Tuesday, 27 April 2010

FT blogger: Hatred of Obama similar to Brit hatred of US over Irish peace process

Interesting blog from Gideon Rachman at the Financial Times on the hatred directed against Obama on the right and left of Israeli politics.
Israel’s alarm at the deterioration in its relations with the US is palpable. In Jerusalem recently, even a liberal commentator told me: “Barack Obama is a disaster for Israel. I don’t think the general public realise just how much of a disaster he is.” Government officials are more careful – but only a bit. Danny Ayalon, the deputy Israeli foreign minister, says that it would be a “grave mistake” for America to present its own Middle East peace plan, an idea that the US president’s people are known to be considering.

Listening to all this, I could not help thinking back to the early stages of the Northern Irish peace negotiations. In part, this is because some of the same cast of characters have moved from Belfast to Jerusalem. George Mitchell, Mr Obama’s envoy to the Middle East, played a crucial role as a go-between in Ulster. Tony Blair Is also on the scene, this time installed in the American Colony hotel rather than Stormont castle.

But there is more to the parallel than familiar faces. The Israelis’ furious reaction to the pressure they are under from the Obama administration is reminiscent of the British rage early in the Northern Irish peace process, when it became clear that our American allies were intent on “talking to the terrorists” of the Irish Republican Army. But, as it turned out, the Americans were right to insist that there was a peace deal to be made with the IRA. They are right again on the Middle East peace process. There is still a deal to be had – and if Israel does not take it soon, the long-term survival of the Jewish state will be imperiled. more may require subscription

Viva Palestina international flotilla readies for 15 May solidairty mission to Gaza

From Viva Palestina
Flotilla to break Gaza siege

On May 15th, an international flotilla of cargo and passenger ships will depart from various European ports and set sail for Gaza. 3 cargo ships will carry over 5,000 tonnes of medical and building supplies, and 5 passenger boats will carry over 600 people.

This flotilla is been led by the IHH charity from Turkey, and is supported by many groups worldwide, including the Free Gaza Movement, Free Palestine Movement, European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza and the Greek and Swedish Boat to Gaza groups amongst others. more

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Non-violent protests against Israeli occupation growing

Non-violent direct action by against the Israeli occupation of Palestine is growing, and so is active international support and unfortunately Israeli repression.
Gaza: The non-violent movement is still alive and well and has spread from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip.

Two small towns near Ramallah, Bil'in and Nil'in in the West Bank, have been the flashpoint for consistent non-violent Gandhi-like demonstrations against Israeli occupation.

Since 2005, these villages, whose combined populations do not exceed 10,000, hold weekly demonstrations against the Israeli wall.

These demonstrations have attracted hundreds of international activists from around the world who stand in solidarity with the Palestinians daily.

More recently however, these types of demonstrations have been gaining momentum in Gaza.

Mohammad Harbed, a protester against the buffer zone in the Gaza Strip, said: "I have been protesting against the occupation for years."

This past weekend, Bianca Zammit, 28, a Maltese pro-Palestinian activist, was shot in the leg during a demonstration against the blockade of the Gaza Strip close to the border with Israel.

"This type of resistance is good for the long term and it can bring peace for the people here some day," Zammit told Gulf News after leaving the hospital for treatment. more