Gaza outraged by Israel’s empty promises to lift siege

6 Mar

 

Hesham Mhanna, Press TV, Gaza Strip, 3 March 2015

Seven months have passed since a fragile ceasefire agreement was signed between Israel and Palestinians. But not much has changed so far.

Reconstruction processes in Gaza are still stopped, displaced families are still suffering in the makeshift houses and others in the streets without any sign of relief.

The despair of the people of Gaza, has been confirmed by Oxfam International in their latest report on the Reconstruction Process and its shocking findings regarding bringing normal life back to the impoverished enclave

Oxfam aid agency warned on Thursday that the rebuilding of homes, schools and hospitals in Gaza could take more than a century to complete, unless Israeli blockade restricting imports of construction materials into the Gaza Strip is lifted.

Gaza needs more than 800,000 truckloads of building materials to repair infrastructure damaged during Israel’s 2014 war on Gaza, yet less than a quarter of one percent of the materials needed, have entered Gaza in the last three months. Meanwhile, thousands of families are still reeling from displacement & insufferable living conditions due to the frozen reconstruction of impoverished Gaza.

Video: Path to Gaza

6 Mar

 

This short documentary, by the Women’s Media Centre in Gaza, interviews international activists who are in Gaza to discover the reasons behind their strong support for the Palestinian cause. Published 2 March 2015

Chomsky: Snowden a true patriot who should be honoured

5 Mar

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Renowned linguist, Noam Chomsky also says ‘global assassination programme’ is fueling terrorism.

By Andrea Germanos, Common Dreams, 3 March 2015

Noam Chomsky said that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is a true patriot who revealed vast surveillance programmes that have nothing to do with combating terrorism.

The noted intellectual made the comment in an extended interview with Democracy Now!‘s Amy Goodman which aired Tuesday.

Chomsky said Snowden should be welcomed back to the country from Russia, where he has received asylum, with honors because he “carried out the obligations of a citizen.”

Snowden “informed American citizens of what their government is doing to them. That’s exactly what a person who has real patriotism, not the flag-waving type, but real patriotism, would do. So he should be honored, not just allowed back,” Chomsky said.

“It’s the people in the government who should be on trial, not him,” he continued.

Chomsky added that neither the surveillance system Snowden exposed nor the drone program—despite claims by officials—have combating terrorism as their goals.

NSA programs are “intended to control the population,” he said. As for Obama’s drone program, Chomsky called it “a global assassination program [that is] far and away the worst act of terror in the world.”

Echoing comments many, including Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai and even the CIA have made, he said the drone program is also counter-productive.

It’s “a terror-generating program” that has helped fueled the rise of al-Qaeda.

“There was a small group up in the tribal areas of mostly Pakistan and Afghanistan, al-Qaeda, and we have succeeded in spreading it over the whole world. Now they’re all everywhere—you know, West Africa, Southeast Asia—simply generating more and more terror. And I think it’s—you know, it’s not that the U.S. is trying to generate terror. It’s simply that it doesn’t care,” Chomsky said

Wellington film and fundraiser events

5 Mar

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Newtown Festival: Freedom, Justice & Equality for Palestinians
Palestine Stall (outside 7 Green St.)
Sunday 8th March 2015 at 10:00am to 5:00pm

Award winning documentary film Occupation 101
The Peoples Cinema (17 Tory St.)
Sunday 15th March 2015 at 4:00pm.
Tickets are $10 & $5 unwaged (negotiable)

Award winning documentary film Occupation 101

A thought-provoking and powerful documentary film on the current and historical root causes of the occupation in Palestine. Occupation 101 presents the facts surrounding the occupation.

The film also details life under Israeli military rule, and the major obstacles that stand in the way of a lasting and viable peace. The historical roots are explained through first-hand on-the-ground experiences from leading Middle East scholars, peace activists, journalists, and humanitarian workers whose voices have too often been suppressed in media outlets.

It will be followed by a discussion on what we the people of Aotearoa New Zealand can do to support human rights for all the people.

This is a fundraising event to help cover costs and expenses to keep the movement going. Tickets are $10 & $5 unwaged (negotiable)

Ali Abunimah on Netanyahu’s speech to US Congress

4 Mar

Video: Ali Abunimah on Netanyahu’s speech to US Congress

The Real News interview, 3 March 2015

Netanyahu Invokes Biblical Armageddon in US Congress

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made his much trailed and politically divisive speech to the US Congress today, forcefully denouncing a possible international agreement that would place Iran’s civilian nuclear energy program under strict supervision.

Immediately afterwards, Ali Abunimah (Electronic Intifada editor) spoke to The Real News Network’s Paul Jay to analyze the speech, including Netanyahu’s appeal to Biblical myths and Islamophobia in his attempt to derail US diplomacy.

Netanyahu’s speech came as US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, were in Switzerland to close the deal at high stakes negotiations backed by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany.

President Barack Obama dismissed Netanyahu’s speech as offering nothing new and said the Israeli leader offered no alternatives to his efforts to reach a diplomatic agreement.

Approximately fifty Democratic members of Congress skipped Netanyahu’s speech, some after intense lobbying efforts by Palestinian rights advocates.

 

‘Not in our name’ nationwide peace vigils tomorrow

4 Mar

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Not in our name: Nationwide peace vigils tomorrow
Military deployment to Iraq? Not in our name
At 5pm on Thursday, 5 March 2015

Peace Movement Aotearoa, 4 March 2015

Peace vigils calling for increased humanitarian assistance and diplomatic support for Middle East peace processes, and opposing the military deployment to Iraq, will be held around the country from Hokianga to Dunedin at 5pm tomorrow, Thursday 5 March, coordinated by Peace Movement Aotearoa. The details of each vigil are included below and available online at https://www.facebook.com/events/757364991025571 and http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/iraq2015.htm – please share the links, thank you. The details of vigils in other towns and cities will be added to those pages when confirmed.

If there isn’t a vigil in your area, you are invited to gather friends and family at 5pm on 5 March, light a candle for peace, then make your support visible by taking a photo of yourself or your gathering holding the ‘Military deployment in Iraq? Not in our name’ message and posting it on our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/PeaceMovementAotearoa The ‘Not in our name’ poster is available in colour at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/nion-col.pdf and in black and white at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/nion-b&w.pdf If you are not a Facebook member, please send your photo to Peace Movement Aotearoa email pma@xtra.co.nz with ‘Peace vigil photo’ in the subject line of your message and we will post it for you.

There is also the opportunity to add your name to the Open letter on military deployment to Iraq at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/iraq-ol15.htm

* Peace vigils on Thursday, 5 March:

· Hokianga: peace vigil at  5pm at the Opononi boat ramp, please bring a candle and a prayer for peace; organised by Hokianga Catholic Workers.

· Auckland: peace vigil from 5pm to 6pm, Aotea Square near Queen Street; organised by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom Tamaki Makaurau.

· Tauranga: silent peace vigil / protest from 5pm to 6pm, between Wharf Street and Hamilton Street on The Strand. Please bring your banners, placards etc and show your opposition to our government’s militarism; organised by Pax Christi Aotearoa New Zealand.

· Hamilton: peace vigil at 5pm outside the Hamilton City Council Central Library in Garden Place; organised by Hamilton Quakers.

· Raglan: peace vigil at 5pm vigil on Bow Street, between the palm trees opposite Trade Aid; organised by Raglan residents.

· Otaki: peace vigil at 5pm at the Otaki War Memorial, 6 Main Street, next to the Otaki theatre; organised by Kapiti Quakers and Otaki Catholic Workers. Peace vigils will be held here at 5pm on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of each month until further notice.

· Wellington: peace vigil from 5pm to 6pm at the Cenotaph, corner Lambton Quay and Bowen Street, please gather in the area between the Cenotaph and parliament gate and bring a reflection to share as well as messages or symbols of peace to leave at parliament if you wish. Peace vigils will be held at the Centotaph at 5pm on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of each month until further notice, organised by Peace Movement Aotearoa.

· Takaka: peace vigil at 5pm on the Village Green; organised by Golden Bay Quakers.

· Nelson: peace vigil at 5pm on the Cathedral steps; organised by Nelson Quakers.

· Christchurch: silent peace vigil from 5pm to 6pm at the Bridge of Remembrance on Cashel Street (container shop side), if you bring a sign please make it a positive and peaceful one; organised by Christchurch Quakers.

· Dunedin: silent peace vigil at 5pm at the Peace Pole in the Otago museum reserve; organised by Dunedin Quakers.

For further information, please contact Peace Movement Aotearoa, email pma@xtra.co.nz

No NZ military deployment in Iraq
Open letter on military deployment to Iraq

Please scroll down this page for the text of the Open Letter and the list of signatories. If you would like to add your name to the list of signatories at the end of the letter, please email Peace Movement Aotearoa with the subject heading ‘Sign open letter on Iraq’, and provide your name (title if relevant), occupation or position and organisation, or name (title if relevant) and town or city, thank you.

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Six months on, aid groups still afraid to criticize Israel

3 Mar

activestills1423516355uyg1lA child plays in front of his destroyed home in the Tuffah neighborhood of Gaza City on 9 February.(Anne Paq / ActiveStills)

By Ali Abunimah, Electronic Intifada, 26 February 2015

Six month after Gaza slaughter, aid groups still afraid to criticize Israel

Marking six months since a ceasefire agreement ended Israel’s mass slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza, thirty international aid agencies have criticized the almost nonexistent progress towards reconstruction.

But the statement falls short of pinning blame for the catastrophe where it lies.

One of the agencies, Oxfam, has said that at current rates it could take “more than a 100 years” to meet today’s needs in Gaza, where more than 100,000 people whose homes were destroyed in Israel’s summer attack are still without shelter.

The lack of progress in reconstruction has been accompanied by an upsurge in armed attacks by Israeli forces on Palestinians.

“The Israeli-imposed blockade continues, the political process, along with the economy, are paralyzed, and living conditions have worsened,” the aid agencies said in their joint statement. “Reconstruction and repairs to the tens of thousands of homes, hospitals and schools damaged or destroyed in the fighting has been woefully slow.”

In its own periodic update on the situation in Gaza for February, Oxfam explains why: in January, even fewer construction materials entered Gaza than during the previous month.

Oxfam, which also signed the joint statement, says just 579 trucks of essential construction materials entered in January, compared with 795 in December.

The Shelter Cluster, a consortium of agencies that addresses the housing needs of those affected by conflict-related violence in Palestine, estimates that 800,000 truckloads are required to meet Gaza’s current housing needs created by destruction during repeated Israeli attacks and population growth during eight years of siege.

Oxfam says that less than 0.25 percent of this figure entered Gaza between November 2014 and January 2015.

The joint statement from the aid groups, which include several United Nations agencies as well as European and international nongovernmental organizations, faults the “international community” for “not providing Gaza with adequate assistance.”

Little of the $5.4 billion in aid pledged in Cairo last October has reached Gaza, the statement says.

The betrayal of these promises led UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees, last month to suspend aid to thousands of Gaza residents whose homes were destroyed or damaged.

Avoiding blame

The agencies say that “Israel, as the occupying power, is the main duty bearer and must comply with its obligations under international law.”

“All parties must respect international law and those responsible for violations must be brought to justice,” the statement adds, as if there is any equivalence between the massive scale of crimes committed by Israel, and those alleged against others.Palestinian owners of houses which were destroyed during the recent Israeli war, take part in a rally demanding for reconstruction of their houses, in front of UNRWA headquarter

Palestinians whose houses were destroyed during Israel’s summer assault rally in front of UNRWA headquarters in Gaza City to demand reconstruction, 23 February.

But aside from this minimal acknowledgment of Israel’s responsibility, the statement avoids laying blame where it also belongs: the home governments of many of the international civil society organizations have been complicit in Israel’s military attacks and siege on Gaza.

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