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Honouring Doctor Hashem Slaimankhel

30 Jan

Supporters of the Palestinian struggle in New Zealand are deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death of Doctor Hashem Slaimankhel – a longtime supporter of Kia Ora Gaza and prominent member of  New Zealand Muslim Association and the Umma Trust in Auckland.

A widely respected Auckland health worker and community leader, Dr Slaimankhel was killed in a bomb blast in Afghanistan last weekend, the day before he was due to fly home.

Hashem Slaimankhel, in his late 60s, died when a suicide bomber driving an ambulance killed at least 95 people and wounded 158 more in Kabul on Saturday. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Dr Slaimankhel’s nephew, professional rugby player Omar Slaimankhel, said the hundreds of people flowing in and out of his uncle’s home on Sunday were testament to the kind of human he was.

Kia Ora Gaza and the NZ Palestine Solidarity Network offer our heartfelt condolences to his family, colleagues and friends.

(photo: Stuff)

 

NZ National Day of Action for Free Palestine announced

17 Jan

Saturday 3 February will see a day of action in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for justice and freedom focussing on the campaign to free all children from Israeli prisons and strengthening the international boycott movement and divestment of Apartheid Israel.

The AUCKLAND RALLY will be at the Aotea Square from 2pm. Green MP Marama Davidson will be a guest speaker. Marama was NZ’s rep on the Women’s Boat to Gaza in 2016.

WELLINGTON: 2pm Cuba Street, Sat 3 February

CHRISTCHURCH: 2pm Bridge of Remembrance, Sat 3 February

DUNEDIN: 2pm The Octagon, Sat 3 February.

WHANGAREI: from 7:30am to 10am Water St (opp Growers Market) Sat 3 February.

WOMAD urged to drop Israeli singer

15 Jan

Israeli singer Victoria Hanna is scheduled to perform at the New Plymouth festival in March. Photo credit: Facebook

By Newshub staff, 14 January 2018

A Palestinian advocacy group is calling for the withdrawal of an Israeli singer from the WOMAD lineup.

Victoria Hanna is scheduled to perform at the New Plymouth festival in March.

But the Palestine Solidarity Network says her attendance would breach the international boycott movement known as BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions).

Hanna’s visit is “part of a propaganda tour for the Israeli state”, the group said on Sunday.

“Just as most New Zealanders stood with black South Africans in the fight against apartheid in South Africa, we must also stand in solidarity with the Palestinian victims of Israeli apartheid.”

The call comes after Kiwi pop star Lorde cancelled plans to perform in Israel in solidarity with Palestinian rights campaigners.

The BDS movement, launched in 2005 aims to end Israel’s occupation of what it says is Palestinian land.

Newshub

Here is the full letter from the Palestine Solidarity Network sent to WOMAD festival organisers on 31 December 2017 (no reply has been received):

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Israeli army shoots child in the head “during training”

12 Jan

Photo from Times of Israel report on a previous incident.

Report from ‘If Americans Knew’ israelpalestinenews.org 10 January 2018

Israeli soldiers shot, Wednesday, a Palestinian child with a live round in the head, during “military training” near Tubas, in northeastern West Bank.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said the child, only three years of age, was shot with a live round in the head, and is currently in a stable condition.

It added that the child was rushed to Tubas Turkish governmental hospital, and is currently at the Intensive Care Unit.

The child was shot by Israeli soldiers who were conducting live-fire training near Palestinian communities in Tubas.

The Israeli military frequently conducts training in Palestinian communities in Tubas, the Jordan Valley of the occupied West Bank, Hebron, and several other areas.

In many incidents, Palestinian families are ordered to leave their communities during the military drills, and later return after the army is done with its live-fire  training, including the use of explosives, which are sometimes left behind, leading to casualties, including fatalities.

In several incidents, many Palestinians, including children, were injured and even killed, when explosives dropped by the soldiers during training went off near them.

 

Rights group: Israel army killed 15 Palestinian children in 2017

 

 

Learning from South African anti-apartheid struggle

12 Jan

Nelson Mandela, Deputy President of the African National Congress of South Africa, addresses the Special Committee Against Apartheid in the General Assembly Hall. 22 June 1990. [UN Photo/P Sudhakaran.]

By Haidar Eid, Mondoweiss journal, 10 January 10 2018

The current situation in Occupied Palestine has been well-documented elsewhere. The statistics show higher levels of Palestinian deaths, disabilities, home demolitions and poverty than at any other time since the dispossession of Palestinians in 1948. The international siege against the Palestinians of Gaza following the democratic election in January 2006 has led to an almost total collapse of all economic activity.

At the same time, there is an internal crisis of political leadership, with the Palestinian factions being unable to agree to the terms of a unity government. This has left Palestinian civil society divided at a time when it is imperative that Palestinians show unity against the Israeli occupation. This is why we believe that the example of South Africa has a role to play in Palestine today.

Not only can we learn about Israel by examining apartheid in South Africa, but we can also help to take the Palestinian cause forward by learning from the South African anti-apartheid struggle, the manner in which it framed its objectives and the strategies and tactics that it used. Particularly, the successful campaign by the South African liberation forces in the isolation of the South African apartheid state is an experience we can examine and then adopt from and employ whatever might be useful in the new apartheid context.

Learning from the South African Struggle

The South African struggle against apartheid, it is generally understood, was based on “four pillars”. These were:

  1. International solidarity and international isolation of the apartheid state;
  2. The internal resistance;
  3. The armed struggle; and
  4. The underground movement.

It is also generally accepted that the first two of these pillars were the most significant and effective in bringing about an end to the brutal and racist apartheid state.

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Can we listen to the Palestinian voices now, please?

10 Jan

Interview with Ramzy Baroud, Editor-in-Chief of the Palestine Chronicle and author of “The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story”.

 TalkingstickTV, Seattle, 7 January 2018

What BDS means for Palestine

10 Jan

Leading BDS activist Omar Barghouti sits down with AJ+’s Ahmed Shihab-Eldin to outline the current state of the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. 

Over 100 leading international artists stand with Lorde

8 Jan

Lorde [Photo: Perou for the Guardian]

Report from the Guardian and artistsforpalestine.org.uk, 5 January 2017

More than a hundred well-known international writers, actors, directors and musicians have pledged their support for the NZ singer Lorde, who has decided not to perform in Israel.

They have come together to sign a statement of support for the singer, songwriter and record producer Lorde. While signatories to the letter, which is published on the Guardian’s letter page, may hold a range of positions on BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions), they are united in their defence of the right to freedom of conscience.

We write in support of Lorde, who made public her decision not to perform in Israel and has now been branded a bigot in a full page advertisement in the Washington Post (Report, 1 January).

Shmuley Boteach, the author and promoter of the advert, supports Israel’s illegal settlements and wrote last month on Breitbart to thank Donald Trump for “electrifying the world” with his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in defiance of international law.

He has nothing to teach artists about human rights. We deplore the bullying tactics being used to defend injustice against Palestinians and to suppress an artist’s freedom of conscience. We support Lorde’s right to take a stand.

Tubde Adebimpe, Musician
Adjoa Andoh, Actor
Julie Christie, Actor
Caryl Churchill, Playwright
Dominic Cooke, Director
Kia Corthron, Playwright
Molly Crabapple, Artist
John Cusack, Actor
Cherien Dabis, Film and TV director
William Dalrymple, Writer
Angela Davis, Writer
David Edgar, Playwright
Brian Eno, Musician
Eve Ensler, Playwright
Shepard Fairey, Artist
Bella Freud, Designer
Peter Gabriel, Musician
Lisa Gerrard, Composer
Tom Gilroy, Director
David Gray, Musician
Kathleen Hanna, Musician
AL Kennedy, Writer
Jonathan Kent, Opera and theatre director
Hari Kunzru, Writer
Talib Kweli, Musician
David Lan Artistic director, Young Vic
Ken Loach, Film director
Miriam Margolyes, Actor
Yann Martel, Writer
Emel Mathlouthi, Musician
Viggo Mortensen, Actor
Tom Morello, Musician
David Morrissey, Actor
Peter Mullan, Actor
Maxine Peake, Actor
Jocelyn Pook, Composer
Mark Ruffalo, Actor
Alexei Sayle, Comedian
James Schamus, Screenwriter
Gillian Slovo, Writer
Ahdaf Soueif, Writer
Juliet Stevenson, Actor
Alice Walker, Writer
Roger Waters, Musician
Benjamin Zephaniah, Poet
and 56 others full list at http://artistsforpalestine.org.uk/2018/01/05/leading-artists-stand-with-lorde/

 

 

Israeli court hearing on seizure of Women’s Boat to Gaza

5 Jan

NZ Green MP Marama Davidson (top left), with the other participants of the international Women’s Boat to Gaza, the Zaytouna-Oliva, before they departed Messina port, Sicily, September 2016.

Freedom Flotilla Coalition report, 3 January 2018

Israeli court cross examines IOF witness regarding seizure of Women’s Boat to Gaza (Zaytouna-Oliva)

Under cross-examination, Israeli occupation official admits that because of the shortage of electricity in Gaza the sanitation pumps are not working at full capacity. The lawyer representing the Zaytouna-Oliva’s owner made full use of this opportunity to focus attention on the effects of the blockade.

On November 12 in a court-room in Haifa, the head of the economics department of the Gaza coordination unit, Mr. Tzidki Maman, was cross-examined by Gaby Lasky, the lawyer representing the owner of the (2016) Women’s Boat to Gaza.

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‘There Will Be Bloodshed’: Warnings as Israel Tightens Grip of Occupation

5 Jan

Mounted Israeli officers clear a street of protesters outside the Damascus Gate of the Old City after Friday prayer on December 8, 2017 in Jerusalem, Israel. (Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer, Common Dreams, 3 January 2018

‘There Will Be Bloodshed’: Warnings as Israel Tightens Grip of Occupation

“What was winked and nodded about before is now being acknowledged publicly: ‘We have no intent of sharing this land with anybody else except as a barely tolerated minority.'”

The right-wing Israeli legislature approved a law on Tuesday that increases the number of votes required to cede control of any portion of Jerusalem to “a foreign party,” in a move that journalist Glenn Greenwald characterized as the government “candidly and explicitly admitting its real policy” of “apartheid” and shattering any remaining pretense “that Israel is working in a ‘peace process’ toward a two-state solution.”

The move is just the latest blow to the potential for a two-state solution to the decades-long battle between the Israelis and Palestinians, who claim the right to make East Jerusalem the captial of their future state.

“We hope that this vote serves as a reminder for the international community that the Israeli government, with the full support of the U.S. administration, is not interested in a just and lasting peace… Rather, its main goal is the consolidation of an apartheid regime in all of historic Palestine.”

—Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority

Israel annexed East Jerusalem in the regional war in 1967, and control over it has been a focus of all peace negotiations between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority. The annexation was “not recognized internationally,” as Reuters notes, but the Israeli government considers the entire city its “eternal and indivisible” capital.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called the new law a “declaration of war on Palestinians.”
“We hope that this vote serves as a reminder for the international community that the Israeli government, with the full support of the U.S. administration, is not interested in a just and lasting peace,” Abbas added. “Rather, its main goal is the consolidation of an apartheid regime in all of historic Palestine.”
The law was sponsored by the far-right Jewish Home coalition and requires that 80 members of the 120-seat legislature, or Knesset, approve partitioning off any piece of the Jerusalem, which contains several Jewish, Muslim, and Christian holy sites. Previously, a proposal on the matter would have only required a simple majority of 61 votes.

“We’ve ensured the unity of Jerusalem,” Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who heads Jewish Home and co-sponsored the legislation, declared on Twitter. “The Mount of Olives, the Old City, and the City of David will forever remain ours.”

“We are telling the world that it doesn’t matter what the nations of the world say,” Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan reportedly told more than 1,000 members of Likud’s central committee on Sunday. “The time has come to express our biblical right to the land.”

“What was winked and nodded about before is now being acknowledged publicly: ‘We have no intent of sharing this land with anybody else except as a barely tolerated minority,'” Daniel Seidemann, director of Terrestrial Jerusalem, which focuses on Jerusalem’s fate in a potential two-state solution, told the New York Times

Dov Khenin, a Knesset member with the Joint List, told Israel’s i24NEWS that the legislation should be called “the law to prevent peace” and warned “the law means that there will be bloodshed.”

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Is Israel deliberately killing Gaza protesters?

5 Jan

Mahmoud al-Masri, killed the previous day in confrontations with Israeli troops, is mourned during his funeral in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, on 9 December. (Mohammed Dahman APA images)

By Hamza Abu Eltarabesh, The Electronic Intifada, 3 January 2018

Sometimes you have to put horrific images at the back of your mind.

During Israel’s 51-day attack on Gaza in the summer of 2014, I saw tens of dead bodies. The worst thing I witnessed was the targeting of a car about 10 meters from where I was standing. I could see its driver take his last breath before he died.
At that moment, my whole body went cold. For several days, I could not think of anything but that appalling scene. I was unable to sleep for about a week.

Events moved fast that summer. I tried my best to forget about the incident and to get on with my life.
More than three years have passed. And despite my efforts to put that experience behind me, I know that the mental scars it left have not healed. Like so many other people in Gaza, I am vulnerable.

That was proven on 8 December last, when protesters in Gaza expressed their rage at Donald Trump’s announcement two days earlier that the US would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Mahmoud al-Masri was among the protesters killed by Israeli troops that day.
I had looked on as Mahmoud ran towards the fence separating the Khan Younis area of Gaza from Israel. Mahmoud was brave and defiant. He kept running despite that Israeli forces were firing tear gas canisters in his direction.

Mahmoud climbed the fence, waving a Palestinian flag. He was shot in the back by Israeli soldiers.
When Mahmoud fell down, the Israeli soldiers kept on firing. He lay on the ground, bleeding for around an hour before the shooting had stopped. By the time anyone could offer him assistance, Mahmoud had lost consciousness.
“We reached Mahmoud when he was taking his last breaths,” Musab Abu Shawish, a paramedic, told me. “We were not able to do anything for him, except give him some oxygen.”

Helpless

The killing of Mahmoud left me feeling helpless. But it was not the sight of his dead body that upset me most – I was not standing close enough to Mahmoud to see his face.

Instead, it was a video that showed his father, Abd al-Majeed, saying goodbye to Mahmoud in a mortuary.

“Please leave me with my son,” Abd al-Majeed told the people around him. Observing his pain, my whole body shook and I started to weep uncontrollably.

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What Do You Call Somebody Who Supports Israel?

4 Jan

Miko Peled – US/Israeli writer & renowned advocate for free Palestine.

By Stuart Littlewood, American Herald Tribune, 3 January 2018.

Being racist normally invites strong disapproval, a ban, perhaps criminal prosecution. So why is supporting a racist regime like Israel not only tolerated but actively encouraged in the West’s corridors of power and often rewarded with high office?

“If opposing Israel is anti-semitism then what do you call supporting a state that has been engaged in brutal ethnic cleansing for seven decades. What does that make you?” It’s a question posed by Miko Peled, an Israeli Jew and son of an Israeli general, former Israeli soldier and now a leading voice in the struggle for Palestinian freedom. You couldn’t find a more authentic insider.

What else has Peled been saying about Israel?

“The name of the game: erasing Palestine, getting rid of the people and de-Arabizing the country…”

As for talk about Israel giving up the West Bank for a Palestinian state: “If it wasn’t so sad it would be funny. It shows a complete misunderstanding of the objective of Zionism and the Zionist state…. By 1993 the Israelis had achieved their mission to make the conquest of the West Bank irreversible.”

Peled also describes the Israeli army, in which he served, as “one of the best trained and best equipped and best fed terrorist organisations in the world.”

So let’s repeat Peled’s question. What does supporting Israel make you when Israel has been busy ethnically cleansing the native Palestinians for seven decades? What should we call people who defend the indefensible?… who admire the despicable?… who applaud the expulsion at gunpoint of peaceable civilians and the confiscation of their homes and land?

Give them a name, one that will stick.

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Lorde shows why Israel should indeed fear New Zealand

3 Jan


Israel lobby attacks on New Zealand singer Lorde for heeding calls to cancel Tel Aviv show appear to be backfiring. (Christian Yáñez)

Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 2 January 2018

A year ago, I wrote an article headlined, “Why Israel should fear New Zealand.”

It followed Wellington’s decision – angering and surprising Israel – to sponsor the December 2016 UN Security Council resolution condemning settlements on occupied Palestinian land.

I argued that New Zealand is a small country, but could have a big impact on the situation in Palestine as it has done on the world stage in the past.

I pointed out that in the 1980s, New Zealand angered the United States by declaring itself a “nuclear-free zone” – a policy that came about due to popular pressure on the government.

A decade earlier, New Zealand, along with Australia, took France to the International Court of Justice over the latter’s nuclear bomb tests in the Pacific. New Zealand sued France again after French spies bombed the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior in Auckland harbor in 1985, killing photographer and anti-nuclear campaigner Fernando Pereira.

And New Zealand campaigners helped turn the sporting boycott of apartheid South Africa into an international phenomenon with their mass protests and disruptions of the 1981 tour by the Springbok rugby team.

In 2004, New Zealand even imposed diplomatic sanctions and jailed two Israeli agents over efforts to steal New Zealand passports, likely for use in clandestine operations or assassinations.

Groveling politicians

In the year since, New Zealand politicians, like virtually all their Western counterparts, have groveled to Israel. Gerry Brownlee, foreign minister in the conservative government that lost office in October, went cap in hand to Benjamin Netanyahu last June, pleading with the Israeli prime ministerto let “the Israeli-New Zealand relationship to get back on track.”

Winston Peters, the foreign minister in the new Labour-led coalition, heads the right-wing nationalist New Zealand First party.

Peters had been a critic of New Zealand’s decision to back the Security Council resolution, fueling Israeli expectations that his appointment would herald a more sympathetic hearing in Wellington.
However in the run-up to last month’s UN General Assembly vote condemning Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made clear her country would not be bullied.

New Zealand joined the overwhelming majority of nations that defied Trump’s threats and backed the resolution critical of the United States and Israel.

Lorde leads

But it was never politicians I was counting on to do what veteran New Zealand Palestinian rights campaigner Janfrie Wakim had called for after the UN Security Council vote on settlements: to “show Israel there is a cost” if it continues to ignore world opinion and violate Palestinian rights.

A year after the Security Council vote, New Zealand surprised Israel again. But this time it wasn’t the politicians.

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Girl dies after Israeli soldiers delay her transfer to hospital

1 Jan

Nine year old Dalal Lawlah

By Palestine Information Centre, Nablus, Palestine, 30 December 2017

A Palestinian child with special needs, from Awarta town in Nablus, died on Friday evening after Israeli soldiers obstructed her transfer to hospital.

Palestinian medical sources said that nine-year-old Dalal Lawlah died after Israeli soldiers at Huwara checkpoint prevented her father from taking her swiftly to Rafidia hospital.

The sources added that Dalal was unable to breathe and needed urgent medical intervention, but delaying her transfer to the hospital for about half an hour led to her death.

The child’s father, Deeb, told the Palestinian Information Center (PIC) that he tried at first to use the main road through Awarta checkpoint to take her daughter to a hospital in Nablus after she suffered a health problem, and argued with soldiers to convince them to let him through, but to no avail.

Later, he said, he had to go to Huwara checkpoint, which was closed at the time because of skirmishes in the area.

After a long hold-up on the road, the ambulance carrying the child arrived at the hospital, where she was pronounced dead, the father added.

The father held the Israeli occupation army fully responsible for the death of his daughter, accusing Israeli soldiers of firing tear gas grenades at the ambulance.

Lorde target of Zionists’ frenzied attack in full-page advert

1 Jan

AAPNews Corp Australia Network, 1 January 2018.
A FULL-PAGE advertisement has been taken out in The Washington Post calling Kiwi musician Lorde a bigot and accusing New Zealand of prejudice against Israel.

The ad on the fifth page of the paper’s December 31 edition — taken out by outspoken rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s This World: The Values Network — criticises the 21-year-old for joining “a global anti-semitic boycott of Israel” but still performing in Russia.

It features a large photo of the singer superimposed over a picture of men running through rubble cradling babies with the headline “Lorde and New Zealand ignore Syria to attack Israel”.

The Grammy winner this month cancelled a concert scheduled in Tel Aviv for June after criticism from activists in the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement.
The decision also came after an open letter written by two New Zealand fans argued the concert would show support for Israel’s occupation of Palestine.

The advertisement in the Post says Lorde’s decision showed how a “growing prejudice against the Jewish State” in New Zealand was “trickling down to its youth”.

It cites New Zealand’s choice in December to vote — along with 127 countries — in favour of a United Nations resolution calling for the United States to withdraw its decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

It also criticises New Zealand’s co-sponsorship last year of a UN resolution which condemned continued Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory and caused a six-month diplomatic rift with Israel.
“While Lorde claims to be concerned with human rights, she hypocritically chose to proceed with her two concerts in Putin’s Russia, despite his support for [Syrian president Bashar al-]Assad’s genocidal regime,” the ad reads.

“Let’s boycott the boycotters and tell Lorde and her fellow bigots that Jew- hatred has no place in the twenty-first century.”

The singer has also copped flak from the Jewish Council of New Zealand and the The Zionist Federation of New Zealand.

Israel’s ambassador to New Zealand, Itzhak Gerberg, last week invited Lorde to meet him in person.

One Palestinian family’s devastating story of Israeli military cruelty

31 Dec

Ahed Tamimi with her mother Nariman … a family suffering again from the cruelty and injustice of the Israeli occupation. [Image: Al Jazeera].

OPINION: By Sister Barbara Cameron, Asia Pacific Report, 31 December 2017
When I read last week of the detention of a young Palestinian teenage girl, 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi, dragged from her bed in the middle of the night by Israeli soldiers, for me it wasn’t just another Palestinian teenage protester.

I was devastated. This is the beautiful young woman I’d met as a happy, innocent 10-year-old, in whose house I’d slept, with whose family I’d sat at table, to whose grandmother I had listened as she shared the pain of the terrible things her own children had suffered at the hands of the Israeli military, her daughter shot in a military court room, her son detained innumerable times.

I was gutted thinking of this family having to deal with yet another trauma, fearing what might happen to their 16-year-old daughter in military detention.

Not only that but her 15-year-old brother, Mohammed, is now lying in an induced coma as the result of the injury caused by being shot in the face by a rubber bullet. For me it was heartbreaking news.

In 2011, as a NZ Catholic nun, a Mission Sister, I had volunteered with the International Women’s Peace Service group in Palestine on the West Bank, a group that supports the Palestinians in any nonviolent resistance to the occupation of their land by Israel, and reports on human rights abuses.

It was at that time I had the privilege of meeting Ahed’s father, Basem Tamimi, a charismatic village leader (in my book, another Gandhi or Mandela), whose gentleness and commitment to nonviolent, peaceful protest against the Israeli occupation of their land was in stark contrast with the picture of protesters I’d formed, from the media, of Palestinian resistance to occupation.

In that man’s home, with that little girl and their family, we enjoyed the warm, generous hospitality, typical of Palestine.

Accused by military police

Within days of that experience Basem was picked up by the Israeli military police accused of inciting protesters to throw stones at the soldiers.

What follows are excerpts from the speech Basem gave in the military court in June 2011.

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After Lorde’s courage, why has WOMAD invited Israeli singer to NZ?

31 Dec


By John Minto, Daily Blog, 31 December, 2017 
Israeli singer Victoria Hanna is due to perform at the New Plymouth WOMAD festival (17-19 March 2018). She should never have been invited to come. Hanna is currently based at the University of California as part of the Visiting Israeli Artist Programme of The Israel Institute who describe their role in these terms –

Lorde’s decision to pull out of her planned concert in Israel next year is having a profound impact on public discussion here and overseas about Palestine/Israel.

Overall the public reaction reflects the huge shift in opinion from earlier times when New Zealanders stood behind Israel which they saw as a plucky little country surrounded by hostile Arab hordes. A mixture of anti-Arab racism and European guilt regarding the Holocaust sustained strong support for Israel. Backing this up was the Zionist tactic of crying “anti-Semitism” to any criticism of Israel.

Israel promoted itself as the “victim” (and was widely seen as such in the West) and had a free hand to brutalise the people of Palestine with at best muted criticism. Abuses of human rights, blatant violations of international law and thumbing its nose at UN resolutions (including Security Council resolutions) became the norm for Israel.

This “older view” of Israel was neatly summed in Brian Edwards’s facebook post – see Martyn Bradbury’s column. It’s hard to believe an otherwise intelligent person could make such dumb comments.

New Zealanders, and most people around the western world, have moved on. Israel’s invasion of Lebanon, its attacks, invasions and medieval siege of Gaza along with its brutal military occupation of the West Bank have begun to change perceptions.

Israel can only sustain its enormous injustice through brute force and this is politically unsustainable.

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Israeli soldiers injure 143 Palestinians in Gaza

31 Dec


Israeli Soldiers Injure At Least 143 Palestinians, Three In Seriously, In Gaza

IMEMC News report, Gaza, 29 December 2017
The Palestinian Health Ministry has reported that Israeli soldiers shot, Friday, at least 143 Palestinians, including 43 who were shot with live fire, three of them suffered very serious wounds, after the army attacked hundreds of protesters, marching near the border fence in several parts of the besieged Gaza Strip.

Dr. Ashraf al-Qedra, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Health, said the soldiers shot 43 Palestinians with live fire, including three who were shot by sharpshooters, and suffered life-threatening wounds, while at least 100 others suffered the effects of teargas inhalation.

Al-Qedra stated that the soldiers seriously injured two Palestinians, after shooting one in the with a live rounds in the head and another in his chest, east of Gaza city, and in Central Gaza.

He added that the soldiers moderately injured three other Palestinians, after shooting them with live fire, east of Jabalia, in the northern part of the coastal region.

Furthermore, one Palestinian suffered a serious injury, after the soldiers shot him with live fire in the abdomen, east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the coastal region.

Another Palestinian suffered a moderately injury, after the soldiers shot him with live fire, east of al-Boreij, in central Gaza.

In Beit Hanoun, in northern Gaza, the army fired dozens of gas bombs at protesters, in Palestinian lands close to the border fence, while several youngsters managed to burn a military tower. Medical sources said many Palestinians suffered the effects of teargas inhalation.

Many army sharpshooters, and several armored vehicles, have been deployed near the border fence, near Abasan al-Jadeeda town, east of Khan Younis, and near Rafah city, especially at the Sofa crossing, in southern Gaza.

Lorde didn’t bow to pressure, she rose to the occasion

31 Dec


Lorde at the 2014 St Jerome’s Laneway Festival in Sydney, Australia (Photo: Annette Geneva/ Wikimedia)

By Nada Elia, Mondoweiss, 30 December 2017

Since Lorde’s announcement that she had cancelled the Tel Aviv leg of her world tour, she has been called a bigot, immature, naïve, and despite her hitherto well-known political stances on justice issues from LGBTQ to indigenous rights, is now being portrayed in sexist and ageist terms as a helpless young fool. Miri Regev, Israel’s Culture Minister, asked Lorde to reconsider, even as Israel’s ambassador to New Zealand invited her to a meeting, so as to educate her about the situation in Israel. “By succumbing to the hateful agenda of the few who support #BDS you encourage animosity in the region,” the ambassador wrote Lorde, guilting her with heavy-handed clichés: “only democracy in the Middle East,” “music should unite not divide,” and of course, BDS being motivated by hatred, rather than an impulse towards justice.

The Jerusalem Post is publishing editorial after editorial about the cancellation, some by the Editorial Board itself, others by guest writers, all extremely patronizing to Lorde, and rehashing the offensive old stereotype of Palestinians as hijackers, as it describes her as “having been taken captive” by BDS “bullies.” “Lorde and the BDS bullies,” describes her as the “perfect candidate to be taken captive by the BDS movement.”
“For the young Lorde, who is clueless about Zionism and knows nothing about Israel’s long history of struggle with a violent, intolerant and antisemitic Arab national movement, it is no political statement to appear in Tel Aviv before a crowd of globalized Israeli youths,” that editorial continues, before concluding: “Lorde is supposed to play music. Unfortunately, this time she let herself be played.”

Another editorial states “Lorde Caves to BDS Pressure.” And a third asks “Who needs Lorde,” as it reminds readers that other big names continue to perform in Israel.

But Lorde did not cancel her Tel Aviv concert after BDS “pressure.” Pressure, like racism and sexism, requires power. The capacity to impose a penalty, if you want. Or at least some tangible consequences. When she announced the cancellation, Lorde explained that she had received communication from pro- and anti-BDS activists, and made up her own mind. “I’ve received an overwhelming number of messages & letters and have had a lot of discussions with people holding many views, and I think the right decision at this time is to cancel the show,” Lorde wrote of her decision. “I pride myself on being an informed young citizen, and I had done a lot of reading and sought a lot of opinions before deciding to book a show in Tel Aviv, but I’m not too proud to admit I didn’t make the right call on this one.”

Lorde did not cave in to pressure. Just the opposite, she rose to the occasion. As she put it herself, “it was the right decision.”

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Lorde sets an example to follow for young celebrities

31 Dec

By Hind Awwad, Days of Palestine , 30 December 2017

In the growing tide of support for the cultural boycott of Israel, New Zealand music star Lorde’s decision to cancel her Tel Aviv concert is precedent-setting in many ways.

Lorde cancelled the Israeli leg of her 2018 world tour only days after it was announced. With commendable modesty and openness to engage moral questions of our times, she welcomed appeals from her fans who are active in challenging Israel’s oppression of Palestinians through Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).
Exhibiting the political maturity of a truly “informed young citizen”, she recognised why the overwhelming majority of Palestinians, including artists, have called on international cultural figures not to entertain apartheid Israel, and she acted on her conscience to make the “right call.”
At 21, Lorde is arguably the first artist of her generation and calibre (she has won two Grammy awards), to cancel a performance in Israel. According to the Jerusalem Post, she was “by far, the biggest contemporary name to announce a 2018 show in Israel.”

Lorde’s cancellation touched a raw nerve in Israel’s regime of oppression, with the foreign ministry shifting to damage control mode. Their panic was apparent when the Israeli ambassador to New Zealand tweeted to Lorde a desperate public invitation for a meeting. The ambassador’s involvement is a clear signal that the Israeli government views these cultural events as part and parcel of its global public relations efforts to art-wash its regime of occupation, colonisation and apartheid against Palestinians, and to use culture as a propaganda tool to present Israel’s “prettier face”, as a senior Israeli official once admitted.
Lorde’s cancellation is not the only source of cultural boycott anxiety for Israeli officials. In 2017 alone, many scheduled gigs in Tel Aviv were cancelled following appeals from Palestinian, Israeli and international human rights activists.

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