Archive for the ‘Revolution Palestine’ Category
Israeli aircraft targeted Sheikh Yassin while on his wheelchair returning home from the mosque nearby to his home
Sheikh Yassin, who had been confined to a wheelchair since the age of 12, was killed on March 22, 2004, when an Israeli aircraft struck his wheelchair while returning home after dawn prayer
Days of Palestine, Gaza Strip –Palestinian Resistance Movement Hamas marked on Sunday the 11th anniversary of Israeli assassination of its founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.
Hamas organised several activities to mark the occasion, most prominently was the launch of the movement’s official website from inside the humble house of the late Hamas leader in Gaza City.
“Our movement remains committed to the ideas of its founder, which preached openness towards the Arab and Islamic spheres,” Deputy Hamas Chief Ismail Haniyeh said at a speech marking the occasion.
Sheikh Yassin and a group of Muslim Brotherhood leaders in the Gaza Strip formed Hamas in 1987 at the beginning of the first Intifada, or Palestinian uprising, against the Israeli occupation.
The movement’s influence spread in the West Bank and Gaza due to its wide network of welfare activities and strong involvement in resisting the Israeli occupation.
Hamas founder was arrested by the Israeli occupation in 1983 on charges of weapons possession, founding a secret militia and calling for the elimination of the state of ‘Israel.’ So, he was sentenced to 13 years in prison.
Two years later, he was released in a prisoner exchange deal between the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Israeli occupation.
He was arrested again in 1989 and condemned to life in prison and an additional 15-year prison sentence for inciting the capture and killing of Israeli soldiers and founding Hamas.
In 1997, the Hamas leader was once again released in another prisoner exchange deal between Jordan and the Israeli occupation, after the failed assassination attempt of Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Mesh’al in Jordanian capital Amman.
Sheikh Yassin, who had been confined to a wheelchair since the age of 12, was killed on March 22, 2004, when an Israeli aircraft struck his wheelchair while returning from the mosque after the dawn prayer.
Even after 11 years have lapsed since his passing, Sheikh Yassin’s family has kept his belongings in place and transformed his humble house into a museum after moving to live in an nearby house.
Dozens of Palestinian, Arab and Islamic delegations have visited Sheikh Yassin’s house over the past years, including Mesh’al, who visited the Gaza Strip in late 2012.
(Source / 23.03.2015)
Life in Gaza: The Nassir family on living for seven months with an unexploded Israeli bomb in their home
Opponents and advocates of boycotting Israel agree that it is an important tactic in the Palestinian struggle.
Earlier in March activists set out to destroy Israeli dairy products in Ramallah
Ramallah, Occupied West Bank – She can hardly read, but five-year-old Yumna Zama’reh knows which products she should and shouldn’t buy at the supermarket.
A few weeks ago, she threw her favorite brand of crackers in the trash after her mother pointed out it was an Israeli product. “As long as there’s a substitute, I won’t let Israeli products into my house,” said Tasneem Amro, Yumna’s mother.
The family began the boycott during the Israeli war on Gaza last summer, said Amro, 35. “I sat down with my girls and explained the concept of boycott. They were already on board because of what they heard about the war,” she said.
The Zama’rehs, like many other Palestinian families, continued to boycott Israeli products after the war ended, although the boycott campaign lost some of its momentum after a ceasefire was announced on August 26.
But boycott returned to the forefront when Israel decided to withhold tax revenues it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA), after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas acceded to the Rome Statute last December, making way for Palestine to become a member of the International Criminal Court.
Three months later, the amount withheld exceeds $420m, which makes up two-third of the PA’s revenues.
The amount is used to pay monthly salaries of most of PA’s civil servants. For the past three months PA employees have been paid only 60 percent of their salaries.
In February, a committee representing factions of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO), trade unions and popular associations announced the boycott of six major Israeli food companies in the West Bank.
“We’re reacting to an Israeli government decision to withhold Palestinian tax revenues,” said Abdullah Kmeel, a PLO member and one of nine members of the national committee. “They’re withholding our money, but they are losing money too…We’re satisfied with the public response. Most shops have stopped stocking Israeli goods.”
Although the boycott was widely welcomed by Palestinians, its scope and its implementation have been criticised.
The committee’s boycott was cautiously welcomed by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which calls on participants to refuse to buy Israeli products or invest in Israeli companies until the country complies with international law and respects Palestinian rights.
A statement issued by the BDS added that it hoped for steps beyond the boycott, calling on the PA leadership to suspend security coordination with Israel. BDS also opposed the fact that the boycott appeared to be temporary.
|There’s no legal basis to the boycott campaign. If they are serious, the effort should be official and organised. It’s neither.I’m all for boycott, but it should happen gradually and there needs to be an alternative.|
The chairman of the committee, Mahmoud Al-Aloul, said the boycott is conditional on the return of Palestinian tax revenues withheld by Israel.
On a Monday afternoon earlier this month, dozens of activists in Ramallah intercepted a distribution truck for Tnuva – one of the six boycotted companies. A truckload of dairy products, worth around $20,000, was unloaded in the city’s main square, and cartons of milk and yogurt were destroyed.
This was the seventh time, since the latest boycott’s launch, that activists in the West Bank stopped distribution trucks and destroyed their products, in a bid to deter distributors and shop-owners alike.
“The message was that this campaign is serious,” Kmeel said.
But the seizure and destruction of Israeli goods has drawn criticism: Some suggested that the products should have been distributed to needy families, while others complained that the two weeks given by the boycott campaign was not enough time for shop owners to sell their stock of Israeli products.
Such “thuggish” actions, some argue, could stain BDS’ reputation which portrays itself as a respecting human rights movement.
“There’s no legal basis to the boycott campaign,” said an owner of an upscale Ramallah supermarket, who asked to remain anonymous. “If they are serious, the effort should be official and organised. It’s neither.”
The supermarket owner said he lost around $10,000 by choosing to take Israeli products off the shelves before they were confiscated and destroyed by activists. “I’m all for boycott, but it should happen gradually and there needs to be an alternative,” the owner said.
He’s not the only one who supports a gradual boycott. Many Palestinians believe that people should be convinced of the necessity of a boycott, not temporarily forced into it.
“It’s a process. Children have to grow up to this,” Amro said. “In the future, it”ll become a taboo.”
The Palestinian leadership indirectly encourages the boycott of Israeli products. A resolution recently passed by the PLO’s Central Council supports the boycott of Israeli goods, and the PA boycotts products made in Jewish settlements in the West Bank. However, a general boycott of Israeli products is not official governmental policy.
“Our policy has been to encourage local product,” said Azmi AbdulRahman, the director general of policy and economic studies at the Palestinian Ministry of Economy.
This plan, which has been in place for two years, aims to increase the share of national production (the percentage of goods purchased in the West Bank that are also produced in the West Bank), to 25 percent by the end of 2015 and decrease unemployment from 24 percent to lower than 20 percent.
Several economists, however, say the goal is not to replace the Israeli products with foreign imports as this would be a more expensive alternative that does not only leave lower-income Palestinians with less options, but also gives Israel more powers since it controls all borders and crossings.
Boycott, they say, is both a challenge an opportunity.
“We started seeing an increase in investment in food manufacturing, especially in dairy production,” AbdulRahman said. “But it remains humble and insufficient, and the Israeli occupation policies are to blame.”
The PA imports around $4bn in goods from and through Israel every year, making up 80 percent of its total imports, the other 20 percent come through Jordan.
Meanwhile, Palestinians export around $740m in products annually.
The large trade deficit is mostly blamed on Palestinians’ inability to access their resources as well as the restrictions imposed by the Israeli occupation. A 2013 World Bank report estimated the costs of Israel’s control of over 60 percent of the West Bank at $3.4bn a year.
The financial effects of the boycott, if it lasts, remain to be seen. Nevertheless, both those who approve and those who criticise the current effort agree that boycotting is an important tactic in the Palestinian struggle.
“It all boils down to the money,” Amro said. “Boycott could be more efficient than throwing rocks.”
(Source / 22.03.2015)
The Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat in the Gaza Strip held a protest demanding an end to Palestinian Authority security coordination with Israel, on the ninth anniversary of the attack on Jericho prison and the abduction of Ahmad Sa’adat, Palestinian leader and General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and his comrades.
The protesters carried banners and signs demanding an end to security coordination and demanding freedom for all Palestinian prisoners in Zionist jails. “The Palestinian Authority’s security coordination with the occupation is a shamelessly subservient support for the occupation,” said the organizers.
“The crime of the attack on Jericho goes beyond mere electoral propaganda for the war criminal Olmert, or the stated Zionist goal to arrest the PFLP leaders who avenged the blood of the assassinated leader Abu Ali Mustafa through the targeting of the racist, criminal state terrorist Rehavam Zeevi. The goal of the assault on Jericho was to target the very idea of resistance represented by Sa’adat and his comrades, to attempt to defeat and liquidate it,” said the organizers of the protest.
The participants carried a coffin with the Zionist flag and the words “Security Coordination” written on it, which they burned in an expression of their demand to bring the destructive, liquidationist policy of security coordination – and the Zionist occupation – to an end.
(Source / 20.03.2015)
A Palestinian woman walks past ruins during the 50-day Israeli war in Beit Hanoun, Gaza
Many Palestinians continue to suffer the consequences of the Israeli regime’s 50-day war against the besieged Gaza Strip last summer, Press TV reports.
Months after the end of the war which started last July, unexploded Israeli bombs and missiles are still threatening the safety of Palestinians.
A family living in Beit Hanoun, a city on the northeast edge of the Gaza Strip, has been living with an unexploded missile for months.
“On the 27th of December, the truce was made. I came back home and found that it had been hit with an F-16 missile. It had penetrated the three stories of the building. It has been down there in the basement for eight months and no one has done anything about it yet,” said Fadl Nassir, a member of the family.
The family says financial difficulties give them no choice but to remain in the house.
“I’m watching the children all the time to keep them away from the missile-hit home. No one is visiting us, because they are all afraid of an imminent explosion. We now share this house with this bomb. War has ended everywhere but here,” said Hayam Nassir, another member of the family.
Over 2,130 Palestinians lost their lives and some 11,000 were injured in the war. Gaza Health officials say the victims included 578 children and nearly 260 women.
About 1,500 buildings and structures were also demolished during the Israeli offensive.
According to Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, an investigation of only 70 Israeli strikes on Gaza last summer showed that more than 70 percent of the 606 Palestinians killed in those strikes were minors, women or elderly.
Gaza Strip has been under a crippling Israeli siege since 2007. The blockade, which has cut off the territory from the outside world, has led to an economic and humanitarian crisis in the densely-populated enclave.
(Source / 20.03.2015)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting for the Central Council of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, March 4, 2015.
The PLO Executive Committee yesterday appointed the Political Committee and heads of the security services to develop a detailed plan to stop security coordination and review economic relations with Israel.
Member of the PLO Executive Committee, Ahmed Al-Majdalani, told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed news site: “The political committee was commissioned with developing a detailed plan to arrange for suspending security coordination with the Israeli occupation in cooperation with security agency chiefs.”
“The same committee, in collaboration with several ministers and experts, will discuss the economic file, specifically the abolition of the Paris Convention,” Al-Majdalani noted.
The Executive Committee has also decided to form a Palestinian delegation that includes representatives of the Palestinian factions who will travel to the Gaza Strip to start a comprehensive dialogue with the participation of Hamas and Islamic Jihad on the implementation of the reconciliation decisions especially enabling the unity government to exercise its duties to reconstruct the Gaza Strip and to arrange for presidential and legislative elections.
A member of the Executive Committee, Wassel Abu Yousef, told the news site: “A date to visit Gaza has not been set yet, but the Palestinian factions are expected to meet in Ramallah on Sunday to determine the date and the meeting’s agenda.”
The Executive Committee has also decided to take the necessary steps to complete accession to the International Criminal Court and procedures to prosecute Israel for stealing Palestinian lands and its aggression against the Palestinian people especially in the Gaza Strip.
The national forces called on the Palestinian leadership to “take a different approach in dealing with the next phase, especially not to resume empty negotiations with Israel.”
The Committee condemned the racist, anti-Palestinian campaign led by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the elections.
(Source / 20.03.2015)
“A comprehensive version of this report constitutes the biweekly report submitted by the Deputy Prime Minister, Head of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Gaza Reconstruction, to the Palestinian Cabinet on March 17, 2015.”
Following up on Donors’ Pledges
· Kuwait’s $200 Million Contribution: On Thursday, March 12, Dr. Muhammad Mustafa, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Gaza Reconstruction, signed an agreement with the Kuwaiti Fund for Arab Economic Development regarding Kuwait’s $200 million contribution toward Gaza Reconstruction. The agreement outlines how Kuwait’s contribution will be spent. It includes programs in housing, water, roads, economic development and agriculture, education and health, as well as municipal services. The program will be implemented by the government over the coming two years.
· Saudi Arabia’s $82 Million Contribution: The National Team for Gaza Reconstruction continues to follow up on the first part of the Saudi Grant, valued at $42 million. This grant will be spent on housing projects benefitting both non-refugees and refugees.
· Qatar’s $25 Million Grant: The government disbursed this grant as follows: $10 million to purchase fuel for the Gaza Power Plan—which has already been consumed, $9 million as compensation to owners of approximately 3,200 of micro-enterprises whose damages were estimated at under $6,800, and $6 million as compensation to approximately 2,200 owners of partially-damaged homes.
Entry of Construction Materials
· Under the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism (GRM), 75,517 requests for purchasing construction materials by owners of destroyed homes were logged into the system. 58,449 home owners purchased the materials allocated to them.
· 92 project requests were logged into the system, of which 41 were approved, 7 received initial approval and 44 are being examined.
· The amount of cement that entered Gaza since the GRM was installed reached 65,374 tons, of which 51,168 tons were sold.
· UNRWA Engineering teams are implementing the second phase of damage assessment, working on cases that have not been assessed thus far. As of February 23, a total of 38,755 cases have been assessed.
Housing and Shelter Efforts
· The number of citizens in shelters has dropped to 8,668, comprising 1,426 families.
· During the past two weeks, UNDP provided rent assistance to 14 families, bringing the number of families that have received rent assistance through UNDP since the program started to 2,633.
· UNDP also distributed cash assistance to 120 owners of partially-damaged houses through a cash assistance program funded by South Korea at a value of $300,000.
· As for UNRWA housing and shelter efforts during the past two weeks, 6 families previously staying at UNRWA housing shelters received cash or material assistance which enabled them to leave such centers, bringing the numbers of families that have received cash or material assistance through UNRWA to 3,258.
· During the same period, 2,265 families received rent assistance at a total value of $1.9 million, bringing the number of families that have received rent assistance through UNRWA to 10,065 families.
· UNRWA did not provide any cash assistance to owners of partially, severely or completely-damaged houses classified as refugees during the past two weeks due to the lack of funds.
· The Ministry of Public Works and Housing continues to follow up reconstruction of 50 houses destroyed during the assault on Gaza in Al-Thafer Tower, as well as renovation of 100 damaged houses in accordance with two agreements signed between the Ministry and Qatar Foundation.
· 15 thousand tons of rubble have been removed during the past two weeks, bringing the total amount of removed rubble thus far to 95 thousand tons and the number of job days generated through this intervention to 5,273.
· Dangers of unexploded objects (UXOs) are being assessed; 60 assessments were conducted during the past two weeks, bringing the total number of such assessments to 171.
· 66 awareness sessions of dangers of UXOs have been fielded, benefiting 1,516 participants. This figure included 25 training-of-trainer (TOT) sessions benefiting 626 UNRWA teachers. These activities are managed by UNDP.
· Overall, a completion rate of approximately 85% is reported with regard to connecting power to Gaza citizens through the rehabilitation of 22KV (kilovolt) and 0.4KV networks. Meanwhile, 2 power transformers were installed in Rafah and Khan Younis under the program of maintaining and installing 22/0.4KV transformers.
· Concerned parties continue to work on stabilizing feeding lines from various sources including the Gaza Power Plant, the Israeli side and the Egyptian side. Relative stabilization is reported vis-à-vis the Israeli and Egyptian sides. The Gaza power plant stopped operating for two days due to the shortage of fuel. An 8 hours on, 8 hours off system remains functional, with some disturbances in Gaza city.
· Work is underway on rehabilitating Wad As-Salqa Well (50% completion rate), Khan Younis Well (5% completion rate), repair of 7 partially-destroyed reservoirs (10% completion rate) and rehabilitation of 5 small-scale desalination plants. Meanwhile, rehabilitation of approximately 2km of destroyed water pipelines has been completed during the past two weeks, bringing the total length of rehabilitated water pipelines to 19km.
· 1.4km of destroyed sewage networks have been rehabilitated in the central and southern regions. 0.6km of sewage pipelines have also been installed under Baghdad Street in Ash-Shuja’ieh area, along with 500m of house connections, bringing the total length of installed sewage networks to 10km. In the meantime, work is underway on repairing and maintaining 8 sewage pumps (20% completion rate reported) as well as rehabilitation of 3 treatment plants in various parts of the Gaza Strip.
· Furthermore, concerned parties continue to work on rehabilitating sewage facilities, replacing 43 pumps and generators, and replacing damaged computer and IT systems (90% completion rate reported).
· Work is underway on reviewing damage assessment reports submitted by various Ministry departments and directorates and entering them into a database.
· The following projects are being implemented:
– The Palestinian Center for Economic and Social Development is implementing a project aimed to distribute 160 power generators in Abasan Al-Kabira and Abasan As-Saghira villages, distribute 12,800 liters of fuel, dig and install plastic ponds for 140 farmers, rehabilitate greenhouses for 90 farmers and build greenhouses for 5 female farmers.
– The ICRC is funding and implementing a $200,000 project to rehabilitate 5 agricultural wells (one east of Jabalia and 4 in Al-Qararah area).
– The EU is funding and implementing a Eur10.5 million project in the areas of animal production, green houses and wells all over the Gaza Strip.
· Based on recommendations of the Economic Committee, and following cabinet approval, the Ministry of Finance has disbursed $9 million out of a $25 million Qatari grant—referenced above—to compensate owners of lightly damaged enterprises. Overall, approximately 3,200 enterprises will receive compensations reaching $6,800 per facility. The benefiting enterprises represent nearly 60% of the total number of damaged and destroyed enterprises although they also represent the least damaged facilities. The goal of this intervention is to support returning those enterprises to operation and consequently reduce the need for humanitarian assistance for their owners and their families.
Local Governance and Municipalities
· 3% progress was reported over the past two weeks vis-à-vis projects being implemented in municipalities in the roads, public facilities, water, sewage, drainage, machinery, energy and solid waste interventions, as well as support for municipalities’ budgets.
· Damaged hospitals and primary healthcare centers are being renovated and reconstructed in spite of the shortage of construction materials for these projects, which has caused stopping some of them. As such, no substantial progress was reported during the past two weeks.
· No shortage of fuel for running these health facilities is reported due to the government’s keenness on maintaining the operation and provision of medical services.
· The government continues to supply basic drugs, medical supplies and laboratory kits, at a cost of approximately $1.75 million.
· Medical equipment continue to be supplied to the Gaza Strip, at a total cost of $4.14 million, constituting 42$ of the demand for 6 months. An additional $1 million worth of spare parts, representing approximately have of the demand, is being delivered.
· In addition, a $1.5 million grant to provide treatment for injured citizens locally and abroad is being implemented.
(Source / 19.03.2015)