Saturday, 1 June 2013

Soldiers open fire at Palestinian fishermen In Gaza

Eyewitnesses have reported that the soldiers fired bursts of live ammunition and the fishing boats near the coasts of As-Sudaniya and Beit Lahia. The Israeli attack led to property damage but no casualties.

Palestinian fishermen face constant attacks by the Israeli navy despite the fact that they fish in Palestinian waters.

They are only allowed to fish within three nautical miles off the Gaza shore due to illegal Israeli restrictions imposed as part of the Israeli siege on Gaza that was enforced starting in 2006.

Yet, the fishermen and their boats are constantly attacked within those three miles; dozens of casualties have been reported. As pa

rt of the ceasefire agreement of November 2012, Israel agreed to allow the Palestinians to fish within six nautical miles of the shore, but unilaterally decreased the allotted area to three miles. more

No more tunnels: Gaza held hostage to Egypt’s turmoil

An air of uncertainty is engulfing most matters related to Egypt. Since the Egyptian revolt started over two years ago, the country remains hostage to a barefaced power struggle with many destructive implications that have polarized society in unprecedented ways, perhaps in all of Egypt’s modern history. And while in Egypt itself nothing is sacred and no one is safe from the massive campaigns of defamation, demonization and sheer lies that each political camp is launching against the other, Palestinians find themselves in a most precarious position.

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in particular, are heavily dependent on their Egyptian neighbors. Six years of an Israeli siege, originally imposed to punish Palestinians for electing Hamas in an election viewed widely as transparent and fair, has culminated into a drama with international dimensions. This drama of course involved the Palestinians, but also Israel’s traditional benefactors – lead, as always, by the United States - Arab countries, Iran, Turkey and more.

Aside from the vicious nature of a siege imposed to punish a civilian population for making democratic choices, the siege has morphed to acquire multiple meanings. On one hand, it further cemented the division of Palestinian political elites, as the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA) invested in ensuring the isolation of its Hamas political opponents. Notably, this took place after their brief but bloody encounters in Gaza in 2007. On the other hand, the siege positioned Hamas, whose survival was at stake, forcefully in a regional camp that involved Iran, Syria and the Lebanese resistance group Hezbollah. more

Israel issues poster threatening to arrest children

QALQILIYA (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces posted flyers in a Qalqiliya village overnight Friday threatening children with arrest, a local committee said.

Murad Shtawey, spokesman for the local popular resistance committee, told Ma'an that Israeli soldiers raided the village of Kafr Qaddum at 1.30 a.m., firing stun grenades and tear gas canisters.

After Israeli troops left, locals found the flyers with images of four children aged between 10 to 14 posted on village walls. A caption on the flyers read: "We are the army, beware we will catch you if we see you, or we will come to your home." more

Violent repression continues by the Israeli Army against protesters in Kufr Qaddum

On 31 May the residents of Kufr Qaddum held their weekly demonstration after the Friday prayer and were violently repressed when the Israeli army invaded the village, firing tear gas and sound bombs directly at the protesters and into several houses and the local mosque.

The protest began at around 13:15 with the regular march to the eastern side of the village toward the road closure that separates Kufr Qaddum from the illegal Israeli settler colony Qedumim, which was built on land stolen from Kufr Qaddum. As protesters approached the last house on the edge of the village, the road was blocked by one Border Police jeep and a bulldozer.

A standoff ensued between Israeli forces and local youth who built defensive stone barricades along the main road to prevent an army incursion. After half an hour, Israeli soldiers began to shoot tear gas canisters from a device know as “The Tempest,” which fires multiple canisters simultaneously. As the protesters retreated from the continuous barrage of tear gas from Israeli foot soldiers, the bulldozer advanced into the village, clearing the barricades along the way.

Residents at the western part of the village alerted the protesters in the east that the Israeli army was seen on the road outside the entrance. As residents attempted to construct new barricades, 3 Israeli army and Border Police jeeps charged into the village, accompanied by others invading from the north and the east, attempting to surround the protesters. Many residents took shelter in nearby houses as army and border police forces in the center of the village began to fire directly at people.

Several women came out from their houses to confront the soldiers, who continued to shoot indiscriminately at local youth. Many tear gas canisters were shot into houses and into the mosque, where carpets were burnt by the canisters. Excessive amounts of tear gas entered one home and 5 children (ages 9, 7, 4, 1 and 6 months) suffered from tear gas inhalation. A journalist from PALMEDIA also passed out from gas inhalation after putting his gas mask onto a local woman, and was assisted by local paramedics. more

Arab Idol: No Bieber fever in Gaza

Mohammed Assaf, who grew up in this crowded refugee camp performing with his pianist sister, has suddenly become one of the Arab world’s hottest singing sensations.

Among Gaza's teenage girls, the handsome Mr. Assaf inspires a Justin Bieber-like fandom. His sister says that young girls regularly call the family home asking to marry her brother. Ask any teenage girl on the streets of Khan Younis what they think of him and soon you'll have a gaggle of them giggling into their headscarves and vying for a chance to tell outsiders just how wonderful their hometown here is.

His soulful renditions of Palestinian nationalist songs have prompted Palestinians of all stripes to rally behind him in the second season of “Arab Idol,” a Lebanon-based singing contest. But his stardom also represents a broader success for Palestinian solidarity. Even before hordes of teenage girls were texting their votes for Mr. Assaf, more than a few Palestinians went out of their way to help the aspiring star overcome the unique obstacles of life – never mind music careers – in Gaza.

If it weren’t for that support, Assaf may have never even had a chance to audition for Arab Idol, let alone become one of the final seven contestants out of 27. more