Monday, 7 April 2014

Israel refuses to let Gaza athlete run in Bethlehem marathon

The Bethlehem marathon will host hundreds of runners from around the world in the ancient West Bank city next Friday, with one omission: The Palestinian Authority's top runner, who happens to reside in the Gaza Strip.

GAZA (PNN/Haaretz) -- Nader al-Masri, 34, with 14 years of running under his belt, was the only athlete to represent the Palestinian Authority in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The next year, he took part in a competition in Bahrain. But this time, Israel is refusing to let him out of the Hamas-controlled enclave and into the West Bank.

Al-Masri is set to petition the Supreme Court on Thursday, demanding the state reverse its decision and let him participate in the competition.

"I don't have any security background or anything. I'm an athlete, I represent my country, go out, come back, and that's it," al-Masri told Army Radio. "I'm 34. I only have two, three more years before I retire," he added. more

Scottish students say "yes" to boycotting Israel

The Palestinian-led campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel is continuously winning greater support among students in Britain and Ireland.

During March, referendums endorsing BDS tactics were carried at the University of Dundee in Scotland, the National University of Ireland - Galway and King’s College London.

On 27 March, a referendum was held by the Dundee University Student Association (DUSA) for students to vote on twelve different motions put forward by different societies on campus. The motion submitted by the Action Palestine society was approved with the largest majority of students voting ”yes.” Out of 660 votes cast, 479 (72.6 percent) supported the motion.

DUSA boasts of being the number one student union in Scotland and the result of this poll indicates that students want it to take an ethical stance in opposing injustice in Palestine.

In a similar referendum earlier that month, students at the National University of Ireland - Galway (NUIG) overwhelmingly voted in support of a call for their union to actively support the BDS movement; it was passed by an almost two to one margin, with 1,954 votes in favor, and 1,054 votes against. Students at Kings College London (KCL) have approved a similar divestment call by 348 votes in favor to 252 against.

However, KCL students are currently facing a legal attack by pro-Israel groups, seeking to undermine their democratic decision.

In Dundee, the response from the DUSA executive has been that it couldn’t implement the motion in its entirety, citing restrictions imposed by the UK Education Act of 1994. The association’s response did not explain why it felt restrained by that law.

The Dundee University Action Palestine society hasn’t released a statement yet as both the society’s members and the DUSA executive are awaiting further details of how the BDS motion will be implemented. more

Israeli military vehicles enter Gaza, 'fire shell'

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli military vehicles entered the central Gaza Strip early Monday, witnesses told Ma'an.

Locals said six bulldozers escorted by military vehicles and tanks drove about 150 meters into Gaza east of Deir al-Balah.

A tank fired a mortar shell towards a Palestinian neighborhood, but no injuries were reported, witnesses added.

Bulldozers leveled lands in the area before they returned to the Israeli side of the border.

An Israeli army spokeswoman could not immediately confirm the incident, and said she was not familiar with any mortar shells being fired in Gaza on Monday.

In a separate incident, she said the army prevented "a terror attack" in Gaza. more