Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Netanyahu AIPAC speech disrupted by CodePink activists in settlement protest

Code Pink Disrupts Netanyahu Speech, Pulls Off AIPAC Hoax

Activists with the group Code Pink interrupted Netanyahu’s speech on two occasions with calls to freeze settlement building and end the US-backed blockade of the Gaza Strip. One protester said Israel is guilty of war crimes. Earlier in the day, Code Pink pulled off a hoax by releasing a fake press release in AIPAC’s name calling for a complete freeze on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories. Code Pink members also dressed up in suits and handed out copies of the statement outside the AIPAC conference to confused attendees. Several major news outlets picked up the statement before AIPAC issued a denial. We’ll have more with author Norman Finkelstein later in the broadcast.

Audio report at Democracy Now here

Al Jazeera report here

CodePink press release

CODEPINK Protests Netanyahu inside AIPAC Gala
Activists call for end to siege on Gaza and illegal settlements

WASHINGTON - March 23 - Shortly after announcing Israel’s commitment to defense in his address to the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Gala, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was disrupted by a demonstrator. Rae Abileah, 27, from Half Moon Bay, CA, jumped onto AIPAC Executive Director Howard Kohr’s private table alongside the stage and unfurled a pink banner that said “Netanyahu: Build Peace Not Settlements!” Abileah shouted, “Lift the siege of Gaza! No illegal settlements!” as she was forcefully removed from the building. A second disruption came moments later from Joan Stallard, from Washington, DC, who shouted, “Stop the settlements!”

Today, Tuesday, March 23, at noon CODEPINK is planning to build a settlement (including homes and beds) inside Senator Schumer’s and Senator Lieberman’s offices (Hart Senate Building, offices 313 and 706). CODEPINK’s protests of the policies of AIPAC during their national conference this week have included daily morning protests, staging of a checkpoint for attendees, an afternoon press conference announcing the launch of a city-wide boycott of products illegally made in the settlements, and the release this morning of a spoof press release from AIPAC announcing that the organization was calling for a settlement freeze.

American Jewish peace activists are outraged at the influence that AIPAC has on U.S. policy. “AIPAC supports policies of aggression that damage Israel’s reputation, harm innocent Palestinians, and contribute to making America less safe in the world,” said Jewish-American activist Medea Benjamin of CODEPINK.”

CODEPINK is a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, stop new wars, and redirect our resources into healthcare, education, green jobs and other life-affirming activities. CODEPINK rejects foreign policies based on domination and aggression, and instead calls for policies based on diplomacy, compassion and a commitment to international law. With an emphasis on joy and humor, CODEPINK women and men seek to activate, amplify and inspire a community of peacemakers through creative campaigns and a commitment to non-violence.

Video: 80% of Gazans lack access to clean water thanks to Israel's siege

Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip has brought immense sufferings to Palestinians living in the coastal territory.

The siege even impedes the supply of water, the most basic need for human survival.

Now - 80 per cent of Gazans lack access to clean water.

The head of Gaza's water authority says he has plans and the means to import water from other countries until self-dependency is reached, but Israel's blockade is the only thing in the way.

Al Jazeera's Casey Kauffman reports from Gaza.

UK to expel Israeli diplomat over cloning of British passports by Mossad's al-Mabhouh murder squad

The ambassador, Ron Prosor, will not be expelled according to diplomatic reports. Instead it's more likely to be a lower-ranking staff member. [update] Telegraph claims it is the Mossad station chief who has been expelled.
The UK is to expel an Israeli diplomat over the use of twelve cloned British passports in a Dubai murder, the BBC has learned.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband will make a statement to Parliament later.

Israel has said there is no proof that its agents were behind the killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a Dubai hotel room in January.

Diplomatic sources stressed the British government has stopped short of accusing Israel of the murder. more