Monday, 24 September 2012

Palestinian prisoners Safadi, al-Barq end months of hunger strike

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Two Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jail have halted their long-term hunger strikes expecting upcoming release, officials from the Palestinian prisoners society and Israeli prison officials said Sunday.

Society lawyer Jawad Bulus said he visited Samir al-Barq and Hasan Safadi, and they are both beginning to take food. Israeli Prison Service spokeswoman Sivan Weizman confirmed the two prisoners had ended their strike.

Samir al-Barq has spent 125 days on hunger strike. He remains in Israeli civilian hospital Assaf Harofeh and will soon be transferred to Ramle prison clinic, Bulus said.

Al-Barq ended his strike after learning Egypt and Israel had agreed he would be transferred from jail into exile in Egypt, Bulus said.

PA prisoners minister Issa Qaraqe said al-Barq would be freed within hours on Thursday, but Israeli prison spokeswoman Sivan Weizman denied his release was imminent. more

Gaza self-sufficient in agricultural produce but siege since 2006 stops exports

(MEMO Photographer: Mohammed Asad)

As the Gaza Strip has self-sufficiency in vegetables and fruits, the Palestinian Agriculture Ministry announced on Sunday that it stopped all agricultural imports except bananas and apples.

This decision, the ministry said, came after the domestic produce became able to fulfil consumers' needs in the local markets with reasonable prices. Bananas and apples imports were not stopped as their produce is still limited and cannot meet the markets' needs.

Gaza produces about 70,000 tons of fruits annually; twenty five thousand of citrus, seven thousand of grapes, 20 thousand of olives, ten thousand of guava and five thousand of dates. It also produces more than 300,000 tons vegetable every year.

The marketing and crossings director in the ministry Tahseen al-Saqqa said that his ministry stopped vegetables imports completely ten years ago, but it sometime allowed melons and onions during times of scarcity which is about two months a year.

Al-Saqqa said that the Gaza Strip is able to export many kinds of agricultural produce such as tomatoes, cucumber, strawberry and flowers, but this is always faced by Israeli obstacles. "Nothing has been exported from the Strip's vegetables since 2006. By the help of some international NGOs and under the pressure of the EU, farmers could export few amounts of strawberry and flowers last year," Al-Saqqa said. more

50-year-old Gaza woman shot in the leg by Israeli gunfire at Bureij refugee camp

GAZA, September 24, 2012 (WAFA) – A 50-year-old Palestinian woman Monday was shot in the leg by Israeli gunfire as the soldiers were pulling out of Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza, according to witnesses.

Israeli military vehicles had earlier crossed the borders in Gaza into the eastern part of al-Maghazi and Bureij refugee camps. more

'Palestinian Embassy' living art performance flies over the city of Liverpool

Palestinian Mission in the United Kingdom said in a Press release that as part of the Liverpool 2012 Biennial exhibition, a living Art performance consisting of a hot-air balloon fashioned in the colours of the Palestinian flag with "Palestinian Embassy" written across flew over the city of Liverpool. The event on the 14th and 15th of September included the inauguration of a Palestinian Embassy and balloon trips over the city. Departing from the city centre, politicians and academics joined together aboard the balloon for discussions on topics concerning the Palestinian people's diplomatic and democratic conditions.

The Art performance was brought to Liverpool from Oslo by the producers, Public Art Norway (KORO) in cooperation with Fritt Ord (Freedom of Expression), UNISON and the Palestinian Embassy. The Norwegian group won the bid for international applied art at the Biennial City States competition in which they sought to combine a prominent political issue on the future of a Palestinian state with theatre and movement. The city of Liverpool was chosen to host the activity as a hub for minorities has shown overwhelming support for the Palestinian cause. more

Hamas official: Mashaal will step down as party chief

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Hamas' leader in exile, Khaled Mashaal, is not seeking re-election, a Hamas official said Sunday.

Senior Hamas official Salah Bardawil told Ma'an that Mashaal will remain in the Islamist movement but has decided not to run for re-election as party chief.

"When Mashaal said he was not seeking re-election, a message was sent to him from the movement’s leaders unanimously asking him to change his mind," Bardawil said.

Serious discussions are ongoing within Hamas about a successor to Mashaal, Ma'an learned from sources close to the movement.

The only potential candidates would be current prime minister Ismail Haniyeh or deputy head of Hamas politburo Mousa Abu Marzouq, based in Cairo. The sources said that Abu Marzouq is likely to be the preferred choice. more