The latest wave of murderous Israeli air strikes on Gaza, which began on March 9, appeared aimed at raising pressure for war on Iran and undermining Palestinian group Hamas. Al Jazeera said on March 13 that 25 Palestinians had been killed by Israeli forces in the first four days of air strikes. It said 18 of the dead had been identified as resistance fighters. A Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) report on March 12 said 73 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were wounded in the strikes.
The parents of hunger-striking political prisoner Hana al-Shalabi issued a call on March 14 to all Palestinians to protest in support of their daughter, who was on her 28th continuous day without food in protest at her detention without charge or trial by Israel. The statement said: “We call upon the Palestinian National Authority, the Palestinian national factions, and all Palestinians to take to the streets on Saturday, March 17 and to demonstrate in support of our daughter Hana Shalabi and all administrative detainees.
Addameer is a Palestinian human rights organisation that works to support political prisoners held in Israeli and Palestinian jails. It offers free legal aid and works to end torture and other abuses of prisoners' rights. The group’s 10 lawyers visit more than 500 prisoners inside Israeli jails each year. They also represent prisoners held by the Palestinian Authority (PA), representing more than 400 Palestinian prisoners arrested by PA security forces in 2009-10.
Amnesty International has called on Israel to immediately release Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan, who has been held since December without charge under Israel's infamous policy of “administrative detention”. The call came after Adnan, near death, ended a 66-day hunger strike when Israel signed a deal on February 22 agreeing to release the 33-year-old father of two by April 17.
Residents of the Gaza City neighbourhood al-Tuffah suffered a rude awakening at 2am on February 16 when Israeli warplanes targeted what the army said was a Hamas training site. The shelling left six people injured, including members of two civil defence rescue teams. Civil defence said a firetruck and an ambulance were hit by Israeli missiles as the crew responded to earlier strikes. Israeli sources said the attacks came in response to rocket fire from Gaza into nearby Israeli towns. The crude rockets landed in open fields; no casualties were reported.
UPDATE: On February 21, Khader Adnan and all who support him won a big victory. Israel finally caved into pressure and signed a deal with Adnan under which he ended his 66-day hunger strike in return for Israel pledging to release him from administrative detention (that is -- without charge) by April 17.
Khader Adnan is a 33-year-old Palestinian husband and father. As of February 14, he was 59 days into a hunger strike and perilously close to death. He has been held by Israel since December without any charge or trial under an Israeli "administrative detention" order. Such orders violate international law. There is an urgent need for international action to save Adnan's life and -- beyond that -- force Israel to abolish administrative detention orders (under which someone who is held is denied access to the evidence being used to justify holding them). See also:
Palestine prisoner's rights group Addameer released the statement below on February 9 on the condition of Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan. At the time of the statement, Adnan was 54 days into a hunger strike and in a critical condition. Adnan is being held in “administrative detention” ― without charge or trial. The statement is abridged from Electronic Intifada.
United States' singer/songwriter Cat Power (aka Chan Marshall) was encouraged by boycott activists to cancel her gig in Tel Aviv, scheduled for February 12. It looks like the pressure worked. On February 9, Cat Power announced her show had been cancelled, and tweeted: “Music is healing and it is not humane if all cannot have the choice, the right, to attend.”
One of the most chilling scenes in the recent SBS mini-series The Promise depicts the plight of some Palestinian schoolgirls in Hebron. Leaving school in the afternoon, the girls are subjected to abuse and intimidation by settler youths as they walk home. At one point, a settler boy, face contorted with hatred, viciously hurls stones at the group, injuring one. Meanwhile, as the girls crouch in terror, blase Israeli Defense Force (IDF) soldiers look on, doing nothing to stop the violence until challenged by a young foreign tourist.