IN THIS ISSUE
• STATE OF PALESTINE OFFICIALLY MEMBER OF INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT
• 2014 DEADLIEST YEAR FOR PALESTINIANS SINCE 1967
• UNHRC VOTED IN FAVOR OF RESOLUTIONS REGARDING OCCUPIED PALESTINE
• FRENCH FIRM PULLS OUT OF CONTROVERSIAL JERUSALEM CABLE CAR PROJECT
• LAND DAY
• PALESTINE MARATHON DEFIES ISRAELI RESTRICTIONS ON MOVEMENT FROM GAZA TO NASA: THE ODYSSEY OF A PALESTINIAN ENGINEER
Global hopes for peace have been further diminished by recent confirmations of the Israeli Prime Minister’s anti-peace stance. His blatant rejection of the two-State solution endorsed for decades by the International Community, along with his racist rant against the Palestinian-Arab citizens of Israel and the inflammatory rhetoric of his extremist cohorts, indicate the depth of Israel’s intransigence and contempt for international law, human rights and the fundamental principles of democracy, equality and justice. Every single day Palestinian civilians are attacked by the occupying forces and settler terrorists; Palestinian civilians are detained and arrested, with more than 107 Palestinians, including children, arrested in just the last week; collective punishment measures suffocate Palestinian movement and socio-economic life; and Palestinian homes and properties are demolished and land seized. During one week alone, occupying forces demolished 30 Palestinian properties, including residences, forcibly displacing 78 Palestinians, as well as an electricity network, factory, animal barns, and water wells and a reservoir. Israel continues to target Palestinian civilians with lethal force in gross violation of international humanitarian and human rights law. In the same week, on 11 March, a Palestinian fisherman, Tawfiq Abu Rayyala, age 25, was shot and killed by the occupying forces while on his boat off the coast of the Gaza Strip, well within the permitted six-mile nautical zone .On 15 March, 11 Palestinians were injured when occupying forces attacked civilians in Nabi Saleh protesting the construction of Israel’s illegal annexation wall. On 15 March and 17 March, occupying forces shot at Palestinian farmers in an area east of Khan Younis in Gaza and an area east of Gaza City. On 18 March, occupying forces shot at Palestinian civilians, injuring 9 people, at Al Jalazoun refugee camp, during a protest against the construction of a wall between the camp and the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of “Beit El”. On 20 March, occupying forces attacked protesters against the wall in Kufur Qaddoum near Qalqilya, in Nil’in near Ramallah and in Bethlehem, injuring 5 Palestinians, including a 13-year old child, and one journalist. On 20 March, occupying forces shot and injured two Palestinians in the town of Ahsan in southern Gaza. This toxic combination of developments, at the political, security and humanitarian levels, should be cause for alarm and should prompt urgent international action to prevent further destabilization and salvage the minimal prospects for peace before it is too late.
State of Palestine Officially Member of International Criminal Court
The State of Palestine has joined 41 international treaties, including the Geneva Conventions and their additional protocols, as well as the core International Human Rights Treaties, and on the 1st of April, officially becomes a member of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Palestine is a state under a foreign military occupation, the oldest foreign occupation in modern history. It has been recognized by 135 states and has established diplomatic relations with almost 180 states. In its resolution 67/19, the UN General Assembly granted Palestine nonmember observer status. Its borders are those of the Palestinian territory occupied by Israel in June 1967, including Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Israel claims that this move would eventually threat the chances to achieve peace, an allegation that is far from accurate. PA believes it is war crimes and war criminals that undermine peace efforts. Source: www.english.wafa.ps
2014 DEADLIEST YEAR SINCE 1967
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says in its 2014 Annual Humanitarian Overview concludes that “2014 was a devastating year for Palestinians in the oPt,” said James Rawley, Humanitarian Coordinator for the oPt. In Gaza, 1.8 million people experienced an escalation of hostilities, which resulted in over 1,500 Palestinian civilian fatalities, including more than 550 children, and left some 100,000 residents without a home. On the Israeli side, five civilians, including a child, as well as a security guard were killed. Serious concerns concerns were raised over the conduct of hostilities of both Israeli forces and armed Palestinian actors. Reconstruction in Gaza has been slow, hampered by the continued blockade and the lack of funding, although the temporary Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism has enabled the import of construction material. “In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem,” he added, “conflict related casualties increased, a record number of 1,215 Palestinians were displaced due to home demolitions by Israeli authorities, while settlement and settler activity continued, in contravention of international law, and contributed to humanitarian vulnerability of affected Palestinian communities.”
For more information: http://www.ochaopt.org
UNHRC voted in favor of resolutions regarding occupied Palestine
On the adoption of three UNHRC resolutions regarding the occupied State of Palestine, PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi said: “On behalf of the Palestinian leadership and the people of Palestine, we express our great appreciation and gratitude to the members of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) who assumed a principled, courageous and just stand and overwhelmingly voted in favor of three UNHRC resolutions regarding the occupied State of Palestine, including East Jerusalem, at the 28th regular session of the UNHRC.” In short brief, the three resolutions called for ‘the inalienable, permanent and unqualified right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including their right to live in freedom, justice and dignity and the right to their independent State of Palestine’; confirmed ‘that the right of the Palestinian people to permanent sovereignty over their natural wealth and resources must be used in the interest of their national development, the well-being of the Palestinian people and as part of the realization of their right to self-determination’; condemned ‘the continuation by Israel, the occupying Power, of settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in East Jerusalem, in violation of international humanitarian law, relevant United Nations resolutions.
French firm pulls out of controversial Jerusalem cable car project
Palestinian Authority complained to Paris about Safege’s involvement in the project. French finance and foreign ministries warned the company about the legal risks, and it pulled out. Le Figaro reported that on March 10, Saeb Erekat, the Palestinians’ chief negotiator, contacted French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius to complain about the French company’s willingness to take part in building the cable car in East Jerusalem. “The plan will lead to the illegal expropriation of private property, some of which belongs to the Waqf,” Erekat wrote to Fabius. The Waqf controls the major Islamic sites around the Old City, including the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Subsequently, the French administration secretly called a meeting with Safege’s directors. On March 12, the French Finance Ministry warned Safege’s board about the legal risks the project entailed, and the company says it sought a legal opinion on the matter.
“On March 30, 1976, as thousands of Palestinians inside Israel protested Israeli plans to steal 60,000 dunams of land in the Galilee, six Palestinians were killed and hundreds were injured and arrested.
Thirty-nine years later, in the face of the brutal military occupation imposed by Israel, the Palestinian people still remain steadfast in their struggle to defend their inalienable rights to independence, freedom and justice.
For more information: http://www.imemc.org/article/71059
Palestine Marathon defies Israeli restrictions on movement
Thousands of Palestinians and internationals took to the streets of Bethlehem, winding past historic churches, refugee camps, and Israeli military infrastructure to compete in the third annual marathon hosted by the ancient Palestinian city. The marathon was conceived in 2013 under the theme of ‘Right to Movement’. Due to a matrix of restrictions affecting Palestinian movement and access across the West Bank — there are 99 fixed checkpoints and hundreds of physical obstructions — race organizers were unable to find a contiguous stretch of 42 kilometers for the race and instead runners do loops of an 11 kilometer track. Indeed, 85 percent of the Bethlehem district is classified as Area C, under full Israeli control, and organizers wanted to limit any risks and stay within Palestinian Authority controlled Area A. Despite the restrictions, the marathon is growing in size, and this year an estimated 3,100 people from 51 countries took part in the event, compared to 687 in 2013. Most of the runners are Palestinian, over 40 percent are women and organizers secured permits for 50 Palestinians from Gaza to run the race — around 30 were denied entry by Israel in 2014 — a showcase for inclusiveness and Palestinian unity.
From Gaza to NASA: The odyssey of a Palestinian engineer
Soha Alqeshawi is a Palestinian from Gaza City. When she left the tiny territory where 1,82 million people live like prisoners in a total area of 365 square kilometers, she entered the University of Houston in Texas. Upon graduation as top of the class with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Systems Engineering NASA offered her a job working on the Shuttle program. “It was a dream come true”.
For more information: http://margaridasantoslopes.com
For more information:
Press and Media Officer
+351 213 621 098