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Hamas to hold free elections as Israel waits to pull the trigger

By Robert Inlakesh – Al-Masdar – 17/09/2017

Hamas have released in an official statement that they are ready to hold free elections – for the first time since 2006 – and are going to dissolve their administrative committee.

After a series of talks held in Cairo – in a bid to start repairing the relationship between rivalling Palestinian governmental factions Hamas and Fatah – Hamas has made the decision in order to forward “reconciliation” with the Palestinian Authority.

President of the Palestinian Authority (PA), Mahmoud Abbas has been demanding throughout the year that Hamas end its administrative committee, hold free elections and hand the Gaza Strip over to the PA.

Abbas has recently been punishing the population of Gaza in order to get Hamas to hand over power of Gaza and this year has made such moves towards this goal mainly by; dropping the salaries of Gazans who work for the PA by 30-70 percent (sending many below the poverty line), calling on Israel to turn off their electrical supply to Gaza and by refusing to pay for Gaza’s deisel fuel to run their one semi-operational power plant.

The last time Hamas vowed to dissolve its administrative committee and looked as if it was on the way to forming a unity government with Fatah – signing reconciliation deal with the PLO on April of 2014 – Israel ended the possibility with a 50-day onslaught on Gaza, killing over 2 thousand civilians.

The Israeli regime’s government announced on the 10th of August, that it was readying a ground invasion of Gaza, the head of the Israeli Shin Bet, ‘Nadav Argaman’ also recently told the ‘Jerusalem post’ that Hamas are readying for war.

The Likud Party have been losing their popularity in Israel to far-right parties and with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (and his wife) under investigation on the grounds of corruption, the political party is looking for a way to re-gain its popularity. If Netanyahu was to wage war upon Gaza in a bid to prevent a possible Palestinian unity government, the international condemnation of the Israeli onslaught could be scape goated on him, whilst his party are celebrated by Israeli society (as polls show popularity of the party rises during war time), this could be strategically on the table for the Israeli government.

Hamas seek to allow Abbas and the PA the return to Gaza immediately and to start official meetings with the PA in order to form unity between both parties and discuss elections in the West Bank and Gaza.

September 17, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 1 Comment

UN Secretary General arrives in Gaza, refuses to meet families of prisoners

Palestine Information Center – August 30, 2017

GAZA – UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres arrived Wednesday morning in the besieged Gaza Strip after he visited Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories as part of his first regional itinerary.

According to the Palestinian Information Center in Gaza, Guterres and his entourage were allowed by Israel into Gaza through the Beit Hanoun (Erez) border crossing.

Meanwhile, families of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails have been rallying since the morning near the Beit Hanoun crossing in protest at Guterres’s refusal to meet with them upon his arrival in Gaza.

The UN chief had held several meetings with officials from the Palestinian Authority and Israel after he arrived last Sunday in the occupied territories, coming from Kuwait.

Guterres, who refused to meet with relatives of Palestinian prisoners, met last Monday with families of Israeli captives being held in Gaza and expressed his sympathy with them.

The Prisoner Committee in Gaza slammed Guterres for refusing to talk and listen to the families of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and ignoring their suffering, calling on him to reconsider his “inhumane position,” especially since the occupied Palestinian people are “the true victims of Israel’s terrorism.”

According to the UNRWA, the UN secretary-general will read today a statement in one of its schools in Beit Lahia city, north of Gaza, before leaving soon on the same day.

August 30, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Dirar Abu Sisi once again ordered to six months in isolation

Gazan engineer Dirar Abu Sisi, AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network – August 26, 2017

Imprisoned Palestinian engineer kidnapped from Ukraine, Dirar Abu Sisi, had his isolation extended for another six months by the Israeli occupation on 26 August. Abu Sisi’s health has recently deteriorated and he is suffering from severe pain in his lower back; he has been held in long-term solitary confinement repeatedly since he was abducted from a train by Israeli intelligence forces.

Abu Sis, 47, i is an engineer from Gaza who was abducted from the Ukraine on 19 February 2011 by the Mossad. He is married (to a Ukrainian citizen), the father of six children, and holds a graduate degree in electrical engineering. He was the deputy engineer of Gaza’s power plant. From Gaza, Veronika Abu Sisi, his wife, has continually advocated for his release and an end to his isolation.

“We won’t give up until Dirar Abu Sisi is released,” Veronika Abu Sisi said in 2013. “They steal our land, they put us in jail, but we have the right to live here. This is our home. I just hope my husband will be back soon with me and our children.” The family has six children. Abu Sisi is now serving a 21-year sentence on charges of participating in the Palestinian resistance in Gaza and continues to be subject repeatedly to solitary confinement and isolation.

August 26, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

After being blocked from entering Gaza Aid convoy to return to Algeria

Palestine Information Center – August 23, 2017

Head of the relief department of the Algerian Scholars Association, Yahya Sari, said on Tuesday that negotiations with Egyptian authorities to allow the Algerian humanitarian convoy to enter the Gaza Strip have reached a dead end.

Sari told Quds Press that the convoy is preparing to return to Algeria as soon as possible so that the medicines are not damaged due to heat.

He pointed out that Egyptian authorities have given their reasons for preventing the entry of the convoy into Gaza, but he did not disclose them.

The 14-truck convoy, carrying medical aid worth over $4 million, contained medicines, medical supplies, ambulances and electricity generators urgently needed for Gaza’s hospitals.

The convoy named (Algeria-Gaza 4) arrived on Wednesday at the Egyptian side of Rafah crossing in preparation for entering the Gaza Strip, but it was asked on Friday evening to return to the Egyptian city of Port Said despite having all the documents required to deliver aid to Gaza.

Ammar Talbi, the deputy head of the Algerian Scholars Association, appealed two days ago to Egyptian authorities to expedite the entry of the Algerian convoy into the coastal enclave fearing that some medicines may deteriorate due to the high temperature.

Talbi said in a statement that the convoy was purely humanitarian and that it left Algeria after obtaining the approvals of both Algerian and Egyptian authorities in early February.

August 23, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , | 2 Comments

Islamic Jihad, Hamas and PFLP reject PNC meeting in Ramallah

Palestine Information Center – August 16, 2017

GAZA – The Islamic Jihad Movement on Tuesday announced its rejection of the Palestinian National Council (PNC) meeting set to be held in Ramallah and considered it a prelude to the exclusion of Palestinian resistance factions from any future national project.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Movement said that the statements made about the current arrangements for holding a PNC meeting will entrench the internal division.

According to statements by a number of Fatah representatives lately, the Palestinian Authority (PA) president, Mahmoud Abbas, decided unilaterally to hold a PNC meeting in Ramallah in September.

Islamic Jihad called on Fatah Movement and the PA to abide by the understandings reached in Cairo and in the PNC preparatory committee meetings in Beirut.

Hamas Movement as well as the Popular and Democratic Fronts for the Liberation of Palestine expressed earlier their rejection of Fatah’s call for a PNC meeting in Ramallah.

August 16, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , | Leave a comment

‘Palestinians reject Israel’s system of apartheid and racial discrimination’

RT | July 24, 2017

The escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict isn’t religious, it’s about the rights of Palestinian people to be free from the longest occupation in modern history, says Mustafa Barghouti, the General Secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas suspended all ties with Israel on Friday after deadly clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli police. Protests broke out after Israeli authorities installed security cameras and metal detectors at the revered Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site.

Temple Mount, or Haram esh-Sharif as it is known to Muslims, is one of the most contested religious sites in the world. For Jews, it is believed to have been the site of two biblical temples, the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the hill is Islam’s third holiest site.

The Arab League has warned Israel about crossing “a red line” in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict over the sacred city of Jerusalem. Meanwhile, an Israeli minister said the metal detectors that triggered the violence will remain.

The League’s foreign ministers will hold an emergency meeting in Cairo on Wednesday.

RT: Palestinian President Abbas suspended all relations with Israel. How would you comment on that? Are you surprised?

Mustafa Barghouti: No, I am not, actually. He should have done that some time ago because the Israeli behavior is a behavior that wants to kill any possibility of peace in this place. Its policy is directed at destroying the two-state solution either by the measures they are taking at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is a very provocative act or by the law they have just passed which prohibits even negotiations over Jerusalem or by the increased settlement activities which have exceeded any previous expansion before. All these factors have led to this reaction. They have killed three of our people and injured no less than 432 demonstrators. All the people were just praying peacefully, I was there myself, and I saw myself – there was no violence from the Palestinian side and suddenly we were attacked with bullets, with the clubs, they were very aggressive toward the Palestinian prayers.

RT: Surely Israel has the right to step up security given what has happened [two Israelis policemen were killed at the entrance to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on July,14]? Can you understand Israel’s nervousness?

MB: No, I think Netanyahu has heard his own security people advising him to take away these metal detectors and stop changing the status quo in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, but he didn’t listen to them. He proceeded by listening to the extreme ministers in his cabinet. The result is this explosion that we see. Not only in Jerusalem but all over the West Bank. You must understand this is not a religious conflict. This is about national rights; this is about the right of the Palestinian people to be free from occupation. To get their freedom after 50 years of occupation which is the longest occupation in modern history. This is about people rejecting to be treated as third class citizens; this is about rejecting a system of apartheid and racial discrimination that Israel has created. To people in Jerusalem and the rest of the Palestinian territories, people are saying “enough is enough, we cannot take it anymore, we want our freedom, we want our independence.”  This is the essence of what is happening.

‘Palestine freezing contacts with Tel Aviv is right move amid constant Israeli provocations’

RT: What is your reaction to the move by Palestinian President Abbas to freeze all contacts with Israel?

Miko Peled, peace activist: It is certainly the right move. Israeli provocations have led to these massive protests; this is definitely the right approach and the right move. We need also to remember Israel has been denying two million people in Gaza water and electricity in this terrible heat – people are dying of thirst and heat just a 45-minute drive away from Jerusalem. Israel has been engaged in serious provocations against the Palestinians.

RT: What is your opinion about the Israeli argument that more security measures are needed?

MP: The presence of the Israeli security forces in the old city of Jerusalem, around the Al Al-Aqsa Mosque are a constant provocation to the Palestinians and an infringement of the Palestinians’ right to practice their faith, to worship at the Al-Aqsa Mosque… And the provocation is not just an existence of this huge number of forces but also the way they behave, the way they treat the Palestinians, the way they arrest youth, the constant harassment as people try to get in and out of the old city, in and out of the holy sanctuary. So, to expect that there will be such oppression on the rights of Palestinians and there will be no violence in return is a little naïve. But we have to look at the fact that the main form of resistance has been in a form of civil disobedience with thousands of worshipers refusing to go through the metal detectors, standing outside the mosque and praying peacefully albeit standing under the weapons and the guns of the Israeli security forces…

July 24, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Israel imprisons UN official, again – UN’s Guterres says nothing

Israel imprisons UN official, again – UN’s Guterres says nothing

If Americans Knew | July 17, 2017

Israel arrested Hamdan Temraz, 61, deputy director of the United Nations Department of Safety and Security in Gaza, while he was on his way to a work meeting. Four days later the UN still had not issued a statement about this.

The UN has recently come under increased pressure from the United States and Israel.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley announced to an adoring AIPAC audience in March that she had pressured the UN to remove an official report showing that Israel was guilty of ‘apartheid.’

All 100 US Senators signed a letter in April noting that the US is the largest single donor to the UN and demanding that the UN end its allegedly unfair treatment of Israel.

On July 14th UN Secretary-General António Guterres issued a statement condemning the killing of two Israeli policeman by three assailants (who were then killed by Israeli forces), announcing: “This incident has the potential to ignite further violence. All must act responsibly to avoid escalation.”

Yet, Secretary-General Guterres issued no such statement two days earlier when Israeli forces invading the Palestinian city of Jenin killed two young Palestinians.

Now the UN Secretary-General is saying nothing about Israel’s imprisonment of a UN official from Gaza as he tried to travel to a meeting.

Richard Silverstein reports in Tikun Olam:

This is getting old.  Israel has once again arrested a United Nations official based in Gaza as he attempted to cross into Israel to attend a work meeting there.  An Israeli security source has confirmed to me the linked story above and the Shin Bet arrest.  The news is under gag order in Israel and no media there may report the story.  This conveniently insulates the Israeli public from the news that their supposedly democratic nation has arrested human rights personnel from the most reputable NGO in the world.  It also allows the Shin Bet time to build yet another fraudulent case against yet another Palestinian official doing international humanitarian relief work in Gaza.

Since Israelis can’t know this information, I’m going to tell them here.  The arrested man is Hamdan Temraz, 61, who is the deputy director of the United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) in Gaza.  He was arrested at the Erez crossing on July 12th despite having a valid entry permit.

The Palestinian human rights group, al Mezan released this statement to the Palestine Information Center, protesting the latest Israeli outrage:

The Center explained that such Israeli practices are aimed at blocking the work of the international organizations in the Gaza Strip, pointing out that 8 employees working in these organizations have been arrested since the beginning of 2014.

It affirmed that hundreds of employees are denied the permits required to enter or exit Gaza to be able to follow up their organizations’ work, not to mention the Israeli incitement campaigns they are exposed to.

I find it odd that a UN employee has been in an Israeli prison for four days and there has been no statement from the international body.  Is this how they come to the defense of their staff when it’s under threat in a police state?  I left a phone message with the UN press office seeking a statement, but have not heard from them so far.

It’s no coincidence that last month, Netanyahu called for the UN to dismantle UNWRA, the major relief organizations in  Gaza.  He appealed directly to U.S. ambassador, David Friedman aka “The Settler’s Friend.”  This rehashes a common Israeli narrative in which evil Hamas co-opts everyone and everything to do its dirty terrorist work in the enclave.  The U.S. is far the largest donor supporting UNWRA, providing $350-million annually to support the millions of Gazans who are unemployed and undernourished due to the decade-long Israeli siege.  Israel hopes that the new Trump regime will realize its ambitions to restrain or suppress the aid work in Gaza, which serves to remind the world of Israel’s ongoing assault against its innocent civilian population.

Last summer, Israel arrested two Palestinians in Gaza.  Waheed Borsh worked for the UN Development Program and Mohammed el-Halabi for the Christian relief group, World Vision.  Both were accused of exploiting their NGO status to undertake covert activities on behalf of Hamas.  In the latter case, el-Halabi was accused of funneling international relief funds to the Islamist group.  In every instance, the NGOs undertook full, comprehensive investigations and uncovered no evidence to support the Israeli charges.  But since Israel functions as a police state as far as Palestinians are concerned, guilt and conviction were assured.  Therefore, in order not to spend decades behind bars, each copped a plea that offered a lesser sentence.

This charade permits Israel to bolster its fake claim that the international relief organizations aren’t that at all–but rather thinly concealed support groups for militant international terrorists.  This, in turn, satisfies the Israeli government’s core far-right constituency, which can tell itself how much the world hates us and how justified it is in utilizing maximum force in “defending” itself from enemies lurking virtually everywhere.

So here’s how it will go with Temraz.  He will be accused of taking advantage of his position directing security for the UN agency by permitting Hamas to do something that somehow jeopardizes Israeli security.  Perhaps he allowed the militants to build tunnels under UN facilities.  Perhaps he offered materials to Hamas to build tunnels.  Or even better: he provided the fake IDs the Haram al Sharif attackers used to gain entrance to the Muslim holy site.  Who knows what they can devise?  The thing is, these Shabak agents aren’t very imaginative.  Nor do they need to be.  No one reviews the cases they bring for credibility.  No judge cares to do so.  He or she would rapidly find themselves on the road to career oblivion if they did.  So any half-assed concoction can send a man away for a decade or more simply because some agent has to make his quota and throw the fear of god into both Palestinians and the relief agencies servicing Gaza.  What a seamy mess of a national security regime this is.

July 17, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | 1 Comment

U.N. says Gaza is ‘de-developing’ even faster than expected, but omits main cause

By Kathryn Shihadah | If Americans Knew | July 16, 2017

The United Nations has often provided valuable reports on the situation in the Palestinian Occupied Territories (although in at least one case the UN removed such a report following pressure from Israel and the United States – see this, this, and this).

The UN’s latest report on the region, “Gaza Ten Years Later,” contains much valuable, factual information. However, parts of the report exhibit a troubling lack of proportionality. This flaw is then maintained in quoted comments on the UN report by National Public Radio journalist Daniel Estrin.

Below is the NPR news story on the UN report, with comments in Italics that discuss some of its statements:  

U.N. Says Gaza Is ‘De-Developing’ Even Faster Than Expected,  by Merrit Kennedy, NPR

Five years ago, the U.N. warned that Gaza is expected to be unlivable by 2020. A new report now says conditions are deteriorating there even faster than it forecast.

“What needed to happen has not happened, and the indicators are accelerating instead of slowing down,” Robert Piper, the U.N. Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, told NPR’s Daniel Estrin.

“In a nutshell, Gaza continues to de-develop in front of our eyes,” Piper adds. “From health care, to unemployment, to energy, to access to water, across all of these fields, Gaza’s 2 million people are seeing faster and faster decline in their living conditions.”

The population of Gaza, a 130-square-mile strip of land on the Mediterranean, is growing faster than projected, while infrastructure and services haven’t been able to keep up. The population is now forecast to reach 2.2 million people in 2020, up from the 2012 projection of 2.13 million.

The UN report, and the NPR discussion, correctly highlight the rapid pace at which Gaza is moving toward humanitarian disaster. However, as the discourse continues, a moral equivalence fallacy begins to emerge. Daniel lists three sources of Gaza’s trouble:

“Many of the problems stem from the Hamas takeover of Gaza 10 years ago, Israel and Egypt’s blockade of Gaza and the Palestinian Authority’s recent reduction of electricity to Gaza to pressure its rival Hamas,” Daniel reports.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Undoubtedly, Hamas’ feud with the PA is part of the problem; so are the electricity shortage and the closed crossing to Egypt. But placing these factors on par with Israel’s now ten-year-long blockade ignores the facts—some of which are spelled out in the UN report:

Israel retains full control of all movement of people and goods to and from Gaza by sea, air and land, with the exception of a 12 km strip of border with Egypt…Following the expulsion of the PA by Hamas in the summer of 2007, the Israeli Government declared Gaza “hostile territory” and, again citing security concerns, announced a number of new sanctions and restrictions on the access and movement of people and goods, ultimately amounting to a blockade by sea, air and land. Many of the restrictions imposed then, are still in place. (Italics added)

It is worth taking a moment to discuss the question of Hamas, which continues to be a scapegoat for Gaza’s ongoing crisis. Hamas’ complicated rivalry with, and appropriation of power from, Fatah and the PA–and its reputation as a terrorist organization–need to be challenged.

Hamas won a democratic election in Gaza and the West Bank (in spite of the US spending $2.3 million to support Fatah and Israeli obstruction), and was promptly discredited by the US and the EU. Israel commenced sanctions only 3 days after the election. These reactions were nothing short of collective punishment by world superpowers, simply because the “wrong” party won. The charge that Hamas is nothing but a terrorist group, and Palestinians elected Hamas leaders to destroy Israel, shows a profound misunderstanding of Hamas and its rise to power.

Neve Gordon explained in this excellent 2006 article that “the organization’s popularity in the Occupied Territories actually stems from its being seen as the voice of Palestinian dignity and the symbol of the defense of Palestinian rights at a time of unprecedented hardship, humiliation, and despair…In other words, Hamas was elected not only because it is considered an alternative to the corrupt Palestinian Authority, but also because Israel created the conditions that made it an indispensable social movement.”

Back to the de-development of Gaza. In his discussion of the Gaza crisis, Daniel also neglects to mention the three assaults by Israel in 2008, 2012, and 2014. The UN report does mention them, but the description is problematic:

In addition to the impact of the violent Hamas takeover and ensuing Israeli measures imposed in 2007, three rounds of armed hostilities between Israel and Hamas – with the most devastating round in 2014 – have dealt repeated blows to the Gazan economy and damaged essential infrastructure.

These words may be technically accurate: yes, Hamas took over Gaza amid violence; yes, Israel imposed “measures” in 2007; yes, there have been three rounds of “armed hostilities”—but the statement is egregiously inequitable. It is absurd to suggest that the Hamas takeover was equally as damaging to Gaza as the three deadly assaults by Israel were. And the portrayal of the hostilities as though between two equal, evenly-matched armies when Israel has the latest weaponry and Gaza is essentially unarmed, is patently false. Here is a more precise description of the lopsided outcome of the hostilities, found further along in the UN report:

The first major round of hostilities broke out on 27 December 2008 and lasted for more than three weeks. During this time, nearly 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis18 were killed and some 60,000 homes were damaged or destroyed…The second major escalation of hostilities began on 14 November 2012 and lasted for one week, in which 174 Palestinians, including 107 civilians, and six Israelis, of which three were civilians, were killed, and some 10,000 homes damaged. The latest, and most devastating round of hostilities, took place between 8 July and 26 August 2014. During these 51 days, 2,251 Palestinians, including at least 146 civilians, and 71 Israelis, of whom five were civilians, were killed, and 171,000 homes were damaged.

The death toll after three “rounds of hostilities” was 3,825 Palestinians and 90 Israelis. The total number of homes damaged was 241,000—all Palestinian. In addition, schools, hospitals, and power plants were decimated. This is not a description of the aftermath of “war,” but of blitzkrieg.

The NPR story goes on to mention in passing Israel’s regulation of the border—without acknowledging the seriousness of the closure and how it affects any attempts at reconstruction. He even equates Israel’s meddling with Egyptian actions, although Egypt shares only a 7-mile border vs. Israel’s which is 32 miles long and a much greater object of hostility. Here is the statement:

Israel maintains tight control over the movement of people and goods from all sides of Gaza, aside from the 7-mile-long border Gaza shares with Egypt, which is rarely open.

The UN report describes more fully the impact the closure is having on efforts to rebuild over the last three years. This is not just “tight control”—it is crippling restriction on building materials and other critical supplies:

[Restrictions] imposed on the Strip continue to significantly impact the daily lives of Gaza’s inhabitants and the efforts of the international community to implement humanitarian and development projects. Israel considers many materials needed for these projects to be ‘dual-use’ and posing security concerns, thus subjecting them to severe import restrictions. These include construction materials, raw material for the productive sectors, including wood and pesticides, medical equipment and water pumps necessary to deal with seasonal flooding.

It is worth noting that Israeli limitation of imports included (in 2010, and is mostly still in place) wood for construction, cement, iron, tarps (for roofs on huts), fishing rods, farm animals, many spare parts for farming equipment, notebooks, pens, pencils, and toys.

The NPR report then moves on to the topic of water:

By the end of 2017, the U.N. projects Gaza’s only water aquifer will be depleted. The damage could be irreversible by 2020 due to salt water entering the aquifer. That would be “catastrophic,” the report says, and the “living and health conditions of the people of Gaza can only further deteriorate, exposing the population to water-borne illnesses, and other threats.”

The U.N. had previously said that the aquifer would be depleted by 2016, earlier than the current projection. Piper says this small piece of positive news is more akin to “re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic than really having much to celebrate.”

This is objectively true—although the image of “deck chairs on the Titanic” makes the Gaza situation sound more like a movie trailer than a humanitarian crisis. Let’s add some detail from the UN report to shed light on the reality:

Access to safe drinking water in Gaza through the public water network plummeted [after 2000]…As a result, reliance on water tanks, containers and bottled water rose from 1.4% to 89.6%…Having to rely on water trucking comes at a high cost on consumers, as trucked water is 15-20 times more expensive than water from the network. This particularly impacts the most vulnerable who are often poor and unemployed and do not have access to piped network water. Trucked water is also unregulated and unreliable in terms of quality.

This gives us a clearer picture of not only the expense but also the continued risk posed as the public water network becomes unusable. People of Gaza pay a premium for water that may or may not be safe.

Israel has an obligation to the people of Gaza which should be part of any conversation about the crisis. A number of prominent human rights organizations have determined that whether Gaza is considered occupied, in armed conflict with Israel, or under Israel’s control, international law demands that Israel solve the water crisis. 

NPR then moves on to waste water, describing the nightmare scenario that is happening today:

At the same time, the amount of poorly treated sewage dumped into the sea is increasing, now equivalent to 43 Olympic size pools daily. That is expected to increase by almost 10 percent by 2020, which could have “significant environmental consequences,” the report warns.

The U.N. says new water treatment facilities need to be constructed to address the water crisis. However, Israel is limiting imports on many of the materials needed for construction because it says they could be used for military purposes.

Electricity is another critical need in Gaza. The NPR report continues:

And any future new [sewage treatment] plants would require a steady electrical supply, which at the moment is highly uncertain.

In fact, “an 11-year-old child has not experienced more than 12 hours of electricity in a single day in his/her lifetime,” according to the report. It says that in the most pessimistic 2020 estimate, only 25 percent of Gaza’s electricity demand would be met.

The economy of Gaza, its employment figures, and health care provisions are also notable. NPR reports:

The economy in Gaza has significantly declined in the last decade, with per capita GDP decreasing by 5.3 percent between 2006 and 2016. The report describes Gaza’s economic trajectory as “de-development,” even as the occupied West Bank has seen 48.5 percent growth in per capita GDP between 2006 and 2016.

Gaza’s unemployment rate is at more than 40 percent, according to the latest figures. It’s particularly severe for 20-24 year olds, at 60.3 percent, and for women, at 64.4 percent.

The number of doctors, nurses and hospital beds has also not been able to keep pace with the growing population. The report says, “while the population has doubled since 2000, the number of functioning primary health care clinics has decreased from 56 to 49.”

Given these “unacceptable” conditions, Piper acknowledges that for some, Gaza would already be deemed unlivable. “For many of us, we’d say that threshold is well and truly passed,” he said. “How do you manage in these sorts of conditions?”

In the report, Piper states: “It is profoundly unjust and inhuman to put Gaza’s civilians through such an ordeal.” He calls them “the victims of various policies by many different actors.”

When there is a victim, there is also a perpetrator. Gaza’s often goes almost unnamed. We must not forget who it is or rest until the humanitarian crisis is averted. 

But at least NPR reported on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, unlike most other mainstream news organizations, including the New York Times, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News.


 

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July 16, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Opposing Zionism is not racism, rules Scottish court

By Yvonne Ridley | MEMO | July 14, 2017

In yet another landmark legal victory, members of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign emerged from court victorious today after being accused of racism. Their “crime”? Standing up to Zionism.

The trial ended three years of speculation and pressure for SPSC members whose robust defence of their actions won the day in Glasgow Sherriff’s Court when the verdict was announced on Friday.

Four days of evidence and cross-examinations earlier this month focussed on the actions of two SPSC members who faced charges of racism and aggravated trespass for a protest against Israeli company Jericho cosmetics, which operates around the Dead Sea in the occupied West Bank. The protest was held in the wake of Israel’s 2014 military offensive against Palestinian civilians besieged in the Gaza Strip. More than 2,200 Palestinians were killed by the Israelis during the offensive, including 550 children, before in the war ended on 26 August. During the demonstration on 13 September 2014, the SPSC protesters denounced the killings.

Police were called to the shopping centre where the protest was being held, leading to the arrest of the two SPSC members accused of racism. “In other words,” explained Mick Napier, one of those arrested, “we were accused of being motivated by hatred of Israelis rather than opposition to Israel’s repeated massacres, apartheid across the whole of Palestine and genocidal violence in Gaza.”

During the Glasgow trial, the SPSC was buoyed by a High Court ruling in London that the Conservative government in Westminster acted unlawfully when it tried to prevent local councils in Britain from divesting from companies involved in Israel’s military occupation. The successful legal challenge for the right to boycott was brought by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in London, supported by War on Want, the Campaign Against the Arms Trade and the Quakers.

However, Napier wasn’t convinced that the result of the latest trial was a foregone conclusion. “Given their past record, we felt it was unlikely that even this High Court ruling in favour of BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions] would stop Scottish prosecutors’ related efforts to criminalise the campaign in support of Palestinian freedom.”

The prosecutor — called the Procurator Fiscal in the Scottish legal system — claimed in open court that the two accused in the Glasgow case were recycling an ancient anti-Semitic “Jewish blood libel” by speaking about Israeli mass murder of Palestinians. The Procurator Fiscal’s office made these claims, said Napier, while the violated people of Gaza “were still looking for ice-cream freezers and vegetable refrigerators in which to store the bodies of children killed by Israel’s military.”

In their testimony last month, Napier and his co-accused Jim Watson both rejected the claims made by prosecution witnesses, a Chief Inspector of police, the manager of the Jericho stall and two local Zionist activists. The prosecution claim was that staff were intimidated by “racist” placards and the shouting of “racist abuse”; this was the description of the SPSC’s criticism of the pro-Israel counter-demonstrators for supporting Israel’s most recent massacre of Palestinians.

The “racist” placard with which the Procurator Fiscal and Zionist witnesses took particular issue was a symbolic but graphic image of blood dripping under the name “Dead Sea cosmetics”. Napier pointed out that at the time of their protest, the UN Secretary-General was describing Israel’s massacre of thousands of Palestinians as a “moral outrage and criminal act” and a “gross violation of humanitarian law.”

“When the Scottish government joined in by denouncing the ‘deep inhumanity’ of the Israeli massacre,” noted Napier, “the Scottish procurators fiscal were working hand in glove with pro-Israel lobby groups to silence voices of Palestine solidarity.”

The SPSC has faced repeated efforts by pro-Israel lobbyists and Scottish prosecutors to criminalise the group’s pro-Palestine activities. The Zionist record to-date is one of almost total failure; legal action has failed to secure any convictions of pro-Palestine activists. “There was, however, a consolation prize [for the Zionists] when we were both found guilty of refusing to leave the shopping centre when asked to do so by the police,” said Napier. “I was also convicted of aggravated trespass for protesting inside the shopping centre. We will be appealing against both convictions so any celebrations by the Zionists will, I suggest, be a bit premature.”

In February last year, two employees of the pro-Israel Community Security Trust made allegations against SPSC members but that was also thrown out by Kilmarnock Sheriff Court when the Sheriff ruled that the crime as alleged had not taken place. “Had we not had the benefit of an Al-Jazeera Arabic language broadcast of the protest where the CST tried to secure an assault conviction there might have been a different outcome,” added Mick Napier.

Anyone wanting to help the legal fund for this latest appeal can donate on the SPSC website here: http://www.scottishpsc.org.uk

July 14, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Haneyya delivers first speech as Hamas’s leader

Palestine Information Center – July 5, 2017

GAZA – The newly-elected head of Hamas’s political bureau, Ismail Haneyya, delivered on Wednesday his first speech since taking office in which he addressed all Palestinian issues.

Held in Gaza city, the speech was attended by a large number of officials from different Palestinian factions as well as other political, media and religious figures.

Haneyya stressed that the escalation waged against the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails must stop, describing the administrative detention policy targeting both Palestinian citizens and MPs in the occupied West Bank as “terrorism”.

He expressed his pride of the Palestinian resistance, especially the Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas Movement, and denounced labeling it as a form of terrorism, explaining that the real terrorism is embodied in the Israeli occupation.

Haneyya pointed to a US-Israeli project that is aimed at liquidating the Palestinian cause, stressing that the Palestinian people will never accept any settlements that contradict their rights of return and establishing a Palestinian state.

As for Jerusalem and al-Aqsa Mosque, Hamas’s leader asserted that the attempts exerted by the Israeli occupation to obliterate the Islamic identity of al-Aqsa Mosque through the repeated settlers’ incursions and the temporal and spatial division of the mosque will fail.

Haneyya praised in his speech the steadfastness of the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, “the center of conflict”, as he put it, and those in the 1948 occupied territories who are constantly subjected to Israeli terrorism and racial discrimination.

On the issue of the Palestinian refugees in the diaspora, he underlined that the right of return is sacred and inalienable, appealing to the Arab countries hosting Palestinian refugees to provide them decent living conditions.

Speaking about the situation in Gaza, he strongly condemned the latest decisions imposed by the Palestinian Authority on the Gaza Strip which led to furthering the suffering of the Gazan citizens living under an 11-year blockade.

Haneyya pointed out that efforts are ongoing with the Egyptian authorities to reach solutions for Gaza’s crises, appreciating at the same time the role Qatar has played in the past years in supporting Gaza by all means.

He proposed a political initiative that stipulates the formulation of a unified political program and the formation of a national unity government that assumes its obligations toward the Palestinian people in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The initiative also includes preparing for free and fair legislative and presidential elections with the participation of all parties, ending security coordination between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, and removing all obstacles to achieving the initiative, the foremost of which is reversing all punitive measures taken against Gaza.

Haneyya stated that Hamas seeks to maintain good relations with all Arab countries without interfering in their internal conflicts.

At the international level, Hamas’s leader asked the international community not to believe the “black propaganda” waged by Israel against his movement, emphasizing that Hamas is a national liberation movement and a genuine part of the Palestinian people.

July 5, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel plans to install Dahlan instead of Abbas

MEMO | June 29, 2017

A leading Israeli writer revealed yesterday an Israel-Egypt-UAE plan to install Mohamed Dahlan as the leader of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip instead of Mahmoud Abbas.

In an opinion piece in Haaretz, Zvi Bar’el said that while Hamas would remain in control of security and not be demilitarised, at least “Israel would have a partner in Gaza who supports reconciliation” with the Zionist state.

Dahlan, he pointed out, is the Palestinian president’s “political rival” and if the plan succeeds it is expected that Abbas would be “pushed into a dark corner”, leaving the former Fatah official free to move against him. The endgame could see Dahlan installed as Abbas’s successor at the top of the Palestinian Authority, Fatah and the PLO.

According to Bar’el, Egypt will ease the siege of Gaza by opening the Rafah Border Crossing for people and goods. The UAE, meanwhile, will fund a power station on the Egyptian side of the border near Rafah; a port is also a possibility. Dahlan is very close to the governments in Cairo and Abu Dhabi.

“It’s still too early to assess whether this plan will be fully implemented,” he wrote, “and if Hamas will agree to place Dahlan at the head of the Gaza government, a step that could all but sever Gaza from the West Bank, especially given the long feud between Abbas and Dahlan.” On the other hand, the writer pointed out, if the plan does come to fruition, it could make an Israeli-Egyptian dream come true. A “state of Gaza” could become a reality with Dahlan at its head, something that, for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, is “the plan’s key”.

If the plan succeeds, said Bar’el, it would “neutralise” the role of Qatar and Turkey in Gaza. He described Israel’s policy of “what’s good for Hamas is bad for Israel, and what helps Gazans strengthens Hamas” as a “failed concept”. Instead, he clearly believes that this “new strategy” which places the people of Gaza first should be given serious consideration.

Observers point out that it is significant that Bar’el refers to “Gazans” and “people of Gaza” rather than Palestinians in Gaza. “This,” said one, “tries to convince the world that ‘Gazans’ are somehow not Palestinians and all actually belong in the Gaza Strip. The reality is that most of the residents of Gaza do not originate there; they come from places inside what is now Israel and are refugees by design, not choice.”

“The Gaza Strip” is a relatively recent term, he added. “It’s only been used since the Nakba of 1948, prior to which the land was simply part of historic Palestine.”

Read also:

Hamas delegation reaches ‘understandings’ with Egypt and meets Dahlan reps

Dahlan behind differences between Egypt and Fatah

June 29, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hamas accuses Israel of fabricating rocket claim to justify airstrikes in Gaza

Ma’an – June 27, 2017

BETHLEHEM – The Israeli air force launched at least two airstrikes on the besieged Gaza Strip early Tuesday, with the Israeli army saying the attacks targeted two Hamas military infrastructures and were in response to a rocket fired from Gaza late Monday, which allegedly landed in an open area in Israel’s Shaar Hanegev Regional Council that borders northeastern Gaza, causing no injuries or damages.

No injuries were reported as a result of the airstrikes.

Palestinian news agency Wafa cited local sources in Gaza, saying that strikes hit multiple locations across the small Palestinian territory, including northwest of Gaza City, east of the Gaza Valley area, and Nasr neighborhood in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah.

The strikes left material damages to a number of homes, the report said.

Separately, Wafa reported that the Israeli army attacked agricultural land east of the Gaza Valley with artillery missiles and another agricultural area east of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, reporting no injuries.

“Since the terror organization Hamas is the ruler of the Gaza Strip, it is responsible for any attempt to harm the State of Israel,” the Israeli army said in a statement following the early morning aerial attack.

However, in a statement, the Hamas movement accused Israel of fabricating claims of rocket fire to justify the attack. “The Israeli claim of a rocket being fired from Gaza and issuing a statement on behalf of ISIS to justify the escalation and an attack of resistance positions are part of a dangerous and transparent Israeli game.”

The statement referred to reports in Israeli media that claimed a Salafist group in Gaza affiliated to the so-called Islamic State claimed responsibility for the alleged rocket fire.

Hamas has not claimed responsibility for any rocket attacks since a ceasefire was declared after the 2014 war, and the movement has attempted to clamp down on armed activity by smaller political groups that do launch rockets from the territory.

Israeli officials have nonetheless accused Hamas of “preparing” for another war with Israel and have threatened retaliatory measures against the Gaza Strip as a whole.

The attacks came as Palestinians in the besieged coastal enclave are being forced to cope with just a few hours of electricity a day since Israel agreed to a Palestinian Authority request to dramatically cut electricity supplies to territory.

The Gaza Strip marked the ten-year anniversary of Israel’s siege of the small Palestinian enclave this month, with the humanitarian situation there continuing to alarm rights groups that have denounced the Gaza’s inhuman conditions as “unparalleled in the modern world.”

June 27, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, False Flag Terrorism | , , , , | 1 Comment