Tuesday, 15 October 2013

It’s apartheid “clear and simple,” Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters tells his Israeli fans

Pink Floyd superstar Roger Waters has criticized Israel’s Yediot Ahronot newspaper for distorting an interview he gave to its journalist Alon Hadar.

Waters also reiterated that Israel commits the “crime” of apartheid “clear and simple” against Palestinians.

“The measured, reasonable and humane conversation that Alon and I had … was intended as a way for me to communicate with my Israeli fans, to explain my position on Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS), to break down Walls, and shed light on possible misunderstandings and our shared predicament,” Waters wrote in a note on his Facebook page.

Instead, Waters said, the interview “has been re-written as a combative, ill-natured, dog-fight,” filled with “distortions and untruths.”

“Both questions and answers were changed,” Waters wrote, “I can only assume to suit an editorial agenda.”

Addressed to fans in Israel, the Facebook note also appears in Hebrew.

Yediot Ahronot introduced Waters’ interview with the assertion that “There is no doubt that what he has to say is not easy for the Israeli ear, his worldview is very lenient on the Palestinian side while at the same time taking a hard line, at times unjustly according to many, with the Israeli side.”

The interview as published appears in the newspaper’s Hebrew edition, but an English translation has been published by the Institute for Middle East Understanding.

Waters also published a full transcript of his conversation with Hadar. more

Gaza chokes as Egypt's economic garotte tightens

In Gaza City's main market Mohammed Hilis stood disconsolately among piles of fruit and vegetables, waiting for customers. In the runup to Eid al-Adha, the second most important festival in the Muslim calendar, the market was unusually quiet. Steep price rises, unpaid salaries and layoffs – the consequences of the new Egyptian regime's antipathy towards Hamas – have been painfully felt by the Gaza Strip.

"A kilo of tomatoes used to be one shekel [17p]; now it is five shekels. Most prices have gone up 50 – 60%," said Hilis. "Why? Because of the costs of transportation, because there is no power to pump water to the fields, because there is no water. So people buy less." As a result, his wages have slumped from 30 – 20 shekels a day, playing its small part in propelling the downward spiral of Gaza's economy.

Six years after Israel imposed a stranglehold on Gaza as a punitive measure against the Hamas government, the strip of land along the Mediterranean is facing a new chokepoint from the south. After the Egyptian military forced President Mohamed Morsi out of office in July amid a brutal crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, the army embarked on a drive to regain control of the anarchic Sinai peninsula, isolate the Brotherhood's allies in neighbouring Gaza, and halt the traffic in goods, weapons and people through the tunnels under the border with the Palestinian territory.

According to the commander of Egypt's border guards force, Major-General Ahmad Ibrahim, almost 800 tunnels have been destroyed by his troops this year. Hamas is coy about the number of tunnels put out of action. But Hatem Owida, Gaza's deputy economic minister, said activity had been reduced by 80-90% since the military takeover in Egypt. more

UNICEF publishes damning report on detained Palestinian children

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has reported that Israeli violations against detained Palestinian children are still ongoing, despite an alleged Israeli decision to improve their conditions, and the methods of interrogation.

It said that Tel Aviv took steps to address some of the issues of concern outlined in a report that was released back in March of this year.

The March report indicated that detained Palestinian children face systematic mistreatment.

The UNICEF said that despite its earlier report violations against detained children are still ongoing, despite the 38 recommendations that outlined these violations and the manner to address them.

The report hoped that Israel would improve the ill treatment of children, and start treating the children within international standards.

It said that Tel Aviv is “testing some of the reformed measures” used to deal with detained children. more