Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Jewish pro-Palestine activists electrocuted on boat mission to break Gaza siege

No one killed onboard the Irene, a 10-metre catamaran involved in the symbolic gesture to bring in small quantities of medicine and other vital supplies, but treatment was brutal by all accounts, including being electrocuted with tasers. The mission follows hard on the heels of the Mavi Marmara which saw nine activists killed in cold blood by the IDF. A fifth Viva Palestina land convoy is currently in Turkey en route to Gaza in addition to more aid boats.
Five Israeli activists who attempted to break their country's naval blockade of the Gaza Strip in a boat have been released from police custody, though five others who had been on board the ship are set to be deported.

Yonatan Shapira, a former pilot in the Israeli air force, said after being released on Tuesday that Israeli marines who boarded the yacht Irene were "very brutal".

"They didn't kill us like they killed other Palestinians and Muslims, but they were very brutal. I got shot with a taser shock gun ... and was brutally treated just like my brother Itamar," Shapira, a member of the Combatants for Peace group, told the Reuters news agency.

The Irene was carrying eight Jewish activists - including 82-year-old Holocaust survivor Reuven Moskovitz and captain Glyn Secker - as well as two British journalists. Of the eight, five were Israeli citizens and three were citizens of the US, UK and Germany.

Another passenger was Rami Elhanan, an Israeli whose daughter died in a 1997 suicide bombing at a Jerusalem shopping centre.

Eli Osherov, a reporter from Channel 10 in Israel, was also on board. more

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Jewish Gaza aid boat hijacked by Israel and diverted to Ashdod

Israeli pirates, masquerading as a navy, have taken over the Irene, a Jewish-manned aid boat headed for Gaza. No one killed this time.
The Israeli Navy has intercepted a Gaza-bound boat with nine Jewish activists on board and escorted it to Israel's Ashdod port.

The activists' set sail from Cyprus on Sunday, hoping to break Israel's blockade of Gaza and deliver supplies, including children's toys. But they had said they would not resist if they were thwarted, and the Jerusalem Post reports that the Israeli Navy "peacefully" boarded the activists' boat Tuesday.

The encounter was being closely watched, four months after Israeli commandos raided a similar Gaza-bound boat from Turkey, resulting in a violent struggle that left nine pro-Palestinian activists dead, including eight Turkish citizens and one Turkish-American. more

Monday, 27 September 2010

Jewish aid ship sets out from Cyprus to break siege of Gaza

Thanks to Jews for Justice for Palestinians. An Israeli foreign ministry spokesperson has called this latest attempt to bust open the siege ''a provocative joke that isn't funny''. The boat has just left Cyprus so should be in Gazan territorial waters very soon.
A boat carrying aid for Gaza’s population and organized by Jewish groups worldwide has set sail from Cyprus today at 13:32 local time

The boat, Irene, is sailing under a British flag and is carrying nine passengers and crew, including Jews from the US, the UK, Germany and Israel as well as an Israeli journalist.

The boat’s cargo includes symbolic aid in the form of children’s toys and musical instruments, textbooks, fishing nets for Gaza’s fishing communities and prosthetic limbs for orthopaedic medical care in Gaza’s hospitals.

The receiving organization in Gaza is The Palestinian International Campaign to end the siege on Gaza, directed by Dr. Eyad Sarraj and Amjad Shawa, Director of PNGO

The boat will attempt to reach the coast of Gaza and unload its aid cargo in a nonviolent, symbolic act of solidarity and protest – and call for the siege to be lifted to enable free passage of goods and people to and from the Gaza Strip.

The boat will fly multicolored peace flags carrying the names of dozens of Jews who have expressed their support for this action, as a symbol of the widespread support for the boat by Jews worldwide.

Speaking from London, a member of the organizing group, Richard Kuper of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, said today that the Jewish Boat to Gaza is a symbolic act of protest against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and the siege of Gaza, and a message of solidarity to Palestinians and Israelis who seek peace and justice.

‘Israeli government policies are not supported by all Jews,’ said Kuper. ‘We call on all governments and people around the world to speak and act against the occupation and the siege.’

Regarding the threat of interception by the Israeli navy, Kuper said ‘This is a nonviolent action. We aim to reach Gaza, but our activists will not engage in any physical confrontation and will therefore not present the Israelis with any reason or excuse to use physical force or assault them.’

Passenger Reuven Moskovitz, 82, said that his life’s mission has been to turn foes into friends. “We are two peoples, but we have one future”, he said.

Israel says to hell with international opinion as illegal settlements continue to grow

Now there's a surprise - Israel ignores international opinion and abandons its fairly weak 'moratorium ' on settlement building on the West Bank. Abbas promised that any such resumption would signal the end of a peace process that hasn't actually started.

So why does Abbas have to go to the Arab League to work out what to do next? Already the Fatah-aligned al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade has made it clear that any continuation of talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority would be a disaster for the national struggle. Surely Abbas is aware that following his treacherous move to help the US and Israel and kick the Goldstone Report on Israel's Cast Lead massacres, he is in a dangerous credibility-deficit position.

As for Obama and the US, they seem only too happy to allow the settlers to continue their colonial. Claims to contrary are hollow - unless they are about to slap some serious sanctions on Israel and to shutdown arms sales. Not going to happen.

The settlers will only be driven out of the West Bank by struggle, in Palestine and internationally, not by millionaires talking and dining in Cairo or wherever.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Gaza fisherman killed in attack by Israeli Navy

The Israeli Navy has shot dead a Gaza fisherman as part of its ongoing campaign to wrest control of Palestinian natural gas reserves by making Gaza's territorial waters their own. It's probably no accident that renewed efforts to break the siege by pro-Palestine activists onboard the latest and largest flotilla is heading for the strip. Against the background of Israel's illegal bloackade, seafood is one of the few sources of high-protein food available to Gazans.
A Palestinian fisherman was shot dead by the Israeli navy off the blockaded coast of the Gaza Strip on Friday, medics in the enclave said.

"Fisherman Mohammed Bakr died by a bullet by the Israeli navy today in the sea north of the Gaza Strip," said Adham Abu Selmiya, who heads the Palestinian territory's medical services. more

Thursday, 23 September 2010

UN investigators accuse Israel of war crimes in attack on Gaza flotilla

UN Human Rights Council's has issued a damning verdict on the murder of nine pro-Palestine activists, accusing Israel of war crimes citing clear grounds for prosecutions. Unfortunately the US will likely be able to block any serious action against the terror state.
A United Nations panel of human rights experts has accused Israel of war crimes through willful killing, unnecessary brutality and torture in its "clearly unlawful" assault on a ship attempting to break the blockade of Gaza in May in which nine Turkish activists died.

The report by three experts appointed by the UN's Human Rights Council (UNHRC) described the seizure of MV Mavi Marmara, a Turkish vessel, by Israeli commandos as illegal under international law. more

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Viva Palestina 5 off to a flying start on mission to break Gaza siege

Viva Palestina 5 left London yesterday to deliver aid for Gaza. The land convoy is part of a pincer movement in combination with a large flotilla that will be arriving by sea at the same time. Two other land convoys are also departing for Gaza shortly, from Casablanca and Doha. The combined efforts make this the biggest attempt so far by international Gaza solidarity activists to break Israel's illegal and inhumane siege. All together about 150 vehicles are expected to enter Egypt at Al-Arish before crossing over into Gaza.
The biggest international aid convoy yet to beleaguered Gaza sets off from London on Saturday.

It aims to break the Israeli siege of the territory and deliver crucial relief supplies.

Two survivors of the Mavi Marmara massacre, Nicci Enchmarch and Kevin Ovenden, are among the activists taking part.

They were on board the ship on May 31 when Israeli commandoes killed nine of their Turkish friends and fellow activists.

Following the attack they were held incommunicado in Israel's Be'er Shiva prison in the Negev desert.

The two will lead the Viva Palestina Lifeline 5 land convoy of 200 vehicles carrying medical supplies, learning aids and materials to build a maternity facility in northern Gaza, a mosque and a school for orphans.

With activists from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Malaysia, the US, Britain and Northern Ireland, Lifeline 5 aims to be the fourth land convoy to break the Israeli siege on Gaza in the past 18 months.

It will liaise with an international flotilla travelling by sea to arrive in Gaza at the same time. more

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

British trade unions back boycott and divestment campaign against Israeli firms

The British Trade Union Congress, which brings together the entire trade union movement, has voted to boycott and divest from firms operating in the occupied territories and has condemned the murderous attack on the flotilla and castigated the Israeli trade union movement - the Histadrut - for going along with it.
Britain's trade union movement has sent its strongest ever message of support for the Palestinian people by calling for boycott and disinvestment from firms that profit from the occupation and illegal settlements...

...The TUC general council will now stand shoulder to shoulder with the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unionists and Britain's Palestine Solidarity Campaign in pressing for an end to the siege of Gaza, a full inquiry into the flotilla attack and progress towards a "free Palestine." more

Second Israeli attack in a week sees at least one person killed as Gaza tunnels bombed

Close on the heels of Sunday's incursion and killings, Israel launched air strikes on the tunnels in the south. Reports indicate at least one person has been killed. Israel excuses the killing as a response to rocket fire from Gaza.
At least one Palestinian has been killed and two others injured after Israeli fighter jets bombed three smuggling tunnels running between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, Palestinian medics say. more

Children the main sufferers from Israel's siege of Gaza and West Bank occupation

The UN reports that Palestinian children are returning to bombed out schools in Gaza while on the West Bank they have to put up with harassment from settlers on their way to and from poorly maintained and equipped schools, despite the best efforts of the Palestinian Authority. 10,000 children will start school in tents and caravans. And all this is against a background of the general psychological stress and damage brought on by war and occupation.
The Minister of Education and Higher Education, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and the United Nations relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) warn that educational standards have plummeted to an unacceptable level, despite the efforts of the Palestinian Authority and the support of the international community.

Today, as over a million children return to school in the oPt, an unacceptable number of them are facing long and precarious journeys to schools ill-equipped to receive them. In Gaza, more than a year after 'Cast Lead', 82 per cent of the damage to schools have still not been repaired, compounding the already stressed education system, where vast majority of schools have been teaching on a double-shift system. In East Jerusalem, there is lack of more than 1,000 classrooms, putting children at risk of not attending school at all. more

Monday, 13 September 2010

Three Palestinian civilians killed as Israel invades Gaza from north and south

Israel has been killing civilians again. On Sunday they invaded Gaza from the north and south with tanks and drones. It's really hard to call these IDF people soldiers as they go about their murderous business. A grandfather and his son are among the dead. Israel is a terrorist state but of course Obama will continue the policy of arming it to the teeth. Meanwhile, they burn and otherwise desecrate Korans in the US. This hasn't been reported in the US media as far as I can tell but there's a Guardian report here
Three Palestinia
Publish Post
ns including two members of one family were killed on Sunday evening in an Israeli artillery bombardment targeted the area of northeast of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip. Read more at the Palestine Telegraph.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Ramadan ends in Gaza with Israeli air strikes as two injured

And another present from Israel for Eid - this time for the people of Gaza, as F-16 air strikes hit Gaza.
GAZA, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) -- Israeli F-16 warplanes carried out several strikes Friday on the Gaza Strip after Palestinian militants fired a mortar shell from the Hamas-controlled coastal enclave into Israel.

The first airstrike in the evening targeted a training field inside a security compound run by the deposed Hamas government and slightly injured a bystander.

Israeli soldier who murdered peace activist Tom Hurndall set free

pic: David Bachar

Another day and another Israeli 'soldier' murderer goes free - a present for Muslims around the world as Ramadan comes to an end.
An Israel Defense Forces soldier found guilty of manslaughter in the 2003 death of a British peace activist was released Wednesday, after serving three quarters of his sentence.

Sgt. Taysir Hayb's early release was secured last month, after a military committee overruled the Military Advocate General's opinion and ordered the soldier's release. He has served six years of the eight-year sentence he received in 2005.

Thomas Hurndall, then 22, was shot in April 2003 while photographing an International Solidarity Movement protest in the Gaza Strip city of Rafah, where Hayb was stationed in a watchtower as part of the Bedouin Reconnaissance Battalion. Hurndall died the following year after a nine-month coma. more

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Israel worries as economic boycott movement spreads around the world

Haaretz published an interesting piece on the impact of the economic boycott, bemoaning the fact that the Chilean parliament has just passed support for an economic boycott, in addition to moves by pension and investment funds in Sweden and Norway to divest from Israeli defence industry firm Elbit Systems.

Laughably the growing influence of the BDS movement is put down to an alliance between the far left and Islamists - apparently the Islam side provides the money and the lefties the troops. What a load of nonsense.

The Haaretz journalist twists the obvious fact that it is Israel's actions itself that is driving the movement forward, with the spurious argument that if only Israel had not been a 'light unto nations' in the first place it may have avoided 'disappointing' those supporters now.
There's another boycott, an international one, that's gaining momentum - an economic boycott. Last week the Chilean parliament decided to adopt the boycott of Israeli products made in the settlements, at the behest of the Palestinian Authority, which imposed a boycott on such products several months ago.

In September 2009, Norway's finance minister announced that a major government pension fund was selling its shares in Elbit Systems because of that company's role in building the separation fence. In March, a major Swedish investment fund said it would eschew Elbit Systems shares on the same grounds. Last month the Norwegian pension fund announced that it was selling its holdings in Africa Israel and in its subsidiary Danya Cebus because of their involvement in constructing settlements in the occupied territories.

The sums involved are not large, but their international significance is huge. Boycotts by governments gives a boost to boycotts by non-government bodies around the world...

...David Ben-Gurion called us a light unto the nations and we stood tall and said, we, little David, would stand strong and righteous against the great evil Goliath.

The world appreciated that message and even, according to the foreign press, enabled us to develop the atom bomb in order to prevent a second Holocaust.

But then came the occupation, which turned us into the evil Goliath, the cruel oppressor, a darkness on the nations. And now we are paying the price of presenting ourselves as righteous and causing disappointment: boycott. more

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Hamas promises more attacks on West Bank settlers as four shot dead near Hebron

Hamas has claimed responsibility for the killing of four settlers yesterday near Hebron on the West Bank. The attack was a shock for the Israelis who assumed Hamas was not capable of such operations on the West Bank. The attack has already served the purpose of embarrassing Abbas and Palestinian Authority. In truth the PA was doing that itself by agreeing to talks without a commitment from Israel to cease all settlement activity. The 'peace talks' were always an irrelevant joke. This attack makes them even more so.

Meanwhile, the UN Human Rights Council has begun its investigation into the flotilla massacre. The team were started in Jordan and spoke to Arab MK members yesterday, one of whom declared that the commandos had been given a licence to kill. Israel is refusing to cooperate with the investigation.
"Israel's use of large numbers of elite troops with sophisticated weaponry showed it intended to kill the passengers," added the lawmaker, who was aboard the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara, where the killing took place. "We were very peaceful activists, but the commandoes came to kill," she said. more