Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Calls to capture Israeli soldiers in order to release Palestinian prisoners

GAZA, (PIC)-- The prisoners Committee for the National and Islamic Forces organized on Monday a mass rally in Gaza in solidarity with the prisoners, in light of occupation attempts to evade implementation of the agreement signed with captive movement.

The demonstrators started marching from outside the Red Cross headquarters in Gaza, and headed to the headquarters of United Nations. They were raising Palestinian flags and chanting slogans demanding the international institutions to intervene in order to stop the occupation's crimes and violations against the prisoners.

The participants also called for activating attempts to capture Israeli soldiers, since it is the only available option to force the occupation to release the Palestinian captives.

The liberated prisoner Tawfiq Abu An’im, speaking to the prisoners Committee, said that hunger strike became the prisoners' sole weapon inside the jails, especially that international institutions and human rights organizations are silent towards the violations the captives have been exposed to. more

Gaza's youth plagued by despair

The death of a young Gaza man who set himself on fire because he could not find a job has sent shock waves through this conservative territory and underscored growing despair among Palestinian youth.

The self-immolation of 21-year-old Ihab Abu Nada was the first in Gaza, after a series of copycat deaths in the Middle East since a Tunisian youth set himself on fire in December 2010. That case triggered protests and revolutions that have swept across the Arab world, toppling dictatorships and touching off a civil war in Syria.

Gaza, a crowded strip of land between Israel and Egypt, has never been wealthy. Unemployment has usually been over 20 per cent. Since the militant Hamas took over the territory in 2007, the economy has steadily worsened under an Israeli blockade.

Youth unemployment hovers around 50 per cent, and a lack of hope is palpable - many young Gaza men take cheap, powerful pain killers to take the edge off reality.

Abu Nada's father, Sufian, 54, said the family has been struggling to get by on his civil servant's salary of about $220 a month. On Saturday night, Sufian Abu Nada said he was arguing with his son to try find work.

"He told his mother: 'Tell my father I'm going to find work,"' a sobbing Abu Nada told a Gaza radio station Monday. "My eye is broken, my heart is broken, my love." more

Israel accused of pillaging Dead Sea resources in occupied territory

Israel is “pillaging” the natural resources of the Dead Sea which lie in occupied Palestinian territory in violation of international law, a report which singles out the cosmetics firm Ahava for criticism.

According to the Palestinian human rights organisation al-Haq, the “appropriation and exploitation of Palestinian land and natural resources in the occupied Dead Sea area by Israeli settlers and companies … meet the requirements of the crime of pillage”.

Its report, Pillage of the Dead Sea, says Israeli restrictions on planning and movement “have severely hampered the ability of Palestinians to use and access their land and other natural resources in the region. The presence of settlers who directly utilise and profit from the Dead Sea wealth has severely exacerbated this situation and contributed to the over-exploitation of the area, resulting in severe environmental damage.”

Almost two-thirds of the western shore of the Dead Sea lies within the West Bank, which Israel has occupied since 1967. The remaining area is in Israel, and the eastern shore is in Jordan. At the lowest point on Earth, 410 metres below sea level, the inland sea is a magnet for tourists keen to float in its salt-saturated waters and for industries which extract its minerals. more

Palestinian factions in Gaza to discuss reconciliation

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Palestinian factions in Gaza will meet on Tuesday to discuss national reconciliation, Popular Struggle Front leader Mahmoud Zak said.

The faction leader told Ma'an that all parties, with the exception of Fatah and Hamas, will hold a meeting to discuss national reconciliation in order to end the state of division.

Reconciliation is vital in order to put pressure on Israel to end its illegal occupation, Zak said. more

Israeli extremists desecrate Christian monastery in Jerusalem

A group of extremist Israeli settlers attacked, earlier on Tuesday at dawn, the Latrun Christian Monastery in occupied Jerusalem and wrote racist graffiti describing Jesus as a “Monkey”, and other graffiti against the Christian religion in general.

The extremists also wrote the names of illegal settlement outpost in the occupied West Bank.

Israeli Ynet News reported that the wooden door of the Monastery was burnt, and that the Ministry’s abbot, father Lo’ay told its reporter that a monk sleeping in a guest room woke up to a noise and when he stepped out he saw the main door burning. He then woke up the other ministers.

The abbot told the Ynet that the attack was carried out around 3:30 am, and that the monk who was sleeping in the guest room managed to extinguish the fire before it spread.

Elias, a guard at the Monastery called the police, and told them that he drove by just before the attack and did not see anything that looks suspicious, and added that, 10 minutes later, he saw the door in flames and also saw the graffiti. more

Call to action: Olive Harvest 2012

At a time of increasing settler violence in the West Bank, the International Solidarity Movement is issuing an urgent call for volunteers to participate in the 2012 Olive Harvest Campaign at the invitation of Palestinian communities.

The olive tree is a national symbol for Palestinians. As thousands of olive trees have been bulldozed, uprooted and burned by Israeli settlers and the military – (over half a million olive and fruit trees have been destroyed since September 2000) – harvesting has become more than a source of livelihood; it has become a form of resistance.

The olive harvest is an annual affirmation of Palestinians’ historical, spiritual, and economic connection to their land, and a rejection of Israeli efforts to seize it. Despite efforts by Israeli settlers and soldiers to prevent them from accessing their land, Palestinian communities have remained steadfast in refusing to give up their olive harvest. more