Israel’s attacks on Gaza ended a year ago, but the strip remains an expanse of rubble and devastation. Who’s to blame for this outrage? The New York Times has an answer: everyone but Israel.
Jodi Rudoren comes up with this response in a story that aims to whitewash Israel’s brutal treatment of Gaza by blaming the Palestinian victims along with the international community for the lack of rebuilding. It is all summed up in the story’s subhead, “Political Infighting and Lack of Funds Stymie a Reconstruction Mechanism.”
Her article takes pains to present the process as a collaborative project between the Palestinian Authority, Israel and the United Nations, and she is hazy about Israel’s role, describing it as nothing more than “involvement in approving projects and participants.”
Rudoren furthers her efforts in a single paragraph that absolves Israel completely: “[The Palestinian minister of housing], other Palestinian leaders and United Nations representatives all said that Israel had done its part in reasonable time and allowed cement into Gaza. Empty coffers, they said, are the primary problem.”
Times readers, however, never learn the direct quotes or the names of the “leaders” and “representatives” that would help substantiate this claim, nor does Rudoren explain what “Israel’s part” actually refers to here.
In fact, Israel controls everything that goes into Gaza, from people to foodstuffs to building material, and the agreed-on process for rebuilding the strip—the “reconstruction mechanism” referred to in the subhead—is built solely on Israeli demands. (Israel also blocks Gaza traffic by sea and has the full cooperation of the Egyptian government on that border as well.)
Although the United Nations and the Palestinian Authority have roles in the process, Israel determines who gets building materials, what they get and in what amounts. As Harvard-based Gaza expert Sara Roy notes, the two major documents outlining the reconstruction process “read like security plans, carefully laying out Israeli concerns and the ways in which the United Nations will accommodate them.”
Roy adds, “Israel will have to approve all projects and their locations and will be able to veto any part of the process on security grounds.” Moreover, she writes, “No mechanism for accountability or transparency will apply to Israel.”
Without doubt, Palestinian bureaucracy, donor fears of yet another attack on Gaza and other factors come into play in reconstruction efforts, but Rudoren ignores the major element, which is the Israeli blockade.
Her story, in fact, never refers to the eight-year blockade of Gaza and makes only vague mention of Israeli “control” of the enclave. Readers are left without any relevant context.
Rudoren’s article also omits other details that would place Israel’s role in a different light: the fact that by July of this year it had allowed the passage less than 1 percent of the construction materials needed to adequately house Gaza residents or that as of May, a total of 20 schools (kindergarten to college level) completely destroyed by Israel had yet to be repaired.
Readers never learn, for instance, that aid agencies in Gaza were forced to rely on temporary building materials as the Israeli-mandated process kept concrete, cement and steel supplies to a trickle. They also never learn the sequel to this chapter: that Israel stepped in to squelch the effort just as it was gaining momentum.
The project was run by Catholic Relief Services, which began using lumber to build temporary homes for the displaced residents this year, and media reports in February and March stated that 70 had been built and 40 families had moved into the new houses. CRS had plans to construct more than 100 additional wooden homes, but in April the program came to an end when Israel suddenly banned all lumber for housing.
Here we can see how Israel actually operates in the opaque rebuilding process mentioned in Rudoren’s piece. Times readers, however, never learn of this sad narrative nor of many others that would reveal how Israeli actions are destroying the economy and depressing the living conditions in Gaza.
And yet, the Times story would have us believe that Israel has “done its part” in the reconstruction of Gaza, ignoring the obvious: that Israel alone has complete control of its borders with the strip, and if Israel so willed, Gaza residents would have moved out of the rubble long ago.
After the burning alive of 18-month-old Ali Dawabsheh by a fanatical Zionist settler, the world has reacted with outrage.
The attack was so horrendous that even Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu distanced himself from it, calling it an act of terrorism.
But on today’s show we will be asking to what extent Israel is responsible for the activities of its extremists. Are these fanatical terrorists really just a few bad apples, as Netanyahu would have us believe?
Or are they the product of decades of deliberate Zionist policy to colonize stolen land?
CAIRO – Four Palestinians kidnapped at gunpoint in Egypt’s Sinai late Wednesday are members of Hamas, Egyptian security officials said, and are being held hostage by the Sinai Province militant group.
Egyptian officials told Ma’an that the four Hamas members were taken hostage by the IS-affiliated group as a bargaining chip to force Hamas to release some 50 Salafists currently imprisoned in Gaza.
The members were identified as Abd al-Basit Abd al-Dayim, Abdullah Said Abdullah Abu Jibbeen, Yasir Fathi Misbah Zanoun and Hussein Khamis al-Thabda.
Negotiations have reportedly begun between Hamas and the militant group, with the involvement of both Palestinian and Egyptian mediators.
Initial investigations suggest the Hamas members were taken to the al-Tuma village south of the city of Sheikh Zuweid.
Sources close to the Sinai Province group — which pledged allegiance to IS in November — have said the four kidnapped Hamas members would be killed if Hamas did not comply with the group’s demands.
The group has claimed responsibility for attacks on Egypt’s army which have killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers since 2013.
The attacks are allegedly in response to the bloody repression launched by the authorities under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s control, which has seen at least 1,400 killed and thousands more jailed.
Since last summer’s devastating war between Hamas and Israel in the Gaza Strip, there have been growing signs of internal unrest between Hamas security forces and other militant groups in the strip, with a string of small-scale explosions.
In June, video footage alleged to be from an IS stronghold in Syria showcased a public challenge by the group against Hamas’ power in Gaza, accusing the Gazan leadership of failing to enforce stringent religious law in the strip.
Prior to the threat, Hamas had reportedly been increasingly challenged by Salafist militant groups in Gaza, with some taking credit for rocket fire into Israel.
Four Palestinians were abducted on Wednesday evening in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula just a couple of minutes after passing Rafah Crossing, the Palestinian government in Gaza has reported.
An eyewitness who was on the same bus, said that one or two kilometres after passing the crossing, and just a couple of metres from the Egyptian army checkpoint, a number of masked armed men opened fire on the bus, entered it, called four men by their names and abducted them.
The eyewitness, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that there were 50 Palestinian passengers on the bus and insisted that there were no Egyptian security staff accompanying them.
Normally, Egyptian security staff accompany travellers’ buses from Rafah Crossing to Cairo Airport.
“Although the daily night curfew had started,” the eyewitness said, “the Egyptians insisted that the bus must begin its journey from Rafah to Cairo.”
Normally, Palestinian buses do not travel during the night curfew, which has been imposed on wide swathes of the Sinai Peninsula.
The spokesman of the Palestinian Interior Ministry in Gaza, Iyad al-Buzom, said that: “We are making urgent contacts with the highest levels of Egyptian authorities to follow up on the circumstances of what happened and we urge the Egyptian interior ministry to secure the lives of the kidnapped passengers and free them.”
Meanwhile, Salama Abu-Rbaa, the chief of an Egyptian tribe in Sinai, has accused the Egyptian intelligence services of manipulating the abduction of the Palestinians.
Speaking to a Palestinian news agency, he said that a number of his tribe’s members saw the masked men who abducted the Palestinians exiting an Egyptian armoured vehicle close to the place of the abduction.
He said that he has credible information about the four abductees and their whereabouts, insisting that they are in a military outpost near Al-Arish Sea.
Abu-Rbaa warned of a “demonised” agenda planned by the Egyptian security services, calling for the Palestinians to be careful about such plans.
Israel’s occupation of the Gaza Strip is ongoing, despite frequent reminders that it “withdrew” its settlers and army posts 10 years ago. Legally and practically it is still the occupying power and it remains inflexible.
For example, Palestinian territorial waters off the coast of the Gaza Strip as defined by the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, should extend to 12 nautical miles (22.2 km or 13.8 miles) but the Israeli navy enforces a six mile limit, sometimes even five and a half miles, for Gaza’s fishermen. In addition, the Israeli occupation authorities often make petty and spiteful “security” excuses to reduce the already reduced fishing limit to three miles.
On top of that, Palestinian fisherman are harassed by the Israeli navy on a daily basis; their boats are fired upon, sunk and confiscated, and the fishermen themselves are often arrested if they are not killed or wounded in the process. All of this, of course, has an impact on the amount of fish caught off the Gaza coast, which should be a rich fishing ground. Catching more and larger fish requires sailing into international waters, as fishermen from other countries do.
Palestinian investors in Gaza have thus resorted to fish farming. Speaking to MEMO, Yasser Al-Haj said that he invested in this sector for personal gain as well as to ease the crisis in the Palestinian market. Although it is not regarded as a solution to the crisis, it can alleviate it.
Al-Haj’s newly-opened fish farm only produces one type of fish, sea bream. It is imported from Israel and then raised in this farm and others. He says that his farm produces 7 per cent of the Gaza Strip’s needs and sells about 250kg a day. One kilo of sea bream costs about $12.
For an ordinary middle-class citizen, this price is high, but for a poor citizen it is very expensive, given the average income in the Gaza Strip. The high price is set by many factors, including the price of fish feed from Israel, which is $1,850 per tonne, plus the issue of the power cuts suffered across the territory.
Fish farms require generators to keep the oxygen moving and water pumping continuously in the ponds. Yasser Al-Haj notes that he is unable to breed the fish in the sea because of pollution, which poses a danger to the fish and people who eat them. The sewage processing plants aren’t working due to the power cuts and lack of maintenance resulting from the Israeli blockade.
Images from MEMO photographer: Mohammad Asad
Palestinian Hamdi Abu Rahma is a gifted photographer whose work in Gaza has been highly acclaimed around the world. He is also now at the centre of a political storm after he was told that he could not travel to Britain in order to take part in the renowned Edinburgh International Festival. Scottish politicians and supporters have accused the British government of trying to damage the reputation of the festival by its “overly bureaucratic and insensitive decision” to refuse Abu Rahma a visa.
The row has erupted as Prime Minister David Cameron prepares to roll out the red carpet for Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu. The timing is particularly sensitive, as an online petition calling for Netanyahu to be arrested for war crimes when he arrives in London next month has already attracted more than half of the 100,000 needed to trigger a parliamentary debate.
Now that the decision to reject the young Palestinian’s visa application has been challenged by members of the Scottish Government, as well as festival organisers and pro-Palestinian activists, there are hopes that the UK Visa and Immigration agency will think again.
Already widely travelled to show his work at exhibitions around the globe, this is the first time that Abu Rahma has had a visa application rejected without warning. Some observers are particularly surprised since the focus of his photography is about the power of non-violent resistance in Palestine, which he has captured through his camera lens.
“The UK government refused to give me a visa today and the reason for refusal was that I didn’t show any bank statements or documentation to demonstrate my ability to support myself during my visit,” he said in a prepared statement. “Despite sending complete evidence of the sponsorship provided to fund my trip and all contact details of my sponsors, proving that all my travel and accommodation costs have been met, they still refused my application.”
Abu Rahma pointed out that he has travelled extensively in order to tell the Palestinian story through his photographs but Britain is the first country that has refused him entry. “We all know the real reason for this refusal,” he said. “Britain knows very well what my trip is about. I am not going there to claim asylum or beg in the streets. I am going there to educate the British people and pose some questions.” Such questions as: “Have you ever asked Israel why they kill and murder innocent men, women and children in Palestine? Do you know why Israel occupies Palestinian land illegally and destroys our homes, and why it allows colonial settlers to move into our homes illegally against international law?”
Expressing his “deep disappointment” at being unable to travel to Britain on this occasion, the young photographer thanked his friends across the country for their support and for being willing to host him in their homes.
Phil Chetwynd, one of the festival organisers who invited Abu Rahma said: “The Network of Photographers for Palestine raised the money through crowdfunding to finance Hamdi’s visit earlier this year.” All of his travel and subsistence expenses are covered by this, he explained. “I pledged to provide accommodation throughout the visit. Last month I tried to contact the visa office in Amman to back-up Hamdi’s application, but the process is so obscure that they didn’t seem to have a mechanism to add information to that already submitted by the applicant. It seems that the FCO has tendered out the whole process to another organisation.”
Despite the visa ban organisers have said that they will still exhibit Hamdi’s photographs and will ask a performer from another show to read out the speech that he has prepared. As news spread of the visa ban, an additional exhibition of his work may now also be shown at “Welcome to the Fringe: Palestine day at Out Of The Blue (OOTB)”. Other events organised for Hamdi to speak in Inverness, Dundee and Glasgow may still go ahead via a live link-up to his home in Gaza.
According to Sofiah MacLeod, the chair of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the visa rejection came as “no surprise”. She pointed out that the Cameron government is preparing to welcome the “war criminal” Benjamin Netanyahu to London in September. “As the petition calling on Netanyahu to be arrested for war crimes nears 55,000 signatories, the government’s visa denial to Abu Rahma will only strengthen our resolve to oppose its complicity in Israel’s ethnic cleansing project against the Palestinians.” MacLeod is adamant that Palestinian voices, including Abu Rahma’s, will be heard at this year’s Edinburgh Festival in “unprecedented” numbers. “We already know that the Israeli government has received our message loud and clear that it is not welcome during the festival, or at any other time.”
Scottish Parliamentarian Joan McAlpine of the SNP raised the issue with Sarah Rapson, the Director General of UK Visas and Immigration within hours of hearing about Abu Rahma’s visa being rejected. In a letter seen by MEMO, she told Rapson: “While I understand that immigration is a reserved matter, culture is not. I am the co-convenor of the Scottish Parliament’s Cross Party Group on Culture. I certainly feel that this decision is damaging to culture and the world’s greatest art festival in Edinburgh.”
McAlpine called for a rethink on what appeared to be “an overly bureaucratic and insensitive decision” adding: “I am particularly concerned that the decision means festival goers will miss the opportunity to hear this artist discuss his award-winning work, which of course has implications for freedom of expression.”
This is not the first time that Palestinian artistes have encountered difficulties at the hands of the UK Border Agency. Ali Abukhattab and Samah Al-Sheikh, a married couple also based in Gaza, were due to appear at the Institute for Contemporary Art in June 2013 as part of the Shubbak festival. They were to read from their own works and discuss how Palestinian writers in Gaza have responded to the ongoing Israeli siege and internal political situation.
Al-Sheikh, a short story writer and novelist, and Abukhattab, a poet and critic, are both established writers whose works have appeared in collections and anthologies. Both are also active in promoting the arts in Gaza, but that was not enough for the British government. In an increasingly familiar scenario for artists and writers seeking to visit this country, their visa applications were also rejected.
In April 2012, a tour by Palestinian Oud player Ahmad Al-Khatib and other musicians was delayed because of visa issues raised by the UK Border Agency. Discrimination by immigration officials has also hampered other Arab artists visiting the UK, including Iraqi poet Sabreen Kadhim, and even those only in transit through Britain’s airports, such as Syrian painter Tammam Azzam.
In an age when racial and religious discrimination is increasingly — and thankfully — more unacceptable, the fact that Arab artistes can still face what looks like systematic institutionalised discrimination is a huge concern. Instead of welcoming an alleged war criminal to London, perhaps David Cameron could look into this situation and start to treat all would-be visitors to Britain with fairness and justice.
It would seem the height of Orwellian doublespeak to eliminate a political candidate for calling a war crime a war crime. And all the more so if you’re a leading member of Canada’s New Democratic Party.
And yet that’s exactly what happened this week when Nova Scotian Morgan Wheeldon, an NDP candidate for the riding of Kings-Hants, was forced to step down when a Conservative troll found a statement on his Facebook page from 2014 calling Israel’s bombardment of Gaza a “war crime.”
I suppose that party brass doesn’t read much Orwell, or UN reports on actual Israeli war crimes in Gaza – but perhaps it should become required reading.
Especially if you set yourself up as the main ‘progressive’ opponent to the ruling Conservative Party, whose leader Stephen Harper carries on what is surely the creepiest political ‘bromance’ with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu bar none.
And yet in last week’s televised leaders debates it was clear that while the two parties differ on the controversial Harper backed C-51 ‘anti-terror legislation’ the NDP and the Conservatives were duking it out for the pro-Israel vote. When Harper needled him, NDP leader Thomas Mulcair responded that “Israel has no better friend than the NDP.” It seems he was correct.
The damning out-of-context statement on Wheeldon’s Facebook page in the wake of Israel’s 2014 bombing of Gaza that killed over 2,200 Palestinians was this:
“One could argue that Israel’s intention was always to ethnically cleanse the region — there are direct quotations proving this to be the case. Guess we just sweep that under the rug. A minority of Palestinians are bombing buses in response to what appears to be a calculated effort to commit a war crime.”
While the UN itself has accused Israel of war crimes during ‘Operation Protective Edge’, the NDP cried foul, stating:
“Our position on the conflict in the Middle East is clear, as Tom Mulcair expressed clearly in the debate. Mr. Wheeldon’s comments are not in line with that policy and he is no longer our candidate.”
So that’s that then. Call a war crime a war crime on your personal Facebook page, and there’s no room for you in Canada’s ‘progressive’ party.
What has happened to Canada, and for that matter to the NDP? Their take-no-prisoners approach to criticism of Israeli actions in Gaza and the West Bank has recent precedents, and they all lead back to Thomas Mulcair.
In 2008, Mulcair led a caucus revolt against then leader Jack Layton when he criticized the Harper government’s decision not to participate in the United Nations Conference on Racism on the grounds that its mention of certain Israeli violations of international law was ‘anti-Semitic’.
Mulcair successfully muzzled NDP criticism of the January 2009 Israeli bombardment of Gaza, which killed 1,400 civilians, as well as the subsequent Israeli attack on the Gaza Flotilla, which killed nine.
And in 2010, Mulcair joined forces with the Conservatives and the Liberals in calling for the ouster of long time MP Libby Davies, (who has since resigned from politics) as NDP House Leader after her comments to a journalist that occupation of Palestine had begun in 1948.
While the NDP’s position is more than apparent to keen observers (as author Yves Engler notes, even NDP pioneer Tommy Douglas was an ardent Zionist), it’s odd that Israel has suddenly become an election issue in Canada in the midst of recessionary times.
Is freedom of speech completely dead in Canada? Can no one criticize Israeli war crimes without fear of repercussions?
It would seem that only Elizabeth May, leader of the tiny but scrappy Green Party, is free to speak her mind on foreign policy issues. Her candid comments have helped the Green Party usurp the NDP’s former role of ‘unofficial opposition’ to the ruling Conservatives. And indeed, after Paul Manly was barred from running for the NDP on the grounds that his comments about Israel incarcerating his aging father John Manly (captured with other crew members of a ship bearing aid to besieged Gaza) were of concern to the party executive, he joined the Green Party.
The general mood of muzzling any dissent against Israel would seem at odds with Canada’s allies. Comparing the situation here to say that of the UK – where Labour MP’s were asked to vote in favor of a Palestinian state, the prime minister was forced (via growing public opposition) to resign as patron of the Jewish National Fund and Senior Foreign Office Minister Baroness Sayeeda Warsi chose to resign over the government’s policy on Gaza – makes Canada look backward at best.
In an international context, it would now appear that Canada has the least control of any G7 country over its own foreign policy. Perhaps even less than in the US where tax dollars go more directly to maintaining the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Bizarrely, no matter who wins the upcoming election, Canada’s Middle East policy now seems to be firmly based on Likudist agendas.
Hadani Ditmars has been reporting from Iraq since 1997 and is the author of Dancing in the No Fly Zone. Her next book Ancient Heart is a political travelogue of historical sites in Iraq.www.hadaniditmars.com
Steven Salaita is a renowned academic in the field of Native American Studies. That is why the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) hired him in 2013 as a tenured associate professor in the American Indian Studies Program. Salaita resigned from his previous position and had every reason to believe that he was on his way to Illinois. However he was terminated on August 1, 2014.
In the summer of 2014 Israel was in the midst of a murderous campaign in Gaza which killed more than 2,000 people, including 500 children. Steven Salaita is a Palestinian-American and like millions of people he vented anger and outrage as the horrific war crime continued. His posts on twitter garnered the attention of the administration and donors at the University of Illinois and he was fired before he even began working.
From the beginning Salaita waged a courageous fight to prove that he was in fact already an employee and to see that the university paid a price for mocking academic freedom, ruining his career and upending his personal life. He has succeeded in some of those efforts. The university experienced nearly universal condemnation and was censured by the American Association of University Professors for violating the principles of academic freedom. In addition, prominent persons such as Cornel West are boycotting the University of Illinois and have cancelled appearances in support of Salaita’s struggle.
UIUC has been on the losing end of the court battle, with one judge ordering the university to release emails related to the case and another ruling that Salaita’s lawsuit can proceed. That decision renders as patently false the university’s claim that he was not yet an employee. Salaita is enjoying legal victories and has secured a temporary position at the American University in Beirut, but his difficult experience points out that in America speech isn’t so free if powerful interests are taken to task.
Criticism of Israel is the third rail in American life. Politicians dutifully toe the line and either praise Israel without question or say nothing and hope to be unnoticed. Even local elected officials who have no role in foreign policy secure campaign funds and protection from political challengers if they support Zionism. They may face defeat should they do otherwise.
The Salaita case shows the insidious nature of the censorship that is imposed from without which inevitably creates self-censorship for millions of people. Even as Israel wages a very public campaign against congressional approval of the P5+1 nuclear energy agreement with Iran, the president still gives words of support to a country which boldly and blatantly interferes with his policy agenda.
Not only did president Obama praise Israel even after he was publicly humiliated by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but he claimed an equivalence between that country’s apartheid system and the black American struggle for freedom. Among the many shameful things he has said in his political life that is among the worst.
Taking on Israel in a public forum is a daunting task. The rules may be unwritten but they are real and Salaita’s experience is not lost on others. There is no other issue that engenders so much fear, silence and acquiescence. So great was the fear of retribution that the university’s trustees and administration made a decision which they should have known would come back to haunt them. Such incompetence only happens in an institution operating in a state of corrosive group think, outside pressure and systemic rot.
The university has spent more than $843,000 in public money to defend its losing cause. The soon to be former chancellor and other staff tried to hide their dirty work by using personal email addresses and not just in regards to the Salaita case. This inherently unethical behavior was meant to thwart any search for public information but shoes have begun to drop as more wrong doing comes to light. Chancellor Phyllis Wise, who orchestrated the firing, recently resigned but she will still have a $300,000 faculty salary and receive a $400,000 golden parachute.
When Salaita chose to fight for his right to work and to speak freely he revealed a lot more about the rotten state of academia and its connections with wealthy donors. Even public institutions are beholden to big money and live in fear of losing favor and funding. In an era of triumphant neo-liberalism everything is a commodity, including higher education.
Salaita could have condemned any country other than Israel using the same language and would not have lost his job. Such is the power of Zionism and its defenders. They have what amounts to a gangster protection racket, enforced not with guns but with money and positions for those who go along. Those who don’t are made to suffer.
The right to speak freely does not extend to everyone in this country, but then again it never did. Because of people like Steven Salaita some of that injustice is out in the open for all to see. American politicians, the corporate media, and big universities may still genuflect in Israel’s direction but that obedience shouldn’t extend to every citizen. Salaita is fighting not just for himself, but for true democracy for everyone.
Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She can be reached via Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.
According to the testimony of the other fishermen that where working with them the night of the attack, around 10 boats, one of the two fishermen was injured by live ammunition before being kidnapped.
The aggression took place at 5 miles off shore and their boat was also taken to Ashdod.
Two weeks ago Ahmed Sharafi, Mohamed’s brother, was shot in his back with live ammunition while working with his father.
Since the end of the last Zionist massacre against Gaza there have been 1,312 reported attacks against the fishermen.
Since then, 22 boats have been stolen; 26 fishermen have been injured; one fisherman, Tawfiq Abu Riela, has been assassinated; 28 boats have been disabled by bullet fire; 2 big fishing boats have been sunk by rocket fire, one in Deir El Balah at 300 meters from the coast and one in Gaza City at 5 miles; 51 fishermen have been kidnapped while working and 3 fishermen remain prisoners until now.
Those facts, among other practices of the occupation forces, have caused the quantity of fish caught to decrease from 1,600 tons the year before the massacre to 1,000 tons the year after. At the same time the number of fishermen who work in the Gaza Strip has decreased from 3,000 to 1,000 and the fishermen who keep working have seen how their monthly income decreased from 2,000 ILS to the actual 100 ILS.
This last year, just in Beach Camp, 50 children of fishermen have left the school in order to work carrying flour sacks at the doors of UNRWA for 1 ILS each sack.
It’s becoming something common that the fishermen families have to choose between their children and decide which ones will go to school and which ones will have to work in order to support the family.
In this moment there are 900 children of fishermen in Gaza City, and 1,700 in all the Strip, that should start the academic year in 20 days and whose parents can’t afford to buy them school materials.
The petition entitled “Benjamin Netanyahu to be arrested for war crimes when he arrives in London” is available at a petitions website set up by the UK government and parliament.
“Benjamin Netanyahu is to hold talks in London this September. Under international law, he should be arrested for war crimes upon arrival in the UK for the massacre of over 2,000 civilians in 2014,” the petition reads.
More than 26,000 people had signed the petition until GMT 1100 on Monday with the number of signatures dramatically on the rise.
The British government is expected to respond to the demand as all petitions that get more than 10,000 signatures should be seen into, according to law.
Rules governing the petition site also stipulate that any petition that receives in excess of 100,000 signatures must be considered by the UK parliament for debate.
The deadline for signing the petition is on February 7, 2016. … Full article
The Israeli authorities have stopped several players from Gaza’s Ittihad Al-Shejaiya football team from leaving the Gaza Strip via Israel’s Erez border crossing to play a scheduled match in the occupied West Bank.
Ittihad al-Shejaiya is slated to play the final match of the Palestinian Football Cup against West Bank-based football club Ahli Al-Khalil on Sunday.
In a Friday statement, Ittihad al-Shejaiya said its members would not leave the blockaded strip until the entire team was allowed out of the coastal territory.
Earlier this week, Ahli al-Khalil players entered the Gaza Strip for the first time in 15 years for a scheduled match with Ittihad Al-Shejaiya.
Due to the Israeli travel hindrances, however, the match – which ended in a goalless draw – was postponed until Thursday.
Thursday’s final was the first Palestinian match to be played in the Gaza Strip since 2000, when the Second Intifada – a Palestinian popular uprising – erupted against Israel’s decades-long occupation.
Although the uprising ended some five years later, the Gaza Strip has continued to groan under a tight Israeli-Egyptian blockade – first imposed in 2007 – that has deprived the enclave’s roughly two million inhabitants of most basic needs, including food and medicine.
GAZA CITY – At least four Palestinians were killed on Thursday and over 30 injured when an unexploded ordnance from last summer’s Israeli military offensive went off while clearing rubble from a destroyed house in the southern Gaza Strip, medics said.
Palestinian medical sources at the Abu Yousif al-Najjar hospital in Rafah said four bodies and multiple wounded Palestinians arrived at the emergency room.
The victims, who were all from the same family, were identified as Bakr Hasan Abu Naqira, Abdul-Rahman Abu Naqira, Ahmad Hasan Abu Naqira, and Hassan Ahmad Abu Naqira.
Medics said it is likely that the death toll will increase.
Over 7,000 unexploded ordnance were left throughout the Gaza Strip following last summer’s war between Israel and Palestinian militant groups, according to officials of the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the Palestinian territories (OCHA).
Even before the most recent Israeli assault, unexploded ordnance from the 2008-9 and 2012 offensives was a major threat to Gazans.
A 2012 report published by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said that 111 civilians, 64 of whom were children, were casualties to unexploded ordnance between 2009 and 2012, reaching an average of four every month in 2012.