Archive for the 'Gaza' Category

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.

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

Hamas

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.

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.

Israel attacks Gaza

Julie Webb-Pullman

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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.

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

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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.

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