Living under the poverty line in besieged Gaza

1 Nov

The Electronic Intifada, 1 November 2018

The Gaza Strip’s economy is in “free fall” after more than a decade of Israeli siege, The World Bank stated in September.

More than half of Gaza’s two million people live under the poverty line, which the United Nations defines as subsisting on less than about $5 per day, including any aid.

This video shows one such family of seven living in a small metal house in Khan Younis.

“I don’t have a kitchen or anything and I don’t have a decent bathroom,” Samar al-Atrash, the mother of five, told The Electronic Intifada. “We don’t have anything.”

Al-Atrash’s husband, Ismail, has no regular income and cannot provide for the family.

“I bring home two to six dollars to spend on my children,” he said.

“I wish my children could live in a clean house. That’s my life’s wish.”

Video by Ruwaida Amer and Sanad Ltefa.

Israeli airstrike targets group of Palestinians in Gaza

1 Nov

According to Euro-Med, as Gaza protests continue, “one Palestinian is killed every single day” by Israeli forces. (Photo: Abdallah Aljama, Palestine Chronicle)

Ma’an News Agency, Gaza City, 1 November 2018

Israeli drones fired a missile targeting a group of Palestinians near the return camp of eastern al-Breij refugee camp in the central besieged Gaza Strip, on Wednesday afternoon.

Palestinian security sources reported injuries during the airstrike, pointing out that the missile targeted five people.

Israeli sources reported that the airstrike allegedly targeted a group of Palestinian launching incendiary balloons at Israeli communities surrounding the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishermen off the coast of the northern Gaza Strip.

Earlier this week, an Israeli airstrike targeted and killed three Palestinian minors northeast of Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip; Israeli forces had then claimed that the airstrike targeted a group of Palestinians who were planting a suspicious object near the border.

According to a report by the Geneva-based Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor (Euro-Med), as Gaza protests exceeded 200 days “one Palestinian is killed every single day” by Israeli forces, noting that “in every 100 Gazans, one injury was recorded.”

Euro-Med described the continued use of excessive force by Israeli forces against Palestinian protesters at the Israel-Gaza fence as “deeply shocking,” adding that in the 200 days of protests, Gaza lost 205 residents.

The World Health Organization (WHO) issued a special situation report, which showed that 14 Palestinians, including four children, were killed and 1,434 were injured by the Israeli forces in the past two weeks in Gaza.

Israeli woman fights for Palestinian rights

30 Oct

Zohar Chamberlain Regev, boat leader on the 2018 Freedom Flotilla to Gaza, says it is important that she fights the injustice against Palestinians. [NSTP/ Mohd Fadli Hamzah]

By Beatrice Nita Jay, New Straits Times, 28 October 2018

BORN and raised in Israel, Zohar Chamberlain Regev, 48, witnessed the unjust treatment of the Palestinians by the Israelis.

She recalls an incident when she was 5.

“Back then, my family lived in a kibbutz, a collective community settlement unique to Israel. A Palestinian family also lived there.

“One day, my kibbutz complained to the regional council, which sent their men and demolished the Palestinian’s house.

“This family had young kids, one was more or less my age. They were left homeless. So my family and a few others from the kibbutz brought tents to help them, as a show of sympathy and solidarity.

“The rest of the community did not understand why we were helping them. But to us, they were victims of injustice. They were left without shelter, and at the mercy of the rough weather.

“I did not see them as enemies. They are just like me, humans,” she said.

When Zohar grew up, she decided to dedicate her life to fighting for the Palestinians., This has always been part of her upbringing, thanks to her parents.

“Ours has always been a dissident family. I would follow my father to demonstrations.

“We were part of the protest against the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacre, calling for an investigation into the incident saw the killing of between 460 and 3,500 civilians, mostly Palestinians and Lebanese Shia.

“I believe there needs to be an alternative voice in Israel. The mainstream voice has been telling us that we have a right to the land. But to me, it was a clear case of stealing land from somebody else, which are the unfortunate Palestinians.”

Zohar left Israel for Spain in 2004 to distance herself from what was happening there and to keep fighting for the Palestinian cause.

“It’s difficult to do so if you in Israel, where you see so much of injustice every day.

“I have to live outside Israel to protect myself from the brainwashing.”

She has been involved in the International Freedom Flotilla’s Spanish coalition, Rumbo a Gaza, since 2012. She is also the owner of the Women’s Boat to Gaza, Zaytouna-Oliva, which was seized in 2016.

Most recently, she was the boat leader for the Freedom Flotilla Coalition’s 2018 flotilla, Al-Awda, which was intercepted by Israeli authorities in June.

“My motivation for doing this, apart from the fact that it concerns human rights, is my upbringing as an Israeli Jew.

“We’ve been taught about the sufferings of the Jewish people during the Holocaust and how the world was silent about it. Now the same is happening to the Palestinians in Gaza, and many in the international community are turning a blind eye to it.

“It’s important for me to raise my voice against the injustice. It’s a fight in the name of humanity,” Zohar said in an interview with the New Sunday Times recently.

Her most recent journey to Gaza was cut short when the Al-Awda flotilla boat was intercepted by the Israeli navy 42 nautical miles off Gaza.

“We received messages from the navy through the radio, even though we were in international waters.

“In a matter of minutes, we were surrounded by small rubber fastboats. Soldiers, plenty of them, in white uniform, donning ski masks and sunglasses, jumped into our boat with taser guns.

“Since we were a non-violent movement, we agreed that we would not resist them, other than our chants of ‘Stay Away, Disobey’. It’s useless to tell the soldiers what they were doing was outrageous,” she said.

The Al-Awda boat , which had a Malaysian representative, Dr Mohd Afandi Salleh, on board, was carrying medical supplies.

They were eventually released by the Israeli regime.

However, Zohar believes the journey is much more important than the final goal or destination.

Whether the team arrived in Gaza, the fact that it was going in that direction, showed it was using the freedom of movement to express solidarity with the Palestinians.

“We need to inform the world about the hardship of the Palestinians, offer as much help as possible and raise funds to help their cause.

“I think when we stand in solidarity with the Palestinians, we are also embedding human rights in our work.

“Together, we can protect ourselves from possible aggression in the future.”

‘A cruel choice’: Why Israel targets Palestinian schools

26 Oct

Palestinian students study inside their damaged classroom in al-Sheiaeiya neighborhood east of Gaza City, after Israel’s seven week ‘Operation Protective Edge’ heavy bombardment in 2014. [File photo]

By Ramzy Baroud, Maan News Agency, 24 October 2018

Ramzy Baroud is a journalist, author and editor of Palestine Chronicle. NZ Palestine Solidarity Network hosted Ramzy’s speaking tour of NZ earlier this year. His latest book is The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story.

Several Palestinian students, along with teachers and officials, were wounded in the Israeli army attack on a school south of Nablus in the West Bank on October 15. The students of al-Sawiya al-Lubban Mixed School were challenging an Israeli military order to shut down their school based on the ever-versatile accusation of the school being a “site of popular terror and rioting.”

“Popular terror,” is an Israeli army code for protests. The students, of course, have every right to protest, not just the Israeli military Occupation but also the encroaching colonization of the settlements of Alie and Ma’ale Levona. These two illegal Jewish settlements have unlawfully confiscated thousands of dunums of land belonging to the villages of al-Sawiya and al-Lubban.

“The Israeli citizens,” that the Occupation army is set to protect by shutting down the school, are, in fact, the very armed Jewish settlers who have been terrorizing this West Bank region for years.

Israel targets an UNRWA-run school in Beit Lahiya, Gaza, with US-supplied white phosphorous munitions during ‘Operation Cast Lead’, January 17, 2009 (Iyad El-Baba/UNRWA)

According to a 2016 study commissioned by the United Nations, at least 2,500 Palestinian students from 35 West Bank communities must cross through Israeli military checkpoints to reach their schools every day. About half of these students have reported army harassment and violence for merely attempting to get to their classes or back home.

Palestinian school being attacked with tear-gas canisters by Israeli forces in occupied Hebron, 25 October 2018. IMEMC reports: Israeli soldiers fired, Thursday, several gas bombs into the Nahda Basic School for Boys, in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, causing dozens of students and teacher to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation, including some students who fainted. Rawhi az-Zaro, the principal of the school, said the soldiers surrounded the school and fired dozens of gas bombs directly into its campus.

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Gaza Water Crisis: it’s the blockade, not technology

25 Oct

VIDEO: TheRealNews,  24 October 2018

Gaza Water Crisis: Political Solution Needed, not a Technological One

IMPORTANT INTERVIEW: Water contamination is a serious problem in Gaza, but supposedly well-intentioned reports that call attention to the crisis offer technical solutions that are not only unworkable, but far more importantly they ignore the Israeli blockade.

Ramallah-based hydrogeologist, Clemens Messerschmid, talks with Greg Wilpert of The Real News.

‘Plant a Seed’ campaign calls for support

24 Oct

The Palestinian Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) is a partner organisation with the international Freedom Flotilla Coalition. The UAWC is asking for support for their ‘Plant a Seed in area C’ campaign.

At the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, we affirm that we are a religiously and politically independent organization. We do not hide our national progressive identity, and therefore our work with poor people especially farmers. We also fully believe in the importance of developmental work, and the importance of continuing our strategic developmental role in Area “C” concerning land reclamation and cultivation as to enhance farmers’ resistance in compliance with UAWC’s slogan “Protecting our Lands; Supporting our Farmers.”

We thus call on our friends worldwide to support this campaign in ways they see fit, by writing letters of support or by contributing and volunteering in agricultural work as to reject Israeli claims, and to protect UAWC and the broader Palestinian civil society in carrying out their development and national roles.

The campaign website : #Plant_a_seed_in_area_C

Union Of Agricultural Work Committees: UAWC

UAWC Facebook Page : UAWC Facebook Page

Ann Wright’s message of solidarity for Palestine

24 Oct

Ann Wright, Freedom Flotilla Coalition: “We tried to sail boats to break the blockade that Israel imposed on #Gaza. We will continue to sail these boats until #Palestine is free”

This video was created by the Popular Conference for Palestinians Abroad during the Global Coalition for Jerusalem and Gaza held in Istanbul, Turkey, October 12-13 2018. Published 22 October 2018.

Gaza casualties: fact sheet

24 Oct

Humanitarian snapshot: casualties in the context of demonstrations and hostilities in Gaza from 30 March – 18 October 2018

Overview
Since 30 March 2018, the Gaza Strip has witnessed a significant increase in Palestinian casualties in the context of mass demonstrations and other activities along Israel’s perimeter fence with Gaza, taking place as part of the «Great March of Return», as well as during hostilities. The large number of casualties among unarmed Palestinian demonstrators, including a high percentage of demonstrators hit by live ammunition, has raised concerns about excessive use of force by Israeli troops. Exposure of children to violence along with media reports of the militarization of children are also of concern. Despite significant assistance provided, Gaza’s health sector is struggling to cope with the mass influx of casualties, due to years of blockade, the internal divide and a chronic energy crisis, which have left essential services in Gaza barely able to function.

Key humanitarian needs

  • Rapid deployment of quality-assured emergency medical teams to conduct complex lifesaving surgery.
  • Procurement of essential drugs, disposables and medical equipment.
  • Enhancement of post-operative and rehabilitative care through multi-disciplinary rehabilitation teams.
  • Legal aid to address restrictions impeding medical patients from receiving treatment outside Gaza.
  • Mental health and psychological support for children and families impacted by violence.
  • Procurement of emergency fuel to run back-up generators at 54 critical health facilities.
  • Monitoring and documentation of the differentiated impact of the situation on men, women, boys and girls. 

Source of Palestinian casualty data: OCHA, Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza

Source of Israeli casualty data: Israeli media.

Disclaimer: Data and analysis provided in this snapshot is based on preliminary information available. Further assessments are pending.

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – Occupied Palestinian Territories. OCHA website: https://www.ochaopt.org/

Vector should pull out of investment deal with Israeli weapons providers

24 Oct

Rafael Advanced Defense System’s remote-controlled weapons systems are designed to kill while keeping their operators away from the firing line. [Photo: Zachi Evenor]

VECTOR SHOULD PULL OUT OF INVESTMENT DEAL WITH ISRAELI WEAPONS PROVIDERS 

NZ Palestine Solidarity Network Media release:

The Palestine Solidarity Network says energy company Vector should immediately pull out of its just revealed investment deals with Israeli weapons providers mPrest and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.

Spokesperson, Janfrie Wakim, says Entrust, which is a majority shareholder in Vector, should demand disinvestment in mPrest, if Vector fails to take the step by itself.

“Entrust’s chair, William Cairns, has been quoted as saying the Israeli weapons company investment is a matter for the Vector board.  He is being disingenuous.  Entrust has called for the resignation of Vector’s chair over another matter and it appoints directors onto the Vector board.  Of course it has the power.  And it has the responsibility on behalf of its 331,000 Auckland region households to make sure Vector pulls out of the deal,” Wakim says.

“Vector itself is just as bad.  A spokesperson has been quoted as claiming she has no knowledge of Rafael’s weapons systems.  On the mPrest website she could readily find an Israeli news video last year featuring Vector chair Michael Stiassny with mPrest founder, ex Navy Colonel, Natan Barak, who explains the military basis of mPrest and mentions its relationship with Rafael Weapons Systems.”  Vector is the second largest shareholder in mPrest.

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Shelved Al Jazeera film shows how Israel coordinates ‘covert war’ against BDS

23 Oct

Screenshot from the investigation by the Al Jazeera Network. Credit: Al Jazeera

By Amir Tibon, Haaretz newspaper, 23 October 2018

Haaretz obtained Al Jazeera‘s four-part documentary about the Israel lobby, censored following pressure by Jewish-American groups on Qatar. This is what it shows:

Al Jazeera’s censored documentary about the pro-Israel lobby in Washington reveals new information about the work of Israel’s Ministry for Strategic Affairs against critics of Israel in the United States. The ministry’s director general, Sima Vaknin-Gil, is shown in the documentary, which was obtained by Haaretz, discussing Israel’s efforts against the BDS [Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions] movement, which is growing on American college campuses.

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“We won’t be silenced”

23 Oct

Nadia Abu-Shanab and Justine Sachs: ‘When we wrote our letter to Lorde we joined a chorus of other voices that created a political context.’ [Photos: File]

By Nadia Abu-Shanab and Justine Sachs, The Guardian, 23 October 2018

We have been fined for asking Lorde to boycott Israel – but we won’t be silenced

We have been punished because the singer cancelled a Tel Aviv concert. This attempt to distract from the broader picture won’t work.

An Israeli court this month ordered us to pay NZ$18,000 (£9,000) in damages for harming the “artistic welfare” of three Israeli teenagers. This ruling came after New Zealand singer-songwriter Lorde heeded the call of activists, including a letter from the two of us, and cancelled her show in Tel Aviv. The teenagers claimed they suffered “damage to their good name as Israelis and Jews”; their legal action was possible because of a 2011 Israeli law allowing civil lawsuits against anyone who encourages a boycott of the country.

This is no farce. It may sound laughable, but the political implications are deadly serious. The lawsuit is a vivid example and extension of Israel’s suppression of dissenting voices.

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Israeli effort to punish NZ BDS activists is backfiring

19 Oct

Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab

By Jonathan Ofir, Mondoweiss, 17 October 2018

Israeli effort to punish BDS activists for Lorde cancellation is backfiring

Last year the New Zealand pop star Lorde cancelled her performance in Israel due to the persuasion of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions activists (BDS), sparked by a letter written by New Zealand activists Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab, who are respectively of Israeli-Jewish and Palestinian background. Sachs was offered the full ‘kapo’ (Nazi-traitor) treatment in the Israeli press .

Meantime, Israeli ‘lawfare’ organization Shurat Hadin, an NGO, carried out a legal crusade to sue the activists, even though they were not in Israel when they penned the letter, and even though Lorde made up her own mind and was neither forced to perform nor to cancel. Shurat Hadin represented three teenage girls, demanding damages be paid by the activists for bringing about the cancellation.

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

Last week an Israeli court ruled that Sachs and Abu-Shanab must pay damages to Israeli teenagers Shoshana Steinbach, Ayelet Wertzel and Ahuva Frogel totaling more than NZ $18,000 ($11,700). The court found the two New Zealand women damaged the “artistic welfare” of the three Israeli teenagers, and perpetrated “damage to their good name as Israelis and Jews”.

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, president of Shurat HaDin, who filed the suit called the ruling “precedent-setting”:

“This decision makes it clear that anyone who calls for a boycott against the state of Israel could find themselves liable for damages and need to pay compensation to those hurt by the boycott call, if they’re in Israel or outside it”. 

But Shoshana, Ayelet and Ahuva, whose ‘artistic welfare’ and ‘good name’ are now damaged beyond recognition, can apparently go and cry themselves a river – because Justine and Nadia are not paying. The two stated:

“We will not be paying the court-ordered amount… 

“Instead, we would like to redirect the support extended to us back to Palestinians in need of mental health support.”

The two activists decided to crowd-fund $12,000 and donate it to the Gaza Mental Health Foundation. The money was gathered within three days from about 400 donors, as the Guardian reported on Monday. By the time of writing two days later, the amount has reached nearly $38,000, from 766 donors. [Now nearly $39,000 and still growing. Ed]

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Israel bombing Gaza again – & the media hasn’t noticed

18 Oct

 

The mother of Naji Ahmad al-Zaneen, 25, who was killed by the Israeli air raid at the hospital in Gaza [Mohammed Salem/Reuters]

Palestine Chronicle, 17 October 2018

Israel says its fighter jets have struck 20 targets in the Gaza Strip, killing one Palestinian and injuring eight others.

According to Gaza’s Health Ministry, Naji Ahmad al-Zaneen, 25, was killed in the attack in northern Gaza early on Wednesday.

Among the wounded are six children who were on their way to school in Deir al-Balah in central Gaza.

Palestinian sources said several rockets fired by Israeli warplanes targeted sites south of Gaza City, while another blast rocked the central region of the Gaza Strip. A powerful explosion also rocked Khan Younis in southern Gaza.

The Israeli army stated that it carried out air raids in response to a rocket that hit a home in Beersheba in southern Israel, causing damage but no injuries.

In a joint statement with allied armed groups, Hamas said it rejected “all irresponsible attempts” to undermine Egyptian efforts to broker a new long-term truce.

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Study: Polluted water main cause of death in Gaza

18 Oct

Palestinian woman collecting water [File photo]

Middle East Monitor, 18 October 2018  

More than a quarter of illnesses in Gaza are caused by water pollution, a new study has said, noting that this is the main cause of mortality in the coastal enclave that has endured an Israeli siege since 2007.

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Union: Israel ‘systematically’ targeting journalists

17 Oct

Palestinian journalist Jaffar Ishtayeh [File photo]

Middle East Monitor, 17 October, 2018

The Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate yesterday condemned Israel’s shooting of photojournalist Jaffar Ishtayeh with a gas canister in his head, Shehab.ps reported.

The group also condemned the Israeli shooting of five other journalists and photographers as they covering the Great March of Return protests in Gaza.

In a statement, the Syndicate called on the international community to “take serious and active measures” to stop the suffering of Palestinian journalists caused by the “repeated Israeli violations against them”.

According to the statement, the Israeli occupation forces “intentionally” and “systematically” target Palestinian journalists.

The Israeli occupation ignores, the Syndicate said, calls and requests of Arab and international unions and the terms of all international laws and conventions related to the protection of journalists and civilians during protests and wars.

READ: Israel killed 193 Palestinians in Gaza since 30 March

Netanyahu threatens ‘very painful blows’ against Gaza

16 Oct

Palestinians taking part in the Great March of Return. (Abdallah Aljamal)

Palestine Chronicle, 16 October, 2018

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday warned that Israel would strike Gaza with “very powerful blows” if the Great March of Return protests were not brought to an end.

Speaking at the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said: “Hamas apparently has not understood the message: if it does not stop its attacks, they will stop in another way, in the form of painful blows, very painful.”

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The Apartheid State of Israel & the Palestinian Resistance

16 Oct

Palestinians taking part in the Great March of Return. (Photo: Abdallah Aljamal, Palestine Chronicle)

By Nwabisa Sigaba, The Palestine Chronicle, 16 October 2018

When you look at the history of the South African struggle for liberation one cannot help but notice the tremendous role played by youth in fighting against the apartheid system and the many other struggles in the world that resemble this kind of youth insurgency. Young people took it upon themselves to fight for their freedom and stand up against a massive system that sought to suppress their identity, repossess their land and barricade them to the confines of Bantustan in an attempt to stifle their struggle for political and economic freedom.

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Israeli forces kill seven more Palestinians in Gaza protests

15 Oct

RT News video report. 12 October 2018

Ma’an News Agency, Gaza City, 13 October 2018

Seven Palestinians were killed and at least 252 others were injured as Israel escalated suppression of weekly protests at the eastern borders of the besieged Gaza Strip, [on Friday].

The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza confirmed that seven Palestinians were shot and killed by Israeli forces, including four in eastern al-Breij in the central Gaza Strip.

The ministry added that 252 injuries arrived at hospitals for treatment, including 154 injured with live fire.

Fifty Palestinian children were among injuries, in addition to 10 women and 1 journalist.

The ministry said that Israeli forces targeted a medical point in eastern al-Breij, injuring two paramedics.

Six of the killed Palestinians in the al-Breij were identified by the ministry as: Ahmad Ibrahim Zaki al-Tawil, 27, Ahmad Ahmad Abdullah Abu Naim, 17, from the al-Nuseirat refugee camp, Muhammad Abed al-Hafith Youssef Ismail, 29, from the al-Breij refugee camp, Afifi Mahmoud Atta Afifi, 18, from Gaza City, Abdullah Barham Suleiman al-Dughmeh, 25, from Abasan al-Jadida and Tamer Iyad Mahmoud Abu Armaneh, 22, from Rafah City.

Later Friday, the ministry declared that Muhammad Issam Muhammad Abbas, 21, from the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood in Gaza City, succumbed to a head injury he had sustained during protests.

Witnesses told a Ma’an reporter that Israeli forces heavily opened fire at protesters alongside the eastern borders of the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian crowds had arrived at the eastern borders of the Gaza Strip to take part in the 29th Friday of “The Great March of Return,” that set off under the slogan “the Intifada of Jerusalem.”

[ The Middle East Monitor reports that Friday’s casualties bring the death toll since the start of the Great March of Return to more than 200 unarmed Palestinians and the number of wounded to more than 21,500.]

Israeli judgment in Lorde boycott lawsuit can’t be enforced

13 Oct

Lorde (Krists Luhaers)

BREAKING NEWS: The crowd-funding appeal has soared to NZ$32,139 (and growing) at 7:30am Tuesday 16 October 2018.                                           This is what solidarity looks like!

By Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, updated 13 October 2018

This article has been updated with statements from Nadia Abu-Shanab and Justine Sachs.

An Israeli court in Jerusalem has ordered two New Zealand activists to pay more than $12,000 in damages because the pop singer Lorde canceled a concert in Tel Aviv last year.

The two activists have rejected the ruling, which legal experts say cannot be enforced anyway.

Nadia Abu-Shanab and Justine Sachs say they won’t pay and are instead using the publicity generated by the case to raise money to support mental healthcare in Gaza.

The lawsuit was filed earlier this year on behalf of three Israeli fans of Lorde, under Israel’s anti-boycott law.

The Israelis demanded that Abu-Shanab and Sachs pay them damages for “emotional distress” because the two New Zealanders wrote an open letter last December that helped persuade Lorde to respect the Palestinian call to boycott Israel over its gross violations of Palestinian rights.

“We won’t be paying”

The lawsuit was instigated by Shurat HaDin, an Israeli group linked to the Mossad spying and assassination agency.

Shurat HaDin uses lawfare – spurious and politically motivated legal proceedings – in an effort to harass, silence and deter supporters of Palestinian rights.

“Our advice from New Zealand legal experts has been clear: Israel has no right to police the political opinions of people across the world. They also continue to believe that this is a stunt of which the sole intention is to intimidate Israel’s critics,” Sachs and Abu-Shanab said in a statement reacting to the ruling.

“We will not be paying the court ordered amount,” the activists added. “Instead, we would like to use the publicity surrounding Israel’s stunt to return the attention and support back to Palestine and those paying the heaviest price for Israel’s actions.”

Already their crowdfunding campaign to support the the Gaza Community Mental Health Foundation has raised [over $8,000] dollars.

“Emotional distress is a lived reality for Palestinians in Gaza, where over half of children suffer PTSD as a result of Israeli attacks,” Abu-Shanab and Sachs said.

Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab

The two activists also said they have written to their government, urging officials to “make it clear that New Zealand will not stand by and allow Israel to attempt to bully its citizens.”

Unenforceable

Asked by Israeli media how the judgment could be enforced against the activists living in New Zealand, Shurat HaDin’s director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner this week asserted: “There is a treaty between Israel and New Zealand on enforcing judgments, so the decision by an Israeli court will affect those activists.”

But an expert on New Zealand law has dismissed this claim.

“There is no reciprocal agreement between New Zealand and Israel allowing for the automatic enforcement of judgments in each other’s jurisdiction. As such, an application for enforcement would have to be made in the New Zealand High Court and assessed under New Zealand’s law on such matters,” Andrew Geddis, a law professor at the University of Otago, told The Electronic Intifada on Thursday.

“And as neither of the defendants were in Israel when they wrote the article, the New Zealand court will not recognize the Israeli court’s jurisdiction over the matter,” Geddis added. “In short, the judgment has no effect whatsoever in New Zealand and cannot be used to make the authors pay anything.”

Limiting free expression

Even if a New Zealand court did accept that an Israeli court had jurisdiction over the New Zealand activists, an effort to enforce the judgment would face an additional hurdle.

“There is a real question whether a New Zealand court would treat the judgment as imposing an unjustifiable limit on freedom of expression under our New Zealand Bill of Rights Act and so refuse to enforce on this basis – as well as on the jurisdiction basis,” Geddis stated. “But that has not yet been litigated in New Zealand, so the answer isn’t as clear as on the jurisdiction point, which is quite settled law.”

Lorde’s decision to heed the activists’ call to cancel her show which had been planned for last June was widely hailed as a breakthrough for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

Since then dozens of acts from all over the world have pledged to observe the boycott, and high-profile entertainers including Shakira, Gilberto Gil and Lana Del Rey have canceled engagements in Israel.

HERE IS THE LINK TO THE ‘GIVE-A-LITTLE’ PAGE – Please read, donate and share:

https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/help-justine-and-nadia-raise-money-for-mental

Full statement by Justine and Nadia [12 Oct 2018]:

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My grandfather Nelson Mandela fought apartheid. I see the parallels with Israel

12 Oct

‘We South Africans know apartheid when we see it. In fact, many recognise that, in some respects, Israel’s regime of oppression is even worse.’

By Nkosi Zwelivelile, The Guardian, 11 October 2018

It took an international effort to end institutionalised racism in my country – now it must happen again, for Palestinian people

My grandfather, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, would have turned 100 this year. The world is marking the centenary of his birth and celebrating his leadership in the struggle to end apartheid in South Africa. But while my country has long been free from racist minority rule, the world is not yet free of the crime of apartheid.

Like Madiba and Desmond Tutu before me, I see the eerie similarities between Israel’s racial laws and policies towards Palestinians, and the architecture of apartheid in South Africa. We South Africans know apartheid when we see it. In fact, many recognise that, in some respects, Israel’s regime of oppression is even worse.

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