Saturday, 12 October 2013

Tell your MEPs to support the new guidelines on Israel’s participation in EU programs

In July 2013, the European Commission announced new guidelines that aim to prevent Israeli projects in illegal Israeli settlements from receiving research grant funding and prevent Israeli companies and institutions that operate inside illegal Israeli settlements from participating in financial instruments such as loans. The new guidelines were broadly welcomed by Palestinian and European civil society organisations.

But now Israel and its supporters are pressuring the EU to drop the new guidelines. There is a very real risk that the Commission will cave in to Israeli pressure and decide to continue the funding of, and support for, Israeli projects and organisations based in occupied Palestinian Territory. This would send a dangerous message that the EU lacks the political will to pressure Israel to end its war crimes and comply with international law. more - Please use International Solidarity Movement's simple e-tool to send a message to your members of the European Parliament

90% of Gaza fishermen out of work says union

GAZA, (PIC)-- The head of the fishermen’s union in the Gaza Strip, Nizar Ayyash, said that only 10% of Gaza's fishermen are working (370 out of 3700 fishermen) as a result of the blockade on the Strip by the Israeli occupation and Egyptian restrictions on the southern side of the border.

In a speech during a sit in, organized Thursday by the national committee for ending the siege at the Gaza fishing port, Ayyash talked about Israeli occupation's systematic attacks on Palestinian fishermen in Gaza Sea.

“With the ongoing restrictions on the fishing sector, Gaza's fishermen live a very difficult economic situation, lack of income and suffering because of the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip."

Ayyash called on human rights organizations to intervene and protect Palestinian fishermen against Israeli occupation forces’ violations. more

Gaza man “kidnapped” by Israel in Sinai, says family

The abduction of a Palestinian-Egyptian from the Sinai on the eve of Egypt’s 3 July coup has highlighted the network of collaborators and agents working with Israel in the peninsula.

Wael Abu Rida crossed the Rafah border from Gaza into Egypt on 6 June with his family, including his one-year-old son, Mazen, who suffers from brain atrophy. The trip was nothing unusual, according to Wael’s wife, Amani Abdulrahman Abu Rida, who accompanied him. She and other members of the Abu Rida family are refugees who were forced to flee Salama, east of the coastal Palestinian city of Jaffa, by advancing Zionist forces in April 1948.

The family spoke to the Electronic Intifada at their home in Khuzaa, an agricultural village outside Khan Younis in the southeastern Gaza Strip, close to the barrier wall erected by Israel.

“This was the fourth time he had gone to Egypt for treatment for his son,” Amani said. “We used to stay there fifteen or twenty days for treatment. Nothing had happened before.”

In retrospect, she said, strange things began to happen as soon as the family crossed the border.

“After we reached the Egyptian side of the crossing, a driver approached and insisted on taking us. It costs 450 Egyptian pounds [$65] to go to Cairo, but he offered to take us for 350. In the car, the driver started talking with Wael, saying he had heard of him.” Abu Rida has fought for several Palestinian resistance groups. His past affiliations include stints in Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades and Islamic Jihad’s al-Quds Brigades.

In a 19 July indictment this year, Israeli prosecutors alleged that Abu Rida belonged to a Hamas-aligned group called the al-Aqsa Defenders (“Gaza man charged with planning terror attacks,” Ynet, 19 July 2013).

His family denies this, saying he ended his last political ties with the al-Quds Brigades after Israel’s 2008-2009 attacks on the Gaza Strip. more

Israel to build 1500 units for settlers in occupied Jerusalem

Israeli sources have reported that bids for the construction of 793 new settlement units will be announced soon, as part of a plan to build 1500 new units in a number of Jewish settlements in the Jerusalem district, and around it.

The sources said that, three months ago, Israel approved the marketing of lands for the new constructions, and that the bids will be concluded this coming Monday.

The bids are for the construction of 400 units in the Gilo settlement, 210 in Abu Ghneim (referred to as Har Homa), 183 in Pisgat Zeev, 149 in Efrat, 92 in Ma’ale Adumim, and 36 in Beitar Illit.

Israeli weekly, Yerushaleim, stated that, until last August, Israel used what it called “Calm Freeze” of settlement activities and refrained from approving 2500 units in occupied Jerusalem, despite the fact that construction plans are ready.

It said that the claimed freeze is meant to push direct peace talks with the Palestinians, but after the talks were resumed, Israel gradually approved hundreds of units in occupied Jerusalem.

Those bids include 1500 new units in Ramat Shlomo settlement; one of the companies participating in the bid specializes in constructions meant for religious Jews.

The company is currently trying to buy lands in Jabal Abu Ghneim (Har Homa) in order to market apartments with what was described as very competitive prices.more