Thursday, 24 April 2014

Mass hunger strike launched by Palestinian administrative detainees


BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- More than 100 Palestinians in Israeli prisons launched a mass, open-ended hunger strike on Thursday in protest against their detention without trial, a prisoner rights organization said.

The hunger strike is taking place in the Ofer, Megiddo, and Negev prisons and comes after Israeli authorities reneged on a promise made following an earlier mass hunger strike to limit the use of administrative detention to exceptional cases, Addameer said in a statement on Thursday.

Addameer lawyer Samer Samaan visited the Ofer prison on Thursday and confirmed that 55 prisoners at that facility had been isolated from other prisoners following the announcement of the hunger strike.

The 2012 agreement which ended a hunger strike of 2,000 Palestinian prisoners was meant to end the detention without trial of Palestinians, Addameer said, but as of March 1, 183 Palestinians were still being held under administrative detention.

Palestinians held in administrative detention are often held without charge or trial for months and without access to the evidence leading to their detention, even though international law stipulates this tactic only be used in exceptional circumstances.

Over 800,000 Palestinians have been detained since 1967, with 5,224 currently being held in Israeli prisons, according to the PLO. more

New campaign resource boosts efforts to burst SodaStream’s bubble


As the campaign to boycott SodaStream gains momentum, supporters have a new resource to use in their advocacy and education work.

The slick website burstthebubble.org, launched by Jewish Voice for Peace’s Seattle chapter, makes the case in plain language for why the carbonated beverage device manufacturer should be boycotted. SodaStream’s attempts to brand its product to consumers concerned with social responsibility is busted in a series of short videos which are simple and effective.

SodaStream’s products are assembled in a plant on occupied Palestinian land by exploited Palestinian laborers, the website explains.

Despite the corporation’s attempt to promote a picture of Israeli-Palestinian coexistence at its factory, the purpose of SodaStream’s plant in the Mishor Adumim industrial park “is not to improve the lives of Palestinians living under occupation but to pad the pockets of an international corporation,” it is stated in one of the videos.

Ninety percent of the plant laborers are Palestinians, who “have little choice but to work for the settlers who exploit the land that was theirs” because of Israeli occupation and colonization’s destruction of the Palestinian economy.

Meanwhile, “SodaStream gets kickbacks from the Israeli government for profitting from an illegal occupation,” enjoying state benefits for participating in Israel’s illegal settlement colony enterprise.

The consumer who purchases SodaStream products gives “money to a company that financially supports an Israeli settlement. The Palestinians who have been dispossessed get nothing.” more

Body of Hamas fighter found off Gaza coast


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Fishermen in the Gaza Strip on Thursday found the body of a Palestinian fighter affiliated with Hamas' al-Qassam Brigades, Gaza security services said.

Fishermen spotted the body off the coast of Rafah and Hamas naval units immediately rushed to recover it from the sea.

It is believed to be the body of Ashraf Nassar, 22, who was killed last week during a military drill. more

Israeli tanks enter Gaza border area, navy fires at fishermen


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Six Israeli military tanks on Thursday entered a border area in the southern Gaza Strip, witnesses said.

The tanks crossed into Gaza in an area called al-Qarara, north of Khan Younis, and levelled agricultural fields before leaving.

Three helicopters were seen hovering at a low altitude during the incursion.

Meanwhile, Israel's navy opened fire at fishermen off the coast of northern Gaza, locals said.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said a "Palestinian vessel deviated from the designated fishing zone. Naval forces called at them to stop and fired warning shots in the air. Once it failed to comply, naval forces approached the vessel and the fishermen were taken for questioning."

Local activists named the fishermen as Hamdi Sultan and Muhammad Zayid. more