Thursday, 13 September 2012

Palestinian youth defy gravity with parkour in Gaza Strip

(pics - Mohammed Salem)

There are few things more attractive for a photographer — and a photo editor, admittedly — than human bodies flying through the air in various acrobatic contortions. Parkour is a photographer’s dream come true.

A group of Palestinian youngsters aged 12 to 23, from Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, showcased their gravity-defying stunts for the camera. They practice in cemeteries and in former Israeli settlements.

Parkour is a physical discipline originating in France, which combines running and acrobatics in order to get over the obstacles to get from start to finish in the shortest possible time. It’s a method of strength and agility training combining a variety of movements like running, climbing, swinging, vaulting, leaping, and rolling. It uses no equipment and is non-competitive.

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Racism pushing Palestinian citizens of Israel to Ramallah

(pic - Ryan Rodrick Beiler)

JERUSALEM (IRIN) - An increasing number of Palestinian citizens of Israel are moving to Ramallah in the West Bank in search of jobs, education or what they perceive as a more congenial environment.

“They are not running away, they are trying to create a future for themselves. And if that requires them to go elsewhere instead of staying in the state that discriminates against them, what can we do?” said Rania Laham-Grayeb, deputy director of Mossawa, the Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel.

“This development has to do with discrimination against Arabs in Israel,” Samer Salame, head of the employment unit in the Palestinian Authority’s ministry of labor, said. “They come to the West Bank to work in the IT [information technology] sector, academia, open businesses, or study. They often live here as well.”

However, fearful of losing their citizenship or residency in Israel, most do not register their change of work or living place — there are no official figures for the number of Palestinian citizens of Israel living in the West Bank, though Salame said there were at least 1,000 citizens of Israel running businesses or employed in Ramallah, not counting students and artists. more

Over 60 British MPs support UN recognition of Palestine


LONDON, September 13, 2012 (WAFA) - Over 60 Members of the British Parliament (MPs) from across seven political parties signed a parliamentary motion supporting UN recognition of Palestine, Thursday said an MPs press release.

The MPs signed the motion after President Mahmoud Abbas declared his intention to ask the UN General Assembly to recognize Palestine as a non-member state when the General Assembly meets between 24 September and 1 October, said the release.

The motion, tabled by Richard Burden MP, has been signed by 61 MPs so far including former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and other former ministers from both Labour and Conservative governments, “That this House supports recognition by the UN of Palestine as a state alongside the state of Israel.”

The motion has received the support of MPs from seven political parties: Conservative, Green, Labour, Liberal Democrat, Plaid Cymru, SDLP and SNP.

Richard Burden, Labor MP for Birmingham Northfield and Chair of the Britain-Palestine All Party Parliamentary Group, said, “Time after time British ministers have declared their support in theory for a two-state solution in the Middle East. But this is the make your mind up time about whether they mean it in practice.” more

Gaza tunnels hurt but not crippled in Egypt crackdown


Egypt's closure of scores of cross-border smuggling tunnels has affected the flow of goods into Gaza but has not dealt the knockout blow widely expected by traders and officials.

Following an attack which killed 16 Egyptian border police in the Sinai on August 5, Cairo moved swiftly to block off or destroy many of the tunnels on suspicion that some of the assailants had used them to sneak in from the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

The move sparked panic in Gaza with many fearing it would cut off a vital lifeline which brings in food, clothes, building materials and fuel into the impoverished Palestinian territory subjected to an Israeli blockade since 2006.

Last week, the Egyptian military said its troops had destroyed 31 of the 225 main tunnels running under the border, although security sources in Cairo had earlier told AFP they had blocked or destroyed at least 120 of them.

But initial fears that the closure would have a devastating impact on the territory have so far proven unfounded, with economy minister Alaa al-Rafati saying it had only "partially affected the economy." more

Three Palestinian hunger-strikers health in 'rapid deterioration'


BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Three Palestinian prisoners on long-term hunger strikes are in immediate danger following rapid deterioration in their conditions, prisoner rights group Addameer said Wednesday.

Addameer lawyer Fares Ziad visited the Ramle prison clinic on Tuesday but was unable to meet with Samer al-Barq, who is permanently confined to bed as he unable to walk. Al-Barq is on his 114th day of a renewed hunger strike, following a previous month-long strike that ended in May.

The lawyer met with Hassan Safadi, who has not eaten for 84 days and was previously on hunger strike for 71 days. Safadi was unable to drink water at all on Monday as consuming water now causes swelling in his hands and feet.

"Other health conditions that Hassan is suffering from include: low immunity; contractions of the heart muscles; liver problems; kidney stones; chronic pain in his kidneys; low pulse; low blood pressure; chronic pain in his joints," Addameer said in a statement.

Safadi, who is being imprisoned without charge or trial, was briefly hospitalized Monday. The same day, Israel confirmed his administrative detention order.

Addameer's lawyer also visited Ayman Sharawna, who has refused food for 74 days. Sharawna has been vomiting blood as well as the water he drinks for the last 10 days. more

Gaza government gives new equipment to fishermen


The Palestinian government in Gaza has given the enclave's fishermen new equipment which has been donated by the Qatar Charity. The new net-pulling motors and other essential items were handed over in a small ceremony in the Port of Gaza attended by officials from the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture and Qatar.

The help packages were funded by the Qatari Government under a support protocol signed between the Ministry and the Qatar Charity. The Charity agreed to upgrade the equipment used by the fishermen, as well as to provide assistance to the families of those killed or wounded by the Israeli gunboats which enforce a unilaterally declared 3 mile limit beyond which they won't allow fisherman to sail. The international community recognises a 12 mile limit of territorial waters around the world, Gaza's coastline included.

The support protocol is part of a comprehensive programme designed to improve food security in Palestine. The programme is supervised by the Qatari Foreign Ministry. more