Palestine becomes full member of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine Federation

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine Federation

RAMALLAH, June 26, 2017 (WAFA) – The International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (IFCC) upgraded the membership of the Palestinian Medical Technology Association (PALMTA) from corporate to full after a vote Monday.

The result came after a voting has taken place in which Palestine has won a permanent seat within IFCC, becoming the 91 state with full membership.

PALMTA said in a press release that Palestine’s membership at the United Nations, as well as efforts exerted by the Palestinian leadership to support Palestine’s application to become full member at IFCC has eased the way for Palestine to win full membership.

Osama Najjar explained that Palestine has been a corporate member for many years.

IFCC is a worldwide, non-political organization for clinical chemistry and laboratory medicine based in Rome. As such it has a range of roles that include global standard setting in collaboration with other international organizations, supporting its members through scientific and educational endeavor, and providing a series of congresses, conferences and focused meetings in order for laboratory medicine specialists to meet and present original findings and best practice.

(Source / 26.06.2017)

Pushing Gaza to suicide: The politics of humiliation

A Palestinian man watches the Gaza's power station in the central Gaza Strip, July 29, 2015 [Ashraf Amra / ApaImages]

A Palestinian man watches the Gaza’s power station in the central Gaza Strip, July 29, 2015

By Ramzy Baroud

Mohammed Abed is a 28-year-old taxi driver from the village of Qarara, near the town of Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip. He has no teeth.

Lack of medical care and proper dentistry work cost him all of his teeth, which rotted and decayed at a very young age. Yet, his dire financial needs prevented him from acquiring dentures. His community eventually pitched in, collecting the few hundred dollars needed for Mohammed to finally being able to eat.

Mohammed is not unemployed. He works ten hours, sometimes more, every single day. The old taxi he drives between Khan Younis and Gaza City is owned by someone else. Mohammed’s entire daily salary ranges from 20 to 25 shekels, about 6 dollars.

Raising a family with four children with such a meagre income made it impossible for Mohammed to think of such seemingly extraneous expenses, such as fixing his teeth or acquiring dentures.

Strange as it may seem, Mohammed is somewhat lucky.

Unemployment in Gaza is among the highest in the world, presently estimated at 44 percent. Those who are ’employed’, like Mohammed, still struggle to survive. 80 percent of all Gazans are dependent on humanitarian assistance.

In 2015, the UN had warned that Gaza would be uninhabitable by 2020. At the time, all aspects of life had testified to that fact: lack of reliable electricity supply, polluted water, Israel’s military seizure of much of the Gaza Strip’s arable land, restricting the movement of fishermen and so on.

An Israeli military siege on Gaza has extended for over 10 years, and the situation continues to deteriorate.

A Red Cross report last May warned of another ‘looming crisis’ in the public health sector, due to the lack of electricity.

The energy crisis has extended from electricity supplies to even cooking gas.

Last February Israel cut cooking gas supplies to the Strip to a half.

“The cooking gas stations stopped accepting empty gas cylinders because their tanks are empty,” according to the Chairman of the Petroleum and Gas Owners Association of the Gaza Strip, Mahmoud Shawa. He described the situation as “very critical.”

Three months ago, the Mahmoud Abbas-controlled Palestinian Authority in Ramallah decided to reduce the salaries of tens of thousands of its employees in the Gaza Strip.

The money provided by the PA had played an essential role in keeping the struggling economy afloat. With most employees receiving half – or less – of their salaries, the barely functioning Gaza economy is dying.

‘H’ is a university professor and his wife, ‘S’, is a doctor. The middle-class couple with five children has lived a fairly comfortable life in the Strip, even during the early years of the siege. Now, they tell me they are counting their money very carefully so as to avoid the fate of most Gazans.

‘S’s salary comes from Ramallah. She is now only able to claim $350 dollars from what was once a significantly higher pay.  ‘H’ does not receive his money from the West Bank’s authority, but his salary was slashed by half, anyway, since most of the students are now too poor to pay for their tuitions.

Mu’in, who lives in the Nuseirat Refugee Camp, is worse off. A retired teacher, with a pension that barely reaches 200 dollars a month, Mu’in is struggling to put food on the table. An educated father of four unemployed adult sons and a wife recovering from a stroke and can barely walk, Mu’in lives mostly on hand-outs.

With no access to the West Bank due to the Israeli siege, and with severe restrictions on movement via the Rafah-Egypt border, Gaza is living through its darkest days. Literally. Starting June 11, Israel began reducing the electricity supply to the impoverished Strip, as per the request of Abbas’ Palestinian Authority.

The results are devastating. Gaza households now receive 2 to 3 hours of electricity per day, and not even at fixed hours.

‘S’ told me that her family is constantly on alert. “When electricity arrives at any time of the day or night, we all spring into action,” she said. “All batteries must be charged as quickly as possible and the laundry must be done, even at 3 in the morning.”

But Gazans are survivors. They have endured such hardships for years and, somehow, they have subsisted. But cancer patients cannot survive on mere strength of character.

Rania, who lives in Gaza City, is a mother of three. She has been struggling with breast cancer for a year. With no chemotherapy available in Gaza’s barely-functioning hospitals, she has taken the arduous journey from Gaza to Jerusalem every time she has needed to carry out the life-saving procedure.

That, until Israel decided not to issue new permits to Gaza’s terminally ill patients, some of whom have died waiting for permits and, others –  like Rania –  who are still hoping for a miracle before cancer spreads through the rest of their bodies.

But Israel and Egypt are not the only culprits. The Palestinian Authority in Ramallah is using the siege as a bargaining chip to put pressure on its rivals, Hamas, who have controlled the besieged Strip for ten years.

Hamas, on the other hand, is reportedly seeking a partnership with its old foe, Mohammed Dahlan, to ease the Gaza siege through Egypt in exchange for making him the head of a committee that is in charge of Gaza’s external affairs.

Dahlan is also a foe of Abbas, both fighting over the leadership of the Fatah party for years.

Abbas’ requests to Israel to pressure on Gaza via electricity reduction, together with his earlier salary cuts, are meant to push Hamas out of its the proposed alliance with Dahlan.

Palestinians in Gaza are suffering; in fact, dying.

To think that Palestinian ‘leaders’ are actually involved in tightening or manipulating the siege to exact political concessions from one another is dismaying.

While Israel is invested in maintaining the Palestinian rift, so that it continues with its own illegal settlement policies in the West Bank and Jerusalem unhindered, Palestinians are blinded by pitiful personal interests and worthless ‘control’ over occupied land.

In this political struggle, the likes of Mohammed, ‘H’, ‘S’ and cancer-ridden Rania – together with two million others – seem to be of no significance.

Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International, sounded the alarm on June 14 when she warned that “the latest power cuts risk turning an already dire situation into a full-blown humanitarian catastrophe.”

“For 10 years, the siege has unlawfully deprived Palestinians in Gaza of their most basic rights and necessities. Under the burden of the illegal blockade and three armed conflicts, the economy has sharply declined and humanitarian conditions have deteriorated severely,” she said.

Omar Shakir, Human Rights Watch director for the region, rejected the notion that the Israelis cut of electricity supplies to Gaza are made as per the Palestinian Authority’s request.

“Israel controls the borders, the airspace, the waters of Gaza, so Israel has an obligation that goes beyond merely responding to a request from Palestinian authorities,” Shakir said.

Between Israel’s dismissal of international calls to end the siege and Palestinians’ pathetic power game, Gazans are left alone, unable to move freely or live even according to the lowest acceptable living standards.

Fatima, a 52-old mother from Rafah, told me that she tried to kill herself a few days ago if it were not for her children wrestling the knife away.

When I told Fatima that she has so much to live for, she chuckled and said nothing.

The suicide rate in the Strip is at an all-time high, and despair is believed to be the main factor behind the alarming phenomena.

(Source / 26.06.2017)

South African Christian activists deported from Israel

Supporters wait for South African activist Leigh Ann Naidoo, who was aboard the Zaytouna, which set out for Gaza, at O. R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa on October 7, 2016. Thirteen female activists are heading home after being deported by Israel following their attempt to break the Gaza blockade.

Supporters wait for South African activist Leigh Ann Naidoo, who was aboard the Zaytouna, which set out for Gaza, at O. R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa on October 7, 2016. Thirteen female activists are heading home after being deported by Israel following their attempt to break the Gaza blockade

An increasing number of South African Christians are being deported from Israel for being critical of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, simultaneously as a South African Council of Churches (SACC) delegation, which has just returned from Israel-Palestine, has strongly criticised the occupation.

Over the last decade, approximately 20 South African political activists, and volunteers from various religious organisations have been refused entry to Israel, bodily searched and held in detention for hours before being deported – with little to no assistance from the South African Embassy in Tel Aviv.

Those deported have included internationally-renowned figures including Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Justice Richard Goldstein, Head of the United Nations fact-finding mission, who was investigating violations of international human rights law in the Palestinian territories in connection with the Gaza War (Operation Cast Lead 2008-2009).

Gadija Davids, a journalist with Radio 786, who was covering the 2010 Freedom Flotilla that was attempting to break the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip was held against her will in an Israeli prison, assaulted, interrogated and denied consular access and legal representation.

More recently, over the last few months, an increasing number of Christian volunteers with the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Israel/Palestine (EAPPI) have been denied entry into Israel, including Siphesihle Dlungwane who recently arrived back in South Africa after being deported.

Read: Timeline of international attempts to boycott BDS

Meanwhile, The South African Council of Churches (SACC) delegation, which returned last week from a visit to Israel-Palestine released a particularly harsh statement, slamming the Israeli occupation and accusing Israel of being an apartheid state.

“Based on the information before us, it is clear that Israel is structured in a way that fits and even surpasses the description of an apartheid State, which robs Palestinians of their citizenship and treats them in a discriminatory way,” said the SACC, a comment endorsed by a recent SACC national conference.

The SACC said in a statement:

With our experience of apartheid that the whole world recognised and condemned as a crime against humanity, we see the treatment of the Palestinians by Israel as worse than apartheid

“We are concerned that the world that condemned apartheid has closed its eyes to the pain and suffering of Palestinians in the occupied areas.”

The delegation of nine church leaders, led by SACC President, Bishop Zipho Siwa, visited Tel Aviv and Nazareth in Israel, and Hebron, East Jerusalem and Bethlehem in Palestine which has been occupied since 1967.

“We decry the fact that the Palestinians have been occupied for fifty years now without any sign of an end to this occupation,” said the SACC.

We strongly condemn this illegal and unjust occupation of the land of Palestine; the violation of your rights and human dignity; the destruction of your sources of livelihoods and the demolition of your homes and properties.

The delegation further stated that it rejected the wall that cuts through homes in the West Bank causing division and alienating Palestinians from their properties.

In landmark legal battle, UK government loses bid to ban BDS

Israel’s siege on the Gaza Strip was also condemned, with the SACC stating that the coastal territory had been turned into “the largest prison in the world”.

“As we experienced apartheid, we do not want another people, and definitely not those who live in the Holy Land, to have their humanity diminished because of external cultural and other factors,” said the SACC

“We are wondering if the ultimate answer is not a single non-racial and secular state where a person’s race, ethnicity and faith have no determination of the human worth and citizenship of the individual, and where all can worship freely and appreciate the cultural diversity that enriches society,” concluded the SACC statement.

(Source / 26.06.2017)

BDS France disrupts Israel’s Elbit Systems exhibition at Paris Air Show

The action took place by the Elbit Systems stall on Saturday 24, June, during the Paris Air Show

BDS activists along with members of the collective: “Les Désobeissants” (the disobedient) staged a non-violent protest action against the Israeli company Elbit Systems on Saturday 24, June, during the Paris Air Show.

The action took place by the Elbit Systems stall. The company is regarded as being the first Israeli drones manufacturer. They supplied the Israeli army during the assault on the Gaza Strip in 2014.

This action in solidarity with the Palestinian people had been well-supported; many people who attended the show sympathised with the protesters.

BDS France renewed its call for an immediate military embargo on Israel until it ends it illegal occupation of Palestinian land and complies with the international laws.

The movement said it held Elbit Systems responsible for war crimes and called for its officials to be prosecuted at the International Criminal Court.

(Source / 26.06.2017)

International Day Against Torture

Press Release

foto van Joop Jansen.

June 26th 2017 – To coincide with the International Day Against Torture, twenty-five prominent legal experts released a document demonstrating that the European Union-funded project LAW TRAIN breaches EU regulations and international law concerning human rights violations, and therefore must be stopped.
LAW TRAIN brings together the Israeli Police, the Israeli Ministry for Public Security (IMPS) and European police forces, universities and private companies with the aim of “harmonizing and sharing interrogation techniques between the countries”. The EU is funding this project with over 5 million euros, as part of its Horizon2020 programme for research and innovation.
In their expert opinion, the legal scholars argue that the EU cannot fund the Israeli Ministry for Public Security, which oversees the Israeli police as well the Israeli Prison Service and the secret service, without violating its own regulations. They document how the IMPS is responsible for or complicit in torture, other crimes against humanity and war crimes, and therefore guilty of grave professional misconduct as defined by the European Union’s Financial Regulations.
Prof. Michel Waelbroeck, author of this legal analysis, said:
The use of torture by Israeli interrogators has been extensively documented in the international and Israeli press and confirmed by international investigators and by Israeli interrogators themselves. In June 2016, the UN Committee against Torture denounced Israel’s use of torture and its illegal, abusive techniques during interrogations by its police and prison staff.
The European Union’s participation in the LAWTRAIN project, and its allocation of funds to the Israel Ministry of Public Security through this project, therefore violates the EU’s own norms.
Signatories of this legal analysis include Professor Richard Falk (former UN Special Rapporteur on Palestinian Human Rights), Professor John Dugard (former Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory), Professor Laurens Jan Brinkhorst (former member of the Dutch Government and former Director General at the European Commission), among others.
Tom Moerenhout, endorser of the legal analysis said:
The EU should immediately stop the participation and allocation of funds to the Israel Ministry of Public Security through the LAW TRAIN project and set up criteria to ensure no repeat of such funding happens. Not only should the EU Commission work in line with the EU’s stated commitment to combat torture, it has to respect international law and EU norms in all its activities.
LAW TRAIN and other EU funded projects with the Israeli military and security sector show that the ethics and legal checks of the EU Commission are insufficient and need urgent review and more democratic overview.
In August last years, the Portuguese Ministry of Justice shut down its participation in the project due to pressure from Portuguese civil society and members of parliament .
Palestinian and European civil society and human rights organisations, including the World Organisation Against Torture and members of the European Parliament, have also raised critical questions regarding the LAW TRAIN project and implications of the participation of the Israeli military, police and homeland security sector in EU funding programs.
To read the full legal opinion and see the full list of signatories, see here.

CONTACT:, + 32 (0)2 230 28 48
European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine (ECCP Brussels) is a network of 42 European committees, organizations, NGOs, unions and international solidarity movements from 19 European countries, dedicated to the struggle of the Palestinian people for freedom, justice and equality

(Source: Facebook / 26.06.2017)

Israeli settlers storm Jenin-area town and shout racist epitaphs at Palestinians

Illegal Esh Kodesh

Israeli settlers in the illegal outpost of Esh Kodesh near the West bank village of Turmusayya, on March 5, 2008

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Dozens of Israeli settlers under the protections of Israeli soldiers reportedly raided an area near the village of Sanur in the northern occupied West Bank district of Jenin on Sunday and shouted racist and anti-Arab epitaphs at locals, according to Palestinian news agency Wafa.

The report said that the group of settlers broke into the site of an illegal Israeli outpost called Tarsla that has since been evicted, and “performed religious rituals,” as Israeli forces restricted the movement of Palestinians in the area.
The Israeli army had intensified its presence to the south of Jenin and the surrounding villages, stopping Palestinians in their vehicles and checking IDs, though no detentions were reported, according to Wafa.An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an they were looking into reports.Many Palestinian towns across the West Bank commonly experience incursions by Israeli settlers — who reside in the occupied Palestinian territory in violation of international law — accompanied by armed escorts, resulting in severe restrictions on freedom of movement for local Palestinians.
Settlers who visit the religious sites in the occupied territory to pray often actively disrupt Palestinian residents and damage property. Meanwhile, Palestinians are restricted  from visiting holy sites in Israel without hard-to-obtain permits from Israeli authorities.
(Source / 26.06.2017)

Israeli forces detain 7 Palestinians in raids in occupied territory, Israel

Police zio Issawiya

Israeli police run towards Palestinian protesters during clashes in Issawiya on September 13, 2015

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces detained at least seven Palestinians between Sunday evening and before dawn Monday, according to the Israeli army and police.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that during predawn raids across the occupied West Bank, four Palestinians were detained — one in the town of Anata in the central Jerusalem district, one in the Jerusalem-area town of al-Eizariya, and two in the town of Beita in the northern Nablus district.
Meanwhile, one Palestinian was detained Sunday night in the occupied East Jerusalem town of Issawiya after he allegedly threw rocks at police, Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said in a statement at the time.
Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri also reported Sunday evening that police detained two Palestinians from the northern occupied West Bank town of Tulkarem while they were in Karmiel in northern Israel.
The two, which included one 27-year-old and one 17-year-old minor with a fake Israeli ID, were detained for being in Israel without Israeli permission.
Al-Samri said that two Israeli women in their 20s were also arrested for renting an apartment to the two Palestinians.
The Israeli magistrate’s court in Akka extended the minor’s remand and the two Israelis’ remands until Monday, while the adult Palestinian had his detention extended until Tuesday.
The Israeli police spokeswoman said the detentions came as “Israeli police continue its activities to limit illegal comers to the country, their hosts, employers, and those who transport them.”
Following a deadly attack in occupied east Jerusalem earlier this month, Israeli authorities revoked family visitation permits for 250,000 Palestinians with West Bank IDs, launching a harsh crackdown that saw hundreds rounded up in special police buses and deported back to their homes.
According to Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer, some 6,200 Palestinians were being held in Israeli prisons as of May — 300 of them minors. The group estimates that some 40 percent of adult Palestinian males have been detained by Israel at some point in their lives.
(Source / 26.06.2017)

5 Palestinian teens indicted for allegedly throwing fireworks at Israeli police


Screen shot of video allegedly showing firework attack on Israeli police

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli authorities have filed charges against five Palestinian youths from the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya for allegedly attacking Israeli police officers with rocks and fireworks two weeks ago.Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld said in a statement that the five suspects were each between 15 and 19 years old, and had thrown fireworks at Israeli forces, “endangering them.”His statement said that several days after an investigation was launched into the incident, police forces searched Issawiya and detained the five teenagers, touting that the raid was “based on a search warrant.”

“All five suspects are under arrest and will be charged with attacking police officers,” he said, and attached a video purporting to show footage of the detainees caught in the act.

Rosenfeld had also reported Sunday evening that two Israeli policemen were “lightly injured” in Issawiya when stones and bottles were thrown at them. One suspect was detained for alleged involvement in the incident.

Palestinian areas in occupied East Jerusalem have seen an influx of Israeli settlers at the cost of home demolitions, the eviction of Palestinian families, as well as a heightened presence of Israeli forces and discriminatory policing.
Issawiya is commonly subjected to police raids and restrictions on freedom of movement for local Palestinians in the form of roadblocks and arbitrary searches. Due to the aggressive nature of the raids, local youth sometimes throw rocks or Molotov cocktails at police.
The crackdown on Palestinian Jerusalemites has seen the escalation of violent night raids by Israeli police, carried out in breach of protocol and without proper search warrants.
On Sunday, Israeli police said that three Palestinian youths were indicted for assault after they allegedly attacked a Jewish man near the Old City in occupied East Jerusalem.
Palestinian stone throwers, including minors, face harsh penalties by Israeli authorities, with Israel passing laws in 2015 allowing for up to 20 years in prison if charged with throwing stones at vehicles and a minimum of three years for the act of throwing a stone at an Israeli.
Right groups have denounced the legislation as being designed specifically to target Palestinian youth, as Israelis and settlers are rarely prosecuted under the same standards of the law.
Israeli authorities recently released two Israelis suspected of attempting to carry out a “price tag” attack — a term used by right-wing extremist settlers to refer to the attacks they carry out on Palestinians and their property — due to the fact that they were minors.
By contrast, Palestinian children as young as 12 years old are routinely detained, tried, and sentenced as adults for offenses such as throwing rocks.
(Source / 26.06.2017)

Al-Hayya calls on Arabs not to mix between resistance and terrorism

Khalil al-Hayya Hamas

Khalil Al-Hayya, a member of the political bureau of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), has called on the “Arab brothers” to end their differences and not to confuse Palestinian resistance with terrorism.

Al-Hayya said during the Eid prayer at Al-Saraya Square in Gaza on Sunday, “We hope that all differences between Arab brothers will end, on the basis of brotherhood and contrary to what the Zionist enemy wants,” stressing the need to unite to defend Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Al-Hayya denounced Hamas’s designation as a terrorist organization, noting that “the Palestinian resistance is neither terrorism nor violence, but a legitimate right to resist the occupation, which all peoples have done before.”

He pointed out that his Movement is going to do whatever it takes to end the siege imposed on the coastal enclave, expressing confidence in the implementation of the Egyptian promise to break the siege.

He continued: “We knocked all the doors and we will continue to do so to break the siege.”

He added: “We were welcomed with open arms by our Egyptian brothers, and we are confident that Egypt’s promise not to keep Gaza under the siege will be implemented and that it will extend its hand to break it, in the wake of the punitive measures taken by the Palestinian Authority against the Gaza Strip recently.”

The Egyptian authorities promised Hamas to ease the humanitarian suffering of the Gaza Strip by opening the Rafah crossing on a regular basis. According to previous statements by Al-Hayya, Egypt promised to open a commercial crossing to facilitate the commercial movement in and out of Gaza.

On June 12, a senior Hamas delegation returned to the Gaza Strip from the Egyptian capital of Cairo following a week-long visit during which they met with officials from the Egyptian Intelligence Service.

Hamas acknowledged that its delegation met with Palestinian leaders close to the Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan, who coordinated with the Egyptian authorities to remove some of the restrictions imposed on the Gaza Strip, including the opening of the Rafah crossing to passengers soon.

He denounced the policy of siege imposed on states, pointing out that it aims to break the will of people and bring about instability, which will make the Arab nation divided.

In his message to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, Al-Hayya said: “The hands of the Izz Al-Din al-Qassam Brigades are capable of freeing you from your prisons.”

He stressed that the Movement will remain loyal to all parties that supported the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.

During his sermon, Al-Hayya praised the positions of “Turkey, Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Iran,” which are supportive of the Gaza Strip.

(Source / 26.06.2017)

Israeli fanatics call for mass break-ins at 3rd holiest site in Islam

Plan to break-in at al-Aqsa Mosque

PIC translation team unraveled a plan by extremist Israeli settlers to carry out mass break-ins at holy al-Aqsa Mosque on Thursday.

Israel’s Temple Mount organization launched calls for mass break-ins at al-Aqsa Mosque—Muslims’ 3rd holiest site—on Thursday, June 29 starting 07:00 a.m.

Prior the assault, sacrilegious rituals are expected to be performed at the main entrance gates to al-Aqsa.

(Source / 26.06.2017)