Gazan women demand Rafah reopening
Sun, 02 Nov 2008
See the video :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DtYXRF3_NU
Palestinian women take part in a protest in front of the Rafah border
crossing on Saturday. They called on Egypt to open the border with
the impoverished Gaza Strip.
Hundreds of Palestinian women have staged a protest march, calling on
Egypt to reopen the Rafah border crossing to relieve Gaza suffering.
Protestors took to the streets on Saturday following a call to action
by the Hamas movement ; the women said the border crossing must be
opened to relieve the suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza.
"The Arabs are watching us in apathy. We say to them that we need
their help and that the Rafah border crossing must be reopened. The
Palestinian people are in dire need of their help," protest organizer
Amal Ali told Press TV correspondent Ashraf Shannon.
The demonstrators blamed Egypt and Arab League countries for failing
to act against the 17-month-long Israeli embargo on the Gaza Strip.
Israel has restricted the entry of vital goods, including food, fuel,
medical supplies and construction materials to the coastal strip.
The angry protestors also called Arabs to action, suggesting that
their indifference may indicate their inability to respond to Israel.
"It seems the international activists can break the embargo. Then why
can't the Arabs do it? I say to Arab leaders, presidents, kings and
emirs that they can break the embargo, if they want and that they
don't need Israeli or American permission," said another protester.
The nearly 1.5 million Palestinians residing in Gaza have been
subject to an Israeli blockade since June 2007. Tel Aviv has
restricted the entry of vital goods, including food, fuel, medical
supplies and construction materials to the coastal strip.
Israel has been condemned by peace activists worldwide over its human
rights violation in the Gaza Strip.
In August, two Greek boats -- carrying high-profile campaigners
including Lauren Booth, sister-in-law of former British premier Tony
Blair and Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein -- arrived in the Gaza and
broke the Israeli blockade for the first time.
A third boat, the SS Dignity, carried 27 activists from the Free Gaza
Movement to the strip in defiance of the Israeli blockade on
Tortured in West Bank Prisons, (by the PLO, not Israelis)
By Ola Attallah Ramallah
Oct 24, 2008
Hamza Al-Qaraawi, a nursing student at An-Najah University, was
sitting with his family when he heard knocks at their door.
When he opened the door, a dozen of plain-clothed, grimed-faced
people stormed their way into the house.
"They beat me before taking me to an unknown destination," Qaraawi
Qaraawi was taken to a Palestinian Authority-run prison, as he later
discovered, where he reportedly suffered a new episode of assaults.
"My body was bleeding from everywhere," he said, recalling his
"They brought me a doctor, who asked them to stop hurting me but in
vain," added Qaraawi, who was released nine days later.
"They are using the same torture techniques used by Israeli
occupation forces, such as Shabh and sleep deprivation."
Shabh (Arabic for ghost) is a torture technique in which the prisoner
is tied up for long periods so as to cause severe pain, especially in
the hands and back.
Hamas has accused security forces loyal to rival Fatah of carrying
our a series of "political" arrests against its supporters in the
West Bank since Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip last year.
"My husband was badly tortured at Al-Janeed prison in Nablus," said
the wife of Ismail Abdul-Kareem who was taken from his house by
Palestinian security forces.
"We kept asking about his whereabouts for weeks before we found out
that he was held at Al-Janeed prison."
Abdul-Kareem was released 40 days later.
"He has since been admitted to hospital in a critical condition,"
said his bewildered wife.
Maltreatment of Hamas supporters has reportedly become a common
practice in the West Bank.
"Torture drives us crazy," a recently-released detainee told IOL,
wishing not to be named.
"They kept punching and kicking me. They never stopped though I was
bleeding from my nose, mouth and head."
Last February, Hamas supporter Sheikh Magd Al-Barghuthi died after
being tortured at the Palestinian intelligence headquarters.
Human rights campaigners say that there are nearly 270 "political
detainees" in the West Bank prisons.
"The arrests are being made on a daily basis," said Shawan Gabbarin,
the head of Al-Haqq (Right) human rights group.
Palestinian security officials deny having any "political" detainees
in their jails, saying the issue was being "exaggerated".
Last month, Palestinian human rights groups and MPs established a
committee to monitor political detentions, but its work never got off
Although the committee had the blessing of Palestinian President
Mahmoud Abbas, the security services which he controls refused to
"The committee held meetings with President Abbas, prime minister
(Salam Fayyad) in Ramallah as well as Gaza-based interior minister
Said Seyam and his security chiefs," said Khalil Abu-Shemalah, the
head of Al-Dhamir (Conscience) human rights group.
"While the Gaza government released a number of detainees, the West
Bank-based government has been dragging its feet."
(Originally published in IslamOnline.net)
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