Friday, 10 June 2011

Australia's New South Wales parliamentary Green party throws its weight behind flotilla

Australians for Palestine, supported by the Green party in the NSW state parliament, among others, is organising a send off for Freedom Flotilla 2 participants on 15 June - and the Murdoch press in Australia doesn't like it.
THE NSW Greens continue to support protests against Israel, with the party's upper house leader David Shoebridge to host a function at Parliament House next week for an activist group preparing to head to Gaza.

Jewish community leaders have criticised the Greens' hosting of the Farewell to Freedom Flotilla event, saying it uses taxpayer-funded facilities to encourage groups to break international law.

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive Vic Alhadeff yesterday questioned why any state MP would host an event for a group that was actively opposed to a legitimate government.

"Mr Shoebridge and the organisers of the flotilla choose to ignore the fact that Gaza is controlled by Hamas," he said, "a terrorist group openly committed to Israel's destruction."

Mr Shoebridge, a co-convener of The Parliamentary Friends of Palestine, defended hosting the event next Tuesday, as it was a "multi-party group of state MPs promoting peace and justice in the Middle East".

"The Greens are on record as supporting Israelis, Palestinians and international peace workers who promote non-violent action against the occupation of the Palestinian territories," he said. more

15 Jun, SYDNEY: “Why are we going to Gaza – a farewell to activists on Freedom Flotilla 2

WHEN: Wednesday 15 June 2011, 6.30-9.30pm

WHERE: Resistance Centre, 23 Abercrombie Street, Chippendale (off Broadway near Central Station)

The night before they head off to be part of the next Gaza Flotilla, hear from:

* Vivienne Porzsolt (Jews Against the Occupation & Socialist Alliance)
* Sylvia Hale (Greens and former NSW MP)

who will discuss why they are joining activists around the world in attempting to break the blockade on Gaza, and give solidarity to the Palestinian people.

The Israeli attack on the 2010 Gaza Flotilla, where 9 peace activists were killed, only increased the spotlight on the Palestinian struggle and the determination of activists internationally to break the inhumane blockade again.

Also see short films from the previous flotilla and the situation in Gaza. Delicious Middle Eastern food and drinks available from 6pm.

Organised by Green Left Weekly, Ph Pip 0412 139 968

Report claims hundreds of Grad rockets smuggled into Gaza from Libya through Egypt

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israel is concerned that unrest in Libya has created a new smuggling route for weapons into Gaza, Israeli media reported Friday.

The Hebrew-language newspaper Maariv said Israeli security officials had received information that fighting against Moammar Gadhafi's regime in Libya had weakened the leader's control and allowed the flow of weapons into the hands of arms dealers and "terror organizations."

Weapons were smuggled from Libya through Egypt and into Gaza via underground tunnels, the report said.

According to Maariv, Egyptian authorities were trying to intercept the weapons, but many convoys managed to reach Gaza.

Hundreds of Grad rockets with ranges of 60 - 70 kilometers had been smuggled into Gaza in recent weeks, strengthening Hamas and posing a serious threat to Israel, the newspaper reported.

Short-range rockets, rifles and ammunition had also been smuggled into the coastal enclave, the report said.

Israeli officials had received information that Russian-made anti-tank missiles that had been sold to Libya were now in the hands of rebel forces in the south, the newspaper said, adding that Israeli security officials feared the missiles would be smuggled into Gaza. more

Egypt has denied the reports.

Israel sets up secret foreign ministry department to obstruct Palestinian statehood vote

From Haaretz
Israel has started mobilizing its embassies for the battle against UN recognition of a Palestinian state in September, ordering its diplomats to convey that this would delegitimize Israel and foil any chance for future peace talks.

Envoys are being asked to lobby the highest possible officials in their countries of service, muster support from local Jewish communities, ply the media with articles arguing against recognition and even ask for a call or quick visit from a top Israeli official if they think it would help.

Foreign Ministry Director General Rafael Barak and the heads of various ministry departments sent out classified cables outlining the battle plan to the embassies over the past week, after earlier ordering all the country's diplomats to cancel any vacations planned for September. The contents of the cables reached Haaretz and are reported here in full.

"The goal we have set is to have the maximum number of countries oppose the process of having the UN recognize a Palestinian state," Barak wrote to Israel's ambassadors in his cable, which was sent June 2. "The Palestinian effort must be referred to as a process that erodes the legitimacy of the State of Israel... more

Israel closes Gaza's only open crossing - Kerem Shalom - for goods and aid until Sunday

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities decided to close Gaza's sole operating crossing for goods and aid until Sunday, Palestinian officials said.

Liaison official Raed Fattouh said he was informed that Israel would close the southernmost Kerem Shalom crossing on Friday and Saturday.

Since Israel closed all other border terminals, Kerem Shalom is the only entry point for commercial goods and humanitarian aid into the besieged coastal enclave, home to over 1.6 million Palestinians. more

Outrage in Jerusalem at approval of 'tolerance museum' to be built over historic Muslim cemetery

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- Israeli occupation's Jerusalem municipality planning committee has approved a plan to build a so-called ”tolerance museum” in the city's center.

But the oxymoronic Jewish museum of ”tolerance” is planned to be built on the historic Muslim Ma'manullah cemetery and would require the removal of hundreds of ancient skeletons of Muslims dating back to Medieval times.

According to Israeli media, the project was designed by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the self-proclaimed Nazi hunter that works to stop anti-Judaism.

The Jerusalem municipality delayed approval of the project for the last two years in order for changes to be made on the architectural plan.

Ma'manullah cemetery, located west of Jerusalem's Old City 2 km away from Al-Aqsa Mosque's Al-Khalil gate, is the largest Islamic cemetery in Jerusalem, with an area of some 200 dunums. PIC

Occupation troops use dogs to stop farmers near Hebron from working on their land

(pic: maan images - farmers near Hebron being prevented from working on their land by Israeli troops)

HEBRON (Ma'an) -- Israeli soldiers on Thursday prevented Palestinian farmers from working on their land near Hebron in the southern West Bank, rights activists said.

Israeli soldiers, accompanied by dogs, forced farmers from Beit Ummar to leave their fields near the illegal Bat Ayin settlement, where they were harvesting vine leaves and pears, Palestinian Center for Human Rights official Hesham Sharabati said.

In the same area on Thursday afternoon, Israeli soldiers stopped Mohammad Da'dush, 85, from spraying pesticides on his crops and seized his pump, Sharabati said. more

Book: Towards Gaza, live from the Freedom Flotilla - by Angela Lano

“This book is an accounting of three aspects of the Freedom Flotilla from the perspective of my own personal observations and encounters as an Italian journalist, and the Editor of the news agency -Palestinian news in Italian language, during and after the raid on the Freedom Flotilla, my family's experience throughout the incident, and some reports about and data gathered on the flotilla and Gaza”.

Price: £9.93
Ships in 3–5 business days

Buy here

eBook version also available