Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Quaker socially responsible investment fund divests $390,000 from Hewlett-Packard, Veolia

The Quaker Friends Fiduciary Corporation (FFC), which handles investments for more than 250 Quaker meetings, schools, organizations, trusts, and endowments around the US, announced that it has divested from Hewlett-Packard and Veolia Environment because of the companies’ involvements with Israel’s ongoing occupation and human rights violations. FFC, which holds more than $200 million in assets, is a not-for-profit socially responsible investment fund for the Religious Society of Friends.

The announcement comes just months after the FFC pulled $900,000 from its investment shares in Caterpillar Inc. over its continued profiting from Israel’s demolitions of Palestinian homes, property and land.

In a press release, the Palestine Israel Action Group (PIAG) — a subcommittee of the Peace and Social Concerns Committee of Ann Arbor Friends Meeting, which advocated for this divestment move and was a main advocate of the Caterpillar divestment initiative — said that Hewlett-Packard was removed from FFC’s investments based on the company’s contracts with the Israeli Navy. Veolia Environment, which the press release says is the “world’s largest water privitization company,” was removed from the FFC investment portfolio “because of environmental and social concerns.” more

Family blames sewage, trash for deaths of 8 children in Gaza camp

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A family in Gaza that lost eight children over two years says the lack of sanitation around their home in al-Bureij refugee camp is responsible for their deaths.

The Salim family lives meters from a landfill in the central Gaza camp, and their home is surrounded by open sewage and trash.

Omar Salim, 30, told Ma'an that his son Mohammad pleaded not to be taken to the hospital when he fell ill with a fever and had blue spots on his skin.

"Please dad, don’t take me to the hospital, I don’t want to die like my cousins and my brothers," Mohammad said, according to his father.

Omar took his son to the hospital, where he died minutes after his appointment. more

Israel has demolished 465 buildings and displaced 676 Palestinians in 2012

A UN report has noted that since the beginning of 2012 the Israeli occupation forces have demolished 465 Palestinian-owned structures in the West Bank, displacing 676 Palestinians in the process. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Jerusalem stated that the average rate of Palestinians displaced is now 18 per week.

"Israeli forces delivered a renewed military order extending the requisition of 647 dunums of land [around 160 acres] belonging to the villages of 'Awarta and Burin (Nablus)," the report adds. The land is near an Israeli military training area. In addition, the army has stopped work on 16 buildings in Khirbet Yarza village as it is in a "closed military zone" near Jenin. Since 1967, the Israeli Army has declared around 18 per cent of the occupied West Bank to be "closed military zones for training" or "firing zones".

OCHA said that 2,168 Palestinians have been injured as a result of attacks by the so-called Israel Defence Forces during demonstrations against the brutality of the occupation, house demolitions and night time searches across the West Bank. more

UNHRC: 'Israel fails to prosecute soldiers, settlers, who attack Palestinians'

A report prepared and published by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) accused the state of Israel of failing to prosecute Israeli soldiers and settlers who commit crimes against the Palestinian people in the occupied territories, the Arabs48 News Website reported.

The report said that there is a serious increase in attacks carried out by settlers and soldiers against the unarmed Palestinian civilians in the occupied West Bank, including in occupied East Jerusalem.

The report was submitted to the Human Rights Council during its Monday session in Geneva, and states that “Israel has failed to conduct the needed legal measures against Israeli soldiers and settlers who practice violence against the Palestinians and their property”.

The report also revealed that an Israeli soldier, who was questioned by Israel for killing a Palestinian mother and her daughter, never faced charges until this moment, and said that three Israeli young settlers were placed under house arrest for five days for attacking a Palestinian family with firebombs leading to serious injuries.

The Human Rights Council said that “such attacks are frequent, and escalating in many cases, and target Palestinian civilians and their property”. more

Gaza families visit relatives in Israeli jails

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A group of Palestinians left the Gaza Strip on Monday to visit family members detained in Israel, a Gaza spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross said.

Ayman al-Shehabi told Ma’an that 50 family members visited 37 prisoners in Israel's Nafha jail.

In July, families in the Gaza Strip visited relatives detained in Israeli jails for the first time since 2007.

In 2007, Israel started limiting what it considered privileges for prisoners from Gaza in a bid to put pressure on Hamas to release Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was held in Gaza until last fall. more

Israel imposes West Bank, Gaza closure for Jewish holiday

The Israeli army on Monday said it would seal off the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip for 48 hours from midnight for the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur.

All crossings from Israel to "the Judea and Samaria region" (the West Bank) and the Gaza Strip will be shut from Monday at 11:59 pm (2159 GMT) until Wednesday at the same time, said a military statement, on the orders of the head of the army Lieutenant General Benny Gantz.

Palestinians would not be allowed to enter Israel during this period, apart from those requiring medical treatment or for humanitarian reasons, the statement said.

Israel systematically closes its borders with the Palestinian territories during its main holidays for security reasons. more