Thursday, 7 January 2010

Israel's drops warning flyers as it prepares new outrages against Gaza

Israel claims its so-called 'Iron Dome' anti-missile system aimed at preventing rockets fired from Gaza getting through to targets in Israel, has been successfully tested and will be deployed in May. At the same time the settler state has issued a warning to Gaza residents - delivered by flyers dropped from the sky - not to go within 300 meters of the border fence as they no doubt prepare for more outrages against the population. Haaretz also reports that in addition to mortar fire an anti-tank missile was fired at IDF troops.

How a holocaust survivor became a fighter for Palestine

LA Times has a great article profiling holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein who we've featured on this blog before about her commitment to the cause of justice for Palestine
Hedy Epstein is what some might see as a contradiction in terms: a survivor of the Holocaust and also a staunch advocate for the Palestinian people. Born in 1924 in Freiburg, Germany, Epstein was 14 when she escaped from Nazi persecution via the Kinderstransport to England. Since her 1948 arrival in the U.S., Epstein has been an advocate for peace and human rights.

In 2001 she founded the St. Louis chapter of the Women in Black anti-war group that originated in Israel, and has actively advocated for Palestinian rights since visiting the West Bank in 2003. As the last decade came to a close, Epstein continued her advocacy by traveling with the women’s peace advocacy group CodePink to the Gaza Freedom March. The Dec. 31 march was a planned nonviolent demonstration to protest Israel’s blockade of Gaza, with 1,000 advocates from abroad joining Palestinians in a march to the Gaza-Israel border checkpoint.


Video - Viva Palestina arrives in Gaza despite Egyptian collaboration with Israel

Al Jazeera Wed 6 Jan 2010 @ 2000GMT: Al Jazeera reports on arrival of Viva Palestina Convoy, includes interview with George Galloway and report on earlier fatal clashes at the Rafah border.

Palestinian resistance retaliates against killings with mortar fire

Popular Resistance Committees respond to recent killing of six resistance fighters by Israel's war criminals by firing mortars at Israel. Unfortunately no casualties on the Israeli side.
GAZA, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- Israel shut down a main cargo crossing with the Gaza Strip on Thursday in response to Palestinian mortars at Israeli army posts near Gaza commercial crossings.

Ten mortars landed near Kerem Shalom crossing, a major passageway used by Israel to deliver humanitarian aid and fuel to the besieged territory, and a military site near the closed Kissufim crossing in southeast Gaza, said Palestinian security sources.

No injuries or damage were reported in the mortar attacks.

Following the incident, Radio Israel said that Kerem Shalom crossing was sealed off.

Meanwhile, the armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees claimed responsibility for the attacks in a statement, saying the mortars came in response to an Israeli airstrike on Tuesday which killed and wounded a number of its fighters.

Viva Palestina enters Gaza - Viva!

From viva palestina

17.30 GMT Wednesday 6th January
One month, thousands of miles, ten countries, one ship and a four flights later, Viva Palestina has begun to enter the besieged Gaza Strip.

"We are all emotional to see that all of Gaza are out to greet us! Our Viva Palestina convoy is symbolic! It shows the Palestianian people just how much the people of the West do care.
" We come in peace to deliver humanitarian aid and we hope that our convoy (and convoy's like ours) will help to build pressure on the Israeli government to break the siege."
Kevin Ovenden, convoy leader

Also, an excellent comment piece by Seamus Milne in the Guardian
For the last fortnight, two groups of hundreds of activists have been battling with Egyptian police and officials to cross into the Gaza Strip to show solidarity with the blockaded population on the first anniversary of Israel's devastating onslaught. Last night, George Galloway's Viva Palestina 500-strong convoy of medical aid was finally allowed in, minus 50 of its 200 vehicles, after being repeatedly blocked, diverted and intimidated by Egyptian security – including a violent assault in the Egyptian port of El Arish on Tuesday night which left dozens injured, despite the participation of one British and 10 Turkish MPs.

That followed an attempted "Gaza freedom march" by 1,400 protesters from more than 40 countries, only 84 of whom were allowed across the border – which is what led Hedy Epstein, both of whose parents died in Auschwitz, to refuse food in Cairo, as the group's demonstrations were violently broken up and Israel's prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu was feted nearby. Yesterday, demonstrations by Palestinians on the Gazan side of the border against the harassment of the aid convoy led to violent clashes with Egyptian security forces in which an Egyptian soldier was killed and many Palestinians injured.

But although the confrontation has been largely ignored in the west, it has been a major media event in the Middle East which has only damaged Egypt. And while the Egyptian government claims it is simply upholding its national sovereignty, the saga has instead starkly exposed its complicity in the US- and European-backed blockade of Gaza and the collective punishment of its one and a half million people.