Monday, 1 July 2013

Gaza residents visit relatives in Israeli jails

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A group of Gaza residents visited their relatives in Israel jails on Monday, the International Committee for the Red Cross said.

Some 68 people, including six children, left Gaza through the Erez border crossing to visit 46 prisoners in Israel, ICRC spokesman Nasser al-Najjar said.

Israel banned visits to all prisoners from Gaza in 2007 to pressure Hamas to release Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was freed in Oct. 2011. more

Gaza fishermen protest Israel blockade

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Hundreds of fishermen gathered in Gaza City on Monday to protest Israel's blockade on the coastal territory.

Abu Zakariya Baker, an official in the Agricultural Work Committee, told Ma'an that Israel has tortured, shot and killed Palestinian fishermen since the blockade was tightened seven years ago.

"Israel is practicing all kinds of psychological humiliation against fishermen, often stripping them of their clothes while arresting them, even in times of extreme cold," Baker said, urging the international community to prosecute Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people.

Gaza fisherman Rami Abu Amira told Ma'an that he joined the protest to demand that Israel ends the sea blockade on Gaza and increase the fishing zone.

"Israeli forces open fire at us on a daily basis, detain fishermen and confiscate their boats. We want to live in dignity and freedom and we ask the whole international community to stand by our side."

There has been a dramatic increase in the number of arrests and attacks against fishermen since Israel's assault on Gaza last November, Baker said.

Over 50 fishermen have been arrested and eleven fishing boats destroyed last year, he added. more

Israeli forces brutally assault, arrest Palestinian photographer Mohammed Al-Azzeh

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) arrested the Palestinian photographer Mohammed Waleed Al-Azzeh after raiding his family house in Aida Refugee Camp, north of Bethlehem on Monday 1st July.

It's worth mentioning that at the beginning of April, the 23-year-old Mohammed Al-Azzeh was seriously injured after he was shot by a rubber-coated steel bullet, fired by an Israeli soldier, which penetrated his cheek below the right eye and fractured his skull.

Israeli forces also raided the house of Mohammed's uncle, Nidal al-Azzeh, 52, and assaulted him along with two other family members. The soldiers searched the house and rummaged with its properties.

Nidal told PNN, "They were coming to take my nephew the photographer Mohammed Al-Azzeh, who was shot with a rubber-coated bullet and was treated in one of the hospitals for 20 days." more

Israel holds Gaza Palestinian who vanished in Egypt

They said they did not know how Wael Abu Rida, 35, ended up in the Jewish state. The possibility he was seized from Egyptian Sinai territory could embarrass the Islamist-rooted government in Cairo at a time of major domestic unrest. Abu Rida, who lives in the southern Gaza Strip, went to a town near the Egyptian capital two weeks ago to seek medical treatment for his son, according to his wife, Amani, who accompanied him there.

"While we were in Egypt, Wael received a call from a friend asking him to come to Sinai," she told Reuters. "I never heard from him since."

The rendezvous, Amani Abu Rida said, was in the Egyptian side of Rafah, a town that straddles the Gaza-Sinai border. She added that she did not know the friend who summoned her husband.

Israel's Public Defender's Office said it had received Abu Rida's case on June 22 and assigned him a lawyer, Elziadna Kamal. Reached by phone, Kamal said the case was "security related rather than criminal".

Kamal said he did not know how Abu Rida was brought to Israel and declined to discuss the case further, citing a court-issued gag order in Israel.

Relatives said an unidentified man had informed the family by phone last week that Abu Rida was in Israeli custody, adding that they knew of no ties he may have to Palestinian militants.

"I am clueless. We are all clueless as to why this happened," Abu Rida's brother Ibrahim said.

Amani Abu Rida said her husband was a former policeman who lost his job when Hamas Islamists took over Gaza in a brief 2007 civil war with the rival U.S.-backed Palestinian administration.

Egyptian officials had no immediate comment. more