Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Video: 9-year-old dies in Gaza, without fulfilling ‘human rights’ dream, to see imprisoned father

The bus Tariq was traveling in was heading for a summer camp. It included thirty prisoners' children. All have been injured and five are in a critical condition. All of the children have not seen their fathers for years.

Tariq’s father was detained more than eleven years ago. His wife was pregnant at the time with his only son. Tariq only met his father twice when he was three years old. Even hearing his voice was forbidden after that. The only way he could see or hug him was to keep thinking of him, wishing he could see or smell him somewhere, while sleeping.
 Tariq used to have a wish. He just wanted to hear his father voice. To hug him was his highest priority. And to talk with him was all what he wanted from his life. I know that his story is not like ours. His dream was not even a dream, in our own dictionary. He once told me that he only wants to be like any other child. He only asks for a father he has.

The video above was shot only half an hour before Tariq died. [From 2:14] more

How Israeli apartheid is coming unstuck

One incident of racism, though small in relation to the decades of massive, institutionalised discrimination exercised by Israel against its Palestinian Arab citizens, has triggered an uncharacteristic bout of Israeli soul-searching.

Superland, a large amusement park near Tel Aviv, refused to accept a booking from an Arab school on its preferred date in late May. When a staff member called back impersonating a Jew, Superland approved the booking immediately.

As the story went viral on social media, the park’s managers hurriedly offered an excuse: they provided separate days for Jewish and Arab children to keep them apart and prevent friction.

Government ministers led an outpouring of revulsion. Tzipi Livni, the justice minister, called the incident a “symptom of a sick democracy”. Defence minister Moshe Yaalon was “ashamed”. Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanded that the “racist” policy be halted immediately.

Such sensitivity appears to be a reaction to an explosion of popular racism over the past few months against the one in five Israelis who belong to the country’s Palesinian Arab minority. Some Israeli Jews have started to find the endless parade of bigotry disturbing.

Israeli TV recently revealed, for example, that a group of children with cancer who had been offered a free day at a swimming pool were refused entry once managers discovered that they were Bedouin.

According to another TV investigation, Israel’s banks have a secret policy of rejecting Arab customers who try to transfer their accounts to a branch in a Jewish community, even though this violates banking regulations. more

Arab Idol winner greeted by jubilant crowds on return home to Gaza

Thousands of excited Gaza residents have mobbed the area's southern border crossing with Egypt to welcome home the winner of the Arab Idol talent contest.

Around 4,000 people gathered early Tuesday for the arrival of Mohammad Assaf, the 23-year-old who is the first Palestinian to win the popular reality show. His victory on Saturday sparked huge celebrations in the West Bank and Gaza.

Assaf is widely viewed as a unifying symbol in the Palestinian territories. His victory won praise from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and even some officials from Gaza's conservative Hamas rulers. more

Tukish PM: Protests delayed plans for Gaza visit

Turkey's prime minister says a wave of demonstrations at home have delayed preparations for his planned visit to Gaza.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday, however, that he intends to press ahead with the visit and could "make a surprise any time."

Erdogan has long said he wants to visit Gaza, despite concerns by the United States that the visit could strengthen the militant group Hamas, which controls Gaza, and harm Palestinian reconciliation efforts. Washington also fears that the visit could undo a truce it brokered between Israel and Turkey earlier this year.

Erdogan said: "Gaza is ready. We could not be ready because of the (protests)." more

Gaza crossings closed for second day

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israel continued its closure of all crossings into Gaza on Tuesday for the second day, a Palestinian Authority official told Ma'an.

Raed Fattouh said Israeli authorities informed the liaison office that the goods crossing in southern Gaza, Kerem Shalom, was closed for the import and export of goods for "security reasons."

The passenger crossing in northern Gaza, Erez, will also remain closed, except for "humanitarian cases only," Fattouh said.

Israel announced Monday morning it had shut down the crossings following rocket fire.

Israel responded by launching a series of air strikes on the coastal enclave. more