Archive for the 'Blockade' Category

Hamas briefs Palestinian factions on Cairo visit outcomes

HAMAS

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Hamas held a meeting with the Palestinian factions in Gaza to discuss the latest developments of the Palestinian cause and briefed them on the outcome of its meeting with the Egyptian officials in Cairo.

The member of Hamas Political Bureau Husam Badran said that the meeting came after Hamas’ visit to Cairo and its Politburo’s arrival in Gaza to discuss the latest updates concerning the national reconciliation, ceasefire with the Israeli Occupation, and the process of ending the siege on Gaza.

Badran noted that the Palestinian people have the final word to decide on their future.

He reiterated the necessity to take the Palestinians’ stances towards the ceasefire with the Israeli Occupation and their demands into consideration when discussing the proposals to ease the siege on Gaza.

Badran stressed that all the people of Palestine are united in the face of the Israeli Occupation and will not waive their rights under any pressure. Read more »

Dr Swee Ang recounts events when Al Awda was seized by Israeli military

Dr Swee Ang
Medical doctor on board the al-Awda, 4 August 2018

Al Awda in  Chalutiers, France en route to Gaza. Photo: Romuald AUGE

Al Awda in Chalutiers, France en route to Gaza. Photo: Romuald AUGE

The last leg of the journey of al-Awda (the boat of return) was scheduled to reach Gaza on 29 July 2018. We were on target to reach Gaza that evening. There are 22 on board including crew with USD 15,000 of antibiotics and bandages for Gaza. At 12.31 pm we received a missed call from a number beginning with +81… Mikkel was steering the boat at that time.

The phone rang again with the message that we were trespassing into Israeli waters. Mikkel replied that we were in International waters and had right of innocent passage according to maritime laws. The accusation of trespassing was repeated again and again with Mikkel repeating the message that we were sailing in international waters. This carried on for about half an hour, while Awda was 42 nautical miles from the coast of Gaza.

Prior to the beginning of this last leg, we had spent 2 days learning non-violent actions and had prepared ourselves in anticipation of Israeli invasion of our boat. Vulnerable individuals especially those with medical conditions were to sit at the rear of the top deck with their hands on the deck table. The leader of this group was Gerd, a 75 year old elite Norwegian athlete and she had the help of Lucia a Spanish nurse in her group. Read more »

Bethlehem Besieged: Checkpoints in the Birthplace of Jesus

Visualizing Palestine

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In years past, Bethlehem has been an agricultural market, a significant pilgrim and tourist centre, and a trade town closely linked to Jerusalem. When Israel’s occupation of West Bank started in 1967, this link was cut off for the first time in 2000 years, impeding pilgrimage to holy sites, and Bethlehem today is surrounded by a landscape dotted with gun turrets and barbed wire. Historic stone and stucco buildings are eclipsed not by its poetic terrain of steep hills and abundant pastures, but by the eight-meter-high segregation wall which snakes over 80 kilometers into the district, used by Israel to illegally annex territory.

Palestinian Christians are not immune to dispossession and oppression as part of the ongoing Israeli occupation, and many have been forced to emigrate from one of the holiest places of Christianity amidst isolation and crippling economic conditions. With its agricultural land seized and colonised, and its tourism-dependent economy hit hard, the unemployment rate in Bethlehem is the highest in the West Bank.

Through this visual, we begin to map the barriers and illegal encroachments that strangulate Bethlehem under the Israeli occupation.

As Father Ibrahim Shomali, a Catholic priest of the city’s Beit Jala parish, declared in December 2011, “If Jesus were to come this year, Bethlehem would be closed.”

Editorial: Picking Up The Pieces After The Gaza Fence Massacre

By Alastair Thompson
(Co-founder and former editor – Scoop.co.nz)

This video puts the Palestinian Border Protests in full context. And it provides those who haven’t been following recent history closely the background needed to understand why the Gaza Fence Massacre yesterday is so important historically.

Today the Gaza border has been quiet after orders were given to withdraw from the border. Gaza has also been concentrating on burying its dead and treating the thousands of wounded.

The people of Gaza have experienced yet another great trauma, on top of a mountain of traumas experienced in their open air prison – and live fire military technology proving ground. And they have done so with great dignity. The fact that this protest did not turn into yet another missile barrage shows that there is a new understanding in the Gaza Strip – among its leaders i.e. Hamas – that a military confrontation with Israel will never deliver them justice and freedom.

Israel did exactly what they said they would do. Impose significant casualties on the protesters with the clear intention of provoking a military response which they would then be able to use in their communications with the rest of the world – condemning the millions of Gazans as terrorists, wild animals who cannot be trusted and who have no other reflex other than to attack.

This kind of restraint is extraordinary – and it is a turning point for Gaza – even if it takes some time for it to become a turning point in the wider jihad for freedom and justice.

But to pick themselves up from this latest horror, whilst facing further bombing, further provocation, with no means to escape, limited water and electricity, living in ruins and mourning their loved ones will be very hard.

My hope is that the people of Gaza will know that they have in this moment of sacrifice made themselves 100s of millions of friends an sympathisers around the world. And that Israel failed in its diabolical and evil attempt to provoke them into lashing back.

The #GreatReturnMarch may feel like a failure or an exercise in futility on the ground for so many brave souls. But it is not. It is a wonderful victory of peace over violence, and it provides a foundation for a new era in Palestinian/Israeli peace negotiations where the Israeli’s no longer hold all the cards.

ENDS

Haniyeh: We exerted tremendous efforts to ease Gaza’s blockade

PRESS RELEASE
HAMAS

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The head of the political bureau of Hamas, Ismail Haniya, said in a press conference held on Tuesday after his visit to Egypt, that Hamas has exerted all efforts to ease the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip. This included travelling to Egypt and achieving the internal unity in an attempt to break the siege.

Commenting on his latest visit to Egypt, Haniyeh said that the visit as fruitful and successful.

He added that the first visit for Hamas’s newly elected leadership was to Egypt is most expected since it is the most influential Arab country In the region. He noted that the visit aimed to foster relation between both the Palestinian people and Hamas on one side, and with Egypt on the other side to achieve a breakthrough in all issues, particularly the Palestinian reconciliation. Read more »

Gaza: 1 million children suffering in ‘unlivable’ conditions

PRESS RELEASE
Save the Children

One million children in Gaza are living in dire conditions. Many celebrated Eid in the dark without electricity. A UN report in 2012 said Gaza would be unlivable by 2020. Save the Children considers Gaza to be unlivable now.

People walk past a destroyed building, Gaza City 2014 (Photo: Julie Webb-Pullman)

People walk past a destroyed building, Gaza City 2014 (Photo: Julie Webb-Pullman)

Save the Children urges Israel to lift the Gaza blockade and for Palestinian and Israeli authorities to provide basic services to the residents of Gaza. the international community has failed to react to the suffering of Palestinian children in Gaza. A decade of isolation had reduced power available to households to just eight hours per day. Now families are lucky if they get two hours of electricity per day. Far too many get nothing at all.

The power shortages are also affecting Gaza’s already crippled infrastructure. The shortening or suspension of sewage treatment cycles has led to increased levels of pollution and contamination of groundwater sources and the Mediterranean Sea, leaving more than 60% of the sea around Gaza contaminated with untreated sewage and over 90% of water sources too contaminated for human consumption. Read more »

Al Sinwar meets a delegation of Gazan businessmen

PRESS RELEASE
HAMAS

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The head of the Political Bureau of Hamas in Gaza, Yahya Al Sinwar, met Wednesday a delegation of Palestinian businessmen in Gaza. The meeting focused on the national concerns, especially the problems of the economic sector.

Al Sinwar praised the efforts exerted by the businessmen and acknowledged the burdens they face due to the siege. He assured that the strong economy is an important way to support the Palestinian national project stressing, that Hamas is making every effort to address numerous economic crises and to alleviate the suffering of the Gazans.

Al Sinwar noted that Gazans are living very hard conditions due to the blockade pointing out that Hamas presented many proposals to the international and local authorities in this regard. Read more »

Hamas: UN Secretary General’s visit to Gaza welcome

PRESS RELEASE
HAMAS

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Hamas welcomes the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres’s visit to the Gaza Strip, deeming the visit of the high-profile international figure an indication to the special status of the Gaza Strip in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and to the deteriorating living conditions inside the strip given the relentless long Israeli blockade imposed on it.

It is highly regrettable this siege persists before the eyes of the international community and through the international Quartet. This matter necessitates that the Secretary General meet with families of the Palestinian detainees in the Israeli prisons, patients deprived of travelling to receive medical treatment, owners of destroyed houses and victims of the Israeli assaults and siege. As Hamas follows with interest this visit, it requests the Secretary-General to:

1. Make all possible efforts to lift the Gaza siege and end the suffering of two million Palestinians living in the world’s largest open-air prison.

2. Approve and fund the relief and development programs to save the Gaza Strip from the deteriorating humanitarian crisis.

3. Pressure the Israeli occupation to end their violations against the Palestinian people, the Islamic and Christian holy sites and, and to work immediately to end the Israeli occupation’s violations against the Palestinian detainees in the Israeli prisons.

Fawzi Barhoum

Spokesperson of The Islamic Movement of Hamas

GAZA ALIVE IS LIFE FOR PALESTINE

PRESS RELEASE
We4Gaza

Over 350 individuals and 60 associations and networks from several continents have signed a call for an international campaign in just a few days.

GAZA ALIVE IS LIFE FOR PALESTINE” was launched by three associations active for years in different fields (health, research and culture) and committed to work in solidarity with the people of Gaza and recognize their right to live: Appeal for children of Gaza, Genoa, Italy; NWRG -onlus (New weapons research groups), Italy; and Culture is Freedom, a Campaign for Palestine, Italy. Read more »

Israel/Palestine: Rights Workers Denied Gaza Access

Human Rights Watch
PRESS RELEASE

The Erez border crossing between Israel and northern Gaza Strip. (Reuters)

The Erez border crossing between Israel and northern Gaza Strip. (Reuters)

(Jerusalem) – The Israeli military authorities are blocking access to and from the Gaza Strip for human rights workers who document abuses and advocate to end them, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The travel restrictions call into question the Israeli military authorities’ claim to rely on human rights organizations as an important source of information for their criminal investigations into potential serious crimes committed during the 2014 Gaza war.

The 47-page report, “Unwilling or Unable: Israeli Restrictions on Travel to and from Gaza for Human Rights Workers,” documents how Israel systematically bars human rights workers from traveling into and out of Gaza, even where the Israeli security services make no security claims against them as individuals. Egypt is also imposing severe travel restrictions on its border with Gaza. The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor’s office should take note of the restrictions in the context of its ongoing preliminary examination of the Palestine situation.

“If Israel wants the ICC prosecutor to take seriously its argument that its criminal investigations are adequate, a good first step would be to allow human rights researchers to bring relevant information to light,” said Sari Bashi, Israel and Palestine advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “Impeding the work of human rights groups raises questions not just about the willingness of Israel’s military authorities to conduct genuine investigations, but also their ability to do so.”

For the last two decades and especially since 2007, Israel has kept the Gaza Strip mostly closed, preventing Palestinians from leaving Gaza to pursue educational and professional opportunities, family visits and reunification, and medical care, save on an exceptional basis. The restrictions imposed by Egypt on its border with Gaza have significantly contributed to this de facto closure. 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.

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.

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.

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.

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