Wednesday 23 June 2010

Middle East News Update - June 23, 2010

Iranian Ship Sails To Gaza Sunday
... Abdul-Rauf Adibzadeh stated during a press conference on Tuesday that
the ship, dubbed the Children of Gaza, will be sailing Sunday carrying
1100 tons of humanitarian aid to Gaza, including 500 tons of medical
supplies and food.

The ship is privately owned and will only carry 10 persons; 5 crew
members and five Iranian Red Crescent workers. ...

Israeli court begins trial against Palestinian official for 'illegally praying' at Al-Aqsa Mosque
... The mosque is considered the third-holiest site in Islam, but many
Muslims are prohibited by Israeli authorities from praying there.
Israeli authorities control access to the Mosque and its grounds, which
are located in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Palestinians who try to pray in the Mosque face off with Israeli
soldiers every Friday at East Jerusalem checkpoints, and very few are
allowed to enter Jerusalem to pray at the mosque. ...

Settlers target 'shared cities'
Jewish settlers storming the garden of an elderly Palestinian woman
may seem like something you would expect to happen in Hebron, not
cosmopolitan Tel Aviv. But that is exactly what happened to Zeinab
Rachayel, an Arab resident of Tel Aviv's mixed suburb, Yafo.

Rachayel was in her courtyard on a Sunday afternoon when several
buses full of settlers from the West Bank arrived, parking nearby. Armed
with Israeli flags, young men lined the sidewalk outside her home
chanting "this is our land". One by one, they entered her garden, until
Rachayel was confronted by dozens of settlers in their late teens and
early twenties.

"Another one entered and he said, 'Listen, you're not staying here.
Yafo is just for Jews. Get out of Yafo,'" Rachayel says. The men
continued to threaten and intimidate her, repeatedly saying that the
Arab presence in Yafo is only temporary.

A cultural hub

Yafo was once Jaffa - the cultural and economic hub of Palestine.
Battered during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, the conflict that surrounded
the creation of the Jewish state, Jaffa's population plummeted as
residents fled or were expelled from their homes.

immigrants quickly took their places and in 1950, the Tel Aviv
municipality swallowed Jaffa, renaming it Yafo. 

Today, some 60 years later, the twin forces of settlers and
gentrification means the area's Palestinian community are again facing
an existential threat. ...

Israel launches a new spy satellite

Israeli organization places ad for volunteers to attack solidarity ships

U.N Human Rights Council Approves International Committee To Probe Flotilla Attack
The United Nations Human Rights Council voted for forming an
international committee to probe the deadly Israeli attack against the
Freedom Flotilla on May 31, leading to dozens of casualties among human
rights activists. Israel is demanding the shelving of the investigation. ...

The Human Rights Council named the officials who will be investigating
the Israeli attacks and alleged violations of international law. The
investigation committee includes lawyers, experts in international law,
and experts in human rights law. The committee will be presenting its
findings in September....

The European Campaign Against the Siege stated that the International
Committee will contact Israel, Greece, Turkey, the Freedom Flotilla
coalition, and will also be visiting Gaza.

The group added that the investigation committee will ask Israel to
cooperate with the investigation, and should it refuse to do so, the
committee would continue its investigation and will mention in its
report that Israel refused to cooperate....

Russia Demands Israel To Lift The Siege On Gaza

Israel Drumming For Ware Against Hezbollah

Washington Asks for Clarifications Regarding Demolition Orders In Jerusalem
Israeli sources reported that senior U.S. officials asked Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for clarifications regarding Israel’s
decision to demolish 22 Palestinian homes in Silwan neighborhood in East
Jerusalem, in order to replace them with an “Archeological Garden”. ...

U.S. officials told Israeli counterparts that the United States would
issue “strong and clear statements condemning the demolishing of Arab

Soldiers Kidnap 21 Palestinians In Hebron
Israeli soldiers kidnapped on Tuesday 21 Palestinians in the southern
West Bank district of Hebron, after invading several areas and breaking
into dozens of homes, local sources reported. ...

Norman G. Finkelstein - photo comparisons of Nazi Germany and Occupied Palestine
At what point does it become too close for comfort?

Gaza Roundup 19
Protesters in Oakland,
They held up the unloading of a Zim cargo ship from
Israel to raise awareness of the Freedom Flotilla and the apartheid
Palestinians must face every day as they are being driven from their
lands and homes to make room for more Israeli occupiers. (Here's Mondoweiss's
on the story, and here's that of the local paper, the Oakland


Pasta Yes, People No

What should we make of Israel's change in strategy towards the Gaza blockade?

It really depends on what you see as the aim - saving face amidst
intense international (Turkish and US) pressure or allowing people in
Gaza to live a normal life. 

Not only is it clear that it is the former not the latter (otherwise
why not let people leave the Strip?) but through a change in semantics,
Israel has managed to checkmate the world. ...

Road shipments to Gaza begin

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