Thursday, 11 June 2015

Gaza activists announce hunger strike in support of Khader Adnan

A group of activists, institutions and prominent figures in the Gaza Strip Wednesday announced a hunger strike in solidarity with detainee Khader Adnan who went on a hunger strike to protest his detention without charges or trial, widely known as administrative detention.

In front of the headquarter of the International Red Cross (ICRC) in Gaza city, the committee to defend Adnan announced a hunger strike in an attempt to garner support and call on the world to pressure Israel to release him.

Adnan, who is a father of five, has been protesting his illegal detention without charges or trial for 37 days. He went on a hunger strike when he was arrested by the Israeli Army on December 17, 2011 from his home in Arraba in the middle of the night. The next day, he began a hunger strike that ended after 66 days later on February 21, 2012.

WAFA Palestinian News & Info Agency reports that, in a recent press statement, Adnan’s wife, Randa said that her husband’s health condition is gradually deteriorating, with a significant weight loss and vision weakness. She said that her husband can no longer walk and is being moved on a wheelchair.

Adnan’s lawyers reported that the Israeli Prison’s Administration has classified his health condition as critical, which necessitated his immediate transfer to the Assaf HaRofeh Medical Center.

Randa said that Israeli lawyers who were able to visit Adnan reported that he was being kept cuffed to the hospital’s bed with three prison guards watching him around the clock. more

Poll: Half of Gaza residents considering emigration

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Half of Gazans say they are considering emigration from the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research reported Tuesday.

The 50 percent of those polled in Gaza thinking of leaving the coastal enclave is the highest percentage ever recorded, amidst decreasing satisfaction of achievements attained by Hamas last summer's war.

Increasing frustration comes the IMF reported last month that reconstruction since the most recent war between Israel and Hamas has been significantly lower than expected, while the World Bank reported that the strip was facing a "dangerous fiscal crisis."

Unemployment in Gaza increased in 2014 "to reach 44 percent -- probably the highest in the world," the World Bank reported, with the poverty rate in the occupied Palestinian territory reaching 39 percent, despite the fact that nearly four of every five Gazans receive "some aid."

"Gaza's unemployment and poverty figures are very troubling and the economic outlook is worrying," the World Bank quoted Palestinian territories director Steen Lau Jorgensen as saying in a statement.

The UN has repeatedly warned of further conflict in the area if the reconstruction process continues at such slow pace, emphasizing that Gaza's humanitarian crisis is worsened by Israel's eight-year blockade on the strip.

Despite the new record high levels of desire for emigration from the war-ravaged strip, Gaza residents would still favor reelection of Gaza's governing party Hamas' Ismail Haniyeh to Fatah's leader Mahmoud Abbas, PSR polls also said in the June report. more

Photographer barred from treatment after being shot by Israeli forces

JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israel has barred a Palestinian photographer allegedly shot in the eye by Israeli forces from entering occupied East Jerusalem for specialist treatment, the injured photographer told AFP on Wednesday.

Nidal Shtayyeh, who works for Chinese news agency Xinhua, was wounded while covering a small demonstration at Huwarra checkpoint near the northern West Bank city of Nablus on May 16.

As he was covering the rally, Shtayyeh was hit in the face by a rubber bullet which entered his eye, causing serious damage, he told AFP.

"The march was peaceful and no stones were thrown, no photographers were taking any pictures," he said, accusing soldiers of firing sound bombs at the photographers without any provocation.

"I raised my camera to my right eye to take a picture, but a soldier shot me in my left eye with his rifle, and the rubber bullet went through my gas mask's glass eye cover and into my eye."

An Italian camerawoman was also injured during the same demonstration which came as Palestinians commemorated 67 years since the "Nakba," or "catastrophe," when an estimated 760,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled from their homes during the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948.

At the time, Israeli forces said at least 100 Palestinians had been throwing stones and petrol bombs, and that the forces had responded with "riot dispersal means."

Shtayyeh's injury comes as rights groups criticize Israel for disproportionate use of force against unarmed civilians during such demonstrations.

While crowd control weapons are intended to be non-lethal, many methods used by Israeli forces can cause death, severe injury, and damage to property, according to Israeli rights group B'Tselem.

Shtayyeh was rushed to Rafidiya hospital in Nablus for initial treatment but was prescribed specialist help at St John's eye hospital in occupied East Jerusalem.