Sunday, 19 May 2013

Negev demolitions 'war in the full sense'



NEGEV (Ma'an) – "What I have seen was like post-war footage rather than home demolition as the Hebrew media misleadingly describe it," says the head of the Islamic movement in northern Israel Sheikh Raed Salah.

Salah's remarks Sunday came during a visit to the Bedouin Negev village of Attir where Israeli municipal staff demolished 18 houses.

"Demolishing 18 houses, uprooting 460 olive saplings, cutting down olive trees and sycamore fig trees, destroying roads, power generators and solar cells is war in the full sense of the term," Salah added.

He urged all Palestinian residents of the Negev and across Israel to visit the demolished village to see the truth firsthand.

Salah was accompanied by other members of the Islamic Movement in Israel. The delegation was welcomed by dignitaries from the Abu Al-Quian family whose houses were demolished.

"Nothing was left on the ground. They leveled everything cutting down trees and turning the place into debris. However, we will remain firm and our spirits are stronger than before," said Hajj Shihdeh Abu al-Queian. more

Egypt closes Gaza crossing for third day in row


GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Egyptian police at Rafah are closing the crossing for a third day in a row Sunday after the kidnappings of Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai, officials said.

They are preventing all Palestinians from traveling through the crossing or leaving the Gaza Strip, the Gaza interior ministry said Sunday.

The Hamas-run Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Saturday that talks were underway with Egypt to reopen the crossing.

"The ministry of foreign affairs is holding talks with senior officials in Egypt to re-open the Rafah crossing and ensure the safe return of people stranded by the closure," deputy foreign minister Ghazi Hamad told Ma'an.

Maher Abu Sabha, the general director of crossings and borders, said 800 Palestinians were stranded on the Egyptian side of the crossing on Saturday morning. more

Gaza filmmakers look to 3D ‘Scarecrow’ film as a showcase


Filmmakers in Gaza have finished making what is believed to be the first Palestinian animated feature in 3D in a bid to show a fresh perspective on life through a child’s eyes.

Called “The Scarecrow”, the 40-minute production tells the story of a nine-year-old orphan named Rima and the scarecrow she was given by her parents who died in a car crash.

One day, the scarecrow — who represents the guardian of Palestinian land — is taken away by an Israeli soldier from the family’s land near the border, and Rima sets off with her school friends on a mission to find it.

It is a story which evokes some of the suffering of Palestinian refugees, says director Khalil al-Mazen.

“The world is used to seeing Palestinian children surrounded by death, destruction and war, but this film focuses on their simple dreams,” he told AFP.

“Judgement (on the conflict) is left to the viewer,” says Mazen, who holds a diploma in filmmaking from the Saint Petersburg Academy in Russia and has already made several films and documentaries. more

Hamas says talks underway to reopen Rafah crossing


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The Hamas-run Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Gaza said Saturday that talks are underway with Egypt to reopen the Rafah crossing.

The crossing on Gaza's border remained shut for the second day on Saturday as Egyptian police closed the gates in protest at the kidnapping of their colleagues.

"The ministry of foreign affairs is holding talks with senior officials in Egypt to re-open the Rafah crossing and ensure the safe return of people stranded by the closure," deputy foreign minister Ghazi Hamad told Ma'an.

Maher Abu Sabha, the general director of crossings and borders, said 800 Palestinians were stranded on the Egyptian side of the crossing on Saturday morning.

The number was expected to reach 1,000 by the end of the day. more