Thursday, 6 January 2011

US companies complain of huge bribes they have to pay to get products into Gaza

Corrupt Israeli officials demand massive bribes before allowing Coca-Cola and other US companies to send goods into Gaza - usually at 75 times the normal price of importing goods.
The cable, released in June 2006, explains that "shipments of American goods, amounting to nearly USD 1.9 million dollars, have been waiting three to four months to cross into Gaza. US distributors assert they are being asked to pay 'special fees' which amount to as much as 75 times the standard processing fee." more

Wikileaks cables: it's official - Israel deliberately keeps Gaza on 'brink of collapse'

Israel made it clear to the US, if it wasn't already, that they deliberately keep Gaza's economy "on the brink of collapse", according to US cables released by WikiLeaks and published in the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten.
The document says Israeli officials repeatedly confirmed the embargo's goal was to keep Gaza's economy functioning "at its lowest possible level without getting a humanitarian crisis."

The newly released cable was published by Norway's Aftenposten newspaper.

The document was dated November 3, 2008, just weeks before Israel launched an offensive in the Gaza Strip to stop Hamas militants from firing rockets on Israeli towns.
See Voice of America report here.

Afenposten has stopped its English-language but for Norwegian speaker the article is here.

Israel moves to outlaw pro-Palestinian human rights and peace groups

Israel's parliament is creating a committee of inquiry into Israeli human rights group that have had the audacity to speak out, and act, against injustice. Gideon Levy writing in Haaretz has written an article attacking the 'democrats' for attempting to outlaw all such groups. There isn't much of an Israeli left, but what there is deserves our support. The Israeli right is on the march and there is no sign that they will be stopped. The next time someone tells you Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East point them to the Knesset's McCarthyite committee.
It's high time a legal ban on the Israeli left be instituted. Why do we continue beating around the bush? Why do we need such a taxing, exhaustive legislative process in enacting law after law? What's the use of all these various proposals and amendments? In lieu of all the aforementioned, let's just do one very simple thing: declare the left an illegal entity in the State of Israel. From then on, whoever thinks left, acts left, demonstrates left or tolerates left will belong in jail...

...The Knesset has resolved to create a parliamentary committee of inquiry to look into the activities of left-wing groups "and their contribution to the delegitimization campaign against Israel." Such a panel would make even Senator Joseph McCarthy blush. more

IDF killers test 'non-lethal' weapons on Palestinian civilians

The killing of Jawaher Abu Rahma by the IDF has seen the Israeli propaganda machine go into overdrive with a vile campaign of lies and disinformation. You can get a flavour of the nonsense here. They claim she had a pre-existing medical condition and so her death was nothing to do with their chemical weapons. Jawaher's brother was killed by Israel at one of the regular weekly non-violent demonstrations at Bil'in. Corporate Watch has a good article on the companies that are supplying the IDF with their 'non-lethal' armoury. The IDF is using Gaza as a testing ground.
“The Israeli government and its army have been, for years now, using the West Bank and Gaza as their testing ground. The Palestinians are their guinea pigs. The Israeli army uses tear gas that would probably be banned in any other country in the world. They shoot tear gas, directly at protesters; once again, an illegal act. But a very rewarding one: Israel’s security industry is booming. It’s never been this good. Countries all over the world are buying Israel’s expertise in security, crowd control and weaponry every day. Israeli soldiers are training other countries commandos all over the planet.” [9]

Bil'in, and villages across Palestine, have become a testing ground for the Israeli security industry, and for international companies looking for an arena to try out their wares. While unmanned bulldozers, aircraft and boats patrol and bombard the besieged Gaza Strip and the latest in CCTV, fingerprint and body scan equipment proliferate at the hundreds of Israeli checkpoints across the West Bank, Bil'in and other villages engaged in the popular struggle are subjected to countless experiments in so-called 'non lethal' or 'less lethal' weapons technology. more

IDF kills two Palestinians on Gaza border, attacks fishing boats

Two Palestinians were killed by the IDF on Wednesday, Palestinian medics have confirmed. The Israelis claim they were trying to cross the border into Israel. Palestinian fighters have fired mortar rounds into Israel in response. On Tuesday Israel launched air strikes on Gaza alongside a brief incursion.

Israel also appears to be stepping up its war against the fishermen of Gaza, shelling their boats and detaining a number. Israel, which recently discovered a large gas field in disputed Mediterranean waters, is determined to grab all the natural resources for itself, including the gas reserves in Gaza's territorial waters.