Friday, 3 June 2011

US tries to buy off Turkey with Middle East peace role in bid to stop Freedom Flotilla 2

The American administration is considering offering the Turkish government a deal, which would see Ankara hosting a peace conference attended by Israel and the Palestinian Authority in exchange for restoring its relations with Jerusalem and stopping the Gaza-bound flotilla planned for late June, Turkish newspaper Zaman reported Friday. ..

...Turkish daily Hurriyet quoted sources as saying that the United States would officially ask Turkey to host an Israeli-Palestinian peace summit in exchange for stopping the flotilla and ending the diplomatic crisis with Israel.

According to the offer, the summit will continue previous gathering held in the past, including the 1991 Madrid Conference and the secret Oslo negotiations in 1993. more

BDS statement: Before and After September - The Struggle for Palestinian Rights Must Intensify

Statement from the Palestinian Boycott Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC)

Occupied Palestine, 1 June 2011 – The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) warmly salutes the Nakba commemoration mass Palestinian marches on 15 May which rekindled a unique spirit of resistance, real hope and heroic initiative in the struggle for the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people. These marches, led mostly by young Palestinian refugees, gave new impetus to the Palestinian struggle for self determination, justice, and return of the refugees ethnically cleansed by Zionist militias and later Israel during the 1948 Nakba.

The Arab Spring of freedom, democracy and social justice that is blossoming across the region was itself largely inspired by decades of Palestinian popular resistance against Israel’s settler colonialism, occupation and apartheid. This Arab Spring is today, in turn, inspiring Palestinian mass peaceful protests, after demonstrating that when the threshold of fear is crossed by enough committed activists and when there is a clear vision of a future free of oppression and subjugation any seemingly invincible oppressor can be overcome.

The large non-violent marches by Palestinian youth in the West Bank, Gaza, Damoun, Jaffa, Maroun er-Ras (Lebanon) and Majdal Shams (Syria) have put the refugees’ right of return back at the core of the question of Palestine. By crossing hitherto impenetrable Israeli lines, real and imagined, into the occupied Golan Heights young Palestinian refugees from Syria, in particular, were able to demonstrate to the world, like their brethren in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere had done, that the will to restore rights is mightier than all the swords, including Israel’s futile nuclear arsenal and other weapons of mass destruction.

Aside from the spreading Arab peoples’ revolutions and their ability to topple some of the most brutal dictatorships anywhere, these Nakba Day return marches were buoyed by the ongoing popular resistance to Israel’s illegal wall and colonies built on occupied Palestinian territory and the fast growing global, Palestinian-led BDS movement that is scoring victories surpassing the most optimistic predictions.

The recent establishment on the May Day anniversary of the Palestinian Trade Union Coalition for BDS (PTUC-BDS), by far the largest alliance of Palestinian workers’ and professionals’ unions is but the latest sign that beyond a near consensus in supporting BDS, Palestinian society is gradually implementing BDS tactics in all sectors as part of an effective popular and civic resistance strategy. BDS has also grown at an unparalleled rate lately. Most recently, Stop the JNF, a BDS campaign coordinated with the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Palestine Solidarity Campaign in the UK, and other partners, played a key role in pressuring British Premier David Cameron to drop his honorary patron status in the racist organization.

The withdrawal of the German state-run Deutsche Bahn rail company from Israel’s illegal A1 railway project connecting Tel Aviv with Jerusalem has also set a precedent whose impact cannot be overestimated.

The continued loss of billion-dollar contracts by Veolia, the French company implicated in the illegal tram project connecting Israel’s colonies around Jerusalem with the city, is also a fresh reminder to international corporations that partnership in and profiting from Israel’s violations of international law is not only unethical and socially irresponsible; it may also cost them dearly, financially speaking.

The University of Johannesburg’s severance of ties with Israel’s Ben Gurion University over the latter’s complicity in human rights violations also broke a taboo and gave the BDS movement its most concrete academic boycott victory to date.

The growing ranks of artists and music groups boycotting Israel has also been quite heartening for the movement. In short, BDS is reaching new horizons and causing serious alarm among Israel’s establishment, as manifested in Israeli minister Ehud Barak’s warning that pressure against Israel threatens to hit “like a glacier, from all corners.”

This September will mark the 20th anniversary of the start of the Israeli-Palestinian “peace process” that is widely recognized as a total failure, by any objective standard. This sham process has served as a cover for Israel’s intensive colonization of Palestinian lands, continued denial of Palestinian basic rights, and gradual ethnic cleaning of Palestinians, while simultaneously giving a false impression of peacemaking. In this context, the BNC welcomes the recognition of a great majority of states around the world that the Palestinian right to statehood and freedom from Israeli occupation are long overdue and should no longer to be held hostage to fanatically biased US “diplomacy” in defense of Israeli expansionism. However, recognition of Palestinian statehood is clearly insufficient, on its own, in bringing about a real end to Israel’s occupation and colonial rule. Neither will it end Israel’s decades-old system of legalized racial discrimination, which fits the UN definition of apartheid, or allow the millions of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes of origin from which they were violently uprooted and exiled.

Diplomatic recognition must result in protection of the inalienable right to self-determination of the entire Palestinian people represented by a democratized and inclusive PLO that represents not just Palestinians under occupation, but also the the exiled refugees, the majority of the Palestinian people, as well as the discriminated citizens of Israel. For it to go beyond symbolism, this recognition must be a prelude to effective and sustained sanctions against Israel aimed at bringing about its full compliance with its obligations under international law. As shown in the struggle to end apartheid in South Africa, as well as in the current struggles for freedom and justice in the Arab region, world governments do not turn against a patently illegal and immoral regime of oppression simply on ethical grounds; economic interests and hegemonic power dynamics are far weightier in their considerations. In fact, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s militant and war-mongering speech before the US Congress, coupled with US President Barack Obama’s latest humiliating submission to Israel’s will, shows beyond doubt that anyone still holding on to the hope that Washington is capable or willing to contribute to building a just peace in our region is delusional.

The key lesson learned from South Africa is that, in order for world governments to end their complicity with Israel’s grave and persistent violations of human rights and international law, they must be compelled to do so through mass, well organized grassroots pressure by social movements
and other components of civil society. In this context, BDS has proven to be the most potent and promising strategy of international solidarity with the Palestinian people in our struggle for self determination, freedom, justice and equality.

In light of the above, and inspired by the will and the power of the people which have given rise to the Arab spring, the BNC calls upon people of conscience and international solidarity groups to proceed with building a mass BDS movement in the US and elsewhere in the world’s most powerful countries before and after September. Only such a mass movement can ensure that whatever diplomatic recognition transpires at the UN in September on Palestinian statehood will advance the rights of the Palestinian people and raise the price of Israel’s occupation, colonialism and apartheid by further isolating it and those complicit in its crimes. A mass solidarity movement that can hold elected officials, especially in the US, accountable to the people, rather than to a Zionist lobby serving Israel’s colonial and belligerent agenda that directly conflicts with the interests of the American and other peoples, is the only hope for a comprehensive and sustainable peace based on justice.

Palestinian Boycott Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC)

Video: Jerusalem Day used by settlers as an excuse to humiliate and abuse Palestinians

What has Zionism done to Jewish identity? I ask that question a million times a day, but this video of Jerusalem day, June 1, is particularly poignant.

Celebrating the reunion of Jerusalem following the '67 War, the demonstration is reminiscent of Freud's father telling him about being attacked during the Hep-hep pogroms in 1819. Look at all these boys in their white shirts. Hear them shouting Muhammad is Dead! And spitting at a Palestinian compound. Giving the finger. And "butcher the Arabs... death to Arabs... May your village burn..." I'm trusting the translations. How deep in any people is the spirit of ethnic cleansing-- and what licenses that spirit? How intractable is this conflict, and what can Americans be doing to wind these screwballs down? Thanks to Elly K.

From Mondoweiss

PCHR: Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the OPT (26 May – 01 June 2011)

(Pic: PCHR - Israeli forces force a Palestinian civilian to demolish his house in Wad al-Jouz neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem)

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 child was wounded in Iraq Bourin village, south of Nablus.

· IOF continued to use force against peaceful protests in the West Bank.

- A Palestinian demonstrator was wounded in Bil'ein, west of Ramallah.

- IOF arrested 15 demonstrators, including a child.

- The arrested persons include 7 Palestinians and 8 international human rights defenders.

· IOF conducted 47 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and one limited incursion into the central Gaza Strip.

- IOF arrested 29 Palestinian civilians, including 4 children and 2 women.

- IOF launched a wide scale campaign against the Islamic Jihad in Jenin and closed 2 charitable associations.

· IOF continued settlement activities and Israeli settlers continued their attacks in the West Bank.

- IOF demolished 8 artisan wells in Jenin and bulldozed a shop of construction materials in Qalqilya.

- Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian shepherd in Madma village, south of Nablus.

- Israeli settlers set fire to 4 donums[1] planted with grains in Madma village, 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 4 Palestinians at military checkpoints in the West Bank.

- IOF stopped and held Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) and another 2 PLC members and arrested a third one. more

Israeli ready to kill again? Netanyahu says troops to deal 'firmly' with protesters at borders

IMEMC - Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, warned Thursday that Israel will act firmly against attempts to cross into the country while the Palestinian mark the “Naksa” day this coming Sunday.

The Nakba day marks the day Israel was established in historic Palestine (the 1948 territories), while the Naksa day marks Israel's occupation of the rest of the occupied territories (West Bank, Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem and other Arab areas).

During a speech at a High Tech Conference in Jerusalem, Netanyahu said that he issued orders to the army and the security forces to “maintain self-restraint” while at the same time to act firmly “to protect the border and prevent any infiltration”.

His statements came as thousands of Palestinian refugees and supporters intend to hold protests in several Arab countries to mark the 44th anniversary of the Naksa similar to protests held during Nakba commemoration on May 15th when thousands of protesters and Palestinian refugees, marched along the Syrian border in an attempt to cross back into the country through the occupied Golan Heights. more

Gaza's hospitals and clinics running short of medicine and fuel for generators

The Hamas government says Gazan patients are in dire need of help as hospitals and clinics in the Israeli-blockaded coastal enclave are running short of medicine supplies.

Speaking at a press conference, Hamas officials announced that hospitals in Gaza need at least 178 types of medicine for intensive care units (ICU), maternity wards, podiatric and ophthalmic surgeries, a Press TV correspondent reported.

“The acute shortage of medicinal supplies in Gaza's hospitals is serious, with tragic consequences,” said Hamas lawmaker Khamis Najjar.

In addition to the much needed medicines, hospitals need fuel for their power generators. Due to the four-year long crippling Israeli siege on the impoverished coastal sliver, Gaza hospitals have been using power generators with high fuel consumption. more