Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Egypt to open Rafah crossing for four days

Egyptian authorities have decided to temporarily reopen the Rafah crossing with the besieged Gaza Strip for four days, the Palestinian borders and crossings committee announced on Tuesday.

The committee said that the Rafah crossing would reopen in both directions on Wednesday for four days.

The reopening would affect humanitarian cases and emergencies.

Egypt has only opened the Rafah crossing on a sporadic basis in recent years. Earlier in May, it reopened the crossing for two days, with only several hundred of the more than 30,000 passengers registered to cross making it through. more

Dutch government follows Sweden in affirming right to boycott Israel

The Dutch government has defended the right to boycott Israel, in a rejection of Israeli efforts to outlaw such political activity.

In response to questions from Green Left MP Rik Grashoff on Israel’s threats against human rights defenders active in the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, Foreign Affairs Minister Bert Koenders said that “statements or meetings concerning BDS are protected by the freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, as enshrined in the Dutch Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights.”

According to Koenders, Israel regularly raises the topic of BDS in bilateral meetings with the Dutch government. The minister said that while the government itself does not support the boycott of Israel, “endorsing BDS falls under freedom of expression.”

The Netherlands is the second European Union (EU) state to publicly state that support for the Palestinian-led BDS campaign should be protected under the principle of freedom of expression. In March 2016, the Swedish foreign ministry affirmed that BDS “is a civil society movement” and that “governments should not interfere in civil society organization views.” more