Gaza protest declares: “Venezuela, Palestine is with you!”

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

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The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in the Gaza Strip organized a rally in solidarity with Venezuela, in defense of Venezuela against the U.S. imperialist targeting of Venezuela’s Bolivarian project, in particular a recent decree by the U.S. administration imposing new economic sanctions on Venezuela and labeling the country a “national security threat” to the United States, a move that is a clear threat of escalated U.S. intervention against Venezuela and its elected government.

A large crowd of comrades and representatives of popular organizations participated in the protest, carrying Venezuelan and Palestinian flags and posters of Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro, and the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, and slogans demanding an end to US threats against Venezuela. Read more »

Is Hamas a terrorist organization?

Palestinian Information Center

By Muslim Imran

Muslim Imran

Muslim Imran

On March 2, the Cairo Court for Urgent Matters made a ruling that Hamas was a terrorist organization. This decision came after a similar ruling by the same court labeling Hamas’s armed wing, the Qassam Brigades, a terrorist organization. This decision and other post-coup Egyptian policies towards Hamas pose an important question: Is Hamas really a terrorist organization?

The Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) was founded in the late 1980s by a group of Palestinian activists. The Movement emerged in conjunction with the outbreak of the First Palestinian Intifada in 1987. The Intifada started on December 8, 1987 and Hamas released its first Press Statement on December 14, 1987.

The establishment of Hamas came at a time when the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was starting to lean towards diplomatic means of resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict. However, the establishment of Hamas ran parallel with the will of the Palestinian people to maintain armed struggle as one of their effective resistance strategies. Hamas made it clear, from day one, that armed struggle was a right for occupied people guaranteed by all relevant international laws and norms.

The Movement continuously reiterated that it will continue to pursue this strategy along with other resistance means in order to liberate Palestine. Read more »

UN Women’s Forum Supports Palestinians

PRENSA LATINA

Gaza woman injured in Israeli attack on civilian home, July 2014

Gaza woman injured in Israeli attack on civilian home, July 2014

The United Nations 59th Session of the Commission on Legal and Social Status of Women today adopted a resolution of support for Palestinian women, with Israel and the United States the only countries voting against it.

The document was approved at the closing the annual two-week forum which reviewed the progress and challenges of gender equality and empowerment of women 20 years after the Beijing Declaration and Plan of Action.

The initiative, supported by 27 countries, with 13 abstentions and above-mentioned two votes against, reasserts that the Israeli occupation remains the main obstacle to the advancement and self-reliance of Palestinian women as well as for integration in the development of their society. Read more »

PFLP: Results of Zionist elections simply reflect racist nature of the state

PRESS RELEASE
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine stated that the results of the Israeli election simply reflect the nature and structure of the racist, fascist Zionist society that produced these results and elected the Likud Party and its right-wing allies, who engaged in the most open and extreme anti-Palestinian attacks on our people and their rights throughout the campaign.

The growth of overt extremism and racism in the Zionist society and the climate of fascism is only fueled by the failure of Palestinian and Arab officialdom to confront the occupation state, as well as the international imperialist powers who provide cover for its crimes and rampant violations of international law and preserve its immunity and impunity from accountability or prosecution. Read more »

PFLP stands in solidarity with Venezuela against US sanctions and threats

PRESS RELEASE
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine expressed its full solidarity with Venezuela in confronting US sanctions aimed at overthrowing the democratic Bolivarian government of Venezuela and undermining the will of its people, who have continually resisted US capitalism and imperialism.

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The US is making clear its ongoing and continuous policy seeking to return Venezuela under the boot of US imperialism and the dictates of US policy, as was the case in the past before the Bolivarian Revolution and the election of the late President Hugo Chavez. The Front expressed its solidarity with the people of Venezuela, the government and the President, Nicolas Maduro, in continuing to resist such attempts to undermine the future of Venezuela’s popular development. Read more »

Women’s Day in Gaza

by Julie Webb-Pullman

Palestinian women gathered Sunday outside the UN offices in Rimal.

The lingering loss, sadness and pain are all too obvious – despite their attempts at cheer there is little for women to celebrate in a Gaza still devastated by the Israeli offensive six months ago. Almost every one of these women and girls lost a mother, a sister, a daughter, a cousin, an aunt, a grandmother, a niece, a grandaughter, a friend – and almost every one of them is struggling to survive under a crippling – and illegal – blockade. But surviving they are.

Kia kaha!

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Palestinian Killed, Two Detained as Israeli Navy Targets Gaza Fishermen

WAFA

Israeli naval boats opened gunfire Saturday on Palestinian fishermen offshore al-Sudaniya to the northwest of Gaza, killing one and detaining two others.

According to WAFA reporter, Israeli naval boats opened heavy gunfire on fishermen sailing within the unilaterally-imposed six-nautical-miles fishing zone offshore al-Sudaniya, injuring a fisherman.

Tawfiq Abu Rayyala, 25, was shot with a bullet in the abdomen and was transferred to hospital where he succumbed to his wounds. Read more »

78 Israeli violations of Gaza ceasefire

Palestinian Information Centre

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Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights reported Thursday that Israel had committed 78 violations in the border areas and off the coast of the Gaza Strip since it reached a ceasefire deal with the Palestinians in August last year.

In a statement, al-Mezan center said that two Gazans were killed, while 52 others were injured by Israeli gunfire during the five past months. 49 arrests were also reported during the same period.

Since September 2014, the Israeli occupation forces along the border with Gaza opened their machinegun fire 29 times, killing two citizens and injuring 35 others including nine children. Read more »

30 International Aid Agencies: “We must not fail in Gaza.”

Joint Statement
30 International Aid Agencies

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26 February 2015

Six months have passed since a ceasefire on 26 August 2014 ended over seven weeks of fighting between Israeli
forces and Palestinian armed groups in the Gaza Strip. As UN agencies and international NGOs operating in Gaza, we are alarmed by the limited progress in rebuilding the lives of those affected and tackling the root causes of the conflict.

The Israeli-imposed blockade continues, the political process, along with the economy, are paralyzed, and living conditions have worsened.

Reconstruction and repairs to the tens of thousands of homes, hospitals, and schools damaged or destroyed in the fighting has been woefully slow. Sporadic rocket fire from Palestinian armed groups has resumed. Overall, the lack of progress has deepened levels of desperation and frustration among the population, more than two
thirds of whom are Palestine refugees. Read more »

PFLP denounces “treacherous” gas deal and demands immediate cancellation

PRESS RELEASE
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

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“The signing of this gas deal is a treacherous stab in the back and a disgrace to the Palestinian people and their growing movement to boycott the Zionist occupation. It is an unforgivable crime and a manifestation of financial corruption, the waste of public money, and the squandering of the capabilities of the Palestinian people,” said Comrade Ahmad Abu Saud, member of the Central Committee of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. He strongly condemned the Palestinian Authority’s $1.2 billion deal to import gas from the Zionist entity for a 20 year period, calling for its immediate cancellation.

“We are still living with the heavy consequences and negative effects on the Palestinian economy and living situation, mired in the mud of poverty, unemployment and division” caused by the Paris economic agreement between the PA and Israel, said Abu Saud. “This new deal only continues the systematic dangerous policy of the PA that cements the Zionist grip on our people and it will contribute to increasing the Zionist treasury, to be naturally used to support its military budget and aggression against our people.” Read more »

Gaza to recognise World Human Rights Day, hold annual HR conference

by Julie Webb-Pullman

Dr Ahmed Yousef (left) and Hisham Al Mghari open the workshop

Dr Ahmed Yousef (left) and Hisham Al Mghari open the workshop

At the multidisciplinary workshop Strengthening the Culture of Human Rights in Palestinian Society held in Gaza last week, the organisers announced their intention to hold an annual human rights conference on December 10 each year in recognition of World Human Rights Day.

Chair of the Al-Awda University College academic committee Hisham Al-Mghari, who organised the workshop with the sponsorship of Gaza NGO The House of Wisdom, opened the event noting that Al-Awda has already launched Palestine’s first Bachelor’s degree in education and human rights.

“We are here together hand in hand for the sake of our country,” he told the delegates, who hailed from lawyers’ groups, universities, colleges and other institutes, civil organisations, various political factions, and the ministries of justice, education, interior and women including the Minister of Justice Salim Saqqa and Minister of Women Haifa al-Agha.

Read more »

Palestinian survivor of Israeli torture denied new trial by US judge

MEDIA ADVISORY
Rasmea Defense Committee

Rasmea Odeh

Rasmea Odeh

Chicago’s 67-year-old Palestinian community leader, Rasmea Odeh, is set to appear in a Detroit federal court for sentencing on March 12, following her conviction on a single charge of Unlawful Procurement of Naturalization. Three days ago, Judge Gershwin Drain issued an order denying two motions by Odeh’s defense team. One motion called for a new trial because of a number of legal errors in the court’s rulings in her November trial; another called for the judge to set aside the jury’s decision altogether.

“Since both defense motions challenged how Drain conducted the trial, it came as no surprise when he ruled against Rasmea, and in support of his own decisions,” said Hatem Abudayyeh of the Rasmea Defense Committee. “We know that the conviction was a travesty of justice, and that Judge Drain’s rulings made it impossible for the jury to give Rasmea a fair shake. She survived brutal torture by the Israelis, but the jury never got to hear that.” Read more »

PFLP slams Palestinian figures cooperating with racist Zionist war criminals at Tel Aviv conference

PRESS RELEASE
PFLP

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The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine expressed harsh condemnation of Palestinian figures who participated in a conference in Tel Aviv alongside Zionist war criminals, military figures, settlers and officials on February 16-17. The conference, “Israel in a Turbulent Region,” was organized by the Institute for National Security Studies, a so-called think tank that is at the heart of high-level political and military officialdom and international propaganda campaigns to promote a “national security agenda” for the further repression, dispossession, and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. At the conference, Avigdor Lieberman announced his plans for the execution of Palestinian prisoners and freedom fighters through the introduction of the “death penalty” in Israeli military courts – kangaroo courts that convict over 99% of the Palestinians brought before them and serve solely as a mechanism of mass imprisonment and oppression of Palestinians.

By participating in this conference alongside notorious war criminals and supporters of genocide, Rami Nasrallah, Sami Abu Shehadeh, and Asma Aghbaria-Zahalka have exceeded simple “normalization.” They have violated every principle of the Palestinian and international boycott of Israel and its institutions, betraying and distorting the image of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian struggle for justice and liberation. In addition to the confirmed presentations of these three individuals, the conference’s program promised presentations by Qaddoura Fares, Jamal Zahalka and Ali Salem; it is unclear why they apparently did not appear in person and have issued no statements regarding the conference. Read more »

UNDP, Islamic University of Gaza open Legal Aid clinic

by Julie Webb-Pullman

UNDP and IUG dignitaries launch the new law clinic

UNDP and IUG dignitaries launch the new law clinic

A ceremony at the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG) on Monday launched the third phase of a double-whammy law project in Gaza designed to provide legal aid on the one hand, and practical legal experience for senior law students on the other.

Dr Mohamed Al Nahal, project leader and Associate Professor of International Law, said the project, which was launched in August 2011, has already had many successes, including the release of detained persons through representing them in court, and the settlement of several inheritance disputes.

“There have been more than a thousand free consultations in the last two years,” Dr Nahal said. “It combines training law students in practical legal skills with providing a much-needed – and free – social service. One hundred students will benefit from this next stage, where they will work in groups under the supervision of qualified lawyers.” Read more »

Kiwis helping on the ground in Beit Hanoun

by Julie Webb-Pullman

Kiwi kindness has again lifted the spirits and living standards of the once-thriving-now-destroyed agricultural centre of Beit Hanoun, in North Gaza. In November 2014 Salwa Abu Nijila distributed blankets, clothes and groceries to 30 families, bought with donations from New Zealanders.

Ninety needy families are benefitting from this latest Federation of Islamic Associations in New Zealand (FIANZ)/Kiwi Trust project. According to Salwa, about nine families a day ask her for help, and she has about 500 very needy on her list, so she has had to prioritise.

Read more »

Abbas decrees committee for prosecution of war crimes at ICC

by Julie Webb-Pullman

Remains of ambulance, one of many deliberately targetted by Israeli fire killing medics and patients

Remains of ambulance, one of many deliberately targetted by Israeli fire killing medics and patients

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas today announced the issuance of a presidential decree forming a committee that “will identify and prepare the documents and records that the state of Palestine will present to the ICC,” according to the official Wafa news agency.

The decree indicated that the committee’s members, drawn from Palestinian human rights groups, academia and the political sphere, will be headed by Saeb Erekat. Read more »

PFLP rejects appointment of biased Mladenov as UN envoy to the region

PRESS STATEMENT
PFLP

Kayed Ghoul

Kayed Ghoul

The appointment of Nikolay Mladenov as United Nations envoy to the so-called “Middle East peace process” is the antithesis of any effort to lead to real peace with justice in the region, said Comrade Kayed al-Ghoul, member of the Political Bureau of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Mladenov is known for his statements in support of the Zionist state and justification of its crimes against the Palestinian people since he was foreign minister of Bulgaria. The United Nations’ claim to seek real peace in the region will be belied if it continues to provide cover for the crimes of the occupation, said al-Ghoul.

Al-Ghoul said that the appointment of Mladenov in this position is a further attempt by powerful parties in the international organization, particularly the United States, to strengthen the position of the occupation state in international institutions addressing the Palestinian cause and the “Arab-Israeli conflict.” Read more »

Hemaya: Gaza Inquiry appointments raise questions

PRESS RELEASE
Hemaya Center for Human Rights

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Hemaya Center for Human Rights is deeply concerned about the events leading to the resignation of Professor William Schabas as Chair of the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict, and his replacement by Ms Mary McGowan Davis.

We consider that best practice requires that potential conflicts of interest are explored PRIOR to appointment to such inquiries, and we are most concerned that this appears not to have been the case in regard to Professor Schabas. We remain concerned that it has also not been the case re Ms McGowan Davis, given her hasty appointment. Read more »

Gaza Inquiry: UN messed up big time

by Julie Webb-Pullman

President of the Human Rights Council Joachim Ruecker on Tuesday appointed Israeli-approved former New York judge Ms Mary McGowan Davis to replace Professor William Shabas as Chair of the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict.

The UN is clearly responsible for this mess, regardless of Israel’s protracted attacks on Professor Shabas ever since the announcement of his appointment, culminating in last week’s letter to the UN.

The first step in ANY professional investigation is to obtain a signed declaration stating that the investigator/commissioner has no personal or professional connection with any of the parties that would compromise their ability to conduct an impartial investigation. Why did this not occur?

Has it occurred THIS time?

Probably not, given McGowan Davis’ track record.

McGowan Davis is well-known for her report on the 2008-9 Israeli offensive against Gaza that found “Israel devoted substantial resources to investigating more than 400 complaints of improper behavior in Gaza.”

Her report was also referred to by Goldstone in his Washington Post article, appropriately published on April Fool’s Day 2011, in which he sought to justify recanting the findings of the Goldstone Report.

That Israel has welcomed this appointment should give all who value independence and lack of bias cause for considerable concern – Haaretz trumpeted her appointment, claiming McGowan-Davis “is regarded as a lot more fair with regard to Israel.”

Undoubtedly there will be no flurry of Israeli accusations and character assassinations a la Goldstone and Shabas – their golden girl will surely come through with another whitewash – remember, the recommendations of the Goldstone Report, ie to investigate war crimes, were never implemented following that of McGowan Davis.

Curiously, in Professor Shabas letter of resignation he states that on February 2, 2015 the Bureau of the Human Rights Council decided to examine a complaint by Israel and to request a legal opinion from United Nations Headquarters in New York. What was that legal opinion?

It appears that Professor Shabas resigned under pressure, before the opinion was even given – an opinion that may well have exonnerated him from any putative taint of conflict of interest. His lack of courage is most regrettable – not because he may have found against Israel, but because yet another UN commissioner has caved in to Israeli bullying.

It seems the playground bully is now running not only the US, but also the UN.

Do the rest of the students stop using the playground because the bully will attack them? No, the school takes action against the bully.

The ‘school board’ has a very clear obligation to end Israeli impunity AND attempts to control it before the last vestige of UN credibility vanishes completely.

Professional and transparent appointment processes to UN commissions would go a long way to avoiding situations such as this arising in the first place.

To end impunity and ensure justice, genuine independence of the UN and a refusal to buckle to Israeli pressure would go even further.

Press Statement on the resignation of the Chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict

PRESS STATEMENT
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Geneva, 3 February 2015 — The President of the Human Rights Council, Ambassador Joachim Ruecker (Germany), received a letter from Professor William Schabas last night in which Professor Schabas indicates that he is resigning as chair and member of the Commission of Inquiry on the Gaza conflict with immediate effect.

This letter follows one sent to the Council President on Friday, 30 January, by the Permanent Mission of Israel in which they ask for Professor Schabas’ dismissal from the Commission of Inquiry due to what they refer to as a conflict of interest. [All communications are available on the HRC Extranet]

The President has accepted the resignation of Professor Schabas and thanks him for his work over the past six months as Chair of the Commission. The President respects the decision of Professor Schabas and appreciates that in this way even the appearance of a conflict of interest is avoided, thus preserving the integrity of the process.

The Human Rights Council President notes the decision taken by the Council requesting the Commission of Inquiry to investigate all alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian law and he also notes that the Commission is now in the final phase of collecting evidence from as many victims and witnesses as possible from both sides.

The report of the Commission of Inquiry is scheduled to be presented to the Human Rights Council at its upcoming session on 23 March.

The President is currently in discussions with the remaining two members of the Commission of Inquiry to discuss the appointment of the new Chairperson.

Ambassador Ruecker underlines the need to remain focused on the substantive work of the Commission in the interest of the victims and their families on both sides.

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