Give Puma the Boot: International Day of Action

8 Jun

Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)  invites you to join the international day of action to demand Puma end its support for illegal Israeli settlements on stolen Palestinian land.

Palestinian sports teams and athletes are calling for a boycott of Puma over its support for illegal Israeli settlements on stolen Palestinian land.

Global sportswear manufacturer Puma is the main sponsor of the Israel Football Association (IFA), which includes teams in Israel’s illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land.

June marks 52 years of Israel’s brutal military occupation. On Saturday June 15, join the #BoycottPuma International Day of Action!

When companies like Puma sponsor and profit from illegal Israeli settlements, they give a nod to Israel’s far-right regime that its criminal land grabs and attacks on Palestinian sports can continue unabated.

Across the world, groups are organizing campaigns and actions to demand Puma proves that its stated commitment to social justice isn’t just a marketing ploy.

Take the Pledge: Give PUMA the Boot Until It Ends Support for Illegal Israeli Settlements

Let Puma know you will respect the call from Palestinian athletes to #BoycottPuma until it ends support for illegal Israeli settlements pushing Palestinian families off their land. Here is a suggested message you can send to Puma New Zealand:

Puma sponsors the Israel Football Association (IFA), which includes teams in illegal Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land in violation of international law.

Puma’s endorsement of the IFA gives legitimacy to Israel’s illegal settlements pushing Palestinian families off their land.

As long as Puma sponsors teams in illegal Israeli settlements, I will respect the call from Palestinian athletes to boycott Puma.

Puma New Zealand can be contacted at: Free call: 0800 800 094, or Email: onlinestore-nz@PUMA.com

or via the Puma NZ website: https://nz.puma.com/contact-nz

Puma has offices in Germany, the UK, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Austria, Netherlands, France, Czech Republic, Poland, Turkey, South Africa, UAE, the US, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Peru, India, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong.

Tweet the pledge to give Puma the boot!

Ex-Israel General: ‘Gaza can be successfully invaded’

8 Jun

Former head of Northern Command and once deputy chief of staff, Yair Golan with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. [Photo: File]

Palestine Chronicle, 8 June 2019

A former Israeli army general has declared that Israel can successfully invade the occupied Gaza Strip, reported Israel Hayom [Israeli daily newspaper]

Yair Golan, the former head of Northern Command and once deputy chief of staff, was speaking to the paper about his political ambitions and the state of the nation.

Criticizing the manner that the 2005 “disengagement” was implemented – Israel’s unilateral withdrawal of settlers from the Gaza Strip – Golan said it was nevertheless the right decision.

He said: “In the first five years of the Second Intifada, 147 Israelis were killed in Gaza. Since 2005, 121 Israelis have been killed there, including all the soldiers who died in all military operations.”

When asked why Israel does not invade the Gaza Strip, Golan replied: “They’re afraid to fight. Afraid of casualties. It wouldn’t mean 500 dead. We give the enemy too much credit. Fighting in Gaza doesn’t come without a cost – fighting in an urban setting is fighting on the ground.”

“The assumption is that if we go into Gaza, we’ll be bogged down there for years, is wrong,” he added.

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PSN calls for investigation into NZ govt policy on Palestine/Israel

7 Jun

PSN spokesperson, John Minto [File photo]

Palestine Solidarity Network (NZ), Media release, 5 June 2019

On Thursday next week (13th June) the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee will be discussing a request for it to hold an investigation into the government’s policy on Palestine/Israel. 

Palestine Solidarity Network has made the request as we are very concerned about the government’s stride to the right in support of Israel. (Below is pasted a copy of a letter received from Winston Peters a couple of weeks back and the response I sent last Friday).

This issue should be central to the New Zealand parliament’s concern for human rights internationally because it has gone on for 71 years as a festering sore. The 1948 “Nakba” continues as a daily experience for Palestinians. 

South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu – there is no better international expert on apartheid – has declared Israeli policies to be apartheid policies and says Palestinians face an even more brutal regime than black South Africans faced under apartheid in South Africa.

Like Archbishop Tutu, New Zealand should be supporting BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) against Israel to bring non-violent international pressure on the regime.

We have written to all MPs requesting they support the call for the investigation as a matter of urgency.

John Minto for the Palestine Solidarity Network, Christchurch

[Ed: See below for PSN’s recent correspondence with Winston Peters on this issue]

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WHO sanitizes Israeli responsibility for Gaza killings

7 Jun

Palestinian medics evacuate a critically injured protester during Great March of Return demonstrations in October 2018. [Mohammed Zaanoun ActiveStills]

By Maureen Clare Murphy, The Electronic Intifada, 6 June 2019

There were nearly 7,000 gunshot wounds among Gaza’s population of two million in the duration of a year.

Many of those injured have extensive and in some cases irreversible damage to their bones, neurovascular structures and soft tissue.

Among them, hundreds face amputations if they cannot access specialized tertiary treatment for their catastrophic wounds.

Three health workers have been killed and more than 700 others injured.

Thousands of elective surgeries were postponed as a health system already in crisis took in wave after wave of emergency casualties.

Cases of gender-based violence seen by service providers doubled as families struggled to cope with additional economic pressures and trauma.

These disturbing facts come from the World Health Organization’s review of trauma data related to the Great March of Return protests in Gaza which began in March 2018.

Sanitized

The data provided by WHO make for harrowing reading. But the report sanitizes the fact that this body-breaking and traumatizing violence is by Israeli policy and design.

Any effective treatment must correctly diagnose the cause and not just the symptoms.

In the year following the launch of the Great March of Return, more than 28,000 Palestinians in Gaza were injured and 277 killed, including 52 children, most of them slain during unarmed, mass protests along Gaza’s eastern and northern perimeter.

Despite the civilian nature of the protests, as was affirmed by a panel of UN investigators, WHO says the deaths and injuries happened “as a result of clashes with Israeli security forces.”

That is a gross mischaracterization of Israel’s use of force against peaceful and unarmed protesters, officially sanctioned by shoot-to-kill or maim orders against civilians who pose no plausible threat, even when they are children.

The killing of some 60 Palestinians during protests on 14 May 2018 was a massacre.

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Medical aid solidarity convoy arrives in Gaza

5 Jun

Palestine Chronicle, 4 June, 2019

The second group of the medical aid convoy, “Miles of Smiles 36” arrived in the Gaza Strip through Rafah Border Crossing, on Monday.

Khaled Al-Yousef, the coordinator of the Miles of Smiles convoy in Europe, said that the aid received by the Ministry of Health in Gaza include 100,000 units of intravenous feeding solutions that are enough for more than three months.

Issam Yousef, the head of the Miles of Smiles convoys, said that these medical aids are part of the humanitarian aid being brought into the “Miles of Smiles 36” convoy that arrived in Gaza in early May.

Yousef stressed that the convoy is working to introduce vital medicines to Gaza in the upcoming days, noting that the convoy delegation has been briefed on the tragic and challenging health conditions during its recent visit to Gaza.

Gaza health services are struggling due to severe lack of fuel. [ActiveStills]

The convoy is designed to support the health sector in Gaza. Just before its arrival, the caravan brought in large quantities of medical solutions and supplies and medicines into the Gaza Strip, along with vehicles and wheelchairs for people with special needs, as well as several ambulances.

The convoy has also carried out several charitable activities and projects. These include treatment for people wounded during the ‘marches of return’ and the recent attack on Gaza, as well as the distribution of quantities of foods to needy families and material and in-kind assistance to those affected by the attack and siege imposed on the Gaza Strip.

Ed: Kia Ora Gaza joined an earlier ‘Miles of Smiles’ international solidarity convoy to Gaza in 2012. See here for reports on that mission:

https://kiaoragaza.wordpress.com/2012/06/12/community-projects-enhance-the-human-spirit-in-gaza/

https://kiaoragaza.wordpress.com/2012/06/14/i-invite-people-to-visit-gaza-and-see-the-truth-themselves/

 

Eid in Gaza: Fading happiness over the years

5 Jun

Palestinian novelist Ibrahim Nasrallah spoke of Palestinians: “Despite all these years under occupation, we are still beautiful, as if we live above the occupation, and not under it.

By Yousef Aljamal, Just World, 4 June 2019

Every year, Muslims around the world and Palestinians under occupation and siege in Gaza (as elsewhere) celebrate Eid, the Muslim festival that comes soon after the end of the month-long Ramadan fast.

My memories of Eid in Gaza have always been of us children getting our “Eidiyya” gift-money from the elders of the family and buying toys, often gun-toys; of going out to eat at a restaurant and taking a photo together; of then squeezing all of us into my uncles’ two cars to go visit our extended family. For us, Eid meant eating big amounts of nuts and desserts as numerous mosque loudspeakers would announce the arrival of Eid, with worshipers echoing their calls in chorus as children fought to get closer to the microphones of mosques so their voices could be heard.

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US and Israel insult all who depend upon UNRWA

4 Jun

By Leslie Bravery, The Daily Blog, 2 June, 2019 

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), in response to the US Trump Administration’s withdrawal of funding for the agency, is launching a global fundraising campaign to protect the rights and dignity of Palestinian refugees. In New Zealand, the Israel Institute’s co-director, Dr David Cumin, on behalf of Israel and its US ally, is calling for “a moratorium on any further Kiwi taxpayer funding of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)”. In trying to divert attention from Israel, Cumin makes unfounded allegations of “corruption, antisemitism and extremism” against the UN agency’s hard-working officials and frontline workers.

UNRWA was formed in 1949 to provide what was expected to be short-term relief for Palestinian refugees recovering from the ethnic cleansing and terror created by the Nakba or exodus of at least 750,000 native Palestinians during the creation of the State of Israel. The agency runs schools, hospitals and social services in the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. In Gaza, that since 2007 has been subjected by Israel to a total blockade by air, land and sea, the UN Agency struggles to help people survive. Gaza’s health and social services cannot cope in an environment with almost no access to clean water and scarcely four or five hours supply of electricity daily.

Zionist propaganda against UNWRA must be challenged. In one case, Israel’s popular TV news network, Channel Two, claimed that an UNWRA ambulance had been used to transport what it called ‘militants’ in Gaza. The UN agency responded by presenting incontrovertible evidence that the allegation was baseless and the TV Channel was forced to retract the story. No doubt, Israel hopes to exhaust UNRWA by heaping upon it endless accusations. Cumin has positioned himself on precarious ground here by going so far as to assert that Jacinda Ardern’s support for further funding of UNRWA was at odds with her wish to “pursue equal rights for all”. The central question of equal rights is Zionism’s Achilles Heel because it goes to the heart of the ideology’s purpose and draws attention to Israel’s dismal record of human rights abuses and disrespect for international law.

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Israel cannot escape International Criminal Court jurisdiction

4 Jun

The Chief Military Advocate General, Israeli army, Sharon Afek. [Photo: IDF]

Ramzy Baroud, Arab News, 4 June, 2019

The Chief Military Advocate General of the Israeli army, Sharon Afek, and the US Department of Defense General Counsel, Paul Ney, shared a platform at the International Conference on the Law of Armed Conflict, which took place in Herzliya, Israel, last week.

Their panel witnessed some of the most misconstrued interpretations of international law ever recorded. It was as if Afek and Ney were literally making up their own laws on warfare and armed conflict, with no regard to what international law actually stipulates.

Unsurprisingly, both Afek and Ney agreed on many things, including that Israel and the US are blameless in all of their military conflicts and that they will always be united against any attempt to hold them to account for war crimes by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

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Israeli racism in quotes #17

31 May

If you can stomach it – see yesterday’s post for the previous 16 quotes from Israel’s leaders, in this series: https://kiaoragaza.wordpress.com/2019/05/30/israeli-racism-in-quotes/

Kushner in Israel as US ‘deal’ faces new political hurdle

31 May

Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner is in Israel ahead of the Bahrain conference [File: Joshua Roberts/Reuters]

AlJazeera News, 31 May 2016

US President Donald Trump‘s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on the final leg of a regional tour to boost support for a US-led economic conference in Bahrain, where the first part of the long-anticipated Israel-Palestine peace plan [‘The Deal of the Century”] is due be unveiled.

Kushner had been preparing the plan for months and said he was waiting for Israel’s April election and also the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, but Israel on Thursday scheduled a new election for September after Netanyahu failed to form a coalition government.

The US State Department said the the Bahrain conference would go ahead, despite Israel’s snap election.

Netanyahu brandished an official US State Department map, (signed by US President Trump with his penned comment:”Nice”) that had been altered to incorporate the occupied Golan Heights as part of Israel. [Ariel Schalit/AP Photo]

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Empty chairs at medical conference on Palestine: Gaza doctors denied permits

31 May

Renowned Norwegian surgeon, Dr. Mads Gilbert, addressed the Lancet Palestine Health Alliance conference in Jordan on how he seeks to describe reality using scientific tools, what he calls “evidence-based solidarity,” to strengthen advocacy and justice. As opposed to humanitarian work, this “medical solidarity” involves, “going there, working under Palestinian leadership. They say ‘When you come we are not alone.’” His goal is to do medical care, gather data, and tell the world what he has seen in a systematic way.  “As an activist, the tool is evidence; medicine and science may be more dangerous to the oppressor than slogans. We produce irrefutable evidence.”

By Alice Rothchild, Mondoweiss, 30 May 2019

In late March and early April 2019 I travelled to Jordan and the West Bank (Palestine) with two colleagues, Sonia Dettman and S. Komarovsky, first to attend the Lancet Palestine Health Alliance conference in Amman and then to explore and better understand the lives of refugees and the workings of UNRWA, with a focus on the status of refugee health.

The 10th Annual Lancet Palestine Health Alliance (LPHA) conference titled “Health of Palestinians inside and outside the occupied Palestinian territory” was part serious scientific meeting, part determined act of political and cultural resistance, and part joyous celebration.  The meetings were organized by the Institute of Community and Public Health at Birzeit University in collaboration with the Faculty of Health Sciences at the American University of Beirut and hosted by the Jordan University of Science and Technology. Professor Rita Giacaman, Director of the Institute of Community and Public Health at Birzeit, is the visionary spark that brings scientists from all over the world to present, critique, debate, and stand in solidarity, particularly over rather large amounts of excellent food, this being a Palestinian event, and a presentation of the Palestinian History Tapestry project.

The conference was held (like scientific meetings all over the world) in the Grand Hyatt in Amman, Jordan (which I learned after multiple attempts to communicate with the Uber driver is called the Grand Hy-yett with an accent on the second syllable – see cultural confusion).  After the formal opening speeches, the schedule included topics like “Appraising the methodological quality of the Clinical Practice Guideline for Diabetes Mellitus using the AGREE ll” (Mahmoud Radwan from Tehran University) and “Anti-D versus immunoglobulin for the treatment of Acute Immune Thrombocytopenia in children: A 10 year Palestinian experience” (Mohammed El-Habil from Al-Rantisi Pediatric Hospital, Gaza).  

But there was much that I would not see at a medical conference anywhere else in the world: “Health attacks and protection strategies during Gaza’s Great March of Return: A mixed methods study utilizing data from WHOs Surveillance System for Attacks on Healthcare” (Walaa Shehada and Hyo Jeong Kim from WHO West Bank and Gaza Strip).  Or “Executions and maiming of unarmed demonstrators during 30 weeks of the Great March of Return” (Khamis Elessi from Islamic University, Gaza). Or “Spatial Agency among children living in Dheisheh refugee camp: engendered space and place as risk and protection from political and military violence in a refugee camp in occupied Palestine” (Guido Veronese from University of Milan). The extensive poster sessions also reflected this broad look at health from a more traditional to a global/political/contextual lens. The researchers from Gaza were mostly not able to obtain permits and their absences were noted by empty chairs at the time of their presentations or blank walls at their poster sessions. Some were able to deliver their papers via the internet which was an act of resistance in itself, a symbolic breaking of the siege.

Some of the attendees at the 10th Annual Lancet Palestine Health Alliance conference in Amman, Jordan. (Photo: ICPH/LPHA)

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Israeli racism in quotes

30 May

A media campaign entitled ‘Israeli Racism in Quotes’, was launched recently by EuroPal Forum in the UK, to mark the 71st anniversary of the “Nakba” (Catastrophe) and focuses on using imagery to raise awareness about the extent of the discrimination against Palestinians in Israeli public life.

A key part of this initiative has consisted of the daily release of imagery and the sending of letters to human rights organizations and politicians, with the intention of fostering awareness about the discriminatory rhetoric that is rife in Israeli politics and among the country’s spiritual leaders.

Here is a selection of those images and direct quotes that reveal the deep-seated racism that permeates Israel’s leadership:

‘Deal of the century’ creates window for Palestinian unity

29 May

By Ramzy Baroud, Arab News, 29 May, 2019

Palestinian groups — Fatah, Hamas and others — should not confine themselves to simply rejecting the Trump administration’s so-called “deal of the century.” Instead, they should use their resistance to the new American-Israeli plot as an opportunity to unify their ranks.

Leaked details of the deal confirm Palestinians’ worst fears: It is a complete American acquiescence to the right-wing mentality that has ruled Israel for more than a decade. According to the Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom, a demilitarized state, “New Palestine,” will be established on territorial fragments of the West Bank, as all illegal Jewish settlements would permanently become part of Israel. If the Palestinians refused to accept Washington’s diktats, according to the report, they will be punished through financial and political isolation.

This is certainly not an American peace overture, but an egregious act of bullying. However, it is hardly a deviation from previous rounds of “peace-making,” where Washington always took Israel’s side, blamed Palestinians and failed to hold Tel Aviv to account. Washington has never refrained from supporting Israeli wars against Palestinians or even conditioned its generous aid packages on the dismantling of the illegal Jewish settlements.

The only difference between the US “peace process” of the past and today’s “deal of the century” is in the style and tactics, as opposed to the substance and details.

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Understanding Hamas: a new political discourse

29 May

The Europal Forum recently hosted a seminar in London on Hamas’s politics and the future of Peace in Middle East, entitled: ‘Understanding Hamas: New Political Discourse in Theory and Practice.’ The above video by Al Hiwar TV presents the full panel discussion.

Zaher Birawi, chairman of EuroPal Forum said many politicians in the UK realised that alienation of Hamas has not helped in promoting peace and dialogue in the Middle East such as former Home & Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. Former PM Tony Blair met with Hamas leaders many times during recent years.

Dr Daud Abdullah, director of Middle East Monitor said: “Consistent themes articulate the need of pluralism and inclusion of all political parties regardless of ideologies. It is an important display of recognition of the will of people.”

“The gap between Fatah and Hamas is a gap created by the methodology of the political parties. One believes in the right to resist, the other follows route of negotiations. Both parties have not been able to find a formula for common methodology. This presents a stumbling block”

Dr Atef Alshaer, lecturer at University of Westminster said: “Hamas’s new document had a certain positive reaction in taking Hamas out of the initial designation of being a terrorist organisation. Hamas cleared the accusations of anti-semitism as they declared their struggle is against Zionism and not against Jews. Hamas holding firmly its position and principles regardless of the immense pressures against it, is a testimony to its maturity. Ignoring Hamas’s efforts in trying to appease in its approaches and discourse leads to radicalisation.”

Dr Azzam Tamimi, an academic and broadcaster said: “Hamas came under immense pressure from its remaining allies… who advised them if they say a word here or there, it might open doors. That didn’t happen and the compromise did not open any doors.”

He added: “Hamas’s best choice would have been to remain steadfast and not give an impression of a slightest compromise. You do not make compromises when you are under pressure. None of their compromises have worked.”

[Ed: Although Kia Ora Gaza is totally independent and neither supports nor opposes Hamas, the movement plays a pivotal role in the quest for peace in the Middle East that needs to be understood. We have shared the EuroPal seminar video above to help expand this understanding.

As US/Palestinian author Ramzy Baroud has said: “Hamas is still understood within limited confines of an ever-redundant discourse obsessed with Israel’s security, and later with an imagined Iranian threat. A new understanding is desperately required, one that is sensible enough to take into account the uniqueness of the Palestinian narrative itself, Palestinian history, the struggle and rights, as opposed to Israel’s security – the cornerstone of western media reporting on Palestine and the Middle East.”]

VIDEO REPORT: Ramadan in Gaza tainted with destruction

29 May

 

The Electronic Intifada, 28 May 2019

Ramadan in the Gaza Strip is different this year.

The fasting month for Muslims began with Israel’s assault, which killed more than 25 Palestinians.

Many who survived the attacks were left homeless after Israel demolished residential and commercial buildings.

“[The Israeli army] told us that within five or six minutes, not a single person should be in the building,” Majdi Dughmush told The Electronic Intifada. His home was destroyed during the attack on the Abu Qamar building in the Sabra neighborhood of Gaza City on 5 May.

“People were barely able to leave and alert each other to leave.”

“The joy of Ramadan is gone, the bombing left a huge impact,” Muhammad Zayda, another resident of Abu Qamar, told The Electronic Intifada.

“We had bought everything for Ramadan and it was all destroyed at the same time.”

Still, Palestinians in Gaza insist on resisting Israeli oppression by celebrating the arrival of Ramadan.

“We will celebrate Ramadan the way we do every year, with our religious tradition, with our customs,” said Ahmad al-Jaouni, who sells qatayif – cheese or nut-filled pastries traditionally eaten during the month.

“The Palestinian people were born amid challenges, born to challenge difficulties. We will overcome and victory is ours.”

Video by Ruwaida Amer and Sanad Ltef

Music: https://www.purple-planet.com See: https://electronicintifada.net/conten…

Israel funds global campaign to discredit BDS activism

28 May

EuroPal Forum chairman Zaher Birawi

Middle East Monitor, 25 May 2019

EuroPal Forum warned of an Israeli government programme aiming to fund activities and campaigns against BDS [Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions].

The chairperson of the London-based forum, Zaher Birawi, declared that Israel aims to limit the influence of the BDS across the West. The occupation considers BDS a real threat that may discredit Israel internationally.

For the first time, the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs officially announced financial grants to anti-BDS movement activists and organisations worldwide. This will be to fund various events and to promote campaigns and initiatives through social media.

The ministry declared allocating 5.7 million shekels, which is equal to US$1.6 million, for the project and that the funds would be distributed following the requests submitted by pro-Israel activists around the world.

Israel’s Strategic Affairs Ministry has announced Thursday that.. it would award anti-BDS activists and organizations around the world with 5.7 million shekels ($1.6 million) for events and online initiatives combatting the boycott movement. [Haaretz 16 May 2019]

The ministry plans to announce the initiative in several countries, including the US, France, Italy, Spain, Britain, Germany, Canada, Mexico, South Africa, Brazil and Argentina.

“It is no surprise that the occupying state supports the organisations and groups serving its false story of the conflict in the world. This is well-known, for since this ministry has been established, the Israeli lobby has devoted considerable sums of money to this purpose,” said Birawi.

“However, the most striking thing is the ministry’s official announcement of the grants acquired through submitting official requests to organise events, activities and campaigns having political nature in countries that are supposed to prevent such campaigns from taking place on their territory and consider them as interfering in their internal affairs.”

Birawi pointed out that the Israeli government aims to distort the BDS and all pro-Palestine individuals, human rights advocates and defenders of the values ​​of freedom and justice.

[Ed: See also our earlier report on 5 February 2019, headed: Israel Launches Smear Campaign, Labels BDS Activists ‘Terrorists in Suits’ https://kiaoragaza.wordpress.com/2019/02/05/israel-launches-smear-campaign-labels-bds-activists-terrorists-in-suits/ ]

 

 

Beware of Arab anger

28 May

Algerian demonstrators march during a protest in Algiers on March 29, 2019 [File: Toufik Doudou/AP]

By Ramzy Baroud, Opinion: Al Jazeera, 28 May 2019

The Arab streets will not accept the ‘deal of the century’ and any attempts to impose it will end in disaster.

As the announcement of the deal of the century approaches, the Arab world is growing increasingly tense. Widespread rumours about the contents of the proposal have fuelled public outrage across the region.

By now, it is perfectly clear that the deal of the century is not a peace plan, nor was it ever intended to be, despite what its chief architect and White House adviser Jared Kushner has been claiming. It is yet another American imperial undertaking that is driven by the misguided notion that it is in the best interest of the American people that Israel remains the regional hegemon and is enabled to swallow the rest of the occupied Palestinian territories.

It is a new Sykes-Picot that aims to divide and weaken the Arabs once more so that Israel may reign supreme a while longer. But just as British-French colonial designs were rejected, so will Kushner’s deal. In its failure, however, it will likely fuel popular anger and endanger the survival of Arab regimes.

Palestine: The Arab cause

Since the early decades of the 20th century, Palestine has served as a meeting point for all Arabs, a just cause for their collective fight and a rallying cry against western colonialism and its offshoot, the Zionist movement.

Unlike most Arab countries which gained their independence in the mid-20th century, Palestine remains captive to the very colonial forces that had subjugated Arabs for decades. The suffering of Palestinians under Zionist colonialism and occupation remains a bleeding Arab wound and a painful reminder of the collective failure to do away with western domination of the region. Freedom from western colonialism will never truly be achieved as long as the Palestinians continue to endure daily violence, a protracted siege and military occupation.

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Request govt cancel multi-million dollar military purchase from Israel

24 May

Three of Roboteam’s robotic solutions. Along the besieged Gaza border fence, an unmanned ground vehicle has patrolled since 2014. It carries a 360-degree camera and loudspeaker. Later models are mounted with a weapon. [photo credit: SHAI DVIR]

Palestine Solidarity Network (NZ) press release, Thursday, 23 May, 2019

The Palestine Solidarity Network has written to Minister of Defence Ron Mark asking him to urgently cancel a reported New Zealand Defence Force multi-million-dollar purchase of military equipment from an Israeli company.

The report from the Jerusalem Post [in full below] is here:

https://www.jpost.com/Jpost-Tech/Tel-Aviv-company-to-supply-robots-to-New-Zealand-Defense-Force-590394

Military equipment from Israel is tested on the civilian population of occupied Palestine by a brutal Israeli regime which murders unarmed civilians – particularly young boys – with impunity.

The government will be complicit with this ruthless occupation and associated war crimes should the deal go ahead.

We have requested an urgent meeting with the minister to discuss the proposed purchase.

Palestinian groups have repeatedly called for BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) against the Israeli regime which across the world is seen as an apartheid state. New Zealand gave support to the struggle against apartheid South Africa through boycotts and we should do the same to help isolate apartheid Israel.

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Israel’s settler railway could be going nowhere fast

24 May

The Jerusalem light rail linking Israel’s illegal West Bank colonies is a symbol of oppression to Palestinians. [Faiz Abu Rmeleh ActiveStills]

By Ali Abunimah, Activism & BDS: Electronic Intifada, 24 May 2019

Trade unions and human rights organizations in France are celebrating as a victory the withdrawal of train manufacturer Alstom from the Jerusalem light rail.

Meanwhile it has also been confirmed that a Greek-led consortium failed to submit a bid.

France’s Alstom confirmed to media last week that it had dropped plans to bid on the extension of the Israeli railway that links settlements in the West Bank to each other and to Jerusalem. [See https://kiaoragaza.wordpress.com/2019/05/14/bds-news-major-victory-as-global-firms-exit-israel/ ]

Israel’s construction of settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is a war crime.

Alstom’s would-be Israeli partners had revealed earlier this month that the French firm had backed out, citing concerns over how the settler railway violates Palestinian human rights and international law.

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Gaza boy killed by explosive grenade fired at his face

23 May

Adham Nidal Amara (DCIP)

By Maureen Clare Murph, The Electronic Intifada, 21 May 2019

A Palestinian boy killed by Israeli occupation forces during protests in March was fatally injured by an explosive grenade, an investigation by the human rights group Al-Haq has found.

Adham Nidal Amara, 17, was directly injured in his face, killing him, as he took part in the rallies marking the one-year anniversary of the Great March of Return protests east of Gaza City on 30 March.

Two other teens, Tamer Hisham Abu al-Khair, 19, and Bilal Mahmoud Shaban Najjar, 16, were shot and killed by Israeli forces while protesting in Gaza that day. A fourth person, Faris Yusif Faris Abu Hijris, 26, succumbed to wounds sustained during the protests two days later.

Unprecedented injury

The injuries to Amara’s face, destroying his lower jaw, had not been seen before, even during a year of protests in which Israeli forces had inflicted what doctors said were typical of war wounds.

More than 200 Palestinians, including 44 children, have been killed during the protests and thousands more injured. Some 1,400 Palestinians were shot by live ammunition during protests on 14 May 2018 alone, the deadliest single day of protests since their launch.

The “severity of the deep injury which completely disfigured [Amara’s] jaw” made it difficult for the pathologist who performed an autopsy on the boy to determine what caused it, according to Al-Haq.

Amara was standing 150 meters from the Gaza-Israel boundary fence when he was shot. An eyewitness told Al-Haq that he saw Amara fall to the ground and recorded video of the injured boy.

“The boy’s lower jaw and mouth were completely shattered with blood profusely flowing from the wound,” the witness said. “I did not notice any traces of smoke emanating from the wound, so I thought at the time that the cause of his injury was an explosive bullet in the face.”

When Amara’s body was washed for burial, his uncle “documented that a solid light-green object had been found inside [Amara’s] mouth,” according to Al-Haq.

The rights group stated that the bullet “is consistent with a 40 mm grenade cartridge, which may be launched from a direct-fire weapon.”

Al-Haq added that the ammunition may be a type of explosive grenade prohibited under international law. The Israeli military’s use of such weaponry “may amount to war crimes,” the group stated.

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