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Locals oppose Israeli musical ‘whitewash’ in Nelson

29 Jan

Supporters of the Te Tau Ihu Palestine solidarity group in Nelson pictured at an earlier protest.

The Te Tau Ihu Palestine solidarity group in Nelson have posted a full-page advertisement in the local newspaper, calling on readers to shun a series of performances by the Israeli group, Jerusalem Quartet at the Adam Chamber Music Festival starting in Nelson this week.

Here is their appeal:

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Gaza hospitals in crisis

25 Jan

Video report by We Are Not Numbers, 23 January 2019

Electricity shortages are constant in Gaza, endangering the lives of the most vulnerable. At the moment 14 hospitals in Gaza are ‘under increasing jeapardy’.

UN News, 22 January 2019

 Fuel crisis rapidly draining last ‘coping capacities’ of Palestinians in Gaza

A worsening fuel crisis in the Gaza Strip enclave is putting patients’ lives at risk with power supplies for operating theaters under constant threat, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.

“Acute fuel shortages are rapidly exhausting the last coping capacities of the health system in Gaza, which is struggling with chronic shortages of pharmaceuticals, medical supplies and electricity”, said Gerald Rockenschaub, Head of the WHO Office for the West Bank and Gaza.

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‘Oh you foolish little Zionists’

25 Jan

Justine Sachs on the cruelty and inhumanity of Zionism, the movement supposed to solve the ‘Jewish question’.

[Ed: In December 2017, Justine co-wrote an open letter to New Zealand pop-singer Lorde with her Palestinian/NZ friend, Nadia Abu-Shanab, urging Lorde to respect the cultural boycott of Israel called for by Palestinian civil society. The letter went viral, and Lorde cancelled her Tel Aviv concert. See post:  ]

By Justine Sachs, Pantograph Punch, 21 January 2019

 “Oh you foolish little Zionists
With your utopian mentality
You’d better go down to the factory
And learn the worker’s reality
You want to take us to Jerusalem
So we can die as a nation
We’d rather stay in the Diaspora
And fight for our liberation”

English translation of an old Yiddish folk song

In recent years, Aotearoa New Zealand’s small but vibrant Jewish community has begun to show fissures and cracks, revealing fundamental tensions and disagreements about the future of Jewish identity. These cracks, however, are neither new nor exclusive to Aotearoa; they have simply become more difficult to ignore. The question of Israel and of Zionism as a political ideology takes on a greater sense of urgency with every passing year. There is growing disharmony and conflict within the Jewish diaspora over our support for and identification with Israel in the face of increasing awareness of Israel’s colonial history and its ongoing incursions into Palestinian lives and land. For many diasporic Jews around the world, Israel’s inhumanity towards Palestinians is no longer something that can, in good conscience, be smoothed over for the sake of peace and quiet at the Passover dinner table.

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Tales of torture from Israel’s prisons

23 Jan

Palestinian boys raise up their hands with chains, during a protest to show their solidarity with hunger striking Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, May 4, 2017 [File: Hussein Malla/AP)

By Ramzy Baroud & Abdallah Aljamal, AlJazeerza, 23 January 2019

As Israel prepares to worsen conditions for Palestinian prisoners, we asked six former inmates about their experiences.

Earlier this month, Israel’s Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan announced plans to “worsen” already horrific conditions for Palestinian prisoners in Israel’s jails.

According to the Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer, there are nearly 5,500 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, including 230 children and 54 women. Of that number, 481 prisoners are held without trial – under the guise of an unlawful practice known as “administrative detention”.

Speaking to reporters on January 2, Erdan disclosed some aspects of his plan, but a sinister context was missing from the story.

The minister said the prisoners will be denied “cooking rights”, yet failed to mention that many prisoners, especially during the first stage of their detention, are tortured and denied food altogether. “The plan also includes preventing members of the Knesset from visiting Palestinian detainees,” Erdan added but did not mention how hundreds of Palestinian prisoners are already denied access to lawyers and family visitations on a regular basis.

There is no reason to doubt the Israeli minister’s words when he vows to worsen conditions for Palestinian prisoners. However, the horrific conditions under which thousands of Palestinians are held in Israeli jails – which itself is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention – are already at a stage that can only be described as inhumane as they fail the minimum standards set by international and humanitarian laws.

No one is as qualified to describe Israeli prison conditions as Palestinian prisoners, who experienced every form of physical and psychological torture, and have spent years, sometimes decades, fending for their humanity every hour of every day.

We spoke to six freed prisoners, including two women and a child, who shared their stories with us, with the hope that their testimonies would help the world understand the true context of Erdan’s latest plan.

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Israeli forces open fire on farmers, fishermen in Gaza

23 Jan

Ma’an News Agency, Gaza City, Palestine, 22 January 2019

Israeli forces opened fire, on Tuesday morning, towards Palestinian farmers working in their lands in multiple locations in the besieged Gaza Strip, while the Israeli navy targeted fishermen at sea.

Eyewitnesses told Ma’an that Israeli forces opened fire towards Palestinian farmers, who were working in their agricultural lands in the eastern and southern parts of Gaza.

The farmers were forced to leave their lands in fear for their lives.

Meanwhile, Israeli naval forces repeatedly opened heavy fire at fishing boats, forcing fishermen to sail back to shore.

No injuries were reported from neither of the incidents.

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Misusing Palestine’s growing international legitimacy

22 Jan

PA President Mahmoud Abbas. UN General Assembly in 2017 adopted a resolution granting observer-state Palestine additional rights to act as chair of G-77. (AFP)

By Ramzy Baroud, Arab News, 21 January 2019

The “State of Palestine” has officially been handed the chairmanship of the G-77, the largest group of developing countries in the UN. This is particularly significant considering the relentless Israeli-American plotting that aims to torpedo Palestine’s push for greater international recognition and legitimacy.

It is now conclusive that the main mission of Nikki Haley, the former US ambassador to the UN, was an unmitigated failure. When Haley gave her infamous speech before pro-Israel lobby AIPAC in March 2017 — declaring herself the “new sheriff in town” on behalf of Israel — the US-Israeli designs were becoming clearer: Never again would the US shy away from defending Israel at the UN, as the previous Obama administration had done in December 2016.

In retrospect, Haley’s tactics — the aggressive language, the constant threats and outright political bullying — amounted to nothing. Her short stint of two years at the UN has only managed to, once again, accentuate the US’ dwindling power and influence on the international stage.

Instead of isolating Palestinians, the US ended up joining Israel in its own isolation. Unable to make any tangible “achievements” in favor of Israel, a frustrated US administration carried out its threats as it quit crucial UN bodies like UNESCO and the Human Rights Council, among others. In doing so, the US is now imprudently dismantling the very international order it helped to create following the Second World War.

The Palestinian Authority (PA), on the other hand, has taken full advantage of the obvious shift in the world order. Being voted to the helm of the G-77, which bonds 134 countries in a massive economic order, is an extraordinary event. But what does it mean in terms of the Palestinian quest for statehood?

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Time to Break the Silence on Palestine

22 Jan

Martin Luther King Jr. courageously spoke out about the Vietnam War. We must do the same when it comes to this grave injustice of our time.

“We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak,” the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. declared at Riverside Church in Manhattan in 1967. [Photo credit: John C. Goodwin.]

By Michelle Alexander, Opinion Columnist, New York Times, 19 January 2019

On April 4, 1967, exactly one year before his assassination, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stepped up to the lectern at the Riverside Church in Manhattan. The United States had been in active combat in Vietnam for two years and tens of thousands of people had been killed, including some 10,000 American troops. The political establishment — from left to right — backed the war, and more than 400,000 American service members were in Vietnam, their lives on the line.

Many of King’s strongest allies urged him to remain silent about the war or at least to soft-pedal any criticism. They knew that if he told the whole truth about the unjust and disastrous war he would be falsely labeled a Communist, suffer retaliation and severe backlash, alienate supporters and threaten the fragile progress of the civil rights movement.

King rejected all the well-meaning advice and said, “I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice.” Quoting a statement by the Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam, he said, “A time comes when silence is betrayal” and added, “that time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.”

It was a lonely, moral stance. And it cost him. But it set an example of what is required of us if we are to honor our deepest values in times of crisis, even when silence would better serve our personal interests or the communities and causes we hold most dear. It’s what I think about when I go over the excuses and rationalizations that have kept me largely silent on one of the great moral challenges of our time: the crisis in Israel-Palestine.

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Israeli election ad boasts Gaza bombed back to “stone ages”

22 Jan

By Ali Abunimah, Electronic Intifada, 21 January 2019

Benny Gantz, the former Israeli army chief, is bragging about how much killing and destruction he committed in Gaza in a series of campaign videos for his new political party posted on YouTube and social media over the weekend.

Gantz hopes to replace Benjamin Netanyahu as Israel’s prime minister in elections scheduled for April.

One of the videos, above, shows drone footage of a devastated neighborhood in Gaza in August 2014, following Israel’s 51-day assault on the territory.

The video’s title includes the words “Parts of Gaza were returned to the stone ages.”

Against the swell of dramatic music, captions on screen announce, “6,231 targets destroyed,” and “1,364 terrorists killed.”

The ad then claims that this carnage brought “3.5 years of quiet.”

A second video displays a kill-counter on screen racking up bodies until the number 1,364 is reached. In the background Palestinians are seen conducting funerals.

The video is another depraved celebration of killing.

All the videos contain the words “Only the strong win.”

And they close with Gantz’s campaign slogan “Israel before everything,” which could just as well be translated as the Trumpian “Israel first.”

Admission of war crimes

In fact, the 2014 attack on Gaza, which Gantz commanded, killed 2,251 Palestinians, including 1,462 civilians, among them 551 children, according to an independent investigation commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council.

More than 11,000 Palestinians, including 3,540 women and 3,436 children, were injured with almost 10 percent suffering permanent disabilities.

Thus according to the independent report, fewer than 800, or about a third of those killed, were combatants – far fewer than the 1,364 “terrorists” about whose killing Gantz brags.

This means that Gantz considers Palestinian civilians to be legitimate targets – effectively an admission to war crimes.

That is potentially useful information for the human rights lawyers who are suing Gantz and another top Israeli officer in a Dutch court for slaying six members of the family of Palestinian-Dutch citizen Ismail Ziada.

A key finding of the UN-commissioned report was that the mass destruction and killing inflicted by Israel, often amounting to war crimes, “may have constituted military tactics reflective of a broader policy, approved at least tacitly by decision-makers at the highest levels of the Government of Israel.”

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Report: Israel killed 45 Gaza children since 30 March

21 Jan

Ma’an News Agency, Ramallah, Palestine, 20 January 2019

Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP) submitted a joint report to United Nations investigators last week detailing Israeli forces’ killing of Palestinian children during mass protests in the Gaza Strip, conduct amounting to war crimes, said DCIP in a press release.

The 57-page report, drafted in collaboration with the Human Rights and Gender Justice Law Clinic (HRGJ) at the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law, provides background and context to mass protests in Gaza, highlights Israeli forces’ unlawful killing of Palestinian child protesters, and details serious violations of international law by Israeli forces.

The report was submitted to the UN Commission of Inquiry on the 2018 protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), which was established during a special session of the UN Human Rights Council in May 2018.

The report notes that of the 56 Palestinian children killed by Israeli forces and settlers in the OPT during 2018, a total of 45 children were killed in the Gaza Strip since March 30, according to evidence collected by DCIP. In the overwhelming majority of cases, DCIP was able to confirm children did not present any imminent, mortal threat or threat of serious injury when killed by Israeli forces.

The report concludes Israeli forces and officials are responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious violations of international law for the killing of Palestinian child protesters in Gaza.

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Children’s lives ‘in danger’ amid Gaza fuel shortage

21 Jan

Sufian Salem at al-Rantisi Hospital with his one-year old child, Mohammed, who suffers from breathing problems [Al Jazeera]

By Maram Humaid, Gaza, Palestine, AlJazeera, 21 January 2019

Gaza’s health ministry has made an urgent appeal for help amid an ongoing fuel crisis in the coastal territory, warning of a “catastrophic situation” at its hospitals, including at a children’s facility.

Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesperson of Gaza’s health ministry, said five hospitals in the Palestinian territory would stop operating within hours, because generators are unable to operate due to the fuel shortage.

Last week, Beit Hanoun hospital in northern Gaza stopped operating.

“The lives of hundreds of patients in Gaza hospitals are under a threat of dire consequences,” al-Qidra said.

Electricity shortage may close Palestine’s hospitals

Video report from Gaza by AlJazeera’s Charles Stratford, 17 January 2019

Due to cold weather and increasing hours of electricity cuts, fuel consumption has increased, leaving stocks in the five hospitals down to 17 percent, al-Qidra said.

“The austerity measures taken by the ministry are in their final moments,” he said.

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Gordon Campbell on the ongoing carnage in Gaza

15 Jan

By Gordon Campbell, Scoop Column, 14 January 2019

The past month has devoted a lot of space to the best music and films of 2018, and far less to the past year’s human rights violations. The under-reporting on the ongoing carnage in Gaza has been a case in point.

As of 12 January 2019, some 241 Palestinians have reportedly been killed in the protests along the Gaza fence that began last March. The grotesque disproportionality in the casualty figures – 241 Palestinians, two Israelis – has been striking. 


Standing with Angela Davis

15 Jan

By Abby Zimet, CommonDreams, 7 January 2019.
The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) in Alabama has come under righteous fire after caving to Zionist pressure and rescinding its decision to award the prestigious Fred Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award to  activist, academic, black icon, daughter of Birmingham and supporter of the BDS movement Angela Davis, who’s spent decades fighting for the civil rights they supposedly stand for. In October, the Institute said they were “thrilled to bestow this honor” on Davis, “one of the most globally recognized champions of human rights, giving voice to those who are powerless to speak.”
Now they’ve taken back the offer and cancelled the February gala where she would have received it because “upon closer examination of Davis’ statements and public record, we concluded that she unfortunately does not meet all of the criteria” for the award. Noting Davis’ passionate criticism of Israel’s ethnic cleansing, activists promptly called bullshit.
“To argue that Angela Davis is unworthy of a civil rights award is beyond shameful,” said Jewish Voice For Peace. “And to dance around the fact that it’s due to her outspoken support of Palestinian rights makes it outrageous.”
Born in Birmingham and raised on “Dynamite Hill” – so dubbed because it was often bombed – Davis, 74, has long called out the injustices of the prison industrial complex, the connections between racist violence and capitalism, and violence against black women. But it’s her longtime support for Palestinian rights that evidently sparked the ire of Zionists, both Jewish groups like the Birmingham Jewish Federation and powerful pro-Israel evangelical Christians. Using the hashtag#IStandWithAngela, critics blasted craven Institute members for crumbling under such pressure. From the ACLU’s Jamil Dakwar: “Calling to boycott Israel for violating int’l law and human rights is not only a constitutionally protected right, but the right thing to do.”
Rejecting Davis, many locals said, is also an insult to the award’s namesake, Birmingham minister, civil rights activist, and “warrior” Fred Shuttlesworth. “Who can we, as the Black community, honor?” asked Ahmad Ward, noting with shame that Davis’ hometown has called “unworthy” a woman who’s a hero to many and wondering, “Will you have this same energy when we are shot dead in the street and people find every reason possible for why we deserved it?” Davis herself was “stunned” to hear of the Institute’s decision, but she sees it as “not primarily an attack against me but rather against the spirit of the indivisibility of justice.” She still plans to go to Birmingham for an alternative event because the fight for civil rights “demands a robust discussion of all the injustices that surround us” – and because she knows by now, as one of her books proclaims, that “freedom is a constant struggle.”


What’s happening to Angela Davis is outrageous and a dishonor to her decades of critical human rights work. Please support this call now:

Join the growing call to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute to honor Professor Davis.

New Year in a Gaza refugee camp

3 Jan

Mondoweiss, 2 January 2019

“I have not worn lipstick  since my wedding ten years ago. So feeling happy in a Gaza refugee camp, you need a wizard’s wand to change this misery. What new year are you talking about bro?” said Samar Al-Atrash, 33, a mother of seven children living in Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in Khan Younis, on December 31, 2018.

As she moves through a 130-square-foot space in a dark tent, among dozens of ragged clothes and dented cooking pots, Samar does not even have the capability to celebrate the new year. She and her husband Esmaeel, 33, moved to the camp after they lost their house in the 2014 war on Gaza.

Samar Al-Atrash in Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in Gaza, Dec. 31, 2018. Photo by Mohammed Asad.

Samar feels “little happiness.” She does not have a dressing table mirror to reflect her exhausted face and she is still unaware of President Trump’s last August announcement that his administration would no longer fund the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

I asked Samar how her family and she might celebrate the new year. “Once I might be able to save some flour and vegetable oil from UNRWA aids to bake a pound cake, then I would invite the neighbors,” she replied as she cooked sorrel outside the tent.

And speaking of the UNRWA cut, she says: “If that really happens, it means real death.”

Samar Al-Atrash in Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in Gaza, Dec. 31, 2018. Photo by Mohammed Asad.

The 69-year-old agency provides services to about 5 million Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank and Gaza. Most are descendants of people who were driven out of their homes or fled the fighting in the 1948 war that led to Israel’s creation.

A few yards behind Samar’s tent, Nesreen Zourob, 28, was preparing spaghetti for her six children. Her husband Mahroos is stuck in Morocco. He sold his donkey cart for 1200 US dollars, but his money ran out before he could complete his plan to immigrate to Belgium, according to his wife.

Nesreen Zourob in Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in Gaza, Dec. 31, 2018. Photo by Mohammed Asad

Both Nesreen and Samar’s families are originally from the village of al-Muharraqa, five kilometers east of the fence that separates Gaza and Israel.

Nesreen moved to the camp in 2008 when she lost the ability to pay rent on an apartment in the adjacent city of Khan Younis in southern Gaza.

Nesreen Zourob with a picture of her husband Mahroos. In al-Bared refugee camp in Gaza, Dec. 31, 2018. Photo by Mohammed Asad

“2017, 2018 or even tomorrow [2019] are just days eating more health from us,” she says. “Getting out of this damned camp or reuniting with Mahroos, then I can say we can celebrate. But it seems one day I might hear he drowned in the sea dreaming of a good life in Europe instead being a refugee forever.”

Environs of Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in Gaza, Dec. 31, 2018. Photo by Mohammed Asad.

Gaza has always been poor, though conditions for the 2 million people who live in the crowded seaside territory have worsened as the numbers of unemployed laborers there reached 250,000 and poverty has reached 60 per cent of the population, according to local reports.

As for the upcoming general election in Israel in April, Nesreen says that it is merely “counting more wars and death to Gaza”. Benjamin Netanyahu, Avigdor Liberman, Ehud Barak, Ehud Olmert, and Ariel Sharon are all “dumps from the same mentality,” she says. “No one will give us roses, they just compete to kill.”

Abdulazeez Abu Sitta in Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in Gaza, Dec. 31, 2018. Photo by Mohammed Asad

While Abdulazeez Abu Sitta, 29, unemployed, felt compelled to spend the new year with his friends in the camp. He said he has no coins for a taxi fare to join the celebrations of the 54th anniversary of the founding of Fatah in conjunction with the new year, when a torch was to be ignited in the center of Gaza city.

Abdulazeez think the entire world is moving towards war. “I think we will miss the stable situations after the US moved its embassy to Jerusalem. That was just what Israel needs to get the green light, to eliminate the Palestinian issue,” he said.

Jehad Abu Muhsen, a 49-year-old mother of two, had just ended her daily routine by carrying crushed stones on a horse-drawn cart to a nearby stone crushing workshop, for $1.50 US for each load.

Cart that brought stones to a quarry for crushing, in Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in Gaza, Dec. 31, 2018. Photo by Mohammed Asad

“There is no beautiful or happy years here in the camp nor the whole Gaza,” Abu Muhsen told Mondoweiss. “This man [Trump] is going to spoil the world, while the biggest losers are us the Palestinians.”

Jehad Abu Muhsen in Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in Gaza, Dec. 31, 2018. Photo by Mohammed Asad

The Abu Muhsen family once owned a palace in Jaffa, with 40 dunums of lemon and orange orchards.

“Today I have a 140-square-foot space tent surrounded by high walls of waste and car wrecks,” she said. “Don’t forget to visit us in 2020, son, you might find us vanished. Or at least bring some flour for pound cake for the next new year.”

10th anniversary of Cast Lead massacres

31 Dec

By Haidar Eid, Gaza, Mondoweiss 28 December 2018

This week marks the 10th anniversary of the horror inflicted on the people of the Gaza Strip when Israeli war planes launched massive airstrikes on the besieged strip. Nothing has changed! To add insult to injury, and because the so-called “International Community” did absolutely nothing to put an end to Israel’s war crimes, the latter repeated the attacks in 2012 and in 2014 killing more than 4,000 civilians and injuring tens of thousands. During the 2008 massacre, an Israeli soldier was reported to have said in an interview: “That’s what is so nice, supposedly, about Gaza: You see a person on a road, walking along a path. He doesn’t have to be with a weapon, you don’t have to identify him with anything and you can just shoot him.” This is an expression of the mainstream ideology ruling Israel.

And now Gaza has returned to its state of siege, confronted with the same international apathy. Ten years after the Israeli assault that lasted 22 long days and dark nights, during which its brave people were left alone to face one of the strongest armies in the world, Gaza no longer makes the news. Its people die slowly, its children are malnourished, its water contaminated, and yet it is deprived even of a word of sympathy from the leaders of the “civilized world.” In fact, the dehumanization of the Palestinians of Gaza continues unabated. Almost 300 civilians have been killed by Israeli snipers stationed in ditches at the eastern fence on the strip since the eruption of a series of non-violent demonstrations as part of the Great March of Return in March 2018. And the international community is still blind and deaf.

Israel could not have carried out its brutal assault, preceded and followed by a punishing siege, without a green light from leading world powers. The urgent question is how to hold Israel accountable to international law and basic principles of human rights in order to forestall further escalation and a larger bloodbath now that Israelis are preparing themselves for new Knesset elections in April. We do know what that means: more Palestinian suffering as the competing Zionist parties will use that to guarantee more votes.

One way to begin holding Israel accountable is through direct witness and citizen solidarity. For example, a group of courageous Israeli citizens demonstrate on the other side of the fence in solidarity with the Great March of Return and to remind the world of the cruel consequences of the siege and the ongoing massacre.  It is one of the remarkable undertakings by very few conscientious Israeli individuals that have decided to take action into their own hand. But that is not enough to stop the “greater Shoah” we’ve been threatened with.

The reaction of the international community has been very disappointing what with the American administration, followed by the Australian and the Brazilian governments, recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The EU is paying lip service to Palestinian human rights without taking a single concrete step to penalize the perpetrator; both the US and the EU continue to strengthen ties with Israel. The Arab governments, those in the Gulf in particular, have increased their normalization with apartheid Israel regardless of the bloodbath in Gaza.

Once again, we need to refer to South Africa. The South African apartheid regime came under repeated pressure as the United Nations Security Council passed one resolution after another condemning its inhumane treatment of blacks. This gave much-needed succour to the oppressed, while we Palestinians, today, are bereft of even this tiny comfort because the right-wing American government continues to use its veto to ensure that Israel escapes censure.

Today, there is a growing grassroots struggle inside Palestine, much as there was inside apartheid South Africa. An intensified international solidarity movement with a common agenda can make the struggle for Palestine resonate in every country in the world. And this is exactly what the BDS movement is doing making apartheid Israel launching a war against it. In Gaza, our goal now, as civil society organizations, is to lift the genocidal siege as a first step towards implementing all basic rights guaranteed under international law. To accomplish this, many activists, Palestinian and international, have launched a boycott campaign modelled on the global South African anti-apartheid campaign. This campaign is a democratic movement based on the struggle for human rights and the implementation of international law. Our struggle is not religious, ethnic, nor racial, but rather universalist; it is a struggle that guarantees the humanization of our people in the face of a dreadful Israeli war machine. Hence the importance of relating BDS with the Great March of Return.

In 2009, we argued that Gaza 2009, like the Sharpeville 1960 massacre, cannot be ignored. It demands a response from all who believe in a common humanity. We never thought that we would witness worse massacres! Now is the time to boycott the Apartheid Israeli state, to divest from its economy and to impose sanctions against it. It is high time that the world imposes a military embargo on Israel the same way it did against the apartheid regime of South Africa.

(Published by Mondoweiss)

31 Dec

Israeli snipers kill disabled Palestinian, injure 8 in Gaza

IMEMC, 28 December 2018

Israeli soldiers killed, (on) Friday, one Palestinian (photo above), and injured at least eight, including a medic and a photojournalist, during the Great March Of Return processions in the besieged Gaza Strip. The Health Ministry said two of the wounded suffered life-threatening injuries.

Dr. Ashraf al-Qedra, the spokesperson of the Health Ministry in Gaza, said the soldiers fired dozens of live rounds, high-velocity gas bombs and concussion grenades at the marchers, killing a young man, and wounding eight others.

Dr. al-Qedra stated that the soldiers killed Karam Mohammad No’man Fayyad, 26, a disabled Palestinian, after shooting him with a live round in the head, east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the coastal region.

The soldiers also shot eight Palestinians with live ammunition, including a child who was shot in the neck, a journalist and a female medic, along the perimeter fence areas, in the eastern parts of the Gaza Strip, as the Great Return March processions continue for the fortieth consecutive week.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said the soldiers fired a barrage of live rounds, rubber-coated steel bullets, in addition to high-velocity gas bombs and concussion grenades, especially east of Gaza city, al-Boreij refugee camp, Khan Younis and Rafah.

It is worth mentioning that, since the Great Return March procession started in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army has killed at least 190 Palestinians, and injured more than 25,000 others.

No Israeli soldiers have been killed by Palestinian demonstrators participating in the ‘Great March of Return’ that has taken place each Friday since March 30th.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), a total of 295 Palestinians were killed and over 29,000 were injured in 2018 by Israeli forces.

This is the highest death toll in a single year since the Gaza conflict of 2014 and the highest number of injuries recorded since OCHA began documenting casualties in the oPt in 2005.

About 61 per cent of the fatalities (180 people) and 79 per cent of the injuries (over 23,000) were in the context of Gaza’s ‘Great March of Return’ demonstrations by the fence. Across the oPt, 57 of the Palestinian fatalities and about 7,000 of the injuries were under 18 years of age. At least 28 of the Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in 2018 were members of armed groups in Gaza and another 15 were perpetrators or alleged perpetrators of attacks against Israelis in the West Bank.

A total of 14 Israelis were killed during the year by Palestinians and at least 137 others were injured. While the number of fatalities is nearly the same as in 2017 (15 people), the proportion of civilians among these fatalities (50 per cent) increased compared to the previous year (27 per cent).

Remember: Christ was a Palestinian refugee

26 Dec

A view shows the dome of the Assyrian church facing a mosque minaret in Bethlehem in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on December 24, 2018 [Mustafa Ganeyeh/Reuters]

By Hamid Dabashi, AlJazeera, 25 December 2018

Remember: Christ was a Palestinian refugee

Jesus Christ stands as a towering figure of unity in the face of the divisions and hate being sown among us.

“And when the angels said, ‘O Mary, indeed Allah gives you good tidings of a word from Him, whose name will be the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary – distinguished in this world and the hereafter and among those brought near [to Allah]” (The Quran 3:45).

There is something beautifully sacred about the moment in the Quran when the angels inform Mary she is about to give birth to Jesus. Angels bring her the good news. They tell her of how “He will speak to the people in the cradle and in maturity and will be of the righteous.”

The sublime innocence of Mary at hearing this news can hardly be better captured in any scripture: “She said, ‘My Lord, how will I have a child when no man has touched me?” [The angel] said, ‘Such is Allah; He creates what He wills. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is” (The Quran 3:47).

God Himself, according to the Quran, teaches Christ: “And He will teach him writing and wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel” (The Quran 3:48).

Based on these and other Quranic passages, Muslims should have no theological problem marking, celebrating, rejoicing at the birth of Christ as a prophet sent by God.

Video: Christmas in Gaza, by AlMonitor, 19 December 2018

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Gaza: 4 Palestinians killed, dozens injured including journalists, paramedics

24 Dec

A wounded Palestinian is evacuated during a protest near the Israel-Gaza boundary fence, in the southern Gaza Strip on 21 December, 2018. [REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa]

Ma’an News Agency, Gaza City, 23 December 2018

Four Palestinians were shot and killed by Israeli forces during weekly protests across the eastern borders of the besieged Gaza Strip since Friday afternoon.

The Ministry of Health confirmed that Ayman Munir Shbeir, 18, from Deir al-Balah, succumbed on Saturday morning to wounds he sustained during Friday protests in eastern al-Breij.

A Palestinian teen identified as Muhammad Muin al-Jahjouh,16, was killed after being shot with a live bullet in the neck by Israeli forces in eastern Gaza City, while Maher Attiyeh Yassin, 40, a man with disability, was shot and killed from al-Nuseirat succumbed to wounds he sustained while at eastern al-Breij, Abed al-Aziz Ibrahim Abu Sharia, 28, from al-Sabra neighborhood also succumbed to a bullet wound in the abdomen he sustained at the eastern borders of Gaza City.

The ministry pointed out that two journalists and four paramedic were among those injured.

At least 47 others were injured with live bullets and rubber-coated steel bullets, while dozens suffered tear-gas inhalation as Israeli forces suppressed the 39th Friday of the return marches.

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‘Combat Proven’: Israel’s thriving war business

22 Dec

An employee stands next to an Elbit Systems Hermes 900 UAV at the company’s drone factory in Rehovot, Israel on June 28, 2018 [File: Orel Cohen/Reuters]

By Romana Rubeo & Ramzy Baroud, AlJazeerz, 22 December 2018

‘Combat Proven’: Israel’s thriving war business in Europe

Europe is increasingly sharing Israel’s racist approach to border security and adopting its deadly technologies.

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Gaza TV station goes off air after Israeli bombing

21 Dec

Israeli warplanes attacked Al-Aqsa TV station with 5 missiles destroying the entire building in the Gaza Strip. (Photo: via Facebook)

Palestine Chronicle, 20 December, 2018

The Gaza Strip’s Al-Aqsa TV is to go off air tonight, a month after its studio was destroyed by an Israeli air strike last November.

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Roger Waters’ message after cover band ‘buckled’

21 Dec

Roger Waters’ Facebook message [21 December] to the UK Pink Floyd cover band who have decide to perform in Israel, reversing their previous decision to cancel the planned tour:

A note from Roger:

The Jerusalem Post / [reports that] ‘UK Pink Floyd Experience’ have change of HEART.

In the Jerusalem Post, Ziv Rubinstein says he flew to England to speak to the band and ‘spoke to their HEART’ for a week.

Hmmm! According to the band’s spokesperson, Dave Power, Rubinstein ‘spent days explaining to him and the rest of the band that, he, ‘Rubinstein’ and ‘EGO concerts’ the promoters would sue ‘UK Pink Floyd Experience’ relentlessly, and that, he, ‘Dave Powers’ would be broken financially and would probably lose his house.’ After a week of HEART to HEART, the band caved.

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