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As you watch your favorite teams playing in the Euro2012 games, can you please give thought to 25 year old Mahmoud Sarsak, a skillful footballer who once played for the Palestinian National team. He urgently needs your support as he now faces death at the hands of the oppressive Israeli regime.

Mahmoud Sarsak has been held on Administrative Detention (internment) for 3 years, wihtout charge and without trail. He has been convicted of NO crime! He was on his way to play a game in the West Bank of Palestine 3 years ago he was arrested at a checkpoint and has been illegally held ever since that day. He is now reaching his 92nd day of hunger strike- the longest hunger strike undergone by a Palestinian Political prisoner. Due to the prolonged suffering to his body and immune system his health is deteriorating rapidly and his condition is now more critical than ever.
UFree Palestinian Prisoners Association and Irish Friends of Palestine urge you to support his Mahmoud Sarsak’s case immediately!

Israel should be subjected to the same criticism faced by Poland and Ukraine, who are hosting Euro 2012. It is time to end Israel’s impunity and to insist on the same standards of equality, justice and respect for international law that we demand of other states.

UFree Palestinian Prisoners Organisation urge you to take the following actions so Sarsak’s life can be saved:

1. Highlight Sarsaks case by contacting parliamentarians and Israeli embassies across the world and subject Israel to the same criticism faced by Poland and Ukraine, who are hosting Euro 2012.
2. To urge FIFA to intervene in the case, expressing grave concern regarding Sarsak’s deteriorating health. http://www.fifa.com/contact/form.html
I urge your support as we call an end to Israel’s impunity and to insist on the same standards of equality, justice and respect for international law that we demand of other states.

You can copy and send the letter below to your local MP’s and MEP’s, you can contact the Israeli embassy in your country and demand Sarsak be charged or set free!
Letter:

Re: Palestinian prisoner Mahmoud Sarsak deteriorating health

As the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship grips the nation I draw your attention to the plight of Palestinian footballer Mahmoud Sarsak. Once a star player in the Palestinian national team, Sarsak was jailed by Israel in 2009, as he left the Gaza Strip en route to a match. He has since been held without charge or trial. Sarsak had been on a hunger strike since 19 March 2012, after his administrative detention was once again renewed for an astonishing sixth time.

His health condition is now critical and deteriorating fast. Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-Israel) have said that Sarsak could die at any time. Israel has not allowed the charity to visit him in Ramle Prison until last week. Sarsak has experienced extreme loss of muscle tissue and drastic weight loss. He frequently loses consciousness and suffers memory lapses.

On Sunday 6th of June, Israeli Prisons Service (IPS) transferred Sarsak to Assaf Harofeh hospital because of his rapid deteriorating health. This transfer was due to the inability of both Al Ramla prison hospital and Mair civil hospital to treat Sarsak’s critical health condition.

Sarsak has been interned without trial or charge for 3 years under the infamous “Unlawful Combatants Law”, which allows Israeli authorities to detain Palestinians from Gaza for an unlimited time without trial or charge.

I ask you to please call on Israel to either charge him or release him now!

Yours sincerely,

Gazans Living in the Darkness CLICK to see



Message from Sinead MacLochlainn , Chair of Derry Friends of Palestine:

The first (of many more) Freedom & Friendship Irish Delegation to Gaza was a big success, we covered so much. As an organiser of the delegation, I think we delivered for our members an experience they wont soon forget. As we all begin to attempt to settle back into “normal” life, bits and pieces of the long trip begin to find their places in my memory. We will, of course, eventually post reports on all the meetings we had with various Universities, NGO’s, Schools, and the main political parties. But I first want to tell our supporters about the frustration and anger of the experience.

Israel only allows 6 hours of electricity within each 24 hours. And as even more cruel punishment, this 6 hours can occur at any time within that 24 hour period, day or night, morning or middle of the night, always at israel’s discretion. This is done to demoralise the Palestinians even more, so that they cannot plan for anything in their lives with any assurance that they will have electricity available. It’s all about keeping them suffering, always keeping Israel in control of most aspects of Palestinians lives, making sure the people of Gaza are unable to control even the simplest of activities in their lives, like when they can flip a switch and a light comes on, or when they use a washing machine, or when they can charge their computers or phones, or when their children can study or play. For those who can afford it, tiny Generators and candles are what they mostly rely on.

University Student studies using Tiny LED light

So night after night as we returned to our hotel, we climbed the 5 flights of stairs, usually in darkness, up to the top floor Cafe which seemed to have generator power most nights. We came in search of an internet signal, or a cup of tea, or just to unwind and digest the realities of what we had witnessed that day. So we often sat on the top floor café which is an open space with a balcony which faces the ocean and the Gaza seashore which was in front of us. As you stand on the balcony and look across the darkness, the most amazing fact will hit you, as you stand there in Gaza and look across the water, you can, within a matter of minutes see the entire desperate sad story of Palestine encapsulated into one glance across the ocean.

Once, long ago, Jews, Christians and Muslims lived side by side in the land across the water, before Zionism took control of the Jewish religion and the region. For as I stood in the darkness on the balcony in Gaza and I cast my gaze across the water, I can see lights, millions and millions of lights twinkling in abundance. So what was once part of Palestine, it is lit up like a giant Christmas tree or Disney Land in the distance, welcoming the world to the now Jewish State as the people of Gaza suffer with candles in the darkness. This is the story of the “haves” and the “have nots” the occupiers and the occupied, the land stealers on one side, and on the other side in the darkness, those with the keys still in their hands.

And, what will strike you the most about Palestinians, is the smiles on their faces, and that they have nothing and yet want to give what they have to you to thank you for just visiting them, for just validating their story, and their existence. Because that is what this is really all about, Even the smallest child knows what the real battle is about, it’s the land, it’s always about the land, their land, their existence. They are fighting so as not to become a people without a land, they are fighting for their very existence in this world.

We must all redouble our efforts to help them in this noble fight for their existence!

Existance is Resistance

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

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.

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams with (l to r) Adnan Shabab, Marie Crawley, Dr Nabil Shaath, Padraig MacLochlainn TD, David Morrison, Philip O'Connor and Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD.

For immediate release 13th July 2011:

Adams meets senior Palestinian delegation

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD today led a Sinn Féin delegation,including party Foreign Affairs spokesperson Padraig MacLochlainn TD and Aengus O Snodaigh TD, in a meeting with a senior Palestinian delegation, led by Dr. Nabil Shaath, who is a leading member of Fatah, and a former Chief Negotiator and Foreign Minister and for the Palestinian Authority. Dr. Shaath is currently involved in a round of meetings across EU states in which he is advocating support for a UN resolution in support of Palestinian statehood.

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD speaking after the meeting said:

“I reiterated Sinn Féin’s support for the Palestinian cause. The Palestinian people have the right to independence and self-determination and to a viable Palestinian state.Sinn Féin supports the Palestinian people in their efforts to achieve statehood, based on the 1967 borders.”

The Sinn Féin leader also said:

“At this critical juncture in the difficult process of achieving a political settlement in that region there is an opportunity for the Irish government to take the lead in encouraging other European governments to support the Palestinian people. “The Irish government should indicate now its full support for Palestinian UN Membership in the autumn.”

Mr. Adams added:

“I have visited the Middle East. I do not underestimate the difficulties in seeking to resolve the multiplicity of issues that need to be resolved, including a viable Palestinian state; Israeli occupation of Palestinian land; the siege of Gaza; the settlements; water rights; refugees; prisoners; the Separation wall and Jerusalem. “However, with international support progress can be made.”

TO LEARN MORE VISIT SADAKA HERE TO HELP THE PALESTINIANS CLAIM UN RECOGNITION

Gaza rejects Greek government charity

The following letter was delivered to the Greek Government on July 12, 2011 making it clear that the people of Gaza seek freedom and respect for their human rights, including their right to lead a dignified life, not charity. Seemingly deaf to their call, yesterday a spokesman for the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Delavekouras, repeated the Greek Government’s “generous offer” to deliver limited humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza – instead of helping them gain the freedom that is rightfully theirs.

We, members of Palestinian civil society in Gaza, have been watching the actions your government has taken to block Freedom Flotilla 2 from setting sail towards the biggest open air prison – the Gaza Strip – to challenge Israel’s criminal blockade. Israel’s closure of Gaza has deprived us of things that most people take for granted, first and foremost, our freedom of movement. We are not allowed to pursue adequate health care or educational opportunities because we cannot travel freely. We are cut off from our families in other parts of the occupied territory and abroad; and we are not allowed to invite people to visit us in Gaza. Now, you have imported this restriction on the people whose main mission is to stand in solidarity with us.

The people of Gaza are only in need of humanitarian aid because we are prevented from building our economy. We are not allowed to import raw materials or to export; our fishermen and farmers get shot at when attempting to fish or to harvest their crops. As a result of deliberate Israeli policy, 80% of our people have become food aid dependent, our infrastructure is in shambles, and our children cannot imagine a day when they will know freedom.

Your offer to deliver the cargo of the Freedom Flotilla entrenches the notion that humanitarian aid will solve our problems and is a weak attempt to disguise your complicity in Israel’s blockade.

We are so sorry not to accept your charity. The organizers and participants of the Freedom Flotilla recognize that our plight is not about humanitarian aid; it is about our human rights. They carry with them something more important than aid; they carry hope, love, solidarity and respect. Your offer to collude with our oppressors to deliver aid to us is strongly REJECTED.

While it is clear that you have been under enormous political pressure to comply with the will of the Israeli regime, to collaborate with Israel in violating international law and legitimizing the siege, we refuse to accept your breadcrumbs. We crave freedom, dignity and the ability to make choices in our daily lives. We urge you to immediately reconsider and to let the Freedom Flotilla sail.

Finally we recognize the historical relations between our people and your country’s support for our legitimate rights. With this history in mind and your previous acknowledgment of the freedoms denied to us, we are calling on you to allow the freedom flotilla boats to leave for Gaza, thus challenging Israel’s illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip and illegal occupation of Palestinian land.

Sincerely,

Palestinian Network of NGOs (PNGO) –

Representing over 60 non-governmental organizations in Gaza, www.pngoportal.org

Palestinian International Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza

General Society for Rehabilitation

Deir Al-Balah Cultural Centre for Women and Children

Maghazi Cultural Centre for Children

Al-Sahel Centre for Women and Youth

Rachel Corrie Centre, Rafah

Rafah Olympia City Sisters

Al Awda Centre, Rafah

Al Awda Hospital, Jabaliya Camp

Ajyal Association, Gaza

Al Karmel Centre, Nuseirat

Local Initiative, Beit Hanoun

Beit Lahiya Cultural Centre

Al Awda Centre, Rafah

Middle East Children’s Alliance – Gaza office

Alshomoa Club for Women

General Union for Public Services Workers

General Union for Health Services Workers

General Union for Petrochemical and Gas Workers

General Union for Agricultural Workers

General Union of Palestinian Syndicates

General Union of Palestinian Women

Palestinian Congregation for Lawyers

Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU)

Union of Health Work Committees

Union of Synergies-Women Unit

Union of Women’s Work Committees

Palestinian Association for Fishing and Maritime

Palestine Sailing Federation

Fishing and Marine Sports Association

Palestinian Women Committees

Progressive Students’ Union

source FREE GAZA

Dr Nabil Shaath shakes hands with Dr Ismail Haniyeh after Palestinian Unity Deal

Derry Friends of Palestine fully supports the work of Sadaka, we call on our members and supporters to get behind this campaign calling on Ireland to support the Palestinians in their bid for statehood:

UN vote to recognise Palestine

Support the Sadaka Campaign for a ‘Yes’ vote from Ireland

In September 2011, the Palestinian Authority will seek UN membership for a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders (Gaza, West Bank and East Jerusalem). Sadaka believes that the Irish government should not only vote for UN membership but should also encourage other EU states to do the same. Over the next couple of months, Sadaka’s priority is to secure a positive Irish vote in the UN.

SADAKA The Ireland Palestine Alliance

European Push for Palestinian Recognition

Gilmore tells Palestinians that they have no greater friend

The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Eamon Gilmore TD, today said that Palestine and support for the rights of the Palestinian People continue to be a priority for Ireland. He said that Palestine had no greater friend in Europe.

He told former Palestinian foreign minister Dr. Nabeel Shaath that Ireland would be an advocate for Palestine when the issue of recognition is discussed at the European General Affairs Council next Monday. Palestine had “been waiting in the wings for a long time,” he said.

Dr Shaath is in Dublin as a guest of Sadaka, Ireland Palestine Alliance, to rally Irish support for the Palestinian push for membership at the UN General Assembly in September. He said that Palestinians rely on Ireland as one of its strongest European supporters. He said that he was now hopeful that Ireland would vote yes to UN membership in the Autumn.

“We rely on Ireland and hope that it won’t let us down at this crucial time,” Dr Shaath said. “Irish support is a very important part of our psyche. We have received support for the achievement of statehood from Ireland for a very long time and we are pleased to hear that it will continue to play a leading role in supporting our quest for the creation of our independent Palestinian State. Ireland will also support the subsequent negotiations with Israel to end its occupation and create a permanent peace in the Middle East”.

The Palestinians are currently seeking a vote to allow them UN membership, which would constitute international recognition of statehood, based on 1967 borders. To date, 117 countries have committed to supporting the Palestinians at the UN. Ireland first recognised the Palestinian right to statehood in 1980.

Dr. Shaath is a member of the Central Committee of Fatah and Commissioner of International Relations. He has been a senior member of Palestinian negotiating teams for over 40 years and has attended Wye River, Camp David, Taba, Annapolis among major negotiating arenas.

For more information contact:
Edel Hackett, Tel: 087-2935207

Read SADAKA’S PDF report “Ireland’s position on the recognition of a Palestinian state”
HERE

The Technical Engineering and Electrical Union (TEEU) has welcomed home Pat Fitzgerald, one of its members who sailed on the Saoirse as part of the Gaza flotilla. Pat, who is also a Sinn Féin councillor for the Tramore area of County Waterford, said he was disappointed that sabotage had aborted the trip.

A motor mechanic and marine engineer, who spent 20 years at sea on deep sea tramp steamers, container ships, fishing vessels and North Sea oil rigs, he said he had “no doubt at all that the vessel’s propeller shaft was sabotaged”.

Pat took part in the Gaza flotilla because of his involvement in other campaigns for justice. “I suppose it was during my life at sea that my social conscience was awakened. When you travel between poor countries and affluent countries you see the glaring social divide”.

TEEU General Secretary Eamon Devoy said; “The union unreservedly condemns this attack on Pat and other Irish citizens participating in a peaceful protest at the treatment of the people of Gaza. It is clear from talking to Pat that the ship would not alone have been disabled but sunk if it had put to sea without the damage being spotted.

“The Irish Government must make it clear to the Israeli government that these illegal acts of war must stop, he added.

Source SIPTU

© rikwalton - all rights reserved

Published on Tuesday 5 July 2011 13:40

Sinn Fein Councillor Gerry MacLochlainn has called upon to Irish government to intervene and protect Irish citizens after an act of sabotage on board one of the ‘Freedom Flotilla’ ships put lives in grave danger.

Colr MacLochlainn and fellow traveller Charlie McMenamin have just returned from the Mediterranean where they were among twenty Irish people on board one of the ‘Freedom Flotilla ships docked in the Mediterranean sea attempting to break the Israeli blockade and get aid to Gaza.

However, their boat, the MV Saoirse, was, they believe, badly sabotaged by Israeli agents, forcing them to abandon their efforts.

Colr MacLochlainn has just returned from his second attempt to get to Gaza, having managed to board another ship in the flotilla in an attempt to get to Gaza. He then transferred to Greece where he was to board another boat to Gaza. It was not to be.

“The Greek authorities seized and raided a US boat at sea and arrested its captain, who is now in jail. Despite protests, they also impounded all other boats and subsequently announced that they were not going to allow any boats to leave Greece for Gaza. If it wasn’t for the Greek government banning boats, I would be in Gaza today.”

Colr MacLochlainn has vowed to continue his efforts to enter Gaza and colleagues are currently waiting for the Irish boat to be repaired.

“We’re very lucky they didn’t sink it,” he added. “There is no question that this was sabotage. The Israelis cut a V-shaped cut into the boat’s propeller shaft which means that shaft would have snapped at sea and went up through the ship’s hull, probably killing everyone on board. We were then contacted by a Greek boat and they had a photo of the damage done to their own boat – it showed the exact same V-shaped fault.”

Colr MacLochlainn is in no doubt that the trip could have ended in tragedy and the incident has been reported to the Turkish authorities.

“We could have sank at sea and no-one would ever have known what caused it. This was the attempted murder of twenty Irish citizens – it’s a disgrace. We need the Irish government to step up now and get the Israeli government to show respect to fellow countries and their citizens. The have no respect for any country in the world and are prepared to murder Irish citizens if we oppose their genocide in Gaza. Our government must protect us.”

source

July 6th 2011


Israel must answer questions on MV Saoirse

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams TD this morning raised the damage done to the MV Saoirse in its efforts bring much needed humanitarian aid to the besieged citizens of Gaza.

Mr. Adams asked the Taoiseach if the government had spoken with the Irish crew who were aboard the MV Saoirse to seek their account of what occurred last week and their belief that their ship was sabotaged and that the lives of Irish citizens were placed in danger.

He also asked the Taoiseach if the government has spoken to either the Israeli or Turkish authorities on this matter.

Regrettably, the Taoiseach could not answer these questions but said he was raise these matters with the Minister for Foreign Affairs and come back to the Sinn Féin President.


Speaking after Taoiseach’s Questions Mr. Adams said:

“Serious questions must be asked of the Israeli government about the events surrounding the MV Saoirse and a thorough investigation of the damage done to the Irish boat is required.

The blockade of the Gaza strip is illegal. The boarding of the flotilla by Israeli forces last May and the killing of 9 aid workers was illegal. The separation wall is obscene and illegal and the construction of settlements on stolen Palestinian land is illegal.

I strongly support the right of the humanitarian aid workers and others to deliver very necessary humanitarian aid to the people of that region which they are being illegally denied by the Israeli authorities.

Providing humanitarian aid for the million and a half people who live under siege in Gaza and making a stand against the aggression and illegal actions of the Israeli state is hugely important.

The situation in that region and the illegal blockade of Gaza will not go away. It must be faced up to and the siege ended if there is to be any hope for peace.

The Irish government can play a key role in this by giving leadership within Europe and supporting the right of the Palestinian peoples to their own state.”

Note to editor: Gaza Statistics:

· 1.5 million people live in a piece of land 40 km long by 10 km wide.

· 80% of Gazans are now dependent on some form of aid.

· 100,000 estimated to have lost their jobs in the private sector since 2004/5.

· 56% of the population of Gaza is under 18. Schools in Gaza have often classes of over 50 children.

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