Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Ceasefire re-awakens dreams of Gaza fishermen

Fishermen in Gaza are able to fish six miles from the shore for the first time since 2006 after the ceasefire between Israel and Gaza. Fishermen hope the fishing industry will recover after its almost complete destruction by the siege but say that 6 miles is not deep enough.

Abu Alaa El Amoudi, (A fisherman in the Gaza strip): “Since October 2000 when the Second Intifada began until now the Israeli military do not allow us to enter the sea 3 miles past Gaza beach. Our work was at 3% of our usual capacity and even that was very dangerous. Thank god, the situation now is better than before the war, now we can move to 6 miles but if we go deeper the Israeli military shoots at us. We wish as fishermen in Gaza Strip to work freely.”

Raed Abu Odai (A fisherman in the Gaza strip) : "Six miles is a big improvement but there are still not enough fish. To catch more fish we need to go deeper. Yesterday I went in seven miles and was shot at by the occupation’s navy with live ammunition and a water cannon but thank god no one was hurt."

The Israeli forces illegally reduced the area of fishing gradually from 20 nautical miles, which was established under the Oslo Accords, to 10 nautical miles in 2005. In June 2006, IOF imposed a total siege for months, and opened it later permitting fishermen to fish within a 6-nautical-mile limit, which was then reduced to 3 nautical miles in 2007. more

Gazans return to the “buffer zone”

After years of being barred from their land, Gazan farmers celebrate their ability to return. Once the terms of ceasefire were announced thousands flocked back to their property that has been vacant for eleven years, though many are still understandably wary.

Jaber Abu Regaleh, who is a farmer from Farahin (which is near the border of Gaza and close to the former buffer zone) said:

“We are celebrating. Everyone, young men, young women, old people, we are all outside walking on our land along the border. I am near the fence now. There is ten meters between me and the Israeli jeep. We have a lot of work to do to repair the destruction caused by the occupation, but we will till the land and plant it. We will renew the agricultural land so it is as it used to be. This is better than a holiday for us.”

The killing of twenty one year old Abdelhadi Qdeih and wounding of nineteen others by the Israeli military a day after the ceasefire has left other residents scared of returning.

Naser Abu Said lived in Jaher al deek near the border of Gaza with his wife, Naama and five children. Naama was killed and the children injured by Israeli artillery on the 13th of july, 2010. “We were living a good life before they shelled our house. Our two year old son was outside as his mother ran to get him. She was shot with a shell that scatters pieces of metal. The army didn’t allow an ambulance to approach her for four and a half hours while she died.” Nasser’s house was demolished and children and relatives injured when the house was shelled again on the 28th of April, 2011. “ We are still afraid, we cannot believe what has happened. We have not gone back to the land yet. If the israeli soldiers shoot and kill you there’s no one held accountable. We are waiting to see what happens.” Said Nasser. more

Gaza woman dies of wounds from Israeli airstrike

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian woman died on Monday from wounds sustained in Israel's war on the Gaza Strip, medics said.

Sabah al-Sakafi, in her 30s, was wounded in an Israeli airstrike on the Shujaiya neighborhood of Gaza City during the eight-day war that ended Wednesday with a ceasefire.

She was transferred to an Egyptian hospital where she died on Monday, medics told Ma'an.

Also Monday, Ahmad Ali Masharawi died of wounds sustained in an Israeli strike that killed two of his relatives on the first day of Israel's military offensive on the Gaza Strip. more

Prisoners in Israeli jails launch solidarity hunger strike

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails launched a one-day hunger strike on Tuesday in solidarity with two long-term hunger strikers at risk of death, a prisoners center said.

The Gaza-based Prisoners Center for Studies announced that prisoners from all political factions are participating in the solidarity strike action and called on the Palestinian community to support long-term hunger strikers Ayman Sharawna and Samer Issawi.

The center called on Egyptian authorities to intervene to protect prisoners' rights.

Sharawna, 37, has been on hunger strike for 150 days since first launching protest action on July 1. Samer Issawi, who has been on hunger strike for 119 days, started refusing water on Nov. 21, prisoner rights group Addameer said. more

Experts exhume Arafat, seek evidence of poison

RAMALLAH (Reuters) -- Forensic experts took samples from Yasser Arafat's buried corpse in the West Bank on Tuesday, trying to determine if he was murdered by Israeli agents using the hard-to-trace radioactive poison, Polonium.

Palestinians witnessed the funeral of their hero and longtime leader eight years ago, but conspiracy theories surrounding his death have never been laid to rest.

Many are convinced their icon was the victim of a cowardly assassination, and may stay convinced whatever the outcome of this autopsy. But some in the city of Ramallah where he lies deplored the exhumation.

"This is wrong. After all this time, today they suddenly want to find out the truth?" said construction worker Ahmad Yousef, 31, who stopped to watch the disinterment, carried out behind a wall of blue plastic near the Palestinian presidency headquarters.

"They should have done it eight years ago," he said. more