Gideon Levy: ‘First they took his legs, then they took his life’

18 Dec

VIDEO: On Friday, an Israeli Army sharpshooter shot and killed Ibrahim Abu Thuraya, a Gaza double amputee, as he protested from his wheelchair near the Israeli border. Haaretz video with veteran, award-winning  journalist Gideon Levy, 17 December 2018. [Also see previous post for earlier reports].

By Gideon Levy, Opinion, Haaretz (Israeli daily newspaper), 17 December 2017 |

The Israeli Army sharpshooter couldn’t target the lower part of his victim’s body — Ibrahim Abu Thuraya didn’t have one. The 29-year-old, who worked washing cars and who lived in Gaza City’s Shati refugee camp, lost both legs from the hips down in an Israeli air strike during Operation Cast Lead in 2008. He used a wheelchair to get around. On Friday the army finished the job: A sharpshooter aimed at his head and shot him dead.

The images are horrific: Abu Thuraya in his wheelchair, pushed by friends, calling for protests against the US declaration recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital; Abu Thuraya on the ground, crawling toward the fence behind which the Gaza Strip is imprisoned; Abu Thuraya waving a Palestinian flag; Abu Thuraya holding up both arms in the victory sign; Abu Thuraya carried by his friends, bleeding to death; Abu Thuraya’s corpse laid out on a stretcher: The End.

The army sharpshooter couldn’t aim at the lower part of his victim’s body on Friday so he shot him in the head and killed him. It can be assumed that the soldier realised that he was shooting at a person in a wheelchair, unless he was shooting indiscriminately into the crowd of protesters. Abu Thuraya posed no danger to anyone: How much of a danger could a double amputee in a wheelchair, imprisoned behind a fence, constitute? How much evil and insensitivity does it take in order to shoot a handicapped person in a wheelchair? Abu Thuraya was not the first, nor will he be the last, Palestinian with disabilities to be killed by soldiers of the Israel Defence Forces — the most moral soldiers in the world, or not.

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Double-amputee protester shot dead by Israeli troops

18 Dec

RT Live report 16 December 2017

Alan Fisher reports for AlJazeera from Gaza. 16 December 2017

How can you support the NZ Palestine Solidarity Network?

14 Dec

NZ Palestine Solidarity Network combines organisations throughout the country wanting to unite and strengthen support for growing international solidarity for the Palestinian struggle for justice and freedom.

The key groups in Auckland include the Palestine Human Rights Campaign (PHRC), Kia Ora Gaza and Global Peace and Justice. We work alongside many other local groups including Dayenu, Quaker Peace & Service, UMMA Trust, Palestinian Community NZ, Students for Justice in Palestine, Pax Christi, Auckland Peace Action, Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom, and unions.

How you can get involved:

  • Join our monthly rallies for Free Palestine at Aotea Square, 2pm on the first Saturday of each month (except January). Bring your friends.
  • Join in pickets, demonstrations, meetings & other actions when called.
  • Support boycotts and divestment activities targeting Apartheid Israel.
  • Tell your MP your opinions on divestment and sanctions of Israel.
  • Write letters to newspapers – call talkback radio.
  • Keep updated on our Facebook pages and websites (listed below). Share posts widely.
  • Offer to help with leafletting and posters etc.
  • Fundraising – serious campaigns cost money. Please support our efforts generously. We intend to bring out more high-profile guest speakers next year, and Kia Ora Gaza will take part in another international flotilla to break Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza in 2018. Kia Ora Gaza’s Westpac bank account: 03-0211-0447718-000. PSN account: 38-9015-0849542-00

ALSO: We encourage you to do your own research – there are plenty of good books available, through Auckland Libraries or Kobo ebooks or or and many documentaries are available on Youtube.

Recommended New Zealand websites include:

Global Peace & Justice Auckland:

Kia Ora Gaza:

NZ Palestine Solidarity Network:

NZ Palestine Human Rights Campaign:

Some other useful websites:

Electronic Intifada:

Jewish Voice for Peace:

Jews for Justice for Palestine:

The Israeli Campaign Against House Demolitions:

The Palestine Chronicle:

Note: Most of these websites also have links to Facebook pages.

Get in touch – our contact emails:

NZ Palestine Solidarity Network:

Kia Ora Gaza:

PHRC ‘In Occupied Palestine’ newsletter:

Palestinian voices need to be heard around the world

14 Dec

A statement from The Palestine Chronicle: A Special Appeal for Funds, 13 December 2017

URGENT: Jerusalem Is Calling, Yet Palestinian Voices in the Media Are Being Silenced. Take Action

  • The decision by US President Donald Trump to challenge the international status of Jerusalem makes this one of the most critical periods of the history of the Palestinian people.
  • To understand the situation in Palestine beyond media bias, soundbites and clichés, we need authentic Palestinian voices to speak to the world.
  • The Palestine Chronicle has been at the forefront of the struggle for Palestinian freedom for 18 years.
  • But we are almost completely out of money. We have enough to last us for a month.

– Without your IMMEDIATE HELP and support we can no longer sustain our work. Please TAKE ACTION NOW and donate before it is too late.

The Palestine Chronicle’s budget is nearing its last dollar. It is such a terrible feeling that this platform, which benefited millions of readers throughout the years, serving as the uncompromising, independent and non-factional voice of Palestine COULD SHUT DOWN ANY DAY.

To make a contribution using your paypal account or credit card, please click HERE

Or kindly send your contribution to:

PO Box 196
Mountlake Terrace
WA, 98043

Not only we are making a difference, but we are in constant improvement as well. We just re-launched the Palestine Chronicle and the new version of PC is stunning. The latest edition is built around a mobile responsive design and it can be accessed through your desktop and all mobile devises.

But we are in dire financial need.

If civil society can possibly have its own media, the Palestine Chronicle is that media. We are entirely, and we mean ENTIRELY funded by our readers. Thus, only accountable to common sense, intellectual integrity and the principles that unite all of our readers, regardless of their religious affiliation, political leanings or geographic boundaries.

Please stand with Palestine by supporting independent Palestinian media.

You have carried us through years of honest and accurate coverage and we are confident that you will carry us through the next stage, which promises to be more critical than ever.

The Palestine Chronicle is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. All donations are tax deductible. Website:

NOTE: Kia Ora Gaza looks to the Palestine Chronicle as a consistent and reliable source of factual, verifiable reports and trustworthy views. Please respond generously to their call for support.

VIDEO: For Palestine: United We Stand. United We Dream

It’s not just Jerusalem, it’s all of Palestine

13 Dec

By Rima Najjar, Opinion, The Palestine Chronicle, 12 December 2017

What’s going on in Jerusalem is what has always been going on in Palestine since 1948 – the forced dispossession of Palestinian Arabs of their identity, land and heritage.

Because of Donald Trump’s declaration to move the US embassy to Jerusalem and the resultant global outrage regarding this decision, many people have become interested in understanding what is going on in Palestine and what the global ramifications might be.

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Wellington: Palestinian Picnic

13 Dec

Tis the holiday season! What better way to kick off the holidays than good food and good company. Wellington supporters are invited to an end of year get together to share Palestinian food (and food more generally) with friends and family! Bring your friends, bring a plate, sunscreen (there’s an outdoor area) and see you there!

This Saturday 16 December from 1:30pm to 4pm, Charles Plimmer Hall, Lawson Place, Mt Victoria, Wellington.


How many soldiers does it take to arrest a Palestinian boy?

12 Dec

AlJazeera video, 11 December 2017

Is a third uprising in Palestine looming?

12 Dec

By Mohamed Hassan, TRT World video, Jerusalem, 11 December 2017

Former Auckland journalist Mohamed Hassan reports for TRT – here is his latest report from the tense streets of Jerusalem:

Hamas chief Ismail Haniya declared a third intifada would be under way after Donald Trump announced his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. But are Palestinians ready for another uprising?

On Saturday we went to ask Palestinians in Jerusalem whether they supported another intifada, when a small demonstration was attacked by Israeli police.

Above is our full report.

Auckland march for Jerusalem: the ‘heart of Palestine’

9 Dec

Nearly 400 Aucklanders, from a wide variety of backgrounds,  joined in an impromptu rally and march today for Free Jerusalem – ‘the heart of Palestine.’

The protest was called by the NZ Palestine Solidarity Network in urgent response to US president Donald Trump’s proclamation that the US considers Jerusalem to be the ‘capital of Israel’ and to move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv. 

After short, passionate speeches by justice campaigners, union leaders and spokespersons from the local Palestinian community, the rally unanimously endorsed a resolution to “demand the NZ Government strongly oppose the US president’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel”, and as an act of sanction, “shut down the Israeli embassy in Wellington”.

Mike Treen, National Director of the Unite Union, told the crowd that his union moved a motion supporting Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) to sever ties with Israel, which was passed by the CTU.

One protester, Ricardo, reflected on today’s march: “There’s something awesome about communities that are often ‘invisibilised’ by mainstream politics coming together and making their voices heard.

Members of the Palestinian community in Aotearoa (and supporters) came out to protest against Trump appointing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The demands were clear: For the Government to shut down its Israeli embassy and for the Government to openly and strongly condemn the Trump’s administration for these actions that are already a fanning the flames of conflict.

I have always held a lot of solidarity with Palestinians, having grown up by the US/Mexico border, another example of border imperialism that has displaced and dispossessed many. I hope one day we can fully dismantle these institutions that continue to divide us.”

Video: He orite tatou whawhai – we share the same struggle

8 Dec

Why we will never give up Jerusalem: Not one more acre (A comparison with Maori land and identity struggles)

Video produced by Mariam Arif, 7 December 2017. 

Song: ‘Freedom’ by Maher Zain.

Introduction by Mariam Arif:

Tena koutou e te whanau

In the wake of the recent claim that Jerusalem will become Israel’s capital, it is important to shed light on the Palestinian issue and to never forget the truth.

I have put together this video in hopes of bringing it closer to home, comparing it with Maori struggle to maintain land and identity.

It is for that reason that te iwi Maori resonates with us as Arabs and Muslims.

We understand the struggle, we have been there, and we are still there.

He orite tatou whawhai (We share the same struggle)

Te whawhai mo to tatou whenua me to tatou mana hoki (The fight for our land and our identity)

he whawhai ki a ratou e tarai te tango to tatou whenua, me to tatou mana (A fight against those who try and strip the land and identities away from us)

Hiruharama (Jerusalem) belongs to PALESTINE Aroha ki te tangata.

Hands off Jerusalem!

8 Dec

NZ cartoonist Malcolm Evans responds to Trump’s announcement recognising Jerusalem as the “capital of Israel”.

Join the protest rally this Saturday 9 December, 2pm at Aotea Square, Queen St, Auckland.

A NZ Palestine Solidarity Network initiative – supported by Auckland’s Palestinian Community, Kia Ora Gaza, Palestine Human Rights Campaign, Global Peace & Justice and others.

For updates and views on the current situation, go to websites: and

FaceBook events page:

Join in the global call to stop Trump’s dangerous moves to escalate tensions instead of striving for peace and justice in Palestine:

  • Come to the protest rally on Saturday – bring your friends

  • Write to the papers – call talk back radio

  • Tell your MP your views

  • Write to the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

  • Keep involved – we need to build the campaign to boycott and overcome Israel’s occupation, containment and violence.

Jerusalem will never be the capital of a settler colony

8 Dec

Palestinians shout slogans during a protest following US President Donald Trump’s announcement that he has recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital [Ammar Awad/Reuters]

By Hamid Dabashi, Opinion, AlJazeera, 7 December 2017

If you want to understand the psychopathology at the root of the Zionist psychosis, you must go to the heart of their delusion, like an analyst placing a mentally sick person on a couch – and today there is no better place to see that psychotic colonial fixation at work than in an article, titled, Of Course Jerusalem Is Israel’s Capital, published (where else?) in the New York Times just hours before Donald Trump’s announcement that in his august moronic opinion, “Jerusalem is the capital of Israel”.

The fanatical Zionists’ delusional orotundity begins with the proposal that “there was a temple on that site for nearly 1,000 years before the Roman destruction. That would mean that for about 3,000 years, Jerusalem has been the center of the Jewish people.” That is the oldest and silliest trick in the Zionist bag: take a truism – a mere fragment of the whole truth – and flip it to your advantage. Not so fast, mister! 

The deliberate dilettantism of the Zionists into Middle East history is threadbare folly. Christians and Muslims, too, trace their archaeological history to thousands of years ago in the selfsame Palestine. That does not entitle them to declare a Christian or Islamic republic in Palestine. The idea of a “Jewish state” in Palestine is as fraudulent as the proposition of a Christian Empire or an Islamic Republic in Palestine. Palestine was also ruled by Persian and Roman empires, but that does not entitle Italy or Iran to come and lay a claim on Palestine. We might as well send Berlusconi and Ahmadinejad to a ring to fight their claims over Palestine – the winner will take on Netanyahu. The problem with these Zionists is how utterly indifferent to their own stupidity they seem to be.

Continue reading

Zero Hour in Palestine

8 Dec

By Chris Hedges, Truthdig, (US daily news site), 7 December 2017

Wednesday’s announcement by President Trump, who finds a soul mate in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, that he will move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem solidifies our status, along with Israel, as a rogue state and an international pariah. The United States long ago lost credibility as an honest broker in any Mideast peace agreement. We have provided $38 billion in military aid to Israel over the last decade despite Israel’s flagrant disregard for international law and its well-documented war crimes. We do nothing to halt the expropriation of Palestinian land. We give unequivocal support to Israeli attacks on Palestinians, including the bombardment of largely defenseless civilians in Gaza, that have left thousands of dead and destroyed whole neighborhoods.

The Trump decision sends a message to those who demand justice for the Palestinian people: Our only hope is to strengthen the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement to isolate and cripple Israel. This would involve a robust boycott of Israeli cultural and academic institutions. It demands divestment from companies with financial interests in Israel. And it seeks to impose international sanctions on the Jewish state. The goal of the BDS movement is to end the Israeli occupation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, achieve equal rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel and ensure the right of return for all Palestinian refugees in the diaspora. If we fail to act we must accept our complicity in the slow-motion genocide of the Palestinian people.

“The current xenophobic, racist U.S. administration is smashing international law as fast as it is smashing its own mask of respect for human rights and with it whatever credibility it still has around the world,” said Omar Barghouti, the Palestinian human rights activist and co-founder of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel. He commented after I reached him by email.

“By trying to bestow legitimacy on Israel’s patently illegitimate annexation of occupied Jerusalem, the U.S. administration, whose own legitimacy is contested by millions of Americans, is throwing a flame onto a haystack in a midsummer day,” he said. “If we turn this deliberate act of mega-arson into an opportunity to further build the BDS movement to isolate Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid, we can advance the struggle for freedom, justice and equality.”

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Stop Trump’s provocative plan to move US embassy to Jerusalem

7 Dec

Palestinians fight for recognition of Jerusalem as the historic capital of Palestine

Protest rally this Saturday 9 December, 2pm at Aotea Square, Auckland CBD.

A NZ Palestine Solidarity Network initiative – supported by Auckland’s Palestinian Community, Kia Ora Gaza, Palestine Human Rights Campaign, Global Peace & Justice and others.

For updates on the current situation, go to websites: and

FaceBook events page:

Join in the global call to stop Trump’s dangerous moves to escalate tensions instead of striving for peace and justice in Palestine:

  • Come to the protest rally on Saturday – bring your friends

  • Write to the papers – call talk back radio

  • Tell your MP your views

  • Write to the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

  • Keep involved – we need to build the campaign to boycott and overcome Israel’s occupation and violence

NZ Palestine Solidarity Network spokesperson Janfrie Wakim stated today in a letter to NZ Herald:

Donald Trump’s announcement to relocate the US embassy to Jerusalem is a catastrophic provocation which will have worldwide ramifications. Jerusalem as a shared capital of both Palestine and Israel has been a cornerstone of all negotiations. Israel took Jerusalem by force in 1967 and its continued military occupation of East Jerusalem is both illegal and illegitimate.  Trump’s actions defy UN resolutions (deeply ironic because Israel was created by the UN) and destroy chances of peace and security in the entire region while provoking violence, encouraging extremists around the world, and inflaming religious and spiritual sentiments. Fortunately his announcement has found no support from US allies and we hope the New Zealand government will condemn it too.

Leslie Bravery, editor of NZPHRC’s ‘In Occupied Palestine’ added today:

US President Trump’s surrender to Israel’s territorial ambitions is a grave violation of international law, particularly, the Fourth Geneva Convention. Trump’s announcement contradicts even the most recent Security Council Resolution, UNSCR 2334 of December 2016. Israel’s control of East Jerusalem, including the Old City, is illegal because under international law, an occupying power does not have sovereignty over foreign territory it militarily occupies.

Israel only allows the native Palestinian population in Jerusalem what it calls ‘permanent residency’ status, whereas Israeli settlers enjoy citizenship. Since the 1967 invasion, Israel has been quietly imposing impossible conditions upon the Palestinians to make it near impossible for them to maintain their residency. While Israel continues to subsidise its illegal settlement population, Palestinians are almost always refused building permits. The purpose is obvious.

How times have changed

In 1967, when laws to annex East Jerusalem were enacted, Israel tried to hide the move from the international community, fearing a negative response. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz describes the duplicity – a day prior to the Knesset debate on the proposals, a telegram was sent to Israeli ambassadors, guiding them on how to deal with the issue: “In view of the situation in the [UN] assembly, our public diplomacy [hasbara, in the Hebrew original] must stress the law regarding the holy sites and conceal the first two.”

On 9 September 2016, US State Department spokeswoman, Elizabeth Trudeau, stated, in response to a question that: “The undisputed fact is that already this year, thousands of settlement units have been advanced for Israelis in the West Bank, illegal outposts and unauthorised settlement units have been retroactively legalised, more West Bank land has been seized for exclusive Israeli use, and there has been a dramatic escalation of demolitions resulting in over 700 Palestinian structures destroyed, displacing more than 1,000 Palestinians. As we’ve said many times before, this does raise real questions about Israel’s long-term intentions in the West Bank.”

Today, US President Trump has united with the Zionist Israel Lobby and Christian fundamentalists. No other country in the world recognises Israel’s ownership of Jerusalem, or its attempts to change the geography and demographic character of the city. By his action over Jerusalem, Trump has declared himself an enemy of justice and imperilled us all. At this critical moment, New Zealand must stand by its principles and affirm, unequivocally, its continued support for UN Security Council Resolution 2334.

Is Trump shedding US image of a neutral peace broker?

7 Dec

Trump with VP Pence displays his proclamation after announcing his decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. [AFP Getty image]

By Ramzy Baroud, TRTWorld, 7 December 2017

Trump’s move to recognise Israel could overturn US role in the region

Is the Trump administration finally shedding the US image of a neutral peace broker?

When then Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump delivered his famous speech before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in March 2016, he revealed the type of politician he truly is. By Washington’s standards, he was a “good politician”, devoid of any values.

In his speech he made many promises to Israel. The large crowd could not contain their giddiness. AIPAC conferences are rarely platforms for rational thinking, but rather an undisguised, unmitigated love fest for Israel, and only Israel. Trump knew how to speak their language.

Of the many false claims and dangerous promises Trump made, a particular passage stood out. It offered early clues to what the future administration’s policy on Israel and Palestine would look like.

The signs were not promising: “When the United States stands with Israel, the chances of peace really rise and rises exponentially. That’s what will happen when Donald Trump is president of the United States,” he declared, a fraudulent statement that was preceded with loud applause and ended with an even louder cheer.

“We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem,” he announced. The mix of cheers and applause was deafening.

And finally, “The Palestinians must come to the table knowing that the bond between the United States and Israel is absolutely, totally unbreakable.”

By then, the crowd was intoxicated in their own euphoria.

Continue reading

Trump’s Jerusalem move: world leaders warn of dangers

7 Dec

Video: What World Leaders Think of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital. Global and regional leaders warned of the dangers of declaring Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. President Trump announced the change on Wednesday. [New York Times video] 

By Jason Horowitz, The New York Times, 6 December 2017

Global and regional leaders warned of the dangers of declaring Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. President Trump announced the change on Wednesday.

ROME — Pope Francis said, “I cannot remain silent.” The United Nations secretary general spoke of his “great anxiety.” The European Union expressed “serious concern.” American allies like Britain, France, Germany and Italy all declared it a mistake.

A chorus of international leaders criticized the Trump administration’s decision on Wednesday to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel as a dangerous disruption that contravenes several United Nations resolutions and could inflame one of the world’s thorniest conflicts.

Secretary General António Guterres and Pope Francis both expressed alarm that the announcement would provoke new tensions in the Holy City, which is revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims.

Within minutes of Mr. Trump’s speech, in which he said the American Embassy would be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Mr. Guterres delivered what amounted to a diplomatic rebuke.

Reading a statement outside the Security Council chambers at United Nations headquarters in New York, Mr. Guterres criticized “any unilateral measures that would jeopardize the prospect of peace for Israelis and Palestinians,” underscoring the administration’s departure from decades of American policy.

 “Jerusalem is a final-status issue that must be resolved through direct negotiations between the two parties on the basis of the relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, taking into account the legitimate concerns of both the Palestinian and the Israeli sides,” Mr. Guterres said.

“In this moment of great anxiety, I want to make it clear: there is no alternative to the two-state solution,” he said. “There is no Plan B.”

In Rome, Pope Francis prayed that Jerusalem’s status be preserved and needless conflict avoided.

“I cannot remain silent about my deep concern for the situation that has developed in recent days,” Francis said at his weekly general audience at the Vatican. “And at the same time, I wish to make a heartfelt appeal to ensure that everyone is committed to respecting the status quo of the city, in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations.”

“Jerusalem is a unique city,” he said, “sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims, where the Holy Places for the respective religions are venerated, and it has a special vocation to peace.”

In especially strong language, the pope added, “I pray to the Lord that such identity be preserved and strengthened for the benefit of the Holy Land, the Middle East and the entire world, and that wisdom and prudence prevail, to avoid adding new elements of tension in a world already shaken and scarred by many cruel conflicts.”

The European Union’s top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, expressed concern about “the repercussions this may have on the prospect of peace.”

In a statement, she reiterated the E.U.’s position that Jerusalem should be a future capital of two states, Israeli and Palestinian, and that embassies should not be moved there until the city’s final status was resolved. She cited a 1980 United Nations Security Council resolution that condemned Israel’s attempted annexation of East Jerusalem as a violation of international law.

She called on actors in the region “to show calm and restraint in order to prevent any escalation.”

The warnings by the pope, the United Nations and the European Union spoke to a broad fear that Mr. Trump’s announcement would be the death knell for an already moribund peace process and would pull the plug on a two-state solution.

Protesters burned the flags of Israel and the United States in Gaza City on Wednesday. Credit Mahmud Hams/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Critics of the announcement said the change in policy removed any pretense that the United States is a neutral broker for peace. Palestinians and other Arabs in the region already view the Trump administration as leaning toward Israel’s right-wing government. The change in American policy “destroys the peace process,” said the Palestinian prime minister, Rami Hamdallah.

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Palestinians call for days of rage over US Jerusalem plan

7 Dec

TOPSHOT – Palestinian protesters burn pictures of US President Donald Trump at the manger square in Bethlehem on December 5, 2017. US President Donald Trump told Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas in a phone call that he intends to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Abbas’s office said. [AFP PHOTO Musa AL SHAERMUSA AL SHAER/AFP/Getty Images]

AlJazeera report, 7 December 2017

Palestinians call for days of rage over US Jerusalem plan

Protests have broken out in the Gaza Strip in response to US President Donald Trump’s expected decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, as Palestinian leaders called for three days of rage against the move.

Hundreds of Palestinians took to the streets in Gaza City on Wednesday, carrying banners denouncing Trump, hours ahead of his impending declaration that would also see the US embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The declaration, which is expected at 18:00 GMT on Wednesday, comes amid global condemnation of the decision.

Speaking to Al Jazeera from Gaza, Hamas leader Ismail Haniya described Trump’s decision as a “flagrant aggression”.

“This decision is an uncalculated gamble that will know no limit to the Palestinian, Arab and Muslim reaction,” he said.

“We call for stopping this decision fully because this will usher in the beginning of a time of terrible transformations, not just on the Palestinian level but on the region as a whole. This decision means the official announcement of the end of the peace process.”

‘Ball of fire’

Al Jazeera’s Bernard Smith, reporting from Gaza, said people did not bother to wait for the announcement and spontaneously gathered to protest against the plans.

“This is an indication of what might come after Trump speaks later today. People here compared the protests to a small ball of fire that would roll and turn into a much larger ball later on,” Smith said.

“The move by the US seems to have further unified the Palestinians. Hamas and the smaller factions in Gaza have given their full support to Mahmoud Abbas’ Fattah movement in their opposition to the US move. There is full unity on the Palestinian streets behind this cause,” he added.

Palestinian women in Gaza City protest against the US plan to move its embassy to Jerusalem [Mohammed Salem/Reuters]

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There’ll always be excuses for doing nothing

7 Dec

Family members chant slogans and hold photos of victims of the Mavi Marmara ship, outside the city’s main courthouse after the trial in Istanbul, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency says a court has dropped a case against Israeli military officials accused over the deaths of 10 Turkish activists, a decision aligned with a reconciliation pact between Turkey and Israel. (AP Photo/ Emrah Gurel)

Freedom Flotilla Coaltion statement 6 December 2017 []

Mavi Marmara victims of Israeli war crimes still waiting for justice, as the Freedom Flotilla Coalition reaffirms its aim of challenging the blockade

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC) welcomes confirmation in her 30 November 2017 statement by International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, that there exists a “reasonable basis to believe that war crimes were committed by some members of the Israel Defence Forces during and after the boarding of the Mavi Marmara on 30 May 2010”, when it and other vessels were headed towards Gaza (Palestine), but completely disagree with her decision that “however, no potential case arising from this situation can, legally speaking, be considered of “sufficient gravity” under the Rome Statute to be admissible before this Court, therefore barring the opening of an investigation.”

In an act of state piracy, Israeli forces killed ten civilians:

Cengiz Akyüz, 42 (four gunshot wounds: back of head, right side of face, back, left leg)

Ibrahim Bilgen, 60 (four gunshot wounds: right chest, back, right hip, right temple)

Cevdet Kılıçlar, 38 (one gunshot wound: middle of forehead)

Furkan Doğan, 19 (five gunshot wounds: nose, back, back of head, left leg, left ankle)

Fahri Yaldiz, (four gunshot wounds: left chest, left leg, right leg twice)

Ali Haydar Bengi , 39 (six gunshot wounds: left chest, belly, right arm, right leg, left hand twice)

Çetin Topçuoğlu, 54 (three gunshot wounds: back of head, left side, right belly)

Cengiz Songür, 47 (one gunshot wound: front of neck)

Necdet Yildirim, 32 (two gunshot wounds: right shoulder, left side of back )

and Uğur Süleyman Söylemez (who died in 2014 after four years in a coma). In addition they wounded dozens of other people as they imprisoned all of the passengers on board.

These people, their families and friends are yet to obtain justice.

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition rejects the decision by this same ICC prosecutor to prevent these crimes from being judged by the ICC, as there are no open cases investigating these crimes in any state and it is therefore granting the Israeli government impunity.
The government of Turkey (where nine of the murder victims were citizens, while Furkan Dogan had dual US-Turkish nationality) reached a spurious agreement with the Israeli government, without taking into account the victims or their families; the Spanish government ‘just happened’ to change its law of universal jurisdiction so that the case of the Spanish victims had to be provisionally closed. as a result, at present there is no national government currently willing or able to do justice in this case.

The ICC was created to ensure justice when national states are unable or unwilling to act in relation to serious crimes. It is no secret that the Israeli judicial system forms part of the occupation apparatus and will not punish these crimes nor many others committed against the Palestinian people.

All of this shows the complicity of the international community with the Israeli occupation and the blockade imposed on Gaza, as well as the inconsistency of the ICC prosecutor.

As the prosecutor acknowleged in her closing statement, her conclusion on the applicable criteria under the Rome statue does not excuse any crimes which may have been perpetrated in connection with the Mavi Marmara incident: 

For all these reasons, in addition to legal steps being undertaken by the victims’ lawyers at the ICC or elsewhere, the Freedom Flotilla Coalition is already organizing its next mission: preparing a new flotilla to sail to Gaza while at the same time carrying out activities in solidarity with Gaza’s fishers, who are restricted to working less than six nautical miles from the Gaza coast, while the Israeli blockade of Gaza continues and Israel exploits Palestinian resources – including water and natural gas. As always, our direct action is aimed at sending a message of hope to the people of Gaza and demanding that world’s governments comply with their obligations and respect international law.

What can I do?
The Freedom Flotilla Coalition calls on supporters of justice worldwide to support our ongoing direct action work against the blockade of Gaza and in support of full freedom of movement for all Palestinians.

NOTE: Kia Ora Gaza is a member of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition, and fully supports the 2018 international peace flotilla to break Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza. See the side bar for information on how to donate to this important mission.


Trump’s Jerusalem embassy move: playing with fire

6 Dec

VIDEO: Trump playing with fire in Jerusalem. AlJazeera 3 December 2017

By Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 6 December 2017

On Tuesday I spoke to Aaron Maté of The Real News about President Donald Trump’s expected move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Trump has already told Israeli and Arab leaders that he will announce the move on Wednesday.

Trump is, however, also expected to sign a waiver that will delay relocating the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem for at least another six months.

Every president has signed the waiver since a 1995 law was passed requiring the embassy move. This will be the second time Trump will have delayed the relocation since he took office in January.

Trump’s announcement will end decades of US policy that recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital could come only after the status of the city is settled in negotiations.

Last month, US lawmakers held hearings to promote recognizing Jerusalem and moving the embassy that only heard from members of the Israel lobby, and completely excluded Palestinians.
Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its “united and eternal” capital.

The western part of the city was conquered and ethnically cleansed of its Palestinian residents by Zionist militias as Israel was established in 1948.

While a number of countries have recognized Israel’s “de facto” control of what came to be known as West Jerusalem, none has recognized any part of the city as Israel’s capital.

The United Nations and world governments consider East Jerusalem, which Israel invaded in 1967, to be part of the occupied West Bank. The UN Security Council has ruled Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem to be “null and void.”

On the ground in East Jerusalem, Palestinians face incremental ethnic cleansing by Israel to make way for Jewish settlers.

Israel implements a host of measures to make the lives of Palestinians in the city impossible, including building restrictions, home demolitions and expulsions, and the revocation of residency rights.

Since the occupation began in 1967, according to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, Israel has treated Palestinians indigenous to the city “as unwanted immigrants and worked systematically to drive them out of the area.”

Trump’s shift has already been strongly denounced by the 57 member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and US allies, including France, have warned that the announcement would sabotage the already dim prospects of achieving a two-state solution.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the American move would cross a “red line” and threatened that his country “could go as far as cutting diplomatic ties with Israel over the issue.”

I argued on The Real News that years of unconditional US support for Israel, coupled with international inaction, have set the stage for Trump’s moves on Jerusalem.

I told Maté that Palestinians in Jerusalem have shown a tremendous capacity to resist, such as the weeks of nonviolent civil disobedience last summer that forced Israel to retreat from measures aimed at tightening its grip on the al-Aqsa mosque compound.

However, Trump’s move will embolden the so-called Temple Movement.

With significant Israeli government backing, this extremist Jewish movement aims to destroy Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock and replace them with a Jewish temple – potentially triggering religious conflict on an unimaginable scale.

Watch the video of my interview with Maté above.

Trump tells Abbas he will move embassy to Jerusalem

6 Dec

Video: AlJazeera panel discussion, 3 December 2017

Middle East Eye, 5 December 2017

Trump tells Abbas he will move embassy to Jerusalem

Donald Trump reaffirmed to Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday that he intends to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, as regional and world leaders sought to reiterate the dangers of the vow, a decision on which is expected in the coming days.

The US president confirmed his “intention” to move the embassy in a phone call with his Palestinian counterpart, the latter’s spokesman Nabil Abu Rdainah said.

He said Abbas was not informed about the timing of the planned transfer of the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. 

“President Abbas spoke after his call with President Trump with the presidents of Russia and France, with the Pope and with King Abdullah of Jordan. He told them such a move was rejected and he urged them to intervene to prevent it from happening,” Abu Rdainah told Reuters.

Turkey threatened to cut diplomatic ties with Israel should the country become the first to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. 

“Mr Trump, Jerusalem is the red line of Muslims,” Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a parliamentary meeting of his ruling AK Party.

“This can go as far as severing Turkey’s ties with Israel. I am warning the United States not to take such a step which will deepen the problems in the region.”

Trump had been due to take a decision on the Holy City on Monday but delayed it by several days following a string of public and private warnings from leaders around the globe.

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