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ICRD Analysis: International Community Must Help End the Critical Siege in Gaza

The Gaza Strip, the small enclave that sees Israel to the north and east of it and that forms part o..

The Gaza Strip, the small enclave that sees Israel to the north and east of it and that forms part of the occupied Palestine territories (oPt), has been subject to a blockade since 2006, which is facilitated at the border with Egypt. The Hamas controlled area has also more recently been subject to punitive measures by the Palestinian Authority.

While it affects almost all parts of life there is currently a particular urgency to the impact to the health sector which has received a hit when it comes to medicine, medical supplies, lab equipment and blood supply, which is devastating for patients in both accident and emergency situations as well as those suffering from serious diseases.

If medical equipment breaks or becomes obsolete, there is no way to fix it, power cuts from electricity cuts imposed by the PA prevent hospital machines from operating and generators also need spare parts and fuel also lacking in Gaza.

While many patients used to travel outside Gaza for surgery, this option has also diminished for many because of the closure of the Rafah border for long periods of time and exit permits have been in decline.

Past offensives that have resulted in medical facilities being hit has meant that a number of hospitals were irreparable due to construction materials being inadmissible to the country. This has overloaded other facilities. However, as of February 2018, 19 health centres had reportedly closed down because they could not run their electricity generators including major facilities Beit Hanoun Hospital and Al-Durra.

The withholding of salaries by the PA has also hit workers in the health sector. On the brink of collapse, humanitarian actors have taken some action help fund the health sector in Gaza but it needs greater attention from the international community at large.

Focused alleviation of the healthcare crisis

There needs to be a two-fold commitment by the international community:

  • An estimated $6.5 million is needed in 2018 to provide emergency fuel to prevent collapse. This requires urgent funding from international donors.
  • Political action is required to end the Gaza blockade, which has been ongoing since 2006.

According to theUN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs(OCHA) oPt on 6 February, without support emergency fuel for the most critical services will run out in as little as 10 days. The emergency fuel would enable minimum life-saving health, water and sanitation services.However, for the full functioning of critical services, OCHA estimated the need for $10 million per year and this requires international donor support.

A more sustainable solution however is for the Gaza siege to be completely lifted. This is not only pertinent for the health sector but it is necessary for Gazans to escape poverty by opening the borders and allowing imports and exports to restore its economy and development.

International law

As the occupying state, it is primarily Israel’s responsibility to end the blockade. The siege is a violation of international law. The purpose of the siege has been stated as for reasons of security and to keep out dangerous materials, which could be then used against Israel. However, the measures amount to collective punishment as well as amounting to a breach of fundamental economic and social rights.

Individual states can place pressure on Israel to abide by international law and lift this blockade on Gaza as well as on the PA to refrain from punitive measures.

The siege on Gaza intensified after Hamas gained control of the territory in 2006. Various parts of the international community have had difficulty accepting Hamas as an international political player. However, the party was elected through a democratic process. Therefore, states must accept Hamas as the legitimate government of Gaza and continue relations with it in order to facilitate lasting measures to end the suffering of those who live there.

By

International Centre For Relations & Diplomacy

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Watch: Palestinians in Gaza face mounting mental health crisis

More than a decade of blockade, war and economic collapse have taken a huge toll on the mental healt..

More than a decade of blockade, war and economic collapse have taken a huge toll on the mental health of Palestinians in Gaza.

Israeli attacks on recent protests at the border are adding to the stress.

Nearly 200 protesters have been killed and thousands injured by Israeli live ammunition.

The WHO has estimated that up to 20 percent of Gazas population is likely to have serious mental health problems.

In 2017, the number of psychiatric patients visiting government-linked mental health clinics was up nearly 70 percent on the year before.

Watch Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett reports from Gaza.

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HOW PRO ISRAELI FAKE NEWS BLOG TWISTED MY WORDS IN LEEDS UNIVERSITY INTERVIEW – Sameh Habeeb

The new article of the Mail on Sunday by Nick Craven is just another part of the unethical campaign ..

The new article of the Mail on Sunday by Nick Craven is just another part of the unethical campaign to personally demonize me and discredit the ethos stands for. Apparently; it is an extension of the massive smearing campaign that Ive been exposed to since April 2018 when I announced my candidacy as Labour Party local councilor for Northwood Hills in West London Hillington Council. The article is also an extension of the systematic campaign of fake news and deliberate fabrications which have aimed at tarnishing my name since I first arrived to UK in 2009, after I managed to get out of the hell of Gaza., surviving the deadly Cast Lead Operation, a massive military offence against Gaza, I was then at my early twenties, the moment I started to speak about my life in Gaza, the war, the siege , the pain and the besieged people.

Being a young and a lucky Palestinian who barely escaped death in Gaza, I was asked by some members of the parliament and some supporters of the Palestinian cause to talk to British people about the real suffering of the Palestinians living in Gaza. Since then, the media outlets spared no efforts to attack me. Many blogs and websites (some of them are fake or with no declared ownership) twisted my articles interviews, and debates and started to stigmatize me as antisemitic. Ironically their blackout and lies then became a reliable source for the mainstream newspapers.

So in 2010, I was interviewed by Leeds University Magazine about my journalism in Gaza. Following that interview, pro-Israeli fake websites/blogs such as (Harry Place) twisted my words and led a campaign to damage my name. Consequently, they change my criticism of how media works and disseminated false information that Habeeb says Jews control the media” Since then, this incident was exploited by those who were critical of my pro Palestine activities and their last use resulted in my suspension from the Labour Party.

Today, I find it a must to explain what happened in Leeds and to show with evidence how this fake campaign started back from 2010 until 2018.

The Truth about my Interview with Leeds University Student Magazine

The whole story began in 2010 when my interview with a student at Leeds University was changed and twisted by fake news websites such as (Harry Place) a phony blog. The controversial right-wing blog twisted it my words and changed the fact I spoke about media ownership and control into (Sameh Habeeb says Jews Control the Media), something I have never said. Sadly, such twisted facts were adopted by CST and then reported in the Jewish Chronicle and other media outlets across UK. None of these outlets bothered to dig or professionally scrutinize or investigate objectively what I had said.

The interview was about my journalistic activities in Gaza while covering the Gaza war in 2009 and during the Israeli blockade. I hereby reveal for the first time the email content I received from the writer who asked the following questions:

1) What first inspired you to become a photo journalist?

2) Is there any kind of student journalism in Gaza? And if not, why not?

3) How did you first establish your links with international news organisations?

4) Were there any moments during the invasion of Gaza when you saw your role as a photo journalist as futile; when you felt like giving up?

5) During the talk you gave at Leeds University you mentioned problems you experienced with selling your work to mainstream news organisations such as the BBC and CNN – could you elaborate on this?

6) Do you believe these mainstream news organisations to have a hidden agenda?

7) How important do you see the role of journalism in helping to end the suffering of oppressed peoples, such as the Palestinians?

8) In what ways can British student journalists, such as those at the Leeds Student, help the people of Gaza, and aid the Palestinian liberation cause in general?

9) What drove you to establish the Palestine Telegraph and what has been the feedback to it thus far?

10) How important do you think it is to have international correspondents stationed in Gaza? After what happened to Alan Johnston do you think it is safe for foreign journalists to stay there?

As you (as a reader) may note, the questions were focusing about my experience as a journalist in the Gaza Strip. The focus was never about who controls the Media. It was mostly on journalism and operating as journalists in war zones like Gaza. So, in the 6th question I was asked, “6) Do you believe these mainstream news organisations to have a hidden agenda?”

My answer which I recall very well stated, “Media outlets do always have agendas that are planned or laid out by editorial boards and owners. Owners often do affect the agendas of media outlets and they always interfere and cause bias. You may look at the 5 filters of Chomsky where he speaks about Media Ownership as a reason of bias in Journalism. Therefore, some owners of news outlets will always have bias for their causes. You may have Palestinians who control some media outlets thus they will be biased to their cause. And the same on the other side; They are certainly pro-Israeli. I think you have to ask yourself who controls the media.”

As shown in my answer I was talking about pure scientific issue which is the ownership of the Media. I was also very specific of talking about Gaza war and the coverage of media outlets where I elaborate about their bias and agendas. My answers are very clear. I never mentioned or said, “Jews control the Media” but this is sadly what pro-Israeli groups and news websites circulate. My answer was not shown in full this could be for editorial reasons by the writer.

Following my interview, a fake news blog called (Harry Place) whose owners are anonymous and often run libel and defamation campaign against activists, twisted my words and waged a campaign against me. The blog published a post by fake writer called (fake writer) Gene May 1st 2010, 6:00 pm titled “Who does control the media, Sameh?” Then the same fake news blog publishes a post by on (fake writer) habibi, May 3rd 2010, 11:30 am

The writer added, “habibi Never mind. What I do hope many people will agree on is this: Mr Habeeb is in the business of spreading poisonous racist hatred and anti-fascists should call him on it, on any platform or none…Once again a chance to have a discussion about extremism has been lost to bitter disputes about free speech. How lucky for Mr Habeeb. Thats one reason I disagree with the decision to spike the article.”

Throughout the articles the fake writer and their fake news blog implied that Sameh Habeeb says Jews control the media. Yet, this never happened.

Later on (on the same day) the Jewish Chronicle joined in and accepted the lie without any scrutiny or exanimation where they published the article titles, “Leeds Universitys newspaper has been pulled from shelves by the Students Union after it published an antisemitic comment by Palestinian Telegraph owner Sameh Habeeb.”

Three days later, on the 6th of May Jewish Chronicle continue to mislead the readers by writing, “A university newspaper was temporarily pulled…interview with a Palestinian journalist whose comments were interpreted as suggesting Jews control the media.”

The paper which interviewed me at the same time quoted what I said which clearly shows my intention. “Speaking to the JC, Mr Habeeb said: “Im well aware of the definition of antisemitism. I did not say Jews control the media. I would not say that. Theres a difference between a Jew and an Israeli. What I meant to say was some of the key figures, editors or big reporters are really manipulating things and adopting the Israeli narrative. It was not against the Jews. Jews have nothing to do with this.”

Indeed what I said at that time at the Jewish Chronicle shows how innocent Im. It also confirms the context of my answer which explained early in this article.

Later on, in June 2010, Community Security Trust (CST) has published an article implying that Im antiemetic with a title that reads “Palestine Telegraph and “Jewish power”

This was the basic chronological order of a lie that was made “a fact”. The order of publications as shown above shows that Media outlets and even reputable organisations such as CST were deliberately biased as they adopted a lie published in a fake blog called Harry Place. The lie was then circulated across the web and was used as a tool to damage my name and what I stand for.

The story doesnt end in that year but extends to 2018 when I was selected to stand as a Labour Council candidate in west London.

Right Wing Media recycling 8-year old lies/Propaganda

So, in 2018, when I was selected as a labour candidate in the local elections; right wing media and “journalists with certain agendas” recycled the above-mentioned lies and present them in a different way leading at the end to my suspension at the Labour Party.

So on April 1st 2018, Edward Malnick, Whitehall editor published an article with the title “Anti-Semitic activist selected as Labour candidate as leading donor quits party” The biased right wing journalist Malnick made judgments that Im antisemitic as suggested in his title, then supported his argument by quoting the CST article which as shown above was written on the basis of a fabrication by fake blog Harry Place. He says:

“The CST also posted an article in 2010 about an interview Mr Habeeb gave to a Leeds student newspaper in which, asked whether mainstream news organisations had a hidden agenda”

He also confirms that lie (that Sameh Habeeb said in Leeds that Jews control the Media) into fact by saying, “They included concerns about a series of anti-Semitic articles published on The Palestine Telegraph website while he was editor, and accusations he “hint[ed] at the well-known canard about Jewish or Zionist media control” when he stated in a 2010 interview about Israel: “I think you have to ask yourself who controls the media.” The Palestine Telegraph is no longer online.”

Carly Read of the Express ignorantly replicated the lies of Harry Place (then the lies of Jewish Chronicle, CST, The Telegraph and others) where he wrote, “Jeremy Corbyns leadership questioned AGAIN after anti-Semitic picked as Labour hopeful

Read added, “JEREMY Corbyn has sparked fresh questions over his pledge to extinguish Labours anti-semitism after an activist accused of repeatedly publishing hate-filled conspiracy theories on Jews has been picked as one of the partys candidates in next months council elections… Mr Habeeb was formally selected as a candidate, despite pleas from the Jewish community over hate-filled articles when he was editor and accusations he “hinted at the well-known canard about Jewish or Zionist media control” in a 2010 interview.”

Following these articles, I was unfairly suspended by Labour Party.

There are many questions remained unanswered here. Why would the mainstream publish such lies? Why the mainstream media did not bother to dig deep to know the truth of my story in Leeds? Why the media did not look at the original sources of the allegations against me? Why the media did not broadcast my many statements in 2010 where I made myself clear about what I said? Why the media did not report my fight against antisemitism and how I censored all those who tried to exploit the open platform policy of the Palestine Telegraph at the time?

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Gaza: Israeli Army Killed 52 Palestinians and Injured more than 2410

Palestine Chronicle – The Ministry of Heath in Gaza said 52 Palestinians were killed on Monday in Ga..

Palestine Chronicle – The Ministry of Heath in Gaza said 52 Palestinians were killed on Monday in Gaza and more than 2410 others wounded as the Israeli army fired live ammunition, tear gas and firebombs at protesters assembled along several points near the fence with Israel.

Gaza-based photojournalist Abdallah Aljamal contributed these photos to the Palestine Chronicle from todays, Monday, May 14, protests.

For Further Details and Photos Click here.

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