The tide is turning: Israel is losing on two war fronts

20 Nov

An elderly Palestinian man leans on a tree destroyed and tangled with debris outside a building on 13 November 2018 [Mohammed Asad/MEMO]

By Ramzy Baroud, Middle East Monitor, 19 November, 2018

The botched Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip on 12 November is delineating Tel Aviv’s failure to utilise its army as a tool to achieve Palestinian political concessions.

Now that Palestinian popular resistance has gone global through the exponential rise and growing success of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement, the Israeli government is fighting two desperate wars.

Following the Gaza attack, Palestinians responded by showering the southern Israeli border with rockets and carried out a precise operation targeting an Israeli army bus. As Palestinians marched in celebration of pushing the Israeli army out of their besieged enclave, the fragile political order in Israel – long-managed by right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – was quickly unravelling.

Two days after the Israeli attack on Gaza, Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman quit in protest of Netanyahu’s ‘surrender’ to the Palestinian resistance. Israeli leaders are in a precarious situation. Untamed violence comes at a price of international condemnation and a Palestinian response that is bolder and more strategic every time. However, failing to teach Gaza its proverbial ‘lesson’ is viewed as an act of surrender by opportunistic Israeli politicians.

READ: Spanish city cancels Israeli women’s waterpolo match

While Israel is experiencing such limitations on the traditional battlefield, which it once completely dominated, its war against the global BDS movement is surely a lost battle. Israel has a poor track record in confronting civil society-based mobilisation.

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Airbnb drops Israeli settlements from listings

20 Nov

Airbnb says it will take down hundreds of listings for properties in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.[Shadi Hatem APA images]

By Nora Barrows-Friedman , Electronic Intifada, 19 November 2018

In a major win for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign, Airbnb, the popular vacation home rental website, announced on Monday it will remove listings in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

But the announcement does not appear to include Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem, which under international law is part of the occupied West Bank conquered by Israel in 1967.

Though Airbnb explained that US law permits companies to engage in business with Israeli settlements, it acknowledged that its decision was prompted by the nearly three years of steady campaigning by human rights activists around the globe who have urged the company to drop listings in Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

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‘My Name is Rachel Corrie’ is coming to Auckland

20 Nov

“Extraordinary power…Funny, passionate, bristling with idealism and luminously intelligent.” Time Out London

Tickets ($15 – $25) here:
Garnet Station:
The PumpHouse:

Shape Shift and Embers Collective proudly present My Name Is Rachel Corrie, an award-winning one-woman play constructed from the diary entries and letters of American activist, Rachel Corrie.

Rachel was born in Olympia, Washington, in 1979. She had a wicked sense of humour and an unquenchable social conscience.

In January 2003, she travelled to the Gaza Strip as a member of the International Solidarity Movement. In March that year she was killed by an Israeli military bulldozer whilst peacefully protesting the demolition of a Palestinian home.

She was just 23 years old.

What made a young woman leave her comfortable existence to fight for the rights of strangers in a war zone?

Poetic, entertaining, and timely; this intimate coming-of-age story chronicles the journey of a complex, real-life heroine. Through Rachel’s words we are invited to confront the universal questions: How do we find our path in life? What impact do our actions have on others? and How can one individual change the world for the better?

Written by Rachel Corrie
Co-edited by actor/ director Alan Rickman, and journalist Katharine Viner
Directed by Alexandra Whitham
Performed by Phoebe Borwick

This production is being staged at two venues!

Garnet Station Tiny Theatre, 85 Garnet Rd, Westmere, Auckland 1022
1st – 5th December

The Pumphouse Theatre – Coal Bunker, 2a Manurere Ave, off Killarney St, Takapuna.
7th – 9th December

Link to Facebook events page:

10% of proceeds donated to Amnesty International NZ

VIDEO: Footage from Rachel’s interview conducted by Middle East Broadcasting Company on March 14th, 2003, two days before she was murdered by the Israeli Defense Forces.



Special Christchurch event:

16 Nov

The Freedom Flotilla will sail until Palestine is free

16 Nov

Some of the delegates at the Freedom Flotilla Coalition conference in Spain last weekend. The Kia Ora Gaza (NZ) delegate, Roger Fowler, is shown standing second from the right in this photo.

Freedom Flotilla Coalition statement, Rivas, Vaciamadrid, Spain, 11 November, 2018.

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC) remains deeply concerned about the dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza, the brutal killings of over 200 Palestinians and serious injuries of over 16,000 Palestinians by the Israeli Occupation Forces Palestinians during the Great March of Return, and the ongoing illegal blockade of Gaza. The United Nations has declared that Gaza is growing dangerously close to being totally uninhabitable. We demand the full freedom of movement for all Palestinians, full access to maritime resources for Palestinians and unconditional and permanent lifting of the blockade of Gaza. The Freedom Flotilla Coalition will sail until Palestine is free.

The Coalition, with participants from 10 campaigns, met in Rivas, Spain, November 9-11, 2018 to begin planning its next mission to break the illegal blockade of Gaza. This was the first face-to-face meeting of the Coalition since our Just Future for Palestine mission of May-July 2018. We continue to urge supporters to demand that Israel release the 114 boxes of medical supplies to our partner organization in Gaza (see statement here and sign our PETITION). Follow progress on this site and at:

Participating in the meeting were representatives from Rumbo a Gaza (Spain), Ship to Gaza Norway, Ship to Gaza Sweden, US Boat to Gaza, Canadian Boat to Gaza, IHH (Turkey), International Committee for Breaking the Siege of Gaza, Kia Ora Gaza (New Zealand), MyCARE (Malaysia), as well as from South Africa, and a delegation from Portugal.

The FFC has adopted the following strategic plan focussing on children and youth in Gaza:

  1. The Freedom Flotilla Coalition will sail again to break the illegal blockade of Gaza, for which the planning has already begun.
  2. The FFC will hold an International Week of activities for Gaza in October 2019.
  3. FFC supporters will be invited to participate in many regional educational and awareness raising activities to get on board the Flotilla beginning very soon.

Freedom Flotilla Coalition delegates at the conference in Spain planning the next international campaign the break Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza.

Israeli defence minister resigns over ceasefire deal

15 Nov

Middle East Monitor, 15 November, 2018 

In shock move, Avigdor Lieberman has resigned from his position as Israel’s defence minister following a disagreement over the recently-signed ceasefire with Gaza.

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Ceasefire after Israel hits 150 targets in Gaza

15 Nov

RT’s report of the Israeli attacks on Gaza this week.

Palestine Chronicle, 14 November, 2018

Hamas says groups agree to Gaza ceasefire if Israel reciprocates.

Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip say they have agreed to an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire with Israel to end the worst violence between the two sides in years.

Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett, reporting from Nahal-Oz, near the Gaza-Israel fence, said Hamas-led factions on Tuesday accepted the truce “to restart the situation that prevailed up until this latest military escalation”.

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6 Palestinians killed in Israeli airstrikes

13 Nov
Ma’anNewsAgency, Gaza City, 13 November 2018
Six Palestinians were killed and at least 20 others were injured during a campaign of Israeli airstrikes from overnight Monday until predawn Tuesday across the northern besieged Gaza Strip.
Medical sources in Gaza reported that six Palestinians were killed and 20 others were injured during continuous Israeli airstrikes over various parts of Gaza.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza identified the six killed as Muhammad Zacharia al-Tatri, 27, Muhammad Zahdi Awda, 22, Mousa Iyad Ali Abed al-Aal, 22, Hamed Muhammad al-Nahal, 22, and Khaled Riad Ahmad Sultan, 26, and Musaab Hawas, 20.
The story continues below..

In addition, Mahmoud Abu Usba, 40, was killed after a residential building was hit by a rocket fired from Gaza towards the Ashkelon Regional Council, in southern Israel, on late Monday.
Abu Usba was a Palestinian resident of Halhoul City, north of the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, and was a worker in Israel.
Hebrew-language news outlets reported that two Israeli women, who were present in the same residential building were reported to be in critical conditions, due to the hit.
The sites additionally confirmed that some 550 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip towards the Israeli communities surrounding Gaza, which led to 70 Israelis injured and the destruction of several buildings in the communities.
Israeli warplanes targeted and fired at over a hundred Hamas movement and Islamic Jihad movement sites, including an intelligence compound, which is located in the center of Gaza City near a school, a mosque and other diplomatic facilities, an Israeli army spokesperson confirmed.The entire complex itself includes a kindergarten and a warehouse, however, the Israeli army claimed that it is used for intelligence gathering, research and development.
A Ma’an reporter said that Israeli warplanes had targeted and demolished three residential buildings, which were home to three Palestinian families, and another five commercial buildings, including a hotel, in Gaza City.
Following the violent escalation overnight, Hamas’ military wing spokesperson said in a statement that Beer Sheva and Ashdod would be targeted next if “Israel persisted in its aggression.”
The Jihad reiterated the statement by Hamas, saying Gaza factions have the capacity to continue their offensive.
It is noteworthy that Israel is currently not working with the United Nations nor Egypt to reduce tensions.
[Photos: Ma’an News Agency]

Ali Abunimah analyses Israel’s attacks on Gaza

13 Nov

VIDEO: Aljazeera interviews US/Palestinian author and commentator Ali Abunimah on Israel’s covert attacks and current bombardment of Gaza and the response of the Palestinian resistance. [AlJazeera 13 November 2018].

Dr Ramzy Baroud on ‘What’s working & what’s not’

8 Nov

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW: Acclaimed US/Palestinian author and journalist, Dr Ramzy Baroud discusses tactics for building an effective Palestine solidarity movement, with Katie Miranda. Published 26 October 2018.

Dr. Ramzy Baroud is a US-Arab journalist, media consultant, an author, internationally-syndicated columnist, Editor of Palestine Chronicle (1999-present), former Managing Editor of London-based Middle East Eye (2014-15), former Editor-in-Chief of The Brunei Times, former Deputy Managing Editor of Al Jazeera online. He taught mass communication at Australia’s Curtin University of Technology, Malaysia Campus. Baroud also served as head of English’s Research and Studies department. He is the author of three books and a contributor to many others; his latest volume is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London, 2010). His books were translated to several languages including French, Turkish, Arabic, Korean, among others. Baroud has a Doctorate of Philosophy in Palestine Studies from the European Centre for Palestinian Studies at the University of Exeter (2015). The NZ Palestine Solidarity Network hosted a nationwide speaking tour with Dr Baroud earlier this year – see earlier posts on

Ramzy Baroud’s facebook page and website:

Website for the Palestine Solidarity Summit, to hear from 20 leading scholars, activists and writers (free access).


Watch final episodes of doco on US Israel lobby

7 Nov

The Electronic Intifada, 7 November 2018

In the first two parts of the censored documentary The Lobby – USA, released by The Electronic Intifada this week, Al Jazeera’s undercover reporter “Tony” charmed his way into pro-Israel circles.

[See our post on 6 November for episodes 1 and 2:  Ed]

He discovered a network of organizations acting as fronts for the Israeli state to spy on, disrupt and sabotage US supporters of Palestinian rights – especially BDS, the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

In the final two parts of of the film, Tony gets a deeper look at Israel’s covert influence campaigns during his internship for The Israel Project.

Watch parts three and four in the videos embedded above and below.

The Electronic Intifada is releasing the leaked film simultaneously with France’s Orient XXI and Lebanon’s Al-Akhbar, which have respectively subtitled the episodes in French and Arabic.

In part three, Al Jazeera interviews Bill Mullen, a professor of American Studies at Purdue University in Indiana, and a leading activist in the BDS movement.

As The Electronic Intifada reported in 2016, Mullen and his family found themselves targeted by an organized smear campaign, starting in March of that year.

Several anonymous websites sprang up, containing fabricated accounts of sexual harassment by Mullen, supposedly by a student.

In the film, Mullen describes the campaign as an attempt to destroy his marriage. His wife, also a professor, was sent a link to one of the sites.

The smear campaign seems to have been manufactured by Israel’s agents in the US.

“These people will do anything”

“One of the [anonymous] accounts explains that in the process of supposedly putting my hand on her, I’d invited her to a Palestine organizational meeting. And I thought, you’re sort of putting your cards on the table there,” Mullen says, explaining how he came to realize that pro-Israel actors were behind the smears.

Mullen recounts how the anonymous websites also used the name of his daughter, which he says was the worst moment for him, when he realized “these people will do anything, they’re capable of doing anything.”

A Students for Justice in Palestine activist who Mullen worked with, speaks anonymously in an interview with Al Jazeera.

She too was targeted by an anonymous smear site, which falsely claimed she engaged in “partying, drinking” and “promiscuity.” She recounts how this led to tension and upset at home, with her parents telling her to end her SJP involvement.

Smear tactics have been common features of “advocacy” for Israel for decades. Israel lobbyists know they cannot win open debate on the actual issues.

Such attempts to target and sabotage activists’ personal lives represent an escalation in tactics in recent years, led by Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs.

These tactics are more reminiscent of Israeli intelligence services’ actions against Palestinian resistance organizations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with the usage of blackmail, disinformation, rumors and sabotage.

This is not entirely surprising considering that the Ministry of Strategic Affairs is largely staffed by Israeli spies.

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With Brazil’s Bolsonaro, Israel finds another natural partner on the Far Right

7 Nov

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Jair Bolsonaro, new president of Brazil [File photos]

By Jonathan Cook, Nazareth, Palestine Chronicle, 6 November 2018

The victory of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil’s presidential election last week has won Israel a passionate new friend on the international stage. The world’s fifth-most populous nation will now be “colored in blue and white”, an Israeli official said, referring to the colors of Israel’s flag.

The Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately called to congratulate Bolsonaro, a former army officer with a pronounced nostalgia for his country’s 20-year military dictatorship. Critics describe him as a neo-fascist.

According to Israeli media reports, it is “highly probable” that Netanyahu will attend Bolsonaro’s inauguration on January 1.

Photo of Jair Bolsonaro’s two sons, Eduardo and Carlos Bolsonaro, wearing IDF and Mossad shirts during a trip to Israel. Eduardo posted the photo to social media in May 2016

The Brazilian president-elect has already promised that his country will be the third to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem, after the United States and Guatemala. That will further undermine Palestinian hopes for an eventual state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Bolsonaro has told Israel that it can count on Brazil’s vote at the United Nations, and has threatened to close the Palestinian embassy in Brasilia.

One might imagine that Netanyahu is simply being pragmatic in cozying up to Bolsonaro, given Brazil’s importance. But that would be to ignore an unmistakable trend: Israel has relished the recent emergence of far-right leaders across the Americas and Europe, often to the horror of local Jewish communities.

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215 Palestinian sports groups call for boycott of PUMA

7 Nov

VIDEO: PalPlus English

215 Palestinian sports organisations have called for an international boycott of #Puma over it’s sponsorship of the Israeli Football Association which supports clubs located on land stolen from Palestinians.

Join social media actions and start organizing a #BoycottPuma campaign in your area!

Why Boycott Puma?

Puma is sponsoring the Israel Football Association (IFA), which welcomes football clubs based in illegal Israeli settlements to participate in its leagues and competitions. The Israeli military occupation expels Palestinian families, including children, from their homes to give way for these settlements. Israeli settlements are considered as war crimes under international law.

Last July it was announced that Adidas was no longer sponsoring the IFA following an international campaign and the delivery of over 16,000 signatures to Adidas headquarters. We can do this again.

Join the #BoycottPuma social media actions and spread the boycott call!

Palestinian athletes and sports clubs have already kick-started the #BoycottPuma campaign! 

Follow their inspiration!

  1. Print a “boycott Puma” sign
  2. Take a photo of yourself or your group holding the sign
  3. Post the photo on social media using the hashtag #BoycottPuma


Ehud Barak says Netanyahu has ‘surrendered to Hamas’

6 Nov

Former Israeli PM, Ehud Barak. (Photo: via MEMO)

Palestine Chronicle, 5 November, 2018

Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak yesterday criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and described him as “weak” in response to his dealings with the Gaza Strip, Quds Press reported.

During a meeting with the Israeli TV Channel 10, Barak described Netanyahu as “weak” and “afraid” because he “is unable” to take decisions regarding the Gaza Strip. He added: “Therefore, he should go home”.

Netanyahu had “surrendered” to the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, Barak said, describing the government as “confused” and as having “lost its way”.

Barak has been an outspoken critic of the Netanyahu government and said several times that “its policy is to divide the Israeli people into two halves.”

Last month, Barak expressed his pride at having killed more than 300 Palestinians in three a half minutes, referring to the Israeli offensive on Gaza in 2008-2009 which started with an attack on a police station that led to the death of more than 300 people most of them were on duty policemen.

[Video published by PalPlus English, 23 October 2018]

Netanyahu advances death penalty bill for Palestinians

6 Nov

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has approved legislation which would make it easier for courts to hand death sentences to Palestinians who have killed Israelis or soldiers.

While Israel has a law permitting the death penalty, no executions have been carried out since 1962.

Under the current law, the death penalty may only be imposed by unanimous decision from a panel of three judges. A bill proposed by Defence Minister Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party, which Netanyahu backed yesterday, would remove this requirement, allowing both civilian and military courts to execute Palestinians with a majority decision.

The bill is expected to be brought up at the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee in the next few days to prepare the legislation for its first reading in the Knesset.

PRC report to UN on the Great March of Return

6 Nov

Press Release: Palestinian Return Centre, 5 November 2018

PRC Submits Report to the UN Commission of Inquiry on the Great March of Return

The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) has submitted a report the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on the 2018 protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The series of demonstrations named by the organizers “Great March of Return” called on Israel and the international community to implement their collective right of return to the lands from which they were displaced in 1948 and after.

PRC collected testimonies with participants, witnesses and victims that took part in the 2018 large-scale demonstrations in the occupied Gaza Strip. PRC’s evidence show that Israeli soldiers shot unarmed protesters, bystanders, journalists and medical staff approximately 150-400m from the fence, constituting extrajudicial executions and deliberate maiming of civilians. Prima facie evidence and testimonies show that none of the Palestinians victims included in this report were endangering Israeli Occupation Forces, who were on the other side of the fence.

On 18 May 2018, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution (S-28/1) in which it decided to urgently dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry to investigate all alleged violations and abuses of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) in the context of the military assaults on the large-scale civilian protests that began on 30 March 2018, and to report to the Council at its fortieth session in March 2019.

The PRC concluded that the Israeli army’s response to Palestinians protesting against a colonial siege along the 1949 armistice line clearly violates a number of core principles of international humanitarian law. The killing and maiming of protesters, journalists, paramedics and children not engaged in any military activity amounts to a violation of the international legal principles of distinction, proportionality and of precautions in attack. The crimes are also a serious violation of  the International Criminal Court (ICC) Rome Statute and Fourth Geneva Convention. These violations are not occurring in vacuum but are part of the ongoing settler-colonial system of oppression the Israeli regime imposes on the Palestinian people.

Take action. Write/Email to your Political Representative. Here is a site to help with that –

Just try it once. It becomes much easier after that.


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Watch the film the Israel lobby didn’t want you to see

6 Nov

The Electronic Intifada 2 November 2018

The Electronic Intifada has obtained a complete copy of The Lobby – USA, a four-part undercover investigation by Al Jazeera into Israel’s covert influence campaign in the United States.

It is today publishing the first two episodes. The Paris-based Orient XXI has published the same episodes with French subtitles.

The film was made by Al Jazeera during 2016 and was completed in October 2017.

But it was censored after Qatar, the gas-rich Gulf emirate that funds Al Jazeera, came under intense Israel lobby pressure not to air the film.

Although Al Jazeera’s director-general claimed last month that there were outstanding legal issues with the film, his assertions have been flatly contradicted by his own journalists.

In March, The Electronic Intifada was the first to report on any of the film’s specific content. We followed this in August by publishing the first extract of the film, and shortly after Max Blumenthal at the Grayzone Project released others.

Since then, The Electronic Intifada has released three other extracts, and several other journalists have watched the entire film and written about it – including Alain Gresh and Antony Loewenstein.

Now The Electronic Intifada can reveal for the first time that it has obtained all four parts of the film.

You can watch the first two parts in the video embeds above and below.

To get unprecedented access to the Israel lobby’s inner workings, undercover reporter “Tony” posed as a pro-Israel volunteer in Washington.

The resulting film exposes the efforts of Israel and its lobbyists to spy on, smear and intimidate US citizens who support Palestinian human rights, especially BDS – the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

It shows that Israel’s semi-covert black-ops government agency, the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, is operating this effort in collusion with an extensive network of US-based organizations.

These include the Israel on Campus Coalition, The Israel Project and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Censored by Qatar

The film was suppressed after the government of Qatar came under intense pressure not to release it – ironically from the very same lobby whose influence and antics the film exposes.

Clayton Swisher, Al Jazeera’s head of investigations, revealed in an article for The Forward in March that Al Jazeera had sent more than 70 letters to individuals and organizations who appear in or are discussed in the film, providing them with an opportunity to respond.

Only three did so. Instead, pro-Israel groups have endeavored to suppress the film that exposes the lobby’s activities.

In April, Al Jazeera’s management was forced to deny a claim by the hard-right Zionist Organization of America that the film had been canceled altogether.

In June, The Electronic Intifada learned that a high level source in Doha had said the film’s indefinite delay was due to “national security” concerns of the Qatari government.

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Football for Freedom tournament about to kick off

5 Nov

Connecting together through the beautiful game of Football to bring awareness for refugees and raising funds for Palestinian people in Gaza.

We are organizing a one day fundraiser tournament, Men’s and Mixed 7-A-Side Football.

Tournament details:
Date: 10 November 2018
Time: 9:00am – 4pm
Location: Walter Massey Park, Mangere, Auckland

Registration details:
Team: $250 (up to 12 players per team)
Individual: $25


Email for more info.

***Deadline is Wednesday 7th November***

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Is another full-scale Israeli attack on Gaza imminent?

5 Nov

VIDEO: UpFront, Al Jazeera English, 4 November 2018

Since the Great March of Return began earlier this year, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have protested along the fence with Israel, demanding their right to return to the land they were expelled from more than 70 years ago. According to health officials in Gaza, more than 200 Palestinians have been killed and 18,000 wounded since these latest rallies began. Recently, rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza and three Palestinian children were killed in an Israeli air raid.

Al Jazeera asks – Is another full-scale Israeli attack on the strip inevitable? Mahdi Hasan talks with –

Donald MacIntyre, former Jerusalem correspondent for The Independent and author of the book, ‘Gaza: Preparing for Dawn’, describes it as “a very fragile and dangerous situation”. MacIntyre adds the most positive thing is that “neither Hamas nor Israel really wants a war right now, if it can be avoided.”

Najla Shawa is a Palestinian humanitarian aid worker based in Gaza. When asked what priorities are for people in Gaza, Shawa says they fear continued denial of their rights. “I think … what now people are really … fearing is another political solution that can completely ignore the rights, again, of the people, more than before, more than … previous peace agreements.”

Roger Waters speaks up for Palestinian human rights

5 Nov

VIDEO: Roger Waters stands up for human rights for Palestinians at a media conference before his concert in Montevideo, Uruguay on Saturday. TeleSur video 3 November 2018.

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