Thursday, 4 September 2014

Canadian PM Harper's Peace Prize nomination “insult” to dead Palestinians

An online petition on is calling on the Norwegian Nobel Committee to reject Prime Minister’s Stephen Harper pending nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize. Meanwhile, Canadians reacting to the proposal seem to be echoing this fact: Harper is no Lester B. Pearson, the late Canadian intellectual, soldier, diplomat and former prime minister who was awarded the prestigious prize in 1957 for his role in resolving the Suez Canal Crisis.

Last week, Frank Dimant, the CEO of the B’nai Brith Canada, announced that his organization would nominate Harper for the prestigious award. Making what he believes is a strong case, Dimant said Harper had maintained “moral clarity” and “outstanding moral leadership” by unequivocally supporting Israel’s recent full-scale military operation in Gaza, code-named Operation Protective Edge.

“Moral clarity has been lost across much of the world, with terror, hatred and antisemitism filling the void,” said Dimant. “Throughout, there has been one leader which has demonstrated international leadership and a clear understanding of the differences between those who would seek to do evil, and their victims.”

Palestinian health officials estimate that more than 2,100 people, most of them civilians, were killed during the 50-day Gaza conflict. That includes 490 children. Israel lost 64 soldiers and six civilians. Speaking on Democracy Now! in July, Henry Siegman, the former executive director of the American Jewish Congress, described the deaths in Gaza as “a slaughter of innocents.” more

Report: Rebuilding Gaza to cost $7.8 billion

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The reconstruction of the Gaza Strip will cost $7.8 billion, Palestinian experts said in a report Thursday, as the Palestinian labor minister said 100,000 jobs could be created in Gaza if Israel held to its promise to end its siege within the month.

The Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction, a Palestinian Authority body that oversees the implementation of donor-financed projects, said the process would take "five years if Israel removed its blockade over Gaza entirely."

Direct losses were estimated at $4.4 billion, while a budget of $3.02 billion was set for the development needs of the Gaza strip which include a seaport and a water desalination plant.

The 200-page document set a strategy to relief the people of Gaza and link that to the sustainable development that will help reduce unemployment and poverty. more

Egypt says Israeli delegation expected to arrive soon for talks

Egyptian officials expect the Israeli negotiating delegation to arrive in Cairo within a week to continue indirect talks, sources in Egypt said.

Egypt has been in contact with both Palestinian and Israeli officials this week to determine a date for further talks following a cessation to hostilities last week.

Egypt is expecting the arrival of PA security teams in Cairo for training in order to deploy at the Rafah crossing and along the Gaza-Egypt border, the sources said.

On Monday, Israel's Channel 10 TV said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would not send a delegation to Egypt for further talks.

Israel and Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza Strip ended over seven weeks of fighting last Tuesday with a long-term ceasefire agreement in which Israel agreed to ease its siege on the coastal enclave and expand the fishing zone off its coast. more

After years of pressure, is Veolia quitting occupied Palestine?

According to reports in mid-July, Veolia has agreed to sell its activities in Israel to ‘funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management LP’, cutting the company’s debt by $341 million.

Veolia, the largest publicly-traded water company in Europe, is selling its water, waste, and energy businesses in Israel, and intends to ‘step back’ from the country as a marketplace.The news is a boost to Palestinians and global Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) campaigners, who have targeted the French multinational for ties to illegal Israeli settlements and their associated infrastructure in the Occupied West Bank.

According to reports in mid-July, Veolia has agreed to sell its activities in Israel to “funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management LP”, cutting the company’s debt by $341 million. The sale includes the company’s 50% stake in Ashkeon desalination plant.

Veolia described the divestment as part of a strategy to concentrate efforts on “less capital-intensive opportunities”. Importantly, a company spokesperson told Global Water Intelligence “that the group’s Israeli holdings are being sold as a full operating business rather than a collection of assets, and that Veolia would be stepping back from Israel as a marketplace“.

Paris-based Veolia spokesperson Sandrine Guendoul confirmed with me that the “divestment should be closed and completed by the end of the year”, since approval is required “from Israel’s competition authorities”.

Veolia remains complicit in the City Pass consortium-run Jerusalem Light Rail (JLR), however, which links western Jerusalem to illegal settlements in Occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank (and was the target of angry Palestinian protesters earlier this year). more

Elderly Palestinian woman dies from Gaza war injuries - death toll now 2,153

A Palestinian woman from Gaza died in an Egyptian hospital on Thursday from injuries suffered during Israel's assault on the besieged coastal enclave.

Gaza medical sources said Itaf Muhammad Jarour was pronounced dead at the Nasser Medical Institute in Cairo.

Jarour was injured in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on July 29, which killed one man and injured several others.

On Wednesday, Nasir Abu Marahil, 40, passed away in a Jerusalem hospital as a result of injuries he sustained in al-Nuseirat refugee camp on July 25.

The death toll in Gaza has risen to 2,153 as Palestinians critically injured in the assault have passed away. more

Prisoner hospitalized after being tortured in Israeli jail

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian prisoner has been moved to a hospital ward after undergoing torture at Israel's Russian Compound detention center, a Palestinian Authority prisoners committee said Wednesday.

Muhammad Hussein Rabee, 33, from Beit Anan village near Ramallah, suffered health complications as a result of being tortured while being held at the Jerusalem detention center for 40 days, the committee said.

He was first moved to Hadassa hospital last week, and is now in the Shaare Zedek Medical Center.

Rabee was detained on July 27 and his family did not find out his whereabouts until 30 days later.

"We did not know where Muhammad was until after a month of his detention, and his lawyer was not allowed to visit him until after 35 days of being at the Russian compound," his brother Usama told Ma'an.

Rabee's lawyer said he had been "harshly tortured." more