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.


Yemeni spokesman says militants seek to ignite Hodeidah fighting

Updated 21 March 2019
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Yemeni spokesman says militants seek to ignite Hodeidah fighting

  • Renewed fighting in Hodeidah would risk severing the main passage for humanitarian aid
  • A senior Houthi member earlier said a withdrawal is “impossible”

CAIRO: Yemen’s militants are igniting more conflict by their refusal to give up control of the key port city of Hodeida, the focus of months of UN-brokered talks, a government spokesman said.
Renewed fighting in Hodeidah would risk severing the main passage for humanitarian aid to the rest of the country, including northern Yemen, a heartland of the Houthi militants.
Rageh Badi, spokesman for the internationally recognized Yemen government, denounced remarks by senior militant leader Mohammed Ali Al-Houthi who earlier this week told The Associated Press that the Saudi-led coalition, which backs the government side in the conflict, is trying to change the terms of the agreement struck last year in Sweden and that a militant withdrawal would therefore be “impossible.”
Badi told reporters at a press conference Wednesday in the southern city of Aden that such remarks could set off renewed fighting in Hodeidah, the key entry point for international aid to the war-torn country, and violate the tentative peace agreement reached by the two sides in Sweden.
The remarks are a “renunciation of the Hodeidah agreement and a declaration of war,” Badi said, urging the UN to step up pressure on the rebels to prevent another “explosion of the situation” in Hodeidah. Otherwise, renewed fighting is just a “few days” away, he added.