Israel angry with EU removal of Hamas from terror list

19 Dec


‘If someone thinks that sacrificing Israel will save Europe, they are wrong. Israel is strong and knows how to defend itself against those who seek its harm. The Europeans themselves will be the ones to suffer from the strengthening of terrorist organisations like Hamas’ – File Photo

Middle East Monitor report, 18 December 2014

Israel responded angrily to a European Union court’s decision yesterday to remove Hamas from a list of terrorist organisations.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented on the court’s decision saying that Israel was “not satisfied” with the explanations the EU gave that Hamas’s removal is only a technical matter.

He added: “The burden of proof is on the EU and we expect them to immediately return Hamas to the list where everyone realises it should be.”

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Why no media reports on Israeli violence in Jerusalem?

19 Dec


Palestine Solidarity Campaign (UK) report, 15 December, 2014

Israel operates a regime of control and violence across East Jerusalem. The Israeli army, police and settlers all play their part in the daily aggression against Palestinians, whose very existence in East Jerusalem is becoming increasingly precarious.

But this large-scale violence goes unreported in the mainstream Western media. PSC’s last update on East Jerusalem at the beginning of November – What the media won’t tell you about East Jerusalem – detailed Israel’s ethnic cleansing policies in the city.

Our new update details some of the violence East Jerusalem Palestinians have faced in November and December, all against a resounding media silence.

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Under siege: from Leningrad to Gaza

17 Dec

leningrad parade

Onlookers at a parade in St. Petersburg commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Leningrad with Soviet-era war posters in the background. Demotix/Yury Goldenshtein. All rights reserved.


Ayah Bashir and Esther Rappaport, OpenSecurity, 15 December 2014

Two strangers with very different pasts united by a common experience of siege and blockade.

We met on social media during Israel’s assault on Gaza this summer. We were both grappling with the brutality of siege, one of us amid the bombs on Gaza, the other a child of a Leningrad siege survivor. Frustrated with the intolerable and continuing violence we decided to write together about siege and its lasting legacy.

What we found was that a descendant of a city the Nazis tried to starve, and a survivor of Israel’s endless siege on Gaza, have a great deal to communicate to each other and to the world.

At the outset, we agreed this was not a “normalization” project; we believe in an end to the occupation, the right of Palestinian refugees to return, and equality for all. In seeking an end to siege and its legacies, we were both inspired by the haunting words of Mahmoud Darwish:

In the state of siege,

Time becomes space transfixed in its eternity,

In the state of siege,

Space becomes time that has missed its yesterday and its tomorrow.

In Leningrad, one million civilians were starved to death or killed in the two-and-a-half year German siege during the second world war. Early in the siege, a fire broke out in the emergency food supply storage facilities, essentially leaving the city without food. Some resorted to eating pets and dead bodies, others scraped wallpaper off the walls to consume the potato starch glue that had some nutrients. The dead were buried in mass graves, the lucky ones smuggled out to safety.

It was tragedies like this that prompted the negotiation of the Geneva Conventions, which Israel is a party to. Although international law does not prohibit siege amid armed conflict, it does categorically reject collective punishment. The siege on Gaza has been recognized as collective punishment, and declared illegal by The International Committee of the Red Cross and countless others. Since events like Leningrad prompted the negotiation of the conventions, for us, the failure to implement them in Gaza is tragic.

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Miko Peled: ‘This is NOT recognition’

16 Dec

IMG_2085_2 Miko Peled addressing the NZ Conference on Palestine, in the Auckland Town Hall concert chamber last year

By Miko Peled, Information Clearing House, 13 December 2014

As the recognition by European countries of a so called “State of Palestine” continues, it is becoming obvious that this is nothing but an old colonial trick dusted and reused. The fact that liberal Zionist hypocrites the likes of the Israeli writers Amoz Oz and David Grossman are all over it says it all. In the triangular relations between the Europeans, the colonial regime in Palestine – Israel, and the Palestinians, all remains the same.

As usual, the Europeans profit, Israel is permitted to continue its brutal colonial regime over Palestine, and the Palestinians remain alone. The recognition of the “State of Palestine” is nothing more than what Franz Fanon calls “the farce of national independence” (Franz Fanon, “The Wretched of the Earth”). It provides for a select group of Palestinians the illusion of power with titles like “President” “Minister” “Ambassador,” the all time favorite “Head of Security” and it absolves Europeans of their complicity with Israel.

There is now, according to some European countries, a Palestinian state. Look, there must be one for even Britain and Sweden and a few others have recognized it, and they even have a “President!” Never mind the fact that nothing has changed. Gaza is still under siege with no end in sight, Palestinian prisoners are wasting away in the colonizers jails, armed Israeli mobs and the terrorist organization known as the IDF are terrorizing Palestinians, in the Israeli Knesset racist laws are being passed and not one refugee is allowed to return. We would all be wise to remember that the recognition of a “State” that does not exist in order to numb the resistance to a racist, colonialist regime is not new, it has been used by Europeans in Africa and former colonies in other parts of the world and it is always welcomed by liberals among the colonialists.

Israelis who are free and enjoy the privileges of the racist regime in Palestine like to remember people like my father, the retired General Matti Peled, and others like him who while remaining Zionists called for the right of Palestinians to self determination, but only within a small area, defined by Israel of course, so that we can maintain our racist regime and still feel enlightened all at the same time.

It works well for those who do condemn Israel and its policies but still want to see the state of Israel as part of the solution. We hear that the “Two States” are the first step to a single, unified democracy, a statement that only demonstrates the ignorance of those who express it.

In Palestine, speaking out against injustice is no longer enough. In fact it was never enough. As people of conscience we must act for the removal of the injustice and its replacement with a free, democratic system. But many forget that in order to achieve this there must be a struggle. A real struggle, and not some intellectualized version of a struggle as is often suggested by some Israeli liberals, is the only way to defeat racist, colonialist regimes.

Liberal Zionists, and even some who are progressive seek to continue to talk and to debate, which is why they like organizations like the Palestinian Authority, and the various NGOs that have sprouted in Palestine. They reduce the struggle to a philosophical – political debate on the issues of human rights and self-determination. They allow people to live in the illusion that colonialism can be resolved around the negotiating table. They promote the deception that if only young Palestinian boys and girls could meet and play with young Israeli boys and girls at a summer camp, then one day all will be well. But the young Israelis return and serve in the brutal armed forces of the colonial regime and the young Palestinians return to the refugee camps, the various concentration camps and open air prisons that Israel has created for them, and to being unwanted residents in their own land.

But, as Franz Fanon writes in “The Wretched of the Earth,” “Colonialism is not a machine capable of thinking, a body endowed with reason. It is naked violence and only gives in when confronted by greater violence.” My father and the other liberal Zionists were wrong then and their successors are wrong now. For there is no way to stop the colonial machine once it has started. You cannot contain its insatiable hunger, its lust for power and its brutal force. That is why a “Zionist peace camp” is a sham, that is why there is no possibility of peace with the apartheid regime known as Israel.

European governments never liked people who were not white and Christian like them. They have a history of brutal colonialism, of theft of land and resources and one wonders if Africa and parts of the Middle East would not have been prospering democracies by now had it not been for the murderous, greedy policies of past colonizers. Those of us who care and indeed struggle for justice in Palestine would do well not to fall for the old colonial tricks. Rather we should demand recognition that Israel is occupied Palestine, that all Israeli towns and cities are illegal settlements, and that it is time to free Palestine and its people from the illegitimate colonialist regime known as Israel.

Miko Peled is a peace activist & author who dares to say in public what others still choose to deny. Miko was born in Jerusalem in 1961 into a well known Zionist family. His grandfather, Dr.  Avraham Katsnelson was a Zionist leader and signer on the Israeli Declaration of Independence.   His father, Matti Peled was a young officer in the war of 1948 and a general in the war of 1967 when Israel conquered the West Bank, Gaza, Golan Heights and the Sinai. Miko was a keynote speaker at the 2013 NZ Conference on Palestine in Auckland. His book ‘The General’s Son’ is available from Kia Ora Gaza – see the side bar of this website for details.

[Thanks to In Occupied Palestine (PHRC).]

Egypt court considers demand to close Rafah permanently

16 Dec

237498_345x230The Rafah border crossing with Gaza remains closed by Egypt

Ma’an News Agency report, El-Arish, Egypt, 15 December 2014

The Cairo Court for Urgent Matters is scheduled to convene Monday to look into a suit filed by an Egyptian lawyer demanding that Egypt close the Rafah crossing with Gaza.

The lawyer, Nasser Hasan Rida, recently filed a suit at the court asking it to bind Egypt’s president, prime minister and foreign minister to close the Rafah crossing with the Gaza Strip once and for all.

The filer argued in his complaint that the border terminal must be closed because of attacks on Egyptian army and police officers in Sinai which Egyptian authorities accused Hamas of carrying out.

Richard Falk: Only the people can bring peace to Palestine

14 Dec

israel-palestine-conflict-2Richard Falk, Opinion, Al Jazeera, 13 December, 2014

Political leaders on both sides are failing to adopt new approach to justice in the region

Months of violence in Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip have exhibited both the depths of enmity between Israelis and Palestinians and the utter irrelevance of the U.S.-led peace process.

On the surface, the conflict seems like one without a solution. But the challenge for policymakers and social movements alike is to reconsider how these two peoples can learn to live together in historic Palestine. We need fresh thinking that gets away from the sterile binary of one state or two states and dares to imagine the future with fresh eyes that accept the guidance of a rights-based approach rooted in international law.

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Trauma and despair on the increase in besieged Gaza

14 Dec

operation-protective-edge-palestinian-boy-injured-child-in-al-shifa-hospital Palestinian boy in Al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza City

 Arianna Love, Middle East Monitor, 12 December 2014

Cases of trauma and acute despair are being seen more often by medical professionals across the besieged Gaza Strip. Almost every family, it is claimed, is affected, and the problems are leading to a marked increase in suicide attempts.

According to Dr Ayman Sahbani of Gaza City’s Al-Shifa Hospital, most of those trying to kill themselves are under 30 years of age. Local officials say that there are between 30 and 40 suicide attempts every month, and the figure is expected to increase. “We see young people who have swallowed rat poison and pesticides, overdosed on medication, cut themselves or jumped off high buildings,” said Dr Sahbani. “There are also shootings, self-immolation and hangings to deal with.”

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