Monday, 15 April 2013

Israel bans family visits for Gaza prisoners for 5th week

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israel on Monday prevented Palestinians in Gaza from visiting their relatives in Israeli jails for the fifth consecutive week, the International Committee of the Red Cross said.

Israel informed the ICRC that prisoners from Gaza could not receive family visits because of Jewish holidays, ICRC spokeswoman Arwa Muhanna told Ma'an.

Israel has prevented the family visits since March 18.

Muhanna said the ICRC was in constant contact with Israeli authorities to resume the visits.

Under international law, detainees are entitled to receive family visits. more

Witnesses: Israeli forces fire at farmers in central Gaza

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces opened fire at farmers in the central Gaza Strip on Monday, locals said.

Witnesses told Ma'an that Israeli troops stationed at a watchtower fired at farmers east of al-Bureij refugee camp, forcing them to flee the area.

Meanwhile, Israeli soldiers opened fire at a Palestinian liaison crew accompanying sick passengers to Israel via the Erez crossing in northern Gaza, witnesses said.

No injuries were reported. more

Gaza farmers destroy goods bound for Europe spoiled by crossing closure

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Farmers in the Gaza Strip on Sunday destroyed three tons of rotten herbs and spices that were to be shipped to markets in Europe before Israel closed the border crossings.

Muhammad Zuweid, a marketing official in Gaza, told Ma'an that three tons of mint, sage, basil, and tarragon were ready to be exported to Europe and waiting at the Kerem Shalom crossing.

After days of closure, the goods expired and became unsafe to use, he said.

Moreover, the herbs are not heavily consumed by local markets. The available amounts exceed the needs of the local markets, which is why they were selected to export abroad.

He explained that the tarragon herb is not used locally, but it is usually exported abroad. Salvia officinalis, or garden sage, was being prepared for export for the first time this year. more