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Israeli Authorities should release Hana Shalabi – MacLochlainn

Sinn Féin Councillor and spokesperson on the Middle East Councillor Gerry MacLochlainn has called for immediate action by Israeli authorities to save the life of Palestinian Political Prisoner Hana Shalabi.

Speaking following the statement by Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, in which they said Hana Shalabi was ‘in danger of imminent death’ Gerry MacLochlainn said:

“Hana Shalabi is a political prisoner being held under the Israeli policy of Administrative Detention and is now on her 37th day of Hunger Strike against her incarceration. Following a visit in the past number of days the Physicians for Human Rights-Israel said she is in danger of imminent death.

“This comes only weeks after another political prisoner held through administrative detention, Khaled Adnan, made world headlines during his own hunger strike against detention under the same policy. The policy of Administrative Detention, which essentially amounts to internment without charge, is based on detention orders issued by an Israeli military court.

“These draconian orders can be issued for periods of six months with extensions granted at the whim of the court with no regards to due process in law. This is a clear abuse of human rights.

“Now that there is clear evidence that Hana Shalabi’s life is in serious danger, she should be transferred to a hospital immediately. International agencies should be allowed to monitor her health and treatment, and indeed a number of other prisoners who have begun hunger strikes, in the days ahead.

“Imprisonment without trial is wrong and the policy of Administrative Detention needs to be ended immediately.”

source: Derry Sinn Fein

A fundraiser at Cultúrlann Uí Chanáinwas held on 11th March in support of an Irish Delegation to Gaza, Palestine organised by the Derry Friends of Palestine Educational committee. The Freedom & Friendship Delegation will travel to Gaza, Palestine at the end of March 2012 where students from Derry, Coalisland, Tyrone will spend a week attending seminars at various universities with their counterparts in Gaza, Palestine. Educational and Cultural links wil be created between the students in Gaza and Ireland for future work between the two countries.

The Fundraiser was quite a night. Music on the night by Kelly’s Men, Derry’s own Ciara & Sean McCafferty,, Declan McLaughlin, and big “Thank You” to Belfast’s own Gerry Og McConnell who travelled to Derry to lend his support for the Delegation. The event was well attended by the public including local Councillor Maeve McLaughlin among others and monies were raised for the Irish students to assist with their airfare to Egypt from Ireland. For updates on the Delegation while it is in Gaza you can check back on this website beginning on 30th March.

Enjoy the photos of the fundraiser below along with a video from the night.

Freedom & Friendship 2012 Delegation to Gaza fundraiser at Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin

Freedom & Friendship 2012 Delegation to Gaza fundraiser at Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin

Freedom & Friendship 2012 Delegation to Gaza fundraiser at Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin

Freedom & Friendship 2012 Delegation to Gaza fundraiser at Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin

Freedom & Friendship 2012 Delegation to Gaza fundraiser at Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin

Ciara & Sean McCafferty performing

Decky McLaughlin performing at the  Freedom & Friendship 2012 Delegation to Gaza fundraiser at Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin

Decky McLaughlin performing at the Freedom & Friendship 2012 Delegation to Gaza fundraiser at Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin

Belfast's own Gerry Og McConnell performing at the Freedom & Friendship 2012 Delegation to Gaza fundraiser at Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin

Kelly's Men performing at the Freedom & Friendship 2012 Delegation to Gaza fundraiser at Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin

Freedom & Friendship 2012 Delegation to Gaza fundraiser at Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin

Freedom & Friendship 2012 Delegation to Gaza fundraiser at Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin

Freedom & Friendship 2012 Delegation to Gaza fundraiser at Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin

FOGGY DEW performed by Ciara & Sean McCafferty at the Freedom & Friendship Fundraiser

Report on Women’s Day by the Chair, Sinead MacLochlainn:

8th of March was International Womens day around the world. Here in Ireland, I attended the Belfast march and events organised by UNISON and attended by other Irish Trade Unions. My friend Mags O’Brien of SIPTU travelled up from Dublin representing the Trade Union Friends of Palestine; and together we participated in the day’s events.

The event opened with a speech from the Mayor of Belfast, Sinn Fein’s Niall O Donnghaile

Mayor of Belfast Niall O Donnghaile, Sinn Fein

Followed by speeches and a women’s choir

After the parade and speeches at City Hall, we then made our way to the UNISON headquarters where everyone was treated to lunch, music and a few talks on issues effecting women.

For myself and Mags, the subject of Palestine is never far from our thoughts. Both of us worked for almost 2 years together on the Irish Ship to Gaza Campaign, and we both share a deep love for the Palestinian people. But today was about women, it was International Women’s day, and so our thoughts naturally turned to the women of Gaza, Palestine, who are forced to live in harsh conditions under a brutal siege with the constant threat of bombings and death.

Mags spoke about her ordeal on the Irish Ship to Gaza when it attempted to break the siege in October. She told the story of being boarded, arrested and jailed by the Zionist soldiers who almost sunk our boat during their very dangerous attack of our ship.

Mag's O'Brien SIPTU and TUFP speaking at International Women's day

Back here at home, the women of Ireland had decided to show their solidarity with the women in Gaza, and so on International Women’s Day I was presented with the most beautiful quilt made by Irish woman which I have been asked to present to the “Women’s Affairs Center” in Gaza on behalf of Irish Women. The quilt has a quote from former Irish President Mary Robinson and Lakhdar Brahimi.

“We call for the immediate and complete lifting of the blockade on Gaza. The ongoing siege is a denial of dignity; it is a denial of rights for a people, particularly its women, who yearn to be Free!”

The quilt will be delivered to the Gaza Women’s Affairs Center during the Freedom and Friendship Irish Delegation to Gaza which leaves Ireland on the 28th of March and we look to set up links between women’s groups in Gaza and women in Ireland.

We will also be meeting with a new NGO called Ethar which was set up by women, for women, in Khan Yunis. One of the founders of Ethar is a personal friend of mine and so Ethar is very much a labour of love created by local women in Khan Yunis who have managed to accomplish some amazing things in Ethar’s first year! Then later this summer a group of Irish women will travel to Gaza and visit Ethar to teach the art of crochet to women in Gaza who have no work or income, the Gazan women will then teach the art of traditonal Palestinain embroidery to the Irish women in a cultural exchange. The women who attend Ethar group hope they will then be able to make warm winter items for their own children, and they also want to set up a co-op where they can sell their crochet and hand made items. We will be assiting them with this venture, and we need your help, so donate!! and check back this summer!

Please donate for the delegation below.


Derry Friends of Palestine
Bank of Ireland
account# 45463260
Sort Code 90 49 74
Strand Road, Derry

Former Irish Hungerstriker Sinn Fein MLA Raymond McCartney Sends Message of support for Khader Adnan and calls for his release.

The Derry Friends of Palestine attended a vigil at Derry’s Guildhall Square callling for the release of Palestinian Hungerstriker Khader Adnan a 33 year old baker being held without trial on Administrative Detention (internment). Khader has been on hungerstrike since the date of his internment on December 17th last and is said to be close to death after 64 days without food.

The medical human rights group Physicians for Human Rights said at the weekend that Mr Adnan had lost 30 kilos and that his condition has deteriorated so significantly that he may die at any time. Mr Adnan is one of more than 300 Palestinians being held under ”administrative detention”, which gives the Israeli authorities power to order the detention of individuals without charge or trial for six months at a time. The State can apply for successive extension of the detention period.

Mr Adnan started his hunger strike one day after his arrest to protest against the refusal of the Israeli authorities to reveal any evidence against him. Local media say this is the seventh time Mr. Adnan has been imprisoned without charge. His wife, Randa, six months pregnant with their third child, had denied that her husband was ever involved in violent activities. An appeal to Israel’s Supreme Court against his detention was denied last week.

Derry Friends of Palestine calls for the immediate release of Mr Adnan.

Palestinian Hunger striker Khader Adnan enters 61st day in critical condition

Ireland and EU must intervene to save the life of Palestinian hunger striker
February 16, 2012

As the Palestinian hunger striker Khader Adnan nears death, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has called on the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Eamon Gilmore and his European counterparts to urgently intervene to save his life and demand that the Israeli state meet their responsibilities under international law.
Mr Adnan is being held without charge by the Israeli state under their “administrative detention” system.

Deputy Mac Lochlainn said:

“United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, Richard Falk has expressed his urgent and extreme concern regarding Khader Adnan, and urged the international community to intervene on his behalf so it is not good enough for the Tánaiste to simply express concern.
“I am calling on the Tánaiste and his European counterparts to urgently intervene to save Khader Adnan’s life.

“The practice of ‘administrative detentions’ is clearly unjust and has been used systematically as part of the military occupation of the Palestinian territories by the Israeli state.
“Over the years Israel has administratively detained thousands of Palestinians for prolonged periods of time without prosecution, without informing them of the charges against them, and without allowing their solicitors to study the evidence making a mockery of the protections specified in Israeli and international law to protect the right of liberty and due process, the right of defendants to state their case and the presumption of innocence.

“There are 308 Palestinians are currently being held “administrative detentions”
“Apportioning political labels to detainees is no justification for prolonged imprisonment without trial”. ENDS


techniques used by shin bet on palestinians


A newly released report revealed that Israeli occupation authorities detain more than 40 handicapped Palestinians in jails and detention centers.

The report also showed that hundreds of detainees are suffering from serious mental and psychological ailments, while some others use wheelchairs.

Director of the Department of Statistics at Palestinian Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs, Abdel Nasser Farawana, said the occupation authorities refused to respond to the calls of human rights and health organizations to provide the detainees with medication in order to save their lives.

Since 1967, Israel did not exclude the wounded, sick and people with disabilities from arrest, and kept detaining thousands of handicapped Palestinians in its notorious prisons, Ferwana added.

The report marks the International Day of Prisoners with Disabilities adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1982.

Derry Friends of Palestine member Clr Gerry MacLochlainn and Jennifer McCann MLA part of CEPR delegation to Gaza

Clr Gerry MacLochlainn of Derry Friends of Palestine along with Jennifer McCann MLA were invited by the Council for European-Palestinian Relations (CEPR) to take part in the largest International Delegation to Gaza. The delegation of more than 100 government officials and advocates includes representatives from Ireland and 40 other countries and is the largest group of national officials yet to visit Gaza.

Saying it is long past time for the international community to step in and force Israel to end its siege on Gaza, a global coalition of statesmen and NGO representatives issued and adopted a unanimous resolution demanding immediate action through all diplomatic, cultural and economic means possible.

Before drafting the resolution, the delegation considered reports from experts documenting the following facts:

• Israel continues to maintain complete control over Gaza’s territorial waters, preventing all movement of people and goods by sea and limiting fishing to a distance of three nautical miles from the Strip’s coastline. Fishermen who defy the ban are shot at and /or their boats are confiscated. An estimated total of 4,5000 residents who had previously supported their families by fishing have thus been stripped of their livelihoods and the entire population of 1.5 million have been deprived of a vital source of natural inexpensive nutrition.

• Likewise, Israel prevents access to a 300-1,500m “buffer zone” along its border with Gaza, cutting residents off from one-third of their most arable land.

• All exports from Gaza continue to be virtually prohibited. Although a minimal amount of strawberries, flowers, peppers and tomatoes were allowed to be shipped out between November 2010 and May 2011, the average rate of export during that time was two truckloads per day, compared to Israel’s commitment in 2005 to allow the export of 400 trucks per day. Since May 12 of this year, no trucks have been allowed to leave the Strip. Without exports, it is impossible for Gazans to build anything close to a healthy, self-sufficient economy. Thus, the official unemployment rate now stands at 25.6%.

• Imports of construction materials continue to be severely restricted, when allowed in at all. Each month since January 2011, approximately 17% of the materials that entered monthly in the years prior to June 2007 (when the siege began) has been allowed in. One consequence is a shortage of 250 schools.

• The resolution calls for free excess for both people and goods by land, sea and air, through both Israel and Egypt.


The time for words is past. Governments and human rights organisations worldwide must employ all peaceful powers at their disposal to force an end to the siege. These actions should include economic sanctions, cultural boycotts and diplomatic actions such as ambassador recalls.

Specifically, the International Delegation calls for all governments and NGO’s to use these measures to demand:

• An end to the prohibition on exports.
• An end to all import bans and restrictions related to consumables, healthcare and industry/business.
• The lifting of all control of Gaza’s territorial waters.
• The opening of the “buffer zone” along Gaza’s border with Israel.
• The free flow of people in and out of Gaza, limited only by reasonable security checks and document requirements.
• International acceptance of the Palestinian people’s democratic choices in the next elections, and a commitment to constructively engage with their elected representatives.

Delegation members will work through their own networks to lobby for the implementation of this resolution.


Clr Gerry MacLochlainn reports the following today:

I was happy to arrive again in Gaza and to visit old friends and new friends. However I was saddened to see that still nothing has changed from my last few visits. No rebuilding of homes, no cement allowed in.

Palestinians ethnically cleansed from their land

Palestinians ethnically cleansed from their land

(Above photo) In Zionist settlements north of Gaza – the area in front of these settlements was ethnically cleansed by Israeli Invasion forces in Operation Cast lead – No houses were left standingOnly those who fled survived the slaughter – the intensity of the Zionist aggression was such that a young girl of 3 years was killed running from her home but her body could not be recovered for another 20 days. Such is life in Gaza. Thousands of people are still being forced to live in tents or one room shacks 3 years on from the brutal attack on the civilian population.

The scene of yet another murder

(above photo) This crater which you now see, was once a fisheries police station until a week ago when Israel decided it had not killed enough Palestinians for a while. They bombed it and killed several policemen. There were no survivors – one policeman’s body was thrown some 30 metres away

I then spent the evening in Derry’s sister city of Khan Younis, meeting with my good friend Ahmed Al Najjar from the Gazan Ministry of Education, along with the Mayor of Khan Younis, Mr Muhammed Al Farra.

pictured from left to right: Mr. Ahmed Al Najjar, Ministry of Education, Clr Gerry MacLochalinn, Mr. Muhammed Al Farra Mayor of Khan Younis, Palestine

We spent the evening discussing future projects of mutual interest and ways that the people of Derry, Belfast and Ireland can help to improve the situation in Gaza. More on this when we get home to Ireland.

Today, Jennifer and I met the Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyah. As Jennifer and I are both former Irish political prisoners, we asked the Prime Minister if there was anything that we, as former political prisoners, could do to work with, assist, or help the Palestinian prisoners. Hundreds of them were recently released by Israel under the “Shalit” deal and there will be 500 more released soon. The majority of these prisoners are released into Gaza, even if they were from the West Bank. So they wer free from Zionist prisons, but not free to go home to the West Bank. Jennifer and I were honoured to be told by the Prime Minister that a meeting will be arranged for the two of us to meet with the prisoners and their families later today to explore what further work we can do, Insha Allah.

After meeting the Prime minister, I was one of two people selected to attend and speak at a press conference being held today with the Samouni family.

Clr Gerry MacLochlainn speaking at the Samouni Press Conference in Gaza

The Samouni’s lost 29 members of their family, mostly women and children when their home was deliberately attacked. Israel has denied any wrong doing and after it’s own “investigation” has decided the Samouni’s case and other cases like these will be “dismissed and closed.” yet another murderous war crime being swept under the Zionist rug.

Insha Allah, tonight Jennifer and I look forward to an evening spent with good friends, good Palestinian food, and good discussions.

Jennifer McCann MLA and Clr Gerry MacLochlainn arrive in Gaza

Derry Friends of Palestine member Sinn Fein Councillor Gerry MacLochlainn along with Sinn Fein MLA Jennifer McCann from Belfast, both arrived in Gaza on Monday night to a big Gazan weclome. They are part of the (Council for European Palestinian Relations) CEPR’s largest delegation yet. A fact finding mission consisting of elected members and Parliamentarians from around the world.

Jennifer McCann MLA and Claire Short from the British Labour Party at refugee camp in Gaza

Jennifer McCann MLA reports from yesterday:

Jennifer McCann MLA with women from the Delegation

There’s over 100 people from all over the world on this delegation. Today we visited the Health Facility for wounded children and as you can see from the pictures they have lost limbs in the bombing, one other young girl of 10 years had been shot.

One of many children who have lost limbs when israel attacked their homes

We then went through Beit Lahia just north of Jabalia,the area was totally devastated in the bombing of Dec 2008. This is an area where entire families were wiped out in a single attack, and where the UN school was bombed. We visited the makeshift homes in one of the refugee camps and the conditions over 130,000 people are living in are atrocious, 7 people all living in one or two tiny rooms. They cannot rebuild any of the houses that were bombed as they can’t get access to building materials due to the blockade.

one of the thousands of homeless refugee familys, 7 members forced to live in one room

There were a number of other meetings and presentations with NGO’s and leaders of Civil Society here and we had a reception in the University for applied sciences, the young students have increased in numbers from 300 to 9,000. The Palestinians are very resilient people. There are students who had gained University places in other countries but can’t go due to the blockade.

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