Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Israeli forces struck deep inside the Gaza Strip late Monday night in the first ground operation there since this past summer's disengagement. According to Israeli sources four Islamic Jihad operatives were killed on their way to fire Kassam rockets at Israeli targets. In West Bank violence, three Palestinians were killed in clashes with Israeli troops.

The Palestinian News Agency WAFA described the same events in this way:
"Security forces said Israeli special units opened fire at citizens in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanon while an Israeli helicopter a missile at other civilian targets, instantly killing four citizens.

Security sources revealed that 16 citizens, including ambulances crew and journalists, were injured, some in critical situation.

In the West Bank security sources said that a citizen was killed and three others were injured in the Qabatya town south of Jenin."

Meanwhile, a demonstration by Palestinians wanting to be paid took place in front of Palestinian government buildings, while another group of Palestinian demonstrators protested what they described as the blockade of Gaza at a Gaza-Israel border crossing.

And an Israeli group planned protests against their governments sanctions and boycott of "the elected Palestinian Authority."

The first article below is from Middle East On Line. The second is from the Palestine News Network. The third is a press release from Gush Shalom.

Palestinian workers protest over wage absence

RAMALLAH, West Bank - A group of around 1,000 civil servants staged a protest Tuesday in the centre of the Palestinian Authority's political capital over the non-payment of salaries for the past three months.

The head of the civil servants' union, Bassam Zakarneh, said that anger among the government employees was growing and risked boiling over into violence unless their plight was soon eased.

Around 160,000 have not received pay cheques since February as a result of a sanctions imposed on the administration led by Hamas, the radical Islamist group which refuses to renounce violence or recognise Israel's right to exist.

As the protest took place, prime minister Ismail Haniya vowed at a Gaza cabinet meeting that some 40,000 of the workers would receive their pay in the next few days.

The remaining three-quarters would have to make do with loans.

"I fear that we are going to lose control over the protesters and we will end up with a general strike and closure of the government offices," Zakarneh said.

The demonstrators massed outside government ministries, carrying the flags of the various Palestinian factions and chanting slogans against the "siege" imposed by Israel and the West.

The European Union and United States have frozen aid payments to the government since Hamas came to power in March while Israel is also refusing to hand over customs duties that it used to collect for the Palestinian Authority.

Some of the protestors could be seen banging the lids of empty cooking pots to symbolise the struggle to put food on the table for their families in the absence of wages.

"I don't even have five shekels (around a dollar) to give my son when he goes to school," said father-of-five Fathi Hurani.

Palestinian workers hold nonviolent demonstration against Israeli closure of Gaza Strip

Hundreds of Palestinian workers conducted a sit-in this weekend at Erez Checkpoint, the crossing point from the northern Gaza Strip Beit Hanoun area into Israeli territory. It is the only route to reach their jobs as part of Israel's low-wage labor force. The crossing is closed more often than not, and when it is open, the humiliations are rampant.

During the nonviolent demonstration, the Palestinians demanded the possibility of a decent life, which they equated simply to being able to feed their children.

The workers pushed for appropriate solutions to alleviate their suffering, calling upon the United Nations to use its legal and moral standing to uphold international law on behalf of the Palestinian people.

The workers picketed at the crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israeli territory Monday morning. A sign read, "We want a decent life for our children and an end to the blockade against our people."

The Palestinians are unable to find work in the Gaza Strip after Israeli forces destroyed much of the agricultural lands and factories therefore rely on work inside Israeli borders as part of Israel's low-wage labor force. It seems a simple enough request, however part of the Israeli policy is clearly to starve the occupied population into submission.

The Coordinator of the Independent Labor Committee told PNN Monday, "Our message to the world and Israel is that the financial blockade is truly having catastrophic effects on the Palestinian working class."

He added, "“The workers, including their children, are now at risk for severe malnutrition and many are on the verge of starvation and even death."

Among the demonstrators was a worker who told PNN, "We have a family of 12. Four of them are children studying in universities and high schools. This takes a great deal of money in and of itself and now there is none for food. We have the right to provide a decent life for our children and families by meeting the most basic needs."

The worker, who asked to remain anonymous, continued, "The importance of supporting the demands of workers and responsibilities towards labor places the case at all levels. I am calling on all human rights and humanitarian organizations, international and local, to stand by the workers and to put pressure on Israel to open the Beit Hanoun Crossing in order to allow the worker access to their places of work inside the Green Line."

Tel-Aviv protest against sanctions: Why not address YOUR government simultaneously?
International release

Please join us with simultaneous protests against boycott of elected Palestinian Authority

Saturday evening June 3 at 7.00pm, a coalition of Israeli peace groups and movements will hold a protest march and rally at Tel-Aviv.

We will protest against the boycott of the Palestinian elected authority, against the siege and starvation of the Palestinian people, for negotiations without preconditions - to sum it up: against the occupation.

Former Minister Shulamit Aloni will be among the speakers, and simultaneously a demonstration will be held in Ramallah, where Palestinian political movements will express solidarity with the Tel-Aviv demonstration.

This action precedes our demo at the entrance to Nablus that will be held June 10, where we will come with a food and medicines convoy for the Palestinians, in which people worldwide participate with donations.

But, you could do more:

Does your government also boycott the elected Palestinian Authority?

Then, why not somewhere in the week between June 3-10, simultaneously organize a protest calling upon your government to respect the result of the Palestinian elections, and not put sanctions on the new Palestinian Authority before it even got the chance to do something wrong.

Please, inform us of what you can put together at such short notice and we will include it in further reporting.

Israeli organizing groups:

coalition of women for peace, gush shalom,

ta'ayush, hadash, balad, icahd, aic,

coalition of students, artists without walls,

bat shalom , banki, yesh gvul

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