By Budour Youssef Hassan for Electronic Intifada. Gaza – Mariam al-Hih received a distressing phone call from her son Omar last month. Omar was going on hunger strike to protest how Israel had locked him up without charge or trial. As many other parents have done in similar situations, Mariam pleaded with Omar not to proceed with his hunger strike. “I told him that it would kill me to see him suffer without being able to help him,” Mariam said. “But he had already made up his mind and I respected his choice. What else could I do?” Omar has been placed under administrative detention — imprisonment without charge or trial — twice this year. After spending six months in Israeli custody, he was released in August. He barely spent a month with his family before being arrested again on 15 September — under another six-month administrative detention order issued by a military court.
By Staff for CODE PINK. Ann Wright arrived safely back into the US this morning. She flew into JFK airport after being released from Israeli custody and was greeted by friends and taken to breakfast. Ann had set sail with the Women’s Boat to Gaza in an effort to break the Israeli naval blockade that holds the people of Gaza in an open air prison. The boat, Zaytouna-Oliva, was intercepted by the Israeli navy a few miles of the coast of Gaza where people were waiting on Gaza’s shores to greet Ann and the other women on board. The Israeli navy took the boat by force and rerouted it to the Israeli port of Ashdod where the crew, including Ann, were taken into Israeli custody. Ann Wright is a decorated former US diplomat and long-time CODEPINK activist. On board with her were three parliamentarians, an Olympic athlete, and Nobel Peace Laureate, Mairead Maguire. They were committed to nonviolence as much as they were committed to breaking the blockade.
By Ami Friedman for YNet News – Thursday night, the disbanded musical group Pink Floyd “united” to express their support for the Zaytouna-Oliva flotilla that sought to break the blockade on Gaza and that was stopped by the Israeli Navy on Wednesday. In a message posted to their Facebook page on Thursday, the three living members of the band, David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Roger Waters, wrote that they “stand united in support of the Women of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, and deplore their illegal arrest and detention in international waters by the Israeli Defense Force.”
By Veterans For Peace. At 9:58 (EST) organizers lost total contact with the Zaytouna-Oliva. The US embassy confirmed that the boat was intercepted. We do not know where our friends are. It is important to know that this happened in international waters and it is not only illegal but sets a bad precedent in giving a greenlight for other nations to attack civilian ships in international waters. The Zaytouna-Oliva was carrying no material aid. This was by design because Israel, as a premise for their attacks, would claim that weapons and contraband were on board. The owner of Zaytouna-Oliva is Israeli. Ann Wright is a decorated former US diplomat, a member of Veterans For Peace and on our Advisory Board. On board with her were three parliamentarians, an Olympic athlete and Nobel Peace Laureate, Mairead Maguire.
By Lisagay Hamilton for Counter Punch – Sunday night, September 18, 2016. As my “industry” colleagues attend Emmy parties and dress for the red carpet, I stand on the chilly docks of Ajaccio, Corsica, in the wee hours of the morning awaiting the arrival of a small sailboat called the Zaytouna-Oliva. The boat arrives just after 2AM, and the passengers and crew, all women, disembark. The trip from Barcelona was rough. Everyone had gotten sick and it showed on their faces.
By Vyara Gylsen for MEE – One of these women is Zohar Chamberlain Regev, an Israeli citizen who was born and raised in Kibbutz Kfar Hahoresh, near Nazareth. She has been living in Spain for the past 12 years and has been involved in the Spanish component of Freedom Flotilla work since 2012. She coordinates the Women’s Boat to Gaza Steering Committee and is a team leader onboard the Amal.
By Mohammed Asad for Mondoweiss – Smacked with a travel ban after Israel denied permits to leave Gaza through the northern Erez crossing, the musical group Dawaween performed a protest concert on the strip’s border with a windswept demilitarized buffer zone and chain-linked fence in the background. Dawaween was billed to play the annual Palestine International Festival for Dance and Music, which ran between late July and mid-August with stages in Jerusalem, and cities across the West Bank.
By Ann Wright for Consortium News – Israel continues to cut off the 1.8 million people of Gaza from receiving relief supplies from sea, an illegal blockade that will be challenged again this year by the Women’s Boat to Gaza, writes retired Col. Ann Wright. For years, Israel has blocked international ships from reaching the isolated people of Gaza, thus denying the 1.8 million embattled Palestinians maritime contact with the rest of the world and the hope that comes from knowing that they have the support of many people across the globe.
By Joe Catron for Truthout – When two dozen women sail from Barcelona on September 14, mounting the latest international challenge to Israel’s naval blockade of the Palestinian Gaza Strip, their boats — the Amal, or “hope,” and Zaytouna, or “olive” — will confront a seemingly intractable impasse. “There is no freedom of transport or travel owing to the closure of cross points and borders, which led to the death of a score of patients [from Gaza] who were unable to receive their treatment abroad,”
By Women’s Boat to Gaza. Messina, Italy – On March 8, 2016, International Women’s Day, the Freedom Flotilla Coalition formally launches its latest challenge to the Israeli blockade of Gaza-the Women’s Boat to Gaza. With boats crewed by women from across the world, we plan to underline the contribution of Palestinian women in their people’s struggle, by challenging the Israeli blockade and bringing a message of hope to the Palestinian people. The newly launched Women’s Boat to Gaza website is www.womensboattogaza.org Gaza has been under blockade for a decade. During this time its besieged people have suffered innumerable attacks and their life has become a nightmare of ongoing struggle. Our flotillas and other seaborne missions expose the inaction of the international community in the face of this suffering, while we simultaneously call for civil society solidarity with the Palestinian resistance.
By Staff of Sputnik – The Israeli Army has admitted that they used crop-dusters to kill hundreds of acres of Palestinian crops, claiming that it was to “enable security operations.” Palestinian officials have stated that over 420 acres of land inside the Gaza strip were damaged by the poisons sprayed to kill vegetation. “For years now, the IDF has unilaterally maintained a lethal ‘no-go zone’ on the Palestinian side of the border with Gaza. Now, it seems, it has also implemented a ‘no-grow zone,’” Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man wrote for +972.
By Kevin Gosztola for Shadowproof Press – The chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), who was involved in firing Professor Steven Salaita over tweets he sent about Israel’s 2014 assault on Gaza, has announced her resignation yesterday. The announcement comes as a federal judge refused to dismiss Salaita’s lawsuit against the university for violating his free speech. An attorney representing Salaita, Anand Swaminathan of Loevy & Loevy, stated, “The university’s administration took a number of positions that showed contempt for its constitutional obligations, and raise serious doubts about the university’s commitment to academic freedom and its willingness to honor contractual commitments to its scholars. We are extremely pleased that the court has rejected the university’s dubious arguments.”
By Ali Abunimah in The Electronic Intifada. International water near Gaza – Contrary to Israeli claims that the Marianne was taken peacefully, this video shows that armed commandos used brutal violence against unarmed passengers aboard the Gaza-bound boat early on Monday. According to the organizers of the flotilla, 14 of the 18 civilian passengers and crew remain in Israeli custody more than two days after they were violently abducted in international waters to prevent them breaking the Israeli-imposed siege on Gaza. Palestinian citizen of Israel and member of the Israeli parliament Basel Ghattas, former Tunisian president Moncef Marzouki, Spanish European Parliament member Ana Miranda and Israeli journalist Ohad Hemo have been released.
By Paul Weinberg in Rabble – The tragedy of Gaza has largely faded from the spotlight even as the humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian territory of 1.8 million continues to worsen following last summer’s military assault by Israel. “Blockades, war and poor governance have strangled Gaza’s economy and the unemployment is now the highest in the world,” reports the latest World Bank May 2015 study. Power outages lasting more than 16 hours a day continue to ravage Gaza and make sick patients in hospitals especially vulnerable as insufficient power often decides between life or death. EmpowerGAZA is an organization that wants to provide reliable power to hospitals.
By Shane Hickey in The Guardian. London, UK – The annual meeting of security group G4S has descended into chaos for the second year running after nine activists were bundled out by guards during protests against its operations in Israel. Uniformed and plainclothes security staff intervened frequently at the meeting in London on Thursday. All those attend ing had been banned from bringing electronic devices into the venue. G4S’s supply of security and screening equipment to the Israeli security services dominated a meeting during which only a small number of the questions from the floor focused on its financial performance.