintenance work in Sweden, and it is due to leave for a two-to-three months’ long voyage to Gaza in the coming weeks to protest against the ongoing Israeli siege on the Strip.

In the clip, former Israeli artist Dror Feiler declares that the activists’ goal is to pressure European states into making Israel end the siege, or at least to have them protest against it. “We will go through different harbors on the way, and also use the voyage as a part of the mission, which means to focus on the situation of the people of Gaza and the people of Palestine,” says Feiler. “So it’s not only the last few days, but also the nearly three months of voyage, and all the time the focus is on Gaza and the siege and the people of Palestine and on the passivity of our governments.” Feiler also says that the ship will be carrying a cargo of solidarity and non-violence. more

Medics say mortar shells kill 20 in Damascus Palestinian camp

BEIRUT (Reuters) -- At least 20 people were killed on Thursday when Syrian security forces fired three mortar rounds at a Palestinian camp in Damascus, medical sources said.

Witnesses in the camp told Reuters by telephone that the mortars hit a busy street as people were preparing for the Ramadan meal to break their fasting.

Meanwhile in Hama, Syrian forces killed at least 50 people, among them 21 members of three families, during clashes with rebels in the central city of Hama, activists and residents said.

"During the clashes the army entered the neighborhood of Arbaeen and conducted raids, during which they killed members of three families," resident Abu Ammar told Reuters from the city.

He said among the dead were 10 members of the Kanan family, eight from a family named Okda and three from the Saffaf family. more

Lawyer: Hunger strikers assaulted by prison authorities

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israeli prison authorities on Wednesday assaulted two prisoners on hunger strike, a lawyer from the Palestinian Prisoners Society said.

Jawad Boulos said that hunger strikers Samer al-Barq and Hassan Safadi had both been severely assaulted, after a visit to Ramle prison clinic on Wednesday.

"At 2 a.m., (Safadi) was in bed when jailers attacked him and forced him to stand and tore his clothes up and his mattress and pillow. When he tried to resist one of the jailers punched him in the face and fought with him until an officer intervened," Boulos said in a statement.

The prison administration transfered al-Barq to another prison. Using a wheelchair due to his poor health, guards at the jail asked him to stand up and walk, and when he was unable to they threw him to the ground, Boulos said.

He was sent to a clinic due to his health condition. more