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‘Israeli’ navy boards Gaza-bound ship

The Estelle is now under attack — I have just had a message from them by phone,” Victoria Strand, a Stockholm-based spokeswoman for the Ship to Gaza Sweden campaign told AFP.

Estelle is a ship carrying pro-Palestinian activists seeking to breach Israel’s crippling blockade on Gaza has come under attack shortly after being approached by Israeli vessels, a spokeswoman told AFP on Saturday.

Estelle’s media coordinator Mikael Loffgren told Al-Jazeera the soldiers who embarked the ship were masked.

“The Estelle is now under attack — I have just had a message from them by phone,” Victoria Strand, a Stockholm-based spokeswoman for the Ship to Gaza Sweden campaign told AFP.

“Some time ago, they said that they had military ships following them, but we don’t know exactly what they mean” when they say they were attacked, she said of the vessel.

The Estelle is a part of the Free Gaza Movement, which is dedicated to breaking the Israeli blockade of Gaza, notably through sea channels with the Freedom Flotilla Coalition.

Last week, a declassified document revealed that Israel had put Gaza on steady diet during the most violent stages of its siege between 2005 and 2008. Ostensibly to avoid malnutrition in the strip, Israel’s Health Ministry devised a nutritional “red line”, a minimal calorie intake the Israeli army would guarantee as it cut imports to Gaza by nearly 75 percent.

In 2008, the International Committee of the Red Cross revealed a “progressive deterioration in food security for up to 70 per cent of Gaza’s population,” forcing people to cut household expenditures to “survival levels”. “Chronic malnutrition is on a steadily rising trend and micronutrient deficiencies are of great concern,” said the ICRC report.

 

 

Estelle

 

The siege continues to leave the strip in economic tatters, with unemployment running rampant, and some resorting desperately to self-immolation in recent weeks to protest rapidly declining living conditions.

The Israeli military confirmed that navy vessels were in the vicinity of the MV Estelle but denied the ship had been attacked or boarded.

“The Israeli navy has attempted to make initial contact with them, but they have not answered and nothing further has happened at this stage,” a spokeswoman said.

Asked whether any attempt had been made to stop or board the Estelle, she said: “Not at the moment.”

However, an Israeli military source had previously told The Jerusalem Post that the navy was preparing to intercept the boat, and a foreign ministry spokeswoman told the newspaper Israel would not allow the vessel to reach Gaza. Israel justifies its crippling siege of the Gaza Strip as a means to prevent weapon smuggling.

The boat’s cargo, listed on the flotilla’s website, includes cement, wheel chairs, crutches, toys, musical instruments and 300 footballs.

Responding to Israel’s UN ambassador Ron Prosor’s letter to the UN urging the world body to stop the flotilla, the activists said they welcomed further inspections of their cargo by the UN.

“What we refuse to accept is something which also the UN and the majority of the international community oppose: the illegal and in a humanitarian perspective devastating siege of the Gaza Strip,” they said in a statement.

In addition to its humanitarian cargo, the boat is also carrying a number of activists, including five European lawmakers from Spain, Sweden, Greece and Norway.

“The claim for bread, independence, freedom and democracy is not only by peoples facing military occupation or expansionism. It now concerns all of southern Europe…a red thread links Greece to other countries and people who fight,” said Dimitris Kodelas, one of the Greek politicians on board.

The passengers have undergone non-violent training in case Israel’s military boards the vessel. They have signed a pledge to act peacefully even if their lives are threatened, a statement on the group’s website says.

The first Freedom Flotilla in May 2010 ended in tragedy when nine Turkish nationals were killed by Israeli commandos boarded the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara, the lead ship, as it tried to break through the blockade. Some were shot at point-blank range, according to Turkish investigations.

A Turkish court prosecutor called for nine life sentences for four senior Israeli commanders each over the killings. If found guilty, the court could issue arrest warrants against them.

A second attempt to break the blockade in mid-2011 with a coalition of ships setting sail from Athens failed after Greek authorities intercepted the boats, banning their departure and towing back into port those who tried to leave.

According to Amjad al-Shawwa, director of the Gaza network of NGOs, the activists are demonstrating that “the Palestinian people are not facing this Israeli blockade alone as there are free people in the world who stand by their side and support them as they demand freedom, justice and human rights.”

Muhsin Abu Ramadan, chairman of the board of Gaza NGOs, said the activists were risking their lives by confronting Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza because they opposed tyranny and oppression.

“The Gaza Strip has the right to a safe water passage and to be freed from this blockade. Those activists are the ones who expose the Israeli violations,” Abu Ramadan said.

(AFP, Ma’an, Al-Akhbar,SaebPress)

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Interviews

Iran’s ‘logical path’ to saving JCPOA

Press TV talkes to Dr Saeb Shaath about his take on roadmap that leads the US to return to its commitment and lift the sanctions imposed on Iran.

Tehran has never severed ties with the IAEA

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Tehran is proposing a logical path to the US for its full compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal. Zarif said the United States should first return to the full compliance and then Iran will reciprocate after rapid verification of Washington’s compliance. Zarif also stressed that all sanctions imposed by Former President Donald Trump must be removed. This comes as Iran and the remaining signatories to the nuclear deal end another round of talks aimed at reviving the agreement. More negotiations are set to be held next Wednesday.

Press TV talkes to Dr Saeb Shaath about his take on roadmap that leads the US to return to its commitment and lift the sanctions imposed on Iran.

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Thousands of political prisoners in Bahrain are facing deaths

Most of the prisoners were imprisoned as part ‎of a crackdown on a 2011 uprising… they are ‎detained in prisons that are known to be ‎overcrowded and lacking proper sanitation…its ‎done to break the spirt of the activists through ‎dehumanising and humiliation

Saeb Shaath Said “Thousands of political activists, political ‎dissidents, opposition figures, women and even ‎children in Bahraini prisons are facing deaths ‎
cleric …Sheikh Isa Qassim …has warned of that ‎and demanded their immediate release ,,,,,, he ‎called on the Al khalifa regime to choose between ‎the deaths of the dissident inmates and their ‎release…‎

Most of the prisoners were imprisoned as part ‎of a crackdown on a 2011 uprising… they are ‎detained in prisons that are known to be ‎overcrowded and lacking proper sanitation…its ‎done to break the spirt of the activists through ‎dehumanising and humiliation …‎”

Shaath explained

“That is to force them to stop demanding Al ‎Khalifah regime to allow reforms for ‎establishing of a just and fair system that ‎reflects and represents the people interests .‎
On April 6 2020, 21 International ‎human rights organisations among ‎them were Amnesty international and ‎human rights first
‎ called on the Bahraini regime to release ‎all political prisoners ….as the release of ‎‎1,486 prisoners on 17 March 2020 only ‎included 394 prisoners sentenced on ‎political charges….‎
‎While the western governments applause ‎Bahrain’s so called great amnesty .‎”
‎ Saeb Shaath noted that “Most political opponents, activists, ‎human rights defenders, and journalists ‎remain incarcerated.‎
‎ Among them are influential members of ‎Al Wefaq party such as former ‎secretary-general Hassan Mushaima, ‎and Sheikh Ali Salman, ‎
as well as human rights activists ‎Abdulhadi Al Khawaja and Nabeel ‎Rajab”.‎
‎ Shaath added ” the hypocrisy of the west shines by keeping ‎closed eyes over atrocities committed by the ‎Bahraini regime against the prisoners … All ‎are well aware that Bahrain carries out ‎the execution of political prisoners. ‎
Bahraini authorities habitually diluting ‎human rights abuses by sentencing or ‎executing prisoners during holidays or ‎on days of religious celebrations to ‎prevent any reaction from international ‎institutions or media.‎”

Shaath concluded by saying ” Its well documented that the actions of ‎the Bahraini regime violate ‎international law and Bahrain’s ‎international human rights obligations, ‎
including the UN Convention Against ‎Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or ‎Degrading Treatment or Punishment, ‎
the International Covenant on Civil and ‎Political Rights, the International ‎Covenant on Economic, Social, and ‎Cultural Rights along with the Arab ‎Charter of Human Rights “..‎

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Featured

Who is behind the assassination of Iranian Scientists?

“NYT summarizes the “chilling message” that “American officials” want to send to Iranian top nuclear scientists with today’s assassination: “If we can get him, we can get you, too.” Indistinguishable from Mafia talk.”

Benjamin-Netanyahu-stands-by-a-screen-with-a-purported-image-of-Iranian-scientist-Mohsen-Fakhrizadeh-during-a-news-conference-iApril-30-2018

SaebPress

US officials say Zionist entity “Israel” was behind the assassination: New York Times “One American official — along with two other intelligence officials — said that “Israel” was behind the attack on the scientist,” The New York Times reported on Friday.

Fakhrizadeh’s name was mentioned multiple times in a presentation in 2018 by Zionist entity “Israeli” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during which he repeated baseless claims about the Iranian nuclear program. Netanyahu described the scientist as the director of Iran’s nuclear program and threatened, “Remember that name, Fakhrizadeh.”

The Tel Aviv regime has made several attempts over the past years to throw a wrench in Tehran’s peaceful nuclear work. The regime has been behind the assassination of several Iranian nuclear scientists. It has also conduced cyberattacks on Iranian nuclear sites.

Dmitry Polyanskiy @Dpol_un “That’s a telling analysis from @nytimes reflecting readiness of US establishment to give green light to political extra territorial assasinations. Not a thing to boast for a democratic country! #Iran #Fakhrizadeh”.

“NYT summarizes the “chilling message” that “American officials” want to send to Iranian top nuclear scientists with today’s assassination: “If we can get him, we can get you, too.” Indistinguishable from Mafia talk.” @aaronjmate .

The senior Iranian defense official was assassinated near the capital Tehran in a terrorist attack. In a statement, the Defense ministry said the vehicle of the head of the Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was targeted by terrorists.

The Iranian FM Mohammad Javad Zarif said the act of cowardice shows the desperate warmongering of its perpetrators adding that there are serious indications of an Israeli role in the assassination. Zarif also urged the international community, especially the EU, to end QUOTE “their shameful double standards and condemn the Iranian defense official’s assassination.

Between 2010 and 2012, four other Iranian nuclear scientists were assassinated. Tehran and western intelligence agencies have long put the blame on Zionist entity “Israel”, an accusation that was never rejected by officials of the Israeli regime.

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