Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Ministry: Israel cancels visits to Gaza prisoners

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israel has canceled family visits for prisoners from Gaza, three months after they were resumed, the PA Ministry of Detainee Affairs said Monday.

In July, Israel allowed the first visits to prisoners from Gaza in five years. Visits had been banned since 2007 to pressure Hamas to release Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was freed in Oct. 2011.

Israel agreed to resume family visits for Gaza prisoners as part of a deal to end a mass month-long hunger strike in Israeli jails. At the time, Minister of Detainee Affairs Issa Qaraqe said visits were resuming on an "experimental basis." more

Twenty two groups call for EU ban on Israeli settler products

(Reuters) - Twenty two religious groups and charities have called on the European Union to ban products made by Israeli settlers in the occupied territories, saying a boycott would undercut their economic reason for staying there.

The EU is Israel's biggest trading partner but imports 15 times more from West Bank-based Israeli settlers than from Palestinians, a group of 22 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) said on Tuesday.

"European consumers are unwittingly supporting the settlements and the attendant violations of human rights," the groups said in a report that called for a ban or, at the very least, strict labelling rules.

The Palestinians want to establish a state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem and say settlements deny them a joined-up viable territory. About 311,000 Israeli settlers and 2.5 million Palestinians live in the West Bank.

The EU says settlements Israel has built on land it captured in the 1967 Middle East war are illegal under international law. more

Video: the images and sounds of Gaza’s vibrant subculture in “Not a dreamland”

The Electronic Intifada is proud to present “Not a dreamland”: artists and alternative subcultures in Gaza. This multimedia feature combines videos, stills and sounds collected in February 2012 by Anne Paq of the ActiveStills (activestills.org) photography collective, exploring vibrant subcultures in the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip.

This short, produced by ActiveStills, features both established artists and performers such as the hip-hop group Palestinian Unit, unconventional filmmaker brothers Arab and Tarzan, painters from the art collective iltika, break dancers from Camps Breakerz as well as less-known youth who experiment with parkour, beat box, break dancing and roller skating. Interview extracts and striking images give context to the conditions under which these artists create, giving vivid insight into a vibrant side of Gaza that is rarely shown. more

Political prisoner Hasan Safady released after two hunger strikes

Palestinian political prisoner Hasan Safadi was released from an Israeli detention facility on Monday, after being detained for 16 months under administrative detention without charges or trial; he held two extended hunger-strikes mounting to 168 days.

Talking to his family and the massive crowds that gathered to greet him after his release, Safadi stated that his freedom was obtained “after an extended battle motivated by patience and determination”.

He added that he did not receive any medical treatment during his strike when he was hospitalized at the Ramla Prison Clinic that lacks basic supplies, and added that “Doctors and nurses at the prison clinic are wolves in pigeons clothes”, the Palestinian Information Center (PIC) reported. more

Egypt delivers Qatari fuel for Gaza

EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma'an) -- Egyptian authorities on Monday transferred 350,000 liters of Qatari fuel into Israel for delivery to the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian Authority official said.

The fuel, donated by Qatar, was sent through the al-Auja crossing on the Egypt-Israel border and will be delivered to Gaza via Kerem Shalom crossing, said Omar Hadhoud, a PA representative at the al-Auja crossing.

Hadhoud told Ma'an the delivery had been held up due to Israeli crossings closures amid an escalation in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza and rocket attacks from the enclave. more