Monday, 27 August 2012

Gaza 'will not be liveable by 2020' - UN report

The Gaza Strip will not be "a liveable place" by 2020 unless action is taken to improve basic services in the territory, according to a UN report.

Basic infrastructure in water, health, education and sanitation "is struggling to keep pace with a growing population", according to the report.

It estimates Gaza's population will rise from 1.6m to 2.1m by 2020.

Israel tightened a blockade on Gaza after the Islamist movement Hamas came to power in the territory in 2007.

Israel says the blockade, policed with Egyptian co-operation, is necessary to prevent weapons reaching Hamas.

The UN report estimates Gaza will need double the number of schools and 800 more hospital beds by 2020, and says the territory is already suffering from a housing shortage.

The report also says the coastal aquifer, the territory's only natural source of fresh water, may become unusable by 2016. more

Israeli lies unchecked, Palestinian perspectives censored on BBC

One of the most obvious examples of bias by the BBC is the taxpayer-funded broadcaster’s habit of inviting Israeli politicians or the Israeli government spokesperson, Mark Regev, onto its programs to speak without challenge. Meanwhile, Palestinians and those who would convey a Palestinian perspective are not given the same opportunity.

Film director Ken Loach recently learned that for the BBC, Palestine remains a taboo.

On 23 July, Loach was at the Royal Albert Hall in London to listen to a performance of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, performed by the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. The orchestra consists of Israeli, Palestinian and other Arab musicians, and is conducted by Daniel Barenboim, who formed the orchestra in 1999 with the late Palestinian academic and activist Edward Said.

So when Loach was asked during the intermission for an interview by BBC Proms, which was recording the concert for later broadcast, he considered it reasonable to air his thoughts on the nature of the orchestra as well as the music.

Loach said that he spoke to the BBC journalist for five minutes, during which time he said: “Seeing Israelis and Arabs, including Palestinians, sitting side by side on the stage makes us confront the issue of the continuing oppression of the Palestinian people, and I shall be thinking of them when I hear the music tonight.”

These were typically compassionate words from a director whose films, including Land and Freedom about the revolutionaries who fought in the Spanish Civil War, often reflect his keen sense of justice.

However, for the BBC, which in the last six months has alternately denied the existence of Palestine and then the fact of Israel’s occupation, the mere mention of the fact of the Palestinian people’s oppression was too controversial to broadcast. more

Around 100 'Welcome to Palestine' activists denied entry into West Bank

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Dozens of foreign peace activists were denied entry into the West Bank by Israeli authorities at the Allenby Bridge crossing on Sunday evening, organizers of the third 'Welcome to Palestine' initiative said.

"The Welcome to Palestine Campaign decries the Israeli denial of entry via the Allenby Bridge to over 100 internationals who wanted to visit us in the occupied Palestinian Territories," organizers said in a statement.

The group of around 100 activists had finished passport checks at the Jordanian side of the Allenby crossing but were denied entry at the first Israeli checkpoint and told to return to where they had come from, a spokesman for WTP told Ma'an.

No explanation was provided by Israeli crossing authorities as to why the group was denied entry, but the delegation will try to enter the West Bank again on Monday, the spokesman added. more

Welcome to Palestine campaign activists arrive on West Bank

NABLUS, (PIC)-- Western and Arab activists of "Welcome to Palestine" campaign arrived in the West Bank on Sunday through Al-Karama crossing between the West Bank and Jordan.

"Israel has no excuse to prevent us as it asked us in the previous occasions to go to land border crossings," the campaign organizers said.

Welcome to Palestine campaign is aimed to expose the Israeli violations in the occupied Palestinian land and to demand freedom of movement within Palestine and free access into Palestine, Issa Amro, coordinator of Youth Against Settlements in Al-Khalil and one of the campaign's coordinators, explained.

Amro told Quds Press that three hundreds activists include nationals from France, Spain, the UK, and the US, have arrived in the Jordanian capital Amman on Friday in a fresh attempt to enter occupied Palestinian territory to deliver assistance to Palestinian schoolchildren. more

Video: Israeli Settler - ‘If I see her coming, no matter what age she is 3, 4, 7, I’ll f*ck her over’

In the weekly demo in Nabi Saleh, several children made their way to the village's spring, where they encountered a settler and two soldiers, who prevented them from reaching the spring with violent threats.

From Mondoweiss:
Listen to the settler discuss these Palestinian girls with the Israeli soldier.
0:04 – Soldier: “But you’re getting in our way, don’t you understand? You’re getting in our way.”
0:07 – Settler: “I’ll stand on the side. I’ll stand on this side, but If I see her coming near [here], remember, it doesn’t matter, 3, 4 or 7 years old, I’ll fuck her over.”
0:12 – Soldier: “No problem.”