Tag Archives: Israel

Is the PA heading backwards to step forward?

7 Jul

photo19Dr Yousef Rizqa (photo: Kia Ora Gaza)

By Dr. Yousef Rizqa: Opinion piece, Palestinian Affairs, journal of the Centre for Political & Developmental Studies, Gaza City, 28/6/15

Dr Rizqa is a Palestinian intellectual and former advisor to former Palestinian Prime Minister. [See an earlier exclusive interview with Dr Rizqa, posted on kiaoragaza.net on 27 December 2012.]

Palestinian Authority – going back to zero point

Abstract: By dismissing the Palestinian unity government, PA leader Mahmoud Abbas wants to send a message to France and Israel that he is ready to resume negotiations based on the Quartet’s Conditions and Fatah’s political programme.

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Is Gaza blockade breaking international law?

3 Jul


VIDEO: Inside Story report, Aljazeera, 1 July 2015

Israel’s navy seizes an activists’ boat attempting to break a blockade of the Palestinian territory. It’s almost a year since Israel’s 50-day war on Gaza. The assault, dubbed Operation Protective Edge, added to the already desperate living conditions for the 1.8 million people living in the Palestinian territory. A UN report in August concluded that almost everyone in Gaza faced some urgent need for basic protection, healthcare, housing, food and water.

In a largely symbolic gesture, a converted trawler has tried to break an Israeli blockade of the coastal strip to deliver humanitarian aid. But the Marianne was boarded by the Israeli Navy on Monday, and the activists detained. On Inside Story: is Israel justified in maintaining its nine year blockade in the name of security, or are the continued restrictions in contravention of international law?

Presenter:Martine Dennis. Guests: Rami Abdo – Director of the Euro-Mediterranean Observer for Human Rights. Ben Hartman – national security correspondent for the Jerusalem Post. Diala Chehade – president of the Center for Defending Civil Rights and Liberties and an international criminal law specialist.

The truth comes out about Israel’s ‘uneventful’ piracy

2 Jul

Video that shows the violence used by Israeli commandos during the hi-jacking of ‘Mariane’ boat of Freedom Flotilla III on Monday. The footage shows Israeli Arab parliament member Basel Ghattas addressing the commandos with a loudhailer, former Tunisian president Dr Moncef Marzouki, and a flotilla crew being repeatedly tasered. Video from ReshetTV Israel. (Warning: footage may be disturbing.)

By Sarah Lazare, staff writer  Common Dream 1 June 2015

Rejecting Israeli Narrative, Freedom Flotilla Campaigners Say Tasers Were Part of Violent Assault on Ship

At least nine people from Sweden, Norway, and Canada remain in Israeli custody. Kiwi journalists have been released.

Directly contradicting initial reports from the Israeli Navy that the boarding of a Swedish vessel traveling to break the blockade of Gaza was an “uneventful” incident, campaigners reported Tuesday that several people on board, in fact, were violently treated and shot with tasers.

“At least four people were tasered and one was lightly wounded,” Loukas Stamellos, spokesperson for the global Freedom Flotilla Coalition, told Common Dreams over the phone from Athens, Greece. “We were questioning the military’s narrative before, but now we know at least some people were hurt and there was violence during the interception.”

The [above] video, just released by the Freedom Flotilla Coalition, shows Swedish peace sailor Charlie Andreasson being tasered multiple times by an Israeli combatant, explained David Heap, spokesperson for the coalition. (Warning: footage may be disturbing.)

Basil Ghattas, a Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset who was on the Marianne,  confirmed to the Middle East Eye that the Israeli military’s takeover of the ship was indeed violent.

Staffan Granér, spokesperson for Ship to Gaza–Sweden, emphasized to Common Dreams: “It’s important to document the violence our activists suffer, but it is also really important to realize that this violence and these crimes are something that happens every day and every week in these waters to fishermen from Gaza.”

At least nine people from the international crew remain in Israeli custody after their ship was seized early Monday morning roughly 100 nautical miles from Gaza. A total of 18 people from around the world were on the vessel, and those who are not currently detained have been deported.

Campaigners argue that Israel’s seizure of the vessel—named Marianne of Gothernburg—in itself constitutes piracy and kidnapping, as the boat was in international waters.

Swedish officials echoed this argument. Veronica Nordlund, speaking on behalf of the Swedish Foreign Ministry, stated on Tuesday: “Granted the information we have been given, the Israeli navy intervention took place in international waters. According to law it’s only the flag state, in this case Sweden, who is allowed to act against another ship in international waters. Sweden has expressed their opinion on the event to Israel.”

The Marianne was sailing alongside three supporting vessels—Rachel, Vittorio, and Juliano II. Altogether the boats carried 47 people from 17 countries under the banner of “Freedom Flotilla III.”

Israel has a bloody history of attacking such vessels, including the 2010 assault on the Mavi Marmara ship sailing from Turkey that killed nine people and wounded dozens.

Despite the risks, global campaigners continue to sail in a symbolic show of solidarity and resistance to the blockade, which is politically and financially backed by the United States and enabled by the direct participation of Egypt.

The three supporting vessels in Freedom Flotilla III turned back to the Greek ports they embarked from following the Israeli military’s seizure of the Marianne. But global campaigners say they are already setting their sights on the next voyage.

Ehab Lotayef, a Montreal-based engineer and writer, is aboard one of the supporting boats in the Freedom Flotilla III that is currently en route to Greece. He passed along the message to Common Dreams: “We are proud of everyone who participated in Freedom Flotilla III, whatever their role. Now we are focusing on future flotilla to continue to challenge the blockade of Gaza until it ends completely and Palestinians regain their full rights.”

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License


‘Barely a whisper’ when Israel arrests MaoriTV journalists

30 Jun

Maori TV journalist Ruwani Perera and free-lance cameraman Jacob Bryant with other international participants aboard MariannePhoto Credit: Kia Ora Gaza : Jacob Bryant on the left and Ruwani Perera 4th from the left alongside other international participants on the Flotilla boat the Marianne.

By Martyn Bradbury, DailyBlog editor on Waatea News, 30 June 2015

NZ mainstream media will focus on Maori TV when journalists leave, but not when their journalists get arrested by Israel

It’s remarkable.

When Journalists leave Maori TV, the mainstream media are almost gleeful in covering it, yet today when Maori TV have had two of their journalists arrested by the Israeli’s, there is barely a whisper?

Maori TV Journalist Ruwani Perera and camera operator, Jacob Bryant, were arrested yesterday on board a peace flotilla trying to break the violent and brutal blockade of Gaza.

In 2010, Israel boarded another peace flotilla and murdered 10 activists. The cruelty and apartheid nature of the occupation of Gaza by the Israeli’s is one of the great on going cultural genocides the modern planet is witnessing. Maori TV have a long history of covering indigenous issues around the globe, and the vicious nature of the illegal occupation of Palestinians is an issue they should be focusing upon. Gaza is little more than the largest open air prison on Earth and the inhumane manner in which Palestinians are forced to suffer as a people is the very type of story Maori TV has every right to cover.

Trying to ignore the journalistic reasons as to why Maori TV journalists are there and paint them as ‘trouble makers’ merely supports and aids the occupiers. It doesn’t shine light on the ugly truth.

At a time when our Foreign Affairs Minister, Murray McCully, is attempting fro search for peace in the Middle East as part of our new role on the Security Council, the least he can do is demand Israel release two of our journalists immediately, and the least the wider NZ media can do is show support for two of their colleagues arrested for doing their job.

Martyn Bradbury, Editor – TheDailyBlog.co.nz   Facebook/CitizenBomber    twitter.com/CitizenBomber

Palestinian & Jewish groups in Israel support Freedom Flotilla

29 Jun

gaza_israel_protest_4605000 strong protest in Tel Aviv against Israel’s war on Gaza last year

Statement from Palestinian & Jewish organisations in Israel. Posted on freedomflotilla.org 28 June 2015.

Palestinian and Jewish Organizations and activists in Israel welcome the Freedom Flotilla and call to end the siege on Gaza

We, Palestinian and Jewish organizations and activists in Israel, oppose the Israeli policy of ongoing human rights violations, a policy that seeks to maintain its control through the siege that is strangulating the Palestinian people. The siege undermines the development of an independent economy and keeps Gazans under occupation, dependent on Israel for their most basic humanitarian needs. We support the struggle to end the occupation in the Palestinian territories, as well as the besieged Gaza strip. We support international solidarity, including the Gaza flotilla.

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Israeli newspaper report on Freedom Flotilla III

28 Jun

One boat from Gaza-bound flotilla expected to reach coastline in next two days

Israeli army says it is gathering intelligence and preparing to stop any boats.

70914036Two of the boats in the flotilla headed for Gaza on June 26, 2015. Photo by Reuters

By Jack Khoury and Gili Cohen, Haaretz (Israeli daily newspaper), 28 June 2015

The organizers of an international flotilla looking to break the maritime blockade of Gaza predicted that one of its boats will reach the Gaza coastline Sunday evening or Monday morning.

Swedish vessel the Marianne is currently in international waters heading toward Gaza, although it has been delayed due to the weather and adverse conditions at sea. The Marianne is a small fishing vessel that set sail from Sweden a month and a half ago. It has stayed away from ports during its journey, but is now thought to be close to Crete.

Haaretz has learned that two boats in the flotilla that left a Greek port on Friday were forced to return to port after the Greek authorities ordered them to turn back. It is unclear whether the vessels in the flotilla will attempt to approach Gaza together or one by one, in the knowledge that Israel will block their approach.

Due to the boats’ problems departing from Greece and due to the alleged sabotage of one of boat – as claimed by Israeli-born, pro-Palestinian Swedish activist Dror Feiler – it was decided on Friday evening to transfer three passengers to the Marianne on a small boat. The three were MK Basel Ghattas; Ohad Hemo, the Palestinian affairs correspondent for Channel 2 TV; and former Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki. They left a Greek port on a small boat, bound for Crete.

On Saturday, the flotilla organizers called on the Tunisian government to act at the United Nations and with the international community, in order to safeguard the well-being of Marzouki and the other flotilla participants.

Dr. Mazen Kahel, the head of the European campaign to break the blockade, confirmed that the Marianne is currently in international waters. He said that nothing can stop it from sailing to Gaza. Kahel also confirmed that the former Tunisian president is on board, along with 20 other activists and crew members.

“The intent is to reach the Gaza coast despite all the difficulties, in order to deliver a message that essentially implies a victory for humanity, calling on the world to lift the siege on the Gaza Strip, in which more than a million and a half people are contending with a slow death,” said Kahel.

Kahel added that the organizers are prepared for all possible scenarios, but would avoid any violent acts or confrontations with Israeli soldiers if and when they storm the boats. He said the campaign organizers had written to members of the U.S. Congress in an appeal to support the lifting of the siege and to guarantee the safety of the flotilla’s participants, since it was a humanitarian mission.

Gaza is already getting ready to greet the boats, with many children waiting by the shore with lights that signify the month of Ramadan.

The flotilla organizers said Israel was closely watching their flotilla by air and sea, and by monitoring communications with the boat. As a result, the organizers were offering very little precise information or divulging any facts about coordination between the boats. The Israel Defense Forces said it was preparing to stop the flotilla and that it was gathering intelligence. The IDF spokesman refused to go into more detail.

Send a message and pledge your support for the Freedom Flotilla TODAY! – Pledge here

Hamas & Israel: truce or another hot summer?

28 Jun

Hamas & Israel: truce or another hot summer?

The author explains that all indications on the ground, despite the recent escalation in the Gaza Strip, suggest that Hamas and Israel are heading in the direction of reaching a long-term truce agreement.

photo17By Dr. Adnan Abuamer, specialist in Israeli Affairs, political analyst, & Professor at Al Ommah University, Gaza[1] [Photo: Kia Ora Gaza]

The ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, reached in August 2014 after 50-day war, has maintained a relative calm. No major breaches were recorded by both sides, except for exchanging fire between Israel and Salafi groups in Gaza. Despite this, Hamas’ military wing is taking unprecedented steps in the confrontation with Israel, since the beginning of 2015.

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Flotilla ships gather before sailing to break Israel’s siege

25 Jun


As global pressure and regional shifts undermine Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip, Palestine supporters from more than 20 countries are preparing for the latest attempt to defy it.

By Joe Catron @jncatron, MintPress News, 24 June, 2015

GAZA STRIP — A converted Swedish fishing trawler left the port of Messina in eastern Sicily late Friday evening, sailing into the Mediterranean to meet other vessels before they attempt to break Israel’s nautical blockade of the Gaza Strip.

“The goal is, as always, to challenge and eventually end the inhuman and illegal blockade of Gaza,” David Heap, a spokesperson for the Canadian Boat to Gaza, told MintPress News.

“Whether we reach our destination, as happened five times in 2008, or are stopped by the occupier, as has happened from 2010 to 2012, our course remains the same: the conscience of humanity.”

The Marianne of Gothenburg, which left its home port on May 10, publicized its voyage down the coast of Europe and into the Strait of Gibraltar through the organizations supporting it, Ship to Gaza Sweden and Ship to Gaza Norway.

Other groups in the Freedom Flotilla Coalition have declined to disclose their efforts, including the names and locations of vessels.

“There has been secrecy around details that might be relevant to efforts to obstruct the flotilla, as there usually are,” Robert Naiman, a spokesperson for the U.S. Boat to Gaza, told MintPress.

Heap says the high level of security within “Freedom Flotilla III” stems from past Israeli attempts to prevent similar projects.

“In 2011 some boats were sabotaged, and Greek coast guard authorities stopped some of our boats when Israel outsourced its blockade to European ports,” he told MintPress. “So we have learned to be cautious about what information we release when.”

He added that “more than 50 people from over 20 countries [are] on board or ready to board at least three vessels.”

With the Marianne now at sea, its final departure for Gaza is expected as soon as weather clears.

 CGWcZ5VUYAACTjKPalestinian children preparing a huge welcome for the Freedom Flotilla ships

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Israel preparing to ‘stop flotilla from reaching Gaza’

22 Jun

flotilla2 The Israeli military is preparing to stop the pro-Palestinian flotilla from reaching Gaza, according to reports from Israeli sources. On the flotilla boats are parliamentarians and diplomats from all over the world, including an Israeli Arab MK law-maker. [Photo credit: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit/Channel 2 News]

By Omri Ariel, JerusalemOnLine (a pro-Israeli newsletter), 21 June 2015

The IDF [Israeli Defense Force] has officially been instructed to stop the pro-Palestinian flotilla, which according to reports has sailed out and is now between Italy and Greece, headed towards the Gaza shores. It consists of two small vessels carrying pro-Palestinian activists from various countries, and which do not seem to have a large enough capacity for much humanitarian or medical equipment.

Earlier on Sunday, MK Basel Ghattas of the Joint Arab List announced his participation in the flotilla and called it “a civilian boat of peace,” adding that “trying to reach Gaza through international waters does not count as being aggressive to anyone. Aggressiveness is to impose a blockade.” MK Sharon Gal of Yisrael Beitenu stated in response that this is “further proof that the Joint Arab List is a fifth column.” He added that MK Ghattas is “an extremist who hates Israel and intends to join the next ship of terror, which is similar to the one his party member Zoabi had attended.”

On Saturday, Russian news agency RT reported that at least three ships have already sailed out from several Mediterranean Sea ports. The list of participants has been kept secret, but reportedly it is known that among the activists is a former Tunisian president, as well as athletes, parliamentarians, diplomats, journalists and a Catholic nun.

RT‘s journalist Nadezhda Kevorkova interviewed the participants and heard about their fears of a violent clash with the IDF forces, as well as their suspicions of possibly having a “mole” among them.

Dror Feiler, 63, a well-known Swedish musician of Israeli origin, is among the activists. He was born in Israel, served in the army and immigrated to Sweden 40 years ago. His mother still lives in Israel, but he has been denied entrance to the country. “It is possible that we won’t reach Gaza,” he told Kevorkona, “but we will reach many hearts that will beat together with Gaza

‘Time’s up!’

28 May


FIFI president Sepp Blatter

By Jonathan Cook, The View For Nazareth blog, 27 May 2015

Arrests by US as FIFA mulls giving Israel boot

FIFA, world football’s governing body, is due to meet this Friday in Zurich to decide whether to back a Palestinian motion to suspend Israel for its systematic violations of Palestinian footballers’ rights in the occupied territories, including preventing practice sessions and games, arresting players, denying entry to other teams, and bombing grounds, as well as for endemic racism towards non-Jewish players in Israeli football itself. I have written about this in the past: here and here.

Although a 75% majority is needed for the Palestinian motion to carry, there has been a growing sense that the mood at FIFA is shifting the Palestinians’ way. Israel and the US are, of course, deeply worried. Such a move would have strong overtones of the sports boycott against South Africa and further reinforce the idea that the description of Israel as an apartheid state holds. It would also disrupt FIFA tournaments Israel is due to host in the coming months, causing great embarrassment to Israel and FIFA’s president, Sepp Blatter.

Meanwhile, almost everyone quietly acknowledges that FIFA is corrupt from head to toe, and has been for as long as the game has been another branch of the big-business entertainments industry. Just think how impossible it would have been for a body not profoundly infected with corrupt practices to have backed desert emirate Qatar’s bid to host the 2022 tournament – in the middle of its stifling summer.

Today, however, the US decided it was time to call a halt to FIFA’s corruption. It ordered the high-profile arrest and extradition of six senior FIFA officials on corruption charges dating back to the early 1990s. The operation at the FIFA officials’ Zurich hotel, as they waited for Friday’s vote, was covered in detail by leading US media organisations after they were tipped off beforehand. Apparently it has taken the US the best part of 20 years to get round to doing the paperwork to make the arrests.

Doubtless, none of this was designed to have – or will have – the slightest effect on FIFA officials as they contemplate whether to infuriate Israel and the US by booting Israel out of world soccer.

In the meantime, you can try to shore up FIFA’s resolve by signing a petition here.


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Israeli defense minister promises more killing

8 May


Moshe Yaalon speaking at the 2015 Shurat HaDin conference.

By Asa Winstanley, The Electronic Intifada, 6 May 2015

Israeli defense minister promises to kill more civilians and threatens to nuke Iran

Israeli defense minister Moshe Yaalon on Tuesday said Israel would attack entire civilian neighborhoods during any future assault on Gaza or Lebanon.

Speaking at a conference in Jerusalem, Yaalon threatened that “we are going to hurt Lebanese civilians to include kids of the family. We went through a very long deep discussion … we did it then, we did it in [the] Gaza Strip, we are going to do it in any round of hostilities in the future.”

The Israeli official also appeared to threaten to drop a nuclear bomb on Iran, although he said “we are not there yet.”

In response to a question about Iran, Yaalon said that “in certain cases” when “we feel like we don’t have the answer by surgical operations” Israel might take “certain steps” such as the Americans did in “Nagasaki and Hiroshima, causing at the end the fatalities of 200,000.”

Relating a July 2013 meeting with UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, Yaalon recalled promising Israel would bomb the entire Gaza City neighborhood of Shujaiya.

He showed Ban photos of villages in Lebanon and of “certain neighborhoods in Gaza, to include well-known Shujaiya, with many red spots” which he claimed were “terror assets in the densely populated urban area. And I said – July 2013 – we are going to hit it.”

Yaalon was true to his word. The Shujaiya massacre was among the most brutal examples of Israeli war crimes during last summer’s attack on the Gaza Strip.

Israel killed 2,257 Palestinians during the 51-day assault, according to the United Nations monitoring group OCHA. Of that number, OCHA says 70 percent were civilians, including 563 children (Defence for Children International–Palestine has documented 547 child deaths).

The 20 July 2014 attack on Shujaiya was the most bloody day of the war, when Israel bombed the entire neighborhood indiscriminately. Initial reports on the day said 60 bodies had been brought out of the rubble. Later reports suggested death tolls of 90 or 120.

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Professors for Israel try to shut down Lancet

25 Apr

richard-hortonRichard Horton, editor of the medical journal, The Lancet, under attack.

By Jonathan Cook, 24 April 2015

[For a previous report on earlier attacks on the Lancet – see kiaoragaza.net post on 17 October 2014. Ed]

Academia is far from the bastion of free thinking and free speech it would like to claim for itself, as a newly confected “row” involving the leading medical journal The Lancet confirms.

Recently Southampton University in the UK caved in on hosting an important conference examining Israel and international law, following an intensive campaign of intimidation from Israeli apologists.

Now some 400 medical professors are blackmailing Reed Elsevier, publishers of The Lancet, by threatening to boycott its publications unless the company sacks editor Richard Horton – or as they duplicitously phrase it, “enforce appropriate ethical standards of editorship”.

By refusing to publish papers or peer review them, the professors, including five Nobel winners, hope Reed Elsevier will capitulate from fear that such a boycott might bring it to its knees.

Why target Horton? Because he has committed the cardinal sin of transforming what was once a sleepy academic publication into a journal dealing seriously with global health issues, including – and here’s the rub – reporting on the medical implications for Palestinians of Israel’s occupation, especially its attack on Gaza last summer.

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Gaza faces humanitarian crisis due to Israeli siege

25 Apr

The ministry says a shortage of drugs and medical supplies at hospitals and medical centers has been critically aggravated over Israel’s blockade on the coastal sliver for the past eight years.

According to Ashraf Abu Mahady, the director general of pharmacy in the ministry, Gaza now lacks 118 kinds of medicines and 334 types of medical disposals.

The official urged international bodies, including the International Committee of the Red Cross and the World Health Organization, to exert pressure on the Israeli regime to lift the blockade and open Gaza crossings.

The Gaza Strip has been under a crippling Israeli siege since 2007. The blockade, which has cut off the territory from the outside world, has led to an economic and humanitarian crisis in the densely-populated enclave.

In March, the UN expressed concern about the economic situation in the Palestinian territory, saying the lifting of the Israeli siege is the “prerequisite” for reviving its economy.

“We, in the UN, have always been in the forefront in calling for an end to the blockade as a prerequisite for a stable, functioning economy in Gaza,” said Robert Serry, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Process.

The UN official further noted that the blockaded area suffered destruction during the latest Israeli onslaught in 2014, saying Gaza’s rehabilitation process would “take years.”

Last summer, Israel unleashed a war on the territory, which killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians and left over 11,100 others injured. The 50-day war ended with an Egyptian-brokered truce

Israel attacks Palestinian Prisoners Day protests

20 Apr


PressTV report, 17 April, 2015

Clashes erupt between Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters as people in the occupied territories, the Gaza Strip and many other parts of the world mark the Palestinian Prisoners Day last week.

At least 60 people were injured in the village of Bil’in following inhaling tear gas fired by Israeli troops. One protester was shot in the head in Kfar Kadum. Israeli troops used rubber-coated bullets and water canon to disperse Palestinian crowds there. Scuffles are also reported in Bethlehem. In Jerusalem al-Quds, Palestinians marched on the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, shouting slogans against Israel’s detention policy. According to rights groups, at least 62-hundred Palestinians are behind bars in Israeli jails. The “Defense for Children International” says 182 of those prisoners are children. 454 Palestinians are kept under Israel’s illegal administrative detention policy.

International aid agencies call for sanctions on Israel

16 Apr

A Palestinian man stands on the rubble of his house that was destroyed during the 50-day Israeli war on Gaza Strip in the summer of 2014 A Palestinian man stands amid the rubble of his house which was destroyed during last summer’s Israeli assault on Gaza on 2 April. Despite international promises, there has been no reconstruction of permanent housing since the 26 August 2014 ceasefire. (Ashraf Amra / APA images)

By Ali Abunimah, Electronic Intifada, 15 April 2015

International aid agencies call for sanctions on Israel over Gaza “stalemate”

Dozens of aid agencies have called for international sanctions on Israel over its continued illegal blockade of the occupied Gaza Strip and the fact that six months after its deadly and devastating assault, there has been virtually no reconstruction in the territory.

The report, “Charting a New Course: Overcoming the stalemate in Gaza,” signed by 46 international nongovernmental organisations working in Palestine, says that Israel must lift the blockade and allow free movement between the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip or face punitive consequences.

“The blockade constitutes collective punishment; it is imposed in violation of [international humanitarian law] and, according to the UN, may entail the commission of war crimes,” the report says. “The international community should promptly develop a common response to the government of Israel if immediate progress is not made to lift the blockade.”

It also names the deadbeat states – including Turkey, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia – that have failed to deliver on the reconstruction aid they promised for Gaza.

The report’s signatories, including Oxfam, Save the Children, KinderUSA, Medical Aid for Palestinians, The Carter Centre, Norwegian People’s Aid and Médecins du Monde Switzerland, also call for a suspension of arms transfers to Israel and revocation of arms export licenses.

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Noam Chomsky: Israel is a violent state..

9 Apr


Noam Chomsky says Israel “is a violent state.. in direct violation of International Law”

MOXNews report, 6 April 2015

Video of a recent lecture: Noam Chomsky talked about his book of essays ‘Masters of Mankind: Essays and Lectures, 1969-2013’, in which he discusses international and domestic affairs


The message from Netanyahu is clear – he prefers major war

2 Apr

imagesProf Immanuel Wallerstein, an American sociologist, historical social scientist, commentator and world-systems analysist, is considered a worldwide expert on American imperialism and the global dominance of capitalism and its impact on the Third World. 

Netanyahu: The message is clear

By Immanuel Wallerstein, Commentary No. 398, 1 April, 2015

Binyamin “Bibi” Netanyahu won an impressive electoral victory in Israel on March 17. He did it by making two last-minute public statements. One was that there would be no Palestinian state while he is President. He thus formally reneged on his commitment to a two-state outcome to the negotiations between the Israeli government and the Palestine Authority. The second statement was to “alert” voters to a significant Arab turnout in the elections. This of course was pure demagoguery, but it worked.

He has not only remained the most successful Israeli politician in the last few decades. But he did it all by careful calculation. The story started several weeks ago when Israeli polls showed a significant rise in the prospective vote for the so-called Zionist Union, led by the leader of Israel’s center-left Labor Party, Isaac Herzog. This group carefully avoided saying much about the Palestinians except that they would renew negotiations. Rather, they built their campaign on purely internal economic issues, promising more welfare state benefits.

First, Netanyahu responded to (possibly instigated) an invitation from U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner to address a Joint Session of Congress. This was a largely unprecedented intrusion of a foreign head of state in U.S. policy-making. President Obama was very upset and refused to meet Netanyahu during his brief visit to the United States.

Netanyahu spoke to an enthusiastic audience of Republicans along with a partial boycott of attendance by Democrats. The object for Netanyahu was to mobilize Jewish Israelis not to vote for other rightwing candidates in the first round of voting but to cast a “useful vote” for Netanyahu. In this he succeeded remarkably strongly.

In the process of course he deeply antagonized Obama, who said the United States would now have to re-evaluate its relations with Israel. Netanyahu then back-tracked slightly on his statement about further negotiations with the Palestinians, and apologized for his fear-mongering about Arab turnout for the elections. Obama was not appeased, saying the he took Netanyahu at his word about a two-state outcome.

So, what, everyone is asking, will happen now? Just before the elections, a group of distinguished Israeli security figures issued a statement, saying in effect that Netanyahu’s approach was alienating the United States and that this was desperately bad for Israel’s future as a Jewish state. Were they right? The answer is yes and no.

Basic dilemma

Let’s start with the basic dilemma of the majority of Jewish Israelis. They want neither a two-state nor a one-state outcome. They know that a two-state solution requires a major retreat on post-1973 Jewish settlements as well as a possibility for at least some Palestinians to return from exile. They find this unacceptable. And, given the demographic evolution, they fear that a two-state solution is simply a one-state solution that is delayed. As for the one-state solution, it means renouncing the basic Zionist idea of a Jewish state.

Faced with this dilemma, they like Netanyahu’s strategy: delay, delay, delay! And, if anyone tries to force the pace, be ready to fight militarily against whatever opponent poses itself as an immediate threat.

There is however one basic difficulty with this strategy: It is straining the world’s patience, and most critically the patience of those who have been more or less faithful supporters of the Israeli government’s positions – the major European states, the Palestinian Authority, so-called moderate Arab opinion, and yes, even the United States.

There has been a worldwide transformation of the perception of Israel as a “victim” to that of Israel as a “persecutor.” This is a nightmare for the Zionist cause in Israel. It can only get worse for Israel. There may even come a point, perhaps still a few years from now, that the United States will no longer be willing to veto resolutions in the U.N. Security Council that are critical of Israel.

Two things can happen then. The world can see a dramatic reconsideration of received verities on all sides, as seemed to have happened in South Africa. This reversal permitted a major political change combined with very little economic change. It however involved no bloodshed. Or, alternatively, this won’t happen. And there will be a major war, in which the Jewish Israelis will use all their military strength to defeat anything resembling another intifada.

The message from Netanyahu is clear. He prefers the major war, and so do the voters who elected him.





Netanyahu victory: clear break with US-led peace process

19 Mar

Mahmoud Abbas

Palestinians see ‘long and difficult road of struggle’ against Israel as Netanyahu wins fourth term after rejection of two-state solution. Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas (above), and his close advisers may now decide to end security cooperation with Israel. Photograph: Issam Rimawi/AP


By Peter Beaumont in Jerusalem and Sufian Taha in Ramallah, The Guardian, 18 March 2015

In his sports shop in the Palestinian village of Hizme, Mohammad al-Kiswani, aged 52, reflected bleakly on the re-election of Binyamin Netanyahu.

“When Netanyahu won,” he said, “he dried the last drop of water that could quench our thirst for a state. This time he will be more radical. He promised the Israeli public he will not negotiate a two-state solution or negotiate over Jerusalem. He has taken off his mask and it has shown an ugly face.”

Mohammad al-Mahdi, the 35-year-old owner of a publishing press, was no less concerned. “I think things will get worse. The future will be black.

“But you can’t blame the Israelis because they were so clear in this election campaign. I don’t think there will be peace. I don’t think there will be a two-state solution. There will only be a country full of hate and racism and that is so sad because the Israeli public are turning towards the far right.”

If there is a paradox, it is that for Palestinians Binyamin Netanyahu’s decisive win in Tuesday’s Israeli elections has simplified issues for many – including the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, and his closest advisers – in their campaign to internationalise support for a Palestinian state.

Ahead of Tuesday’s election, some Palestinian officials close to Abbas had intimated that a Netanyahu victory – not least in terms of his outright rejection of a two-state solution and his vow to continue settlement construction – would mark a clear break in a US-led peace process that has been on ice since it collapsed almost a year ago.

Indeed a common sentiment among Palestinians in recent days is that the election campaign forced Netanyahu to reveal his opposition to a two-state solution.

“The Israeli elections forced Netanyahu to reveal his real position,” said prominent Palestinian journalist Daoud Kuttab, reflecting the views of many.

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Ali Abunimah: Palestinians Better Off with Netanyahu

19 Mar


The Real News interview by Paul Jay, senior editor TRNN, 18 March 2015

 “Netanyahu invoked racist calls about Arabs flowing to the polls to get out his vote; his win will make it easier to isolate Israel because Netanyahu is the face of Israel as it really is.”

Ali Abunimah is co-founder of the award-winning online publication The Electronic Intifada and author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. His latest book is titled The Battle for Justice in Palestine. Based in Chicago, he has written hundreds of articles on the question of Palestine in major publications including The New York Times, The Guardian and for Al Jazeera.


Paul Jay: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Paul Jay.

As we tape this interview, the Israeli elections, according to most sources, are too close to call. But Benjamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister, says he’s won, that he’s the one in the best position to make a coalition with all the various other parties. And, I think, according to most parliamentary tradition, he’s the most likely one for the president of Israel to ask to form the government first. But the president of Israel has so far said that he wants a national coalition, a national unity government. So we’ll see if any of that transpires.

Now joining us to make some sense of all of this is Ali Abunimah. Ali is cofounder of the award-winning online publication The Electronic Intifada and author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse and The Battle for Justice in Palestine.

Thanks for joining us, Ali.

Ali Abunimah: Thank you, Paul.

Jay: So if you go with what’s–well, let’s see if you agree with me. The most likely scenario here is Netanyahu gets asked to form a government and he puts together a coalition. What do you make of it?

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Little hope for change in upcoming Israeli elections

16 Mar

Israelis and Palestinians See Little Hope For Change In Upcoming Election

Real News video report, 15 March 2015.

The Real New TRNN reports from the Jewish Voice for Peace National Meeting in Baltimore where activists say the occupation of Palestine will continue whoever wins the upcoming Israeli election. 15 March, 2015


Jaisal Noor, TRNN producer: We’re here at the 2015 Jewish Voices for Peace conference in Baltimore. Hundreds have gathered from across the United States, Israel, and Palestine to discuss how to promote peace, equality, respect for international law, and how to end the occupation of Palestine using the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement to advance those goals.

It’s just days before the Israeli elections, and final polls show Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu trailing in those elections. We spoke to participants to discuss the implications of this upcoming elections for Palestinians, as well as the ongoing negotiations with Iran.

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