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Israel evicts Palestinian family from home: Video

19 Feb

VIDEO REPORT by TRT World, 19 February 2019

“They took my home, my memories. The Israeli settler is inside my home while I’m thrown out.” The Israeli police have forcibly evicted a Palestinian family from their home in East Jerusalem, where their family has been living for three generations. See Electronic Intifada‘s report and video below:

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John Legend speaks up for Palestinian Human Rights

18 Feb

American singer John Legend speaks up for Human Rights of Palestinians (VIDEO: Middle East Eye, 18 February 2019)

American award-winning singer, songwriter, and producer, John Legend, recently spoke out about standing up for human rights for Palestinians while on the “Real Time With Bill Maher” show.

Legend appeared, on Saturday, on the “Real Time With Bill Maher” show on HBO with American comedian and political commentator Bill Maher, where he discussed the #MeTooMovement, anti-Semitic comments made by Ilham Omar, and the current situation in Venezuela.

Legend said, “As progressives, we should also speak up for human rights for Palestinians, and for too long, I think, it has been out of balance for progressives to speak up for the rights of Palestinians.”

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“We are anti-Zionist Jews, we are not anti-semitic”

15 Feb

This video posted on Youtube by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s office on 27 January 2019 shows Netanyahu’s “warm welcome” for NZ Defence Minister Ron Marks. The NZ delegation included National MP and Associate Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Tim Macindoe,

By: Fred Albert and Marilyn Garson, NZ Herald opinion piece, 13 February 2019

We are anti-Zionist Jews, we are not anti-semitic

When [NZ] Defence Minister Ron Mark met Israel’s Prime Minister on January 27, [See video above. Ed] Benjamin Netanyahu was quoted as asking New Zealand to change its definition of anti-semitism so that it includes political opposition to Zionism.

Netanyahu’s office website reports that he told Mark, “The main attack against the Jewish people today is the attacks against the Jewish state and the attempt to delegitimise the very right of the Jewish people for a state of their own. This is called anti-Zionism, and we ask not only all our friends, but all decent countries everywhere to include [in] the definition of anti semitism, anti-Zionism as well. And so I’ve just made that request from you as well.”

We write as two committed Jews, members of a synagogue, engaging in regular prayer and daily study. We believe in the enduring, prophetic school of Jewish thought. As per our understanding of our religion, law and justice, we are not Zionists.

For that, Netanyahu would like you to call us anti-semites – pathological Jew-haters. He would deny us the right to challenge Israel’s actions, as we challenge the actions of any state (including our own). If New Zealand forecloses on political debate in this way, it will forfeit its potential role in seeking justice for Israel-Palestine.

We are not unusual in our beliefs. Zionism has always been disputed by Jews on a range of religious grounds. Some of our greatest modern thinkers objected to the methods and choices of Jewish nationalism, including Albert Einstein, Hannah Arendt and Martin Buber. They urged different arrangements of space and power.

Debate is especially strident within the Jewish community now, as growing numbers of humanist, mostly young, Jews stand up to protest Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians.

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Two Palestinians suffocate to death in Egypt border tunnel

12 Feb

A Palestinian man moves a goat through a smuggling tunnel from Egypt to Gaza under the border at Rafah. [Photo: Khalil Hamra/AP]

AlJazeera, 12 February 2019

Gaza’s health ministry spokesperson said Egypt pumped toxic gas into border tunnel, suffocating two men.

Two Palestinians were killed overnight in a tunnel between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, the Hamas-run interior ministry said Monday.

According to spokesman Iyad al-Bozum, one of the casualties was a Hamas police officer and the other a civilian.

Bozum said 39-year-old major Abdelhamid al-Akar and Sabhy Abu Qarushayn, 28, “suffocated due to the inhalation of toxic gases”.

Witnesses said Egypt pumped gas into the tunnel.

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Watch: ‘GAZA – a look into the eyes of barbarism’

11 Feb

WATCH THE AWARD-WINNING DOCUMENTARY: “Gaza : a look into the eyes of barbarism”

Gaza” which was directed by Julio Pérez del Campo and produced by Carles Bover Martínez, is a moving documentary which depicts the reality and horror of life as endured by the people in the besieged Palestinian enclave of Gaza. “Gaza” recently won the prestigious 2019 Goya Award for ‘best short documentary.’

The film takes viewers on a journey through Gaza’s streets, introduces them to its people under occupation, Israel’s military assaults and harsh 12 year siege and blockade.

In his acceptance speech, del Campo dedicated the win to “all the people who have kept alive the struggle of the Palestinian people. For those who are among us and those who are not.”

“I believe that many things can be done from the world of culture, but the first is not to legitimise countries that systematically violate human rights.””Long live the struggle of the Palestinian people,” he added. For a video report featuring de Campo’s acceptance speech see our earlier post: https://kiaoragaza.wordpress.com/2019/02/07/gaza-documentary-wins-33rd-spain-goya-award/

Since receiving the award, screening of the film has experienced censorship in Spain – see this RT report:

‘Gaza’ documentary filmmakers face censorship.

RT, 8 February 2019.

Two Palestinian teenagers killed during Gaza protest

11 Feb

VIDEO REPORT: Middle East Eye, Published 11 February, 2019

“He could’ve become a doctor or an engineer. He could’ve grown up to be a professional football player.”

Two Palestinian teenagers, including a 14-year-old, were killed, and at least 17 others wounded by Israeli live fire during the 46th week of protests near Gaza’s border with Israel on Friday.

Nearly 300 Palestinians have been killed and 6,000 wounded by Israeli live ammunition since the weekly ‘Great March for the Return’ protests began on 30 March last year.

Second Palestinian prisoner dies in Israel jail in 3 days

11 Feb

PCHR photo: Israeli prison forces raid Ofer prison and wound 100 Palestinian detainees, 21 January 2019

Middle East Monitor, 10 February 2019

The Israeli prison authorities yesterday announced the death of 36-year-old Palestinian prisoner Yasser Hamid Ishtea (pictured below), making him the second Palestinian prisoner to die in Israeli jail in the past three days.

According to Israel’s Channel 7, Ishtea, who was serving a life sentence, was found dead in “ambiguous” circumstances inside his cell in Eshel Prison, just outside Be’er Sheba in the south of the country.

The Israeli prison authorities have opened an investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death.

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Israeli writer: ‘Gaza Strip is a concentration camp’

11 Feb

Gazan children layer up with warm clothes seen during the winter months in Gaza on January 2018 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

By Amira Hass, Opinion, Haaretz (Israeli daily newspaper), 9 February 2019

Israel has a plan to isolate the Gaza Strip and deprive it of its roots, it’s turned it in to a concentration camp, and it has nothing to do with Hamas, Israeli journalist Amira Hass wrote in Haaretz today.

Hass said that the Israeli authorities tighten their grip on the Gaza Strip and then they express their worries about it.

“The Gaza Strip today is a concentration camp,” she wrote.

“In the Gaza Strip, which is closed off like a confined and separated camp, live some two million people in one of the most densely populated places in the world. About 70 per cent of them are the descendants of refugees expelled from their homes. Absent freedom of movement condemned them to a life of unemployment, dreariness, poverty, disease, depression, contaminated water and soil, and dependence on ever-dwindling charity. And that is even without the military bombings and incursions.”

READ: Israel officials warn Gaza war would collapse health system

“The concentration camp that is Gaza has existed under ever harsher conditions for almost three decades… Before Hamas took charge.”

“Israel has a political goal in mind in turning Gaza into a giant concentration camp: Cutting it and its inhabitants off from the rest of the Palestinians so that it will become a separate entity, deprived of history, roots and belonging.”

 

Amira Hass: Renowned Israeli writer, commentator and contributor to Haaretz newspaper – photographed in Auckland during her speaking tour of New Zealand in 2015. [Photo: Kia Ora Gaza]

 

 

Tourism in the Occupied Palestinian Territories

8 Feb

VIDEO REPORT: by Amnesty International, 31 January 2019

Destination: Occupation – Tourism in the Occupied Palestinian Territories

TripAdvisor, Expedia, AirBnB and booking.com need to stop listing or promoting properties, activities and attractions located in illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories right now.

Flotillas to Gaza will continue to sail despite court ruling

8 Feb

Roger Fowler, from Kia Ora Gaza (NZ), and veteran US peace activist Ann Wright visit one of the 2018 flotilla boats in Sweden after the Freedom Flotilla Coalition planning conference in Gothenburg last year. The boat was being prepared to join 3 other boats due to sail to Gaza later that year as the 2018 international Freedom Flotilla’s attempt to break Israel’s illegal blockade of the besieged Palestinian enclave. Prominent union leader, Mike Treen, was the NZ representative on board the Al Awda that was illegally seized and confiscated by the Israeli navy in July last year, in international waters.[ https://kiaoragaza.wordpress.com/2018/08/03/tasered-beaten-handcuffed-but-i-would-do-it-all-again/ ]

Ann Wright, told Kia Ora Gaza today, that “while an Israeli court has officially ruled that the State of Israel can “legally” confiscate ships used in flotillas to break the IDF’s naval blockade of Gaza, the Gaza Freedom Flotilla Coalition of 14 countries will continue to sail ships to bring international attention to the horrific, illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza!”

Wright added, “The ships were stolen in international waters, the crew and passengers taken against their will (kidnapped) to a country where they did NOT want to go (Israel) – a form of extraordinary rendition, [they were] imprisoned and ultimately deported.”

Some of the participants of the international Women’s Boat to Gaza, the Zaytouna, before they departed Messina, Sicily, in October 2016. New Zealand’s Marama Davidson MP can be seen top left.

See today’s Jerusalem Post report below:

Court sets new precedent against flotillas used to break IDF Gaza blockade

Permits state to seize Zaytouna-Oliva after past seizure attempts rejected.

By Yonah Jeremy Bob, Jerusalem Post, 7 February 2019

The Haifa District Court has ruled that the state can confiscate ships used in flotillas attempting to break the IDF’s naval blockade of Gaza, setting a precedent which could deter the flotilla tactic.

On Wednesday, the Haifa District Attorney’s Office announced the decision issued earlier in the week by Haifa Court Deputy President Ron Sokol, approving the state’s request to seize the Zaytouna-Olivia, which sailed from Barcelona in a September 2016 “women’s flotilla” to break the blockade.

The sailboat was taken over by the IDF in October 2016. The state has maintained a blockade of Gaza for over a decade, saying it has a right to do so under international law because of the ongoing state of war with Hamas, which controls Gaza.

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Palestinian prisoner dies in Israeli prison from medical neglect

7 Feb

Samidoun, 7 February 2019

Palestinian prisoner Fares Baroud, 51, from al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza, died on Wednesday, 6 February only hours after being suddenly transferred to intensive care from Ramon prison. Baroud suffers from a number of health conditions, including a hernia and liver disease, and has repeatedly spoken about medical neglect and denial of needed health treatment to Palestinian prisoners.

Earlier, he had lost 80 percent of his sight due to a vision problem; treatment was delayed for four months by the prison administration for his condition. Palestinian prisoners’ associations said that Baroud has been subjected to deliberate medical neglect over the years and that he has been denied necessary medical care that could have sustained his life.

Baroud had been denied family visits for 18 years by the Israeli occupation, including with his mother, Rayya Baroud. Rayya suffered from the same vision condition, losing her sight and her life before seeing her son again. Before her death in 2018 at the age of 85 , she participated every week in the vigils of prisoners’ families outside the office of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Gaza City, holding her son’s poster and demanding his release and that of his fellow prisoners. 

Fares Baroud’s mother Rayya. [Photo: Palestine Information Centre]

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‘Gaza’ documentary wins 33rd Spain Goya Award

7 Feb

VIDEO: Middle East Monitor, 5 February 2019

The documentary, ‘Gaza’, which first premiered in the Sundance Film Festival at the start of the year, depicts the lives of Palestinians living under the 12-year siege in the Gaza Strip.

A Spanish film about the situation in the besieged Palestinian enclave, ‘Gaza’, won the prestigious Goya Award 2019 on Sunday.

Gaza” which was directed by Julio Pérez del Campo and produced by Carles Bover Martíne, is a documentary which highlights the plight of Palestinians in the occupied enclave as they go about their everyday lives and try to survive.

The film takes viewers on a journey through Gaza’s streets, introduces them to its people and gives details of his history under occupation.

In his acceptance speech, del Campo dedicated the win to “all the people who have kept alive the struggle of the Palestinian people. For those who are among us and those who are not.”

“I believe that many things can be done from the world of culture, but the first is not to legitimise countries that systematically violate human rights.””Long live the struggle of the Palestinian people,” he added.

Israel launches smear campaign, labels BDS activists ‘Terrorists in Suits’

5 Feb

 

Israel’s Strategic Affairs Minister, Gilad Erdan, launches new smear campaign on 3 February. (Photo credit: Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy]

Palestine Chronicle, 4 February, 2019

Israel has launched a smear campaign against activists affiliated with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, labeling them “terrorists in suits”.

Israel’s Strategic Affairs Ministry launched the campaign this weekend with a series of posters depicting prominent BDS activists as “terrorists”, using the hashtag #TerroristsInSuits to smear the individuals’ professional credibility and the BDS movement as a whole.

Among the activists targeted were French-Palestinian activist and research at Adameer Salah Hamouri, general-director of Al-Haq Shawan Jabarin, and Palestinian icon Leila Khaled. In one image, director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights Rani Sourani is shown smiling in a suit, juxtaposed with an image of a man armed with a machine gun and clad in a kuffiyeh (traditional Palestinian headdress) in an image meant to portray his “terrorist” alter ego.

The campaign is being spearheaded by Israel’s Strategic Affairs and Public Security Minister, Gilad Erdan, who said it “reveals the true nature and goals of the BDS movement and its connection to terrorism and antisemitism,” the Jerusalem Post reported.

Erdan continued: “When people talk about the goals of the BDS movement, they don’t bother to read official statements from its leaders. If you do, it becomes clear that the goals of its leaders are the same as those of the leaders of Palestinian terror organizations. BDS rejects Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state within any borders. They want to see Israel wiped off the map. Promoting boycotts is [just] a different means to achieve this goal.”

Erdan has effectively waged war against BDS during his term as strategic affairs minister. In May 2017 Israel introduced a law blacklisting NGOs and forbidding entry visas and residency rights to foreign nationals who support BDS. Erdan has since been at the forefront of efforts to ban Spanish, Jewish-American and British activists and has also overseen the deportation of prominent human rights activists already stationed in Israel, including director of Human Rights Watch (HRW) Omar Shakir.

VIDEO by Al Jazeera English, published on 27 March 2018. ‘How is BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement) affecting Israel?’

‘…boycotts are light punishment’

5 Feb

Quoted from Gideon Levy’s opinion column in the Israeli daily newspaper, Haaretz on 7 June 2015 headed: “For the sins of occupation, boycotts are a light punishment.”

USAID aid for West Bank & Gaza has ceased: US official

4 Feb

A Palestinian woman drums on a cooking pot during a protest against a US decision to cut funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), outside an aid distribution centre, in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. (File photo/AFP)

Arab News, Jerusalem, 3 February 2019

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has ceased all assistance to Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, a US official said on Friday.
The halt was requested by the Palestinian Authority but is certain to bring further hardship to people in the already deprived territories.
The deadline also sees the end of about $60 million in US aid for the Palestinian security forces, whose cooperation with Israeli forces helps maintain relative quiet in the West Bank.
The decision was linked to a Jan. 31 deadline set by new US legislation under which foreign aid recipients would be more exposed to anti-terrorism lawsuits.

An earlier PressTV report on the US decision to cut UNRWA aid to Gaza.

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Israel begins construction of new bigger wall around Gaza

4 Feb

[E. Hershkovitz]

PressTV, 4 February 2019

The Israeli ministry for military affairs says it has begun the construction of an upgraded barrier along the Gaza Strip amid mounting tensions near the fence separating the impoverished Palestinian enclave from the occupied territories.

“On Thursday, we began working on the final component of the barrier project along the Gaza border,” Brigadier-General Eran Ophir, head of the Israeli military’s fence-building administration, said on Sunday.

The official said the barrier was “unique.” He claimed the project was aimed at dealing with “threats from the Gaza Strip and will provide a maximum response to prevent entry” into the Israeli-occupied land.

The barrier is set to stand six meters (20 feet) off the ground, and will be 65 kilometers long.

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Aucklanders rally for Free Palestine tomorrow

1 Feb

Rally for Free Palestine – add your presence and make a difference at the only regular public expression of support for Palestine in Auckland!

Aotea Square, Queen Street, Auckland from 2pm to 3pm, this Saturday 2 February 2019 and the first Saturday of each month.

Hosted by NZ Palestine Solidarity Network: http://www.palestinesolidaritynz.net/ and supported by:

Kia Ora Gaza: http://www.kiaoragaza.net

Palestine Human Rights Campaign (PHRC) Auckland: http://www.palestine.org.nz

Global Peace and Justice Auckland: http://www.gpjanz.wordpress.com

Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide

31 Jan

Many unexploded missiles are often found after Israel’s bombardments of Gaza. [Ashraf Amra APA]

By Ola Mousa, Gaza, The Electronic Intifada, 30 January 2019

Where can you hide when you can’t run?

This is the question Gaza’s two million inhabitants ask themselves [during and] after every Israeli assault.

It was the question Abdallah Zaid, 45, last asked himself in November when a bombing raid came perilously close to his home in the Nasser neighborhood of Gaza City.

It was evening when a neighbour came and advised Abdallah and his family – spouse Naila and seven children – to evacuate their home. They feared that the building next door, home to the Hamas-affiliated al-Aqsa TV station, was going to be a target for Israeli missiles.

They were right. On 12 November, Israel launched an intense bombing campaign a day after a raid into Gaza – apparently an intelligence gathering mission – had gone dramatically wrong.

In total, Israeli missiles hit more than 70 targets over the next day or so, including residential buildings, a hotel and the TV station, before a new ceasefire was called on 13 November.

As usual, residents in targeted neighbourhoods were sent scrambling for safety. And as always they wondered: where to go?

“I didn’t know where we were going,” Abdallah told The Electronic Intifada. “We were barefoot. What mattered was to be far away from any danger near the house.”

The problem, he pointed out, is that “there is no safe place in Gaza.”

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Gaza rallies for right of return & end Israeli siege

30 Jan

VIDEO REPORT: PressTV, Gaza, 26 January 2019

Demonstrations have been held in the besieged Gaza Strip for the forty fourth consecutive Friday as part of the Great March of Return rallies. Palestinians are demanding the right of return for refugees and the complete lifting of the Israeli blockade on the enclave. A young protester was shot dead during last Friday’s protests, and dozens more injured by Israeli snipers. PressTV correspondent Ashraf Shannon reports.

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‘Our approach to Zionism’ – by Jewish Voice for Peace

29 Jan

Video: ‘Wrestling with Zionism’ by Jewish Voice for Peace, New York. 14 January 2019

Jewish Voice for Peace statement, ‘Our Approach to Zionism’, 15 January 2019

“Solidarity is the political version of love.”

– Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz, Jewish American lesbian feminist, author and activist (1945-2018)

Jewish Voice for Peace is guided by a vision of justice, equality and freedom for all people. We unequivocally oppose Zionism because it is counter to those ideals.

We know that opposing Zionism, or even discussing it, can be painful, can strike at the deepest trauma and greatest fears of many of us. Zionism is a nineteenth-century political ideology that emerged in a moment where Jews were defined as irrevocably outside of a Christian Europe. European antisemitism threatened and ended millions of Jewish lives — in pogroms, in exile, and in the Holocaust.

Through study and action, through deep relationship with Palestinians fighting for their own liberation, and through our own understanding of Jewish safety and self determination, we have come to see that Zionism was a false and failed answer to the desperately real question many of our ancestors faced of how to protect Jewish lives from murderous antisemitism in Europe.

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