Friday, 27 May 2011

Sign petition to President Obama to demand US apply pressure to ensure safe passage of flotilla


Sign the petition and get updated news about the Freedom Flotilla II -
Stay Human: http://bit.ly/stayhuman

We are writing to ask for your support for the Gaza Freedom Flotilla
scheduled to set sail in the second half of June to the besieged Gaza
strip.

At least ten ships with dignitaries, doctors, professors, artists,
journalists, and activists, as well as construction supplies and
humanitarian aid, will sail from ports in Europe to Gaza in an act of
non-violent civil disobedience to persuade the international community
to fulfill its obligations towards the Palestinian people and end
Israel's four-year illegal blockade of Gaza.

This is the second, large-scale citizen-to-citizen flotilla to be
launched by international grassroots groups. Organized by 14 national
groups and international coalitions, the flotilla will carry
approximately 1,000 passengers. It includes a US boat named The
Audacity of Hope, which will have aboard dozens of dedicated social
justice activists (visit: http://ustogaza.org/).

The last Freedom Flotilla in May 2010 included seven vessels carrying
nearly 700 passengers from 36 different countries. Israeli commandos
attacked the boats, shooting and killing nine passengers, injuring
over 50 and imprisoning all aboard.This tragedy opened the subject of
Gaza on the world stage and put considerable pressure on Israel to
ease the draconian siege on Gaza – something the international
community had failed to do for 3 years. For more information about the
Free Gaza Movement, visit: http://www.freegaza.org/

We ask you to sign this petition to show the overwhelming public
support for an end to siege of Gaza and the rights for Palestinians.
We also demand that the American administration apply pressure on
Israel to ensure that passengers are not violently attacked and to
allow the flotilla to sail to Gaza.

SEE TEXT OF THE PETITION LETTER

Freedom Flotilla to Gaza

Dear President Obama,

We demand that the US government apply political pressure on Israel to
ensure that passengers aboard the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza are not
violently attacked by the Israeli military.

The Freedom Flotilla II, to sail in late June, will hold around 1,000
passengers demanding for an end to the draconian siege on Gaza.
International organizations, including the United Nations, have
condemned the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip. Your administration
must pressure Israel to uphold international law and allow the
Flotilla to pass to Gaza.

Around 35 American social justice activists will partake in this
mission aboard a boat named, The Audacity of Hope. We ask for your
support in ensuring their safety on this passage.

Sign the petition and get updated news about the Freedom Flotilla II -
Stay Human: http://bit.ly/stayhuman

PCHR Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the OPT (19– 25 May 2011)

(pic: PCHR - A number of Palestinian evacuate Ramadan al-Daghma who was wounded by Israeli force during a peaceful demonstration in the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis, 20 May 2011)

Weekly report from the Palestinian Center for Human Rights

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Continue Systematic Attacks against Palestinian Civilians and Property in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT)

· A Palestinian civilian was killed by IOF near the border in the central Gaza Strip.
-A Palestinian civilian was wounded in the east of Khan Yunis in the south of the Gaza Strip.

· Two Palestinian boys sustained severe burns as a smoke bomb, left by IOF in Hebron, exploded.

· IOF continued to target Palestinian farmers in border areas in the northern Gaza Strip.
-IOF fired at Palestinian farmers in two separate incidents, but no casualties were reported.

· IOF continued to use force against peaceful protests in the West Bank.
- Two demonstrators, including an international human rights defender, were wounded.
- IOF arrested 11 demonstrators, including 10 Israeli solidarity activists and an international one.

· IOF conducted 38 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank.
- IOF arrested 15 Palestinian civilians, including 4 children.
- The arrested civilians include the mother of Sheikh Saleh al-Arouri, who was deported to Syria.

· IOF continued settlement activities and Israeli settlers continued their attacks in the West Bank.
- Israeli settlers caused severe damages to a Palestinian house, southwest of Bethlehem.
- Seventy olive trees in the vicinity of "Qidoumim" settlement, northeast of Qalqilya, were uprooted.
- Three women activists were attacked at Zaatara checkpoint, south of Nablus.

· Israel has continued to impose a total siege on the Gaza Strip and tightened the siege on the West Bank.
- IOF arrested at least 3 Palestinians at military checkpoints in the West Bank.

more

Israeli-American activist Rae Abileah speaks out on why she heckled Netanyahu's AIPAC speech


Israeli-American pro-Palestine activist Rae Abileah who disrupted Netanyahu's AIPAC speech and was violently assaulted and then arrested in her hospital bed tells her story at Mondoweiss:
Do you know that our Congress gave 29 standing ovations to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he spoke in the Capital on Tuesday, May 24? I couldn't watch this hero's welcome for a man who supports the continued building of illegal settlements, won't lift the siege of Gaza, and refuses to negotiate with the new Palestinian unity government. During the talk, when Netanyahu was praising young people rising up for democracy in the Middle East, and I took my cue to stand up from my seat in the Capitol Gallery, unfurl a banner, and shout, "No More Occupation! Stop Israeli War Crimes! Equal Rights for Palestinians!"
Immediately, I was tackled, gagged and violently shoved to the floor by other members of the audience, many of whom were still wearing their badges from the AIPAC conference this past weekend. Police dragged me out of the Capitol gallery, and an ambulance whisked me to the hospital, where I was treated for neck and shoulder injuries and put under arrest for disrupting Congress. After I disrupted, Netanyahu said to his Congressional audience, "You can't have these protests in Tehran; this is real democracy." more

Egyptian revolution deals potentially fatal blow to US-Israel Gaza siege


Time blog by Tony Karon
Egypt Pulls the Plug on a Failed U.S.-Israeli Gaza Strategy

Obama, in his Sunday speech at AIPAC, had warned Israel that the wave of democracy reshaping the Arab world meant that that "a just and lasting peace can no longer be forged with one or two Arab leaders... millions of Arab citizens have to see that peace is possible for that peace to be sustained." While the U.S. would stand by Israel unconditionally, Obama warned that "the march to isolate Israel internationally -- and the impulse of the Palestinians to abandon negotiations –- will continue to gain momentum in the absence of a credible peace process and alternative. And for us to have leverage with the Palestinians, to have leverage with the Arab States and with the international community, the basis for negotiations has to hold out the prospect of success."

The "basis for negotiations" offered by Netanyahu on Tuesday won't reverse the growing Arab and European skepticism of the prospects for success in U.S.-led negotiations. Wednesday's Egyptian announcement on Gaza seemed to underscore Obama's point. Gone is President Hosni Mubarak, whose own animus towards Hamas (the offspring of his domestic nemesis, the Muslim Brotherhood) made him an enthusiastic backer of the U.S.-Israel strategy on Gaza. Mubarak, as Obama implied, never represented the will of his people, and even before they elect a government certain to be tougher on Israel, an interim military leadership more heedful of public sentiment made clear it could no longer sustain the blockade.

But the siege strategy had failed long before this week. Its purpose had been not simply to prevent arms from entering the territory, but to topple Hamas. And it effectively achieved neither. From the moment the Islamist movement won the Palestinian legislative elections in January 2006, Israel — with the support of the U.S. — began to restrict Gaza's economic lifeline to the outside world. And after Hamas expelled security forces loyal to Fatah in a violent power struggle in 2007, Israel tightened the noose. The plan was to deprive Gazans of many basic commodities — not starving them, but "putting them on a diet" in the memorably callous explanation offered by a senior Israeli official -- in hopes that imposing a twilight existence on the territory would turn the civilian population against Hamas. Banned items ranged from basic construction materials to coriander, sage, ginger, A4 paper, notebooks, toys, pens and pencils, seeds and nuts, livestock, fishing nets and a host of other commodities with no plausible military use. more