Twelve European countries participate in the “Freedom Flotilla 2”
BRUSSELS, (PIC)– The European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza, said Thursday that ships from 12 European countries have expressed willingness to participate in the “Freedom Flotilla 2” mission next month to break the Israeli siege on Gaza.
Rami Abdo, the spokesman of the campaign, said in a written statement on Thursday that ships from France, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland announced they would participate in the humanitarian mission in addition to eight other ships from eight European countries.
In this regard, Abdo urged the international community and countries of the participating vessels to provide the necessary protection for those ships to achieve their mission, adding that European legislators and MPs in addition to hundreds of activists and supporters of the Palestinian cause would go with the ships.
He added that more ships were joining the Flotilla despite Israeli threats that the Israeli navy would assault them if they approached the besieged coastal Strip where nearly 1.7 million Palestinians had been under siege for five years now. “The participants are determined to achieve their noble mission at any cost,” Abdo said.
He also described the Egyptian decision of opening the Rafah crossing point permanently before Palestinian citizens as “positive,” saying it was a step in the right direction but he noted that opening of the crossing was limited for individuals and not for goods.
“Goods are still forced to pass through Israeli-controlled checkpoints, and thus, it would take long time before it could reach Gaza, yet, there are a lot of basic humanitarian needs that couldn’t be delayed and must reach the needy people in Gaza very fast”, Abdo underlined.
In May last year, the Israeli navy committed an ugly massacre on board the Freedom Flotilla, killing nine Turkish activists and wounding tens others sparking wide international condemnation and marred the Israeli-Turkish relationship.
Specialists: 95% of Gaza water is not drinkable
GAZA, (PIC)– During a workshop organised by the Mizan centre for Human rights held on Thursday in Gaza, Palestinian specialists said that 95% of groundwater in the Gaza Strip is not potable.
They called on the international community and the and High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention to assume their responsibilities, through pressure on the occupation, to affirm the water rights of the Palestinian people, and press them to spare civilians the Zionist machine of aggression.
The specialists called for alternative sources to treated ground water, especially encouraging investment in desalination plants to make use of sea water as an alternative to protect the strategic reserve of ground water.
Settlers claim that new settlement projects will cover all areas of Jerusalem
A Jewish settlement movement has said that it plans to speed up construction of settlements in East Jerusalem in such a way that it will not be feasible to divide the city. YnetNews.com reported that a new project by the Jewish Settlements in East Jerusalem Movement was inaugurated by Israeli officials on Wednesday. The site in the Palestinian Ras Al-Amoud area was described as “the tip of the iceberg”. Jewish settlements are illegal in international law but, say the Israeli settlers, are “an existing fact.”
The settlers’ movement boasts of “Jewish-owned properties in areas like Silwan, Shimon Hatzadik, Abu Dis and in the Old City”. Although there are delays due to bureaucracy and legal matters, the settlers are adamant: “The truth is that all of Jerusalem’s neighbourhoods are involved. You cannot divide Jerusalem. That’s the reality.”
Families of political detainees in W.B. hold sit-in, demand their release
NABLUS, (PIC)– Families of the political detainees in Junaid prison in Nablus city have decided to hold a sit-in in front of the jail after PA security forces refused to let them visit their sons who started an open hunger strike two days ago.
Palestinian lawmaker MP. Fathi Al-Qarawi, of Hamas parliamentary bloc in the PLC, was among the sit-inners as two of his sons were among the hunger strikers in the jail.
Qarawi said that he was participating as a father of two and not as a lawmaker, adding that the sit-inners wanted to deliver humanitarian message and not a political one.
“The file of the political detainees is of great importance and a very sensitive file, and it should be addressed before any other files and without further discussions in order to assure the Palestinian people that the national reconciliation is still on track”, Qarawi said as he urged the swift release of all political detainees as stipulated in the national reconciliation agreement signed in Cairo early this month.
The sit-inners also accused the PA security forces of attempting to disperse them by force, alleging that the sin-in was against the law and that they got to stop it.
“We have heard a lot of promises from the PA that our sons would be released soon, but we see nothing on the ground, we are fed up with empty promises,” said mother of one of the detainees in the prison in a phone interview with the PIC correspondent.
Most of the hunger strikers are students of the Najah University.
Meanwhile, in the southern West Bank, dozens of relatives of political detainees in Al-Khalil city gathered at the main square in the city’s down town urging Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas and political leaders of the Palestinian factions to release their sons.
They held placards with phrases demanding the immediate halt of political detention and political summonses against Hamas cadres, chanting “The people want to end summonses”, “Why is the security coordination while we all still under bullets of the IOF”, “Oh Abbas, Oh Fayyadh, our captives are the main concern”.
MP Mohammed Abu Juhaishah spoke in the sit-in and called on Abbas to issue his orders for the release of all political detainees in the West Bank, and to respect the Supreme Court orders in this regard.
PA security forces in the city surrounded the gathering and attempted to break the sit-in by force as they arrested Palestinian cameraman Ishaq Arafa who was covering the event, and questioned him before his release.
The reconciliation agreement signed by all Palestinian factions, including Fatah and Hamas, early this month in Cairo stipulates the immediate release of all political detainees in the West Bank and Gaza Strip without any conditions.
“Israel” demolishes Palestinian house in Naqab
West Bank, (Pal Telegraph)-Israeli occupation bulldozers demolished on Thursday a Palestinian house in the Naqab region south of the occupied territories of 1948, under the pretext of illegal construction.
According to witnesses, Israeli bulldozers guarded by the so-called civil administration invaded the unrecognized villages in the Naqab and started demolishing a house owned by a Palestinian Bedouin.
During the demolition, clashes erupted between Palestinian residents and Israeli police came to support the bulldozers. No injuries were reported.
Israeli occupation forces used to demolish Palestinian homes and vandalize agricultural lands in different Arab areas in the Palestinian occupied territories of 1948 forcing hundreds of Palestinians to leave their own properties in order to expand Israeli influence in the area.