Monday, 15 July 2013

Group slams 'slanderous attacks' on Palestinian-American football star

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A civil rights group in the United States has denounced what it called 'slanderous attacks' on a Palestinian-American football star by Yahoo! Sports and Major League Baseball.

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee on Friday expressed "serious concern" about a tweet written on July 10 by Jonathan Mael, the media coordinator for MLB, which compared New York Jets football star Oday Aboushi to a convicted murderer, seemingly based solely on his Palestinian heritage.

In the tweet Mael wrote: "The @nyjets are a disgrace of an organization. The Patriots have Aaron Hernandez, the Jets have Oday Aboushi."

Football player Aaron Hernandez was charged with murder in June in connection with the death of another football player.

ADC slammed the tweet as "extremely biased" and called for the immediate termination of Jonathan Mael and an official apology from MLB to the Arab-American community.

"It goes beyond attacking only Oday Aboushi; it is another piece of the continuous unjustified attacks waged each day on Arab and Muslim Americans," the group said.

Mael later issued an apology.

A day after Mael's tweet, an article written by Adam Waksman appeared on Yahoo! Sports entitled: "Could Oday Aboushi Jeopardize His NFL Career with Anti-Israel Activism?"

ADC said that the article, later removed by Yahoo, "falsifies information" and "derives its argument from a well known extremely anti-Arab anti-Muslim source: FrontPage Magazine." more

Stranded Gaza pilgrims to arrive home Tuesday

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Hundreds of Gaza pilgrims who have been stranded in Saudi Arabia for weeks due to unrest in Egypt will arrive home on Tuesday, a Gaza official said.

Adel Swalha, director of the ministry of endowment in the Hamas-run Gaza government, told Ma'an that the pilgrims will arrive in three groups, one of which will leave late Monday, carrying around 590 people, and the second on Tuesday.

The third group of around 570 pilgrims will fly back to Cairo airport later on Tuesday. more

Gaza families visit jailed relatives in Israeli prisons

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

ICRC spokesman Nasser al-Najjar told Ma'an that 65 family members, including six children, left Gaza via the Beit Hanoun, or Erez, crossing to visit 39 jailed relatives in Israel.

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

Egyptian attack helicopter flies over Gaza for first time since 1967

GAZA CITY — The Egyptian military has flown its first air mission over the Gaza Strip since the 1967 war with Israel.

Palestinian sources said the Egyptian Air Force sent an attack helicopter into the Gaza Strip over such cities as Khan Yunis and Rafah on July 12.

“The helicopter came from Sinai and flew low over the tunnels and border area,” a source said. The Palestinian news agency Safah reported that this marked the first time that an Egyptian Army helicopter entered the Gaza Strip. The helicopter, which entered Gaza at 2:30 a.m. local time, is said to have flown over the Gaza Strip for nearly an hour and returned to Sinai Peninsula.

Later, both Israeli and Egyptian security sources confirmed the report, but attributed the helicopter flight to a navigational error. Earlier, Israel granted Egypt permission for additional troops and military assets, including the U.S.-origin AH-64D Apache helicopter, to be deployed in eastern Sinai.

The sources said the Egyptian helicopter did not encounter any other aircraft, including those from Israel. They said the Israel Air Force maintains persistent surveillance over the Gaza Strip. more