Life line convoy reaches Tunisia

February 28, 2009  

300_0TUNIS, (PIC)–Tunisian officials have announced Thursday the arrival of convoy “life line” led by British politician George Galloway to Tunisia en route to the besieged coastal Gaza Strip via Libya and Egypt.

The humanitarian caravan, which is loaded with medicine and basic human needs to the besieged Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, has crossed the Bou Shabka crossing point between Tunisia and Algeria amidst overwhelming popular reception as thousands of Tunisian citizens there seeking justice for palestine, stood along the two sides of the road to welcome the activists, local sources revealed.

The convoy comprises around 300 activists from different countries led by Galloway, and 120 vehicles and trucks, and succeeded to open the sealed off Moroccan-Algerian borders for the first time in 50 years.

It started a couple of weeks ago from London, crossing Belgium, France, Spain, Morocco, Algeria, and now in Tunisia before they continue the trip to Gaza Strip through Libya and Egypt, and then to Rafah crossing point that separates the Strip from Egypt.

Tunisian Prime Minister Mohammed Al-Ghannoshi welcomed the convoy, who underlined, “We were shocked with what had happened to the Palestinian people [at the hand of the Israelis], and here we are now coming to extend a helping hand to those oppressed people”.

“The convoy reflects the feelings of the people of the countries it passes through as we are always warmly welcomed in every place we pass”, Galloway stressed.

Since 2006, the Israeli occupation government with full support from the former US administration of George W. Bush imposed a crippling economic, political, and financial embargo on the Palestinian people as punishment for democratically electing Hamas to Govern the territories.

Miliband faces high court battle in UK over Gaza rights

February 27, 2009  

Palestinians inspect the different rooms of a building that was badly damaged by an Israeli air strike in Rafah, southern Gaza.

UK foreign secretary David Miliband has acted “in flagrant and continuing breach of international law” by failing to suspend arms exports to Israel, the High Court will hear after a case commenced yesterday .

In what is believed to be the first legal challenge to arise from Israel’s ‘Operation Cast Lead’ in Gaza, lawyers representing over 30 Palestinian families have accused the foreign secretary, along with the ministers for defence and business, of acting illegally by failing to suspend arms trading and government assistance in response to alleged human rights violations by the Israeli government.

Lawyers acting on behalf of Palestinian charity Al-Haq said that the case would be the first of several legal actions brought against Israel, as activity steps up to examine the humanitarian and financial cost of recent events.

“The UK has urgent international obligations that it must fulfill immediately”, Phil Shiner, the lawyer representing Al-Haq said yesterday. Read the full article..

Suspend military aid to Israel, Amnesty urges

February 23, 2009  

White phosphorus shells traced back to America
Activists call for arms embargoes on both sides

pal-heliDetailed evidence has emerged of Israel’s extensive use of US-made weaponry during its war in Gaza last month, including white phosphorus artillery shells, 500lb bombs and Hellfire missiles.

In a report released today, Amnesty International detailed the weapons used and called for an immediate arms embargo on Israel and all Palestinian armed groups. It called on the Obama administration to suspend military aid to Israel.

The human rights group said that those arming both sides in the conflict “will have been well aware of a pattern of repeated misuse of weapons by both parties and must therefore take responsibility for the violations perpetrated”.

The US has long been the largest arms supplier to Israel; under a current 10-year agreement negotiated by the Bush administration the US will provide $30bn (?21bn) in military aid to Israel.

“As the major supplier of weapons to Israel, the USA has a particular obligation to stop any supply that contributes to gross violations of the laws of war and of human rights,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa programme director. “To a large extent, Israel’s military offensive in Gaza was carried out with weapons, munitions and military equipment supplied by the USA and paid for with US taxpayers’ money.” Read full article

source: The Guardian

Israel ‘evicts Jerusalem families’

February 23, 2009  

pal-jerusMore than 1,500 Palestinians living in East Jerusalem could be made homeless after Israel told them their homes are illegal and are to be demolished.

“The owners of 80 houses in the al-Bustan neighbourhood have received eviction notices saying that the structures will be destroyed because they are illegal,” Hatem Abdel Kader, an official responsible for Jerusalem affairs in the Palestinian government, said.

Kader said that several of the houses served with demolition orders had been built before the 1967 war, when Israel captured east Jerusalem from Jordan, but that numerous extensions have been built since.

“The [Jerusalem] municipality used this as a pretext to issue the demolition orders despite appeals by the residents,” he said.

No comment was immediately available from the city authorities.

Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital and has annexed the Arab east of the city, but under international law east Jerusalem is considered to be occupied and has not been recognised by world powers as the Israeli capital.

According to B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights organisation, Israeli authorities have demolished about 350 houses in east Jerusalem since 2004, saying that they were built without permits.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies

To Gaza with Love

February 20, 2009  

Once You See What Truly Happened in Gaza

it Will Change You Forever

gaza-4By Medea Benjamin cofounder of Global Exchange and CodePink: Women for Peace

What I saw was like a form of collective punishment, leaving behind a trail of grieving mothers, angry fathers and traumatized children.

When I traveled to Gaza last week, everywhere I went, a photo haunted me. I saw it in a brochure called “Gaza will not die” that Hamas gives out to visitors at the border crossing. A poster-sized version was posted outside a makeshift memorial at the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. And now that I am back home, the image comes to me when I look at children playing in the park, when I glance at the school across the street, when I go to sleep at night.

It is a photo of a young Palestinian girl who is literally buried alive in the rubble from a bomb blast, with just her head protruding from the ruins. Her eyes are closed, her mouth partially open, as if she were in a deep sleep. Dried blood covers her lips, her cheeks, her hair. Someone with a glove is reaching down to touch her forehead, showing one final gesture of kindness in the midst of such inhumanity.

What was this little girl’s name, I wonder. How old was she? Was she sleeping when the bomb hit her home? Did she die a quick death or a slow, agonizing one? Where are her parents, her siblings? How are they faring?

Of the 1,330 Palestinians killed by the Israeli military during the 22-day invasion of Gaza, 437 were children. Let me repeat that: 437 children — each as beautiful and precious as our own.

As a Jew, an American and a mother, Read more

Will government exclude Connex from future tenders.

February 11, 2009  

The tramway under construction in Jerusalem, February 2008. (Anne Paq/ActiveStills)During the bidding process for an eight-year, $4.5 billion dollar contract to operate Stockholm county’s subway, the French company Veolia came under heavy pressure in the Swedish media for its involvement in Israel’s tramway project that links illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank to Jerusalem. With its involvement in this project, Veolia is directly implicated in maintaining illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) and the company is playing a key role in Israel’s attempt to make its annexation of Palestinian East Jerusalem irreversible. In 2005, Amnesty International-France and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) already warned Veolia to stay away from the tramway project. Despite international actions against Veolia’s participation in the tramway project, the company still refuses to take action, at the risk of increased damage to its already questionable image and losing business in Europe.

Veolia is the parent company of Connex which runs Victoria’s rail system.

Read the full article on EI

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