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Palestinian woman fatally shot at Israeli checkpoint

19 Sep

By Tamara Nassar, Electronic Intifada, 19 September 2019

Israeli forces fatally shot a Palestinian woman near the Qalandiya checkpoint separating Ramallah from Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday.

Israeli police claimed that Alaa Wahdan was walking towards its forces on a pathway designated for vehicles when they asked her to stop.

They added that the 28-year-old from nearby Qalandiya refugee camp pulled out a knife before a security guard shot and injured her in the legs.

In the video above, Wahdan appears to pose no plausible danger to anyone around her when she is shot.

“They could have controlled her,” bystander Mohammed Hammad Jaradat told the publication Middle East Eye.

“They were five soldiers and she was some seven meters away.”

According to eyewitnesses, Wahdan was left to bleed without first aid.

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Remember Sabra and Shatila: a forgotten War Crime

16 Sep

VIDEO: TRT World – World in Focus: Sabra and Shatila: A Forgotten War Crime

Refugee Camps become mass graves between September 16 and 18, 1982, people in Beirut’s Sabra and Shatila refugee camps were massacred. Estimates vary, but about 2,000 Palestinian refugees, mostly women, children, and the elderly were killed. The attack took place during Lebanon’s civil war, a few months after Israel’s invasion of the country.

Robert Fisk: ‘It was a war crime’  – The massacre was committed as revenge for the assassination of Bashir Gemayel, the leader of the Phalangists. The Lebanese Maronite-Christian Phalangist militia wrongly blamed the Palestinians for the assassination, and murdered hundreds while the Israeli army was accused of standing by.

For more on this story, go to: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20190916-remembering-the-sabra-and-shatila-massacre/

 

Netanyahu: Israel will ‘probably’ have to launch another war on Gaza

14 Sep

Israeli PM Netanyahu at Israeli Army Gaza Division HQ. (Photo: File)

Palestine Chronicle, 14 September 2019

Israel will probably have to go to war with the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said today.

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Winston Peters urged to condemn Israeli plans to annex vast tracts of Palestinian land

11 Sep

Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa’s chair, John Minto [Photo: Kia Ora Gaza]

Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa Media Release, 11 Sept 2019:

Winston Peters urged to condemn Israeli plans to annex vast tracts of Palestinian land

The Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa has written to Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters today urging that New Zealand condemn the Israeli Prime Minister’s planned annexation of vast tracts of the occupied West Bank of Palestine. 

This is theft on a grand scale. It is a reckless incitement to violence. It is reprehensible.

Such an annexation of illegal Israeli settlements would be a blatant violation of the United Nations Charter and international law. It would constitute a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

It is a travesty of what New Zealand stands for internationally.

Netanyahu made the announcement in his role as Prime Minister of Israel. He has broadcast to the world his intention to commit a war crime. New Zealand must respond.

We have told the foreign minister that the usual patsy diplomatic language of “disproportionate response” or “unhelpful to creating peace in the region” would be wholly inadequate.

Action NOW from New Zealand must include concrete steps such as:

  • Condemning the proposed annexation of vast areas of Palestinian land
  • Cancellation of the proposed importation of $9 million of Israeli military equipment
  • Suspension of the signing of the so-called “innovation agreement” with the Israeli government
  • Expelling the Israeli ambassador

For the past three years New Zealand has taken no significant action to protest Israeli theft of Palestinian land, attacks on unarmed Palestinian civilians or the murder of Palestinian children. Our silence has encouraged the Israeli government to continue its plunder of Palestine.

Silence now is not an option. 

We must send an unambiguous signal to the Israeli government that New Zealand finds the proposed annexation abhorrent.

John Minto

National Chair, Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa

VIDEO: AlJazeera reports on Netanyahu’s announcement:

Arab countries have condemned a campaign pledge by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to annex parts of the occupied West Bank. They say his plan would violate international law. Netanyahu said the Trump administration’s so-called “deal of the century'” would provide an historic opportunity for extending Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank and other areas. But Al Jazeera‘s Harry Fawcett reports from West Jerusalem, this may just be pre-election talk.

Literacy rate in Palestine 97.2% despite the occupation

10 Sep

Students walk home from school in Khan al-Ahmar. [Photo: Faiz Aby Rmeleh, via ActiveStills.org]

Palestine Chronicle, 10 September 2019

Illiteracy rates among Palestinians aged 15 years and above fell from 13.9 percent in 1997 to 2.8 percent in 2018, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) said.

In a report issued yesterday to mark International Literacy Day, the PCBS said illiteracy among men fell from 7.8 percent in 1997 to 1.3 percent in 2018, while for females it fell from 20.3 percent to 4.3 percent.

The rate fell from 14.1 percent in 1997 to three percent in 2018 in the occupied West Bank while in the besieged Gaza Strip it dropped from 13.7 percent in 1997 to 2.4 percent during the same period.

Illiteracy, according to the UNESCO definition, is when a person does not know to write and read a simple sentence about his or her daily life.

[According to UNESCO Institute for Statistics, the illiteracy rate in Palestine is one of the lowest in the world. Ed]

PalPlus video, 12 September 2018:

 

Is NZ Government serving the Israel Lobby?

8 Sep

By Leslie Bravery, the Daily Blog, 7 September 2019

On 25 August we sent an email to the NZ Minister of Foreign Affairs, Winston Peters (pictured above), essentially similar to those already emailed to Jacinda Ardern and Ron Mark, concerning the Ministry of Defence proposal to purchase $9 million-worth of military equipment from Israel, and asking that the order be cancelled. The responses from Jacinda Ardern’s Office and Ron Mark can be seen in previous blogs.

Our emails closed with a summary requesting that they clarify the New Zealand Government’s position regarding:

Israel’s violations of international humanitarian law

The proposal that New Zealand should contribute, through trade, to the profitability of the Israeli military

and asking:

In view of the evidence presented [in our emails] and in greater detail online, is the NZ Government willing to declare it unequivocal support for international law with regard to the security and human rights of the Palestinian people living under alien military Occupation?

Israel first, international law ignored

In October 2017, The Jerusalem Post welcomed the appointment of Winston Peters as New Zealand‘s Foreign Affairs Minister because he was critical of this country’s sponsorship of UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which the online newspaper described as “an anti-settlement UN resolution that set back ties between the two countries.” The Jerusalem Post also quoted a comment by Politik NZ, the news and analysis website, saying that “the argument about the process has become a proxy for opposing the resolution altogether” with the conclusion that “Labour’s concession to Peters amounts to an indirect acknowledgment that the resolution was wrong.”

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Israeli forces kill two minors in Gaza

7 Sep

Khaled Abu Bakr Rabie, 14 (L), and Ali Sami Ashqar, 17 were killed by Israeli forces in Gaza. (Photo: via Social Media)

Palestine Chronicle, 6 September 2019

At least two Palestinian minors were killed and over 80 others injured today [Friday 6 Sept] by live bullets or rubber-coated rounds as Israeli forces attacked thousands of protesters taking part in the weekly Great March of Return at the fence separating besieged Gaza from Israel, according to medical sources.

Soldiers manning the separation fence fired live bullets and rubber-coated steel rounds at the protesters who gathered at many encampments along the fence, killing Khaled Abu Bakr Rabie, 14, and Ali Sami Ashqar, 17. At least 48 protesters were injured by live bullets and 33 others by rubber-coated rounds, including two medics and a photojournalist.

Some of the wounded were moved to the hospital and many others were treated in the field hospitals.

Over 310 Palestinians have been killed and about 18,000 others injured by Israeli forces since the outbreak of the Great March of Return protests on March 30, 2018.

100% fake news about NZ govt policy on funding UNRWA deeply damaging to Palestinian refugees

6 Sep

By John Minto, Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa, Daily Blog, 2 Sept 2019

It’s not often we speak out in support of government policy on Palestine/Israel but it’s important for New Zealanders to know that reports the New Zealand government has “withdrawn and suspended” funding for the UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) are 100% untrue.

The UNRWA was established in 1949 specifically to assist Palestinians refugees driven from their homes and off their land by an Israeli ethnic cleansing campaign of massacres and terrorism. New Zealand has been a consistent supporter of the agency since then, contributing approx. $1 million each year.

This fake news about New Zealand funding for UNRWA is being deliberately spread by the US and fanatical pro-Israeli groups in New Zealand to try and undermine UNRWA and create a stampede of other countries to also withdraw support for the agency.

New Zealand’s supposed withdrawal of support for UNRWA has now been reported as true by credible news agencies here and here.

It’s true there is a UN-led investigation into alleged corruption and awful behaviour in the senior management of UNRWA and some European countries such as Holland and Switzerland are taking action on funding in response.

However it’s important to understand that the claims under investigation relate to a tiny group in the senior management of UNRWA and must not be allowed to impact on the heroic work the organisation undertakes in extremely difficult circumstances for millions of Palestinian refugees who have been denied the right to return to their land and homes by the Israeli government.

Meanwhile the truth is that our government has in fact INCREASED our support for UNRWA with additional funding in May this year and the government will evaluate the outcome of the UN investigation before the next scheduled contribution from this country in 2020.

The only losers in the proliferation of this fake news are Palestinians – the victims of Israeli apartheid policies.

The US under Trump withdrew its funding for UNRWA altogether and the US and Israel have called on other countries to do likewise. The US strategy is to somehow try to deny these refugees exist and Israel is trying to undermine any claims for their right of return to their homes and land. Both will fail.

We expect the New Zealand government to resist any pressure to join this small minority of humanity who are on the wrong side of history.

Latest news from Gaza

5 Sep

VIDEO: The latest broadcast from the 16th October Media Group of young Palestinian journalists in Gaza. This weekly news programme is produced in partnership with Shehab Agency News.

ICC calls for new probe into Israel’s attack on Mavi Marmara

3 Sep

Mavi Marmara humanitarian aid ship [file photo]

Middle East Monitor, 2 September, 2019

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has ordered its prosecutor to reconsider whether Israel should face charges over the deadly 2010 raid on the Turkish aid ship heading to the besieged Gaza Strip.

Fatou Bensouda will now again examine whether to bring Israel before The Hague-based court after it killed ten activists onboard an aid ship.

“The prosecutor is directed to reconsider her decision by December 2, 2019,” Al Jazeera reported presiding appeals judge Solomy Balungi Bossa telling the court today, adding that three out of five judges in the court’s appeals chamber had backed the move.

Bensouda said in 2014 that she would not prosecute Israel over the raid, saying it was “not of sufficient gravity” – which means the case could be determined as inadmissible before the ICC.

READ:Justice is still being sought nine years after Israel’s attack on the Mavi Marmara

VIDEO: Situation concerning the [2010 Gaza flotilla] ships flying the Comorian, Greek and Cambodian flags: Appeals Judgement, IntlCriminalCourt, published 2 Sept 2019

Some justice for Mavi Marmara victims at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Watch & share #video as the #ICC Appeals Chamber rules that the Prosecutor must reconsider decision on Comoros referral by 2 December 2019, “in light of specific directions of Pre-Trial Chamber & today’s AC judgment.”
While the wheels of justice continue to turn, the #FreedomFlotilla will continue sailing to #Gaza with our course set on the conscience of humanity.

Israel halves fuel for Gaza’s only power station

29 Aug

Video report by Mohamed Hassan & Khaled Shalaby for Middle East Eye, 29 August 2019.

Palestine Weekly Review from Gaza

26 Aug

VIDEO: The latest news update with Palestine Weekly Review produced in Gaza by the 16 October Media Group in association with Shehab Agency news. Published 23 August 2019.

Ron Mark dodges questions forwarded from NZ PM’s Office

25 Aug

By Leslie Bravery, Daily Blog, 24 August 2019

Following email exchanges with the Prime Minister’s Office featured in the previous blog, which included an email sent to both Ron Mark and Jacinda Ardern, we have yet to receive any response from the Defence Minister. The Prime Minister’s Office has evaded answering questions in both our emails that relate to Foreign Policy and International Law, commenting that “As the issue you have raised falls within the portfolio responsibilities of the Minister of Defence, Hon Ron Mark, your email has been forwarded to the Minister’s office for information.”

On 20 August, another attempt to elicit a reply from Ron Mark was emailed to the Defence Ministry: We ask you to kindly answer the questions raised in the email from us that was forwarded to you on 24 July from Jacinda Ardern’s Office. Please also respond to the follow-up email sent to both yourself and the Prime Minister on 1 August. There awaits mounting public interest in your responses.” This did, at least, prompt an immediate automatic reply from Ron Mark’s office but, of course, it contained nothing relevant to the questions asked. We have yet to receive any answer to these questions from either the Minister or his Office.

Netanyahu

Last April, the Israeli Prime Minister publicly announced his determination to annex the Jewish settlements in the Occupied Palestinian West Bank. He also said he would prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state by “controlling the entire area”. Article 49(6) of the Fourth Geneva Convention, states: “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” Most UN member states recognise that Israel’s militarily-imposed Israeli settlements are illegal under international law. Built on stolen land, the Occupation settlements are being used to confine Palestinian into ever-smaller enclaves.

In an interview with Aretz Sheva (Israel National News), Netanyahu promised: “There will be no Palestinian state, not as people talk about it. It will not be because I am making sure of it.” The Israeli PM also made it abundantly clear that he was “maintaining a united Jerusalem” as well as “our control on the entire area west of the Jordan River . . .” During the interview, Netanyahu triumphantly reminded us that, “I brought President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem, the transfer of the embassy and the recognition in the Golan Heights, which is very important to what I plan in Judea and Samaria.” So much for a Palestinian state! Calling the Palestinian West Bank ‘Judea and Samaria’ says it all for territorially-ambitious Israel.

Our Prime Minister’s Office response would seem to imply that relations with Israel and questions of international law fall now“within the portfolio responsibilities of the Minister of Defence”. As Ron Mark is a member of the NZ-Israel Parliamentary Friendship group, we need to know just what is our Defence Minister’s position regarding, for instance, the uncompromising disregard for international law exhibited by the Israeli Prime Minister? The Israel Institute has observed that “Ron Mark is a member of the NZ-Israel Parliamentary Friendship group but has not made any public statements in [sic] the issues” which seems to fit with his reluctance to respond to straight questions. While he chooses to remain silent, readers may find a clue as to his ideological leanings in this video of Ron Mark and Benjamin Netanyahu together in Jerusalem

All who care about the sustainability of respect for UN human rights provisions should take action in support of the Palestine Solidarity Network NZ initiative  to urgently cancel a proposed New Zealand Defence Force multimillion-dollar purchase of military equipment from an Israeli company. Keep asking the Minister, again and again if necessary, to answer:

 What is the policy regarding Israel’s violations of international humanitarian law?

 What is the policy with regard to New Zealand contributing, through trade, to the profitability of the Israeli military? 

 In view of the evidence presented in our email and in greater detail online, is the NZ Government willing to declare itunequivocal support for international law with regard to the security and human rights of the Palestinian people living under alien military Occupation?

Video report: Basic medicines scarce in Gaza

22 Aug

Video report by We Are Not Numbers, 22 August 2019.

Shortages of essential medicines are chronic in the Gaza Strip. Here Rakan Abed El Rahman reports on efforts to try to produce essential drugs locally. Thanks to New Scene نيو سين for the camera work and editing.

Israel pushing Palestinians to leave Gaza

20 Aug

Relatives of Muhammad Abu Namous, one of three Palestinians killed along the Gaza-Israel boundary overnight, mourn during his funeral in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza, on 18 August.

By Maureen Clare Murphy, Electronic Intifada, 20 August 2019

Israel is actively encouraging and ready to facilitate mass emigration of Palestinians from Gaza, according to a senior government official.

“Israel is ready to carry the costs of helping Gazans emigrate,” and would potentially use air force bases in Israel for that purpose, The Times of Israel reported on Monday.

The unnamed official, in Kyiv as part of Benjamin Netanyahu’s delegation to Ukraine, added that more than 35,000 Palestinians left the coastal enclave last year.

Two million Palestinians live in the Gaza Strip, which has been subjected to a punishing Israeli economic blockade for 12 years and repeated military offensives.

Residents of the territory have been plunged into poverty and cut off from the rest of Palestine and the wider world.

Every two in three Palestinians in Gaza is a refugee from lands inside what is now Israel. That government forbids them from exercising their right to return as enshrined in international law because they are not Jews.

The senior Israeli official was reported by The Times of Israel as saying that his government is asking countries to absorb Palestinians emigrating from Gaza.

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2020 Freedom Flotilla to raise awareness about Palestinian youth in Gaza

16 Aug

VIDEO: Caught in Israel’s permit system, Gaza children fear for their lives

Freedom Flotilla Coalition statement, 16 August 2019

In 2012, the UN predicted that Gaza was on track to become “unliveable” by 2020. In 2017, the UN acknowledged that the “unliveability” threshold had already been passed. Despite this, “somehow, families in Gaza find ways to ‘make do’.”

In Spring 2020, the next Freedom Flotilla will sail again to challenge the 12 year, illegal and inhuman Israeli blockade imposed on more than 2 million Palestinian people in Gaza – more than half of whom are children.

Partners in the Freedom Flotilla Coalition are mobilizing support for their participation in the Flotilla and you can get involved by contacting your nearest partner listed here.

The people of Gaza do not give up and neither do we. There are 1.4 million young people in Gaza who deserve a better future.

Across the world our partners and other friends have been organizing local events to raise
awareness about the continued blockade and also to raise funds to finance the purchase of boats and supplies.

For the children in Gaza and for respect of human rights we will sail again until Palestine is free.

You can support our NZ/Aotearoa participation by donating to our 2020 Gaza Flotilla Appeal: Make a direct payment to our bank account: Kia Ora Gaza Trust, 03-0211-0447718-000, Westpac Bank, Onehunga branch. Afterwards, email office@kiaoragaza.net with your deposit details so we can send you an e-receipt.

[Freedom Flotilla Coalition website: https://jfp.freedomflotilla.org/ Facebook  Twitter]

WATCH ABOVE +972 VIDEO: Caught in Israel’s permit system, Gaza children fear for their lives

What happens when children in Gaza need to leave the strip for medical care that is unavailable there? Filmmaker Jen Marlowe gives us a look into the lives of the families as they navigate the often Kafkaesque process of getting permission from the Israeli army to leave the besieged strip for medical treatments.

By Jen Marlowe – the Communications Associate for Just Vision and a filmmaker, journalist, author, and human rights activist.

What white terrorists have in common

16 Aug

Flowers left in memory of those who were killed in El Paso, US. (Photo: Twitter)

By Ramzy Baroud, Palestine Chronicle, 16 August 2019

Manifestos of Hate: What White Terrorists Have in Common

Writing under the title of “If the El Paso shooter had been Muslim”, Moustafa Bayoumi stated the obvious.

“If the El Paso shooter had been a Muslim,” Bayoumi wrote in the British Guardian newspaper on August 6, US President Donald Trump “would be lobbing accusations such as ‘Islam hates us’ in the direction of Muslims and not lecturing the public about video games.”

Bayoumi was referring to the double standards that define much of western official and media discourses regarding violence. When the alleged perpetrator of violence is a Muslim, then the case becomes a matter of national security and is categorically dealt with as an act of terrorism. When the perpetrator is a white male, however, it is a whole different story.

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Israeli Forces attack Palestinians in Al-Aqsa

12 Aug

Palestine Chronicle, 12 August 2019

Israeli forces attacked Palestinian worshippers in Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque complex on Sunday, injuring at least 37, according to a Palestinian official, Anadolu Agency reports.

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Marking anniversary of Israeli attack on Gaza Flotilla

1 Aug

Al Jazeera Live Interview David Heap (FFC Spokesperson) Freedom Flotilla Coalition, 30 July 2018

Video interview with Freedom Flotilla spokesperson David Heap as the Gaza-bound ship Al Awda was being illegally attacked and hijacked in international waters by armed Israel forces one year ago.

On board was NZ representative, Unite union leader, Mike Treen (pictured below), who sustained multiple injuries during the attack. Kia Ora Gaza is a member of the international Freedom Flotilla Coalition, which is planning another attempt to break Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza next year

UN lets Israel’s child killers off the hook again

1 Aug

A wreath stands in the place of Faris al-Sarsawi at his school in Gaza City on 7 October 2018. The 13-year-old was fatally shot in the chest by an Israeli sniper two days earlier.[Ramadan El-Agha APA]

By Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 1 August 2019

Human rights defenders are slamming UN Secretary-General António Guterres for leaving Israel off an official list of the world’s worst abusers of children’s rights.

On Tuesday, the UN released the secretary-general’s annual report on children in armed conflict.

It finds that a record 12,000 children were killed or maimed in wars around the world in 2018.

But Human Rights Watch notes that Guterres “omitted countries responsible for grave violations against children in armed conflict in his new ‘list of shame.’”

The group notes that the list leaves off the Israeli military, the Afghan National Army and US-led international forces in Afghanistan.

“The UN secretary-general simply refuses to hold to account all warring parties that have inflicted tremendous suffering on children,” Jo Becker, children’s rights advocacy director at Human Rights Watch, said.

“By listing selected violators but not others, Secretary-General Guterres is ignoring the UN’s own evidence and undermining efforts to protect children in conflict.”

Indeed, evidence of Israel’s crimes is in the secretary-general’s report: Israeli occupation forces killed 56 Palestinian children in 2018. An Israeli settler killed a 57th.

That is a four-fold increase over the number of children Israel killed the previous year.

More than 30 of the children killed last year were shot dead in Gaza, as Israel unleashed snipers to deliberately target unarmed civilians with lethal force in the context of Great March of Return protests.

Nine out of 10 “were shot by live ammunition to the upper body, while reportedly posing no imminent threat of death,” the UN report states.

More than 2,500 Palestinian children were injured in 2018, more than double the number the previous year, the UN found.

An Israeli general, Zvika Fogel, admitted openly that Israeli soldiers were under orders to aim their rifles at the “small body of a child.”

An independent UN commission of inquiry called for Israeli officials to be sanctioned and brought to justice over suspected war crimes and crimes against humanity in Gaza.

“[Israeli forces] have intentionally shot children, they’ve intentionally shot people with disabilities, they’ve intentionally shot journalists, knowing them to be children, people with disabilities and journalists,” Sara Hossain, one of the investigators appointed by the UN Human Rights Council, said.

The new UN report documents other widespread violations of Palestinian children’s rights by Israel including arrests, detention and mistreatment, and disruption to their education.

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