martes, 26 de julio de 2011

Israeli, Palestinian envoys square off over UN recognition

Palestinian envoy says UN recognition of Palestinian statehood would not harm the peace process, while Israeli ambassador says unilateral move would not lead to peace.

Israeli and Palestinian envoys squared off on Tuesday over plans to seek UN recognition of a state of Palestine in September, which Israel rejected as an attempt to bypass direct peace talks.
UN Security Council - AP - January 13, 2010
Speaking at a regular meeting of the UN Security Council on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Palestinian observer Riyad Mansour said seeking UN recognition would not hurt the peace process and would instead strengthen efforts to achieve a negotiated "two-state solution."
"The consecration of the two-state solution in bold resolutions -- including recognition of the state of Palestine…on the basis of the pre-1967 borders and its admission as a full member of the organization -- will help to make the two-state solution more inevitable," he said.
Mansour did not spell out what exactly his delegation plans to propose during the annual gathering of world leaders in September at the opening of a new session of the 193-nation UN General Assembly.
Western diplomats say the Palestinians have not yet decided whether to seek membership in the UN as a sovereign state or press for a non-binding resolution recognizing a Palestinian state without UN membership.
The United States, like its ally Israel, opposes the idea of full Palestinian membership in the UN at the moment and has made clear it would use Washington's veto power on the Security Council to block it.
Israel and the U.S. say Palestinian statehood, including UN membership, should come at the end of a negotiated peace process.
Mansour later told journalists he looked forward to legislative action in the new General Assembly session opening in September and that UN membership was an "ultimate objective" but he gave no details.
Israel's UN Ambassador Ron Prosor made clear the Jewish state wasstrongly opposed to the Palestinian push at the UN. "Now is the time for the international community to tell the Palestinian leadership what it refuses to tell its own people -- there are no shortcuts to statehood," he told the 15-nation council. "You cannot bypass the only path to peace.
"The Palestinians will have to make compromises and make hard choices," Prosor said. "They will have to get off the bandwagon of unilateralism and back to the hard work of direct peacemaking."
The Palestinians, who have UN "observer" status, previously pledged to seek UN endorsement in September for their claim of sovereignty in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli-occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The move has gained momentum with the lack of progress in Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. The Arab League formally backed this plan in May.
But in the face of opposition from Israel and a number of major powers who say only negotiations can solve the conflict, the Palestinians later signaled they might opt for a more limited upgrade to "non-member state" status, which requires only General Assembly approval.
Mansour referred to U.S. President Barack Obama's May 19 speech on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in which Obama expressed support for a two-state peace deal based on 1967 lines with land swaps, as "bold." But he said the Quartet of Middle East peace negotiators -- the U.S., Russia, the European Union and the UN -- had missed an opportunity at a July 11 meeting in Washington to set guidelines for renewed peace talks because it been "held hostage by (Israel's) intransigence."
The Palestinians have refused to resume peace talks unless Israel renews a moratorium on settlement building in occupied territory, something Israel has rejected.
Israel reacted coldly to Obama's reference to the 1967 lines, which the Jewish state says are indefensible, but Prosor told journalists on Tuesday the U.S. president's speech could serve as "a base" for negotiations.

Palestinos enfrentan a Israel por su reconocimiento ante la ONU

Los enviados israelíes y palestinos se enfrentaron el martes por los planes de buscar el reconocimiento de Naciones Unidas de un Estado palestino en septiembre, una medida que el Estado judío rechazó y calificó como un intento de eludir las conversaciones directas de paz.

Hablando en una reunión ordinaria del Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU sobre el conflicto palestino-israelí, Riyad Mansour, enviado palestino, dijo que buscar el reconocimiento de Naciones Unidas no le hace daño al proceso de paz y que en su lugar la iniciativa intensificaba los esfuerzos para lograr una solución negociada a la denominada "solución de dos Estados".
"La consagración de la solución de dos Estados mediante resoluciones audaces, que incluyan el reconocimiento del Estado palestino (...) sobre la base de las fronteras anteriores a 1967 y su admisión como miembro de pleno derecho de la organización, ayudará a hacer más inevitable la solución de dos estados", dijo.
Mansour no especificó qué es exactamente lo que su delegación tiene intención de proponer en la reunión anual de líderes mundiales en septiembre, en la inauguración de un nuevo período de sesiones de la Asamblea de General de la ONU, formada por 193 naciones.
Diplomáticos occidentales dicen que los palestinos aún no han decidido solicitar su admisión en Naciones Unidas como un Estado soberano o presionar para lograr una resolución no vinculante que reconozca un Estado palestino sin ayuda de los miembros de la ONU.
Estados Unidos, al igual que su aliado Israel, se opone por el momento a la idea de que Palestina sea un miembro de pleno derecho en Naciones Unidas y ha dejado claro que usará su poder de veto en el Consejo de Seguridad para bloquear la iniciativa.
Israel y Washington dicen que un Estado palestino, que incluya ser miembro de la ONU, debe llegar al final de un proceso de paz negociado.
Mansour dijo más tarde a periodistas que ser miembro de la ONU era un "objetivo final" para los palestinos, pero no dio más detalles.
En tanto, el embajador de Israel ante la ONU, Ron Prosor, dejó en claro que el Estado judío se opone firmemente a una inclusión de los palestinos en Naciones Unidas.
"Ahora es el momento para que la comunidad internacional diga a los líderes palestinos lo que se niegan a decirle a su propia gente: no hay atajos a la condición de Estado", dijo.
"No se puede pasar por alto el único camino hacia la paz (...) Los palestinos tendrán que hacer concesiones y tomar decisiones difíciles", dijo Prosor.

jueves, 21 de julio de 2011

'Israel could produce small numbers of nuclear weapons in 1973,' say newly released U.S. documents

After the Yom Kippur War in 1973, U.S. intelligence estimates balance of conventional weaponry was in Arabs' favor, leading Israel to consider threatening them with nuclear weapons.

During the Yom Kippur War, Israel could produce "small numbers" of nuclear weapons. After the conflict, U.S. intelligence estimated that the balance of conventional weaponry was in the Arabs' favor, so Israel would consider threatening them with nuclear weapons, and possibly even using them.
Such details can be found in documents on the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, classified until Thursday's release by the U.S. State Department's history division. The information is found in a publication known as "Foreign Relations of the United States."
Henry Kissinger
The nearly 1,300 pages describe the October war and the efforts to end it. Among the key figures are U.S. President Richard Nixon, his secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, Prime Minister Golda Meir, Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, Egyptian President Anwar Saddat, King Hussein of Jordan and PLO leader Yasser Arafat. The Nixon administration held clandestine exchanges with Arafat through the head of the Black September group and Arafat's right-hand man, Ali Hassan Salameh.
Even though many of the details about Israel's political, military and intelligence failures in the war are known, the release of the documents adds an official seal to many uncomfortable facts. For example, the documents challenge Israel's nuclear ambiguity.
On November 27, 1973, about a month after the war, Nixon and Kissinger met with congressional leaders. The leader of the Democratic majority in the Senate, Mike Mansfield, asked: "Do Egypt and Israel have the capability to make nuclear weapons?"
Kissinger replied: "Israel has the capability to make small numbers. Not Egypt. And we don't think the Soviets have put them in. Should Israel brandish nuclear weapons, the Soviets would counter it and it would be very dangerous for Israel."
On the final day of the war, October 24, the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency issued a negative assessment about Israel's ability to beat Arab armies in the future.
"However well they come out of the present conflict, the Israelis can no longer be confident of quick, decisive victories in the future," wrote the DIA analysts, who had mistakenly believed several months earlier that the Israel Defense Forces would easily defeat the Arab armies.
According to the assessment, the IDF was no longer enough to assure Israel's security in the future. "Among the options are: an international guarantee of Israel's borders; a unilateral U.S. military guarantee of those borders; or a public declaration of Israeli determination to employ nuclear weapons to guarantee its territorial integrity," the analysts wrote.
The last option, according to the Pentagon's assessment, relied on the assumption "that Israel has or is soon to acquire nuclear weapons," and that Israel would seek to deter future Arab attacks by "their threatened use against such targets as Arab forces, cities, ports, holy places, and the Aswan High Dam could serve to deter future armed attacks. Such an avowed Israeli policy would occasion world-wide opposition. The U.S. would, therefore, find it extremely difficult to associate itself with such an Israeli policy. Meanwhile, the Arabs might be willing to attack, despite the deterrent threat. They might assume that (1 ) Israel will not carry out the threat, (2 ) they could succeed even if the Israelis used nuclear weapons, perhaps with the aid of other unconventional means of their own such as chemical or biological weapons, or (3 ) they would reap important benefits from the resultant international reaction should Israel carry out its threat."

Israeli minister rules out flotilla apology to Turkey

JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israel will not "take responsibility" for the deaths of nine Turkish nationals by apologizing to Ankara over its botched 2010 raid on a ferry heading for Gaza, a senior cabinet minister said on Thursday.

"We are not ready to apologize, as apologizing is taking responsibility," Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaalon told reporters in Jerusalem.

"There is no room in my mind for any kind of apology that means taking responsibility," he said of the pre-dawn raid on a six-vessel flotilla that attempted to sail to Gaza in May 2010 in a bid to break Israel's naval embargo.

Yaalon's comments come after several failed attempts by Israel and Turkey to patch up ties that frayed almost to breaking point after commandos stormed the Turkish-owned Mavi Marmara ferry that was leading the flotilla.

He said Turkish representatives continued to insist that relations could only be restored if Israel apologized for the raid, compensated the families of those killed and the injured, and lifted its blockade on the Gaza Strip.

"We tried very hard to bridge the gap ... (but) as long as they insist on this position I can't see any agreement between the two sides," he said.

"We are ready to regret the loss of lives, we are ready to create a kind of humanitarian voluntary fund," he said, explaining that if such a fund were set up by Ankara, Israel would be prepared to pay money into it.

But he said there would be no official apology nor direct compensation offered to the families of those killed and the injured.

"A voluntary fund is acceptable, but compensation ... means that you are responsible."

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has repeatedly said the Jewish state will not apologize for the raid, although privately officials acknowledge that upgrading relations with Ankara would be desirable.

Media reports suggest there is increasing pressure on both sides for a final agreement that would restore once-strong ties between the two countries.

In an interview with Israel's Haaretz newspaper, a senior adviser to Turkish premier Recep Erdogan reportedly said Ankara was looking for a full restoration of ties and was "sorry about what happened."

"We greatly value our relations with Israel and are not thrilled with their deterioration," Ibrahim Kalin told the newspaper.

"Friends apologize for mistakes. We are sorry about what happened; we didn't intend to sever relations with Israel, which were excellent."

However, Kalin later said Haaretz had misquoted him.

"What we are saying in short is this: there will be no improvement in Turkish-Israeli ties as long as Turkey's well-known demands are not met," Kalin said.

"The improvement of ties depends on meeting Turkey's demands but the Haaretz newspaper has presented this in a different manner. They have carried their own statements as quotes by me," he said.

In a separate article published on its website, Haaretz said Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein had advised Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to apologize to Turkey in a bid to head off lawsuits against the soldiers who raided the Mavi Marmara.

According to the website, Weinstein proposed Israel apologize for operational mistakes and misuse of force, rather than for attacking the flotilla and that in return, Turkey would agree to block any lawsuits against Israeli soldiers.

But Yaalon said such an agreement with Turkey would not prevent activists in other countries from filing similar suits and said he did not believe Ankara was looking to restore ties with Israel.

"The Turkish government initiated this deterioration as part of a new policy to look to the East rather than to the West," he said.

"I'm not sure that even an agreement between us and Turkey is going to change the Turkish policy towards Israel."

Reporte Semanal: Violaciones israelíes de Derechos Humanos en Territorio Palestino Ocupado

Las Fuerzas Israelíes de Ocupación (FIO) Continúan con los Ataques Sistemáticos contra Civiles y Propiedades Palestinas dentro de los Territorios Palestinos Ocupados

2011-07-21 08:59:01 / Fuente: Centro de Derechos Humanos Palestino (PCHR) - Traducción: Departamento de Derechos Humanos, Comité Democrático Palestino – Chile

14 de Julio de 2011 – 20 de Julio de 2011
Nº 29/2011
• Un trabajador palestino murió cuando aviones de combate israelíes bombardearon un túnel al sur de la Franja de Gaza
• 9 palestinos, incluyendo a 6 civiles, resultaron heridos por FIO en la Franja de Gaza y Cisjordania.
• Aviones de combate israelíes atacó una serie de instalaciones civiles en la Franja de Gaza.
• 3 centros de formación y un número de túneles fueron destruidos.
• Las FIO continúa utilizando una fuerza excesiva para dispersar manifestaciones pacíficas en Cisjordania.
• Un civil palestino fue herido.
• Docenas de manifestantes sufrieron por la inhalación de gas lacrimógeno.
• Cañoneras israelíes abrieron fuego contra barcos pesqueros palestinos en la Franja de Gaza.
• Las FIO condujo 32 incursiones en comunidades palestinas en Cisjordania y dos incursiones limitadas en la Franja de Gaza.
• Las FIO arrestaron a 13 civiles palestinos, incluyendo un niño.
• Joyas de oro fueron robadas de una casa en el pueblo Tallouza cerca de Nablus.
• Israel ha seguido imponiendo un sitio total dentro de los Territorios Palestinos Ocupados y ha aislado a la Franja de Gaza del mundo exterior.
• FIO instaladas en los puntos de control militar (checkpoints) arrestaron a un civil palestino, en Cisjordania.
• FIO han continuado con las actividades de asentamientos ilegales en Cisjordania y colonos israelíes han seguido atacando a civiles y propiedades palestinas.
• Las FIO confiscó más redes de riego en el área Al-Baq'a cerca de Hebrón.
• 3.000 árboles de olivos fueron quemados en el pueblo Bourin, al sur de Nablus.
• Colonos israelíes atacaron a 3 pastores palestinos, resultando heridos dos de ellos.

domingo, 17 de julio de 2011

Medics: Airstrike 'injures 7' in northern Gaza

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) – Seven people were wounded in Gaza on Sunday by what medical sources said was an Israeli airstrike, but Israel denied it had carried out any such raid.

Emergency and ambulance services official Adham Abu Salmiya said all of the victims were members of the Zaanin family. They were evacuated to Beit Hanoun Hospital.

Abu Salmiya highlighted that over the past two weeks, three people were killed and more than 20 were injured in Israeli raids on the coastal enclave. Among the injured, he added, were six children and two girls. 

But a spokeswoman for the Israeli military said "there was no IDF activity in Gaza overnight or this morning."

Israeli forces have been launching strikes on a daily basis over the past four days.

Meanwhile, three so-called Qassam rockets fired from the Gaza Strip on Saturday night hit open areas in the western Negev, Israeli media reported Sunday morning. 

There were no reports of injuries or damage.

The first projectile exploded at around 1 a.m. within the Ashkelon Coast Regional Council, the Israeli news site Ynet reported. Two additional projectiles landed in the Shaar Hanegev Regional Council.

On Saturday, a Palestinian man was injured by an Israeli airstrike on northern Gaza. Two days earlier, an airstrike killed one man and injured five others in the tunnel area near Egypt. 

Israeli army officials and Palestinian security sources said the most recent raid targeted a group of militants as they prepared to launch a homemade projectile toward Israel from the east of Gaza City.

The commander of Israel's army Benny Gantz held an urgent meeting Friday to discuss the situation along the border with Gaza and "practical steps" to end projectile fire, news reports said.

Israel's Hebrew-language daily Maariv said the meeting was attended by senior commanders of the Israeli army in various wings including the commander of the southern region. 

The army officials said they held Hamas "fully responsible for this situation," allegedly for deliberately failing to stop the firing of projectiles into southern Israel after a sharp decrease of several months.

The past few days of rocket fire and airstrikes represent the first significant recurrence of violence in the area since April, when airstrikes killed 19 Palestinians after a missile fired from Gaza killed a teenager.

Israel has imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip since Hamas took control in 2007.

¡Vamos a Romper el Bloqueo, barco francés de la flotilla parte por sorpresa de Grecia hacia Gaza!

Un barco francés de la nueva "Flotilla de la Libertad", que se daba por desactivada tras la decisión griega de impedir que los navíos abandonasen sus costas, ha partido por sorpresa rumbo a Gaza, informaron sus organizadores.

El barco, bautizado "Dignité-Al Karama" (Dignidad, en francés y árabe), abandonó la isla griega de Kastellorizo sobre las 20:30 hora local de ayer (18:30 GMT), indicó el Movimiento Gaza Libre en un comunicado.
"Los diez pasajeros a bordo se ven a sí mismos como representantes de toda la Flotilla de la Libertad II - Sigamos siendo humanos. El resto de barcos de la Flotilla han sido bloqueados en diferentes puertos griegos por medio de trabas burocráticas, sabotajes, restricciones repentinas y la retirada de banderas", señala la nota.
El "Dignité-Al Karama", de bandera francesa y que llevaba varias semanas en aguas territoriales griegas, aparentemente no está siendo seguido por la guardia costera o el Ejército griegos.
El navío abandonó un puerto corso el pasado 25 de junio, por lo que no sufrió las trabas de los otros ocho barcos anclados en puertos griegos.
Amira Hass, periodista del diario israelí "Haaretz" a bordo del barco, asegura hoy que los diez activistas "son conscientes de las liliputienses dimensiones de su empresa, comparada con el masivo impacto que los organizadores habían planeado tener con la flotilla de diez barcos", pero están "decididos a agotar todas las posibilidades de alcanzar su destino".
Hass indica que la decisión de zarpar en vez de dar por oficialmente muerta la flotilla, fue tomada por los activistas tras un largo debate.

viernes, 15 de julio de 2011

UN: Jerusalem is part of occupied Palestinian territories

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization released a statement Friday confirming the occupied status of East Jerusalem.
"UNESCO wishes to reiterate that, contrary to recent claims, there has been no change in UNESCO's position on Jerusalem," the statement said.

"In line with overall UN policy, East Jerusalem remains part of the occupied Palestinian territory, and the status of Jerusalem must be resolved in permanent status negotiations."

"The Old City of Jerusalem is inscribed on the World Heritage List and the List of World Heritage in Danger. UNESCO continues to work to ensure respect for the outstanding universal value of the cultural heritage of the Old City of Jerusalem."

UNESCO had been criticized recently after it emerged that the organizations' website listed Jerusalem as Israel's capital, despite the international, and UN, consensus that the Eastern part of the city is under military occupation.

Israel has occupied the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem since 1967 and the international community does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over any of the occupied territories.

Palestinians: Gaza gunman wounded in Israeli air strike

IDF spokeswoman confirms aerial attack launched against Gaza militants.

An Israeli air strike wounded a Palestinian gunman in the Gaza Strip before dawn on Saturday, medics in the Hamas Islamist controlled territory said.
Palestinian gunman - AP - 16.5.11
An Israeli military spokeswoman confirmed that an aerial attack was launched under cover of darkness against Gaza militants preparing to fire a rocket at Israel, east of Gaza City. One gunman was injured, a rescue crew member in Gaza said.

Israel has stepped up its air strikes on coastal Gaza this week in response to a resurgence in rocket strikes at Israeli towns that have caused no injury but disrupted routine.
The Israel Defense Forces said 16 rockets fired from Gaza have struck Israel this month some of which damaged buildings. Israel said it responded to shooting on Thursday with aerial strikes on tunnels dug beneath Gaza's border with Egypt.
Following the aerial attack early Saturday morning, a Qassam rocket was reported to have struck an open area in Israel’s Eshkol region.
Israel Air Force launched retaliatory strikes early Friday that left at least five Palestinians wounded and one missing in the Gaza Strip, witnesses and officials in the territory said.
The witnesses said that IAF fighter jets struck a smuggling tunnel under the border between southern Gaza and Egypt, where five people were wounded. The IDF spokesman's office said the strikes were in response to response to six homemade missiles fired by militants from Gaza toward towns in southern Israel, marking escalating tension along the Gaza border for the first time in two months.
Rescue teams rushed to the scene and sent three people with moderate wounds and two with minor injuries by ambulance to the nearby Rafah hospital, Gaza emergency chief Adham Abu Selmeyeh said.
Earlier, IAF jets carried out two airstrikes late Thursday against another smuggling tunnel and an empty area inside Gaza.

Gaza rechaza la oferta griega de entregar la ayuda humanitaria de la 2ª flotilla de la libertad

La siguiente carta fue entregada al Gobierno griego el 12 de julio 2011 dejando claro que lo que busca el pueblo de Gaza no es caridad si no libertad y respeto a sus DDHH, incluido el derecho a llevar una vida digna.

Haciendo oidos sordos a sus demandas, ayer mismo el portavoz del Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriroes griego, Sr Delavekouras, insistio en la "generosa oferta" de entragar la ayuda humanitaria limitada a la población de Gaza en vez de ayudarles a obtener la libertad.
Nosotros, miembros de la sociedad civil palestina en Gaza, hemos estado observando las acciones que su gobierno ha estado tomado para impedir que la Flotilla de la Libertad 2, desafiando el criminal bloqueo israeli, zarpara hacia la mayor cárcel al aire libre - la Franja de Gaza - El cierre israelí de Gaza nos ha privado de cosas que la mayoría de la gente da por sentado, en primer lugar, nuestra libertad de movimiento. Al no permitirnos viajar libremente se no impide obtener educación y atención medica adecuadas. Estamos separados de nuestras familias en otras partes del territorio ocupado y en el el extranjero y no se nos permite invitar a gente para que nos visiten. Ahora Ud se haya aplicando estas restricciones a gente cuya principal misión es la de ser solidarios con nosotros.
Los habitantes de Gaza no sólo necesitan ayuda humanitaria debido a que se nos impide reconstruir nuestra economía. No se nos permite la importación de materias primas o las exportacinoes, a nuestros pescadores y agricultores se les dispara cuando faenan o recoger sus cosechas. Como resultado de una política israelí deliberada, el 80% de nuestra gente se han vuelto dependientes de la ayuda humanitaria, nuestra infraestructura está en ruinas, y nuestros niños no pueden imaginar el día en que conozcan la libertad.
Su oferta de entregar la carga de la Flotilla de la Libertad afianza la idea de que la ayuda humanitaria por si sola va a resolver nuestros problemas, siendo este un pobre intento de ocultar su complicidad con el bloqueo israeli.
Lamentamos mucho no poder aceptar su caridad. Los organizadores y participantes de la Flotilla de la Libertad reconocer que no se trata de ayuda humanitaria, se trata de nuestros derechos humanos. Ellos llevan consigo algo más importante que la ayuda, llevan esperanza, amor, solidaridad y respeto. Su oferta de conspirar con nuestros opresores para entregarnos la ayuda es RECHAZADA totalmente.
Si bien está claro que han estado bajo una enorme presión política para cumplir con la voluntad del régimen israelí, a la hora de colaborar en la violación del derecho internacional legitimando el estado de sitio, nos negamos a aceptar estas migajas. Anhelamos la libertad, la dignidad y la capacidad de tomar decisiones en nuestra vida diaria. Le instamos a que reconsidere inmediatamente y deje que parta la Flotilla de la Libertad.
Reconociendo las relaciones históricas entre nuestros pueblos y el apoyo de su país a nuestros legítimos derechos. Teniendo en cuenta el reconocimiento previo de nuestras libertades negadas, le instamos a ud a permitir que los barcos de la flotilla de la libertad partan hacia Gaza, desafiando así el bloqueo ilegal de Israel de la Franja de Gaza y la ocupación ilegal de tierras palestinas.
La Red Palestina de ONG (PNGO)
En representación de más de 60 organizaciones no gubernamentales en Gaza

Thousands of Israelis and Arabs march in Jerusalem to support Palestinian independence

Several MKs participate in the 'March for Independence,' the first such Jewish-Arab event in 20 years.

Approximately 2,000 Palestinians and Israelis took part in the "March for Independence" Friday, calling for the recognition of a Palestinian state.
Although the organizers of the march issued a statement saying the march was carried out peacefully, police had to intervene and separate right-wing and left-wing activists.

Jerusalem 'March for Independence'
The event was coordinated with the police, and organizers had pledged to prevent any violence from breaking out, despite the expected right-wing counter-protests.
Participants in the march held signs quoting South African leader and anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela saying "only free men can negotiate", while others bore slogans calling for support of Palestinian independence.
Several MKs participated in the march, including Zehava Galon of Meretz and Dov Hanin of Hadash. Other prominent public figures took part as well, such as former Speaker of the Knesset Avraham Burg and former Attorney General Michael Ben Yair.
The march took a symbolic route, following the green line that used to divide East and West Jerusalem before the Six Day War in 1967. It began at Jaffa Gate and ended at the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, the opposite route taken by right-wing activists during Jerusalem Day last month.
Avner Inbar, Solidarity movement spokesman, said that the declaration of independence in September is "an act of people who crave freedom." He added that "Palestinian independence is not only the natural right of the Palestinian people. It is the only solution that can prevent another wave of violence between Israelis and Palestinians. This march proves that a joint, Jewish-Arab struggle is the way to end the occupation."

jueves, 14 de julio de 2011

PLO official: Local elections to take place in October

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian government in Ramallah is set to approve plans to hold municipal elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in October 2011.
PLO executive committee member Ghassan Shaka told Ma'an Thursday that consultations about the elections were held during a recent PLO Committee meeting and October 22 is understood to be the prescribed date for the elections to take place. 

"We hope that the elections will be held in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in order to translate national reconciliation into real action on the ground," Shaka said. 

It is reported that the Ramallah government will make the announcement following consultations with Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and other political factions. 

The date had been previously agreed upon but consensus must be reached among the Palestinian political factions. 

Local elections were set for July 2011 but were postponed until after the reconciliation agreement was signed.

Local elections for the 315 local councils in the West Bank and Gaza Strip were initially due to be held in July 2010.

Rival political factions Hamas and Fatah signed a reconciliation agreement on May 4, ending years of hostility after Hamas won 2006 elections and seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, leading to two separate administrations, with Fatah controlling the West Bank. 

The terms of the agreement, including the formation of an independent and joint government, have yet to be implemented after the scheduled June announcement in Cairo was postponed. 

The position of Prime Minister in the future unity government has been an impediment to progress in talks, with both factions unable to reach a consensus on a candidate.

Israelis and Arabs to march in Jerusalem in support of Palestinian independence

Organizers say thousands expected to take part in Friday's 'March for Independence,' the first such Jewish-Arab event in 20 years.

Thousands of Israelis and Palestinians are expected to take part in a march on Friday, titled 'March for Independence' calling for the recognition of a Palestinian state.

The organizers of the march said that the recognition of Palestine as an independent state should come before negotiations, and not as a result.
The event represents a rare cooperation between the left-wing Solidarity movement and the popular committees of East Jerusalem. The organizers claim that this is the first Jewish-Arab event of its kind to be held in Jerusalem since 1991.
Sheikh Jarrah- Emil Salman- March 27, 2010
The march will begin in Jaffa Gate and end in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, the opposite route taken by right-wing activists during Jerusalem Day last month.
The event is coordinated with the police, and the organizers have pledged to prevent any violence from breaking out, despite right-wing counter-protests expected to take place.
"After years of Israel speaking about peace and building settlements, checkpoints, walls and outposts, the young generations from both sides are starting to understand that they are being duped," said Hillel Ben Sasson from the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement.
He added that "in Jerusalem of all places, the heart of the conflict,
Israelis and Palestinians will march together calling for independence and for an end to the running amok of the Netanyahu government, which is leading us to a political abyss."

El pañuelo árabe abocado a morir en Palestina por las importaciones chinas

La tradicional kufiya árabe, uno de los más potentes símbolos de la causa palestina, pierde la batalla contra las importaciones chinas, que amenazan con obligar a cerrar la única fábrica de estos pañuelos que existe en territorio palestino.

A las afueras del taller de "Textiles Hervawi" la calle está desierta, no hay camiones descargando material ni llevándose el producto terminado para distribuirlo.
Dentro de la nave, polvorienta, oscura y saturada del atronador ruido de unas máquinas desgastadas por el tiempo, todo apunta a la decadencia de un negocio que hace años que dejó de ser negocio.
Pero las máquinas continúan hilando. Despacio y persistentemente, "taca-tac, taca-tac, taca-tac", estos viejos telares insisten en seguir tejiendo las últimas kufiyas de Palestina.
"Ahora todo el mundo compra los pañuelos que vienen de China, que se venden entre un 30 y un 50 por ciento más baratos", explicó a Efe Yaser Hervawi, de 76 años y fundador hace medio siglo de esta fábrica y de un sueño que ve morir poco a poco cada día.
La factoría vivió sus mejores años en la década de los setenta, cuando el pañuelo, popularizado por el carismático líder de la OLP Yaser Arafat, que no aparecía sin él, se convirtió en un símbolo de la lucha palestina.
Pero el invento murió de éxito: fue precisamente la popularidad, que hizo a la prenda indispensable en el atuendo árabe y complemento de moda en Occidente, lo que atrajo a los productores chinos a copiarla e inundar el mercado con versiones de mala calidad; incluidos los zocos palestinos.
Los Hervawi tejen ahora kufiyas de todos los colores, pero las más demandadas siguen siendo la blanca y negra, originaria de Irak y empleada a principios del siglo XX por los agricultores palestinos, y la roja y blanca, típica de Jordania -donde forma parte del uniforme del Ejército- y adoptada en Palestina por los comunistas y seguidores de la izquierda por su color más afín a sus símbolos.
A pesar de que siguen siendo usadas por los jóvenes en Europa, sobre todo por los políticamente cercanos a la causa palestina, la familia Hervawi solo ha logrado exportar pequeñas cantidades a Italia, Francia y EEUU.
"A España no", señala ligeramente acusador Yaser Hervawi; al parecer, también allí prefieren las chinas.
"En el entorno rural del norte de Cisjordania empezamos a llevar la kufiya en invierno desde los diez años", explicó a Efe Mohamed Othman, activista palestino de la localidad de Yayus.
"Sólo compro las de Hebrón porque están hechas a mano y forman parte de nuestra cultura. Es importante mantener la fábrica viva. Es un símbolo de lucha. De la libertad palestina", afirmó.
Juda Hirbawi, hijo del fundador que trata de sacar adelante el negocio junto con dos de sus hermanos, asegura que la debacle comenzó en 1995, cuando llegaron las copias chinas.
"Antes la fábrica abría desde el amanecer hasta bien entrada la noche y hacíamos cerca de mil al día. Ahora trabajamos muchas menos horas, hacemos unas 150 al día y sólo tenemos en marcha diez máquinas. El 90 por cien de las que se venden son chinas", lamentó.
Ahora, añade, "todo el dinero que entra, sale. No hay ningún beneficio, solo lo justo para pagar a los empleados y dar de comer a nuestras familias".
Su padre, que se sienta cada día en el despacho para supervisar el poco trabajo que hay y charlar y tomar té con los ocasionales visitantes, recuerda los tiempos en que inició el negocio con dos máquinas que trajo de Japón, a las que siguieron otras trece.
"Son Suzuki", dice, orgulloso.
La delicada tarea de tejer las kufiyas consume media hora de trabajo de los telares Suzuki, más el tiempo adicional que dedican cuatro mujeres en sus casas para coser los bordes y lograr un acabado que está a años luz de los flecos deshilachados de su equivalente chino.
"Eso no son kufiyas. Son basura", dice Hirbawi padre, despectivo.
Del total de la producción, asegura su hijo Abd Al Azim, otro de los socios del amenazado negocio, un 30 por ciento viaja al extranjero, otro 30 por ciento se vende en los territorios palestinos y, el resto, se queda en cajas, cogiendo polvo en este taller que rezuma nostalgia.
"Si no aumentan las ventas tendremos que cerrar. Y si cerramos dejará de haber kufiyas palestinas", dice Abd al Azim, que recuerda que tampoco hay ya ningún lugar en Gaza, Cisjordania ni Jerusalén Este en el que se fabriquen banderas palestinas. Todas vienen de China. EFE