Tuesday, 28 August 2012

France opens Arafat murder enquiry following al-Jazeera polonium revelations


French prosecutors have opened a murder enquiry into Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's 2004 death near Paris, sources close to the matter told AFP Tuesday.

The probe comes after Arafat's family launched legal action in France last month over claims the veteran Palestinian leader died of radioactive polonium poisoning.

Arafat's widow Suha and his daughter Zawra lodged a murder complaint on July 31 in the Paris suburb of Nanterre.

Arafat died at a military hospital near Paris in 2004.

Allegations that the Nobel Peace Prize laureate was poisoned were resurrected last month after Al-Jazeera news channel broadcast an investigation in which experts said they found high levels of polonium on his personal effects. more

Medics: Israel shells northern Gaza Strip, two injured

A wounded woman is wheeled into a hospital following an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City August 28, 2012. (Reuters/Mohammed Salem)

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Two Palestinians were injured early Tuesday as Israel shelled the Gaza Strip , medical officials said.

The shelling early on Tuesday came from Israeli military aircraft and naval ships and targeted two compounds in Gaza City, Hamas officials said. Two women in nearby homes were injured by flying debris, hospital officials said.

"The shelling targeted the northern Gaza Strip, and an agricultural area in Wadi Gaza," spokesman of the Gaza ministry of health Ashraf al-Qudra said. more

Outrage as Israeli judge claims Rachel Corrie killing was an accident


The death of the pro-Palestinian activist Rachel Corrie was not caused by the negligence of the Israeli state or army, a judge has ruled, dismissing a civil lawsuit brought by the family.

Corrie's death was an accident for which the state of Israel was not responsible, said the judge at Haifa district court.

There had been no fault in the internal Israeli military investigation clearing the driver of the bulldozer that crushed Corrie to death in March 2003 of any blame. The judge said the driver had not seen the young American activist.

Corrie could have saved herself by moving out of the zone of danger as any reasonable person would have done, said Judge Oded Gershon. He ruled that no compensation would be paid and the family would not have to pay costs of the case. more

Attorney Hussein Abu Hussein’s statement on verdict in Corrie wrongful death lawsuit:

(Haifa, Israel – August 28, 2012) – While not surprising, this verdict is yet another example of where impunity has prevailed over accountability and fairness. Rachel Corrie was killed while non-violently protesting home demolitions and injustice in Gaza, and today, this court has given its stamp of approval to flawed and illegal practices that failed to protect civilian life. In this regard, the verdict blames the victim based on distorted facts and it could have been written directly by the state attorneys.

We knew from the beginning that we had an uphill battle to get truthful answers and justice, but we are convinced that this verdict distorts the strong evidence presented in court, and contradicts fundamental principles of international law with regard to protection of human rights defenders. In denying justice in Rachel Corrie’s killing, this verdict speaks to the systemic failure to hold the Israeli military accountable for continuing violations of basic human rights.



We would like to thank everyone who supported the family and the legal team; including activists, NGOs, legal observers, US embassy officials, interpreters, reporters who covered the trial, and we look forward to talking to you at the press conference.

Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice