New Zealand activists raise funds for Palestine charity after fine by Israel

Lorde canceled her concert in Israel. (AP)
Updated 14 October 2018
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New Zealand activists raise funds for Palestine charity after fine by Israel

MELBOURNE: Two New Zealand pro-Palestinian activists have raised NZ$14,000 ($9,108.40) as of Sunday for charity after being fined by an Israeli court for their alleged role in persuading pop star Lorde to cancel a concert in Tel Aviv last year.
Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab said last week they would not pay the fine of 45,000 shekels ($12,423.05) awarded to three Israeli teenagers, calling the court’s ruling a “stunt” intended to intimidate Israel’s critics.
Instead, they asked people to donate money through website “givealittle.co.nz” to the Gaza Mental Health Foundation, a volunteer group that raises funds for mental health and women’s empowerment groups in the Gaza Strip.
As of Sunday, they raised NZ$14,000, according to the website.
“Given that we’ve actually had this kind of push upon us – we felt that it was expedient to actually recenter the issue back on Palestine,” Abu-Shanab told Radio New Zealand.
The case arose from an open letter that Sachs and Abu-Shanab wrote to Lorde, a New Zealander, on the website “thespinoff.co.nz” in December urging her to call off her planned concert.
Lorde canceled her concert in Israel that same month after a campaign by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) group, which campaigns for Palestinian rights, that included the open letter published by Sachs and Abu-Shanab.


Houthis mobilize to fight ahead of UN envoy’s visit

Pro-government drive in an industrial district in the eastern outskirts of the port city Hodeidah. (AFP)
Updated 19 November 2018
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Houthis mobilize to fight ahead of UN envoy’s visit

  • Dozens of Houthis put on a show of strength on the outskirts of Sanaa on Saturday
  • UN special envoy Martin Griffiths said on Friday that he plans to travel to Sanaa in the coming week

SANAA: Iran-backed Houthi militias have said they are ready to mobilize more fighters to the frontline despite a lull in battleground Hodeidah, as the UN envoy prepares to visit the country to boost peace efforts.

Dozens of Houthis put on a show of strength on the outskirts of Sanaa on Saturday, apparently getting ready to head toward Hodeidah, a Red Sea city home to a vital port.

Men, some of whom looked very young, were lining up with bandoliers around their shoulders and rifles in their hands, chanting Houthi slogans.

Residents said on Sunday that relative calm had held in Hodeidah city since pro-government forces announced a pause in their offensive last week amid international calls for a cease-fire and UN-led peace efforts.  They added, however, that they remain on edge.

Meanwhile, coalition fighter jets on Sunday carried out a series of strikes targeting Houthi positions west of Marib. The strikes, which were accompanied by shelling, came after the Iranian-supported militia launched ballistic missiles toward the city of Marib. Coalition forces successfully intercepted the missiles, Yemeni army media said.

UN special envoy Martin Griffiths said on Friday that he plans to travel to Sanaa in the coming week to finalize arrangements for peace talks to take place in Sweden soon.

Hameed Assem, a member of the militia delegation expected to take part in the negotiations, said that Houthis will continue to mobilize if UN efforts for peace fail to materialize.

Pro-government forces on Wednesday suspended their 12-day offensive in Hodeidah.

Griffiths said on Friday that both the government and the Houthis have shown a “renewed commitment” to work on a political solution and have given “firm assurances” that they will attend the talks. No date has yet been set.

(AFP)