Friday, 30 July 2010

Arab League calls for direct talks with Israel despite Palestinian opposition


The Arab League has given its blessing for the Palestinian Authority to open direct talks with Israel, although the 'timing' is left in Abbas's hands. Yesterday both the PA and Hamas restated their position, objecting to any such talks while settlements continued to expand. Abbas obviously has to tread carefully following the Goldstone debacle when he initially sided with the US by calling for a suspension of judgment by the UN human rights council inquiry.
CAIRO (Reuters) – The Arab League said on Thursday it would back face-to-face peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel when the Palestinians believe the time is right.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, facing U.S. pressure to agree to such talks, has said he first wants progress in U.S.-mediated, indirect negotiations that began two months ago with the Arab League's blessing.

Abbas briefed the Arab League's peace process committee in Cairo on Thursday about the indirect talks, which will end in September according to a timeframe set by the League. more

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Settlers takeover two-story building in East Jerusalem, evicting Palestinian families

(libray pic: Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem)

When is this criminality and ethnic cleansing going to end? The settlers turned up at the apartments, fake documents in hand claiming ownership, with the police in tow to facilitate their takeover.
Israeli settlers accompanied by police took over a building in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem early Thursday morning, evicting families from three of the building's apartments.

Israeli National Police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said two Jewish families entered the Old City home "based on documents claiming that they owned the property." He described the eviction as proceeding without incident. more

Israel won't pay medical bills for Jewish-American activist who lost eye in police attack on flotilla protest


pic by Daniel Bar-on

Israel is refusing to pay the medical bills for American-Israeli pro-Palestine activist, Emily Henochowicz. She lost an eye after being hit in the face by a tear gas canister on a protest against the flotilla massacre. Such are the limits of Zionism, even on its own terms: a state, but only for Jewish people that agree with us. The incident happened at the Qalandia checkpoint on the West Bank, just south of Ramallah where demonstrators were confronting border police.
The Israeli government is refusing to pay the cost of medical care for an American-Jewish activist who lost an eye when Border Police officers fired a tear gas canister at her during a demonstration.

Emily Henochowicz, who is studying at the Bezalel Academy of Art in Jerusalem and also holds Israeli citizenship, took part in a protest on May 31, shortly after Israel killed nine pro-Palestinian activists in a raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla. more

Hamas and Palestinian Authority reject talks with Israel while it steals more land


Fatah-aligned Abbas, head of the Palestinian Authority, is making it clear there will be no direct talks with Israel until the freezing of all settlement activity. Begs the question, why is the PA going along with the vacuous proximity talks given that Israel hasn't stopped its strategy of creating facts on the ground.
RAMALLAH/GAZA, July 29 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is currently visiting Cairo, and the leaders of Gaza-ruling Islamic Hamas movement announced on Thursday that they rebuff the resumption of direct peace negotiations with Israel.

Abbas insisted that the Palestinian leadership will only accept to resume the direct talks if the Jewish state declares a progress in the U.S.-sponsored four-month proximity talks and freezes settlement activities in the Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem.

Hamas movement's leaders, in the meanwhile, insisted that Abbas and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) should completely severe any peace talks with Israel, whether it is direct or indirect. Instead, Hamas wants the Palestinians to adopt "armed resistance" against Israel.

Senior Palestinian officials announced on Thursday that Abbas would inform the Arab League Committee for Mideast peace that he would reject direct talks with Israel until his demands are met. more

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Egypt bars Iranian MPs from entering Gaza through Rafah on solidarity mission


True to form, the egyptian dictatorship is refusing to give visas to Iranian lawmakers who wish to enter Gaza through the Rafah crossing. Egypt's long and sordid history of collaboration with Israel is winning it no friends in the region, so It can nly be the US underwriting the Egyptian economy that keeps Mubarak onside, and his own fear of the Islamic Brotherhood, at home and abroad. The last Viva Palestina land convoy was attacked by Egyptian security forces when it tried to enter Gaza using the Sinai route. Also, while we're on collaboration with Israel, Egypts has also closed down 10 tunnels into the strip:
TEHRAN — Egypt has denied visas to four Iranian lawmakers who planned to travel to the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip, Iran's Press TV reported on Wednesday.

"The Egyptian government has stonewalled the visa process... no visa has been issued for the MPs as of yet," Mahmoud Ahmadi Bighash, one of the four lawmakers, was quoted as saying by the English-language television's website.

The other three lawmakers were Evaz Heydarpour, Parviz Sarouri and Shobayb Jouyjari. They were due to leave for the densely populated, impoverished Palestinian enclave on Tuesday.

On July 21, Mehr news agency reported that the four would enter Gaza through Egypt's Rafah crossing. more

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

UK prime minister Cameron calls Gaza a prison camp


British prime minister Cameron has described the Israeli-imposed siege as turning Gaza into a prison camp. Well I never - a Tory speaking the truth. But what was the context I hear you ask? Well, he is on a visit to Turkey so, really, it was the least he could say after the murder of eight of Turkey's citizens (and one Turkish-American) at the hands of the Israeli state for doing nothing more than trying to deliver aid to the people of Gaza.

Now, having said that, it's going to make the pro-Israel crowd, such as the Conservative Friends of Israel, hopping mad so that's something to cheer.

Israel backs down on international inquiry into Gaza flotilla killings


Israel has agreed to co-operate with an inquiry by the UN into the flotilla massacre, according to reports. It is thought Israel has agreed the move as a way of heading off an inquiry by the UN Human Rights Council which Israel loathes even more than the general assembly. It is under the auspices of the UNHRC that the Goldstone investigation and report on Israel's Gaza war crimes was conducted.

At last week's meeting in Washington Obama probably told Netanyahu to wise up and go along with the talking shop as the US will make sure nothing substantive will come out of it by way of criticism or action against Israel. Unfortunately that's probably true, but nevertheless it is an indication of the growing isolation of the settler state, showing that those activists murdered on the flotilla did not die in vain.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Air strikes hit tunnels in south and workshop in northern Gaza


Israel has launched air strikes across the Gaza strip. Tunnels in the south were attacked as well as a light industrial workshop in the north, which Israel laughably claims was a 'weapons manufacturing site'. Thankfully, no casualties have been reported. Rockets were fired into the Negev desert from Gaza at the weekend in retaliation for IDF shelling earlier in the week which left one person dead. Naturally, that's not mentioned in the CNN report in the link above - bit like how the western mainstream media covers the Afghanistan war, where they take every 'coalition' press release as fact, as they do IDF ones.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Israeli intelligence services in overdrive to counter 'bad PR'



Excellent piece on Israel's response to the BDS campaign. Bill going through parliament will lead to punitive economic measures against the Pallestinian Authority because of its call for a Palestine and worldwide boycott of settlement goods. The law if passed would also criminalise Israeli activists who support the boycott. After noting the growing reach of the BDS campaign, a recent report to an Israeli security conference recommended that:
'Israeli Intelligence community "collect, analyze and disseminate information initiate "operations" in areas relevant to Israel's PR campaign, and direct the intelligence agencies towards thwarting anti-Israeli public relations.' [3 mins into video]
Israel's defenders just don't get it. It's not a problem of presentation and PR but rather the plain fact of colonialism and oppression underpinning the state that is the problem. And that can't be wished away. The arrogance of being an imperial outpost for the US seems to blind even the most astute and strategic thinkers in Israel from facing this reality. Instead they resort to ever more desperate acts, further isolating their position.

Israel threatens Lebanon as aid ships Junia and Julia prepare to leave for Gaza


As the two Lebanese ships, Junia and Julia - one carrying women, the other journalists - ready to leave for Gaza, Israel is ramping up its diplomatic efforts to to halt the aid mission - now thinly veiled military threats against the Lebanese government as Lebanon's Daily Star reports below:
UNITED NATIONS: Israel is urging Lebanon and the international community to prevent two ships from sailing to Gaza from a Lebanese port to break Israel’s blockade of the Palestinian territory. It warned that the vessels will be stopped.

Israel’s UN Ambassador Gabriela Shalev accused organizers of the aid ships Junia and Julia of seeking “to incite a confrontation and raise tensions in our region.”

A deadly Israeli commando raid on a Turkish ship trying to bring aid to Gaza on May 31 killed one Turkish-American and eight Turkish activists and focused international attention on Israel’s blockade of Gaza imposed since 2006.

In letters to UN chief Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council obtained Thursday by The AP, Shalev said that “Israel reserves its right under international law to use all necessary means to prevent these ships from violating the … naval blockade.”

She called on Beirut “to demonstrate responsibility” and prevent the two ships, Junia and Julia, from departing.

Israel and Lebanon remain “in a state of hostility,” Shalev said, and “such action will prevent any escalation.” more

)
The UN seems to be falling into line with Israeli demands if spokesperson Martin Nesirky is anything to go by. This from the Jerusalem Post:
On Friday, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky, relating to the planned Lebanese flotilla, said those who wish to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza should do so by land and not try to break Israel’s sea blockade.
Hamas has denounced the statement as tantamount to colllaboration with Israel's illegal naval blockade and land siege, which of course it is.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Palestinian children take on the Israeli army as settlers steal their water



Children take on IDF.. A violent Israeli incursion into the embattled Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh is met by a children’s protest that disrupts the army’s tactics and visibly upsets the soldiers. Nabi Saleh has been waging a popular struggle to stop settlers from the nearby colony of Chalamish from stealing their spring and annexing privately owned Palestinian land. The Israeli army arrives each week to violently suppress the villagers’ protests.

Thanks to Palestina

Spaniards sue Israel for crimes against humanity as two more ships to sail for Gaza


Two Spaniards who were aboard the Freedom Flotilla are suing members of the Israeli government for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Expect this to be the first of many.

A message from Gaza Solidarity to Israeli government functionaries: be very careful where you travel, you might get arrested.
Madrid - Two Spanish activists who were on board the aid flotilla raided by Israeli troops on May 31 on Friday sued Israel for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Nine Turkish activists were killed in the attack.

Manuel Tapial and Laura Arau - two of the three Spaniards who were on board the ships - lodged a complaint against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, six members of his cabinet and a senior military officer at Spain's National Court.

Tapial said his aid association would send two Spanish-flagged ships to Gaza in an attempt to break Israel's blockade.
more

Johnny Rotten defends Israel tour with his own brand of anti-Arab racism


The not so anti-establishment John Lydon, ex-frontman for the Sex Pistols, is proving himself to as rubbish at politics as he is at music. Unlike other prominent artists, Lydon is going ahead with a tour of apartheid Israel. In defence of his move he displayed his anti-Arab racism and ignorance in his interview with the UK's Independent newspaper:
"I really resent the presumption that I'm going there to play to right-wing Nazi jews," he tells me. "If Elvis-fucking-Costello wants to pull out of a gig in Israel because he's suddenly got this compassion for Palestinians, then good on him. But I have absolutely one rule, right? Until I see an Arab country, a Muslim country, with a democracy, I won't understand how anyone can have a problem with how they're treated."
For more on John Lydon's rotten politics go to Reading PSC

Mavi Marmara to be returned to Turkey as isolated Israel backs down


Israel has decided to return the Mavi Marmara and two other flotilla vessels. The Israelis had originally demanded, illegally as always, that the owners of the vessels make a binding undertaking not to mount any further aid missions to Gaza. The owners, to their credit, refused.
Israel will return the Turkish aid ships on which its troops killed nine activists in May, Israeli officials said on Friday, in what appeared to be a new bid to repair frayed ties with its former ally.

Turkey, once a rare Muslim friend of Israel, withdrew its ambassador and suspended joint military exercises after the May 31 raid on the ships taking aid to Gaza. Ankara has also demanded an apology, something Israel has resolutely refused.

While Israel lost a powerful ally in the region, Turkey also rallied outraged Arab and Muslim nations and while doing so staked its claim to a leading role in the Middle East under its AK Party government which has its roots in political Islam.

Talks to return the Mavi Marmara cruise ship and the two other flotilla vessels had been held up by Israel's demand that the owners sign undertakings not to mount new aid missions to the Hamas-run Palestinian territory.

"A decision was made yesterday to allow the ships to leave without further conditions. Turkey has been informed. They will leave soon," an Israeli official said. more

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Palestinian man shot dead by IDF near Barqan settlement as Gaza shelling raises tension


Palestinian shot dead by IDF, one injured. The two were walking near an illegal settlement near Hebron. Islamic Jihad has warned that yesterday's shelling of northern Gaza is a 'serious escalation'.
Nablus – Ma’an – A Palestinian man was killed and a second injured by Israeli gunfire in the occupied West Bank on Thursday morning, Palestinian security officials said.

They told Ma’an that an Israeli force opened fire on the two at 4:30 a.m. at the entrance of the illegal Barqan settlement in the Salfit district, killing one man while the second was injured. more

Pro-Palestine activist numbers swell as International Solidarity Movement action helps isolate Israel and highlight crimes


Excellent write up on the Los Angeles Times site today by AP staffer Diaa Hadid, focusing on the International Solidarity Movement's success in highlighting Israel's crimes. The Free Gaza Movement that has been organising boats to Gaza for over two years is an offshoot of the movement (see Washington Post article also). It's just a shame it takes westerners to die before any of the western democracies take notice of the ongoing crimes of Israel. Abdallah Abu Rahmah from Bil'in village on the West Bank is in prison serving a two-month sentence for organising demonstrations in his village and walking its streets in defiance of an Israeli curfew aimed at preventing such demonstrations. More on his case at the ISM. Clip from LA Times below:
High on success, pro-Palestinian group that organized Gaza flotilla attracts more volunteers

BEIT JALA, West Bank (AP) — The stream of ships heading to Gaza in defiance of Israel's blockade reflects the success of a pro-Palestinian group that's been creatively confronting Israel for years. High on victory, they are flush with new volunteers.

Activists of the International Solidarity Movement first sailed to Gaza in summer 2008 to challenge Israel's blockade of the Hamas-ruled territory. Most recently in May, it organized a Gaza-bound flotilla that led to a botched Israeli raid that killed nine activists, sparked an international outcry and forced Israel to ease its 3-year-old blockade.

In recent weeks, Israel has allowed more goods into Gaza.

"Around the world, we motivated people who were frustrated but didn't know what to do," said Huwaida Arraf, 34, co-founder of the ISM and its naval spinoff, the Free Gaza Movement, which organized the May flotilla. Since the movement's ships began, other groups have joined them or imitated them with their own ships trying to reach Gaza's shores — some of them successfully.

Israel is trying to crack down harder on ISM, and the group has also come under criticism for putting volunteers in danger.

Still, more people are volunteering
. more

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

One dead and seven injured as IDF shells northern Gaza


Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza is being shelled. One person has been killed so far and seven injured. Resistance fighters say they have shot one Israeli soldier, according to Maan news agency.
Gaza – Ma'an – A Palestinian man was killed and seven others were injured by Israeli tank shelling that reportedly targeted armed Palestinian operatives in the northern Gaza Strip on Wednesday afternoon.

Medics at Beit Hanoun Government Hospital identified the slain man as Mohammad Al-Kafarneh, 22. Seven others sustained serious wounds and one was listed in critical condition, hospital officials said. They were not immediately identified.

An Israeli soldier was also shot, the armed wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine said. The National Resistance Brigades said its forces targeted an Israeli patrol that crossed into Palestinian territory along the 300-meter no-go zone east of Beit Hanoun. A sniper "fired directly at an Israeli soldier who was inside Gaza, near Beit Hanoun, at 2:50 p.m. Wednesday evening," the armed group said in a statement. more

Swedish activist forcefully detained by Israeli soldiers faces trial in Jerusalem


Israel has been targeting internationals in the pro-Palestine movement for some time. In addition to killing them they are also harassing and arresting activists on the streets.
A Swedish peace activist was arrested in Hebron last night and stood trial today in Jerusalem.

Nursing student Marcus Rednanver was accused of assaulting a soldier at a peaceful demonstration in Hebron 10 days ago.

Witnesses say the charge is baseless and that he has been targeted by police arbitrarily.

The judge ordered that he be detained and questioned for a further two days.

At approximately 11PM last night (20 July 2010) Rednanver and another Swedish man were passing a checkpoint near Tel Rumeida when soldiers forcefully detained him, confiscated his passport and called police.

Rednanver was not told where he had been taken but believed it was a police station near Hebron.

Officials at the Court of Peace in the Russian Compound, Jerusalem, heard his case at 12.30 this afternoon. Following the judge’s ruling he was led wasy in handcuffs and shackled at the ankles. He told friends who attended the hearing that he had not been fed since he was arrested.

He will be released on Friday 23rd at 12 noon unless the police investigation can produce new evidence.
For more information contact

ISM Media Office – 0545581494 or 0546180056

palreports@gmail.com

Thanks to ISM

Israel demolishes West Bank village after cutting water and declaring it live-fire zone


Just when you thought Israel couldn't stoop any lower it has. The IDF has demolished a West Bank village after the authorities cut off the water to it to get rid of the people, in a long-running practice of declaring areas live-fire zones. Some of the people from the village have lived there for decades according to Haaretz. The people who have been driven out of the village have also lost their livelihoods as they were mostly sheep farmers. The Israeli occupiers do not allow Palestinians to grow on their land in the Jordan Valley.

The stench of racism and colonialism is heightened this morning by the news of an Arab man being charged with rape after consensual sex with a Jewish woman. That smacks of Nazis-style race laws.
Since 1967, Israel has prevented Palestinian communities in the Jordan Valley from growing, whether by cutting off their water supply, declaring large areas as live fire zones or banning all construction.

About a year ago the IDF set up hundreds of warning signs near Palestinian farming communities, marking them closed military areas. Such a sign was set up at the entrance to Farasiya.

The families had recently been forced to leave the village when the Israeli authorities cut it off from its water sources, said the popular committees' coordinator in the valley, Fathi Hadirat. The villagers were forbidden to use the water wells the Mekorot Water Company had dug in the area.

Hadirat said a few years ago the Civil Administration destroyed the pipe the villages had laid from a nearby stream used for drinking water and irrigation.

Since then they have been watering the sheep and fields with water unfit for human consumption, pumped from a salt water source. They received drinking water in tanks.

About four months ago the IDF confiscated their pumps. On Sunday, 10 families from Bardala, a village north of Farasiya, were given demolition notices. more

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

This Ramadhan don't break your fast with Israeli dates


Ramadan is a time of year when we remember those who are less fortunate than ourselves. When we break our fasts with dates, it would be an affront to us all if these dates were the produce of Illegal Israeli settlements built on land stolen from Palestinians.

Israeli produced Medjoul dates are grown in the Jordan Valley within Illegal Israeli settlements. They form a large part of the agriculture from these settlements and they are exported all over the world. Purchasing these dates means that you are actually helping Israeli settlements to continue to exist.
Israelis will claim that Palestinians are allowed to work on the land of these settlers and therefore they are provided with jobs and a boycott will harm them. In actual fact, these Palestinians are employed for paltry wages, and they are required to do the back-breaking work that the Israeli settlers will not do themselves. This means the Israeli settlers reap the rewards for the harvests while doing very little of the work themselves.

Palestinian children are employed by these settlers, and they are forced to work long hours under a hot baking sun for small sums of money. This exploitation means that these children miss out on an education.
Most of these dates are exported to Europe.


http://www.aqsa.org.uk/RESOURCES/BoycottIsraeliDates/tabid/163/language/en-GB/Default.aspx

Soldier who killed pro-Palestine activist Tom Hurndall released after only six years in prison


Israel is a democracy with an independent and fair-minded judiciary didn't you know? In another blow to Israel's carefully cultivated image as an outpost of 'western values' in a sea of Arab/Muslim backwardness, the soldier who murdered British activist Tom Hurndall is to be released from prison after only six years - he was only sentenced to eight in the first place. Naturally the conservative-liberal UK government, stuffed as it is with friends of Israel, despite Clegg's supposed Palestinian sympathies, will say and do nothing by way of protest.
The family of British activist Tom Hurndall have said they are angry that the Israeli soldier who killed him is to be released early from prison.

Taysir Hayb will be freed next month after serving six years of his eight-year sentence, after a ruling yesterday by the Kastina military court in southern Israel.

Hurndall was shot in the head in April 2003 as he was helping Palestinian children to cross a street in the Rafah area of Gaza.

"We have barely had time to process the news. We all feel angry and shocked," Hurndall's sister Sophie told Israel's Haaretz newspaper.

Hayb was convicted of Hurndall's manslaughter in 2005 after claiming he was shooting at an armed Palestinian. He later admitted that was a lie. more

European Union urged by charities to call for total lifting of Gaza siege


The European Union's timidity in the face of the US/Israeli axis is on show again today, as NGOs, including Amnesty International, demand EU foreign policy chief Ashton does more than offer more warm words about 'easing' the collective punishment of Palestinians that this illegal siege entails.
A group of non governmental organisations have written to the EU High Representative claiming that Israel’s decision to ease the blockade of the Gaza Strip is not enough to rebuild the area’s economy.

The 19 organisations, including Amnesty International UK, Christian Aid, and War Child UK, asked Catherine Ashton to press for restrictions on Gaza to be lifted completely.

The letter, sent as Baroness Ashton visited Gaza and Israel, called on Israel to totally end the ban on exports from Gaza, allow free movement of people and ensure access to Gaza’s agricultural land and fishing grounds. more

Monday, 19 July 2010

US government's tax breaks funding illegal West Bank settlements


So the US is an honest broker in the Middle East while at the same time giving tax breaks to organisations funding settler expansionism on the West Bank, and of course arming Israel to the teeth? Go figure.
US tax deductions on West Bank settlements fund illegal activity and support "extremists and terrorists," the Palestinian Authority media center said Thursday [8 July].

“While the Palestinian people work hard to build a secure, independent state, these organizations are getting a tax break for funding settlers who steal our land and water, desecrate our places of worship, and terrorize our communities and our children,” said Ghassan Khatib, the center's chief.

“Not only does it undercut our efforts to build a democracy, it’s unfair to the American taxpayer who would like to see that money go to improve education, fund health care, or create jobs in the U.S.”

According to a recent report in the US daily The New York Times, the US Treasury lost taxes on $200 million over the past decade, due to tax breaks given to organizations that fund extremist Jewish settler groups in the West Bank. At least one of the groups has ties to a terrorist organization, the report read.

Two crossings temporarily opened as EU pressures Israel to do more


Israel has opened the Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) and A-Montar crossings as the EU's defacto foreign minister, Catherine Ashton, calls for further restrictions to be lifted.
"There needs to be an opening of the crossings for both people and goods to flow in both directions," she said at a joint news conference with Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad, ahead of her Gaza visit. more
Much of the traffic will include aid delivered to Al-Arish in Egypt by Libyan aid ship Hope.
Local sources said that the Israeli authorities will allow the entry of vans loaded with food aid. The vans were delivered to Al-Arish via Hope ship. The aid will be entered via Abu Salem crossing to the blockaded Strip from Al-Arish were the aid were unloaded. more

Friday, 16 July 2010

Help raise money for US to Gaza boat - Audacity of hope


$370,000 needs to be raised to help send a boat from the US to Gaza for the next flotilla. Donate online at http://www.ustogaza.org
U.S. Boat to Gaza

This is an important moment in history. In the aftermath of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla massacre and increased world-wide scrutiny of Israel’s blockade of Gaza, the Israeli government has mounted a huge public relations campaign spreading the lie that by letting a few more items into Gaza the blockade has been lifted. This is not the reality. Gaza is still under siege, vital building materials and other supplies are banned, exports of goods from Gaza are denied and neither ships nor people can travel without permission from Israel, permission which Israel will not give. Gaza is essentially an open-air prison under a U.S.-backed Israeli blockade.

We are planning to launch a U.S. boat to Gaza, joining a flotilla of ships from Europe, Canada, India, South Africa and parts of the Middle East due to set sail in September/October of this year. In order to succeed in this essential but costly human rights project, we need significant financial support.

Citizens around the world have responded to the plight of the Palestinian people and are taking action to help break the blockade which is suffocating the lives of the people of Gaza and denying them their liberty. The U.S. government is complicit through established policies that uncritically support Israel in its brutal attack on the Palestinian people and on those who attempt to intervene on their behalf. We in the United States must continue to step up and do our part. We must join with others from across the world to support an end to the collective punishment of 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza.

We turn to you to help make the U.S. boat, The Audacity of Hope, a reality. We must raise at least $370,000 in the next month. These funds will be used to purchase a boat large enough for 40-60 people, secure a crew, and cover the licensing and registering of the boat. In addition, the funds will subsidize some other costs of sending a U.S. delegation. We can make this happen together. For example, with 370 people giving $1,000, or with 3,700 people giving $100, we will have raised our full amount.

We have already received donations ranging from $10 to $10,000. So, give what you can and give generously. From the deck of The Audacity of Hope, we will be in a powerful and unique position to challenge U.S. foreign policy and affirm the universal obligation to uphold human rights and international law. Let us act now because every moment counts and every dollar counts. Together we will contribute to the great effort to end the blockade of Gaza and the illegal occupation of Palestine.
Please spread this appeal letter far and wide, so that others will contribute as well.

Thank you for your generosity.

On behalf of the U.S. BOAT TO GAZA,
Nic Abramson, Middle East Crisis Response
Elliott Adams, Past President, Veterans For Peace
Laurie Arbeiter, Activist Response Team
Russell Banks, Writer
Medea Benjamin, Co-founder CODEPINK
Phyllis Bennis, Institute for Policy Studies
Naomi Brussel, Activist Response Team
Allan Buchman, Founder and Artistic Director, The Culture Project
Leslie Cagan, Co-Founder United for Peace and Justice
Henry Chalfant, Film Maker
Kathleen Chalfant, New York
Kevin Clark, Midwest coordinator for Free Gaza Movement
Ellen Davidson, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions-USA
Noor Elashi, Writer
Basem Emara, Gaza Freedom March
Hedy Epstein, Palestine Solidarity Committee, St. Louis, Missouri
Mike Ferner, National President, Veterans For Peace
Felice Gelman, Gaza Freedom March
Jane Hirschmann, Jews Say No!
Jennifer Hobbs, New York City Attorney/Gaza Freedom March
Abdeen Jabara, Past President, American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Civil Rights Attorney
Tarak Kauff, Veterans for Peace
Kathy Kelly, Co-Coordinator, Voices for Creative Nonviolence
Eleanore Kennedy
Michael Kennedy
Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies, Department of History, Columbia University
Ramzi Kysia, Free Gaza Movement
Iara Lee, Cultures of Resistance/Freedom Flotilla Survivor
Helaine Meisler, Hudson Valley BDS
Gail Miller, Women of a Certain Age
Fatima Mohammadi, Attorney at Law/Freedom Flotilla Survivor
Donna Nevel, Jews Say No!
Michael Ratner, President, Center for Constitutional Rights
Mariam Said, New York
Najla Said, Actor/Writer
Hannah Schwarzschild, American Jews for a Just Peace
Kathy Sheetz, Free Gaza – USA/Freedom Flotilla Survivor
Ann Shirazi, Granny Peace Brigade
Eleanor Stein, Albany Law School
Michael Steven Smith, New York City Attorney/Author
Sarah Wellington, Activist Response Team
Ret. Col. Ann Wright, Freedom Flotilla Survivor
Dorothy M. Zellner, Veteran Civil Rights Activist

*Organizations listed for identification purposes only
Donations

Please make out tax deductible contributions of $150 or more to:

INSTITUTE FOR MEDIA ANALYSIS (Write Stand for Justice in the memo line.)
Institute for Media Analysis
143 West 4th Street #2F
New York, NY 10012
Attn: Stand for Justice


Please make out contributions under $150 to:

STAND FOR JUSTICE
Stand for Justice
PO Box 373
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Donate online at http://www.ustogaza.org

Thanks to the International Solidarity Movement

Egypt bans Jordanian trade unionists' land aid convoy from entering Gaza


Jordanian trade unionists and professionals involved in sending an overland aid convoy to Gaza, have been barred from entering Egypt. The convoy of trucks carrying humanitarian aid was expected to be allowed to pass through the Rafah crossing but Egypt has so far refused entry. The last viva Palestina convoy to enter Gaza by land was also barred from entry, with activists even being attacked and detained by Egyptian state security forces. Shame on the Egyptian government - although we are getting tired of having to say that.

Turkey/US rift deepens as flotilla organisers and Erdogan party branded supporters of terrorists


The Egyptians and the Americans are worried. Turkey is now cast in heroic light in the Arab world, while Egypt is reviled as the state that collaborates with Israel and the US in strangling Gaza. The US, exhibiting the typical paranoia of the tyrant, doesn't understand why erstwhile allies are turning against them. US foreign policy people can't get it into their heads that it is their policies in the Middle East that is pushing Turkey, and other countries, away - not some dastardly Islamist plot in Istanbul.

According to the New York Times up to 10 members of the ruling Justice and Development were going to be on the Mavi Marmara but were warned off by senior government officials, although the thrust of the article, headlined 'Sponsor of flotilla tied to elite of Turkey', is how Turkish prime minister Erdogan has benefited from the murderous Israeli attack on the Freedom Flotilla. What the article fails to grasp is that the Turkish ruling class is also hermetically tied through the military and big business to the West, be it the US or Europe.

There are undoubtedly strains within the Turkish state but western commentators shouldn't fear 'losing' Turkey just yet. What they need to start worrying about is the people on the streets, but Erdogan will do his best to prevent the developing solidarity movement growing over into a challenge to the ruling elite, despite his differences with the army and the 'secularists'. And besides, Turkey's rulers still have the Kurds to oppress, at home and abroad. In addition, Israel will hope that the threat of it helping the Kurds against Turkey will be enough to curtail this supposed turn to the East by Ankara and what they see as Erdogan playing to the gallery in the run up to important elections.

The Humanitarian Relief Foundation, which spearheaded the organisation of the flotilla, is now seen by Israel and Washington as a supporter of 'terrorism' because of its humanitarian work in Palestine. This obviously creates a problem with NATO ally Turkey; even more so, as the Times is eager to point, given the charity's links to the ruling party. Turkey needs to stand fast in the face of Israel's lies about any and all organisations providing political, financial or humanitarian support to the people of Gaza.
“We are not trying to disengage ourselves from I.H.H. because of the current allegations on their terror links — we are simply not related with them,” the official said. “We consider Israeli efforts to link I.H.H. with terror in light of fake intelligence reports and hence hold AK Party government responsible for the killing of nine innocent people as extremely cheap and improper tactics.” more

Indeed the US has passed a law that allows the state to imprison anyone who offers 'material support' to terrorists. Should we expect the prime minister of Turkey to be rendered to a dark site somewhere in deepest eastern Europe sometime soon?

Thursday, 15 July 2010

'Keep trying to break the siege' say desperate Gazans


From ISM
In a press conference at the port of Gaza city yesterday government officials, fishing associations, non-governmental organisations and civil society groups reiterated their support for the attempts by international activists to break the Israeli siege of Gaza by sea.

Yesterday (July 14th 2010) many people amassed at the Gazan port to urge on the latest attempt by activists to enter the strip, this time by a Libyan chartered aid ship. It was the first serious attempt to enter Gaza by sea since the horrifying attack by the Israeli navy on the Free Gaza Flotilla and the Mavi Marmara which saw 9 Turkish activists killed.

Mahfouz Kabariti, President of Palestine Sailing Federation and Palestinian Association for Fishing and Maritime Sports, was communicating with the Amalthea as it neared Gazan waters: “The last contact we had with them was at midnight and since then communication was cut by the Israeli navy. They told us the boat was surrounded by Israeli gunships, but that they were determined to attempt to dock in Gaza and not take the option offered by the Egyptian government to dock in El Arish.”

According to Mahfouz the roll of the Freedom Flotilla missions are two-fold: “First is the arrival with aid, and materials such as construction supplies still banned by the blockade. The second is to put a spotlight on the suffering of the people here. Even if they are attacked, the second message highlights even more the extent to which Israel will go to keep us in Gaza isolated from the rest of the world with this illegal blockade of our people.”

Libyan aid ship docks in Egypt's El-Arish port after Israeli missile ships interception


Hasn't the Israeli Navy got anything better to do than stopping children getting books and medicine?
EL-ARISH, Egypt — A Libyan ship with aid for Gaza has docked in an Egyptian port after Israel's navy stopped it from reaching the blockaded Palestinian territory.

The director of the port of el-Arish, Gamal Abdel Maqsoud, says the ship will unload its cargo Thursday and hand it over to the Red Crescent for delivery to Gaza by land.

Israeli missile ships stopped the aid vessel from reaching Gaza, which has been blockaded for three years. more

According to Maan news agency Saif Al-Islam Ghadafi says a deal with Egypt and Israel would see supplies taken into Gaza by land.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Seven homes demolished as Israel restarts ethnic cleansing of East Jerusalem


Israeli authorities have demolished at least seven homes in different Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem.

The homes are the first to be torn down since October 2009 and have provoked strong criticism from the Palestinians who say it proves Israel is not committed to peace.

Al Jazeera's Sherine Tadros reports.

Is Israel is at it again - destroying Palestinian families' homes in Jerusalem.
Also excellent article by Ahmed Moor at the Huffington Post on the tall tales being spun about an economic revival taking place on the West Bank.

Jordanian aid convoy heads for Gaza as global solidarity spreads


From the Jordan Times - Land convoy left Jordan en route to Gaza, planning to enter through Rafah, although no assurances have yet been given by the Egyptian government.
A Gaza-bound humanitarian aid convoy left Amman on Tuesday heading to the port city of Aqaba, as part of efforts by professional association activists to highlight the impact of the Israeli siege on the coastal enclave.

Around 150 activists travelled with the convoy, which includes 25 trucks laden with basic humanitarian aid including food and medicine, as well as an ambulance donated by Jordan Medical Association members, according to association officials.

The convoy is set to travel by boat from Aqaba to the Egyptian port of Nuweibeh and then enter the strip through the Rafah border crossing.

Association officials said they had contacted the Foreign Ministry to make diplomatic contacts to facilitate the convoy’s mission while in Egypt.

Several Islamist leaders are among the delegates, including former Islamic Action Front (IAF) MP Azzam Huneidi and senior IAF veteran Abdul Fatah Kilani.

Huneidi said the convoy will deliver a “strong message” regarding the ongoing global solidarity for Gaza.

“We need solidarity with Gaza from activists all around the Kingdom. This is a very important cause, not only for Gazans, but for Jordan as well,” he told The Jordan Times. more

Hope aid ship heads for Egyptian port after Israeli Navy interception


Egypt approved a request by Gaza- bound Libyan aid ship Al-Amal (Hope) to dock in its Arish port instead after failing to reach Gaza port due to Israeli interception, a security source said Wednesday.

The ship's engine broke down Wednesday morning 130 miles (about 209 km) from al-Arish port which is ready to receive it later on the day, the source told Xinhua.

The ship with 21 persons on board is carrying 2,000 tons of humanitarian aid, including food and medical supplies, to the Gazans. more
Libyan aid ship forced to dock at El-Arish. Following the sabotage in Cyprus of vessels involved in the Freedom Flotilla we have to be suspicious about the engine breakdown.

UK police admit beating Gaza protesters

pic: Guy Smallman


Seven Gaza protesters have had their draconian sentences reduced after. Outrageously, three others failed to have their jail terms reduced. Despite the proven poice violence as shown below by the £25,000 to the two persons below.
The Metropolitan Police is to pay £25,000 in compensation to two protesters who were beaten by police during a demonstration in London.

Ashley Inglis and his brother Russell went to the Israeli embassy on 3 January last year to protest against the war crimes being committed against the people of Gaza.

They saw police violence being committed against protesters, and were on the receiving end of it themselves.

The news of the police’s payout to the Inglis brothers came as ten Gaza protesters appealed on Tuesday against their sentences for violent disorder on the demonstrations.

Seven of them had their sentences reduced, meaning that two were released as they had already served their time.

Protesters believe that the police were responsible for the violence at the Gaza demonstrations last year.

Ashley told Socialist Worker, “We were standing at the back of the demonstration and people were coming from the front with bloody head injuries. It was clear the police had decided to be violent.”

The police had earlier trapped and beaten protesters in the Hyde Park underpass. Ashley said, “It was clear that people were being very restrained.

“When you look at the footage you can see that there was a few feet distance between the police and the protesters. It was the crowd being attacked.”

There are deep concerns about the way that the police gather evidence to use in court—and what they leave out.

Ashley said, “The footage we saw in the process of disclosure shows that police camera operators systematically panned away from the actions of the police.

“They would focus on the protesters, then on something innocuous, and then come back.

“There are also breaks in the films, when the cameras were switched off. If you were filming a whole protest why would you turn the camera off?

“The police were lashing out and hitting people. They cracked me over the head.

“The force of the blow made me fall to the ground. Russell rushed over to help me and get the number of the police officer who had hit me.

“He was immediately struck by the police and was soon bleeding from the head.”

Police had covered their numbers with what Ashley describes as “perfectly fitting pieces of white material”.

Ashley wanted an apology from the police and complained to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and the Met.

The Met ruled that there was nothing to answer as officers couldn’t be identifed and the incident had not been filmed by the police.

A CCTV camera on the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington did capture it though.

Coralled

Ashley told Socialist Worker, “The IPCC complaints system is not fit for purpose—it’s impossible to put the police in the dock.

“If I had injured a police officer like they injured me I would be in the dock on charges of assault or bodily harm.

“Protesters who did much less than that are in prison now.

“So we decided to bring a civil claim against the police—and last week the Met sent us a letter apologising for the injury caused.

“But the police were violent from the beginning.

“They corralled us like cattle and were lashing out with batons.

“They started pushing us back with shields and attacked the crowd again. My brother turned his back and walked away from them.

“An officer lunged behind him and pushed him with a shield and he fell to the ground. Only a few months later that same kind of action contributed to the death of Ian Tomlinson.”

Eighteen months on, many Gaza protesters are still fighting for justice. Some people are still on bail and awaiting trial.

“The most upsetting thing was finding out about all the people in prison.

“The criminalisation of protesters and the harassment of the Muslim community are distressing.

“We want to use a chunk of the money to help the protesters.

“I won’t go on a protest without a camera again—it can be the difference between the conviction of a police officer or a protester.”

Around 30 people, including Russell and Ashley, joined a protest outside the High Court on Tuesday as the Gaza protesters had their appeal.

Socialist Worker (unless otherwise stated). You may republish if you include an active link to the original.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Aid ship nears Gaza as Israeli navy makes first contact - orders ship to Egyptian port

update: 17:28 GMT +1: Captain refuses to change course for El-Arish in the face of Israel's illegitimate demands. more

CAIRO — An Israeli military vessel confronted a Libyan aid ship Tuesday trying to breach Israel's three-year-old Gaza blockade and ordered it to divert to an Egyptian port, the Israeli military and organizers said.

The Gadhafi International Charity and Development Foundation said the Moldovan-flagged Amalthea, which left Greece on Saturday carrying 2,000 tons of food and medical supplies, refused to alter its course for el-Arish in Egypt and insisted it will steam on for Gaza. more



Haaretz reports that the Israeli navy has made contact with the aid ship Hope on its way to deliver aid to the people of Gaza. The captain has reportedly refused to be diverted to the Egyptian port of El-Arish.
...The ship, which left Greece on Saturday afternoon, was commissioned by the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation, headed by Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, second son of Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi.

"The Ship's Captain was asked by the gunboat crew to go to El-Arish port instead, stressing that the vessel will not be allowed to go into Gaza at all," the foundation said in a statement on its website.

"The captain and the head of the foundation's team on board affirmed that the Ship's sole destination is Gaza, asserting that it is carrying humanitarian aid and has no other purpose whatsoever, while the gunboat is still present near the ship," it added. more

Interview with Greta Berlin founder of the Free Gaza Movement


Thanks to Intifada-Palestine.com
Greta Berlin (France/US, English) has been an advocate for justice for the Palestinians since the early 60s. She is the mother of two Palestinian/American children whose father was born and raised in Safad, Palestine and is a 1948 refugee. She has an MFA in Theatre and a bachelor’s in English and, when she’s not working with the Palestinians, has spent the past 32 years teaching engineers and scientists how to design and deliver presentations. In 2003, she volunteered with the ISM, working in several villages in the occupied West bank as well as manning their media office, then returned to work again in 2003, 05 and 07.

Elias Harb interviews Greta Berlin Co-founder of the Free Gaza Movement


Elias Harb: Can you tell us what motivated you to the Palestinian Cause and the Free Gaza Movement and when was the movement founded?


Greta Berlin: I married a 1948 Palestinian refugee from Safad and have two Palestinian/American children. I’ve been part of justice for Palestine since 1967. Once you go and see what has happened to the Palestinians (I call them the final victims of WWII, because they have paid the price for what Europe did to the Jews), it is impossible to leave. I am no longer married, my children are grown, I am still working for justice. more

EU-funded Gisha game highlights freedom of movement restrictions on Palestinians


Gisha - Legal Center for Freedom of Movement has released a game, helped with funding from the European Union that introduces players to the real world restrictions on freedom of movement between the West Bank and Gaza. The case of student Fatima Sharif, reported on earlier this week,highlights the impact on the lives of ordinary people; in her case, like many others, being refused the right to travel to attend university on the West Bank. Israel's approach to the movement of Palestinians is similar to the system of pass laws in Apartheid-era South Africa.
"Safe Passage", is the largest and most comprehensive new media project about human rights in Israel. It allows the user to experience interactively the restrictions on movement between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and understand the grave consequences resulting from the separation of Gaza and the West Bank for people living in the two areas. "Safe Passage" makes innovative use of animation, Flash documents, video and a blog, and comprises a political and legal archive, including dozens of official documents that shed light on the military legislation and legal rulings since the 1990s, when Israel began imposing increasing restrictions on movement between the areas.

Users can choose one of three figures – a student, a businessman and a family man – to try to get to their chosen destinations. After each character's bureaucratic "adventures," the user can watch video clips and get to know the real people behind the characters. And most important - users can impact the situation, not only in the game but also on the ground, by addressing decision-makers. For those who don't want to play, it is also possible to watch the game as a movie.



Divisions in Israel: 18 families control 60% of the economy as war spending soars


Who benefits from the state of Israel? Not the majority of its people it would seem, with living standards under increasing pressure as the rich get richer - see above interview conducted by theRealNews senior editor Paul Jay (and text below). Add to this the burden of ever-rising defence expenditure, and, US aid notwithstanding, it's easy to see why the fundamentals of the economy are now being questioned.
PEACE PROCESS GOING NOWHERE, ISRAELI ELITE DOING FINE – 18 families control 60% of corporate equity says Israeli economist

Gideon Levy, a columnist in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz writes, "If there remained any vestiges of hope in the Middle East from Barack Obama, they have dissipated; if some people still expected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to lead a courageous move, they now know they made a mistake (and misled others)."

"The masked ball is at its peak: Preening each other, Obama and Netanyahu have proved that even their heavy layer of makeup can no longer hide the wrinkles. The worn-out, wizened old face of the longest "peace process" in history has been awarded another surprising and incomprehensible extension. It's on its way nowhere."

In spite of all of Obama's promise and promises, he winds up in the same trap. US policy in the Middle East depends on Israel as a pillar of its power in the region (along with Saudi Arabia and Egypt). The Israelis know it and even if Israeli policy weakens US influence in the Arab world, for strategic interests and domestic politics, Obama can't make a real move even if he wants to.

Canadians saw Prime Minister Harper an even more ardent dance partner for Netanyahu in Canada a few weeks ago. The Israeli PM was in Ottawa when commandos attacked the Turkish humanitarian aid ship and nine people were killed. Harper said nothing. Even the Americans said there should be an inquiry.

Lost in Obama's and Harper's swearing of allegiance to the Israeli people and the Jewish state is any discussion of just who is the current State of Israel good for? It's taken for granted that Israel exists to defend its Jewish population, but take a closer look.

When I was in Jerusalem recently, I interviewed Israeli economist Shir Hever of the Alternative Information Center. According to Hever, 18 families in Israel control roughly 60 percent of the equity value of all companies in Israel. The country has gone from being one of the most equitable in terms of distribution of wealth to one of the worst.

Hever says the Israel elite not only oppresses Palestinians, it is also exploits the majority of its Jewish population. A full video of the interview can be seen here. Here's an excerpt of the interview.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

JAY: So, in talking to people in Israel, one thing I hear constantly is the fight here is about national identity, it's about the defense of the Jewish state. I don't hear very much about economics of Israel or the economics of occupation. So how does national identity relate to the economics here?


HEVER: Well, the economic reality of Israel, of course, plays a part in every aspect of Israel's existence-in the politics, in the society, and, of course, also in identity issues as well. The occupation of the Palestinian territories defines Israel's economy in a large way. About two-thirds of Israel's history, it has been occupying power, controlling Palestinian territories. But even before that occupation, Israel has created a very particular system of economic control, which is designed to promote the idea of a Jewish state. The Jewish state is not merely a cultural idea; it's not merely a symbolic idea; it's a material reality which is designed to redistribute wealth in order to draw as many Jews as possible to this area and to maintain a sustainable control of the Jewish population over a piece of land which is by nature bi-national.

JAY: Now, in terms of the Israeli economy, what percentile at the top controls the majority of the Israeli economy in terms of ownership?

HEVER: Israel is very centralized in terms of capital, far more than most developed economies in the world. About 18 families in Israel control roughly 60 percent of the equity value of all companies in Israel. So it's concentrated in the hands of 18 families. Of course, there are other rich people in Israel who control some more of that other 40 percent. more

Paul Jay is the CEO and Senior Editor of The Real News Network. He is an award-winning filmmaker, founder of Hot Docs! International Film Festival and was for ten years the Executive Producer of the CBC Newsworld show counterSpin.

The Real News Network is a global online video news network that listens to and is dependent on its audience. No ads. No government subsidies, no corporate sponsorship.Check out our site at http://therealnews.com

Monday, 12 July 2010

Lidl stops sale of Israeli potatoes as BDS spreads


From BDSmovement:
A leading food and retail megastore that operates in Ireland has stopped selling two lines of baby potatoes that are sourced from Israel.

German-owned megastore LIDL is one of Ireland's largest chain store's and they deny that the banning of Israeli products is politically motivated.

The Irish public have reacted angrily to the Israeli's illegal raid of the Gaza
aid flotilla. Indeed many have began to boycott Israeli products and websites and leaflets are being distributed asking the public to avoid purchasing products that have a barcode number starting with the numbers 729 (denotes Israeli origin).

Last year Ireland imported goods worth $100million from Israel and exported over $240million to Israel. more


CONSUMER ALERT: Israel's barcode starts with 729...

Flash mob protest in Cairo targets Starbucks in boycott of Israel and its supporters


On July 9th 2010, the global BDS day of action, Egyptian and international activists gathered at Nasr city in Cairo. Getting ready with their banners and flags and statements. They marched over to Starbucks cáfe, while two had already been inside distributing Boycott statements to all customers, protesters gathered in front of the cafe and started the flash mob.

Banners in both Arabic and English were raised beside the Palestinian flags, while protesters shouting and calling people to boycott Starbucks. As chants were higher more people gathered and cars stopped to capture photos/videos of the surprising
protest. Nasr city; a suburb in Cairo is generally looked at as a politically stagnant area, and accordingly this flash mob served as a new phenomena of pro-Palestinian activism, and this was never seen in that part of the capital city of Cairo.

Activists for Palestine
Location: Nasr city, Cairo

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=135587213128207&index=1#!/album.php?aid=235656&id=507815934


Starbucks claims it has never given any money to the state of Israel, in particular the Israeli army and that its CEO, Howard Schultz, is not on the payroll of the Israeli government. Gaza Solidarity does not believe in targeting businesses merely because they have Jewish CEOs or investors. However, Starbucks, and in particular Schultz, have had ample opportunity to distance itself from the Zionist state and has chosen not to. Indeed Schultz is a proud supporter of the Israel.

Gaza student banned from attending West Bank university


Any hopes that Israel may be easing up on its collective punishment of the people of Gaza were dashed when news arrived that the occupiers are refusing to allow a woman from Gaza to go to BirZeit University on the West Bank. Fatima Sharif wants to study human rights at the university.
The day after Barack Obama praised Benjamin Netanyahu for easing the blockade of Gaza, the High Court of Justice supported the state's position that a lawyer from the Gaza Strip should not be allowed to leave it so she can study for a master's degree in human rights at Birzeit University in the West Bank. Justices Miriam Naor, Hanan Melcer and Isaac Amit wrote in a ruling they handed down on Wednesday, in the case of 29-year-old Fatma Sharif: "We are not convinced that under the present political and security situation, the personal circumstances [of the petitioner] justify intervention in the decision of the respondent [the defense minister]."

Aid ship Hope sets sail for Gaza Israel threatens more piracy and violence


The 2,000 ton ship - the Amalthea, now renamed Hope for the voyage to Gaza - we reported on last week that would be going to Gaza, is not in fact joining the flotilla in September but is making its own way to Gaza now. Israel has threatened to stop the vessel reaching Gaza. Israel says it will not allow its sovereignty to be harmed. So since when was Gaza part of Israel?
Israel warned yesterday that a ship sponsored by a group headed by the son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and currently crossing the Mediterranean would not be allowed to reach its stated destination of Gaza.

The Moldovan-registered ship – renamed Hope for the voyage – left Greece on Saturday night for a trip intended to take between 70 and 80 hours. The organisers, the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation, say the ship, with a crew of 12 and ten passengers on board, is carrying 2,000 tonnes of food and medicine.

Israel's defence minister, Ehud Barak, has described the dispatch of the vessel as a "provocation" and its foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, told Army Radio yesterday: "I say very clearly, no ship will arrive in Gaza. We will not permit our sovereignty to be harmed."more

Friday, 9 July 2010

Bil'in villager imprisoned for two years after protesting against apartheid wall


In a major escalation against the non-violent movement to smash the apartheid wall, Israel has sent Bil'in villager Adeeb Abu Rahma to prison for two years.
Israeli courts criminalize protest: Adeeb Abu Rahma sentenced to two years

Israeli repression of Palestinian non-violent resistance against the Wall and the Occupation takes a distubring turn: Adeeb Abu Rahma, from Bil’in Village, sentenced to two years’ imprisonment.

On 30 June 2010, grassroots activist Adeeb Abu Rahma, member of the Bil’in Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements, was sentenced by Israeli military court to two years’ imprisonment, after being arrested on 10 July 2009 during a weekly demonstration in Bil’in, and after spending 11 months of detention in the Ofer military complex in the Occupied Territories.

Adeeb Abu Rahma is a taxi-driver and he has 11 children, he’s well known for his generosity and constant presence at village of Bil’in’s weekly demonstrations against Israel’s wall and for his commitment to popular nonviolent resistance, and the sentence is part of Israeli strategy to repress and criminalize popular nonviolent struggle against the Occupation and the Wall.

The sentence that condemned Adeeb states that he is guilty of “encourage violence”, “activity against public order” and of being “present in a closed military area”, as Bil’in has been declared every Friday from 8am to 8pm, in order to prevent the weekly demonstration. Adeeb lives in the village, and always has; so he has been convicted of being present in his own home. more at the International Solidarity Movement

Six years since West Bank apartheid wall ruled illegal protesters step up action


From stopthewall.orgStop the Wall is stepping up activities to mark the anniversary
July 9 marks the sixth anniversary of the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) which confirmed Israel’s construction of the Apartheid Wall a flagrant violation of international law and reminded the international community about their obligation to ensure the Wall is torn down and not to aid or abet its construction and associated regime.

As part of a broader organizing committee to mark the anniversary, Stop the Wall is organizing a series of events to denounce Wall’s continuous expansion. The events will take place on and in the days surrounding the anniversary. Demonstrations will take place throughout the Palestinian communities to draw attention to how Israel has perpetually ignored the ICJ decision. In addition, these events will include talks analyzing the failure of the Palestinian Authority and the international community to apply sufficient pressure to implement the ICJ ruling. Finally, these activities will seek more effective ways to force Israel to uphold the ICJ decision.

THE FOLLOWING IS THE PROGRAM ITINERARY:


1. Program of demonstrations across the Palestinian villages:

• July 9th, 2010:

Bethlehem District: Wadi Rahal, al-Ma’sara, al-Walaja
Ramallah District: Bi’lin, Ni’lin, Nabi Saleh, Beitin checkpoint
Hebron District: Center of Hebron
Nablus District: Iraq Burin, Burin
Tulkarem District: In front of Geshury Industrial Zone
Jenin District: Jalama
Qalqilya District: Jayyous

• July 11th, 2010:

Bethlehem District: Beit Jala


Media activities:


July 8 2010, 8:15 pm: Palestine TV: interview with the organizing committee of the events to mark the 6th anniversary of the ICJ decision

July 10 2010, 11 am: Public meeting in the Al Bireh Municipality hall to discuss the ICJ decision, its meaning and ways of implementation in the presence of national personalities, such as Nasser al Khudwa (Head of Arafat Institution and former minister of foreign affairs), Shawan Jabbarin (director of Al-Haq, Palestinian human rights organization), Dr. Mustafa Barghouti (PLC member, Palestinian National Initiative)

July 11 2010, 8 – 9pm: Palestine TV dedicates their live program “Within the event” to the discussion of the of the ICJ decision under the title “Where does it lead us to? What next?” Invitees to the discussion: Minister of the Wall, Maher Ghneim, and other Palestinian leading figures.

July 8 – 11 2010: screening of TV spots to underline the urgency to fight for the immediate implementation of the ICJ decision on the illegality of the Wall and the settlements.

Court releases protesters as jury sees nothing wrong with attack on arms company supplying Israel


Great result from the EDO trial. Totally ignored by the mainstream media but see below a report from a barrister writing in this week's Socialist Worker (UK). Similar outcome to the Raytheon 9 action in Ireland, where ordinary people of the jury thought trying to prevent war crimes by destroying equipment belonging to the military industrial complex was perfectly justified.
Jury: It’s right to destroy weapons

A jury at Hove Crown Court last week acquitted seven activists who last year broke into an arms manufacturer and damaged equipment.


The judge earlier threw out the case of an eighth activist.

The Smash EDO activists broke into the premises of EDO MBM in Brighton, a subsidiary of the huge US corporation ITT, in the early hours of 17 January 2009.

This was the 22nd day of Operation Cast Lead—the Israeli Defence Forces’ assault on Gaza.

The defendants caused £180,000 worth of damage to equipment and put the factory out of action for several weeks.

They were acquitted of conspiracy to cause criminal damage.

The activists said they were “decommissioning” the factory to prevent war crimes and protect the people of Gaza.

They were inspired by the Raytheon Nine, who had carried out a similar action in Derry in August 2006, at the time of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon.

The Raytheon Nine admitted breaking into the Raytheon site in Derry and damaging equipment—and argued that they were justified in doing so to stop Israeli war crimes.

They were acquitted in 2008.

Last week’s verdict is another enormous victory for all those fighting against imperialist wars and the arms companies that profit from them.

There has been a campaign in Brighton against EDO MBM since 2004. The company manufactures specialised parts for missile systems.

Attack

According to its website, this includes an integral part of the bomb-release mechanism used by F16 jets—the attack aircraft of choice of the Israeli Air Force.

The activists explained that by manufacturing this component, the company was itself committing the offence of aiding and abetting the commission of war crimes by the Israelis.

They argued that because the international community had completely failed to take any action to rein in the Israelis, even in the face of direct attacks on United Nations premises in Gaza, ordinary people had to take the law into their own hands.

Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, gave evidence at the trial.

She spoke about her failed attempts to get information out of EDO MBM management about what they were producing and about her own experience of witnessing the devastation wrought on Gaza by Israel’s “Operation Cast Lead”.

Once again a jury has delivered a verdict in which justice has triumphed. The courage of those prepared to risk imprisonment for their beliefs has been vindicated.

© Socialist Worker (unless otherwise stated). You may republish if you include an active link to the original.