Monday, 20 May 2013

London protest outside UEFA congress to call for cancellation of Israel tournament

On Friday, 24 May, protestors from several European countries will assemble outside UEFA’s annual congress to call for the cancelation of Israel as location for the European Under-21 football championship. The European football’s governing body awarded Israel the prestigious tournament despite the country’s systematic violation of Palestinians’ rights.

The rally outside Grosvenor House hotel, the venue of the UEFA meeting, will last from 11am til 3pm. At approximately 2pm a protest march outside companies which are complicit in the Israeli occupation will join the rally at Grosvenor House hotel for a mass gathering. The protest march starts at noon near the main entrance of St. Pancras station. There will be live music, red cards, footballs and goals. Protestors are requested to bring or wear football shirts (see here for more information). more

Gaza passengers sleep on cardboard for fourth day, stranded in Egypt after Rafah crossing closure

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) – Palestinian passengers stranded at the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing for a fourth day say they are suffering day and night.

Passengers told Ma'an on Monday that they were making do with cardboard and newspapers to sleep at night, and to avoid the heat of the sun during the day. Some sleep in mosques, and very few can afford to hire a hotel room in el-Arish.

Some passengers managed to cross to Gaza through smuggling tunnels.

"Thank God, I managed to come through tunnels despite the dangers. I had to do that because the situation at the Egyptian side of Rafah crossing is very difficult especially since I have my grandmother with me and she can't wait there," said one of the passengers who came through the tunnels.

"There are sick people, children, women and elderly people spending days without basic living requirements." more

Israeli report on shooting by IDF of Muhammad al-Durrah claims boy it killed might be alive

Capping another round of denials by Israeli officials, the government has formally demanded that France 2 retract a September 2000 media report accusing Israeli soldiers of killing Mohammad al-Durrah, a 12-year-old boy, insisting that the report fueled “anti-Semitism.”

The “al-Durrah incident” involves a France 2 video of Durrah’s death, apparently in the crossfire of fighting during the beginning of the Second Intifada. The Israeli military conceded to the incident at the time, and the Israeli government apologized, though they later issued a retraction for that apology.

The retraction, and today’s demands, center on a growing conspiracy theory which has gained traction in Israeli circles, starting with it being unclear if they were Israeli bullets that killed the boy, and later doubting that he’d been killed at all.

That’s where we’re at now. Israeli officials insist that not only did the video of Durrah’s killing not happen as it seemed, but that Durrah “might be alive” somewhere. Not that they have any idea where he would be, nor can they prove that he survived.

Durrah’s father insists his son is where he’s been since 2000, in a grave. more

Gaza film 'Condom Lead' nominated for Cannes award

A couple was trying to have sex, but the act turned suddenly into guilt and inability as a drone in the background drowns out all other sounds and words.

The wife approached her husband. He wanted to kiss her when a new round of bombardments started, interrupting them once again. Their daughter started to cry; the mother went to lull her back to sleep and returned to her husband. The sound of the drone still drowned out everything. The woman touched her husband’s foot with hers and then: Boom! Another explosion. The little girl started to cry again. The mother went to her daughter. The father blew up the condom, which turned into a balloon. Balloons filled the house; 22 days have passed since the beginning of the Israeli war on Gaza. The husband went out on the balcony to see condom balloons floating out of every house in Gaza that night.

This is the story of Condom Lead, a film parody of the first war on the Gaza Strip in 2008-29, known as Operation Cast Lead. It has been entered into the short-film competition at the 66th annual Cannes Film Festival. This movie is the first from the Gaza Strip to make it to the international competition.

The directors are twin brothers Arab and Tarazan Nasser. They left the Gaza Strip a few months ago to participate in a film festival in Jordan and remained there to shoot their daring idea, which they would have never been able to shoot in Gaza, as Tarazan noted in an interview with Al-Monitor via Skype. more

“Torching Arabs for education" - the anti-Arab racism displayed on shirts of Israel youth movement

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) – Picnickers in northern Israel were surprised Thursday when they saw anti-Arab racist slogans printed on T-shirts of a guide affiliated to a religious youth movement Ezra.

“Torching Arabs for education,” was written on the guide’s shirt, families who were picnicking in the north told the Israeli daily Maariv.

Maariv reported that it was not the first time such slogans were seen on T-shirts. more

Keeping alive Gaza's culinary traditions

Despite food shortages and irregular power supplies, people in Gaza are finding ways to keep their culinary traditions alive - and eat their own distinctive spicy dishes.

Amid the loud whir of fans and clatter of plates in his kitchen, Asad Abu Haseera ladles a rich, tomato and chilli sauce over the fresh prawns sizzling in a pan.

When the mixture is simmering, he pours it into a traditional clay bowl - or zibdiya - and slides it under the flames lapping around an open grill.

A few minutes later, as the top of the stew bubbles like molten lava, the young chef removes it from the heat and sprinkles on some crushed pistachio nuts. This is zibdiyit gambari, a cherished Gazan dish.

"People in Gaza love to eat fish and seafood of all kinds. It's good for the health and full of vitamins," says Abu Haseera, who trained under his father at the family restaurant from the age of 13. "We say it's the best tonic and can even give you sexual energy."

The Gaza Strip is a small, coastal sliver of land that is home to over 1.6 million Palestinians. Most people's primary associations with it probably involve its Islamist Hamas government, militants fighting Israel and the Israeli border blockade.

However, a new cookbook - The Gaza Kitchen - that went on sale in the UK last week, tries to give an alternative perspective by focusing on the distinctive, and piquant, local cuisine. more