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Western hypocrisy empowers Israeli annexation

26 May

A demonstrator holding a Palestinian flag stands in front of Israeli forces during a recent protest against Israeli settlements and Trump’s Middle East peace plan, in Jordan Valley in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. (REUTERS)

By Marion Kawas, Palestine Chronicle, 26 May 2020

There is a recent surge of official voices in the West that are alarmed at the agenda of the new Israeli coalition government. Many western liberal governments are offering slightly more than their usual token objections to Israeli policy, including some European threats of sanctions if Israel implements its new annexation plans.

Is all of this because of concern for the human rights of Palestinians? Or concern for the “rule of law” that they are so fond of referencing?

Or is it because they know that formal Israeli annexation of new chunks of the occupied Palestinian territories will be the final blow to the moribund “two-state solution”? A mirage that for over a quarter of a century has legitimized and fueled the status quo of Israeli settler colonialism and continuing ethnic cleansing, but with “plausible deniability” for many international players.

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Special on-line screening of ‘The Truth: Lost at Sea’

25 May

Following our well-attended screening of ‘Gaza Fights for Freedom’ by Abby Martin last month, Kia Ora Gaza is pleased to invite you to view another special on-line award-winning documentary – ’The Truth: Lost at Sea’ at 6pm on this Sunday 31 May

On Sunday 31 May, at 6pm (NZ time) Kia Ora Gaza will co-host a special (free) on-line screening of the award-winning film ‘The Truth: Lost at Sea’, to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Israeli commando attack on the Mavi Marmara. The film will be followed by a discussion with the Palestinian film-maker and Mavi Marmara survivor Rifat Audeh and Palestinian/Australian writer, human rights advocate, Samah Sabawi.

In 2010, the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, a convoy of six civilian boats carrying humanitarian aid, attempted to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza to bring international attention to the plight of 2 million Palestinians living under a brutal Israeli land, sea and air blockade of the Gaza Strip.

After refusing Israel’s demand to turn away, the flotilla continued on course through international waters, and the Israeli Occupation Forces launched their deadly night-raid attack with guns and stun grenades. On one of the boats, the Mavi Marmara, the Israeli commandos shot and killed nine un-armed human rights activists on board and a tenth later died of his injuries. Over fifty others were wounded. People on the other boats were also beaten up. The film details what happened that night unravelling how the story was spun by the media.

NOTE: The screening starts at 6pm NZ time on Sunday 31 May. Please register via this link (it’s free!): https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_J8gNesjRSV2GDwElBgm3XA

This is a link to the FaceBook Event page – please share: https://www.facebook.com/events/328558108108795/

Note: The next Freedom Flotilla to Gaza will sail after Covid-19 travel restrictions have been lifted. Kia Ora Gaza is part of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition. To stay up to date with Freedom Flotilla Coalition campaigns and events check out our NZ website: https://kiaoragaza.wordpress.com and: https://freedomflotilla.org/

Gaza reports first COVID-19 death amid outbreak fears

24 May

Aljazeera, 24 May 2020

A 77-year-old woman infected with coronavirus dies in hospital at Rafah Crossing, says Gaza health ministry.3 hours ago

Authorities in Gaza have reported the first novel coronavirus fatality in the besieged territory, after a sharp rise in confirmed infections in recent days.null

“Fadila Muhammad Abu Raida, 77, from the Khan Younes governorate, died in isolation in hospital at the Rafah Crossing due to her infection with coronavirus,” the health ministry said on Saturday.

A wave of coronavirus infections among residents returning to Gaza has more than doubled the number of cases in the coastal enclave in recent days, raising fears of a bigger outbreak.

Gaza had managed to limit the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to no more than 20, with its borders with both Israel and Egypt closed to prevent the spread of the respiratory disease.

But in recent days, around 1,500 Palestinians who had been stuck in Egypt were allowed to return via the Rafah crossing, while smaller numbers were permitted to enter from Israel.

They were all placed in confinement, but 35 new cases have been confirmed among them, including 25 on Thursday, authorities announced, raising the total number to 55.

Health ministry official Yussef Abu al-Reesh said on Thursday that those infected had mingled with other returning residents, including in the quarantine centres.

Authorities were verifying whether any had met with Gaza residents before entering quarantine, he added.

In recent weeks, preventive measures in the enclave had been relaxed, with cafes and restaurants allowed to reopen.

Khalil al-Hayya, a senior official with the Hamas movement, which runs the enclave, told a news conference on Thursday that authorities were considering imposing a curfew.

The United Nations has warned that a coronavirus outbreak in Gaza could be disastrous, given the high poverty rate and weak health system in the coastal strip under Israeli blockade since 2007.

Gaza’s healthcare system is fraying under the weight of an Israeli-Egyptian blockade, internal Palestinian division and a several wars and skirmishes between Israel and Palestinian armed groups.

Home to two million people, the Gaza Strip has only a few more than 60 ventilators and a chronic shortage of medication.

Since mid-March, Hamas has enforced mandatory quarantining at hotels, clinics and schools for all residents returning via Israel and Egypt. With the recent spike of cases, Hamas said it was closing Gaza’s borders for all arrivals until the end of June.

But on Friday, mosques were reopened for noon prayers across the territory, with worshippers bringing their own prayer rugs, wearing masks, maintaining social distancing and receiving hand sanitiser.

Authorities say the partial reopening of the mosques after nearly two months of closure came after relative success at keeping the virus at bay and preventing an outbreak.null

Schools and wedding halls remained closed in Gaza. Hamas’ interior ministry said public and amusement parks are not allowed to open during Eid al-Fitr, a major holiday marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, that starts Sunday
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Israel fires on Gaza fishers 100 times amid pandemic

22 May

Israeli forces have fired on Gaza fishers more than 100 times so far this year.[File photo]

By Maureen Clare Murphy, Electronic Intifada, 22May 2020

Israeli navy attacks on Gaza fishers spiked in April against the backdrop of increased economic uncertainty in the besieged territory amid COVID-19 restrictions.

Spring is the sardine fishing season, one of the most profitable harvests for Gaza fishers. Israel’s use of lethal force against Gaza fishers, particularly at a peak season, further undermines the fishing industry and food security in the coastal territory.

Gaza has been under a tightened Israeli blockade since 2007, severely debilitating its economy and plunging the territory’s two million residents, most of whom are refugees, into widespread poverty.

Three human rights groups are calling on Israel’s attorney general and military advocate general “to put an immediate end to the harassment of fishermen and investigate past incidents.”

Israel fired at fishing boats inside Gaza’s fishing zone more than 100 times in the first four months of the year, according to Al Mezan, a human rights group based in the territory.

Nearly 40 of those live fire incidents occurred in April, reflecting a 70 percent increase in the cases over the first three months of 2020.

Six fishers were injured and seven arrested during those incidents, and seven boats were badly damaged and one vessel seized.

Israel shot at Gaza fishers around 350 times in all of 2019.

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Does the ICC pose a ‘strategic threat’ to Israel?

21 May

A Freedom Flotilla delegation (above) joined a big international protest at the ICC, the Hague, in November last year, demanding action on prosecuting Israel for war crimes. [Photo: Kia Ora Gaza]

Opinion, by Ramona Wadi, Middle East Monitor, 20 May 2020

Since the International Criminal Court (ICC) determined that Palestine is a state for the purpose of its investigations into war crimes committed by Israel against Palestinian civilians, a fresh round of threats against the institution is taking place. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has warned of consequences based upon his government’s interpretation of what constitutes a Palestinian state. “The United States reiterates its longstanding objection to any illegitimate ICC investigations. If the ICC continues down its current course, we will exact consequences,” Pompeo said.

The US opposition to a Palestinian state has been further asserted through the so-called ‘deal of the century’, which pretends to advocate for a state while prioritising Israel’s colonial agenda; the latter leaving no possibility of any state-formation. US opposition to ICC investigations, therefore, is permanent.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has branded the possible forthcoming war crimes investigations as a “strategic threat”. Speaking during the first cabinet meeting, and claiming he rarely uses the word “strategic” although a common reference when it comes to Iran and the Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions Movement (BDS), Netanyahu declared: “This is a strategic threat to the State of Israel – to the IDF soldiers, to the commanders, to the ministers, to the governments, to everything.”

Israel has long played upon exceptions to maintain its colonisation of Palestine and further entrench its military occupation. US President Donald Trump has awarded Israel unprecedented impunity and normalisation of international law violations, to the point that, bolstered also by the international community’s tacit silence, Israel is politicising the ICC investigation with the aim of maintaining the state of exception.

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Coronavirus a boon to Israeli military tech

21 May

Israel’s military occupation is the laboratory in which its technology, later applied to civilian industries, is developed. [Shadi Jarar’ah APA]

By Maureen Clare Murphy, Electronic Intifada, 21 May 2020 

Much of the rhetoric around the global response to the coronavirus pandemic has been militarized, inviting the harms that fear-mongering war metaphors tend to evoke.

In Israel that militarization has been more than metaphor.

A new report from the occupation profiteer watchdog Who Profits demonstrates that Israel’s defense ministry and military corporations, both private and state-owned, have “been at the forefront” of the country’s coronavirus response.

This “exposes the deep military bias that underpins the Israeli economy and political regime and the symbiosis between the civilian sphere and the military apparatus,” Who Profits states.

The Electronic Intifada has previously reported on how Israel’s notorious NSO Group, implicated in the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, is seeking to export its spyware for coronavirus contact tracing, which is seen as a crucial step towards ending broad lockdowns.

According to Who Profits, NSO Group is partnering with Israel’s defense ministry to “develop, operationalize and potentially export a centralized data system to rate the probability of individuals being infected with the virus.”

“Dangerous slippery slope”

Meanwhile, the Mossad, Israel’s foreign spy agency infamous for extrajudicial assassinations, illicitly obtained medical equipment, the head of its technology division told media.

Israel’s domestic spy apparatus, the Shin Bet, has provided its “massive secret database … which gathers continuous real-time data on all Israeli citizens” for contact tracing purposes.

“Allowing the Shin Bet to employ its secret, unsupervised methods in civilian affairs could create a dangerous slippery slope that might pave the way for its intervention in additional civilian realms,” Suhad Bishara, a lawyer with Adalah, a human rights group campaigning against the surveillance tracking, has warned.

Two elite Israeli army intelligence units are now conducting medical research related to the coronavirus.

Those units are the usually top-secret Unit 81, which develops advanced spy tech, and Unit 8200, widely viewed as Israel’s equivalent to the National Security Agency in the US. Reservists affiliated with Unit 8200 revealed in 2014 that they employ widespread and invasive surveillance to coerce Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip into collaborating with Israel.

The heavy involvement of Israel’s spy agencies has been covered uncritically if not breathlessly by international media outlets that omit mention of their primary focus: the repression of the Palestinian people and their struggle for liberation.

As Who Profits notes, the “newfound medical calling has not taken the Israeli military apparatus away from its primary function and raison d’être, the continued military control over a civilian Palestinian population.”

That remains “the army’s ‘essential’ work,” the watchdog adds.

From military repression to civilian innovation

Who Profits has previously noted how knowledge developed in the context of the occupation and applied to seemingly benign civilian industry helps Israeli military companies promote “a sanitized version of their repressive technologies.”

The transfer of these technologies to the medical industry to combat the coronavirus once again demonstrates how “the state military apparatus functions as a laboratory, a reference, a client and an incubator for Israeli technological innovation.”

With fewer than 50 serious or critical cases at the time of this writing, Israel appears to have been successful in curbing the spread of the virus, notwithstanding its discriminatory and neglectful treatment of Palestinians.

Israel’s military companies have “new prospects for material and symbolic gain,” Who Profits states.

And having won the war on coronavirus – or at least the first battle – “the potential for future export is undeniable.”

NZ government silent on deals with Israel

20 May

Hon Dr Megan Woods – Minister for Housing, Research, Science and Development, Energy and Resources with Ambassador Dr Itzhak Gerberg, Israeli Ambassador to New Zealand after signing a hushed ‘innovation’ deal in March.

Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa, Media release, 20 May 2020

New Zealand government silent on deals with Israel

Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa is accusing the New Zealand government of developing a back-door policy entanglement with the State of Israel.

PSNA says it only discovered that New Zealand had actually signed a Technical, Innovation, Research and Development Agreement with Israel through a Facebook post by the Israeli Embassy.

National Chair, John Minto, says New Zealand Minister, Megan Woods signed the Agreement on 5 March, but kept it totally quiet at the time.

“Normally a major bilateral deal would involve photo opportunities at Parliament and press releases.  On this occasion, with the Israelis, nothing.”

John Minto says he concludes that the government is embarrassed about an increasing set of agreements with Israel. 

“They know that they shouldn’t be doing deals when Israel is poised to illegally annex major parts of the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”

“They know they should be breaking off agreements with Israel at this time – not signing new ones.”

John Minto says the previous government delayed signing the New Zealand-Israel Film Co-production Agreement until 2015, because it thought that signing the Agreement while Israel was attacking Gaza the previous year was ‘not a good look.’

“The current government has never criticised Israeli actions.  Not even in 2018 when Israeli snipers were gunning down unarmed Palestinian protesters through the Israeli blockade fence around Gaza.  And now not when the Israeli government is ready to steal more Palestinian land.”

Respect for international law and the most basic human rights demands New Zealand suspend all bi-lateral agreements with Israel until the threat of annexation is lifted.

John Minto, National Chair,

Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa

johnminto@orcon.net.nz

What you need to know about the ICC investigation of war crimes in Occupied Palestine

20 May

‘Time will tell how far the ICC is willing to go with its unprecedented and historic attempt aimed at, finally, investigating the numerous crimes that have been committed in Palestine unhindered, with no recourse and no accountability.

For the Palestinian people, the long-denied justice cannot arrive soon enough’. Ramzy Baroud

Fatou Bensouda, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC)

By Ramzy Baroud and Romana Rubeo, Anti-War, 19 May 2020

Fatou Bensouda, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), has, once and for all, settled the doubts on the Court’s jurisdiction to investigate war crimes committed in occupied Palestine.

On April 30, Bensouda released a 60-page document diligently laying down the legal bases for that decision, concluding that “the Prosecution has carefully considered the observations of the participants, and remains of the view that the Court has jurisdiction over the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

Bensouda’s legal explanation was itself a preemptive decision, dating back to December 2019, as the ICC Prosecutor must have anticipated an Israeli-orchestrated pushback against the investigation of war crimes committed in the Occupied Territories.

After years of haggling, the ICC had resolved in December 2019 that, “there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation into the situation in Palestine, pursuant to article 53(1) of the Statute.”

Article 53(1) merely describes the procedural steps that often lead, or do not lead, to an investigation by the Court.

That Article is satisfied when the amount of evidence provided to the Court is so convincing that it leaves the ICC with no other option but to move forward with an investigation.

Indeed, Bensouda had already declared late last year that she was, “satisfied that (i) war crimes have been or are being committed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip… (ii) potential cases arising from the situation would be admissible; and (iii) there are no substantial reasons to believe that an investigation would not serve the interests of justice.”

Naturally, Israel and its main Western ally, the United States, fumed. Israel has never been held accountable by the international community for war crimes and other human rights violations in Palestine. The ICC’s decision, especially if the investigation moves forward, would be an historic precedent.

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VIDEO: All aboard! Witnesses of the Mavi Marmara attack

19 May

VIDEO: All aboard! Witnesses of the #MaviMarmara attack, 10 years ago this month! Listen to their testimony and share the #video!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6c0z0NJmx8

On May 31th 2010, the six Gaza-bound boats of the Freedom Flotilla, headed by the Mavi Marmara, were attacked by Israeli commandos in international waters. Ten peace activists were killed and over 50 others wounded. Ten years later, Israel still remains unpunished for this war crime. 

This short documentary film (above) reconstructs what happened on board of Mavi Marmara in 2010. Since 2008 thirty-five peace boats have sailed to break the illegal blockade of Gaza. The flotillas to Gaza will continue to sail until the blockade ends. The next flotilla will sail again once the Covid-19 travel restrictions have been lifted. Kia Ora Gaza is a member of the international Freedom Flotilla Coalition.

For more information go to: http://www.freedomflotilla.org and  http://www.kiaoragaza.wordpress.com

The above video, All aboard. Witnesses of the Mavi Marmara attack made by Laura Arau is licensed under a Creative Commons.

 

Also announcing: A special on-line screening of an award-winning documentary: 6pm on Sunday 31 May

On Sunday 31 May, at 6pm (NZ time) Kia Ora Gaza will co-host a special (free) on-line screening of the award-winning film ‘The Truth: Lost at Sea’, to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Israeli commando attack on the Mavi Marmara. The film will be followed by a discussion with film-maker and Mavi Marmara survivor Rifat Audeh and other Freedom Flotilla participants.

In 2010, the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, a convoy of six civilian boats carrying humanitarian aid, attempted to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza to bring international attention to the plight of 2 million Palestinians living under a brutal Israeli land, sea and air blockade of the Gaza Strip.

After refusing Israel’s demand to turn away, the flotilla continued on course through international waters, and the Israeli Occupation Forces launched their deadly night-raid attack with guns and stun grenades. On one of the boats, the Mavi Marmara, the Israeli commandos shot and killed nine un-armed human rights activists on board and a tenth later died of his injuries. Fifty others were wounded. People on the other boats were also beaten up. The film details what happened that night unravelling how the story was spun by the media.

Please register here (NOTE: The screening starts at 6pm NZ time on 31 May): https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_J8gNesjRSV2GDwElBgm3XA

To stay up to date with Freedom Flotilla Coalition campaigns and events check out our website: https://kiaoragaza.wordpress.com and: https://freedomflotilla.org/

Ali Abunimah on Israel’s new government

18 May

 

The Electronic Intifada, 18 May 2020

The Electronic Intifada’s founding editor, Ali Abunimah reacts to the swearing in of Israel’s new government, earlier today on Al Jazeera English.

“Though they may be bitter rivals on a personal level, Israel’s ruling duo Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz are in ideological lockstep over annexing the occupied West Bank.”

 

Israel swears in new gov’t as Netanyahu pledges annexation push

18 May
After more than 500 days without a stable government and three inconclusive elections, lawmakers approved a Netanyahu-Gantz coalition [Adina Valman/Knesset via AFP]
After more than 500 days without a stable government and three inconclusive elections, lawmakers approved a Netanyahu-Gantz coalition [Adina Valman/Knesset via AFP]

AlJazeera, 18 May 2020

Israel’s parliament has sworn in a new government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his former rival Benny Gantz, ending the longest political crisis in the country’s history.

After more than 500 days without a stable government and three inconclusive elections, lawmakers in the 120-seat Knesset approved a three-year coalition, with 73 voting for and 49 against. One member was absent. 

The new government was set to confront serious crises in its first weeks, including the economic devastation wrought by the coronavirus and a looming battle over Israel’s possible annexation of large parts of the occupied West Bank.

Addressing the parliament before the vote, Netanyahu said his incoming government should apply Israeli sovereignty over Jewish settlements, which are illegal under international law.

“It’s time to apply the Israeli law and write another glorious chapter in the history of Zionism,” Netanyahu said on the issue of Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory.

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14 May

Artists urge end to Israel’s siege of Gaza amid coronavirus crisis

Philip Pullman, Naomi Klein, Peter Gabriel, Alia Shawkat, Vic Mensa and Viggo Mortensen Jr. are among more than two hundred musicians, actors, filmmakers, authors and others calling for an end to Israel’s siege of the Gaza Strip amid the coronavirus crisis.

In an open letter published on Wednesday, they write, “Gaza’s almost two million inhabitants, predominantly refugees, face a mortal threat in the world’s largest open-air prison.” 

The first cases of coronavirus in blockaded Gaza were reported in March. Palestinian, Israeli and international humanitarian and human rights organisations have called for the lifting of Israel’s siege so that Gaza can address its severe shortages of medical equipment.

Authors Irvine Welsh and Jeanette Winterson, actors Julie Christie and Steve Coogan, and sculptor Antony Gormley are also signatories to the letter, which states: 

“International pressure is urgently needed to make life in Gaza liveable and dignified. Israel’s siege must be ended. And most urgently, a potentially devastating outbreak must be prevented.”

Marking two years since Israel killed sixty Palestinian protestors in Gaza, the signatories — including Irish novelist Colm Tóibín, visual artists Kevin Beasley and Shepard Fairey, and 2019 Turner Prize co-winners Tai Shani and Lawrence Abu Hamdan — continue: 

“What happens in Gaza is a test for the conscience of humanity. We back Amnesty International’s call on all world governments to impose a military embargo on Israel until it fully complies with its obligations under international law.”

Film producer and director James Schamus, actors Peter Mullan and Liam Cunningham and artists Charlotte Prodger, Mark Wallinger and Helen Marten join pioneering poet K. Satchidanandan, novelist and screenwriter Candace Allen, composer and producer Brian Eno and musicians Roger Waters and Massive Attack in signing the letter, which concludes:

“We recognise that the rights guaranteed to refugees by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights must be upheld for Palestinians as well.

In these times of international crisis, we must stand for justice, peace, freedom, and equal rights for all, regardless of identity or creed. We may be staying at home, but our ethical responsibility shouldn’t.”

Read the full letter:

Long before the global outbreak of COVID-19 threatened to overwhelm the already devastated healthcare system in Gaza, the UN had predicted that the blockaded coastal strip would be unliveable by 2020. With the pandemic, Gaza’s almost two million inhabitants, predominantly refugees, face a mortal threat in the world’s largest open-air prison.

Two years ago on May 14th, Israeli snipers killedsixty Palestinian men, women and children in Gaza, with total impunity. The overwhelmingly peaceful Great March of Return weekly mass demonstrations, currently on hold due to the threat of coronavirus, were met with brutal violence. 

Well before the ongoing crisis, Gaza’s hospitals were already stretched to breaking point through lack of essential resources denied by Israel’s siege. Its healthcare system could not cope with the thousands of gunshot wounds, leading to many amputations. 

Reports of the first cases of coronavirus in densely-populated Gaza are therefore deeply disturbing. As several health professionals recently wrote: “Epidemics (and indeed, pandemics) are disproportionately violent to populations burdened by poverty, military occupation, discrimination & institutionalised oppression.”

Yet Israel’s blockade impedes the flow of medical equipment, personnel and fundamental humanitarian aid. International pressure is urgently needed to make life in Gaza liveable and dignified. Israel’s siege must be ended. And most urgently, a potentially devastating outbreak must be prevented.  

What happens in Gaza is a test for the conscience of humanity. We back Amnesty International’s call on all world governments to impose a military embargo on Israel until it fully complies with its obligations under international law. We recognise that the rights guaranteed to refugees by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights must be upheld for Palestinians as well.

In these times of international crisis, we must stand for justice, peace, freedom, and equal rights for all, regardless of identity or creed. We may be staying at home, but our ethical responsibility shouldn’t.

Signed,

Lawrence Abu Hamdan, artist

Taha Adnan, poet

Giannis Aggelakas, singer, songwriter, poet

Mania Akbari, film director

Fatiha al Ghorri, comedian

Pau Alabajos, singer, songwriter

Senad Alic, visual artist

Simon Allemeersch, theatre maker

Candace Allen, author

Udi Aloni, filmmaker

Rafael Alvarez, choreographer, dancer

Miren Amuriza, writer, versolari

Lisa Appignanesi, writer

Ariane Ascaride, actor

Austra, solo artist

Ariella Azoulay, writer, filmmaker

Kobe Baeyens, classical singer

Balkan Bomba, band

Sibaji Bandyopadhyay, author, performer

Kevin Barry, writer

Kevin Beasley, artist

Patrick Bebi, theatre maker, actor, teacher

Nacera Belaza, choreographer

Yacine Belhacene, singer

Bella Cuts, DJ, producer

Ronan Bennett, screenwriter

Rimli Bhattacharya, writer, academic

Akeel Bilgrami, philosopher

Mary Black, singer

Bruno Boussagol, theatre director

Tove Bøygard, singer, composer, writer

Howard Brenton, playwright

Adam Broomberg, artist

Pankaj Butalia, filmmaker

Teresa Cabral, painter

Burt Caesar, actor, film director

Paulo Caetano, author, photographer

Carmen Callil, publisher, writer, critic

Dayana Cata, writer, artist

Oliver Chanarin, artist

Pascal Chardome, musician, composer

Sheba Chhachhi, photographer

Régine Chopinot, choreographer

Julie Christie, actor

Chullage, rapper

Ciel, DJ, producer

Luís Cília, musician, singer

Céline Condorelli, artist

Steve Coogan, comedian, actor

Molly Crabapple, writer

Crisis de los 40, band

Darren Cullen, artist

Liam Cunningham, actor

Sinéad Cusack, actor

Bruna Cusí, actor

Alain Damasio, writer

Jesse Darling, artist

Eva De Roovere, singer-songwriter

Foivos Delivorias, singer, songwriter

Rokhaya Diallo, writer, filmmaker

Doctor Prats, band

Mark Donne, filmmaker

Geoff Dyer, writer

Galit Eilat, curator, writer

Radhouane El Medebb, choreographer

Fons Elders, writer

Brian Eno, musican

Anne Enright, writer

Annie Ernaux, writer

Charles Esche, museum director, professor

Marcelo Evelin, choreographer

Tristan Faes, classical singer

Shepard Fairey, artist

David Farr, screenwriter

Isabel Fazenda, writer

Mark Fell, electronic musician

Simon Fisher Turner, composer, producer, actor

Annar Follestø, violinist, artistic director

Cesk Freixas, singer, songwriter

Peter Gabriel, musician, music festival founder

Dimitra Galani, singer, composer

Rashna Gandhy, author, psychologist

Sylvain George, filmmaker

Katia Gerou, actor, writer

Gigakoops, electronic musician

Jordi Ginesta, singer

Thea Glenton Raknes, musician

Sérgio Godinho, musician, singer

Priyamvada Gopal, writer, scholar

Antony Gormley, artist

Gossos, band

Øyvind Grande, composer

Andre Gregory, actor, theatre director

Ohal Grietzer, composer, mixed-media performer

Trevor Griffiths, playwright

Probir Gupta, artist

Gwenno, musician, songwriter

Ella Maria Hætta Isaksen, artist, singer

Maysaloun Hamoud, film director

Nir Harel, artist

Githa Hariharan, writer

Tobi Haslett, writer, art critic

Justin Hayward-Young, musician

Charles Hayward, musician

Tzion Abraham Hazan, artist

Kristien Hemmerechts, writer

Dalilla Hermans, writer, columnist

Claire Hilger, visual artist, graphic designer

Hiro Kone, DJ, producer

Martin Horntveth, musician, composer, artist

Gemma Hummet, singer

Asad Hussain, writer, film editor

Emmanuelle Huynh, dancer

Trond Ingebretsen, musician, singer

Marc Isaacs, documentary filmmaker

Vanessa Jackson, artist

Julie Jaroszewski, singer, filmmaker, actress

Terry Johnson, playwright, director

Filip Jordens, singer, actor

Em Joseph, artist

Embla Karidotter, musician

Ioanna Karystianni, writer

Kyriakos Katzourakis, artist, film director

Patrick Keiller, artist, filmmaker

A.L. Kennedy, author

Chris Keulemans, writer

Naomi Klein, writer

La Kruel band

Lágrimas de Sangre, band

Lankum, band

Mike Leigh, screenwriter, director

Leo Leonhardsen, musician

Faustin Linyekula, choreographer

Lluís Llach, singer, songwriter

Ken Loach, film director

Jen Long, artist manager, DJ

Josie Long, comedian

Los Castos, band

Los Chikos del Maíz, rap group

Dónal Lunny, musician

Nightmare Lyre, musician

Mammút, band

Esther Manito, comedian

Kika Markham, actor

Yann Martel, author

Helen Marten, artist

Emer Martin, writer

Raoul Martinez, artist, writer

Marwan, singer, songwriter, poet

Massive Attack, band

Tom McCarthy, author

Vic Mensa, rap artist

Marc Mercier, artistic director

China Miéville, author

Luc Mishalle, musician

Thurston Moore, musician

Christy Moore, singer

Gérard Mordillat, filmmaker

Viggo Mortensen Jr., actor, musician, author

Junior Mthombeni, theater director, actor, musician

Peter Mullan, actor, director

Rita Natálio, artist, researcher

Nel Tardiu, band

Jef Neve, pianist, composer

Courttia Newland, author

Bernard Noël, writer

Object Blue, DJ

Joff Oddie, musician

Joan Miquel Oliver, singer, songwriter

Ragnar Olsen, singer

Susie Orbach, psychoanalyst, writer

Jørn Simen Øverli, singer, artist

Ruth Padel, poet

Carmen París, singer, songwriter

Melissa Parmenter, composer, film producer, pianist

Anand Patwardhan, documentary filmmaker

Maxine Peake, actor

Eddie Peake, artist

Mireille Perrier, actor

Dimitris Piatas, actor, writer

Ernest Pignon-Ernest, artist

Marijke Pinoy, actress

Alain Platel, choreographer

Jocelyn Pook, composer

Patrícia Portela, writer, playwright

Aaron Porter, solo artist

Charlotte Prodger, artist

Philip Pullman, author

Pupil·les, band

Michael Radford, film director

Roland Ramade, singer

RAVI, artist, composer

Stephen Rea, actor

Ian Rickson, theatre director

Tiago Rodrigues, national theatre director, playwright

Luz Room for Resistance, DJ

Rrose, musician

Liv Runesdatter, singer, composer

Pilar Salamanca, writer

Xavi Sarrià, musician

K. Satchidanandan, writer

Aura Satz, artist

James Schamus, director, producer

Noémie Schellens, classical singer, actress

Gaea Schoeters, writer, journalist, scenarist

Mim Shaikh, broadcaster, writer, actor

Tai Shani, artist

Alia Shawkat, actor, artist

Sindicat de Músics Activistes de Catalunya – SMAC musicians’ union

Robyn Slovo, film producer

John Smith, artist filmmaker

Smoking souls, band

Patrick Staff, artist

Stay at Homas, band

Janneke Stegeman, theologian, writer

DAAN Stuyven, singer-songwriter, composer

Vivan Sundaram, artist

BV Suresh, artist

Nick J. Swarth, poet, performer, musician, visual artist

Guy Swinnen, singer

Jakob Thonander Glans, composer, musician, conductor

Colm Tóibín, author

Sílvia Tomàs, singer, songwriter

Ricky Tomlinson, actor

Tudanca, band

Dirk Tuypens, actor

Merlijn Twaalfhoven, composer

Txarango, band

Adil Tyabji, editor

V (formerly Eve Ensler), playwright, activist

Myriam Van Imschoot, performance, theatre, music

Michiel Vandevelde, choreographer

Judith Vanistendael, graphic novelist

David Verdaguer, actor

Violet, DJ, producer

Erik Vlaminck, author

Pantelis Voulgaris, film director

Naomi Wallace, playwright

Mark Wallinger, artist

Harriet Walter, actor

Roger Waters, musician

Einat Weizman, director, writer, actor

Irvine Welsh, author

Michael Wiehe, singer, musician

Unni Wilhelmsen, musician, composer, writer

Jeanette Winterson, writer

Bent Wold, singer

XY, band

Luke Younger, experimental musician

Zoo, band

A l

Israeli forces attack farmers and fishermen in Gaza

14 May

International Middle East Media Centre, 15 May 2020

Israeli soldiers and navy ships attacked, on Thursday morning, Palestinian farmers and fishermen with live fire and shells, in the southern and northern parts of the besieged and impoverished Gaza Strip.

Media sources said the soldiers, stationed in military towers across the perimeter fence, fired many live rounds at Palestinian farmers on their own lands near the perimeter fence, east of Khuza’a town, east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the coastal region.

The farmers had to flee their lands and seek shelter away from the area to avoid further Israeli violations.

A similar attack targeted farmers on their lands, east of Shouka town, near Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, and in Beit Hanoun, in northern Gaza Strip, forcing the farmers out of their lands.

In related news, Israeli navy ships attacked Palestinian fishing boats with sporadic rounds of live fire, and a few shells, while in Gaza territorial waters, in the northern part of the coastal region.

The attacks did not lead to casualties but forced the fishermen back to the shore without being able to fish to provide for their families.

Last week, Israeli soldiers shot and injured three fishermen and abducted two others, in addition to causing extensive damage to fishing boats and equipment.

Pompeo calls on Israel to consider ‘all factors’ when annexing occupied West Bank

14 May

US Secretary of State urges Israeli leaders to make sure annexation plans align with Washington’s plans for region. Pompeo was on one-day visit to Israel and met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his coalition partner Benny Gantz (AFP)

Middle East Eye, 14 May 2020

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged Israeli leaders to consider “all the factors” in a proposed de facto annexation of the occupied West Bank, so that it aligns with Washington’s plan for the region.

Pompeo made the remarks during a one-day visit to Israel on Wednesday, when he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his coalition partner Benny Gantz. Washington’s chief diplomat did not meet with any Palestinian leaders.

Pompeo said he discussed the issue of annexation with the two leaders, “but also many other issues related to it – how to deal with all the factors involved, and how to make sure the move is done properly to bring about an outcome in accordance with the vision of peace,” according to the Israel Hayom newspaper.

‘The Trump administration is collaborating with Israel in its annexation plan in what is both an attempt at burying the rights of the Palestinian people as well as a blatant attack on a rules-based international system’ – Saeb Erakat, PLO chief negotiator

Under the coalition agreement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said cabinet discussions will start in early July over extending Israeli sovereignty to Jewish settlements and the Jordan Valley in the West Bank, as was mooted in US President Donald Trump’s recently announced Middle East plan.

The proposed annexations have been slammed by the Palestinians, and opposed by much of the international community, including the European Union and the United Nations.

Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: Release Palestinian child prisoners, UN officials tell Israel

14 May

UN officials call on Israel to release Palestinian child prisoners due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Infographic: Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff, 12 May 2020

Several United Nations officials called on Israel Monday to release Palestinian child prisoners currently held in Israeli prisons due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The call was made by the coordinator of UN’s humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians on the ground, Jamie McGoldrick, the head of the UN Human Rights Office in the West Bank, James Heenan, and UNICEF special representative, Genevieve Boutin.

“The rights of children to protection, safety, and wellbeing must be upheld at all times. In normal times, the arrest or detention of a child should be a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time,” the statement read.

“During a pandemic, States should pay increased attention to children’s protection needs and children’s rights, and the best interests of children should be a primary consideration in all actions taken by Governments.”

Israel has been criticized repeatedly in the past for its arrest and trial in military courts of Palestinian children. Recent data released by the Israeli rights group B’tselem indicate that by the end of March, Israel was holding 194 Palestinian children.

While Israel has released hundreds of its own prisoners to control the spread of the COVID-19 disease in its overpopulated prisons, the same policy did not apply to Palestinian detainees. There are over 5,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons, in addition to nearly 500 prisoners who are held without charge or trial.

“Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis in Israel, legal proceedings are on hold, almost all prison visits are cancelled, and children are denied in-person access to their families and their lawyers. This creates additional hardship, psychological suffering, and prevents the child from receiving the legal advice to which they are entitled. ” the joint statement also read.

“For children awaiting trial, these pressures could put them under increased pressure to incriminate themselves, pleading guilty to be released faster.” 

Read the full statement below: 

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The Nakba – ‘the impetus for an ongoing resistance’

13 May

By Lois Griffiths, Opinion piece, The Daily Blog, 11 May 2020

May 15, Nakba Day, is an important date for the Palestinian people. It’s the day when Palestinians commemorate their history and their culture. While Israeli nationalists and Zionist supporters celebrate the forming in 1948 of the State of Israel, the ‘Birth’ of Israel, Palestinians remember the Nakba , the catastrophe, ie, what was done to the indigenous people.

It’s a memory that the Israeli regime has tried to outlaw, to erase. Decades ago Israel deliberately renamed, ie ‘Hebrewised ‘, village and geographical locations. Some destroyed villages were covered over with pine forests, hiding evidence that people had lived there. 

George Orwell has pointed out that, 

“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”

 Palestinian academic Edward Said warned,

“Part of the main plan of imperialism… is that we will give you your history, we will write it for you, we will re-order the past…What’s more truly frightening is the defacement, the mutilation, and ultimately the eradication of history…” 

The Israeli historian Ilan Pappé has coined the word  ‘memoricide’, to describe the Israeli efforts to erase knowledge and evidence of a Palestinian past.

The Nakba is more than a historical event. It is an ongoing process. The Nakba continues today as Israel continues to destroy houses, farmlands, schools ..yes schools too..in the West Bank and East Jerusalem…as Israeli snipers continue to shoot to kill or permanently maim, unarmed Gazan demonstrators, as Israeli forces  continue to attack Gazan fishermen and bomb Gaza.

Writer and journalist Ramzy Baroud says about the ‘birth’ of Israel,

 ” That blood-stained birth callously required the destruction of an entire nation; people with a unique history, language, culture and collective memory. It was thus absolutely necessary for the Palestinians to be wiped out to quell any possible sense of Israeli guilt, shame and legal and moral responsibility for what has befallen millions of dispossessed people.” “The Nakba is not merely a question of history, but an ongoing reality that has affected several generations of Palestinians. It is not a celebration of victimhood, but the impetus for an ongoing resistance. It is not an ‘event’ assigned a specific political context and analysis, but is now a state of mind; the Palestinian people’s strongest rapport between them and their past, present and future.”

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On-line rally with Gaza

8 May

This weekend – Sunday 10 May at 7pm – the Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa will hold an Online rally with Gaza for Nakba Day. (Zoom meeting number below)

This is our second on-line rally with Gaza to hear directly from Palestinians on the front line of the Covid 19 pandemic. It’s an astonishing achievement that Palestinians have kept Covid 19 out of the Gaza community so far through quarantining all those entering the strip. However, the danger remains extreme.

One thing you can do now – copy and paste this notice into your social media posts TODAYDr Medhat Abbas – Director General of Primary Health Services in Gaza. One of the speakers for our online rally with Gaza for Nakba Day.

Join the Zoom Meeting at 7pm this Sunday 10 Mayhttps://us02web.zoom.us/j/85164678448

Nakba Day (15 May – ‘Nakba’ means ‘catastrophe’ in Arabic) refers to the mass expulsion, at gunpoint and with many massacres, of Palestinian Arabs (between 750,000 and one million) from Palestine during Israel’s creation (1947-49)

We will be hearing from Palestinian medical professionals, community activists and journalists about the huge threat Covid 19 poses to the people of Palestine – and Gaza in particular – and what we can do about it. See you there”

On World Press Freedom Day, 12 Palestinian journalists are in Israeli detention

4 May
Twelve Palestinian journalists are currently detained in Israeli jails. (Photo: File)

Palestine Chronicle, 3 May 2020.

May 3 marks the World Press Freedom Day, and the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said today that 12 Palestinian journalists are currently held behind Israeli prison bars.

The longest-serving of these 12 journalists are Mahmoud Essa (three life sentences and 45 years), Basem Khendoggi (three life sentences in prison), Munther Mefleh (30 years), and Ahmad Saifi (17 years).

Moreover, some of these journalists are held in Israeli detention without charge or trial, based on what the Israeli intelligence describes as the “secret file”.

“The occupation authorities have pursued the policy of arresting journalists and activists in an attempt to undermine their societal, cultural, and political role, and prevent them from revealing the crimes of the occupation,” the PPS said on this occasion.

Detention of journalists by Israeli occupation authorities has been on the rise since 2015 when Israeli courts started to use the pretext of “incitement” to justify their arrest as well as the closure of TVs and media institutions under military orders.

“Good journalism must not be allowed to die,” wrote Palestinian journalist and editor of The Palestine Chronicle, Ramzy Baroud.

“We must fight back, in the name of Tareq Ayyoub who was killed by US forces in Iraq in 2003, and Yaser Murtaja who was killed by Israeli snipers in Gaza in 2018, and thousands like them, who are either dead or spending torturous years in Arab or Israeli prisons,” Baroud added.

ICC delivers a blow to Israel’s lobbying efforts

3 May

– declares jurisdiction over State of Palestine

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. (Photo: File)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff, 2 May 2020

Palestine is a state, and therefore the International Criminal Court (ICC) has legal jurisdiction to rule on alleged war crimes committed there, the ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda reiterated on Thursday, April 30.

The statement was a firm response to intense lobbying efforts by Israel and its supporters, especially Germany, to delegitimize the proceeding altogether.

The 60-page document was entitled: A Response to the ‘Observations of Amici Curiae, Legal Representatives of Victims, and States’.

“Once a state becomes a party to the Statute, the Court is automatically entitled to exercise jurisdiction over article 5 crimes committed on its territory” without any further “separate assessment” by organs of the Court as to the Statehood of the State Party,” the statement reads in part.

“Palestine’s viability as a State—and the exercise of the Palestinian people’s right to self determination—has been obstructed by the expansion of settlements and the construction of the barrier and its associated regime in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, which have been found to violate international law,” the document also stated.

The ICC pre-trial chamber will now decide how to move forward with the investigation.

“The Prosecutor advanced quite compelling arguments and properly addressed those submissions which aimed at persuading the court not to move forward,” Dr. Triestino Mariniello, member of the Legal Team Representing Gaza Victims before the ICC, told The Palestine Chronicle.

Mariniello also told the Chronicle that although Bensouda’s “observations were compelling,” her decision to call on the pre-trial chamber was not a mandated legal procedure and “it only causes unnecessary delays.”

“Since Palestine submitted a referral to the court, the ICC had the power to open an investigation without asking the pre-trial chamber to rule on the matter,” he said.

“The victims we represent are worried about further delays. The victims are also worried about the so-called ‘narrow scope of investigation’, which is a de facto exclusion of crimes that were committed since 2015 against Palestinian civilians.”

‘We don’t have the capacity to treat’ Covid-19 outbreak..

27 Apr

Palestinian-Canadian doctor says Israel must lift Gaza siege

Video report by Democracy Now! 25 April 2020.

As fears continue to grow about what a rampant outbreak of the coronavirus might do to the occupied Palestinian territory, already crippled by years of Israeli sanctions, we get an update from Dr. Tarek Loubani, Palestinian-Canadian doctor and emergency physician who volunteers in the Gaza Strip and returned from a trip there last month. “Testing is severely limited,” he says. “There have been fewer tests in Gaza so far throughout the entire pandemic than there were in South Korea yesterday.” #DemocracyNow

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