Sunday, 17 August 2014

Israeli ship remains at sea as thousands of protesters gather in Oakland, US

An Israeli ship that was scheduled to dock at the port of Oakland in California on Saturday remained at sea as between 2,000 and 3,000 pro-Palestinian activists streamed towards the port entrance, chanting and waving flags.

The protesters intended to form a picket line to prevent work crews from unloading the ship.

Activists had originally planned to meet at 5am for a blockade of the Zim Integrated Shipping Services vessel, but word that its arrival had been delayed prompted organisers to push the protest back until later in the afternoon.

The event began with a brief rally at a nearby transit station, followed by a march to the port. Sameh Ayesh, a 21-year-old Palestinian activist with the San Francisco-based Arab Youth Organisation, led the crowd in a chant.

“We’re gonna block the boat,” he called into a megaphone. “Block, block the boat.”

But before the march had even reached the port entrance, an activist who identified himself as Eyad delivered word that the Zim vessel would not be docking that day. An online ship tracking service showed that the vessel was off the coast of California, closer to Santa Cruz, as the march got under way.

Activists interpreted the delay as a victory since the schedule change seemed to have been made in response to the planned pickets. “We have stopped the Zim Piraeus from docking on the west coast of the United States,” said Eyad, of the Arab Resource and Organising Center (Aroc), into a megaphone, drawing cheers from the crowd as the march came to a halt on a bridge leading towards the docks. more

Free Gaza protest shuts Tesco store in Birmingham, UK

Police arrested a man during a Free Gaza protest in Birmingham on Saturday when a group of men waving Palestinian flags burst into a Tesco store and threw produce on the ground.

The Hodge Hill Tesco branch was forced to close for a few minutes. Pictures on social media sites showed cans of Coke, fruit and other produce strewn across the floor by the checkout area.

West Midlands police tweeted: "Our officers dealt with a protest at Tesco, Hodge Hill this morning where some disorder was reported. One arrested for assaulting police."

A follow-up tweet added: "Protest was largely peaceful among the 100 protesters but some began throwing stock inside Tesco store. Two escorted from premises."

A spokesman for Tesco said: "The demonstration took place mainly outside the store. There was some minimal damage to a few goods inside – police were on the scene and the store reopened after being closed for just a few minutes."

The West Midlands Palestine Solidarity Campaign blamed the police for the trouble, tweeting: "Yesterday's brutal, disproportionate attack by @wmpolice at @tesco Hodge Hill shows who they really serve and protect #FreeGaza." more

Video: Tender farewell to 11-year-old Hebron boy shot dead by army

From the Electronic Intifada - Thousands gathered shortly before afternoon prayers on Sunday in Fawwar refugee camp south of the occupied West Bank city of Hebron to mourn the death of eleven-year-old Khalil Muhammad al-Anati.

Israeli soldiers shot Khalil with live ammunition outside his home that same morning on 10 August after forces invaded the camp. He was buried not far from his home that afternoon by thousands of friends, family and neighbors.

Witnesses say camp residents responded to the presence of soldiers by throwing stones but that the slain boy was not involved in the confrontation.

Muhammad Yusif, 21, was present when the boy was shot. He said Khalil was on an errand to buy something for his mother when an army jeep pulled up near his home and a soldier shot him in the back while he was attempting to hide.

Bystanders attempted to aid Khalil but were prevented by additional live fire.

Left to bleed to death

Khalil’s father pauses during the burial of his son. (Kelly Lynn) “Every time someone went to get him, the soldiers would start shooting. We couldn’t reach him. When we were finally able to get to him, he had lost almost all of his blood,” Yusif said.

After the jeeps vacated the area, Khalil was taken in a private car to al-Ahli hospital in Hebron, where he was treated by Dr. Mohammed Baker Abu Snaina.

“Upon arrival to our emergency room, he had no heartbeat, no pulse and no muscular or neurological reflexes,” said Abu Snaina. “There was no active bleeding because he had already lost most of his blood.” more

Hamas: The failure to fulfil our people's demands makes the truce unattainable

GAZA, (PIC)-- The Hamas Movement said that Israel's refusal to accept the "just" humanitarian demands of the Palestinian people in Gaza makes it difficult to reach a truce deal with it.

"The demands of the Palestinian people represented in ending the aggression, lifting the siege, reconstruction and freedom of movement are just and humanitarian, and answering them would bring us closer to clinching a truce deal, otherwise things would be more difficult," spokesman for the Movement Sami Abu Zuhri stated in a press release.

The indirect Egyptian-mediated talks between the Palestinians and Israelis in Cairo are still ongoing despite the Israeli intransigence.

For his part, Osama Hamdan, director of Hamas's foreign relations, warned on Saturday that the resistance would escalate its political and military moves in case Israel failed to respond to the just demands that had been tabled by the Palestinian delegation in Cairo talks. more

Chances of long-term ceasefire appear remote despite new talks

Though indirect talks between Cairo delegation parties began anew, on Sunday, Israeli ministers are saying it's quite possible that no deal will be reached.

According to Ynet, a member of the Palestinian delegation told AP, Sunday, that the gaps between sides were still significant and that it was "far from certain whether a deal could be reached before the cease-fire expires", contrary to earlier statements made by Deputy Secretary-General of the Palestinian faction of the Islamic Jihad, Ziad al-Nakhaala.

"We are less optimistic than we were earlier," said the delegate, his comments coming just following a statement by Hamas' political chief Khaled Mashal, on Saturday, asserting that his group would not back down from a single one of their demands.

A senior Israeli Cabinet minister told Ynet that "it is very possible that talks will end without an agreement, and it is possible that this is preferable in comparison to the other options currently on the table." more

Thousands of left-wing Israelis stage anti-war demo

TEL AVIV (AFP) -- Thousands of Israeli supporters of peace talks with the Palestinian Authority to end the Gaza offensive demonstrated in Tel Aviv on Saturday.

The pro-peace protest was the largest in Israel since it launched operation Protective Edge on July 8, an assault that has seen at least 1,980 Palestinian deaths and 67 on the Israeli side.

It was organized by the opposition left-wing Meretz party and Peace Now, a group opposed to Jewish settlement building on occupied territory, and the communist Hadash party.

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators were Saturday to resume indirect talks with Egyptian mediators on reaching a more permanent ceasefire before a current truce expires at midnight on Monday.

Demonstrators denounced Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government, accusing it of refusing to negotiate with Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas. more

Showers dry up as water shortages add to Gaza misery

GAZA CITY (AFP) -- Feriel al-Zaaneen hasn't had a shower in more than a month. Like thousands of Palestinians, she doesn't have enough water to wash, adding to the miseries of life in war-battered Gaza.

In searing summer heat, where temperatures can reach 93 Fahrenheit, Feriel is one of more than 218,000 refugees sheltering in 87 UN-run schools from a conflict that has killed at least 1,980 Palestinians and 67 on the Israeli side since July 8.

"There's no water here and the toilets are very dirty; this is no kind of life," she said.

Zaaneen, her children and grandchildren, some 50 people, fled the Israeli bombardment of their homes.

She says she faces a daily struggle to get water, a precious resource in the enclave which has been under Israeli blockade since 2006. more