Free Gaza: Israeli Naval Vessels Firing on Unarmed Fishing Boats and Human Rights Workers
“(OFF THE COAST OF GAZA) 1 September 2008 – Israeli Naval vessels are currently firing on unarmed Palestinian fishing boats and international human rights workers off the coast of the Gaza Strip. The fishing boats are several miles off the coast of Gaza City, in Palestinian territorial waters. As of 11am (4am EST) no one had been injured, but live ammunition is still being fired in the direction of the civilian boats.
The unarmed boats went to sea at dawn this morning, in an attempt to fish in their own water. Six international human rights workers from five different countries accompanied the fishermen in the hopes that their presence would deter the Israeli military from firing on the fishermen. In the past the Israeli military has shot and killed unarmed Palestinian fishermen for trying to fish in their own waters…”
–The Free Gaza Movement, Sept 1, 2008
Egypt Closes Gaza border after thousands cross
“EL-ARISH, Egypt (AFP) — Egypt on Monday closed the border crossing between Sinai and the Hamas-run Gaza Strip after a brief opening allowed thousands in and out of the besieged territory, a security official said.
‘The border crossing has been closed and there is no agreement between Hamas and Egypt over a new date to open the crossing,’ the official told AFP.
The crossing was opened for the first time in weeks on Saturday.
In that time, ‘Egypt has allowed 4,545 Palestinians and Egyptians to cross, including 3,437 who came into Egypt and 1,108 Palestinians who headed to Gaza,’ the official said.
The people allowed to cross included hundreds of Palestinians requiring treatment in Egyptian hospitals, as well as Egyptian nationals and Palestinians holding Egyptian passports, officials said.
The Rafah crossing in southern Gaza is the territory’s only one that is not under the control of Israel, which sealed off the Gaza Strip after Hamas seized power there in June 2007.
Egypt has also refused to open the Rafah crossing permanently.”
–AFP, Sept 1, 2008
Gaza Border Opened Ahead of Ramadan
(01 Sept 08 – RV) Today is the start of the Muslim month of Ramadan.As a good will gesture to mark this month of fasting hundreds of Gaza residents crossed into Egypt over the weekend when the sealed border was opened for two days. Egypt had closed the crossing after the militant Islamic group Hamas seized control of the territory last year, confining Gaza’s 1.5 million residents to the coastal territory. Father Manuel Musallam is the only Catholic priest working in the Gaza Strip. He told us that Egypt’s gesture was ‘not enough’ to help the grave humanitarian situation in the Strip.”
–Vatican Radio, Sept 1, 2008
Israel Turns Gaza Into Prison For UConn Fulbright Scholar
“As a Palestinian from the Gaza Strip, I could not have been more proud to learn last June that I had earned a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship to study in the United States.
As a child, I would wonder how televisions, computers and washing machines actually worked. I took this fascination to the Islamic University of Gaza, the only Gazan university offering a degree in electrical engineering. There, I developed an ECG monitoring system that enables patients’ hearts to be monitored at home through a personal computer and an Internet link. I won the university prize for distinguished projects for my innovation. I long dreamed of the other advances I might make after an education at the University of Connecticut, where I was scheduled to study this fall for a master’s degree in electrical engineering.
Now, my dream has been stolen from me. I am devastated; my parents heartbroken…”
–Zohair M. Abu Shabanm, The Hartford Courant, August 30, 2008
Olympic Follies and Triumphs
“…When four Palestinian athletes marched with the Palestinian flag into the Olympic Games in Beijing it was a statement, a declaration of sorts, that Palestinians insist on their right to exist on equal footing with the rest of the world, to raise their flag without fear and wear their country’s name spelled out the way it should be, not as a Palestinian Authority but as Palestine. The 1.5 million Palestinians living in besieged Gaza must have savoured that moment more than anyone else. One from amongst them, Nader Al-Masri, had a big smile on his face as he marched, nervously but proudly. Gaza lived a moment of freedom that day, one that even Israel couldn’t take away…”
–Ramzy Baroud, Z Net, August 30, 2008
Gaza Palestinians Arrive to Cyprus
“LARNACA, Cyprus (AP) — International protesters who defied Israel’s blockade of Gaza to aid Palestinians sailed into Cyprus’ Larnaca port late Friday, pledging to make a return voyage…”
–The Associated Press, August 29, 2008