Thursday, 16 May 2013

Israelis fire at Palestinian farmers in eastern Gaza Strip

Israeli forces have opened fire on Palestinian farmers working to the east of Khan Younis in the south of the Gaza Strip. The incident took place on Thursday morning.

Witnesses said that farmers fled from their land due to the severity of the attack by Israeli soldiers stationed at the Kisuffim border crossing. The firing was accompanied by the repositioning of Israeli tanks and other heavily-armoured vehicles in the area. No casualties have been reported.

Farmers are reaping their wheat from the fields adjacent to the border with Israel. They should be able to tend to the crops following the truce agreement reached between Israel and the Hamas-led Palestinian government in Gaza which brought to an end the Israeli offensive against civilians last November. Israel has maintained a unilaterally-declared 300 metre "buffer zone" inside Palestinian territory. more

Gaza border on high alert after kidnappings

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Gaza's Interior Ministry announced a state of alert along its border with Egypt on Thursday after gunmen kidnapped seven Egyptian soldiers and police officers in Sinai.

The Hamas-run ministry said security was heightened in case the kidnappers tried to smuggle the Egyptian servicemen into the Gaza Strip.

Witnesses told Ma'an that Egyptian forces closed seven smuggling tunnels in al-Sarsoryeh, east of Rafah, on the Egypt-Gaza border. Large forces of Egyptian soldiers were seen along the border, witnesses said.

Early Thursday, gunmen ambushed two minibuses in Wadi al-Akhdar, between el-Arish and Sheikh Zuweid cities, and kidnapped seven Egyptian servicemen en route to Cairo for their monthly vacation, Egyptian security officials told Ma'an.

The three captured policemen are from the Central Security Forces, the branch of the Interior Ministry used to quell protest. The four other men belong to the armed forces. more

The 6th Palestine Festival of Literature launches in West Bank and Gaza

The 6th Palestine Festival of Literature (PalFest) was announced a few days ago. The Festival will take place between May 23rd and 31st, and for the first time in cities across all of historic Palestine, PalFest said in a press statement.

Since PalFest's inception it has been a goal to put on a festival that bridges the lines of separation and segregation created by the Occupation by bringing together international and Palestinian authors.

This year, PalFest will consist of two groups of travelling authors: one in the Occupied West Bank and within the Green Line; the other in Gaza. Over the course of the festival free public events will be held in Gaza City, Haifa, Jerusalem, Nablus and Ramallah.

PalFest Founding Chair, Ahdaf Soueif says:
PalFest's first visit to Gaza in 2012 highlighted for us all the significance of what this festival tries to do. PalFest's mission statement instructs us to bring "world class cultural events to communities that otherwise would have no access to them". And who has less access than a community under siege – the Palestinians of Gaza? A community under military occupation – the Palestinians of the West Bank? A community fighting for equality and civil rights – the Palestinians in Israel? But despite their geographical fragmentation, and against tremendous odds, Palestinians continue to survive as a community. Culture plays a huge part in this. It is this unity of culture that PalFest speaks to this year by taking the festival to Haifa and Gaza City as well as Ramallah and Jerusalem.