Take Action: Palestinian leader’s son abducted by Israel

This is how Israel marked Human Rights Day. Please call the following (ask for the foreign policy aide) to intervene on behalf of Abdul Khalik Burnat with the U.S. State Department:

    Sen. Baldwin, Madison: 608-264-5338
    Sen. Baldwin, DC: 202-224-5653

    Rep. Pocan, Madison: 608-258-9800
    Rep. Pocan, DC: 202-225-2906
    (Pocan is a signer of HR 4391 on Palestinian children)

    Sen. Johnson, Madison: 608-240-9629
    Sen. Johnson, DC: 202-224-5323

A call to action from Al-Awda NY, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, and Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network

Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, 12 December 2017

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Abdul-Khalik Burnat, 17 years old, the son of Palestinian activist Iyad Burnat, an active leader of the Nonviolent Resistance Movement in the Palestinian village of Bil’in, was kidnapped, beaten and detained on the night of December 10, 2017 while getting pizza along with his friends Hamzah Al-Khatib and Malik Rahdi.

Their whereabouts were unknown until Abdul-Khalik’s mother and father recently learned that he and his friends are in Ofer Prison near the city of Ramallah.

Abdul-Khalik’s village of Bil’in is heavily targeted by Zionist colonizing forces for arrests, repression and persecution, especially because the people of the village continually and consistently organize well-coordinated weekly peaceful demonstrations which include visits and support from international activists to defend their land from illegal Israeli settlements and the infamous apartheid Wall.

Abdul-Khalik is a senior in high school. He was focused on completing his finals before his kidnapping. He is planning on going to college abroad after graduating high school.

This is not the first time that Abdul Khalik has been targeted by Israeli colonizing forces. The last time was in January of 2017, when he was shot with a rubber bullet in his head. They also detained him in another night-time raid in March 2017, while he was under treatment for his injuries.

Iyad Burnat’s family has been repeatedly targeted and injured by the Israeli Occupation Forces. Burnat states, “All this violence that they use against me and my family is trying to stop us from what we’re doing [Nonviolent resistance].”

Abdul Khalik’s court date is this upcoming Thursday December 14, 2017. This arbitrary hearing is crucial and likely to determine whether to extend their detention (for interrogation), impose an administrative detention order or put charges in the military courts.

The family of Abdul-Khalik Burnat have urged international action and publicity to help them obtain justice for their son and his immediate release.

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Unfortunately, Abdul-Khalik’s story is all too common. Every year, over 700 Palestinian children face military trials and military imprisonment at the hand of Israeli occupation soldiers. Palestinian children are subject to torture and abuse under interrogation, arbitrary military trials, denial of their right to education, physical and psychological violence and imprisonment without charge or trial on a regular basis.

Israel’s impunity and gross violations of the rights of Palestinian children continue with the silence and complicity of governments around the world, including the U.S. government that not only provides $3 billion in military funding each year to the Israeli occupation state but also recently declared Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel, putting its stamp of approval on ethnic cleansing, settlement construction, land confiscation and blatant violation of international law.

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Gaza City in the spotlight: hesitant hope in a city where everyone still wants out

As the UN’s day of solidarity with Palestinians nears, Gazans have restored a hesitant bustle

Miriam Berger, The Guardian, Saturday 25 November 2017

Fishermen off the coast of Gaza City, which is home to a 5,000-year-old port. Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian
Fishermen off the coast of Gaza City, which is home to a 5,000-year-old port. (David Levene, The Guardian)

Today Medinat Ghazzah, or Gaza City, is running on empty – and yet still going. Gaza City, the Gaza Strip’s principal urban centre, carries various scars of war. Since 2006, Gaza has endured one civil war between Palestinians, three wars between the ruling Hamas militant group and Israel, a decade of Hamas’ repressive rule, and a crushing blockade by neighbouring Israel and Egypt – all of which have crippled the economy and turned the tiny territory into a site of humanitarian crisis.

Gaza City’s dusty buildings and bumpy roads, many still damaged or half-rebuilt from the last war, are at times reminiscent of facades found in Egypt and the Palestinian West Bank. But it is the crushing monotony and suffocating limits of life that define the city for residents who have walked the same streets for a decade without a chance of getting out. Still, the city carries on, with coffee shops, traffic, clothes stores, restaurants and even a new upscale mall offering diversions for those who can afford them.

Palestinians attend Friday noon prayer beneath the fallen minaret during the 2014 war.Palestinians attend Friday noon prayer beneath the fallen minaret during the 2014 war.

The city’s framework, like the rest of Gaza, is innately tied up with politics. Gaza was once part of Britain’s Mandate Palestine. Then came Egyptian occupation in 1948, followed by Israeli in 1967. Now, for the last decade, Hamas, which the European Union has designated as terrorist group, has ruled the tiny territory while Israel controls most borders.

Limited visitors

This month – on 29 November – brings the United Nations international day of solidarity with Palestinians. Gazans, however, don’t see much of the international community these days. That’s in part because Israel strictly limits entry to the Gaza Strip, with mainly journalists (Israelis and Palestinians excluded) and aid and development workers allowed through. Even then, UN bodies and NGOs working in Gaza constrain much of the movement of their foreign staff due to security protocols. Along Gaza City’s highly polluted coast are two expensive hotels that are considered the “safe zone” where aid workers and many journalists stay.

The five-star Arcmed al-Mashta Hotel, built in 2011The five-star Arcmed al-Mashta Hotel, built in 2011

Facing an ineffective and corrupt government, the UN and NGOs have stepped in. Gazans are grateful – but know they can do better and mistrust the politics that dictates where funds are directed. Around much of Gaza are signs thanking Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates for funding reconstruction projects. But the Arab countries have pledged far more for reconstruction than they’ve actually delivered, while many Gazans feel acutely abandoned by the Arab states and international community, and know new buildings still go first to those with Hamas connections.

Gaza City in numbers

40 – rank of Gaza city in 2014 list of most densely populated cities worldwide. At the time, the population of Gaza City and surrounding area was estimated at 750,000.

360 – square kilometers covered by the Gaza Strip, about the size of Detroit.

80 – percentage of families in Gaza who receive some sort of aid.

44 – percentage official unemployment rate in Gaza; for those aged 15-29, the rate rises to 60%.

3 – number of hours of electricity generated by Gaza’s only working electricity plant at a severe low point this summer. For the last few years Gaza has averaged around at most eight hours a day of electricity.

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Stop Violence against Women and Girls,

PCHR’s Women Unit Starts 16 Days of Activism Campaign to End Violence

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), November 26, 2017

 

On Sunday, 26 November 2017, the Women Unit at the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) has started the first activities of the 16 Days of Activism Campaign to end Violence against women and girls. The Unit held a legal awareness lecture on violence against women and girls in al-Jaleel High School for Girls, targeting the 11th Grade students.

Mona al-Shawa, Head of PCHR’s Women’s Unit, welcomed the students and reviewed PCHR’s work and the 16 Days of Activism Campaign to end Violence against women. The campaign starts on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and ends on 10 December, which marks the International Day for Human Rights. Al-Shawa explained the close link between women’s rights and human rights in general, and that this campaign is an international campaign that activates this time of year in most countries of the world to raise awareness of violence by moving it from private to public sphere and to call for providing protection women and girls. Al-Shawa also stressed the importance of raising girls and high school students’ awareness of violence, its forms and causes and how to eliminate violence.

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Majedah Shehahdah, Researcher at the Women’s Unit, explained the concept of violence against women and girls as defined in the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, which was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1993. Shehahdah discussed the most significant forms of violence practiced in the Palestinian society against women and girls and the reasons behind it. She also highlighted the mechanisms to reduce violence against women and girls in the Palestinian society and the importance to provide protection for them.

The female Students interacted with the topic and recounted the most prominent forms of violence prevailing in the Palestinian society, including verbal and physical violence in addition to the early marriage phenomenon and depriving women of inheritance rights and etc.

By the end of the lecture, the students praised the importance of raising students’ awareness of violence against women and girls and called for holding further awareness lectures that would target young girls and students in secondary schools.

It should be noted that the Women Right’s Unit will hold more awareness lectures on violence in a number of secondary schools for girls in Gaza city over the next two weeks.

#TalkAboutYemem


Donna Smith, Progressive Democrats of America, Nov 22, 2017

Yemen Is Suffering. Please Help.

While there is so much going on in this country and so much upheaval continues to swirl around our planet, many millions of Americans find themselves in a rush to get away from all things political long enough to find even a few moments of distraction. We all deserve and need that from time to time.

Still, I find it very difficult to distract myself from the reality of 7 million people in Yemen at risk of famine and another 900,000 facing life-threatening diseases such as cholera. Yes, that’s right. Cholera. In 2017. But the Trumpublican standard bearer in the White House and his self-proclaimed “family-values defenders” in Congress could do something, but have done almost nothing to address this human-made catastrophe.

Call Congress: (202)-224-3121

A boy and his sisters watch graffiti artists spray on a wall, commemorating the victims who were killed in Saudi-led coalition airstrikes in Sanaa, Yemen, Monday, May 18, 2015. Saudi-led airstrikes targeting Yemen’s Shiite rebels resumed early on Monday in the southern port city of Aden after a five-day truce expired amid talks on the war-torn country’s future that were boycotted by the rebels. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

Crisis paid for by our taxes. We can’t remain silent. Act now!
Tell Congress: ”End US support for Saudi atrocities in Yemen”

Of course Trump couldn’t be bothered with real action on behalf of Yemen before jetting away to Florida for some badly needed golf time at Mar-a-Lago. Yes, he pardoned two Thanksgiving turkeys in a routine symbolic gesture, but what about our fellow human beings? Cue the crickets. Trump and the Trumpublicans won’t act, but we can.

  1. Click here to find your Senators and Representative.
  2. Call the United States Capitol switchboard at (202)-224-3121.
  3. An operator will connect you directly with the Senate and House offices you request.
  4. Ask to speak with the staffer assigned to defense, military and / or foreign relations issues.
  5. Leave a voice mail message if he or she is unavailable.
  6. Identify yourself by your name and town or city.
  7. Say you demand that the U.S. act to halt the Saudi aggression against the people of Yemen.
  8. Thank them for their time and wish them a Happy Thanksgiving.

PDA National Advisory Board Member and Code Pink Co-founder Medea Benjamin said it this way, “What does it say about us as a people that we allow our government to keep supporting the devastating Saudi bombing of Yemen, and now the blockade of humanitarian aid, that is starving children every day? As we sit around the Thanksgiving table this holiday, please think of the children of Yemen and ask your representative in Congress to speak out.” #TalkAboutYemen

We’re encouraged that the House finally passed a resolution specifying that not authorized U.S. participation in war in Yemen, but that does little to stop the unfolding, yet highly preventable catastrophe. It’s way past time for us all to demand as fellow human beings that our government stop supporting this, and we must stand with other nations to bring medical and humanitarian resources swiftly to the aid of these suffering souls. To do less is unacceptable.

Won’t you join us in calling your Congress members? You can click here to find your Senators and Representative. Call the United States Capitol switchboard at (202)-224-3121. An operator will connect you directly with the Senate and House offices you request.

Ask to speak with the staffer assigned to defense, military and / or foreign relations issues. Identify yourself by your name and town or city. Say you demand that the U.S. act to halt the Saudi aggression against the people of Yemen. Then, what a happy day of thanksgiving that will be for us all.

In peace and solidarity,

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Children are starving in Yemen

The White House should intervene

A Yemeni woman takes the clothes off her malnourished child. (Yahya Arhab/Epa-Efe/Rex/Shutterstock)

Editorial Board, Washington Post, November 20, 2017

IT HAS been two weeks since Saudi Arabia imposed a land, sea and air blockade on Yemen, a country already devastated by two and a half years of Saudi bombing. Before the embargo, Yemen was suffering from the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, according to the United Nations, with 7 million people on the brink of famine and another 900,000 stricken by cholera. Those conditions have now grown far worse — and yet the Saudis persist with their siege. It is time for the Trump administration, which has indulged the Saudi leadership for too long, to intervene.

Yemen’s 28 million people depend on imports for up to 90 percent of their basic needs, including food, fuel and medicine. The vast majority of those imports come through the port of Hodeida, in northern Yemen, which along with the capital, Sanaa, is under the control of Houthi rebels. Saudi Arabia imposed the blockade after a missile allegedly fired by the Houthis came close to its capital, Riyadh. The Saudis blamed Iran for supplying the weapon, though U.N. monitors in Yemen say they have not seen convincing evidence of that.

U.N. humanitarian officials warned that the shutdown would quickly lead to an emergency. Now their predictions are coming true. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, Sanaa, Hodeida and three other crowded cities — with 2.5 million people in all — have lost access to clean drinking water because of a lack of fuel. One million children are at risk from an incipient diphtheria epidemic because vaccines are out of reach on U.N. ships offshore. According to Rasha Muhrez, Save the Children’s director of operations in Yemen, several governates are down to a five-day supply of the fuel needed to operate flour mills, without which the millions dependent on food handouts will starve. “This blockage has cut off the lifeline of Yemen,” Ms. Muhrez told us.

Last week the Saudis began allowing limited humanitarian imports through the southern port of Aden, which is controlled by their Yemeni allies. But that is not adequate access. That’s why three U.N. agencies — the World Health Organization, the World Food Program and UNICEF — issued a joint statement last Thursday saying that the continued shutdown of other ports and airports “is making an already catastrophic situation far worse.” A confidential report by U.N. monitors, seen by Reuters, went further, saying the Saudis were violating a 2015 U.N. Security Council resolution on Yemen by obstructing humanitarian assistance.

The Trump administration, through the State Department, has objected to the ongoing blockade and called for “unimpeded access” for humanitarian supplies. But many in Yemen suspect, with some reason, that the White House is tolerating, if not encouraging, the crime. Shortly before the siege was announced, Jared Kushner paid a visit to Saudi Arabia and reportedly met late into the evening with Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince. Even if it was unaware of the subsequent crackdown, the White House has the leverage to put a stop to it. It should act immediately, or it will be complicit in a crime against humanity.