Saturday, 27 September 2014

US pro-Palestine activists again prevent unloading of Israeli ship

Labor and Palestine solidarity activists in the San Francisco Bay Area came together again in the pre-dawn hours of Saturday morning to greet a cargo ship from the Israeli line Zim at the Port of Oakland.

With roughly 75 people, dispersed across the five entrances to the berth, activists hoped to prevent longshore workers from unloading the cargo. Zim Integrated Shipping Services is Israel’s largest cargo shipping company and has become an increasingly popular target around the country among Palestine solidarity activists.

As the sun rose over the small gathering, no workers seemed to be arriving for the shift. Nevertheless, organizers kept the picket lines moving, expecting some workers would eventually arrive.

But as the window for the shift came to an end, Jack Heyman, chair of the Transport Workers Solidarity Committee and a retired member of the ILWU (International Longshore and Warehouse Union), made an announcement: only one longshoreman chose to work the shift unloading the Zim line this morning — no other union members wanted to work it.

Every day longshoremen go to the hiring hall in San Francisco to choose the shifts they will work. Organizers for today’s actions spent the last week flyering outside the hiring hall, letting the workers know why they would be picketing on Saturday and asking them to respect their protest.

The ILWU Local 10 has been out of contract since July, which means workers will not get paid if they do not work a shift, regardless whether there is a picket line or a health and safety concern. But it also means union members do not have to defer to the port authority to determine whether or not they do cross a picket line. The ILWU has a long history of lending its union power in solidarity to outside causes.

According to Toby Blome, an activist and organizer with the antiwar group CODEPINK, many workers responded favorably to the flyers and were happy not to take Saturday’s shift working Israel’s Zim line.

While mobilizing efforts for Saturday’s action were last minute, local Palestine solidarity activists have been nurturing their coalition with labor for months. more

Hamas: We determine security of Israelis living near Gaza not IDF

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A Hamas spokesman said in a statement on Saturday that the Palestinian faction determines the security of the Israeli towns and cities just outside the Gaza Strip, not the Israeli government.

The remarks from Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he had guaranteed the safety of Israelis in the border region through the destruction of Hamas tunnels in the area and through the killing of Palestinian military leaders.

Abu Zuhri, however, denounced Netanyahu's claims, calling the statement a "lie" and insisting that it is Hamas that determines the security of Israelis in the region, "not Netanyahu." more

PM: Intl body to pay salaries of Gaza civil servants


Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said Saturday that an unnamed international body is willing to pay the salaries of civil servants in Gaza who were employed by the former Hamas-run government in the Strip.

Speaking at a news conference at the office of the Nablus governorate, Hamdallah said the national consensus government could not afford to pay the wages of the thousands of civil servants formerly employed by Hamas.

But an international body has expressed willingness to pay the salaries, and employees will receive their August wages on Monday, Hamdallah said.

He did not provide further details. more

Gaza artist displays paintings in rubble of bombed home

Gaza-based painter Raed Issa’s home was destroyed during this summer’s intensive Israeli attack on Gaza, which killed over 2,000 people. But, in the slow clear-up and under-resourced reconstruction which has followed, Issa has sought to find a way in which his burnt and crushed paintings can continue to convey a message.

His answer has been to display the paintings in the environment in which they were both created and destroyed, hanging them on lines strung through his wrecked home and studio, and holding them up himself amid the chaos. This series of photographs shared by Issa with The Electronic Intifada illustrate his stubborn insistence on finding resonance among the destruction, and on defying that destruction with humor and creativity.

Issa recently commented with irony on a Facebook gallery of some of the photos taken of this most site-specific of installations or exhibitions, saying:

Here are some of my paintings which have been salvaged from under the rubble of my destroyed studio in an attempt to save these works of art from direct injury. Although parts of them have been lost, these paintings have not traveled to hospitals abroad for treatment. However, they will be restored and their colors reinvigorated from the rubble of the very same studio to remain in a constant cycle of infinite giving and to haunt the perpetrators of these crimes against humanity. more

Abbas at UN: Return to negotiations with Israel 'impossible'

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian President Abbas on Friday said that a return to direct negotiations was impossible and accused Israel of committing "genocide" during a speech at the United Nations during the 69th annual General Debate.

Speaking a day after he said that the speech speech would unveil a new way forward for the Palestinian cause, Abbas slammed Israel for having "predetermined" the result of the negotiations process so far.

Abbas had promised to submit a resolution to call for a timeline for the end of the Israeli occupation, but his speech offered few new ideas and even fewer strategies.

"The coming resolution will be based on UN General Assembly resolution 194 with added elements from the more recent Arab Peace Initiative," he said, stressing that there would be little new in the resolution.

He also told the United Nations that "the hour of independence for Palestine has arrived," adding: "There is an occupation that must end now. There is a people that must be freed immediately."

"The hour of independence of the state of Palestine has arrived." more