Raghad Salhiya welcomes the Women’s Boat to Gaza

Raghad Salhiya is a third-year pharmacy student in Gaza who was unable to take up a scholarship to study abroad despite having a Grade Point Average of 94%. Her aim was to return after having her education, to build her country’s future. She welcomes the women on the Women’s Boat to Gaza attempting to break the Israeli siege of Gaza.

Dreaming in Gaza

A young woman from Gaza speaks of her dreams, and asks people everywhere to stand with Palestinians in international solidarity.

Messina, Italy welcomes the Women’s Boat to Gaza (WBG)

Women’s Boat to Gaza
Press Release

Messina, Italy – This morning the community of Messina, Italy welcomed the participants on board Zaytouna-Oliva as they arrived following their voyage from Ajaccio, France. The sailing boat will soon leave Messina for its final destination, the shores of Gaza.

Lucio Intruglio, the local organizer in Messina noted, “We have been waiting eagerly for our sisters to arrive and have a variety of activities to celebrate their mission.”

During their stay at Messina, the women will participate in a nonviolence training and have a chance to meet with citizens, student groups and the mayor of Messina.

“We will also be sure they get plenty of rest. We know that it is a long difficult journey and we want them to leave Messina refreshed for this important next leg,” Intruglio added.

The Women’s Boat to Gaza is an initiative of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition composed of civil society organizations and campaigns from more than a dozen countries.

For more information, click here

Go here and here to see videos from Gaza women, welcoming the Women’s Boat.

Yasmin AbuShamla: Please open the borders

Yasmin AbuShamla, an unemployed psychology graduate from Gaza’s Middle area, asks for nothing more than open borders, pinning her hopes on the Women’s Boat to Gaza as they are able to travel and influence people, while she cannot.

Hala AlAshi speaks at press conference at Al Mina seaport, Gaza

At a press conference held on Tuesday at Al Mina seaport in Gaza City Hala AlAshi, a spokesperson for the National Committee for Breaking the Siege, called for more international action as she welcomed the initiative of the Women’s Boat to Gaza.

Samar sings against the Gaza siege

Shimaa prays for a safe trip for the Women’s Boat to Gaza

Zeinab wants to travel – in her own country

Ismira welcomes the Women’s Boat to Gaza

Ismira would also welcome the chance to sail on her own sea

Ruba Thabet asks international women to break the siege of Gaza

Women from Gaza are sending messages to the women on the Women’s Boat for Gaza.

Here is the first, from Ruba Thabet, a final year university student in Gaza.

UNRWA responds to closure of Israeli investigation into 2014 shelling near UNRWA school in Rafah

Chris Gunness, UNRWA Spokesperson
Press Statement

Photo: Palestinian Refugee Network

Photo: Palestinian Refugee Network

UNRWA has not been given an opportunity to review the evidence but we have seen the explanation on the Israeli Military Advocate General’s website. In the circumstance it is therefore impossible for us to make specific comments about the way the case has been conducted.

According to the UN Secretary General’s Board of Inquiry, the incident took place at an UNRWA school which had been designated as an emergency shelter on 18 July. Between 2,700 to 2,900 people were sheltering there. The Israeli Army launched a precision-guided missile striking the road outside the school, which had opened its gates. 15 persons in the vicinity were killed, including a guard hired by UNRWA. As many as 30 people were injured. The Secretary General’s Board of Inquiry found that the missile was targeting people passing on a motorcycle.

We notified the Israeli Army on 33 separate occasions that this school in Rafah was being used to accommodate the displaced, the last time only an hour before the attack.

This raises serious questions about the conduct of military operations in relation to obligations under international humanitarian law and respect for the inviolability and sanctity of United Nations premises under international law.

UNRWA has consistently called for accountability. Investigations into such incidents are crucial and UNRWA has provided evidence in the process. We remain determined to ensure that incidents are thoroughly investigated.

UNRWA itself is not a tribunal or a judge. We have called for accountability in this case and in others that took place during the 2014 war. Any indication that responsibility was being evaded would be a matter of grave concern.

We note that no criminal responsibility seems to be accepted for any concluded cases concerning UNRWA premises. The families affected have had no effective redress and, from their perspective, this would certainly be seen as a further denial of their rights.

Two years after the end of the 2014 war, Israeli criminal investigations are still ongoing into the strikes on UNRWA emergency shelters in Beit Hanoun (24 July) and in Jabalia (30 July) that resulted together in some 29 civilian deaths and dozens of injuries. UNRWA has cooperated with the Israeli investigations. Despite follow up, however, UNRWA has received no news to date about progress on these investigations.

PFLP salutes the victory of Bilal Kayed

PFLP
Press Release

Bilal

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine announced the suspension of the hunger strike of Comrade Bilal Kayed after reaching an agreement to set the end date of his detention without renewal, end his isolation and allow him family visits.

The Front states that this is a victory for Comrade Bilal and his comrades and the prisoners’ movement and a significant achievement for the Palestinian people and a defeat for the Zionist jailer, and the failure of their attempts to suppress Comrade Bilal and subject him to indefinite detention.

The Front urges the masses of the Palestinian people inside and outside Palestine to take to the streets and squares to celebrate this victory and achievement, including in Gaza City in the Square of the Unknown Soldier on Thursday at 11 am, and in Ramallah at the Clock Tower on Thursday at 11 am to 1 pm.

The Front noted that the details of the agreement will be announced tomorrow and analyze the implications of the victory of Comrade Bilal in a comprehensive statement.

PFLP calls for urgent international mobilization for Comrade Bilal Kayed

PFLP
Press Release

barakat1

As Comrade Bilal Kayed nears his 70th day of hunger strike, facing the courts of the occupation and threatened with death or serious damage to his health at any moment, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine urges immediate action by all international friends of Palestine and all Palestinian communities to save his life and demand his freedom immediately.

Palestinian leftist writer Comrade Khaled Barakat emphasized the critical importance of this mobilization, saying that “We are calling on all international forces in North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa to act urgently and mobilize against the ‘slow execution’ of Comrade Bilal Kayed, who has been on hunger strike for almost 70 days.” Read more »

UNRWA GRAVELY CONCERNED BY DEATH OF YOUNG REFUGEE IN ISRAEL MILITARY OPERATION

Chris Gunness, UNRWA Spokesperson
Press Statement

Photo: The Muslim News

Photo: The Muslim News

UNRWA is gravely concerned about the death of a young Palestine refugee and the high number of civilian injuries from live ammunition which occurred on 16 August, during a large Israeli military incursion, into Fawwar refugee camp near the city of Hebron. Residents reported that large numbers of Israeli security forces entered the camp starting in the early hours and over the course of the day, conducting extensive search operations inside more than 200 refugee households. Clashes between Palestinian youth and the Israeli security forces ensued. Israeli forces responded by using a range of munitions, including lethal, live ammunition, plastic-coated metal bullets (PCMBs), and large amounts of tear gas.

As a result, a reportedly unarmed 19-year old Palestine refugee from Fawwar camp was killed after being shot in the chest by live ammunition rounds reportedly fired by an Israeli sniper stationed approximately 100 meters away. Read more »

Israel attacks Gaza

Julie Webb-Pullman

gaza

Israeli aircraft and tanks carried out dozens of attacks on Gaza late Sunday afternoon and evening, injuring several civilians.

Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri said in a press statement that the escalation comes in the context of increasing aggression by the Israeli occupation against the Palestinian people, and Israeli attempts to create new facts on the ground.

Sites in Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahiya came under attack from F-16s and artillery fire from tanks.

In Beit Hanoun last night at least 10 missiles struck agricultural land, while one from an F-16 struck the town.

Simultaneously, Israeli military aircraft launched some 35 strikes in Beit Lahiya causing material damage, including to some resistance sites.

Israeli drones are continuing to fly over Gaza at low altitudes.

“The aggression will not succeed in breaking the will of our people or the imposition of any new equations in the face of the resistance,” said Sami Abu Zuhri.

The Israeli attacks represent a disproportionate response to a rocket fired from Gaza, which on Sunday afternoon fell inside the southern Israeli city of Sderot causing no injuries or damage.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the rocket, and many Palestinians consider that such rockets are fired either by Israel itself or by persons in their pay, in order to provide justification for another Israeli aggression against and invasion of Gaza.

The attacks suggest a change in military strategy by the recently-appointed hardline right-winger Avigdor Lieberman yo the post of Israeli Minister of Defence.

If I were in Palestine… Photo exhibition on Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli prisons.

Palestina Solidariteit
Press Release

palestijnse-gevangenen-700_0

Members of the European Parliament have posed behind fake prison bars to raise awareness about the over 7000 Palestinian political prisoners who are currently held in Israeli jails. Of these over 700 are administrative detainees, 6 are elected officials and over 350 are children.

Their pictures will be exhibited at the European Parliament from 5 till 9 September 2016 in the main hall.

On 6 September at 1pm the opening event will take place with Mr. Salah Hammouri who will testify about the 7 years he was held in an Israeli prison of which 3 under administrative detention. He is now a lawyer with the Palestinian Human Rights and Prisoners’ Support Association assisting and advocating for prisoners’ rights.

As a second speaker Mr. Yamin Zeidan will discuss the military court system. Mr. Zeidan started out as a prison guard but made a drastic career switch and became a lawyer after witnessing first hand the circumstances in which Palestinians were being condemned and imprisoned. After serving at the facility where, among others, Mr Marwan Barghouti was held, he decided to become a lawyer and has represented many Palestinian political prisoners ever since.

The event will be in English.

For your access to the EU Parliament please register ASAP.

REGISTRATION BEFORE 25th of AUGUST, by sending an email with you First Name / Last Name / Date of Birth / Nationality / ID CARD number to photoexhibition.prisoners@gmail.com

Israel Lines Its Pockets With Palestinian Aid — And The US Helps Israel Keep It That Way

Robert Fantina
Mint Press

Since all aid to Palestine must go through Israel, this provides endless opportunities for “aid subversion” or “aid diversion.” Studies indicate that 72 percent of that money remains in Israel, never benefitting Palestinians.

Beit Hanoun was decimated in 2014 (Photo: Julie Webb-Pullman

Beit Hanoun was decimated in 2014 (Photo: Julie Webb-Pullman

From severely limited water supplies to a blockade on even the most basic supplies, Israel’s continued illegal occupation of Palestine has destroyed even the most basic infrastructure Palestinians need to survive, forcing residents of Gaza and the West Bank to struggle through a humanitarian disaster.

This was intensified in 2014 during Israel’s most recent genocidal attack on the Gaza Strip, which left over 2,000 Palestinians dead and over 100,000 homeless. During that onslaught, Operation Protective Edge, Israel deliberately targeted Gaza’s infrastructure, destroying factories and plants that posed no threat to the occupation.

In September 2015, The United Nations’ Roberto Valent estimated that, at the current rate, it will take 30 years to rebuild Gaza, not to mention the estimated $7.8 billion required to fund those efforts.

Now, just two years later, the unemployment rate in Palestine has neared an astronomical 27 percent, and Oxfam International operates a food voucher program that assists 71,000 people in Gaza alone.

And while the chief reason for Palestinian suffering is the brutal, illegal occupation of Israel there are a number of other compounding factors found in the deeply corrupt Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas. Read more »

Israel ordered by own Supreme Court to pay court costs, release ‘Estelle’ to owners, ‘Ship to Gaza’

Canadian Boat to Gaza
Press Release

ship

In a ruling issued by the Supreme Court of Israel, under the presidency of Miriam Naor, the state of Israel is ordered to immediately release and return the vessel ‘Estelle’ to its owners, the Swedish human rights organisation Ship to Gaza. The ship was boarded and seized by IOF in the fall of 2012 during an attempt to break the inhumane blockade of the Palestinian enclave of Gaza.

The Finnish flagged S/V Estelle departed from Sweden in early summer of 2012. It visited ports in the Baltic, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean before it was attacked by Israeli military, 30 naval miles outside the coast of Gaza.

The Supreme Court ruled that the state should have immediately asked the court for the confiscation of the ship and shouldn’t have waited for ten months. The state did not conduct negotiations with the owner of the ship, did not respond to appeals by the owners, and did not inform the owners about its intentions.

According to the ruling, the state of Israel is required to pay the court costs of Ship to Gaza in the amount of 40,000 NIS (approx 10500 USD).

Ship to Gaza will bring claims against the state of Israel via their Israeli lawyers.

Together with its partners in the Freedom Flotilla, Ship to Gaza is right now planning a new action to break and abolish the devastating blockade of Gaza: Women´s Boat to Gaza will set sail in the middle of September.

Israel and the World Vision Crime Sham

Vacy Vlazna

Mohammed El Halabi, World Vision's Area Development Programme Manager in Gaza, meets with children displaced by the violence during the brief ceasefire. Photo by Mohammad Awed

Mohammed El Halabi, World Vision’s Area Development Programme Manager in Gaza, meets with children displaced by the violence during the brief ceasefire. Photo by Mohammad Awed

The crackpot Israeli Hasbara* Circus featuring the four clowns of the truth apocalypse, Shin Bet, the Israel government, Shurat HaDin and the mainstream media fools, has, yet again, hit the world stage with the usual lame show of fact contortions, tight rope slander and smoke and mirrors fantasies.

Taking a leaf from the Bush-Blair weapons of mass destruction hoax, Israel is going all out to divert anti-Israel opinion on its monumental humanitarian disaster to a fictitious crime allegedly perpetrated by the very victims of said humanitarian disaster- Israel’s wars on Gaza -by concocting an elaborate false crime of embezzlement and terrorism by Mohammed el-Halabi, the dedicated zonal manager for World Vision in the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza.

Mohammed el-Halabi

El-Halabi, a family man and ‘trusted colleague’ has worked tirelessly for World Vision for a decade. On World Humanitarian Day 2014, celebrating aid workers, el-Halabi was profiled by the UN as a Humanitarian Hero – a truly well deserved honour when one considers the horrors Palestinian families face, and particularly aid workers at the emergency front of the carnage, destruction and suffering. Read more »

Hamas, World Vision deny Israeli claims that Halabi diverted cash to Hamas

Palestinian Information Center

Gaza Destruction6_small

Hamas on Thursday denied Israeli allegations that the manager of World Vision’s Gaza office, Mohammed al-Halabi, passed millions of dollars to Hamas.

Hamas spokesperson Abdullatif al-Kanou’ said the group had “no connection to al-Halabi and therefore, all Israeli accusations are counterfeit and aim to suppress our people and toughen the blockade”.

Israel’s Shin Bet agency accused al-Halabi of funneling millions of dollars in aid money to Hamas, charges that the resistance group denied and the charity voiced skepticism over. World Vision official Mohammed al-Halabi appeared before a court on Thursday, facing charges of using millions of charity funds in aid to Hamas.

The Israeli intelligence agency Shin Bet claimed Hamas recruited al-Halabi more than a decade ago. The agency said since al-Halabi took over World Vision operations in Gaza in 2010, roughly 60 per cent of World Vision’s annual budget in the territory was diverted to Hamas.

Mohammad al-Halabi, World Vision’s manager of operations in Gaza, was arrested by Israel on June 15 while crossing the border into the enclave. World Vision said it was “shocked” by Israel’s allegations and said in a statement that it had regular internal and independent audits and evaluations as well as a broad range of internal controls to ensure aid reached intended beneficiaries.

World Vision added that al-Halabi has worked with the group for 10 years, and that they have “no reason to believe” the allegations against their employee are true. Read more »