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Archive for March, 2013

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Picture by Hamdi Abu Rahma.

Irish activist, Tommy Donnellan  was shot in the arm today by Israeli forces,  while he was filming in Nabi Salah, West bank. Tommy is a well known activist in Ireland and has been instrumental in many activities such as the highlighting of the mislabelling of Goods by Israel, speaking out against Human Right abuses, calling for safe passage of ships to Gaza , BDS etc…. He is always on the front line and I  am sure will continue to be , We wish Tommy a speedy recovery and will update when possible.

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 Picture by Hamdi Abu Rahma.

UPDATE:
Speaking from Nabi Saleh, Tommy Donnellan said: “I was filming the protest when suddenly I was shot in the arm by a rubber-coated steel bullet, fired by an Israeli soldier from about forty feet away. I think I was deliberately targeted as a journalist as my video camera was plainly visible, and there was no stone throwing going on anywhere near me. After being hit I remonstrated with the soldier who fired on me. He then went back down on onto his knee adopting a firing position; luckily I was able to run to the cover of a nearby wall.”

Mr. Donnellan also said that: “It’s important to stress that while today I was hit, Palestinians are injured by these bullets almost every day. Many are also killed by these so-called non-lethal weapons, while the international community looks on and does absolutely nothing.”

Also in Nabi Saleh today, there were reports of many injuries due to tear gas inhalation and several other professional journalists were attacked with rubber bullets, concussion grenades and forced out of the area by the Israeli military. 

 

UPDATE, 30-3-2013, 

 

Tommy’s wound from the steel ball “rubber bullet” has suddenly deteriorated due to internal bleeding and he is now on his way to Ramallah hospital for treatment ”    ……..VIA HAMDE ABU , 

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6am, Wednesday 6th March, ……………Sun has just come up in Gaza, already the streets are coming alive, . Garbage collectors , with their donkey and carts , are making their way around Omar Al Mukhtar street. Taxis wait at corners to spot their first fares of the day, mostly students and the lucky small percentage in Gaza that actually have a job to go to.   Small minibuses are also beginning to appear to take the children for the first shift to school. ( due to numbers, Schooling is broken in to morning and afternoon shifts to accomodate all the children) .

The Port is already alive, Some boats  coming in from doing the night fishing, others prearing to head out. It is march in Gaza so the weather is very changeable, this morning it is still quite cool and the sea is a little choppy..

Our boat is going fishing for Calamari  and Prawn( mainly, but no fish is ever thrown away ) ………We are on board one of the larger boats so there are 5 of us in total, Irish and Palestinian…..

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As predicted, throughout the day , temperature heats up but a breeze stops it becoming too hot. The fishermen work away, casting nets, hauling nets, taking turns to nap , and cooking lunch which we all share together.

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24 hours later after watching the sun set hours ago, we are now watching the sun rise again in Gaza as we return to port, just as some of the other boats are preparing  to start their days work.

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And home for shower and sleep before a lunch of freshly caught Calamari and fish………………………

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PLEASE NOTE: Also in the last week,  Netanyahu, and the Minister of Defense, Mr. Moshe (Bogie) Yaalon, have instructed the IDF to narrow the permitted fishing zone for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip from six to three miles of their own territorial waters.

Thanks to Derek Graham and Chris Andrews……………

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10th Anniversary of the killing of Rachel Corrie

Message read out at the Commemoration on the death of Rachel Corrie.
Dear President Barack Obama,
My name is (Heba). I am a (12-year-old) girl from the town of Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. I am a Palestinian. I love my people, and I care deeply about the entire world.
Mr. President, my town is hurting. My people are hurting. Since the day I became aware of the place where I live, and the people around me, I saw little peace. There is so much pain here. I grew up under siege. But my mamma tells me there has been nothing but siege in Gaza even before I was born. My family traces its history of pain to 1948, when Israel was established on the ruins of my ancestors’ homes. It was then we became refugees. We are still refugees. But things are getting even worse for us, as we continue to endure a war that doesn’t seem to end, and a siege that made us poorer than ever before.
In the war of 2008, I remember how frightened we all were when the Israeli army killed and injured thousands of my people. Over 350 of those killed were children, just like me. My mother would hold us tight and sing for us all night, as the bombs fell all around us. Those scary times are often repeated, but I am not as afraid. The courage of my people taught me to be strong and proud.
Ten years ago, a beautiful American girl arrived in our town. She was accompanied by several of her friends as they came to stand in solidarity with us and talk to the world about the suffering and bravery of the Palestinians. Those who knew her speak fondly of her, of how she tried to practice her funny Arabic, and how little girls would hold her hand and walk with her proudly around the town. Ten years ago, Mr. President, that girl, Rachel Corrie was run over by an Israeli military bulldozer, one that was made in the United States and paid for by the American government. The driver ran over her mercilessly, more than once. Beautiful Rachel died, sir while she was protesting the demolishing of our poor dwellings. That act of murder was not the first or the last committed against those who came to stand with us. And as you know, many thousands of our people were killed in more ways than I can tell you. Like Rachel, they were innocent, and so very beautiful.
When I see you on television, I hear you speak of values like democracy, equality and freedom. But when our neighbors talk about the US government, they speak of the money and weapons that are regularly sent by your government and are used to carry out the horrific wars against my people. When will this stop? When will you turn your words into action? How would you feel if your two lovely girls live in Rafah, Mr. President? Will you still send money and arms to those who are tormenting the people of this town? We do aspire to achieve the same values you always talk about, but for our aspirations to ever be realized, please, stop sending weapons to Israel. Children will continue to die if you don’t do the right thing.
And Mr. President, my people need their unity today more than any other time in the past. This unity is so important to us, since our division is strengthening those who have mistreated us, occupied us and besieged us for so long. However, every attempt at unity was obstructed by your government, which insists on keeping us weak and divided. It is time to let us find our common ground so that we may speak in one voice and have a leadership that truly represents our people.
The people of Rafah, of Gaza, in fact all Palestinians, will never, ever forget Rachel. In our town, we call her a Martyr and we have paintings of her on many of our decaying walls. She was the proof that Americans don’t hate Rafah. Rachel died for us.
Mr. President, I am still hopeful that you sincerely speak out against military occupation, demand an end to the siege, don’t send more guns to Israel, and don’t oppose our unity. Please don’t empower those who have tormented my family and me for so long.

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SHARING ON BEHALF OF IRISH FRIENDS OF PALESTINE

http://www.irishfriendsofpalestine.org/2013/03/13/ifop-gaza-fishermen-briefing-to-oireachtas-irish-parliament/

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The following briefing report  was delivered  on behalf of Irish Friends of Palestine to a cross party section of Oireachtas Members (Irish Parliament) on 13th March, 2013 by Waterford Cllr John Hearne and Pat Fitzgerald, both members of the November 2012 Irish Friends of Palestine Delegation to Gaza. Joining John and Pat today was Billy Smyth, all three men are Irish Fishermen. Upon conclusion of today’s meeting Cllr John Hearne said; “I want to thank all the TD’s and Senators from all the political parties who hosted us today in Leinster House as we delivered the report in addition to first hand accounts of human rights abuses inflicted on innocent Palestinian fisherman in Gaza.” he continued “It was a very constructive meeting today, we received very strong support from those TDS and Senators with whom we met. We all agreed to work together in order to advance the cause of the Fishermen and to also advance the anti-apartheid cause in Ireland. We will be working on these ideas with the Senators and TDs in the near future.

When we were in Gaza we promised the fishermen we would continue to show support. As ordinary Fishermen in Ireland we want to show that Israel attacks Fisherman and Farmers in their workplace

.” READ THE FULL BRIEFING REPORT HERE
http://tinyurl.com/c6y2tz3

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Al Meena Gaza, ( Gaza Sea Port) Sunday 3rd March 2013.

Palestinians and Internationals joined together in a Solidarity demo with the Palestinian fishermen of Gaza. The Fishermen ,  from all over the Gaza Strip  took   approximately 50 of their boats ,  and formed a flotilla demonstration at Sea. They  demanded their right to fish their own waters  without the threat of attack from Israeli forces and to  have their 36 stolen boats returned.

 

Zakaria Bakr, fisherman from Gaza City:

“In the last year 28 Hasakas (small boats with engines) and 8 boats without engines have been attacked and impounded by Israel, with all crew members arrested. In 90% of the attacks on the Hasakas their engines were blown up by gunfire or shelling. 9 boats have been taken since the ceasefire and all of them were within the 6 mile coastal limits imposed by Israel. In the whole year only 5 boats were returned. They were seriously damaged, with no nets, gps or functioning engine. Very few boats were taken before 2005, and the first time they bombed boats was in 2008. 39 boats in Khan Younis and 48 in Deir El Ballah were destroyed by Israeli bombardments during the 8 day sea and air bombings and shelling last November. Since early 2011, the violent attacks have increased, regularly injuring and killing fishermen out at sea through gunfire”

Mohammed Bakr, 25, describes how he, his cousin and his two teenage brothers were abducted while fishing on the 10th February during which their fourth and last boat was attacked and stolen:

“We were fishing at 5am and inside 3 miles we saw the navy coming. The Israelis on the Gunship ordered us to stop and they shot seven bullets to destroy our engine. At gunpoint they ordered us to take off our clothes and swim to their boat. We were cuffed and covered with a blanket with a hole for our mouths. We were freezing. While detained they shouted insults to us. They asked about our relatives and friends in good arabic, showed us our house in Gaza on a satellite photo and offered us money to spy for them. That was our last boat, after one had been shelled and two others were taken at sea. Now electricity for our home has been cut because we can’t afford to pay it. We were released but the last boat has gone, our livelihoods are finished.”

A UN OCHA report has estimated that fishermen are totally prevented from accessing the majority of maritime areas they are entitled to since 1994. Due to the restrictions enforced by the Israeli navy the number of active fishermen has dropped from approximately 10,000 in 2000 to around 3,500 today and over 65,000 people are directly affected by restrictions to maritime areas.

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