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Welcome to Palestine Today a service of the International Middle East Media Centre www.imemc.org, for Tuesday June 28, 2011
As the ‘Freedom Flotilla II: Stay Human’ prepares to sail to Gaza with ten ships and 500 supporters from 20 countries on Tuesday, supporters from around the world have launched various actions in solidarity. At one such action, in Germany, several dozen activists sailed down Berlin’s canals with banner-covered boats, waving Palestinian flags in support of the Freedom Flotilla.
On Tuesday at dawn, Israeli soldiers abducted a Palestinian legislator, human rights activist and a Journalist. 11 Palestinians were kidnapped across the occupied West Bank.
Israeli military sources claimed that international activists participating in the Freedom Flotilla 2, heading to Gaza to deliver the much needed medical and humanitarian supplies, are preparing for violent clashes with the Israeli navy, and “are even planning to shed the blood of Israeli soldiers”, according to the army.
Organisers of the Freedom Flotilla 2 have refuted these claims. The say that the passengers of the flotilla, due to leave this week, have signed declarations of non violence in advance of the journey, according to Haaretz newspaper.
Participants of the flotilla have come under huge pressure from local governments and Israeli threat in recent days and weeks. Threats issued to participants include a warning against travel to Gaza by sea issued by the US State Department as well as a threat by Israeli officials, recently withdrawn, that Israel would hand down 10 year bans on journalists found participating in the flotilla.
Ships set to participate in the flotilla have been targeted in Greece by local port authorities for investigation following complaints as to their sea worthiness made by a pro Israeli US religious organisation. The Greek/Norwegian/Sweden ship has also had its propeller cut on Monday night in what they claim was an act of deliberate sabotage.
The Knesset’s Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee has approved an extended edition of a boycott bill which will prohibit the boycott of any person or product connected to Israel. The most recent version of the bill has several additions that will be extremely detrimental to any NGO’s and public businesses operating in Israel or the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The sanctions include fines, the loss of tax exemptions, and the loss of benefits usually afforded by law to such organizations.
Monday June 27, Benjamin Netanyahu reversed the announcement made by the GPO that would have barred foreign journalists on board the Freedom Flotilla 2 entry into Israel for up to ten years. According to Haaretz, Netanyahu’s bureau issued a press statement “that the regular policy against infiltrators and those who enter Israel illegally not be implemented.”
Senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Zahar has confirmed that talks aimed at establishing a unity government between Fatah and Hamas have stalled due to the appointment of a interim Prime Minister in comments to Jordanian paper ad-Dustour. The agreement to form a unity government was signed over two months ago by rival factions Fatah and Hamas. The unity agreement was seen as an essential aspect of going to the UN in September to apply for Palestinian statehood.
Thats all for today from the IMEMC. This was the Tuesday 28 of June daily roundup of news from the Occupied Palestinian Territories. We hope you will join us again tomorrow. This was brought to you by Husam Qassis and me David Steele