Archive for the 'Blockade' Category

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.

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

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