Friday, 31 July 2009

Lieberman accuses Chavez of anti-semitism for backing Palestinian resistance



The fool and thug Lieberman, otherwise known as the foreign minister of Israel, is really losing it. This morning he is accusing Chavez of anti-semitism because of his support for the cause of Palestinian liberation.

Israel claims there are Hezbollah cells in Venezuela.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has accused Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez of cooperating with "radical branches" of Islam and of anti-Semitism, according to media reports Thursday in Colombia.


"I will not speak about intelligence specifics, but we have enough to be concerned about the collaboration between radical branches of Islam and Hugo Chavez," Lieberman told the El Tiempo newspaper at the conclusion of a 10-day South American visit which included stops in Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Colombia.


Lieberman was responding to questions seeking evidence to support Israel's contention that Iranian-backed Hezbollah has cells in Venezuela.

more at ynetnews

Gaza kids break kite-flying world record



Some good news from Gaza for a change...

Thousands of Palestinian children gathered in the Gaza Strip in an attempt to break the world record on the number of kites flown at the same time, in the same place.

Thursday's event was part of a UN initiative organised to restore hope and normality to the war-torn territory.

Al Jazeera's Ayman Mohyeldin reports.

Just Journalism is an Israeli government front


An organisation called Just Journalism is taking issue with what it sees as the UK media's bias in favour of the Palestinians. I must say I haven't noticed this trait – if anything the media is pro-Israel, with resistance fighters routinely referred to as either 'terrorists' or 'gunmen' while Israeli killers are of course always 'soldiers'.

Just Journalism, erroneously, describes itself as: "an independent research organisation focused on how Israel and Middle East issues are reported in the UK media. We produce analysis of print, broadcast and online media and regularly publish research on trends in the media’s coverage".

So what is the evidence for this UK media bias? Well, it's pretty weak but I've reproduced the article in full below. In all the examples they quote, where they claim parts of quotes have been truncated/removed in order to hide the 'context' that the soldiers who gave testimony to Breaking the Silence were providing.

But if the clauses and sentences are reinserted they make no substantial difference to the meaning of what the soldiers said, indeed if you take their first example from the Independent newspaper the edited version that appeared in the paper removed the 'most of the time' clause from the sentence about attacking launchers in open sites [the context], but it still makes it clear that they attacked houses and hospitals also. The second example cites the BBC cutting out a bit about how dark it was as if this 'context' provides some sort of excuse for killing 1,400 people.

Perhaps Just Journalism is one of the first fruits of a policy of renewed seriousness by the Israeli state in rebutting its critics and taking its war of self-justification to cyberspace and other media channels, which we reported on yesterday.

Haaretz provides its own 'context' for its story drawing attention to the group's 'finding' by describing it in the headline as a UK Media Watchdog, when it is of course no such thing. The UK's official media watchgdog is the Press Complaints Commission. Ex-lefty turned Blairite warmonger, Denis MacShane, heads up the advisory board – which makes it aabout as independent as the government's latest 'inquiry' on the Iraq War that will be held mostly in private.

The latest report about Israeli soldiers’ conduct in Gaza released by Israeli group Breaking The Silence was consumed by the media predictably fast. But in the haste to ‘get something out’ about its contents, how closely did journalists actually read the report? Misquotes in The Independent’s two-page spread and a BBC Online article raise concerns about the handling of this source material and whether audiences are being provided with the full facts. Because the report contains some contentious claims, it is vital that the media maintain high standards of accuracy when lifting quotations and reproducing them in their work.

The Independent

In Testimony 6, the interviewee said:

‘‘Then I finally understood. Most of the time we were firing at launcher crews in open spaces, but it didn't take much to aim at schools, hospitals and such. So I see I'm firing literally into a built-up area.’ (Our emphasis)

By the time it reached The Independent’s ‘Israeli soldiers reveal the brutal truth of Gaza attack’, it had been contracted to:

‘I finally understood. We were firing at launcher crews in open spaces. But it didn't take much to aim at schools, hospitals and such. So I see I'm firing literally into a built-up area.’

The phrase ‘Most of the time’, which provided a significant degree of context, has been omitted from the heart of the quote. The word ‘we’ has been wrongly capitalised and placed at the beginning of the sentence.

BBC

The BBC’s ‘Breaking silence on Gaza abuses’ also contained an inaccurate quotation. On the subject of the rules of engagement in Testimony 7, an interviewee said:

‘Fire power was insane. We went in and the booms were just mad. The minute we got to our starting line, we simply began to fire at suspect places. Also, it was still dark when we went in, we got there just before dawn. You see a house, a window, shoot at the window. You don't see a terrorist there? Fire at the window. It was real urban warfare. This is the difference between urban warfare and a limited confrontation. In urban warfare, anyone is your enemy. No innocents.’ (Our emphasis)

The BBC omitted the sentences, ‘Also, it was still dark when we went in, we got there just before dawn’ and ‘It was real urban warfare. This is the difference between urban warfare and a limited confrontation.’ These sentences also provided some context to the nature of the fighting from the interviewee’s perspective – in this case, that it was dark and that urban warfare is different from limited confrontations.

These inaccuracies raise genuine questions about how this journalism is researched, compiled and checked. It is standard practice when omitting material from a direct quotation to uses an ellipsis to signify to readers that something is missing. The fact that this has not occurred is worrying.

In both cases it is unclear who is responsible for the editing of quotations. Just Journalism has notified both The Independent and the BBC about these issues and is awaiting a response.

Israeli war criminals' report says war was 'necessary'



Welcome to the Orwellian world of Israeli newspeak. The war was 'necessary and proportionate' to keep the Palestinians in their place through mass terror.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Israel ramps up cyber war against Palestinians and their supporters

In another sign of the problems piling up for Israel the government is pouring money into trying to shape and distort any news, discussion or comment on Palestine. They're not very good at it as you can probably see from some of the comments on this blog. The main attribute of these posters seems to be arrogance and their main weapon abuse - as well as shock that there are so many people around the world that disagree with them and prefer to support the so-called terrorists that have the temerity to try and defend their people militarily against occupation and oppression.


By Jonathan Cook in Nazareth

July 22, 2009 "Information Clearing House" -- The passionate support for Israel expressed on talkback sections of websites, internet chat forums, blogs, Twitter and Facebook may not be all that it seems.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry is reported to be establishing a special undercover team of paid workers whose job it will be to surf the internet 24 hours a day spreading positive news about Israel.

Internet-savvy Israeli youngsters, mainly recent graduates and demobilized soldiers with language skills, are being recruited to pose as ordinary surfers while they provide the government’s line on the Middle East conflict.

“To all intents and purposes the internet is a theatre in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and we must be active in that theatre, otherwise we will lose,” said Ilan Shturman, who is responsible for the project.

The existence of an “internet warfare team” came to light when it was included in this year’s Foreign Ministry budget. About 150,000 US dollars have been set aside for the first stage of development, with increased funding expected next year.

The team will fall under the authority of a large department already dealing with what Israelis term hasbara, officially translated as “public explanation” but more usually meaning propaganda. That includes not only government public relations work but more secretive dealings the ministry has with a battery of private organizations and initiatives that promote Israel’s image in print, on TV and online.

In an interview this month with the Calcalist, an Israeli business newspaper, Mr Shturman, the deputy director of the ministry’s hasbara department, admitted his team would be working undercover.

“Our people will not say: ‘Hello, I am from the hasbara department of the Israeli Foreign Ministry and I want to tell you the following.’ Nor will they necessarily identify themselves as Israelis,” he said. “They will speak as net-surfers and as citizens, and will write responses that will look personal but will be based on a prepared list of messages that the Foreign Ministry developed.”

Rona Kuperboim, a columnist for Ynet, Israel’s most popular news website, denounced the initiative, saying it indicated that Israel had become a “thought-police state”.

She added that “good PR cannot make the reality in the occupied territories prettier. Children are being killed, homes are being bombed, and families are starved.”

Her column was greeted by several talkbackers asking how they could apply for a job with the Foreign Ministry’s team.

The project is a formalization of public relations practices the ministry developed specifically for Israel’s assault on Gaza in December and January.

“During Operation Cast Lead we appealed to Jewish communities abroad and with their help we recruited a few thousand volunteers, who were joined by Israeli volunteers,” Mr Shturman said.

“We gave them background material and hasbara material, and we sent them to represent the Israeli point of view on news websites and in polls on the internet.”

The Israeli army also had one of the most popular sites on the video-sharing site YouTube and regularly uploaded clips, although it was criticized by human rights groups for misleading viewers about what was shown in its footage.

Mr Shturman said that during the war the ministry had concentrated its activities on European websites where audiences were more hostile to Israeli policy. High on its list of target sites for the new project would be the BBC News website and Arabic websites, he added.

Elon Gilad, who heads the internet team, told Calcalist that many people had contacted the ministry offering their services during the Gaza attack. “People just asked for information, and afterwards we saw that the information was distributed all over the internet.”

He suggested that there had been widespread government cooperation, with the ministry of absorption handing over contact details for hundreds of recent immigrants to Israel, who wrote pro-Israel material for websites in their native languages.

The new team is expected to increase the ministry’s close coordination with a private advocacy group, giyus.org (Give Israel Your United Support). About 50,000 activists are reported to have downloaded a programme called Megaphone that sends an alert to their computers when an article critical of Israel is published. They are then supposed to bombard the site with comments supporting Israel.

Nasser Rego of Ilam, a group based in Nazareth that monitors the Israeli media, said Arab organizations in Israel were among those regularly targeted by hasbara groups for “character assassination”. He was concerned the new team would try to make such work appear more professional and convincing.

“If these people are misrepresenting who they are, we can guess they won’t worry too much about misrepresenting the groups and individuals they write about. Their aim, it’s clear, will be to discredit those who stand for human rights and justice for the Palestinians.”

When The National called the Foreign Ministry, Yigal Palmor, a spokesman, denied the existence of the internet team, though he admitted officials were stepping up exploitation of new media.

He declined to say which comments by Mr Shturman or Mr Gilad had been misrepresented by the Hebrew-language media, and said the ministry would not be taking any action over the reports.

Israel has developed an increasingly sophisticated approach to new media since it launched a “Brand Israel” campaign in 2005.

Market research persuaded officials that Israel should play up good news about business success, and scientific and medical breakthroughs involving Israelis.

Mr Shturman said his staff would seek to use websites to improve “Israel’s image as a developed state that contributes to the quality of the environment and to humanity”.

David Saranga, head of public relations at Israel’s consulate-general in New York, which has been leading the push for more upbeat messages about Israel, argued last week that Israel was at a disadvantage against pro-Palestinian advocacy.

“Unlike the Muslim world, which has hundreds of millions of supporters who have adopted the Palestinian narrative in order to slam Israel, the Jewish world numbers only 13 million,” he wrote in Ynet.

Israel has become particularly concerned that support is ebbing among the younger generations in Europe and the United States.

In 2007 it emerged that the Foreign Ministry was behind a photo-shoot published in Maxim, a popular US men’s magazine, in which female Israeli soldiers posed in swimsuits.

Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is www.jkcook.net.

A version of this article originally appeared in The National, published in Abu Dhabi. The version on this website is published by permission of Jonathan Cook.

Jewish extremists launch attack on al-Aqsa mosque - third holiest is Islam


Israel plans to build up to 50 synagogues to surround the mosque, some in the grounds of the al-Aqsa itself. It's feared the constant tunneling under the mosque by the zionists is aimed at undermining its foundations.

From Press TV
More than 200 Jewish extremists have reportedly entered al-Aqsa Mosque, positioning themselves inside the holy site, allegedly to perform religious rituals.

According to a statement released by the Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage, the incursion was "significant". The foundation has called on Muslims, Arabs and all Palestinians to take action in support of the mosque.

The attack comes amidst Tisha B'Av, also known as "The Ninth of Av" -- a Jewish fasting day in commemoration of the destruction of the two Temples. The occasion falls on the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av, which usually coincides with late July or mid-August.

Settlement 'freeze' move to please US changes nothing

Haartez reports that Netanyahu has ordered a freeze on a plan to build 900 apartments in East Jerusalem in a move presumably demanded by the US with Obama's envoy, Mitchell, in town. But this is a freeze on plans that have not yet been implemented so this announcement will change nothing on the ground.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has frozen a project for the construction of some 900 apartments in East Jerusalem, Channel 10 television reported late Wednesday.

The report of Netanyahu's order to freeze the project came a day after he held talks in Jerusalem with U.S. President Barack Obama's special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell. Netanyahu has been under tremendous pressure from the United States to freeze all construction in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

According to Channel 10, The houses were planned to be built in Pisgat Ze'ev, one of several Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem built beyond the Green Line separating Israel from the West Bank.

Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of a future state. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has refused to engage in new peace negotiations until Israel completely halts construction in the city and the West Bank.

More die in struggle to keep open Gaza tunnel lifelines


Israel's aerial bombing of the tunnels hasn't stopped trade but it has certainly undermined the tunnels structurally, as the death of two more Palestinians today testifies - bringing the weekly total to at least nine.
AFP - Two Palestinians were killed on Thursday when a smuggling tunnel linking the Gaza Strip to Egypt collapsed, medical sources said.

At least nine people have been killed this week in cave-ins and other mishaps in the vast network of tunnels between Egypt and Gaza used to smuggle food, goods and, according to Israel, weapons and explosives.

Over the past three years, 127 people have died in the tunnels, according to Iyad Abu Hujaier of the Palestinian Centre for Democracy and Conflict Resolution (PCDCR) which recently compiled a report on the tunnels. more

Go to Gaza Drink the Sea playwright trapped in Gaza


The Scotsman reports playwright Ahmed Masoud is unable to get out of Gaza. His play opens in the Assembly Hall at this year's Edinburgh Festival on 6 August.
By TIM CORNWELL
A PALESTINIAN playwright whose Fringe play tells of the Israeli assault on the Palestinian territory of Gaza has become trapped there on his first visit in seven years.

Ahmed Masoud is a UK resident whose wife is expecting their first child in October. He went to Gaza to visit his mother after a cancer operation and has been unable to leave.

His play, Go to Gaza, Drink the Sea, opened in London in February, just after the Israeli military operation in Gaza, blamed for the loss of more than 1,000 Palestinian lives.

Masoud, who has a Palestinian passport, but is a legal British resident, got into Gaza when the Rafah border crossing from Egypt was briefly opened. When he tried to leave by the same route, he was turned away.

He was due in Edinburgh for rehearsals this week. The play opens on 6 August.

Book your ticket here

Israel calls in UK ambassador to 'discuss' boycott movement and aid to peace group

Hot on the heels of castigating the Dutch government, Israel is now demanding that the UK stop funding (£40k apparently, although Haaretz's report is not very clear) for the Breaking the Silence organisation of veteran and serving Israeli soldiers. Israel primarily summoned the UK ambassador in Tel Aviv to the talks to discuss boycott efforts by 'various British organisations'. The international solidarity movement has them worried.
Israel continues to ratchet up diplomatic pressure against European Union funding of a group that exposed what it described as war crimes perpetrated by the Israel Defense Forces in Gaza.

The deputy director-general of the Foreign Ministry, Rafi Barak, expressed "concern" last week over Britain's financial contributions to "Breaking the Silence," an organization founded by IDF veterans which collects testimonies from soldiers serving in the Palestinian territories.

Barak communicated Israel's dissatisfaction over Britain's funding of the group during a meeting with London's ambassador to Tel Aviv, Tom Phillips.

Barak met with Phillips to discuss efforts by various British organizations to institute a boycott against Israel. During the meeting, Barak also raised the subject of funds which the British government channels to Breaking the Silence...

...Barak requested clarifications as to the reasons behind Britain's funding of the group and whether the money was used to fund the recent report on Operation Cast Lead.

According to information obtained by Barak, the British embassy in Tel Aviv received 40,000 pounds in 2008. Phillips [the UK ambassador to Israel] told Barak that the money transfer to the group presents no problem since Breaking the Silence is a legal organization.

Phillips added that the money was meant to fund the group's trips and activities in Hebron, and that none of the money was used for compiling and publishing its report on the Gaza war.
more at Haaretz

Reports Israel may allow some cement into Gaza

Cement and 'some steel' to be allowed into Gaza by Israel 'in the coming weeks'.
AFP - Israel will allow a one-time transfer of cement into Gaza for the first time since its war in the Hamas-ruled enclave and amid a new US peace push in the region, officials said on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Ehud Barak okayed the transfer of more than 310 tonnes of cement for rebuilding a flour mill, a sewage treatment facility and the British cemetery, one defence official said.

The one-off consignment will also include some steel and is expected to be transferred "in the coming weeks," he said.

Many buildings in Gaza remain in ruins since Israel's December-January offensive because of an acute shortage of construction materials that can only officially enter Gaza through Israel-controlled crossings.

Israel recently authorised the monthly transfer of 104 million shekels (26 million dollars) into Gaza to pay the wages of Palestinian Authority and United Nations Works and Relief Agency (UNRWA) employees.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

YouTube comes to the rescue of Israel



The Palestine Telegraph has a copy of a video illustrating graphically the depth of racism and hatred in Israel. The video was originally posted on YouTube (owned by Google, as is Blogger) but has since been removed.
Max Blumenthal and Jesse Rosenfeld interview young Tel Aviv residents about Iran, Obama and right-wing laws limiting the speech rights of their Palestinian-Israeli neighbors. The shocking responses reflect the deepening of racist and authoritarian trends in Israeli society. This is the sequel to "Feeling the Hate in Jerusalem," the video banned by YouTube, Vimeo and the Huffington Post after topping 400,000 hits.

You can see a copy of the original here

And see above the sequel to the video - still available on YouTube

Complain about YouTube/Google's bias:

P.O. Box 27837
Washington, DC 20038-7837
Phone: (202) 955-9070
Fax:(202) 955-9077
Please direct all general inquiries to memri@memri.org This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

  • if you live in the UK, pls consider complaining about this matter and other matters that relates to youtube actions. here
  • share with us here in the comment sections about your experience with youtube bias.
  • if you have a media regulatory service in your country please consider complaining about youttube decisions.

Thousands aim to break siege with new year march



Norman Finkelstein is helping to organise a non-violent march to break the siege on 1 January 2010. Details at links below:
http://www.normanfinkelstein.com
http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/committee

The Coalition to End the Illegal Siege of Gaza aims to emulate Gandhi in India and Martin Luther King in the US Deep South by leveraging the tactic of non-violence, which of course continues to be a tactic employed on the ground by the occupied Palestinian people who usually have no other choice but to offer non-violent resistance.

The key to the success of the Coalition, as in the struggle for Indian national liberation and for civil rights in the US, turns on whether a serious mass mobilisation of tens of thousands comes together. The attitude of the Israeli state will be predictably brutal but the international outcry would further isolate the madmen that run Israel.

International movement to break Gaza siege growing in strength

Suzanne Morrison writing for the Palestine Telegraph assesses the impact of the break the siege initiatives and concludes positively...
Total success of any one group has been difficult, given the immense amount of opposition from the Israeli and Egyptian governments (and the powerful states that support them). Members of each group have suffered in various ways from bureaucratic hurdles, arrest, detention, deportation, etc. as the Egyptian and Israeli states hope to suppress and otherwise intimidate peoples of conscience. While breaking the siege on Gaza requires more than delivering humanitarian aid, collectively the international popular movements represent a very real threat to Israel's closure policy.

The longer the siege lasts, the larger the popular resistance to it appears to become. Over two years after its implementation, the movements to end the siege are larger and stronger than ever before. What is clear by all these acts of popular resistance is that people of the world are prepared to do what states are either unwilling or too inept to do - break the siege on Gaza!

more at the Palestine Telegraph


Suzanne Morrison lived in Gaza in 2005-2006 and is currently a master's candidate at the American University in Cairo. She is completing her thesis on the role of international institutions in Palestinian state formation. She can be reached at: suzanne_m@aucegypt.edu

Israel lashes out at Netherlands for giving financial support to anti-war soldiers



The Netherlands has been criticised by Israel for funding the Breaking the Silence organisation, which recently published testimony by Israeli soldiers alleging war crimes in Gaza.

According to the leading Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the Israeli embassy in The Hague has submitted a formal complaint to the Dutch government about the financing of Breaking the Silence, which recently published a controversial report which alleged that Israeli military personnel had committed war crimes during the recent conflict in the Gaza Strip.

Following the release of that report, the names of the organisation's financial backers, including the British and Dutch embassies in Israel, were made public in various Israeli media.

NRC Handelsblad

UK Soldier faces court martial for refusing to return to Afghanistan

Lance Corporal Joe Glenton has become the first serving
British soldier to speak out publicly against the Afghan war.
Joe faces court martial and a possible two-year prison term
after going on the run rather than return to Afghanistan.

Joe says he gradually became aware that justifications for
occupying Afghanistan were ringing hollow. "The Afghan people
were attacking us, even though our politicians said we were
going in to help them. It came as a real shock"

"That's when I became aware that there was something seriously
wrong with the war," he says.

Joe will attend a court martial hearing next Monday We are
asking all our supporters to send messages of complaint, for
forwarding to the Ministry of Defence, to
joeisinnocent@hotmail.co.uk

Watch Joe's speech at the Stop the War meeting here:
http://bit.ly/1vyX7b

British MPs call for immediate lifting of siege

The European campaign for ending the siege welcomed Monday the report issued by the committee on foreign relations in the British House of Commons which condemned Israel for its persistence in imposing a blockade on the Gaza Strip and not allowing in humanitarian aid.

The Brussels-based campaign said that this British parliamentary report is an important step in the right direction, but urgent action is needed to lift the siege on Gaza.

The campaign also hailed the House of Commons for demanding in its report that the European Union links the improvement of its relations with Israel to the latter’s policies towards the Palestinians and its decision to ask openly whether Israel committed war crimes in Gaza.

It also called on the British government to respond positively to the report through moving actively to end the Israeli siege.

The European campaign for ending the siege had earlier warned that the continued blockade on Gaza is leading to a rising death toll for the imprisoned population.

Thanks to the Palestine Information Center

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Netanyahu wants submission not 'peace'

WEST BANK, (PIC)-- Palestinian lawmaker Ibrahim Abu Salem of Hamas's parliamentary bloc in the Palestinian legislature has derided the conditions put forward by Israeli premier Binyamin Netanyahu to make "peace" with the Palestinians.

Before a special session held by the Israeli parliament on Wednesday, Netanyahu reiterated his conditions to resume the "peace process" with the Palestinians, including recognizing Palestine as Jewish homeland, withdrawing all litigations filed against Israel for its crimes against the Palestinian people, dropping of the RoR, and accepting a demilitarized Palestinian state.

"How the Zionist entity could put such conditions while it doesn’t even recognize the simplest rights of the Palestinian people, confiscating their lands, and practices terrorism and oppression against them?", Abu Salem said.

He also rejected the notion of a demilitarized state that Netanyahu is talking about especially that the Israeli occupation would not agree to disarm Jewish settlers let alone their occupation army, "so how could they deny us our legal right to defend ourselves".

Moreover, Abu Salem warned that Netanyahu's call to end the Arab-Israeli struggle meant to open the way for gratis normalization of ties between the Arabs and the Hebrew state, describing such call as "contempt" for the Arab national decision.

For his part, legislator Mohammed Shehab, who also belongs to Hamas's bloc, belittled Netanyahu's conditions, stressing that not even a single Palestinian child would accept them.

"Netanyahu could dream as he wishes… he also could put the conditions he dreams of, but the question is: would the Palestinian people accept his conditions? Or would a single Palestinian child listen to it? Definitely the answer would be No", Shehab pointed out.

He stressed that the Palestinian people don’t pay any attention to those conditions simply because they strongly believe that the Zionist occupation would finally be removed from the Palestinian land, and the Palestinian refugees would return to their homes to build the Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

He also scorned Palestinian officials who hurry up and accept to pursue the futile negotiations with the IOA at the expense of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian refugees, describing their action as "treason to the people and betrayal to the Palestinian issue".

"Those [Palestinian] officials who betrayed the Palestinian national constants are actually Zionists in a Palestinian dress, and definitely they will end in the trash of history because they linked their existence to the existence of the Zionist enemy", Shehab underscored.

Fatah units accuse of Abbas of treason

Abu Al-Reesh Brigades says what Qaddumi revealed is a drop in the ocean

GAZA, (PIC)-- The Martyr Ahmad Abu al-Reesh Brigades (MARB), which is affiliated with the Fatah movement, said that what Qaddumi revealed lately is a drop in the ocean of the "treason of Mahmoud Abbas and [Muhammad] Dahlan," and called for putting them on trial.

Amin al-Hassi, the general commander of the MARB said, in a statement on Saturday: "No one was surprised by the revelations made by brother Farouq al-Qaddumi, the secretary of Fatah, when he exposed the biggest conspiracy in the history of the Fatah leadership. He clarified matters and refreshed the memory of Fatah partisans on a matter that some tried to burry under the carpet with Zionist and American help."

He added that many mercenaries inside Fatah tried to form a cover, by their silence, for the Abbas-Dahlan crime which led to the death of Yasir Arafat; "the enemy before the fried exposed their evil deeds. This momentous event is a disgraceful blot in their black record which is drenched in the blood of resistance fighters, including Aqsa Martyrs Brigades fighters and Fatah activists."

Hassi stressed that the documents that were revealed by Qaddumi were genuine and the only people who deny them are those who benefit from their masters in the Muqata'a.

Hassi expressed his support for Qaddumi and said that the Fatah conference which will be held in Bethlehem early next month is not representative of Fatah and those who will attend it have very little to do the "real Fatah".

He called for the non-participation of "murderer Dahlan who is responsible for the killing of Fatah fighters by involving them in a loosing war in Gaza while, he and his children were enjoying a holiday at the expense of the Palestinian people and the Fatah movement."

Friday, 24 July 2009

Call to end gas exports from Egypt to Israel

Under the slogan "We are not going to export our gas to Israel ", all the national forces will participate in a protest and a stand on July 26, 2009 at seven o'clock in the evening ,at the Press Syndicate to overthrow the black list, which held its convention with the Zionists for the export of gas, in betrayal of the national security not only of Egypt , not only did they export the Egyptian gas, but they also exported the gas at the price of one dollar and a quarter ,at the time which the world price of gas reached 16 $ ,so it's a loss of 12.5 million$ for Israel, equivalent to 120 million Egyptian pounds daily.

This gang did not stop at the export of gas only, but also have gone on to mislead and cheat the Egyptian judiciary and the Egyptian people as well.

As the Egyptian Gas is considered to be one of the most important sources of income for the country and the reserve is not enough to export it , as it's necessary for local consumption ,and for the future generations, and the export of gas deprived important Egyptian factories from it , the ministry also failed to supply more than half of the cities and villages with the gas which they export to Israel.
And in spite of the severe crisis of the gas in Upper Egypt ,and in many regions and provinces , they did not think of the fate of these people.

Everyone knows that the gang close to the current system ,and the issue of the gas export to the Zionists, is not the first in the Register of their treason to the country , as they have always disregarded Egypt and the Egyptians human rights , and also destroyed the infrastructure of the Egyptian society, as they have used the agricultural lands for the cultivation of non-essential materials , also to export it to foreign countries, which resulted in numerous economic crises for the Egyptian people , as well as other government corruption cases.

It is for this and other corruption cases, that all national forces ( April 6 Youth Movement,the Muslim Brotherhood, Kefaya, El Ghad Party, Reform and Development Party , the Labor Party) invite all honorable , free people to participate on July 26, to be a national day for refusing the export of the Egyptian gas to the Zionists.

Appeal to the world for the release of Ahmad Sa'adat

Ahmad Sa'adat, as a national leader of the Palestinian people, a hero of the prisoners' movement, and an international symbol of resistance and freedom, inspires many to write, organize, and take action to defend the lives and rights of Sa'adat and all Palestinian prisoners, and take up their struggle for freedom.

The following article was written by Hussin Ramadan, a Palestinian youth activist from Dheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem. It was published on several leading Palestinian blogs and solidarity websites. Palestine Think Tank was first to publish the article, and has continually provided tremendous support to the Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa'adat, the cause of all Palestinian political prisoners and the Palestinian liberation struggle. The article is presented in full below.

Please send your own articles about Ahmad Sa'adat and the Palestinian prisoners' movement to the Campaign at info@freeahmadsaadat.org. We look forward to reading more strong voices raised in support of the prisoners and their struggle for freedom and justice.

For Humanity

by Hussin Ramadan

Palestinians identify with one another through not only our mutual identity, but also through our common experiences, ­for example, our situation under occupation, our economic conditions, our lives as refugees, the lives and conditions of our prisoners. When we go to sleep, we are unable to do so like ‘normal people’, undisturbed by these realities. We do not live in ‘normal conditions’ for human beings. Every family in Palestine has at least one member in prison, or a former prisoner; imprisonment is one of those experiences shared among our people.

Many Palestinians have died for Palestine, and many more will do so as well, but the prisoners suffer every day. They accept an inhumane life for the Palestinian cause, for freedom, for the return of the refugees, and they pay the price every day for their struggle ­substandard living conditions, immoral and unjust treatment, the willful neglect of their health by the occupation authorities.

Ahmad Sa’adat is an elected leader of the Palestinian people. He is not a ‘terrorist,’ he is a defender of the cause of all Palestinian people. He is a leader who believes in freedom, dignity, humanity, a state without occupation, the return of refugees and all of the fundamentals of the Palestinian people ­the principles in which all Palestinians believe. He carries our message as Palestinians and as Arabs and as people committed to justice around the world, and we should support him until the end.

For these reasons, we here in Palestine reject these conditions and policies, and demand freedom and justice for our prisoners, and we are determined to inform the people of the world about what exactly is happening here.

And for these reasons, we are involved in the campaign to free Ahmad Sa’adat.

Ahmad Sa’adat refuses to accept the occupation orders of the prison and the mistreatment of prisoners; he refuses to accept the illegitimate courts, trials and prisons of the occupier. He launched a hunger strike to demand that the occupation receive the message loudly and clearly: that we are humans, not animals to be treated in this way.

We cannot leave him alone to face the darkness of the prison. We must feel what he feels and support him in every way ­ we must find our dignity and humanity under the rubble of occupation.

We know that we have rights, we believe in our cause, and we will stand for it and we are willing to suffer for it, like Ahmad Sa’adat suffers every day to let us live as full human beings. It is very important to let the world know what we think and we are determined to let the people know the costs the prisoners pay every day from their lives for freedom and for us. No one would want to live in the conditions that Ahmad faces every day, but Ahmad continues to struggle ­he gives us hope, and we will stay on this path of justice and freedom, because we will not let him and all of our prisoners down.

Because we have Ahmad’s faith, and Ahmad’s soul, we will continue to struggle until the end, to free all of the prisoners from the jails and detention centers. This is the path we choose, and this is why it is so important that we take up the campaign to free Ahmad Sa’adat.

Freedom for Ahmad Sa’adat and all of the prisoners, and for all of the defenders of liberty!

*Hussin Ramadan is a Palestinian youth who lives in Dheisheh Refugee Camp, in occupied Palestine. He may be contacted via email at: the.godfather87@hotmail.com. He is currently active with the Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat.

--

The Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa'adat

info@freeahmadsaadat.org

Monday, 20 July 2009

Israel won't stop stealing Palestinian land

Netanyahu has made it plain to the US that settlement building will continue. So why are operations funding millions of dollars worth of illegal settlements allowed free reign in the US? The Guardian reports on how unwitting Bingo players are helping to fund the stealing of Palestinian land.
For the winning punters chancing their luck at Hawaiian Gardens' charity bingo hall in the heart of one of California's poorest towns, the big prize is $500. The losers walk away with little more than an assurance that their dollars are destined for a good cause.

But the real winners and losers live many thousands of miles away, where the profits from the nightly ritual of numbers-calling fund what critics describe as a form of ethnic cleansing by extremist organisations.

Each dollar spent on bingo by the mostly Latino residents of Hawaiian Gardens, on the outskirts of Los Angeles, helps fund Jewish settlements on Palestinian land in some of the most sensitive areas of occupied East Jerusalem, particularly the Muslim quarter of the old city, and West Bank towns such as Hebron where the Israeli military has forced Arabs out of their properties in their thousands.

Over the past 20 years, the bingo hall has funnelled tens of millions of dollars in to what its opponents — including rabbis serving the Hawaiian Gardens area — describe as an ideologically-driven strategy to grab land for Israel, as well as contributing to influential American groups and thinktanks backing Israel's more hawkish governments.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Palestinian Authority faces crisis as Abbas collaboration splits Fatah


The divisions in Fatah have gone beyond boiling point. The splits that emerged around the preparations for the Sixth Fatah Conference were reported on in May and the statement by 82 senior Fatah members issued in the same month accusing Abbas of attempting a coup. It was followed by the news this Wednesday that Al Jazeera was to be banned from the West Bank. Banning Al Jaazera is not going to help Abbas. And the accusation against Abbas amounts to the highest form of treason against the Palestinian people as embodied in President Yasser Arafat.

No wonder Russian deputy foreign minister Alexander Saltanov sought out Hamas leader Mishaal (pictured above) to discuss latest political developments, as Fatah implodes...



"The Palestinian Authority has stated its decisions are in response to Al Jazeera reporting the accusations made by secretary-general of the Fatah movement Mr Farouk Kaddoumi against the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and his adviser Mohammed Dahlan.

"Mr Kaddoumi accused both leaders of being aware of an Israeli conspiracy to kill the late president Yasser Arafat.

Al Jaazera

PIC reports that Abbas has wanted to shutdown the TV channel's operations ever since the Gaza war in it which it considered Al Jaazera to be biased in favour of Hamas.
Meanwhile, a well informed Palestinian source, who preferred to remain anonymous, told Al-Jazeera website that Fatah leader and former PA chief Mahmoud Abbas had decided to close Al-Jazeera offices following the latest Israeli war on Gaza alleging that it was biased in favor of Hamas.

The talks in Egypt aimed at achieving some sort of national reconciliation always seemed unrealistic given the current Fatah leaderships fondness for working with the US and Israeli military, to say nothing of its kidnappings and killings of Hamas supporters.
Ezzat Al-Resheq, a member of Hamas political bureau, stated Saturday that Fatah leaders still circumvent the issue of political arrests in the West Bank, ruling out the possibility of reaching a reconciliation agreement without the release of all political prisoners.

In a press statement to the Palestinian information center (PIC), Resheq said that the meeting held with Egyptian officials and Fatah delegation focused on the political arrest file.

He added that his Movement prepared a list of all prisoners affiliated with Fatah who are still detained but did not receive any list from Fatah.

more at the Palestinian Information Center

Egyptian riot police attacks on Gazans at Rafah shows regime's fear

Micheline Garreau posted an announcement to the cause Palestinian & International Campaign - End the Siege & Lift Blockade of Gaza .

----------------
...July 15, should have been a day of rejoicing here at Rafah Gate because the Viva Palestina convoy had finally been authorized to enter Gaza, but it turned into a nightmare for the many Palestinian families held up on the Egyptian side. Finally, at 10 pm we were smiling again when we saw Jenny Linnel and Nathalie Abu Chakra, two members of ISM-Gaza come through the Gate. The Egyptians had been denying them entry because they had arrived in Gaza on board the ships of the Free Gaza movement.


For those who don’t know the Rafah Gate, the frontier between Egypt and Gaza is situated in the middle of nowhere-- 2 kilometers from Rafah. There is no hotel; the Egyptian police have closed the town to foreigners and have installed dozens of checkpoints—I would say one every 50 meters! And you can’t tell me it’s to stop contraband headed to Gaza because all the pathways leading to the tunnels are wide open.


Large numbers of Palestinian families denied entry for weeks on end--or longer—are forced to live in hotels in El Arish, a seaside resort 40 kilometers from the border. Because it’s high season, the hotels have hiked up their rates, so it costs these families a fortune. And that’s without the taxi fares. The price of a taxi between El Arish and Rafah is anywhere from 35 to more than 100 Egyptian pounds, and if you want to avoid the checkpoints, it can run to close to 300 pounds.


Among these families are Palestinians living abroad who have come to visit their families, to attend weddings; others are returning from hospital stays in Egypt or abroad; there are also young people who have finished their studies etc….Everyone has his or her own story.


Elated at news of the arrival of the Viva Palestina convoy, many of these families, exhausted and in debt, came today to try their luck at Rafah, hoping that the Egyptian police would be more lenient and that they might be able to get some help from members of the convoy.


But that was, unfortunately, not the case: for these families the day turned into a nightmare. They had arrived early in order not to miss the convoy, so they waited all day in the scorching sun. The first members of the convoy began to arrive around 2 pm in buses under heavy security.


Then the horror began: at this very moment, the Egyptian riot police set upon the Palestinian families them and began forcibly evacuating them. People were shouting, screaming, weeping—and the cops kept on beating them savagely.


We tried to slip into Rafah Gate in the midst of the confusion. We even succeeded, but were then dragged back out.


The scene we were witnessing was once again so shocking that Iman, furious, was shouting insults at Mubarak and his minions.


Laila got into one of the buses and called for the help of the members of the convoy, but they replied that there was nothing they could do. “We want to get into Gaza and we don’t want any trouble.”


A man in the bus called out, “I’m a Palestinian.” And one Palestinian woman, stuck in Egypt for many days couldn’t help saying to him, “Oh, fine, you’re a Palestinian from America and I’m a Palestinian from Gaza. You can get in and I am not even allowed to return to my home in Gaza.” By then the Egyptian police had arrived and they pulled Leila and this woman out of the bus.


No contact between Palestinians and foreigners. That has been the order of the day every day since we pitched our tents here at Rafah.



We can understand the attitude of the members of this impressive convoy, with its buses, refrigerator trucks and vans. It has been so difficult for them to get this far with half of their humanitarian aid(the other half was confiscated in Alexandria) that it was hard for them to jeopardize delivery of the remaining supplies by attempting to help the people they were watching being beaten up before their very eyes. They would have been heavily penalized—they would have been refused entry into Gaza.



How can one comprehend Egyptian policy? How can one understand these Egyptian policemen who viciously beat the Palestinians and treat them like sub-humans, like enemies? Why prevent the Palestinians from returning to their own homes? Who gives the orders? Why not tell them what procedures they need to follow? And, by the way, is there one? We have asked these questions countless times, and each time we got a different answer.

The only thing we are sure of is that the Egyptian authorities are pathologically corrupt, that they collaborate willingly with the Zionist entity and that they lie to their police force and army units to make sure they keep mistreating the Palestinians.



We are going to wait for the return of the Viva Palestina convoy and we...
----------------

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Thanks,
The Causes Team


But the riot police and the state aren't having it all their own way, as the continuing strike wave in Egypt shows:

Egypt Daily News CAIRO: A policeman died and tens people were injured when thousands of quarry workers and owners clashed with police in Egypt on Thursday, security sources and witnesses told Reuters.

The protesters marched into Al-Minya city, in the central province of Al-Minya 210 kilometers south of Cairo, and blocked a bridge spanning the Nile, to protest against a decision by the authorities to impose new duties on quarried rock, security sources said.

Police used teargas to disperse the crowd, but the protesters stoned police, injuring at least four officers, security sources said.

An official told the Associated Press that police fired tear gas Thursday at some 3,000 workers who were throwing stones.

One policeman died, and accounts differed as to whether he was killed during the stoning or from exposure to teargas.

Reports of the total number injured varied. Security sources said at least 17 riot police had been wounded, and more than 20 protesters were suffering the effects of teargas inhalation.

Police arrested some of the protesters. Estimates by security sources of how many ranged from five to close to 50.

The website of the independent daily Al-Masry Al-Youm said the government had imposed duties of LE 40 per ton of quarried stone, leading some quarries to shut down and lay off their laborers.

Protesters said they held the demonstration because petitions to officials had been ignored and some quarries had been shut for more than two weeks, the website said

However, an official told the Associated Press that the governor later reversed his decision to avoid more violence. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

Labor unrest has become common in Egypt, usually over pay, and often in privatized companies. Even professional groups such as doctors, pharmacists and lawyers have stopped work or threatened strikes over pay. Worker frustration with rising prices and shortages of subsidized bread flared into two days of clashes with security forces in the city of Mahalla El-Kobra north of Cairo in April last year. Three people were killed and scores injured. –Agencies

Palestinians wounded, foreign activists detained protesting settlers at Beit Ummar

AL-KHALIL, (PIC)-- Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Saturday kidnapped nine foreign activists and wounded five Palestinians while quelling a peaceful march against settlement activity in Beit Ummar village, Al-Khalil district.

Local sources in the village said that fistfights were reported between Palestinians and foreign activists on the one hand and IOF troops on the other, noting that the soldiers used force to break up the demonstration.

The soldiers used batons and rifle butts to assault the marchers wounding five Palestinians, they added.

Meanwhile, IOF soldiers detained a Palestinian youth in Qalqilia city late Saturday night and another from Bil'in, Ramallah district, at dawn Sunday.

Furthermore, Israeli border guards rounded up 178 Palestinian workers over the weekend on charges of entering 1948 occupied Palestine without work permits while seven other persons were arrested for transporting the workers.

Viva Palestina US delivers despite Mubarak's threats

By Soozy Duncan.

Allowed only 24 hours in Gaza under threat of not being allowed to return to Egypt, the Viva Palestina convoy has been a whirlwind of activity since crossing the border at Rafah Wednesday night. Organizers have attempted to compress 3 days of planned activities into a single day.

Thursday started by watching a press conference featuring Gazan Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh with members of the Neturei Karta, an organization of anti-Zionist Rabbis from Munsey, New York, who traveled with the caravan. Haniyeh emphasized that the government and the people of Gaza take no issue with Jews, but rather with Zionism and the ongoing oppression and blockade by Israel. Rabbi Dovid Weissman concurred that Jews, Christians and Muslims had coexisted peacefully in Muslim countries for centuries prior to the birth of Zionism, and asked for the people of Gaza to join him in praying for the peaceful dismantlement of the state of Israel.

The group then drove around the Gaza Strip in buses to see the aftermath of the bombing onslaught 6 months ago before attending another press conference at the Legislative Assembly and traveling to Shafa Hospital in Gaza City to deliver the medical aid which was brought from the United States and gathered in Cairo. Finally, delegates met with families of some of the 11,000 prisoners being held in Israel at the Ministry of Prisoners in Tel Alhwa, where children of parents killed in December and January also addressed the group.

Fraser Gaspard of Denver, Colorado, said of seeing the devastation firsthand, “It really shows how effective the American weapons we give Israel are, and how deliberate Israel was in its attack from the spots that were hit, schools, hospitals, a cement factory, homes in refugee camps. You could see it was a war of terror against the Gazan people.”

For Mahmoud Elayan from New Jersey, the most impressive visit was the meeting at the Ministry of Prisoners. Elayan shared, “Three little girls spoke about losing 29 other immediate family members. I have 2 little kids, and I can’t imagine them going through anything like that. To see them still keeping hope like that when they’ve suffered so much, it was touching. I had to leave the room.”

Bringing medical aid was only one of Viva Palestina’s stated purposes. The convoy also sought to learn and share the stories of the Gazans who have lived under 61 years of occupation and the severe assault from December to January. Nour Mattar, a Palestinian born within the borders of Israel who now resides in Orange County, California, said of his experiences, “With all the blockade and all the pressure, if you drive around and talk to people you find they still have great spirit. They‘re not willing to give up or stand down, even though Israel has used every possible weapon they could, militarily, economically and politically.”

Having lived in Gaza for most of the years between 1997 and 2005, the journey was a homecoming for Bethany Gonzalez of Kansas City, Kansas. “Today I realized how much I really miss living in Gaza,” said Gonzalez. “The city and the people, everyone is so kind and hospitable, even with all they’ve been through.” She intends to return with the second Viva Palestina convoy from the U.S. in December, scheduled to coincide with the first anniversary of the attacks.

Mohamad, a recent graduate from the Islamic University, volunteered to serve as an interpreter for the delegates. Asked about the current state of the people of Gaza, he said, “The children now are still suffering from psychological pain and suffering. Whenever they hear any sound they say ‘Bomb! Bomb’ and start crying. For adults it is almost the same.” Mohamad expressed excitement about the past Viva Palestina convoy from London and the plans for future caravans from Venezuela, Moscow, Beijing, and the next from the U.S. “They decrease the suffering among the Gazans. The convoys break the siege and bring us medical aid. The people of Gaza feel really grateful and proud. These convoys uplift our spirits and help us feel stronger and more steadfast.”

Asked what he hopes for himself and all Gazans, Mohamad states simply, “We hope that we will have enough to live, and be able to live in peace, just as the other people of the world.”

By Soozy Duncan.
viva palestina-us.org
vivapalestina.org

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Israel defence dept says naval movements preparation for war with Iran

More details on the movement of Israeli naval ships through the Suez canal. The ships concerned are the exact same ones the UK has refused to sell some spare parts for.
Israel's recent deployment of warships across the Red Sea should be seen as serious preparation for an attack on Iran, an Israeli defense official told the Times of London on Thursday.

"This is preparation that should be taken seriously. Israel is investing time in preparing itself for the complexity of an attack on Iran. These maneuvers are a message to Iran that Israel will follow up on its threats," the official was quoted as saying.

Earlier this week, two Israel Navy gunboats openly sailed through the Suez Canal into the Red Sea.

The ships that passed through the Suez Canal on Tuesday were two Sa'ar 5 gunboats, the Hanit and the Eilat. This follows a similar incident in late June, when an Israeli Dolphin-class submarine passed through the canal, later returning the same way.

The move, apparently coordinated with Egypt, is seen as a warning message to Middle Eastern radicals, first and foremost Iran.

more at Haaretz

Israel prevents French diplomatic visit to Gaza

JERUSALEM, July 15 (UPI) -- Israel prevented French diplomats from entering Gaza to celebrate Bastille Day, because of Gilad Shalit's ongoing captivity, Israeli security officials said.

The diplomats should not be allowed to celebrate a holiday
of freedom and human rights while the kidnapped soldier remains in captivity, an official told Haaretz Wednesday.

More at UPI.com

But what about the captivity of the other 1.5 million people in Gaza you may ask.

Viva Palestina US arrives in Gaza

WE ARE IN GAZA!!!!

UK hospitals raise funds for medical aid for Gaza

By Tyrone Marshall »


Staff from local healthcare services have been organising concerts to raise money to buy medical supplies and aid for the people in the Gaza strip.

John May, Paramedic, Kath Hill, Ambulance Technician and Karen Pennington, A and E Charge Nurse held two concerts to raise money for aid supplies to the poverty stricken Gaza strip.

The concerts were well attended by staff from both the Royal Preston and Chorley and South Ribble Hospital sites. They managed to raise over £1,000 and were helped with the running of the events by Dr Younes Bazza, senior staff grade doctor who earlier in the year, travelled with Ventas Humanitarian Aid to administer medical aid following the most recent conflict.

Dr Bazza, said: “I am delighted that the event was such a success, the money raised for medical aid will be greatly appreciated and is sorely needed.

“Hospitals in Gaza struggle to cope with the number of patients they are asked to treat and the training of clinicians is certainly not up to the standard enjoyed in the UK.

“I have experienced first hand the need for aid, and in particular for trauma medicine. During the most recent conflict the whole of the healthcare system in Gaza was damaged and it is important that we try and help in the rebuilding of it.”

Thanks to the Lancashire Telegraph

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Abbas bans Al-Jazzera from West Bank following Arafat killing charge

The Palestinian Authority said today it was suspending the West Bank operations of al-Jazeera, alleging incitement and unbalanced reporting by the Arab news station from the Palestinian territories.

A Palestinian official says the decision was taken by President Mahmoud Abbas who was outraged by an al-Jazeera talkshow, broadcast yesterday, that dealt with harsh accusations against PA leader by a long-time rival in his Fatah movement. The rival, Farouk Kaddoumi, claimed – without presenting evidence – that Abbas had a role in the 2004 death of his predecessor, Yasser Arafat.

More at the Guardian

Viva Palestina US receive permit for rafah crossing

The Viva Palestina US caravan has received a permit to allow the group passage through the Rafah gate and into Gaza after spending 10 days in Cairo trying to overcome a series of bureaucratic delays.

The American convoy is mobilizing to carry busloads of supplies to the people of Gaza on Wednesday, July 15, and expects no further delays to their humanitarian mission because the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had already confirmed that all 200 delegates have satisfied all technical requirements required for travel.

Weeks ago, the Viva Palestina US convoy received assurances from Egyptian diplomats that they would expedite the delivery of a convoy of trucks, medical and relief supplies and American human rights volunteers into Gaza, but restrictions were then imposed on the initial Viva Palestina plan.

“We are now on our way to complete our humanitarian mission, more determined than ever and stronger in heart than when we entered Egypt,” says George Galloway, British Member of Parliament. “We now look forward to seeing in a matter of hours the faces of the besieged people of Gaza.”

This is a victory for the people of Gaza. We were determined not to be denied in bringing humanitarian aid to the children of Gaza. The silence of the world is deafening as the people of Gaza suffer, but the two hundred Americans and over one million dollars worth of aide that is going through confirms our commitment to a free Palestine. Long live the people of Palestine.

———-

In Arabic بالعربية

بيان صادر عن قافلة تحيا فلسطين

14 تموز 2009، الساعة 11 بتوقيت القاهرة

لقد أستلمت قافلةViva Palestina (تحيا فلسطين) تصريحا يسمح لأعضائها بالتحرك باتجاه معبر رفح و السماح لهم دخول غزة، بعد 10 أيام من التأخير و الانتظار في القاهرة لاتمام بعض الروتين الحكومي.

القافلة الامريكية ستتحرك يوم الاربعاء الموافق 15 من تموز في باصات محملة بمواد طبية. ولا تتوقع القافلة أن يتم تأخير هذه المهمة الانسانية البحتة بعد الان لأن وزير الخارجية قد صرح أن اعضاء القافلة المئتين قد أكملوا جميع المتطلبات التقنية للسماح لهم للسفر الى غزة.

لقد تلقت القافلة في الاسابيع السابقة تطمينات من دبلوماسين مصريين بتسريع دخول القافلة بما تملكه من شاحنات و مواد طيبية و اغاثية الى غزة و السماح للمتطوعين الامريكين بالدخول الى غزة، و لكن تم وضع الكثير من القيود على القافلة عند قدومها لمصر.

حيث قال جورج جالوي “اننا الأن في طريقنا لاكمال مهمتنا الانسانية، و عزيمتنا الان اقوى مما كانت عليه عند دخولنا لمصر”، و اضاف العضو في البرلمان البريطاني “اننا الان ننتظر الساعات القادمة لنرى وجوه اهل غزة المحاصرين”.

هذا انتصار لأهل غزة. و نحن كلنا عزيمة لنوصل المساعدات الانسانية لاطفال غزة. و في الوقت الذي يسكت العالم بأسره على هذا الحصار الظالم لغزة الا ان اعضاء القافلة الامريكية و ما يحملوه من مساعدات انسانية مقدرة بمليون دولار تثبت حرصها على تحرير فلسطين. تحيا فلسطين و شعب فلسطين

Israeli soldiers admit to using Palestinian civilians as human shields

The first eye-witness accounts of the war by serving Israeli reservists and conscripts describes the Israeli use of Palestinian civilians as "human shields". They detail the killing of at least two civilians, the vandalism, looting and wholesale destruction of Palestinian houses, the use of deadly white phosphorus, bellicose religious advice from army rabbis and what another battalion commander described to his troops as "insane firepower with artillery and air force". The reports amount to the most formidable challenge by Israelis since the Gaza war to the military's own considered view that it conducted the operation according to international law..
more at the Independent

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Egypt allows Israeli warships through Suez Canal to threaten Iran

While the Egyptian government is busy blocking aid to its Arab brothers and sisters in Gaza it is only too happy to assist Israel in its war plans against Iran.

Egypt has allowed two Israeli warships to travel through the Suez canal to the Red Sea, the first time such movements have been allowed. We can safely assume that the two warships weren't flying the flag on the Suez leg of their voyage.
Two Israel Navy warships made a rare crossing of Egypt's Suez Canal on Tuesday, heading from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea, a port source told AFP, in a voyage that could be seen as a warning signal to Iran.

One of the ships, the Hanit, had reportedly already crossed the canal both ways in June, in what the source was quoted as saying was the first case of a large Israeli warship using the strategic waterway. However, this was not possible to confirm officially.

The other ship to cross on Tuesday, the Eilat, was named after a destroyer sunk by Egypt with the loss of 47 lives shortly after the 1967 Six Day War, the source told AFP. more at Haaretz

UK stops sale of spare parts to Israel's navy but lets everything else through

Good to see the UK stopping the selling of spare parts for the Saar-class corvette missile ships used in the recent criminal bombardment of civilians in the Gaza Strip. The UK only provides about 1% of Israel's needs (US = 95%) but that one percent includes critical elements such as these parts for the navy and engines for its drones.

But the bad news is that the UK approved for export around 150 other pieces of military equipment, highlighting the token nature of the UK gesture against this militarised state that regularly indulges in war crimes to maintain its oppressive occupation of Palestine.

But it does show that the political pressure on Israel is mounting despite Lieberman's bluster and the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign is gaining tractions.

Chavez may be joining convoy to break Gaza siege


The British MP George Galloway is expected to arrive in Gaza by Wednesday leading a convoy of 255 US citizens that are bringing humanitarian aid to the impoverished strip.

The Gaza de facto government’s commission on delegations made known that Galloway’s convoy will try to enter the Strip through the Egyptian border crossing in Rafah. They will arrive to the border crossing on Tuesday evening. Galloway’s last visit to Gaza was in March. During that visit the British lawmaker donated a fleet of ambulances and 25,000 British pounds to the de facto government in Gaza.Former US Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney has travelled to Egypt to join Galloway’s convoy. McKinney had just been deported by Israel last week for her presence on the Free Gaza boats, that were sailing to Gaza with hard needed humanitarian aid.

Thanks to the International Middle east Media Center

Press TV reported today on a story at Ma'an agency that George Galloway is organising another convoy to the Strip, this time with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. I can't find confirmation of this report at the Ma'an website at this time or at Viva Palestina, although a date for the next UK convoy has been announced - 4 October 2009.

Venezuela broke off diplomatic relations with Israel when it killed at least 1,400 people in its recent war on Gaza.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Egyptian authorities block Viva Palestina US convoy entry to Gaza

The Viva Palestina members who spent the night in their buses at the Suez Crossing after being stopped by Egyptian authorities on July 11 have now rendezvoused in Cairo with British Member of Parliament George Galloway and former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, who has rushed to join the convoy following her deportation from Israel on Wednesday.

Galloway, McKinney and the Viva Palestina leadership have been working with Egyptian and U.S. authorities to expedite the passage of the convoy over the Suez Canal and into Gaza.

Egyptian authorities have held up the convoy claiming that it has not acquired the necessary travel permits from U.S. officials in order to cross into Gaza. But the convoy sent copious documentation, on request, to several Egyptian state officials before even setting foot in Cairo.

More at Viva Palestina US

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Video of Israeli Navy threatening and getting ready to board

>See link to video at the bottom of this post.

Interview with Cynthia McKinney
Cynthia McKinney is a former US Representative who served from 1993-2003 and from 2005-2008 . She was the 2008 Green Party presidential nominee and has been an active member of the Free Gaza Movement. In 2004, The Backbone Campaign awarded her the fifth annual Backbone Award "because she was willing to challenge the Bush administration and called for an investigation into 9/11 when few others dared to air their criticism and questions." Here, Ishmahil Blagrove, Jr. talks to McKinney about her experience with the situation in Gaza and her views on today's political landscape.

Last year in the midst of the Israeli onslaught against the people of Gaza, you attempted to break the Israeli siege by entering by boat. What happened?
We were rammed by the Israelis. There I got a chance to see the complicity of the media. We had CNN on board and the CNN reporter was literally arguing in the midst of a tragedy; he was arguing with headquarters because they didn't believe what he was telling them. They would have rather run the story as the Israelis told them. I have seen how the media self-censor, twist, contort themselves to report misleading stories and then they report outright lies.

What is the situation in Gaza and explain to me why you feel so passionate about getting into Gaza and assisting?
I think we all know at least what we all saw on Al Jazeera Arabic and Press TV: the images of white phosporous and the F16's and the helicopters. We saw all of that and those two stations in particular ran almost 24-hour coverage. People in the United States couldn't see those images on CNN because CNN was missing in action, but through the power of and access to the internet, people in the United States were able to see the images. Never have we been able to discuss what US policy is in Israel, but we were able to see the F16's given to Israel by the United States, the depleted Uranium munitions given to Israel by the United States, the white phosperous given to Israel by the United States. And so the United States is as complicit and even more complicit; the Israelis used it but the Americans gave them the wherewithal to use it.

Why do believe there has not been more international attention given to the plight of the Palestinians?
The media as we know it – and I can only speak mainly about US media and the media that is owned by the US media in other parts of the world – they are what I call special interest media and the special interest media have demonstrated amply that they serve the political aims and values of certain special interests inside the United States, whose goal is to affect the formulation of policy. And so we don't get a discussion of Gaza and the Palestinian plight inside the United States as we should because it doesn't serve the special interests in Washington, DC who lobby for a particular point of view that does not favor the Palestinians. There was an advert for Gaza that the BBC were supposed to run and they refused to run it and it was unprecedented that they would refuse to run an advert requesting help, relief for besieged people; but that shows the power of special interests operating in Britain. The Zionist lobby is powerful in the United States; it is the most powerful lobby that operates in Washington, DC and we saw it flex its muscle in Britain during Operation Cast Lead with the BBC.

What are President Obama's policies in the region?
On the day that we were turned away from embarking upon our peace mission in Cyprus, President Obama signed over a 100 billion dollar supplemental appropriation for more war and occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan. The drones continue to kill people in Pakistan, the increase level of troops in Afghanistan, the perception of Russia and China as enemies throw back to the days of the cold war, the continued search for a home for AFRICOM: these are not things that we should be proud of coming from a President with the name Barrack Hussein Obama. But, in fact, this is what is happening under his administration. We also have seen the greatest transfer of wealth out of the hands of African Americans that we have ever seen probably since slavery, not only out of the hands of African Americans, but out of the hands of Latinos and increasingly out of the hands of middle-class white Americans as well

Many people suggest that because there is an African American president, that change has come. Are you hopeful?
What American people and the global community were subjected to was very well financed Madison Avenue propaganda. A slick media campaign to promote someone whom the United States people didn't even know. He and I were sworn in together in 2005 in the Congress; this was when he walked into a Senate seat virtually unopposed. Now, when was the last time an African American ever was given a Senate seat? I don't think it's ever happened, even during the times of reconstruction when we had black Senators, black Governors; those positions of power were earned, through the blood and the toil of black people who went to the polls and voted in what, at that time, were fair elections.

Then why do you believe that President Obama was elected?
I think the American people were looking for dignity. I think the dignity of our country had been stripped from us as a result of the publication of the photos around Abu Ghraib, the information came out about the lies of Iraq and we had been through 9/11 and the Administration knowingly lied and tied 9/11 to Iraq and so there were a lot of things that the American people wanted desperately to take a blue pill for. And I'm referring to the blue pill of the Matrix, where one takes the blue pill and slips into a world of make believe and so that's where many people are.

What do you think it will take to get that dramatic shift in American public opinion?
The American people need information. If you look at what happened in Vietnam, the policy was taken out of the hands of the joint Chiefs and put into the hands of the people. When the television images came into every living room in the United States, people understood that they needed to change policy themselves. I hope the American people only need information because once their conscience is pricked with that information then they will be compelled to do something different.

You are back in Cyprus for a second time; what is the purpose of your mission now?
The purpose of the mission is to assert our belief in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. That it is our right to travel anywhere in the world that we so choose and it is the right of people in other parts of the world to receive us, if they choose to do so.

Why have you taken up the cause of the Palestinian people?
I have been asked that a lot because I am not Arab, I'm not Muslim. So, why do I care? Well, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said it best: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." And this is clearly a gross injustice; this is genocide, crimes against humanity. How can anyone remain silent in the face of this? During the civil rights movement, we were outraged at our treatment and we just couldn't vote; here, Palestinians can't live.

July 2009

The following video is the last footage taken onboard the Spirit Of Humanity before its voyage to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza was prematurely halted by Isreali special forces. It shows the atmosphere inside the cabin as the crew try to negotiate with the Isreali ship via radio.:

PLEASE, send this video out to everyone. When you go to the link, there are several paragraphs written about what happened. At the bottom of the page, you will see the video. We are still recovering other video pieces which we will also send out. Ishmahil from RicenPeas and his staff put this one together.
http://www.ricenpeas.com/2009/July/cynthia_mckinney_intvw.html

--
Greta Berlin
Free Gaza Movement
357 99 284 102
www.freegaza.org
www.flickr.com/photos/29205195@N02/

Friday, 10 July 2009

Rabbis start fast to lift siege on Gaza

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- An ad hoc group of rabbis is organizing a monthly communal fast to protest Israel's actions in Gaza.

Called Ta'anit Tzedek -- Jewish Fast for Gaza, the water-only fast will take place on the third Thursday of every month from sunrise to sunset, with the first fast scheduled for July 16. Participants also are being asked sign onto a statement at the group's Web site and donate money they save on food to the Milk for Preschoolers Campaign sponsored by American Near Eastern Refugee Aid, a campaign fighting malnutrition among Gazan preschool children.

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