UN Report Describes Humanitarian Crisis in the Gaza Strip

United Nations, Apr 7 (Prensa Latina) A UN report reflects today the daily hardships faced by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, a territory under a decade of the Israeli blockade and devastating bombings in recent years.

According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 70 percent of the 1 880 000 people living in the 365 square kilometer strip are registered as refugees and 47 percent are considered to be food insecure.

Power outages reach 12 to 16 hours daily and unemployment affects four out of every 10 Palestinians in Gaza, being women and young persons the most affected, with 65.3 and 61 percent of them unemployed, respectively.

In respect to water, OCHA warns that 97 percent of the liquid that reaches people through pipes is not suitable for human consumption.

In addition to the permanent Israeli blockade in place, the small Palestinian territory still remains suffering the consequences of the 51-day aviation bombings carried out by Tel Aviv, which in summer of 2014 destroyed much of the housing and living infrastructure there.

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Palestinians in Lebanon Pay Tribute to Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez

The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) paid posthumous tribute today to the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, and late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, whom they praised as paradigms of solidarity and resistance.

The DFLP political bureau handed over to the charge d'affaires of the Cuban Embassy in Lebanon, Raul Madrigal, some plaques of recognition of the recently-deceased Cuban statesman and the Bolivarian leader, who passed away four years ago today.

'We are grateful of the Palestinian brothers for this tribute, for me as a Cuban who is far from his land, seeing an image of Fidel Castro, whose fighting spirit is present in so many Palestinian brothers here today is very exciting,' Madrigal said to the audience.

The main legacy of the Commander-in-Chief of the Caribbean Revolution was the example of 'always fighting and resisting', and that is the message that moved the Palestinians from the DFLP at the commemoration of the 48th anniversary of its foundation, he stressed.

The Cuban diplomat, who promised to hand over to the Venezuelan Embassy in Beirut the recognition of Chavez, recalled that the Front has fought for many years against Israeli occupation, and urged to maintain the will of resistance.

That will is going to lead to the final victory, he added, after congratulating the DFLP members and supporters gathered at a theater near Dahiyeh, in the southern suburbs of Beirut.

Speaking at the main event, the head of that organization in Lebanon, Ali Faysal, said that the DFLP should end division and make further efforts in this 48th anniversary to hold a new Palestinian National Council to recover the national collegiate program.

Faysal called on the Arab left wing to join and establish along with Palestine a multifaceted popular resistance movement against Israeli occupation, abandon the 'humiliating ties' of the Oslo Accord, stop recognizing Israel and boycott its economy.

He also called on friendly countries in Latin America to further increase their political support until the Palestinian people achieve their inalienable rights.

Founded in 1969 by Nayef Hawatmeh after leaving the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the DFLP advocates to 'defeat all efforts to betray illusory solutions and to recover the national program, the right to return (Palestine), self-determination and independence.'

The group affiliated to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) reiterated its commitment to establishing an independent state with its capital in East Jerusalem and to end Zionist occupation.

Faysal also urged to 'end cooperation and coordination in the field of security with the illegal occupants, taking up resistance and the popular uprising, and developing and protecting it with a view to transforming it into a global national insubordination.'

Palestinians Go Green, Cheer Scottish Soccer Fans' Solidarity

Waving banners, blowing kisses, and chanting "I love Celtics" in accented English, men, women, and children at a West Bank refugee camp appeared on a video released Tuesday to thank the fans of Scottish champions Celtic soccer team for waving Palestinian flags last week at a match against an Israeli rival, and then raising $US 132,000 to pay the anticipated fine and donate to charity.

Calling the gestures "one of the biggest solidarity actions in European football history," a Palestinian community group, the Lajee Center – a cultural and sports project for children in the Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem – posted the video online Tuesday praising both the Celtics "Green Brigade" for waving the red, black, green and white Palestinian flags at the August 17th match in Celtics stadium against Israeli side Hapoel Be'er Sheva.

But the Celtics fans didn't stop there. Anticipating a fine from European soccer's governing body, known by the acronym UEFA, Celtic fans launched a crowdsourcing campaign with the hashtag "#matchthefineforpalestine" to raise roughly $100,000 British pounds.

If UEFA is consistent with disciplinary actions taken against the club in the past, the anticipated fine will be in the area of 15,000 British pounds. The remainder, the Green Brigade wrote on its GoFundMe page, will be distributed to Medical Aid Palestine – who deliver health and medical care to those “worse affected by conflict, occupation and displacement” – as well as to the Lajee Center for soccer equipment to start a youth league.

"The Celtic fans sent a huge message last week," said the center's international coordinator Mohammed Alazraq, who now lives in Glasgow. "It has been all over the media around the world and everyone is talking about it," said Alazraq, whose Scottish wife Nicole Currie and seven-month-old son Jawad appear in the video.

"It was one of the biggest solidarity actions in European football history, it was amazing, and we wanted to thank them for that, that's why we posted the video."


We just really want to let the fans know that what they have done is appreciated."

The Celtic crest has been beamed onto buildings in Palestine and Alazraq said the Celtics banner will be unfurled across the occupied territories again Wednesday when the East End club plays its rematch against Hapoel Be'er Sheva in Israel.

Israeli police have already threatened to arrest anyone caught displaying the Palestinian flag in the stadium.

"Police units will respond in order to ensure that the game will be a professional game and not a political one," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP.

In 2014, Celtic fans received a £15,000 fine from the UEFA for displaying Palestinian flags at a match.

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