Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Protests to greet Israel Orchestra US tour as cultural boycott movement grows

Performances of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO) will be met with protests in six of seven cities where the IPO will play during its US tour this February and March. Human rights advocates plan to protest the IPO’s role in whitewashing Israel’s apartheid policies against the Palestinian people. The protests will be held at IPO performances in West Palm Beach, New York City, Newark, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The US protests respond to the call from Palestinian civil society to boycott institutions that work to normalize Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories and whitewash the oppression of Palestinians in Israel, the occupied territories, and in exile. The growing international movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel has gained momentum in recent years with more supporters worldwide, and performers like Elvis Costello, Gil Scott-Heron, Roger Waters, Devendra Banhart, and the Pixies all refusing to play in Israel. more

Thanks to New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel

Jerusalem threatened by Israeli encirclement with illegal Green Park initiative

The Wadi Hilweh Information Center, based in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem, has published an article raising their concerns over an scheduled project to encircle East Jerusalem with parks to complete the annexation of the entire city and much of the surrounding area in the West Bank.

The Center states that the Israeli ran Jerusalem Municipality has approved the project that will install nine new parks around the East side of the city over the next eight years, with an annual budget of NIS 60 million (over US$ 16.5 million).

In the process, large amounts of Palestinian owned lands in Wadi Hilweh, Wadi Rababa, and al-Bustan neighborhoods of Silwan, Sawwanah, near the Mount of Olives and the Old City will have have to be razed, leading to mass displacement of Palestinian residents of Jerusalem.

Under the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Palestinian population of East Jerusalem are considered protected persons, due to Israel’s occupation of the city in 1967 and, as such, the transfer of the population, in part or whole, is illegal under international law.

From International Middle East Media Center

Egyptians organising mass peaceful march on Gaza border to force end to siege

Egypt is opening the Rafah crossing today - but only to allow a maximum of 300 travellers a day to pass through. This is totally unacceptable. Fortunately the Egyptian people themselves are taking the cause of Palestinian freedom into their own hands with a huge march on the Gaza border planned for 4th March.This move could herald the end of Egyptian collaboration with Israel and US's siege.

March to Gaza - Friday 04th March / 2011

The Israeli/Egyptian blockade of Gaza has resulted in the people of Gaza being unable to have clean drinking water, proper sewage treatment, continuous electrical supply, basic medical supplies kept in stock, life saving medical care is often unobtainable, the lack of building materials means people remain homeless or live in windowless, unsafe homes, proper education is impossible, factories are virtually all shut, the unemployment rate is among the highest in the world, malnutrition, anaemia and other deficiencies are common, and on top of all this and more, the people have been imprisoned and even subjected to a merciless assault in Operation Cast Lead and had absolute no means to flee the mass-murder. Enough.

The vast majority of the problems that plagues the people of Gaza are external and human created, and this is the basis of the shame we must all feel for allowing our governments to do what they have done. Whether it is Israel, Egypt and America’s active role, or the sickening hypocrisy and complicity of the European Union, all of us must take responsibility for what we have allowed our corrupt governments to do in our name. For those of us who have been on the ground in Gaza, spoken with and witnessed the effects on some of the 800,000 plus children of Gaza, we know that now we simply cannot do too much to make up for our criminal complicity.

And so we will seek to right the wrongs with one simple objective, to render the Israeli blockade of Gaza utterly useless by opening up Rafah Crossing in a similar way as the border operates between Canada and the United States. In other words, two friendly nations cooperate with each other and conduct massive trade, while also meeting their security needs. The Egyptians and the Palestinians are fully capable of working out such a mutually beneficial arrangement, now that their puppet dictator in Mubarak is dictator no more. And that is the whole point with Tahrir4Gaza’s campaign, to make clear that the bad old days of blockading Gaza, whether it is full or partial, are over.

The will of the people could not be any clearer, Palestine must be free, and the border with Gaza is undeniably the first place to start. With Egypt announcing a permanent opening of Rafah Crossing just days after we announced this campaign, we await the next announcement; “Today the Palestinian and Egyptian Governments announce the full opening of Rafah Crossing, with unhindered travel for people and the resumption of international trade and the immediate rebuilding of Gaza to commence.”

Sounds good to us. Why not?