Monday, 24 December 2012

Lawmakers join hunger strike in solidarity with prisoners

HEBRON (Ma'an) -- Several Hamas-affiliated MPs including parliament speaker Aziz Dweik went on hunger strike on Sunday in solidarity with prisoners in Israeli jails.

Hebron lawmaker Hatim Qafisha told Ma’an the goal of the one-day protest was to embody the suffering of detainees on hunger strike.

"It is a sentimental and actual participation and a message to the hunger strikers to encourage them to remain firm," Qafisha said.

Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the Islamic movement in Israel, is also participating in the hunger strike.

Jafar Azzidine, Tarek Qaadan and Yousef Yassin have been on hunger strike for 27 days in protest at their administrative detention, without charge or trial. more

FIFA boss Sepp Blatter under pressure over 2013 UEFA under 21s being held in Israel

World football boss, FIFA President Sepp Blatter, is feeling pressure over the 2013 UEFA Under 21 tournament scheduled to be hosted by Israel, though he thinks the tournament will go ahead.

There has been growing opposition to allowing Israel to host the tournament, including from top world players, following Israel’s November attack on Gaza which killed more than 170 people and injured more than 1,200.

Blatter also promised that FIFA would help rebuild the Palestine Stadium in Gaza City that was badly damaged in the Israeli attacks.

The FIFA boss made the comments in an interview on the 21 December edition of the World Football program on the BBC World Service.

“It’s not a question of money here, it’s really a question of heart and soul of football,” Blatter said about the Gaza stadium, noting that the recent attack, although more devastating, was the second since 2008.

“I’m very much touched because I think let people play football because football is connecting people and football is giving hope. So therefore to destroy something which has been done for football hurts me personally,” Blatter added.

“My immediate reaction was to send them [Palestinians] a letter saying ‘we will rebuild that,’” Blatter revealed, and “with the help of the other entities we can rebuild the playing field.” more

Minister: Sharawneh suspends hunger strike after 176 days

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Ayman Sharawneh suspended his hunger strike on Sunday after 176 days because doctors warned he risked death, the minister of prisoner affairs said Sunday.

Issa Qaraqe told Ma'an that Sharawneh would suspend his protest for one week but will resume the strike if Israel does not release him.

Sharawneh was rearrested after his release in the Oct. 2011 prisoner exchange between Israel and Hamas. more