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Opinion Editorials, November 2008


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Editorial Note: The following news reports are summaries from original sources. They may also include corrections of Arabic names and political terminology. Comments are in parentheses.


 EU development commissioner Louis Michel calls Israeli blockade of Gaza as collective punishment, Libyan boat breaks the siege

Date: 29 / 11 / 2008  Time:  20:27
Bethlehem – Ma’an –

European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid Louis Michel expressed his “increasing concern for the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza,” in a Saturday press release.

"I am extremely concerned by the deepening humanitarian crisis in Gaza caused by the continued closure of the Gaza crossings,” Michel stated.

His statement stressed the point that since 4 November only the Karem Shalom crossing has been open, and even then only for a total of four days. Michel noted that only a limited amount of food and supplies were allowed into Gaza on 17, 24, 26 and 27 November.

Though he stressed his earlier condemnation of Palestinian projectile attacks, he said called the continued closure of Gaza crossings “a form of collective punishment against Palestinian civilians, which is a violation of International Humanitarian Law."

The European Commission, said Michel, stresses the need ror an end to all impediments to the freedom of movement of civilians and humanitarian workers as well as actions that can lead to increased numbers of internally displaced people.

"In both Gaza and the West Bank, my main concern is that humanitarian aid gets to the civilian populations in need of it most. That's why the neutrality, impartiality and independence of humanitarian organizations must be respected allowing their representatives immediate, free and secure access to vulnerable Palestinian populations in both Gaza and the West Bank."

Al-Marwa, the first of several Arab ship to break the Gaza Siege

Sunday November 30, 2008 01:30 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC News

 Palestinian Legislator, head of the Popular committee Against the Siege, Jamal El-Khodary, stated on Sunday that the Lybian ship “Al Marwa” will reach the Gaza port on Monday, and added that this ship is one of several Arab ship which will challenge the Israeli siege and deliver humanitarian supplies to the residents of the Gaza Strip.

On Saturday, El-Khodary phoned the Lybian Health Minister, Dr. Mohammad Rashed, and thanked him, the Lybian resident and the Lybian people for their efforts to break the Israeli siege.

 The independent legislator added that this ship is the first Arab ship challenging the siege but will be followed by additional ship that would sail in solidarity with the Palestinian people.

He added that the the Popular Committee Against the Siege will continue the preparations for the arrival of A Marwa on Monday in order to deliver the aid and medicine to the residents of the coastal region.

The Lybian Health Minister said that the government and the people of Libya are determined to act in solidarity with the Palestinian people, and added that Lybian hospitals are open for the Palestinian patients at any given time.

Dr. Rashed saluted the Palestinian people and their steadfastness in the Gaza Strip while Israel continues its siege and military offensives against them.

The Al-Marwa ship sailed to Gaza three days ago carrying three-thousands tons of humanitarian and medical aid.

Libyan health minister: Our hospitals open for all Palestinian patients [ 29/11/2008 - 05:05 PM ]


Dr. Mohamed Rashid, the Libyan minister of health, on Saturday highlighted the solidarity of his government and people with the besieged Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, stressing that Libya's hospitals are open for all Palestinian patients at any time.

During a phone call with MP Jamal Al-Khudari, the head of the popular committee against the siege in Gaza, Dr. Rashid hailed the steadfastness and fortitude of the Gaza people, stating that Libya is always with the Palestinian people against the blockade, aggression and the Israeli occupation.

Official Libyan sources had reported on Tuesday that a Libyan ship left the Zuwara port, west of the Lybian capital, and is currently heading to the Gaza Strip carrying humanitarian aid.

The ship, which is the first Arab ship to challenge the Israeli siege, is expected to reach Gaza in five days. It carries on board food and medical products.

Meanwhile, Ihab Al-Ghussein, the spokesman for the interior ministry, strongly denounced some media outlets for spreading lies about the opening of the Rafah border crossing, saying this indicates a lack of journalist professionalism and objectivity of professional work.

Ghussein underlined that Egypt did not open the Rafah crossing as some news reports alleged, calling on the Egyptian authorities to open the crossing before Gaza pilgrims in case Saudi Arabia approved their travel.

The Palestinian police in Gaza on Saturday appealed to the Saudi authorities to accelerate processing the travel documents of Gaza pilgrims.

The Gaza police categorically denied news reports alleging that there were injuries among the Gaza pilgrims who registered through the PA in Ramallah at he Rafah crossing, calling on the media to observe accuracy and credibility when reporting news.

Madi: The Israeli siege on Gaza unprecedented

[ 29/11/2008 - 02:22 PM ]


Dr. Arafat Madi, the head of the European campaign to lift the siege, stated that the unjust Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip is unprecedented, strongly denouncing the western complicity in the blockade as expressed a week ago by EU official Javier Solana.

During the Arab international right of return forum held in Damascus, Dr. Madi also criticized some Arab countries for participating in the siege as if the people of Gaza are not Arab or Muslims.

The head of the European campaign underlined that the reports conveyed by media outlets did not reflect the scary image of the Israeli siege on Gaza, describing what is happening in Gaza as genocide in every sense of the word.

He also pointed out that the Gaza people no longer blame the Arab leaders because they gave up confidence in them long time ago, but they put the blame on the active forces in the Arab and Islamic societies and on the Arab lawmakers, parties and movements whose inaction is not justified.

Javier Solana, the EU's high representative for the common foreign and security policy, had said days ago that the EU had exerted what it could to end the siege on Gaza and could not do anything more in this regard.

Dr. Madi condemned Solana's statements as unacceptable, saying they ran contrary to humanitarian ethics other than giving the Israelis a green light to commit more crimes against the besieged Gaza people.


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