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Media language puts Palestinian lives at risk

3 Jun

An elderly Palestinian man falls on the ground after being shot by Israeli troops during a deadly protest at the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel on May 14. [Khalil Hamra]

By Donna Miles-Mojab, Opinion, DominionPost, 24 May 2018

OPINION: The language used by most mainstream media to report and analyse the events in Gaza is not just shameful, it risks Palestinian lives.

It appears the media’s collective mind has been so saturated by Israeli propaganda that they are prepared to go as far as defying what they can see and hear with their own eyes and ears.

This is how BBC ended up describing the massacre we have witnessed in Gaza as “clashes”, even though clearly one side is doing all the killing, and the other side all the dying.

This misapplication of language is not merely irksome, it is downright dangerous, because the language used in the media feeds into, and strengthens, the narrative that allows Israel to commit crimes against Palestinians with impunity.

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Gazan nurse Razan Al-Najjar: killed by Israeli sniper today

2 Jun

Israel’s military sharp-shooters again fired live ammunition at unarmed Palestinian protesters gathered near Israel’s illegal, heavily fortified boundary fence in Gaza earlier today.

21 year old paramedic Razan Al-Najjar (pictured above) was shot in the chest and killed while attending to many of the hundreds wounded.

Razan’s tragic death brings the total number of Palestinians shot dead during the 10 weeks of huge protests to 123, with over 13,000 wounded. No Israeli soldiers have been injured, except for one who reportedly suffered a ‘slight wound.’

Gazan commentator Nader R. Abdelnaby noted on social media that the Israeli soldiers wouldn’t dare target a young female nurse, wearing her white coat and giving medical help to the injured in peaceful protests “unless they are sure they will go unpunished.”

He also recalled Article 20 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, 1949 that states: ‘Persons regularly and solely engaged in the operation and administration of civilian hospitals, including the personnel engaged in the search for, removal and transporting of and caring for wounded and sick civilians, the infirm and maternity cases, shall be respected and protected.’

So, what are our own politicians going to do about this? Why not ask them? Go to this website set up for this purpose:

Flotillas demand human rights & end illegal blockade

1 Jun

VIDEO INTERVIEWS: Palestinians Demand Human Rights & Medical Care in Fight to Break Israeli Naval Blockade of Gaza

Democracy Now!, 1 June 2018

Four Israeli warships intercepted a flotilla from the port of Gaza city on Tuesday that tried to challenge Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. More than a dozen unarmed people were on board, including injured protesters and cancer patients seeking medical treatment abroad. The protest coincided with the eighth anniversary of Israel’s attack on the Turkish Mavi Marmara flotilla, which killed nine activists while the boat was sailing in international waters. Another passenger later died from his injuries.

Democracy Now! spoke with Ramadan al-Hayek, one of the organizers of the Gaza flotilla, and Zohar Chamberlain Regev, an Israeli citizen who is on board the Freedom Flotilla ship Al Awda (The Return), which just arrived in the port of Amsterdam. The four-boat Freedom Flotilla set sail April 30 from the Norwegian port of Bergen and Sweden, and plans to arrive in Gaza in July.


Call for Superfund to divest from Israeli banks that profit from illegal settlements

31 May

VIDEO report by HumanRightsWatch, 24 May 2018

How Israeli Banks Profit From Settlements

Most of Israel’s largest banks are providing services that help support, maintain, and expand unlawful settlements by financing their construction in the occupied West Bank. New research on the scope of banking activities in settlements and the violations to which these activities contribute. Israel’s seven largest banks provide services to settlements. The transfer by the occupier of members of its civilian population into the occupied territory and the deportation or transfer of members of the population of the territory are war crimes. By facilitating the expansion of settlements, these banking activities facilitate unlawful population transfers.

Human Rights Watch targets Israeli banks… NZ Super fund

Thursday, 31 May 2018 | Palestine Solidarity Network Press Release

Human Rights Watch targets Israeli banks – invested in by NZ Super Fund

The Palestine Solidarity Network has renewed calls for the NZ Super Fund to divest its shareholding in Israeli banks which invest in the illegal construction of Jewish only settlements in the Palestinian Occupied Territories.

Human Rights Watch has just listed a number of Israeli banks which fund construction of these settlements, which Human Rights Watch says is complicit in the occupation of Palestinian land and in breach of international law.

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Israeli minister threatens to destroy Gaza “once and for all”

31 May

Smoke billows over Gaza City after an Israeli air strike on 29 May. [Ashraf Amra, The Electronic Intifada]

By Ali Abunimah, Electronic Intifada, 30 May 2018

Israeli minister threatens to destroy Gaza “once and for all”

As Israel bombed it dozens of times in the past day, a senior Israeli minister has incited the total destruction of Gaza.

On Tuesday, Israeli army radio tweeted the comments of energy minister Yuval Steinitz, who stated, “I do not rule out the possibility of conquering Gaza and destroying it once and for all.”

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Shakira cancels show in Israel following BDS pressure

30 May

Colombian singer Shakira cancels her performance in Tel Aviv after appeals from fans and BDS activists. (Photo: via Twitter)

Palestine Chronicle report, 29 May 2018

Pop music star Shakira has canceled her upcoming concert in Tel Aviv, following the appeal from Palestinian activists and BDS campaigners.

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) released a statement confirming the news:

We welcome news that Shakira will not be performing in Tel Aviv, dashing Israel’s hopes to use her name to art-wash its latest massacre in Gaza. Artists, especially UN Goodwill Ambassadors, have a moral duty not to be complicit in covering up human rights violations & apartheid.

The decision came after thousands of fans and boycott activists from all over the world appealed to Shakira to cancel.

Following the violent carnage at the Gaza border, many international artists have condemned Israel’s use of force against unarmed Palestinian protesters and joined the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) against Israel, in solidarity with Palestine.

(PC, Social Media)

Freedom Flotilla statement on Israeli interception of Gaza boats

30 May

Dozens of fishing boats farewell the Hurriya as it departed Gaza’s port for Cyprus earlier today.

Freedom Flotilla statement on Israeli interception of Gaza Flotilla

30 May 2018

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC) condemns Israel’s brutal act of state piracy in attacking the aptly named Hurriya (Liberty) vessel which attempted to leave the port of Gaza today filled with people needing urgent medical assistance as well as students and crew, as they attempted to peacefully make safe passage to Cyprus. This latest attempt to break the illegal blockade of Gaza continues the brave challenges during the Great March of Return, where more than 120 Palestinians have been shot and killed by Israeli snipers and thousands severely injured.

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Freedom Flotilla salutes attempt to break blockade from within

29 May

AlJazeera video report, Gaza, 27 May 2018

Freedom Flotilla Coalition statement, 29 May 2018

Freedom Flotilla salutes attempt to break blockade from within

On Tuesday 29 May, one or two boats carrying Palestinian patients seeking urgent medical attention, as well as students and others who have been unable to travel, will sail from the illegally blockaded port of Gaza. Gaza’s already depleted hospitals are completely overstretched with the influx of hundreds of seriously wounded casualties shot by Israeli Occupation Forces snipers during eight weeks of protests at the ‘boundary’ fences.

While we do not support any particular party or faction in Palestine, Freedom Flotilla Coalition salutes this humanitarian mission and calls on the governments and the peoples of the world to act to ensure safe passage of these boats and the civilians on board. Experience has taught us the dangers of facing the Israeli Occupation Forces at sea, where they have illegally seized and confiscated numerous Flotilla vessels over the years, and where they regularly attack Palestinian fishing vessels, destroying gear, catches and livelihoods, while injuring, killing and kidnapping fishers. We know all too well that our governments fail to hold Israel accountable for this illegal violence against civilians.

We hope that our current four boat, international mission (Right to a Just Future for Palestine : which is currently between Germany and Netherlands on its way towards Gaza, can assist in raising awareness of the blockade and the ongoing complicity of much of the international community and will assist the Palestinian people of Gaza in gaining their rights, including full freedom of movement.

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Israel building sea barrier to tighten blockade of Gaza

29 May

The construction of the sea barrier has begun, and will consist of several layers under and above the water, made of stone and barbed wire and with an additional fence.

By Middle East Eye staff, 28 May 2018

Israel begins work on sea barrier to tighten Gaza Strip blockade

Israel has begun building an underwater barrier to the north of the Gaza Strip, which will bolster the Israeli siege of the Palestinian enclave.

The building of the $833m barrier began on Zikim beach, at the northern Gaza fence with Israel, and the construction is expected to be completed this year.

Israel’s defence minister, Avigdor Lieberman, said on Twitter that the barrier was “one of a kind”.

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Fathi Harb burnt himself to death. Will the world notice?

29 May

Fathi Harb. (Photo: via Social Media)

By Jonathan Cook, The Electronic Intifada, 28 May 2018

Fathi Harb Burnt Himself to Death in Gaza. Will the World Notice?

Fathi Harb should have had something to live for, not least the imminent arrival of a new baby. But last week the 21-year-old extinguished his life in an inferno of flames in central Gaza.

It is believed to be the first example of a public act of self-immolation in the enclave. Harb doused himself in petrol and set himself alight on a street in Gaza City shortly before dawn prayers during the holy month of Ramadan.

In part, Harb was driven to this terrible act of self-destruction out of despair.

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Gaza boat to sail on desperate medical mission

29 May

I interview Abdul Menim Aabed

By Mohammed Arafat, Gaza, WeAreNotNumbers, 28 May 2018

Abdul Menim Aabed, 27, is among a crowd of Gazan Palestinians who are anxious—despite the obvious danger—to be among the first to try to sail out of Gaza tomorrow on Al-Hurriyah (Liberty). The boat is being organized by the Great Return March National Organizing Committee and will carry 35 Gazans who hope to receive medical treatment or to study abroad.

“I can’t walk right anymore and I can’t get the treatment I need here in Gaza,” says the wheelchair-bound Aabed, who was shot in both legs at the border protest May 4. “I’m desperate.”

The plan for the requisitioned fishing boat is to attempt its departure on May 29, the eighth anniversary of the Israeli attack on the Turkish boat Mavi Marmara, one of the ships in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla that tried to break through the blockade. When Israeli troops halted the flotilla in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea, nine activists were killed. The international outrage that followed forced the Israeli government to ease the blockade somewhat by allowing more goods into Gaza, but it has remained in place.

Protest organizers have warned potential passengers it is likely the Al-Hurriyah will be attacked by the Israeli navy and they could be arrested as well. Still, Aabed and others are lining up to register for this first attempted voyage or for others that will follow.

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Four Freedom Flotilla boats gather in Amsterdam

29 May

Freedom Flotilla boat Al Awda at dockside, with supporters

Freedom Flotilla to Gaza in Amsterdam, May 31-June 3:
Sailing for the Right to a Just Future for Palestine

The Freedom Flotilla ship Al Awda (The Return), together with Ship to Gaza Sweden vessels FreedomFalestine (Palestine) and Mairead (named for Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire who previously sailed against the blockade) arrive in Amsterdam on Thursday May 31 and will be docked at until their departure June 2 and 3. A series of events is planned by the Netherlands Gaza Flotilla Committee, see their page for details.

The boats will visit many European ports on their way to challenge the illegal and unjust Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza in late July.

The Freedom Flotilla is sailing in 2018 for the right to a just future for Palestine. We challenge the blockade of Gaza and demand an end to our governments’ complicity with the blockade, which has created a humanitarian crisis, with civilians lacking clean water, electricity, and medical care. For more information about our mission and about the blockade of Gaza, see our website:

Participants arriving on board Al Awda include Zohar Chamberlain Regev, Israeli Spanish resident and Freedom Flotilla Coalition boat leader; Mikkel Grüner, Danish national and city councillor in Bergen, Norway; sailor and human rights advocate Charlie Andreasson from Sweden; and Policy Director of Just Foreign Policy in the US, Robert Naiman.

Two New Zealanders will join the international flotilla as the boats visit various European ports on the long journey to Gaza: Veteran human rights campaigner and union leader, Mike Treen, will be our NZ rep on board the Al Awda, and Palestinian/NZ sailor and yacht engineer Youssef Sammour will join the crew.  Support their participation – make a direct payment to the NZ Flotilla Appeal, Kia Ora Gaza Trust, Westpac account: 03-0211-0447718-000.

For more information about the Freedom Flotilla 2018:

Twitter @GazaFFlotilla

NZ website:


Video: Israel targets journalists in Gaza

29 May

Video: Israel targets journalists in Gaza

The Electronic Intifada 24 May 2018

Israel has killed Palestinian journalists Yaser Murtaja and Ahmad Abu Hussein, and injured more than 90 others, during the Great March of Return protests.

Reporters Without Borders has formally requested that the International Criminal Court prosecutor investigate the deliberate targeting of journalists in Gaza as war crimes.

The Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate is also preparing to send files to the International Criminal Court and some European courts in regards to Israel’s targeting of journalists in Gaza, especially the killing of Murtaja and Abu Hussein.

“The occupation directly targets journalists because it finds that the truth is bitter,” photojournalist Ibrahim Zanoun told The Electronic Intifada. Israeli snipers shot Zanoun in the arm while he was covering the march.

“Those who carry cameras with long-focus lenses are especially targeted,” said photojournalist Abdulrahman al-Kahlout, who was shot in the foot with live ammunition. “So that what’s happening on the ground remains hidden.”

Israel has killed more than 100 Palestinians since the beginning of the marches and injured thousands more.

Video by Mohammed Asad

A farewell message of thanks from Ramzy Baroud

28 May

Some of the NZ tour organisers farewell Ramzy Baroud at Auckland airport last Friday.

A message received from US/Palestinian author Ramzy Baroud after his successful world tour:

Dear Friends in Australia and New Zealand: Thanks to your support and solidarity, my speaking tour in your beautiful countries was a success, as I conducted over 30 speeches, radio and television interviews in two weeks.

I was truly overwhelmed by your hospitality and genuine love and support for Palestine.

You are an integral part of the Palestine solidarity movement and the work that you continue to do guides and inspires all of us.

Thank you and I hope to meet all of you again in the near future.

A photo gallery of some highlights of Ramzy Baroud’s five-city NZ speaking tour last week:

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Flotilla participants discuss the solidarity journey to Gaza

27 May

Freedom Flotilla Sets Sail for Gaza after The Great March of Return

TheRealNews interview by Dimitri Lascaris.

Activists Yudit Ilany and Heather Milton-Lightening explain why they have joined the 2018 international solidarity flotilla, as the boats depart from Copenhagen on their endeavour to challenge Israel’s blockade of Gaza in July.

Veteran human rights campaigner and union leader, Mike Treen, will represent New Zealand on the final leg of the journey.

Support our flotilla appeal by depositing your donation with our Westpac account: 03-0211-0447718-000, or post a cheque to Kia Ora Gaza Trust, PO Box 86022, Mangere East, Auckland 2158.

‘What did you do when Gaza was dying?’

27 May

‘What did you do when Gaza was dying?’ A visit with the 2018 Freedom Flotilla in Copenhagen

By Jonathan Ofir, Mondoweiss, 24 May 2018,

There is a Freedom Flotilla to Gaza taking place this summer with several boats from various countries. Several boats docked in Copenhagen for a couple of days as part of their journey to Gaza, which they plan to reach in late July.

From 2008 through to 2016, 31 boats have challenged the blockade. (The flotillas took a break in 2017.) These boats sail to challenge Israel’s Naval blockade on Gaza, part of its siege of Gaza that has lasted more than a decade. They have repeatedly been stopped from getting to Gaza; the most deadly incident in that history was the Israeli commando attack on the Turkish (ship) Mavi Marmara in 2010, in which 10 activists were killed by the Israeli soldiers in international waters.

I had the pleasure of interviewing crew member Zohar Chamberlain Regev, who also happens to be Jewish-Israeli and residing in Spain. Our interview (above) aboard the bigger Al-Awda boat is an hour long.

Zohar is a member of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition, and has participated in two freedom flotillas to Gaza, in 2012 and 2015, but has never before reached the “confrontation point”, as she will do this time.

I asked her how she feels about reaching the “confrontation point”, which is bound to be somewhere very far from Israel in international waters, where she is likely to get arrested by the Israeli navy, and possibly worse, in light of the past deadly confrontations.


“Well, first of all, we feel it must be done. The fact that the illegal blockade on Gaza goes on, forces us to keep acting against it. And our direct action – non-violent direct action – is directed just as much towards the Palestinians of Gaza, in solidarity with them, as it does towards the international community, civil society, in order to put pressure upon the governments of the world to actually make Israel lift the blockade. So the issue of actually getting into Gaza, or being intercepted, is beside the point. What we do is what we do here in Copenhagen. We just raise the issue, we explain to people what’s happening in Palestine, what’s happening in Gaza, we explain how it’s illegal according to international law – the blockade on Gaza is used by Israel as collective punishment which is prohibited by the Geneva conventions. So we have to do it.”

“..It’s unfortunate, but it seems media will not pay attention unless you actually do something.  So we’re just a bunch of people, normal people, from all walks of life, from 10 or 12 different countries, just trying to do something …What will you say to the next generation (when they ask:) What did you do when Gaza was dying?”

And with those profound words, our interview ended. The flotilla has continued on in their journey towards Gaza. Will they ever reach the Gaza shores? Zohar is not worried. The journey is more important than the destination, and the message of solidarity that these activists carry is a mission in and of itself.


Ramzy Baroud & Mike Treen discuss flotilla to Gaza

21 May

Solidarity with Palestine – Mike Treen discusses Gaza trip with Ramzy Baroud

UniteAotearoa, May 20, 2018

Video: Mike Treen with Palestinian writer Ramzy Baroud on why he is going on the Flotilla in July, 2018, to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza.

Mike is a prominent, life-long human rights campaigner and trade union leader in New Zealand. Mike is the National Director of the Unite Union and spokesperson for Global Peace & Justice Auckland.

Kia Ora Gaza has selected Mike to represent New Zealand/Aotearoa on the next international Freedom Flotilla to challenge Israel’s illegal and inhumane, 10-year blockade of Gaza. He will join other eminent rights advocates representing 20 countries on board the four-boat flotilla, due to reach Gaza in late July.

Acclaimed US/Palestinian author Dr Baroud is currently on a speaking tour of New Zealand.

Flotilla boats begin long voyage to Gaza

21 May

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Sailing for the Right to a Just future for Palestine

The Freedom Flotilla ship AlAwda (The Return), together with Ship to Gaza Sweden vessels Hurriya (Freedom) and Mairead (named for Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire who has previously sailed on three missions against the blockade of Gaza) are in Copenhagen on Sunday May 20 and Monday May 21. They will be joined later by another Swedish boat, Falestine (Palestine), and all four vessels will visit many European ports on their way to challenge the illegal and inhumane Israeli blockade of Gaza in late July.

Mikkel Grüner, a city councillor in Bergen, Norway, sailing on the Al Awda, says : “The blockade of Gaza is in its 11th year. It is such a gross violation of international law that it can be characterized as a crime against humanity.” 

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John Pilger endorses Freedom Flotilla to Gaza

18 May

John Pilger (left) meets author Ramzy Baroud after his talk at the NSW Parliament earlier this week.  Dr Baroud commented on Facebook: ‘It was a great honor to have John Pilger in the audience at the Parliament in Sydney this evening where I launched my book: The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story. I thank everyone who came to see me deliver the #Nakba speech, and all of those who work hard to make Palestinian freedom a priority in their work.’ Dr Baroud is currently on a speaking tour of NZ – see his itinerary on this website.

Australian journalist and film maker, John Pilger endorses ‘the Right to a Just Future for Palestine’ international 2018 flotilla to challenge the siege of Gaza.

“The Freedom Flotilla Coalition’s plans to challenge the blockade of Gaza is good news. The freedom flotillas have achieved extraordinary results in informing the world of the inhumanity and cruelty of the Israelis’ medieval siege of Gaza. I support wholeheartedly the Coalition’s new initiative, the ‘Right to a Just Future for Palestine’.

I specially appreciate the words, ‘Just Future’ – justice is the basic human right missing from the media reporting of Palestine; yet without justice, no peace is possible, no future is secured. The brave young people who go to the perimeters of their open prison to demand justice know this to be a basic truth. They fight for justice on behalf of all of us, and we should stand with them.”

John Pilger

17 May 2018.

UK Labour response to Israeli massacre in Gaza

17 May

VIDEO: TruthPolSciLif, Published on May 16, 2018

The response by Emily Thornberry, a senior figure in the Labour party, to the massacre in Gaza. How will our NZ government respond?


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