Meet Rodina (4 years) – denied access to urgent health care

21 Apr

This is Rodina Abu Khrais, a 4 year-old-girl (from Gaza) with a congenital heart defect, has been unable to access urgent health care for the past two years. In 2013 Rodina had heart surgery in Tel Hashomer hospital shortly after birth and had three follow up visits, one of which required an admission for one month. Since July 2015, the family has applied 10 times for an exit permit for catheterization and evaluation for additional heart surgery for the child without success.

Seven times the request was still under study on the date of the hospital appointment, and on two occasions the family was asked to change the companion. Once there was no response at all to the request. All four grandparents and a family relative have been listed as possible companions but no approval was given. The child has a number of disabilities, said the father: “Rodina depends on oxygen therapy most of the time, and cannot talk or walk. She also has a hearing impairment and clings to her mother most of the time.” The family has appealed through the ICRC and two local human rights organizations without success and have another permit request pending.

Rodina’s case is just one of many Gaza patients denied, restricted or delayed access to urgent medical care in Israel or Egypt. Here is the WHO access summary for February 2017:

Difficult access through Erez (the only border crossing to Israel):

  • 40% of patients were denied/delayed permits: Of 2,391 patient applications for a permit to exit Gaza through Erez checkpoint for hospital appointments in February, 1,431 (59.85%) were approved; 74 patients (3.09%) were denied permits while 886 (37.06%) received no response including 192 children and 77 people over 60 years (WHO Case Studies, p. 4) (Palestinian District Liaison office in Gaza).
  • About half of patients’ companions were denied/ delayed permits: The approval rate for permit applications of patient companions was 50.4%; 4.5% of the companions were denied permits and the remaining 45.1% were still pending by the patients’ scheduled hospital dates.
  • ·  Security interrogations for patients: 35 patients (25 males; 10 females) including 3 men over 60 were requested by the General Security Services for interviews at Erez during February. 6 were approved.

Limited access through Rafah crossing (to Egypt):

  • ·  Limited access to Egypt: According to Palestinian officials at Rafah terminal, the Rafah border terminal was open in both directions for 3 days only in February allowing 280 patients to travel for health reasons to Egypt.

[From WHO monthly access report for February 2017]


Mass hunger strike in Israeli jails

21 Apr


Mass hunger strike in Israeli jails.

VIDEO by teleSUR 18 April 2017: Palestinian prisoners held by the Israeli state have begun an open-ended hunger strike in a bid to better their living conditions as well as to garner support from the international community.…

Severe power cuts in Gaza

21 Apr

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Gaza’s electricity company announced on Monday that that the total available power supply was less than one third of the daily consumption in the coastal enclave – aggravating the health of the weakest with often less than 4 hours of electricity per day. A “perfect storm” of events could make life in Gaza unsustainable.

The Palestinian Chronicle, 18 April 2017

Less Than a Third of Gaza’s Power Needs Met After Sole Power Plant Shuts Down

After the besieged Gaza Strip’s sole power plant shut down Sunday, as fuel supplies funded by Qatar and Turkey in January dried up, Gaza’s electricity company announced on Monday that that the total available power supply was less than one third of the daily consumption in the coastal enclave.

In its daily report, the company explained that it could only distribute 133 megawatts a day to the Gaza Strip’s districts, which consume between 450 and 500 megawatts. The Israeli grids provide 120 megawatts, while Egyptian grids are able to provide only 13, after one of the Egyptian power lines was disconnected last night, according to the statement.

Later Monday, Gaza’s power authority accused the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA) for causing “another electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip.”

Deputy Chairman of Gaza’s power authority Fathi al-Sheikh Khalil said in a news conference in Gaza City that the PA’s power authority “has been putting off major projects, which could help solve the electricity crisis in Gaza,” such as a project that which seeks to increase the output of the power grid linking Gaza to Israel through the 161 line, enlargement of the Egyptian grids, and installing a gas line for Gaza’s power plant, he said.

“Fuel for the power plant should have been bought in from the money (Gaza’s) electricity company collects from consumers, but this has become unaffordable after the (PA) consensus government decided to suddenly impose full taxes on the fuel it sells to the power plant.”

Gaza’s power authority has repeatedly blamed the electricity crisis on the PA-imposed fuel taxes in recent days. According to Khalil, operating the power plant’s two generators costs 50 million shekels ($13.67 million) with these taxes as opposed to 20 million ($5.47 million) without.

The official said that Gaza residents were currently connected to power for six hours at a time followed by 12 hours blackouts – down from Gaza’s normal schedule of two eight-hour intervals of daily electricity. According to Qatar-based news site Al Jazeera, locals said they were expecting a reduction to just four hours of electricity at a time.

Gaza’s power authority warned of an imminent shut down of the plant last week, and on Friday, temporarily cut off electricity to all districts in protest of “unfair measures” imposed on the coastal enclave, as Hamas and the Fatah-ruled Palestinian Authority (PA) continued to blame each other for a deepening electricity crisis in the coastal enclave, aggravated by a decade-long political dispute between the factions.

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Australia bars Palestinian prisoner of conscience

13 Apr

Bassem Tamimi was called a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International and a human rights defender by the EU, but now Australia won’t let him in. [Photo: Oren Ziv ActiveStills]

By Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 10 April 2017

The Australian government has revoked the visa of a Palestinian who at one time was declared to be a “prisoner of conscience” by Amnesty International.

In 2012, Amnesty said that Bassem Tamimi was being detained by Israel “solely for his role in organizing peaceful protests against the encroachment onto Palestinian lands by Israeli settlers.”

On Friday, Tamimi was notified by Australia’s immigration department that his visa was being revoked, just a day before he was due to fly out for a speaking tour hosted by Palestine solidarity groups across the country.

Tamimi was informed in a letter that the department “recently became aware of information that indicates there is a risk that members of the public will react adversely to your presence in Australia regarding your views of the ongoing political tensions in the Middle East.”

The visa had been granted just days earlier, on 4 April. As a result of the revocation, Tamimi is also subject to exclusion from Australia for three years.

On Monday, an immigration lawyer lodged an appeal on Tamimi’s behalf, organizers told The Electronic Intifada.

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‘Ghosts Of Deir Yassin’ by Phil Monsour with Rafeef Ziadah

10 Apr


By Phil Monsour, Auckland, 10 April 2017

9 April marks the anniversary of the massacre in Deir Yassin, Palestine 1948 and the infamous terror that expelled 750,000 people from their homes.

Last night in Auckland, as distant from Palestine as you can get, I performed this song with Rafeef Ziadah to 350 people.

Although history will mark the day when justice is served and the refugees have their right to return to a free Palestine. The struggle along the way will be recorded by our determination to remember, the celebrations of our shared humanity and the spirit of our resistance, that filled the theatre in Auckland on 9 April 2017.

Phil Monsour

Rafeef Ziadah’s NZ tour – ‘inspirational’ impact

10 Apr

Rafeef Ziadah has completed her three-city NZ tour with a deeply ‘inspirational’ impact on each jam-packed event.

Accompanied by musician/singer Phil Monsour, and supported by local poets, and in Auckland – a world premiere performance by the newly-formed Philistia Dabke Squad.

Here are a few pics –

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Rafeef’s albums can by purchased via her website:



Rafeef Ziadah ‘deeply moved’ packed Christchurch audience

8 Apr

Palestinian poet Rafeef Ziadah with guitarist Phil Monsour performing in Christchurch last night.

Palestinian poet Rafeef Ziadah and musician Phil Monsour performed to a packed auditorium in Christchurch last night – the first show of their New Zealand tour.

Event organiser John Minto described the event as a “fantastic evening” with a “full house and incredible performances.” He said the “audience was deeply moved and everyone was thrilled to have been there.”

Well-known NZ poet, Mohamed Hassan, who also performed, later reported “a really good turn-out tonight and a beautiful show” and “Rafeef and Phil were stunning” presenting a “hearty” performance.

Rafeef and Phil join Mohamed and other local poets at their Wellington event tonight at the Old St Pauls venue, 34 Mulgrave St, Thordon from 7pm. Tickets at the door: $20 waged, $15 unwaged.

Their Auckland show will include a whakatau welcome and the world premiere performance by the ‘Philistia Dabke Squad’ dance troupe at the magnificent Dorothy Winstone Centre, Auckland Girls Grammar School, Howe St, Freemans Bay – starting at 6pm on Sunday evening 9 April. Tickets available at the door: $30 waged, &20 unwaged. Free off-street parking.

Listen out for Kim Hill’s interview with Rafeef on her ‘Saturday’ show on RNZ National Radio programme this morning.


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