UNRWA Condemns Killing of Four Palestine Refugees, calls for Full Humanitarian Access to Khan Eshieh Refugee Camp in Syria

Press Statement
UNRWA Spokesperson Chris Gunness

Khan Eshieh Camp, June 2016 (UN File Photo)

Khan Eshieh Camp, June 2016 (UN File Photo)

Four Palestine refugees were killed on the night of 18 October as they attempted to leave the Khan Eshieh Palestine refugee camp, south of the Syrian capital, Damascus, to which access has been highly restricted. Nofeh Mohammed Jarad, who was in her 60’s, her daughter Ibaa Saeed al-Nader, 22, their driver and a one-year old baby were all killed when their vehicle was shelled around 10 p.m. The mother of the baby, a Syrian citizen, also died in the incident.

UNRWA condemns this attack and the killing and wounding of all civilians including Palestine refugees. It calls on those responsible to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law and demands that the parties to the conflict do their utmost to protect civilian life in accordance with international law. Read more »

PFLP condemns occupation piracy of Women’s Boat to Gaza

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Press Release

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The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine expressed its strongest condemnation of the Zionist occupation forces for their attack on the Women’s Boat to Gaza, the Zaytouna, blocking it from reaching the Gaza Strip on a journey of solidarity and to break the siege of occupation.

The Front denounced this Zionist piracy, reaffirming the Zionist regime’s disregard for international conventions and treaties, relying instead on tyranny, terror and the support and protection provided by US imperialism and its allies in international forums.

The Front expressed its salutes and appreciation to the women on board the hijacked ship, saluting their determination to break the siege on the Gaza Strip despite the risk, noting that this mission enjoys the strong support of the Palestinian people and is yet more motivation to continue to work to expand international solidarity campaigns and boycott the Zionist state.

PFLP: Jerusalem operation is a natural response to the occupation, reflects continuing intifada

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Press Release

Musbah AubSbeih

Musbah AubSbeih

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said that Sunday’s resistance operation in occupied Jerusalem comes in the context of the ongoing intifada, and is a natural response to the occupation and the attacks of the settlers, and confirms once more the Palestinian position and identity of Jerusalem against the schemes of the occupier to erase Palestinian existence with Judaization plans. The Front expressed its salutes to the martyr Musbah Abu Sbeih, shot by occupation forces during his operation.

The operation expresses that there remains an open conflict between the Palestinian people and the Zionist occupier throughout the land of Palestine, and that all of the collective punishment, mass arrests and brutal attacks will not stop the continuing Palestinian resistance.

The Front emphasizes the importance of sustaining and supporting the ongoing intifada through Palestinian national unity around a program of resistance and strengthening popular organization and struggle toward achieving liberation for the Palestinian people.

Israeli women betray their sisters, intercept Women’s Boat to Gaza

Julie Webb-Pullman

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Israeli women soldiers led the attack in international waters on the Women’s Boat to Gaza, Zaytouna-Oliva, on Wednesday evening Gaza time, and kidnapped the 13 international women on board.

The 13 freedom sailors included New Zealand Member of Parliament Marama Davidson, 1976 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Maguire from Ireland, and retired US army colonel Ann Wright.

There has been no communication from the women since their capture, but the Israeli media reported the following statement from the Israeli occupation forces:

“In accordance with government directives and after exhausting all diplomatic channels, the Israeli Navy redirected the vessel in order to prevent breach of the lawful maritime blockade.”

Two hours ago the Israeli Times said the Zaytouna-Oliva was intercepted 65 kilometres from the Gaza Coast, and was now heading slowly toward Ashdod.

In the Interim Oslo Agreement, signed by Israel and the PLO, boats from Gaza are permitted to go twenty nautical miles (about thirty-seven kilometers) from the coastline, meaning the Zaytoun-Oliva was clearly still in international waters when it was pirated.

Prior to this latest breach of international law by Israel on the high seas, Israeli airstrikes and tank fire pounded the Gaza Strip, from a training ground in Khan Yunis in southern Gaza to naval police headquarters in Beit Lahiya in the north, and several Gaza City suburbs in between.

It is precisely this sort of wanton destruction and the humanitarian catastrophe of an illegal siege that the women’s boat was seeking to highlight, and break.

Women around the world are watching and waiting to see whether the women are safe.

Israel issues orders to intercept all-women Gaza-bound flotilla

Palestine Information Centre

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The Israeli occupation navy has received instructions to intercept women’s boat to Gaza and arrest onboard activists, Israeli daily Maariv reported Sunday.

The Israeli naval forces have received orders to intercept al-Zaytouna ship and arrest activists as soon as they reach Gaza shores. The boat is reportedly to be towed to the Ashdod Harbor wile female activists will be deported to their mother countries after they sign pledges to never return.

Zaytouna ship is expected to reach Gaza shores in the next three days following a stopover in the Greek Island of Crete to fix a sudden breakdown.

Amal and Zaytouna, a flotilla of two boats with all-women crews and passengers, set sail from Barcelona en route to besieged Gaza in another maritime attempt to break Israel’s illegitimate blockade on the Palestinian coastal enclave.

There are 11 women in each boat, including Malin Bjork, a European Parliament member, Marama Davideon, a New ZEaland member of Parliament, Mairead Maguire, the Nobel peace laureate from Northern Ireland, Fouzia Hassan, a doctor from Malaysia, and retired US army colonel Ann Wright.

The Gaza Strip is a place where around two million Palestinians have been locked up for nearly a decade in what many describe as the “world’s largest open air prison.”

Gaza’s political parties welcome the Women’s Boats to Gaza

Women leaders from three of Gaza’s leading political parties welcome the women in the Women’s Boats to Gaza arriving shortly in an attempt to break the Israeli siege of Gaza. Rajaa Al Halabi from Hamas, Mariam Abu Dagga from PFLP and Amal Hamad from Fatah ask women all over the world to continue to stand in solidarity with Palestinian women – and to send more boats.

They emphasise the tragic consequences of the now ten-year Israeli siege on Gaza’s women, and demand that international law be respected, and the siege lifted.

The Enigma that was Shimon Peres

Richard Falk
Global Justice in the 21st Century

Qana massacre, Lebanon, April 18, 1996

Qana massacre, Lebanon, April 18, 1996

Responses to Interview Questions from Rodrigo Craveiro of Correio Braziliense, Brasilia re Shimon Peres

Prefatory Note
The text that follows is derived from an interview yesterday with an important Brazilian newspaper. I have retained the questions posed by the journalist, but expanded and reframed my responses. The death of Shimon Peres is the last surviving member of Israel’s founding figures, and in many ways a fascinating political personality, generating wildly contradictory appraisals. My own experience of the man was direct, although rather superficial, but it did give me greater confidence to trust my reservations about his impact and influence, which collides with the adulation that he has inspired among American liberals, in particular

1) What is the main legacy of president Shimon Peres, in your point of view?

Shimon Peres leaves behind a legacy of a long public life of commitment to making Israel a success story, economically, politically, diplomatically, and even psychologically. He is being celebrated around the world for his intelligence, perseverance, and in recent decades for his public advocacy of a realistic peace with the Palestinians. I believe he lived an impressive and significant life, but one that was also flawed in many ways. He does not deserve, in my opinion, the unconditional admiration he is receiving, especially from the high and mighty in Europe and North America. Underneath his idealistic rhetoric was a tough-minded and mainstream commitment to Zionist goals coupled with an expectation that the Palestinians, if sensible, would submit graciously to this reality, and if not, deservedly suffer the consequences of abuse and harm. He was never, contrary to his image, a supporter of an idealistic peace based on recognizing the equality of the Palestinian people, acknowledging the wrongs of the nakba and the Palestinian ordeal that followed, and in creating a sustainable peace that included realizing Palestinian rights as defined by international law.

2) Do you believe Peres was ever close to obtaining a definitive peace deal with Palestinians? What did it get wrong?

In my view, Peres never even wanted to reach a sustainable peace agreement with the Palestinians, but he fooled many people, including the committee in Oslo that selects the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. He was unyielding in his refusal to grant Palestinians dispossessed in 1948 any right of return. Read more »

No online shopping for Nur

Young women in many countries can just pop down to the nearest shoe store to buy a pair of trainers, or if there isn’t one nearby, just go online, choose what they want, and have them delivered. Not in Gaza – Israel has completely banned postal delivery services to Gaza for anything except letters and postcards – and even those are lucky to arrive. Nur hopes the Women’s Boats to Gaza will have better luck.

Even asthma is under siege in Gaza

Nadal’s mother can’t get her asthma medication – because of the Gaza siege only 30% of essential medications are available in the hospitals, and asthma medication is one of them. She thanks the Women’s Boat to Gaza for drawing attention to the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.

Women’s flotilla leaves Sicily – heading for Gaza

Kia Ora Gaza
Press Release

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New Zealand’s representative, Green MP Marama Davidson proudly displays the Tino Rangatiratanga flag on board the first of the Women’s Boats to Gaza as it leaves the port of Messina, Sicily and heads out across the Mediterranean for the distant shores of Gaza.

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Final farewells from some of the all-women crew of the Zaytouna-Olivia

Women’s Boat to Gaza statement, Messina, Sicily

This morning at 9:50 am, women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here.

When asked why they are going, the women gave a variety of responses. Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate from Ireland, notes that “they say that ‘silence is golden’, but regarding the plight of Palestinians in Gaza the silence of the world, especially concerning their little children, shows a lack of moral and ethical leadership from the international community. Why has it lasted so long?” Read more »

Sundus salutes the Women’s Boat to Gaza

Despite suffering a serious disease afflicting thousands of Palestinians in Gaza, Sundus salutes the bravery of the women in the Women’s Boat to Gaza.

Israel / OPT: UN women’s rights expert calls for peace process with full participation of women

UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights
Press Release

International Women's Day, Gaza 2015 (Photo: Julie Webb-Pullman

International Women’s Day, Gaza 2015 (Photo: Julie Webb-Pullman

GENEVA (26 September 2016) – Reducing violence against women and promoting gender equality are two underused tools in bridging fragmented and divided communities and achieving peace, said United Nations human rights expert Dubravka Šimonović, at the end of her first official visit* to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory/State of Palestine.

“I would like to call both sides to start a new peace process in which women would fully participate and even take the lead and in which international human rights law and humanitarian law would be applied jointly,” the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women said. Read more »

Hamas welcomes EU court advisor’s recommendation to strike Movement from terror list


Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh at Hamas anniversary parade in Gaza, December 2014 (Photo: Julie Webb-Pullman)

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh at Hamas anniversary parade in Gaza, December 2014 (Photo: Julie Webb-Pullman)

Hamas has welcomed the recommendation filed by Eleanor Sharpston, the Advocate-General at the European Court of Justice, to strike the Movement from the EU’s so-called list of terrorist organizations.

In a press statement on Saturday, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri urged the European Union to follow the Advice of the Advocate-General, noting that the recommendation represents a historic opportunity for the EU to choose the correct position and atone for decades of siding with the Israeli occupation.

“Hamas has no enemies but the Israeli occupation,” Abu Zuhri asserted, adding that the Movement looks forward to having its name scraped off the European list of designated terrorist organizations.

“We seek positive ties with the everyone including in the West,” he underlined. Read more »

The world is a book

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page,” said St Augustine. But people in Gaza are lucky to read even one chapter, let alone see a library. This young women hopes at least one of the women in the Women’s Boat to Gaza brought a book to read on the way – and will leave it behind when they leave!

London’s calling but Alaa can’t answer

Alaa would love to improve her English studies in an English-speaking country before returning to share her advanced skills to help the students in her own country – but the Israeli siege of Gaza prevents her. Alaa deeply appreciates the efforts of the Women’s Boat to Gaza in trying to change this situation.

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.