Thursday, 2 October 2014

Israel imposes strict closures across Palestine for Yom Kippur

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities will impose wide-ranging closures on the West Bank and Gaza beginning Thursday during the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, limiting the movement of Palestinians just as the Islamic Eid al-Adha festival begins.

Military authorities said in a statement on Thursday that the closures would begin at midnight on Thursday and last until Saturday midnight, massively limiting the movement of all Palestinians in and out of the West Bank and Gaza Strip for the duration of the holiday.

The only possible exceptions that could be made, the statement continued, were for humanitarian and medical needs, although the closure of government offices during the same time could present difficulties to those seeking to utilize the exceptions.

Israel routinely seals the Palestinian territories during Jewish holidays, depriving Palestinians of the freedom of movement and cutting them off from family and work inside Israel.

This year's closure, however, is particularly controversial, as the somber Yom Kippur day of repentance overlaps with the joyous Eid al-Adha festival, celebrated by millions of Palestinian Muslims.

Yom Kippur lasts from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown, while the Eid holiday is marked for five days beginning Friday. more

Occupation profiteer Veolia excluded from $750 million contract in Kuwait

The Palestinian-led movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) has netted two new victories against Veolia — the multinational Paris-based corporation that is involved in several Israeli projects in Palestine.

The Kuwait City Municipality has heeded Palestinian and BDS appeals and decided to exclude Veolia from a waste management contract with the city that was valued at $750 million.

Like other member countries of the Arab League, Kuwait formally boycotts Israeli companies and Israeli-made goods. But applying that principle to multinational companies complicit in Israel’s occupation of Palestine is inconsistently implemented or enforced.

A press release issued by the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) describes the municipal decision as the “the tip of the BDS iceberg in the Arab world.”

In addition to cutting Veolia out of the waste management contract, the municipality ruled to exclude Veolia from “all future projects” in the city, and specifically invoked its illegal projects on Palestinian land. According to the press release, after the municipality voted to boycott Veolia, the company withdrew its tender for expanding an existing wastewater facility that was worth $1.5 billion.

Several months before the decision, both the BNC and Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, had appealed to Kuwait City’s municipality to cancel its work with Veolia.

Last year, Veolia Transdev, a subsidiary of Veolia Environment, announced that it had stopped operating the Modiin bus lines that connected a cluster of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, which was confirmed by the Israeli-Palestinian corporate watchdog Who Profits. However, the company still operates the Jerusalem light rail that connects the center of Jerusalem with the surrounding settlements and the Tovlan landfill in the Jordan Valley of the West Bank.

In 2010 Veolia Transdev declared it would sell its share of operations in the light rail, but as of February 2014 it had not, according to Who Profits. more

Israeli military officer: 'upcoming war on Gaza will be even greater and will down more victims'

An Israeli military officer recently stated that "the upcoming war on Gaza will be greater, and will down more victims," Israeli sources say.

According to the PNN, Eyal Eizenberg, Israeli Occupation Army Home Front Command, said during a lecture at the Institute for National Security Studies (Tel Aviv University), that "the recent assault on Gaza is not at all similar to the upcoming war that the Israeli army is preparing for."

He added that "the future war will require stronger abilities and more sacrifices to pay a bigger price."

Finally, he stated that "the main lesson we got from the Gaza assault was represented in the necessity of readiness of the home front, and the ability to provide services to the people in cases of emergency."

Al Ray reports that a recent Israeli public opinion poll showed that 74% of Israelis now prefer political settlement with Palestinians rather than a military one. more

Egypt to close Rafah crossing during Eid

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Egyptian authorities will close the Rafah crossing for the Eid al-Adha holiday starting Friday.

The crossing will be closed from Friday until Tuesday for the religious holiday, Palestinian officials said.

It will reopen on Wednesday.

The Rafah crossing is the principal connection between Gaza's 1.7 million people and the outside world, but Egypt largely keeps it shut as part of the jointly-enforced Israeli blockade. more

Israel to allow exports of fish, vegetables from Gaza to West Bank

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israel has agreed to allow Palestinians to export vegetables and fresh fish from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank for the first time since 2007, the head of the Palestinian crossings authority said Wednesday.

Nathmi Mhanna told Ma’an that Israel also agreed to let 450 units of heavy equipment including trucks, tractors, forklifts, buses, diggers, cement pumps, and rollers into the Gaza Strip.

Israel had prevented allowing most exports out of the Gaza Strip since deadly violence left a Hamas-run government in charge of Gaza and a Fatah-led authority operating the West Bank. more