Factories shut or to be shut down

Shut down factories

In Gaza:

Since the decision of the Israeli occupation to shut down the Karem Abu Salem crossing, the Madina Factory for Soft Drinks tried to find an alternative plan to keep its production line going, but all its attempts did not succeed, until the factory stopped working completely.

Ahed Mahdi, the factory’s public relations director, told the PIC: “The factory closed its doors effectively five days ago.” He expressed his regret over the decision to shut down the Karem Abu Salem crossing and the occupation’s ongoing practices of preventing the entry of raw materials.

Mahdi explained that the factory’s management has reduced the daily work load since the closure of the Karem Abu Salem crossing about three weeks ago to 70%, and used its reserves of raw materials, “but the continuing closure of the crossing forced the factory to stop working altogether.”

He pointed out that about 90 workers who support their families by working at the factory had to join the ‘army of unemployed’ in Gaza, explaining that there is a clear targeting of national factories.

Targeting the national industry
“The Israeli occupation does not mind allowing basic goods and supplies from Israel and other foreign companies, in light of its refusal to allow raw materials into Gaza to be used by national factories, which confirms the targeting of our industry and national factories by the Israeli occupation,” says Mahdi.

Mahdi pointed out that the factory, founded in 2005, was subjected to semi-total destruction in 2008, and a total destruction in 2014, indicating that the occupation was placing conditions on allowing raw materials to the Gaza Strip, especially soda and other materials needed to run the factory, preventing it from functioning completely following the closure of the Karem Abu Salem crossing weeks ago.

The Madina factory runs three lines of production of soft drinks, two lines of 330 ml, a third for filling one and two liters bottles. It also has a line to fill mineral water (one liter and a half), noting that the Gaza Strip is one of the areas that consumes soft drinks, especially in the months from June to October.

He pointed out that during this time of the year, the production lines are all operational, and a line might have two shifts to cover the demand, while a line or two function throughout the year due to the lack of demand.

Factories threatened
Economic expert Mohammed Abu Jiyab warned of Gaza’s unprecedented economic collapse as the costal enclave is suffering from a shortage of basic and financial resources and a sharp drop in cash flow.

Abu Jiyab explained to the PIC that the Gaza Strip is exposed to the drying up of money available, pointing out that dozens of factories closed and pushed their workers towards ‘the armies of unemployed’, while the remaining factors are under the threat to close due to accumulated crises.

He also warned of the beginning of a shortage of some basic commodities in Gaza due to the siege on the one hand, and the inability of the owners of capital and companies to import these materials and the lack of liquidity and the low purchasing power of the citizens of Gaza which hit the lowest level.

He added: “We are heading towards a sensitive and dangerous stage, and I expect that there will be a comprehensive collapse in the Gaza Strip, if quick solutions to its crises are not reached,” pointing out that this foreshadows a major and near explosion.

(Source / 04.08.2018)

Israeli bulldozers level Palestinian lands near Bethlehem

Stealing land south of Bethlehem

Israeli bulldozers on Saturday morning leveled Palestinian-owned lands located between the illegal settlements of Gush Etzion and Alon Shvut, south of Bethlehem.

Representative of the National Committee against the Wall and Settlement Hasan Brijiyyeh said that the bulldozers razed vast tracts of lands in Artas village in preparation for a project to build 1,700 settlement units in the area over the next five years.

Israel has stepped up its attacks on the Palestinian lands adjacent to Gush Etzion settlement bloc. A few months ago, 200 Palestinian-owned trees were destroyed. Israel further has banned all Palestinian construction activities in the nearby Khirbet Iskaria.

(Source / 04.08.2018)

Occupation drone fired missile at Palestinian youths in Gaza

JABALIA, PALESTINOW.COM — An Israeli drone on Saturday targeted a group of Palestinian citizens near the border fence east of Jabalia town, north of the Gaza Strip.

Local sources said that the drone fired at least one missile at a group of Palestinians flying kites east of Jabalia. No casualties were reported.

Israeli occupation forces attack Palestinian civilians in the areas adjacent to the border on a daily basis.

(Source / 04.08.2018)

Israeli snipers kill 2 protesters, wounds 220 others in Gaza

Nine of the wounded sufer from serious injuries.

Israeli occupation snipers killed two Palestinian protesters and wounded 220 others, including nine with serious injuries, during protests of Great March of Return on Friday.

The Palestinian youth Yahya Yaghi, 25, was shot in the chest while taking part in the protests. Eyewitnesses said that he was at least 200 metres away from the barbed fence.

On Saturday at dawn, the ministry of health in Gaza announced that boy Mu’az al-Souri, 15, succumbed to wounds sustained on Friday.

Meanwhile, the ministry said that nine of the 220 wounded protesters sustained serious injuries, including one has been in coma.

The ministry said that 90 of the wounded were transferred to hospitals and still receiving medical treatment.

Since the start of the protests of the Great March of Return in Gaza, the Israeli occupation has killed 158 and wounded about 18,000 protesters. Zero Israelis had been killed.

(Source / 04.08.2018)

‘Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians need your solidarity’

Activists taking parts in the 'Big Ride' blockade a UK-based Elbit Systems subsidiary. Image taken on August 8, 2016

Activists, including Mona El Farra, take part in the ‘Big Ride’ blockade a UK-based Elbit Systems subsidiary on August 8, 2016

 By Rebecca Stead

After months of preparation by its volunteer team, the ride sets out from Coventry on Friday and will arrive in London on Sunday, staging rallies along the way.

Dr Mona El Farra, former vice president of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society endorses the Big Ride for Palestine [File photo]

The Big Ride is endorsed by Dr Mona El Farra, former vice president of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society in the besieged Gaza Strip. Mona has been involved with the Big Ride since Israel’s brutal assault on Gaza in 2014, which led to the deaths of 2,251 Palestinians, including 547 children. Alongside notable British figures, Mona attended the send-off of the very first Big Ride a year later, in 2015. She explains: “I am totally convinced this act is about solidarity not charity,” adding that it “spreads the message of justice and freedom for the Palestinian people.”

“I remember saying in my speech in 2015 that we would continue, and really we did, given that 2018 is the 4th year of Big Ride.”

Asked what she hopes this year’s ride can achieve, she says: “We are hoping to mobilise more British people to be part of the people’s movement, which stands in solidarity with the Palestinian people.”

The Palestinian struggle can be strengthened by increasing British awareness about the current humanitarian crisis in Gaza, which has been under siege since 2007 by the Israeli occupation.

Mona believes the Big Ride is of particular importance this year in light of the Great March of Return which has seen over 140 Palestinians killed and more than 15,000 injured, including journalists and medics. Israel has also tightened its siege of Gaza in recent weeks by closing the only commercial crossing in and out of the enclave, causing shortages of vital resources and damaging industries. Mona sees the Great March of Return as “a reminder to the world that the Palestinian people seek justice, despite being denied this by the Israeli occupation and the international community’s passive stance.”

READ: “We are not interested in a humanitarian crisis in Gaza”

Yet in addition to increasing awareness, the Big Ride aims to raise money for the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA), where Mona works as director of Projects in Gaza. Her work in the Gaza Strip is focused on healthcare, particularly for women and children, and combating the impact that repeated wars on the besieged territory have had on the population. As Mona explains, “children who are currently 12 years of age have already experienced three assaults or wars,” leaving many with lasting trauma. Given that over 40 per cent of the population of Gaza is under 15 years old, this means approximately 800,000 children are at risk of suffering long-term psychological scars as a result of exposure to war and violence.

Did you know…58% of Gazans are either under 19 years old or over 60 years old!

#Gaza #GazaSiege #OccupiedPalestine #Palestine

Working as a doctor in Gaza is not an easy feat. Mona says that “my dual nationality helps me travel, though with great difficulty, since the restriction of movement outside Gaza is dangerous and the borders are closed most of the time.” Currently splitting her time between Manchester, in the north of the UK, and the Gaza Strip, many high-profile figures have been involved with ensuring her passage in and out of the enclave so she can carry out her work.

It has sometimes taken nine months and the intervention of British MPs like Jeremy Corbyn and the late Gerald Kauffman before I could leave.

READ: PA: Any aid to Gaza must pass through Ramallah

Yet Mona is no stranger to hardship. Born in Khan Yunis, in the south of the Strip, she took part in the popular resistance that followed Israel’s occupation of Gaza, the West Bank, the Golan Heights and Jerusalem in 1967. A 15-year-old schoolgirl at the time, she was involved in protesting, writing and distributing political leaflets encouraging people to resist the occupation. She recalls that “I was hit by Israeli soldiers a few times with thick sticks. Many of us were detained in jail. My father had to bail me out on the proviso that I took no further part in demonstrations.”

The following year, she went to Cairo to complete her secondary education and medical studies: “I was determined to be a doctor so I could help my people, as I could never forget the images of terrorised, injured and dead people in the streets of my hometown.”

After several years living outside Palestine, Mona decided to return to her home. In 1987, she took part in the First Intifada, working in some of Gaza’s eight refugee camps and rural areas where access to healthcare was difficult. Mona explains that: “I took part in organising and working in a mobile clinic with a team of volunteers, nurses and doctors, to take care of the injured and wounded.”

There was a daily struggle by my people against Israeli occupation. We held many strikes and curfews were imposed on a daily basis. We were not allowed to leave our homes after 6pm, and on many occasions curfews would be imposed for days on whole villages and towns in Gaza.

Since then, her role has expanded to include founding the first library in Jabalia refugee camp, as well as the Rachel Corrie children’s centre in Rafah, named after the 23-year-old American peace activist who was killed in 2003 by an Israeli bulldozer as she protested house demolitions in the city. mona also co-founded Al Awda hospital in 1997, the first hospital in the north of Gaza which previously had no medical facility to serve its large population.

READ: Israel intercepts Freedom Flotilla bound for Gaza

As the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza worsens with every passing month, Mona stresses the need to continue the work she has dedicated her life to. She explains: “It is crucial to help people on the ground, and that is what MECA is doing in Gaza via different local centres in the cities, villages and camps.”

Asked what message she would like to give those following the situation in Gaza, she says “hundreds of thousands of Palestinians need your solidarity, as well as your practical support.” Mona believes that acts of solidarity like the Big Ride can “one day manage to change the policies of governments towards Palestinians’ inalienable rights,” putting pressure on Israel to end its decade-long siege of the Gaza Strip and relieving the plight of its two million Palestinian citizens.

(Source / 04.08.2018)

Exhibition in Gaza displays products denied by Israel

Children’s toys are displayed in an exhibition in Gaza showing basic materials including school supplies, medical equipment, feeding bottles, banned from entering Gaza Strip due to Israel’s blockade, in Gaza on August 3, 2018

An exhibition was organized in Gaza Strip to showcase more than a thousand products forbidden to enter into the city by Israeli authorities.

The exhibition, organized by Popular Committee to End Gaza’s Siege, put on display various products varying from a wedding dress, feeding bottle to soap and nappy.

“The Israeli blockade made it impossible to meet even the most basic commodities,” Jamal al-Khodari, the committee head, told Anadolu Agency. “The exhibition aims to draw the world’s attention to the Israeli blockade,” he added.

Noting that Israel did not let feeding bottles, plastic materials, children’s swimming equipment, electronic devices, toys, wedding dresses, cosmetic products and basic building materials into Gaza, Hudari said that the humanitarian crisis in Gaza resulted in a financial collapse.

He stressed that the industrial sector in Gaza was about to die. “The Israeli blockade and prevention of the essential raw materials has led to the closure of 80 per cent of the factories in Gaza. This is another side of the policy Israel practices to suffocate Gaza and destroy the whole financial sector,” he said.

Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the organization carrying out Israel’s activities on Palestinian lands, said only humanitarian needs are allowed to enter Gaza through one-by-one control mechanism.

“The reason for this decision is burning kites and balloons are sent to Israel from Gaza Strip. The humanitarian needs that are allowed to enter Gaza are food, medicine and medical supplies,” the statement by the COGAT said.

Closure of border crossing

Having closed the Kerm Ebu Salim border crossing in July, Israel banned the entrance of gas and fuel used in Palestinian homes last week.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on 9 July that Kerm Ebu Salim border crossing, the only way through which the commercial goods could enter Gaza, would be closed.

“We are implementing very strict measures against Hamas immediately. As an important step, Kerm Ebu Salim border crossing will be closed. There will be additional steps,” Netanyahu had said.

In addition, on 17 July, Israel decreased the fishery range across Gaza waters from nine miles to three.

As a result of the air, land and sea blockade that Israel imposed on Gaza Strip since 2006, about two million Palestinians suffer from a great humanitarian plight. The Gazans are deprived of basic human needs.

Identified as “the largest open-air prison in the world”, Gaza gets harmed due to the electricity problems. In addition, the infrastructure and health services have collapsed in Gaza, where the residents could only access electricity six hours a day.

Responding to the humanitarian crisis, Gazans have been rallying since 30 March to draw global attention to the issue.

However, more than 150 Palestinians were martyred by Israeli troops, in addition to the dozens of people confined to wheelchairs and crutches following deliberate Israeli sniper shots aiming at disabling Palestinians.

(Source / 04.08.2018)

Hamas: ‘We will break the siege once and for all’

Palestinian people gather at Al-Katiba Square during an event held to mark the 30th anniversary of Hamas, on December 14, 2017 in Gaza City, Gaza [Ali Jadallah / Anadolu Agency]

Palestinian people gather at Al-Katiba Square during an event held to mark the 30th anniversary of Hamas, on December 14, 2017 in Gaza City, Gaza

Hamas plans to break the illegal Israeli imposed siege on Gaza “once and for all”, a senior member of the movement said yesterday.

Speaking during the “Great March of Return” protests, Hossam Badran said: “The Great March of Return protests being us pride.”

Hamas will “pay whatever price is needed” to break the blockade, he added, saying:

We have the right to regain what was occupied by [Israel] in spite of all the conspiracies being plotted against us.

“Our people will never surrender and will never raise the white flag before the liberation of every inch from the historic land of Palestine.”

Badran, who lives in exile, arrived in the Gaza Strip on Thursday as part of an international Hamas delegation to discuss internal Palestinian reconciliation and a potential truce between Israel and resistance factions.

Read: Israel captures second Gaza-bound aid ship

(Source / 04.08.2018)

Israel’s policies in Gaza are genocidal

Razan al-Najjar helping injured man

Razan al-Najjar, the 21 year old Gaza medic killed by an Israeli sniper on June 1, treating an injured man, undated photo from Palestine Live on twitter

The 1948 Genocide Convention clearly states that one instance of genocide is “the deliberate infliction of conditions of life calculated to bring about the physical destruction of a people in whole or in part.” No matter whether this happens at a fast rate, or in “slow motion.” That is what has been done to Gaza since the imposition of the blockade by Israel, and the subsequent massacres which led to the death of more than 4000 Palestinians in three successive genocidal wars.

Palestinians of Gaza live an ongoing, illegal, crippling Israeli siege that has shattered all spheres of life, prompting the former UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights, Richard Falk, to describe it as “a prelude to genocide”. In 2009, the UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, headed by the highly respected South African judge, Richard Goldstone, found Israel guilty of “war crimes and possible crimes against humanity,” as did major international human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. The Goldstone report, for example, concludes that Israel’s war on Gaza was “designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population, radically diminish its local economic capacity both to work and to provide for itself, and to force upon it an ever increasing sense of dependency and vulnerability.”

The same scenario was repeated in 2012, and a worse one in 2014 only because Israel feels that it can carry on its war crimes with full impunity. And last week Israel has decided to tighten the siege by closing the only commercial crossing, even to increase its attacks by targeting peaceful protesters demanding the implementation of UN resolutions, and an end to this deadly, hermetic siege.

In her visit to Gaza, Professor Sara Roy, an expert on Gaza, describes the Strip as “a land ripped apart and scarred, the lives of its people blighted. Gaza is decaying under the weight of continued devastation, unable to function normally…” Professor Roy concludes that “[T]he decline and disablement of Gaza’s economy and society have been deliberate, the result of state policy–consciously planned, implemented and enforced… And just as Gaza’s demise has been consciously orchestrated, so have the obstacles preventing its recovery.” In addition to Israel’s daily attacks and air strikes, Gazans also suffer from the contamination of water, air and soil, since the sewage system is unable to function due to power cuts necessitated by lack of fuel to the main generators of the Gaza power grid. Medical conditions due to injuries from internationally prohibited butterfly bullets and other illegal Israeli weapons as well as from water contamination cannot be treated because of the siege. In addition to the ban on building materials, Israel also prevents many other necessities from being imported: lights bulbs, candles, matches, books, refrigerators, shoes, clothing, mattresses, sheets, blankets, tea, coffee, sausages, flour, cows, pasta, cigarettes, fuel, pencils, pens, paper… etc. In Gaza, people are wondering whether the current Israeli government, the most fascist in the county’s history, might even discuss a ban on Oxygen! Add to this the punitive measure taken by the PA, and the drastic cuts endorsed by UNRWA, not to mention the constant closure of the Rafah crossing–the only exit Gaza has to the external world– leading to one of the highest unemployment rates and poverty on the face of earth.

In fact, the conclusion Gazans have reached is that Israel is intent on destroying Gaza because world official bodies and leaders choose to say and do absolutely nothing. The brazen refusal of Israel to cooperate with the decision of the International Community to re-construct Gaza, for which several billions of dollars were pledged in Sharm El-Sheikh, should not be tolerated. Israel’s attacks have damaged or completely destroyed many public buildings and have according to the UN’s own Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports severely damaged or completely destroyed some thousands of family dwellings, schools, universities and factories. Many other Palestinians who have spent the past several winters and summers in tents and caravans have also been promised the means to rebuild homes and schools, though to date nothing has been done to alleviate their suffering.

The practice of wanton willful killing of civilians exemplified in the extra-judicial sniping of non-violent protesters at the eastern fence of the Gaza Strip is not an isolated incident. It is part and parcel of an ongoing, comprehensive policy targeting the civilian Palestinians of the Gaza strip and systematically denying them their rights to movement, work, medical care, study, livelihood and increasingly life itself. But it is also a reflection of the nature of the state of Israel.i. e., a settler-colony. Israel’s leading, anti-Zionist historian, Ilan Pappe,  sheds light  on the driving ideology behind this genocidal policy:

Zionism is, in essence, a settler colonial movement, which was interested in having as much of the land of Palestine with as few Palestinians on it as possible. As the late scholar of settler colonialism, Patrick Wolfe, has put it; the encounter between the settlers and the indigenous population triggered ‘the logic of the elimination of the native’. In some places, such as North America, annihilation was literally a genocide of the native; in Palestine it was a different kind of elimination, obtained through segregation, ethnic cleansing and enclavement

In spite of Israel’s alleged unilateral withdrawal from the Strip in 2005, it still maintains a permanent military presence in Gaza’s territorial waters and controls the movement of people and goods onto the strip by land and water in addition to movement within the strip through targeting anyone entering the “no go” zone designated by the Israeli military. Israel also continues to control Gaza’s population registry. Yet, Israel claims that it is no longer the occupying power in the Gaza strip and uses this excuse, in addition to the results of 2006 democratic elections, to intensify its policy of siege and lethal attacks on Gaza’s civilians.

And now, Israel has decided to become openly an apartheid state by legalizing racial discrimination. I have tried very hard to find out whether there are constitutions or laws in the world similar to Israel’s “new” Nation-State Basic Law which aims to establish a legal basis for Jewish supremacy and racism against indigenous Palestinians, including those living in what has become the largest open-air prison on earth; only South Africa under apartheid and America in the eras of slavery and segregation.

So, what to do?!

In a piece published in MEE, Gideon Levy asks “Israel, where is your outrage at the legislation of Apartheid?” Actually, we are not expecting a settler-colonial community to act against its own racism. The outside world has to intervene. Hence our call for #BDS. But, in Palestine, we are in urgent need of serious discussions about a program of radical political transformation, what with the disastrous failure of the existing programs, right and left, a program that divorces itself from the racist two-state solution, one that endorses a more inclusive program that guarantees the rights of all segments of the Palestinian people.

(Source / 04.08.2018)

Record number of Israeli settlers entered al-Aqsa in July: Palestinian official

Israeli police forces stand guard at the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem al-Quds' Old City on July 27, 2018, after closing off the site following clashes with Palestinian worshippers.

Israeli police forces stand guard at the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem al-Quds’ Old City on July 27, 2018, after closing off the site following clashes with Palestinian worshippers

A record number of 3,900 Israeli settlers entered the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Israeli-occupied Old City of East Jerusalem al-Quds in July, says a Palestinian official.

“The highest number of incursions [by settlers] was recorded in July,” said a statement released by Jerusalem’s Religious Endowment Authority on Wednesday.

“This is a clear indication of the increasing violations by settlers in the holy site,” added the statement.

Earlier in the month, over a thousand Israeli settlers stormed the al-Aqsa compound amid escalation of violence by Israeli forces and settlers against the Palestinian people.

The settlers performed acts deemed provocative by Palestinians at the mosque’s courtyard in commemoration of the Jewish holiday of Tisha B’Av.

Heavily armed Israeli police forces set up iron barriers on the doors and confiscated identity cards of Palestinians before allowing them to enter the compound.

On July 7, Palestinian Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud al-Habbash drew a parallel between Israel’s restrictions on the al-Aqsa Mosque compound and the Nazi inquisition, saying Tel Aviv’s measures at the holy site violate human dignity.

Jordan is the custodian of the al-Aqsa compound, which lies in the Old City of East Jerusalem al-Quds. It has repeatedly accused Israel of violating the status quo of the sacred site and multiple provocations.

In the most recent round of tensions, violence erupted after a deadly shootout outside the al-Aqsa Mosque compound on July 14, 2017. Israel subsequently set up metal detectors and surveillance cameras at entrances to the complex at the time.

The restrictive measures sparked criticism worldwide, with Palestinians saying that the bans were meant to expand the regime’s control over the holy site.

On July 24, 2017, Tel Aviv backed down in the face of growing protests as well as violent clashes and removed all the restrictions at al-Aqsa.

Read More:

Israel lays claim to the whole Jerusalem al-Quds, but the international community views the city’s eastern sector as an occupied territory and Palestinians consider it as the capital of their future state.

(Source / 04.08.2018)

Soldiers Injure One Palestinian Near Jerusalem, Two Near Ramallah

04 AUG
12:00 AM

Israeli soldiers attacked, Friday, dozens of Palestinian protesters near the main entrance of Hizma town, east of occupied East Jerusalem, and shot a young man with a live round. The army also shot two Palestinians near Ramallah, in central West Bank.

Medical sources said the soldiers shot a teenage boy with a live round in his abdomen, before he was rushed to Palestine Medical Complex, in Ramallah, suffering a moderate-but-stable injury.

It is worth mentioning that the soldiers are always deployed at the main entrance Hizma, and constantly obstruct traffic, by stopped and searching Palestinian cars, in addition to interrogating the residents while inspecting their ID cards.

In related news, the soldiers shot two Palestinians with live fire in the Al-Mughayyir village, northeast of Ramallah, before they were moved to a hospital in the city.

The two were shot after the soldiers invaded the village and attacked local protesters.

In addition, the soldiers injured several Palestinians in Toura village, southwest of Jenin, in northern West Bank.

In related news, the soldiers shot one Palestinian with a rubber-coated steel bullet, and caused dozens to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation, after the army attacked the weekly nonviolent procession against the Annexation Wall and colonies in Kufur Qaddoum town, east of the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia.

(Source / 04.08.2018)