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Human rights advocate kept from Jerusalem meeting by Israel

Al Mezan’s General Director, Issam Younis, was yesterday prevented from attending a meeting with the British Foreign Minister, Margaret Beckett, to brief her on the human rights situation in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli District Civil Liaison (DCL), that controls all access into Israel through the Erez checkpoint, delayed the processing of the required clearance permit and imposed obstacles that effectively made it impossible for Mr Younis to reach his meeting in Jerusalem. Despite applying three days in advance for his permit, Mr Younis was informed only two hours before the commencement of his meeting. 

Long-term environmental challenges ahead

Seven months after Israel bombed the coastal Jiyyeh power plant in the south of Beirut, the Mediterranean Sea still spews oil onto Lebanon’s shores, and beach sand shifts to reveal oil slicks that could not be detected before, fishermen say. With sparkling waves licking the golden sands, Jiyyeh beach looks pristine at first glance. But fisherman Ahmad Kojok stoops and pulls up the corner of a black slab in the sea. It is solid oil.
“We found another huge patch of oil over there,” said Kojok, waving towards a patch of sea by a rocky shelf that juts out into the bay. “It’s all oil just there.” 

Prosecution of Brighton solidarity activist dropped

The Crown Prosecution Service have cited ‘lack of evidence’ as the reason for dropping their charges against Chris Osmond, a member of Brighton and Hove Palestine Solidarity Campaign who was arrested and charged with an offence under the Public Order Act at a peaceful demonstration against the Israel’s participation in the Davis Cup at Eastbourne on 22nd July 2006. Ann Hallan, a member of the Brighton and Hove Palestine Solidarity Campaign who was also at the demonstration commented today ‘The Crown Prosecution Service has seen sense at last. The arrest was going beyond the powers police have under the public order act - this was yet another example of the infringement of the right to protest.’ 

PCHR: Stop the destruction of Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem

PCHR calls upon the international community represented by governments and international organizations, specifically UNESCO, to intervene immediately to put an immediate end to Israeli destruction of Islamic holy sites in occupied Jerusalem, especially around Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Centre appeals to these bodies to take immediate action to stop Israeli excavations, and to provide protection for Palestinians and their rights, especially their cultural and religious rights; and provide protection for Islamic holy sites, which are an important part of human culture and civilization. 

A Message of Concern to the Palestinian People

As Leaders of the Christian Churches in Jerusalem concerned at the present situation in the Palestinian Territories we feel we must voice our anxiety for all our people - Christian and Moslem alike - at the deteriorating relations between Fatah and Hamas leaders and the armed forces. It would appear that all kinds of mediation and attempts at reconciliation have so far failed resulting in a dead lock in the situation. The latest allegations and threats which have been aired through the local and international media have resulted in some large scale fighting which soon will be very difficult to stop. 

One killed, three injured by unknown gunman

Yesterday evening, unknown gunmen fired at 4 members of the Izzedeen El-Qassam Battalions, the armed wing of Hamas, in Gaza City. One of the targeted individuals, Mohammad Deeb Salim Abu Karsh (24) from Gaza City, was killed and three were injured. One of the injuries is serious. PCHR’s preliminary investigation indicates that at approximately 21:30 on Tuesday, 6 February 2007, unknown gunmen fired at four members of Izzedeen El-Qassam Battalions, the armed wing of Hamas, in Lod-Ramla Street in Gaza City. The shooting resulted in the killing of Mohammad Abu Karsh by bullets to the chest, abdomen, and extremities. 

Al-Haq response to recent Israeli government COGAT briefing

As a non-governmental organisation committed to the promotion and protection of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), Al-Haq would like to respond to the recent briefing issued by the Government of Israel’s Office for Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (CoGAT). The briefing, entitled “Key Measures for Easing the Daily Lives of the Palestinian Population,” purports to provide a general overview of recent Israeli measures aimed at improving the Palestinian population’s “fabric of life” within the OPT

Infighting escalates, exceeding red lines

The number of Palestinian victims of the last wave of infighting has reached 160. 30 have been killed and 130 injured since Thursday 1 February 2007. All efforts to end the armed clashes have so far been unsuccessful; however both sides have announced a ceasefire under Egyptian mediation. According to the field information collected by Al Mezan, fighting resumed after members of Hamas and the Executive Force of the Ministry of Interior attacked a convoy of trucks lifting caravans and equipment for the Presidential Guards in the Middle Gaza area. Hamas claimed that the trucks carried arms and military equipment. 

UNRWA opens tented school for stranded Palestinians

Some 90 Palestinian refugee children whose families have been stranded over the last nine months at al-Tanf border crossing point between Iraq and Syria, living in a makeshift refugee camp, started attending an UNRWA tented school on 3 February. At this school, UNRWA will provide general education for refugee children at elementary and preparatory levels as prescribed by the Syrian Ministry of Education. Managed by the UNRWA education programme, with eight teachers from the refugee community in al-Tanf serving as staff, the school will help cater for the refugees’ educational needs. 

Doha seminar on assistance to Palestinian people concludes

The United Nations Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People explored during its third plenary session the theme “Looking ahead: Creating conditions for Palestinian economic recovery”. The Former Minister of Public Works and Housing, Palestinian Authority and President, Palestinian Economic Centre for Development and Reconstruction, Mohammed Shtayyeh, said there was no lack of initiatives but a lack of implementation of existing agreements. Another interim agreement would be a failing enterprise. Israelis and Palestinians must go to final negotiations for a permanent solution.