Saturday, 19 June 2010

Zionism’s Colonial Enterprise Is Doomed, but…

Alan Hart

  • June 19, 2010
Ronen Bergman, a senior military and political analyst for the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, recently wrote what I consider to be one of the most important articles for decades on the subject of the mindset of the Zionist state’s military and political leaders. It was reproduced in the Wall Street Journal under the headline Siege Fatigue and the Flotilla Mistake.
Getting to the main thrust of his analysis, Bergman wrote this (my emphasis added):
“What we witnessed in the early hours of Monday morning was symptomatic of a new degree of fatigue in Israeli governing circles. The fact that both the political and military authorities could sign off on such an irresponsible operation suggests that the leadership of the country has given up what it has concluded is ultimately a Sisyphean attempt to accommodate world opinion. Isolation is no longer a threat to be fought, their thinking seems to go, because Israel is terminally isolated. What remains is to concentrate exclusively on what is best for Israel’s survival, shedding any regard for the opinion of others.”
Bergman went on to quote from a conversation he had with a very senior military source two days before Israel’s attack on the Gaza-bound flotilla. The source said it made no difference how careful Israel was in its actions or how it tackled the flotilla. “Whatever we do, they’ll all be against us, they’ll condemn us at the UN and we’ll be scolded. We might as well at least preserve our national dignity and maintain the blockade of Gaza.” In other words, Bergman commented, “the war over world opinion is over and Israel has lost.”
A little later in his article Bergman wrote:
“Israel’s fatigue and deep sense of ostracism is, to say the least, unhealthy… And, of course, it is profoundly disturbing when the fatigued and isolated country itself has the means to strike pre-emptively and punishingly at its enemies, including in ways from which, realistically, there may be no return.”
As I note in the three-volume, American edition of my book ZIONISM: THE REAL ENEMY OF THE JEWS (, the question of whether or not Israel should care about what the non-Jewish world thinks was the ticking time-bomb at the heart of Israeli politics from the moment of the Zionist (not Jewish) state’s birth.
David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s founding father and first prime minister, was firmly and unshakably of the opinion, as were most of his leadership colleagues, that what the non-Jewish world thought of Israel’s policies and actions did not matter. “Our future,” Ben-Gurion was fond of saying, “does not depend on what Gentiles say but on what Jews do.” The logic (paranoia?) supporting this way of thinking went something like this. The world has always been and always will be anti-Semitic (anti-Jew). Holocaust II, shorthand for another great turning against the Jews, is at some point in the future inevitable. So by definition there can be no limits to what Israel might have to do to preserve itself as refuge of last resort for all Jews everywhere.
My own Gentile take on this aspect of the matter is that after the obscenity of the Nazi holocaust, and because of it, the giant of anti-Semitism would have gone back to sleep and, very probably, would have died in its sleep – if the major powers had not allowed Zionism right or wrong to have its way. But let’s put that to one side.
The only heavyweight Israeli leader who opposed Ben-Gurion’s view of Israel’s position in the world was Moshe Sharett, the state’s first foreign minister and prime minister for a short period after Ben-Gurion stood down because of doubts about his mental stability. In my view Sharett was the only completely sane member of Israel’s early leadership.
I think the most perceptive summary of Sharett and his significance is to be found in The Iron Wall, Israel and the Arabs, a book of revelations by Avi Shlaim, one of Israel’s leading “revisionist” (meaning honest) historians who now lives in the UK and is Professor of International Relations at St. Antony’s College, Oxford. Shlaim wrote (my emphasis added):
“In sharp contrast to Ben-Gurion, Sharett was highly sensitive not only to what the Gentiles said but even more to what they did. He acknowledged that the UN had played an indispensible part in the creation of the State of Israel, and he was in favour of allowing it to play a larger and more effective role in the regulation of the Arab-Israeli conflict. He believed that international public opinion had a bearing on Israel’s security and was, therefore, a factor worth taking into account. Above all, he was eager to enlist the sympathy and support of the Western powers in Israel’s quest for security and peace. To this end he deemed it necessary to abide by the prevailing norms of international behaviour and to refrain from actions that would fuel Arab hatred.”
The quality of Sharett’s insight into what would be in store for Israel if its hawks had their way was indicated by his diary entry for 12 October 1955, shortly before Ben-Gurion reclaimed the dual role of prime minister and defense minister. This diary entry, an expression of naked despair, was in the form of a question: “What is our vision on this earth – war to the end of generations and life by the sword?”
As I explain in detail in my book, Sharett was destroyed by Ben-Gurion not only because he wanted Israel to be a normal state, but also because he wanted to make peace with the Arabs. (Sharett responded positively to secret messages from Eygpt’s President Nasser who wanted an accommodation with Israel).
Now to the headline over this article – Zionism’s Colonial Enterprise Is Doomed, but…
In1948, as a consequence of Israel’s victory on the battlefield, the Palestine file was closed. One of the unspeakable truths of the time was that behind closed doors the divided, defeated and impotent Arab regimes shared the same hope as Zionism and the major powers. It was that the Palestine file would remain closed. In the script written by Zionism and endorsed by the major powers and the Arab regimes, there was not supposed to be a regeneration of Palestinian nationalism. The Palestinians were supposed to accept their lot as the sacrificial lamb on the altar of political expediency.
On reflection it’s my view that Zionism’s colonial enterprise was doomed by its failure to keep the Palestine file closed. Once the file was re-opened by Yasser Arafat and his Fatah colleagues, Zionism had a choice – either to make an accommodation with the Palestinians (by the end of 1979 Arafat had prepared the ground on his side for peace on terms which any rational government and people in Israel would have accepted with relief); or by all and any means, including state terrorism, to try to break the will of the Palestinians to continue their struggle for an acceptable amount of justice.
Israel’s leaders chose the latter course, and in doing they have not deviated from Zionism’s defining ethic as written and published by Vladimir Jabotinsky, the founding father of Israel’s army. His text, published a decade before the Nazis came to power in Germany, explains why Israel was bound to become a rogue state and, at the time of writing, a monster beyond control. As put into words by Jabotinsky, the following was, is, Zionism’s defining ethic (my emphasis added):
“Zionism is a colonizing adventure and therefore it stands or it falls by the question of armed force. It is important to speak Hebrew but, unfortunately, it is even more important to be able to shoot – or else I am through with playing at colonization.
“To the hackneyed reproach that this point of view is unethical, I answer – absolutely untrue. This is our ethic. There is no other ethic. As long as there is the faintest spark of hope for the Arabs to impede us, they will not sell these hopes – not for any sweet words nor for any tasty morsel, because this (the Palestinians) is not a rabble but a people, a living people. And no people makes such enormous concessions on such fateful questions, except when there is no hope left, until we have removed every opening visible in the Iron Wall.”
Today the incredible almost superhuman steadfastness of the occupied and oppressed Palestinians is proof if more was needed of Zionism’s failure and that its colonial enterprise is doomed. And that begs the following question. How will the story end?
Because of Israel’s colonization, still on-going, of the occupied West Bank, a genuine and viable two-state solution is D.B.A. (Dead Before Arrival). It follows that there are now, in theory, only two possible end-game scenarios.
In one Israeli Jews come to their senses and accept that their best and actually only hope for a future with security and peace is the One State solution – a single, democratic state in which all of its citizens, Jews and Arabs, would have equal civil and political rights. (One of my anti-Zionist Jewish friends with a sense of humour said it could be called Palestein). In theory it could happen. In practise I fear it won’t because it would amount to the de-Zionization of Palestine; and I can’t see Zionism agreeing to that.
In the other foreseeable end-game scenario, the action starts with the final ethnic cleansing of Palestine. That happens when Israel’s leaders conclude that they cannot break the will of the occupied and oppressed Palestinians and force them to accept crumbs from Zionism’s table – a few Bantustans on 40% or thereabouts of the West Bank. When they come to that conclusion, Israel’s leaders invent a pretext to drive the Palestinians off the West Bank and into Jordan or wherever.
In terms of defusing the demographic time-bomb of occupation, that would buy the Zionist state some time, but how much time and to what end?
An Israel that resorted to a final round of ethnic cleansing would become a pariah state like no other. The anti-Israel outrage of citizens of all faiths and none around the world would be such that the governments of the major powers, including the one in Washington D.C., would be obliged to punish the Zionist state with boycott, sanctions and divestment.
Then what? How would Zionism’s in-Israel leaders respond?
I think it’s more than possible, even probable, that, feeling themselves backed into a corner with no acceptable escape route, they would launch their nuclear missiles in a defiant farewell gesture and take the region down with them.
For those readers who believe that such a scenario is unthinkable, I recall in my book what was said to me by Golda Meir, in a filmed interview for the BBC’s Panorama program, when she was Israel’s prime minister.
At a point I interrupted her to say: “Prime Minister, I want to be sure I understand what you’re saying… You are saying that if ever Israel was in danger of being defeated on the battlefield, it would be prepared to take the region and even the whole world down with it?
Without the shortest of pauses for reflection, and in the gravel voice that could charm or intimidate American Presidents according to need, Golda replied, “Yes, that’s exactly what I am saying.
After that interview was transmitted, The Times of London, then a seriously good newspaper (not the Murdoch-owned, pro-Zionist paper it is today), replaced its lead editorial with one quoting what Golda had said to me. That replacement editorial ended with a short statement of the paper’s own opinion. “We had better believe her.”
If instead of saying to Golda “if ever Israel was in danger of being defeated on the battlefield” I had said “if ever Israel was put under real pressure by the whole of the international community to do what it did not want to do”, I’m sure her answer would have been the same.
According to Roger Tucker in a recent article for Dissident Voice, an Armageddon ending to the story of Zionism’s colonial enterprise is not inevitable. Under the headline The One State Solution Sounds Like a Good Idea, but…, he wrote (my emphasis added):
“What is it that most Israelis actually want. Not surprisingly, we find that they want what people everywhere want, security and stability, peace, to be respected if not loved, to be free of constant fear and anxiety, to have the sense that their children will have the opportunity to live normal, productive and happy lives. All surveys have been consistent in this respect. None of these things are possible as long as the Israelis stick with political Zionism, and the Israelis, deep down, know this. They may be temporarily deluded, even collectively insane, driven by the howling winds of paranoia, arrogance and bloody-minded defiance… but they aren’t actually stupid, and the madness cannot last.”
In my view the matter of whether Israelis are stupid or not misses the point. What they are was summed up to me by the best and the brightest of Israel’s Directors of Military Intelligence, Major General Shlomo Gazit.
When I talked about him in the major capitals of the world to diplomats with the prime responsibility for crisis managing the Middle East, I said that if I was putting together a world government with 20 portfolios, he would have several of them, on account of his experience, his intellect, his wisdom and his humanity. In private conversations with me he did not display even a hint of the insufferable self-righteousness that is the hallmark of Zionism. He is without arrogance. For about two decades he was the head of research at the Directorate of Military Intelligence. In that capacity he was the single most informed man in the world on the reality or not of the Arab military threat to Israel’s existence. Then, in 1973, he was called upon to become DMI, with a brief to make sure there could never again be an intelligence failure of the kind that had occurred in the countdown to the Yom Kippur war. He was, in short, the man to whom the government of Israel turned for salvation in the aftermath of what it perceived at the time, wrongly, to be a real threat to the Zionist state’s existence. He did not want to become DMI and did so only out of a sense of duty. Over coffee one morning in early 1980, I took a deep breath and said to Shlomo: “I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s all a myth. Israel’s existence has never ever been in danger.” Through a sad smile he replied, “The trouble with us Israelis is that we’ve become the victims of our own propaganda.”
I know from my own experience of reporting from Israel how that happened. When I was writing my long chapter on the 1967 war, I found myself saying to readers that there were times, this was one of them, when I wanted to “cry out with the pain of knowing how much Israel’s Jews (as well as the Jews of the world and the whole of the Western world) had been lied to and deceived by their leaders.”
Simply stated, most Israeli Jews have been brainwashed; and it seems to me that the “madness” in Israel will last and take the region and possibly the whole world all the way to Armageddon unless… Unless a way can be found to open Israeli eyes and minds to the truth of history as it relates to the making and sustaining of the conflict in and over Palestine that became Israel.
I dare to suggest that the publication of my book in Israel, in Hebrew as well as English, would be a good start.
Question: Is there in Israel a publisher with the integrity and courage to take my book on?
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Flotilla Activists: Israeli Soldiers Used Our Credit Cards to Steal Us

19/06/2010 Activists who were detained during the raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla blamed Israeli occupation troops on Friday of stealing after confiscated credit cards belonging to them were subsequently used, the British Guardian newspaper reported.

According to the report, Israeli soldiers appear to have used confiscated credit cards to buy items such as iPod accessories, while mobile phones seized from activists have been used for calls.

The paper noted that Ebrahim Musaji, 23, of Gloucester, has a bank statement showing his credit card was used in an Israeli vending machine for a purchase costing him 82 pennies on June 9.

He further said that his card had been used on a Dutch website, twice on June 10: once for amounts equivalent to £42.42 and then for £37.83.

Kathy Sheetz from California said that she has been charged more than $1,000 in transactions from vending machines in the Zionist entity since June 6.

According to the Guardian, the two activists were on board two separate boats - the Marmara, on which nine Turkish activists were killed, and the Challenger 1. Both only entered the Zionist entity when arrested, and were in custody for their entire time on Israeli soil.

"They've obviously taken my card and used it," Musaji told the Guardian, adding “When they take things like people's videos and debit cards and use them, and their mobile phones, it becomes a bit of a joke.”

Musaji canceled his card on June 7, a day after returning to Britain and was promised by his bank that the transactions would be treated as fraudulent and that he would not be charged for them.

He also said that his mobile phone had been used for two calls after it had been confiscated.

The Guardian report noted that an 80-year-old American activist says his iPhone was used, while an Italian journalist said his card was charged with the equivalent of €54 after it was confiscated.

A spokeswoman for the Israeli embassy in London told Musaji he is welcome to file an official complaint.

"We regard any misconduct as described in Mr. Musaji's allegations to be utterly unacceptable and intolerable, and suggest waiting until this subject matter is clarified," she said. "As had happened previously, an Israeli soldier was found guilty of illegal use of a credit card for which he was indicted and sentenced to seven months' imprisonment."

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The Gulf....and the other Gulf .

Frustrated Arab's Diary
does it look familiar ???

The USA came to the Arabian-(Persian) -Gulf
to pump out the oil ,
under the pretext of  Democracy-spreading ,.

It cost to the USA a lot of Tax- Dollars
and a lot of human-life's , too.

But now the USA might finally retreat
and take back its "Democracy"  with her......

Why ??   

Simply because, now, the Oil is coming out abundantly
and is supplied for free  directly
to the shores of Louisiana and Florida.

Indeed , thanks to  the generosity of BP
the  Petrolium  is supplied free of charge.

Soon we shall even hear that Mr. Tony Blair
shall be elected as the new
President of the Board of Directors of BP.

As for Dick Cheney ,
he shall remain as vice-president,
because of his wide experience in the " vice"

Eng. Moustafa  Roosenbloom

happy for still receiving the divident of  BP´s share.

PS :
Do not please assume that BP
is only "British" is not !
Posted by Тлакскала at 1:57 PM
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As-Safir: Sarkozy Asked Israel to Shield UNIFIL's French Contingent

19/06/2010 French President Nicolas Sarkozy has reportedly asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for guarantees that the Zionist entity would not launch war on Lebanon prior to informing Paris.

Lebanese daily As-Safir on Saturday quoted an unidentified source in Paris as saying that Sarkozy also urged Netanyahu to shield UNIFIL's French contingent during a possible aggression and to ensure that it will remain neutral in any aggression, especially if Israel decides to launch an attack in the South. The demand was made during their last meeting in Elysee on May 28.

The Lebanese daily said the French request was a reflection of Sarkozy's declining confidence in Netanyahu despite recent assurances that Israel would not attack Lebanon.

Paris believes that the Israeli Prime Minister and his government have already made the decision to launch war but were awaiting the appropriate timing, As-Safir added.

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‘When governments refuse … we as individuals have a duty to act’: MP speaks up for human rights in Palestine, endorses BDS

Thank you, Julia Irwin, Australian federal parliamentarian who gave a fine statement in the House debate on Wednesday, 16 June 2010. The Member for Fowler (ALP) spoke up for citizen action and BDS, stating, “… like the Stalinists of old, some world leaders continue to deny the reality, or, worse, defend it in the name of Israel’s right of self-defence. But while nations’ leaders fail to act, responsible citizens throughout the world are beginning to take action. The worldwide campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions against products and services originating in whole or in part in the occupied territories is gaining momentum.” This adds to opposition MP Sussan Ley‘s effort two years ago, who also spoke up for Palestine and demonstrated more cajones than her male counterparts.

After Irwin’s speech Craig Knowles had to issue a short disclaimer: “I want to make clear that, in making her adjournment speech tonight, the Member for Fowler was not speaking on behalf of the Rudd governent.” No, Mr Knowles, she was just speaking on behalf of much of the rest of the world.
Here’s what Julia Irwin said:
Like millions of people around the world I watched with horror the actions of the Israeli armed forces in their assault on the freedom flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza. The predictable response from the Israeli propaganda machine portrayed the murder of nine peace activists as yet another act of self-defence. While the Secretary-General of the United Nations has called for an independent international inquiry, the United States and Australia are again happy to leave the inquiry in the hands of Israeli authorities. And even if there were any adverse findings we could expect the matter to be brushed aside like the damning Goldstone report into Israel’s war on Gaza in 2009.

This reminds me very much of those apologists for Stalinism who were blind to the human rights abuses of that brutal regime. They would justify any atrocity by saying that it was in defence of socialism and begin each statement with words like ‘you have to realise that more than 20 million Russians were killed in the great patriotic war’. But that is exactly how Western leaders excuse the gross abuses of human rights committed in the name of self-defence by the state of Israel. Are they blind to the evidence presented by United Nations agencies, by Amnesty International or by the Red Cross, none of which could remotely be described as terrorist organisations? And are they also blind to the damage done to their standing in the world community by their unquestioning defence of Israel?
My own awakening to the reality of life in the illegally occupied territories came in a visit in 2000. I mention just one incident that has left a lasting impact on me. We were walking through the streets of East Jerusalem when we were confronted with a group of teenage Israeli youths each carrying a submachine gun slung over their shoulder and with a ‘go ahead, make my day’ look in their eyes. The group came across an old woman sitting in her doorway selling her homemade cheeses from a large platter. To my amazement, one of the youths kicked the platter down the alley spilling the cheeses into the ground. I will never forget the tearful expression on that old woman’s face or the mocking laugh of the youths as they swaggered off down the street.
While this was hardly a gross abuse of human rights, it is part of everyday life in the illegally occupied territories. When taken together with the abduction, imprisonment and torture of more than 10,000 Palestinians, including children and a number of members of the Palestinian Legislative Assembly, the reality of life under the jackboot of Israeli occupation can be felt. And to that can be added the bombing of schools, hospitals and United Nations stores during Israel’s war on Gaza and so many other documented cases of war crimes and crimes against humanity. These are not the acts of a civilised nation.
Yet, like the Stalinists of old, some world leaders continue to deny the reality, or, worse, defend it in the name of Israel’s right of self-defence. But while nations’ leaders fail to act, responsible citizens throughout the world are beginning to take action. The worldwide campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions against products and services originating in whole or in part in the occupied territories is gaining momentum. I am pleased to see unions in Australia, including state branches of the CFMEU and the Australian Services Union, joining this movement. Churches, universities and trade unions are refusing to invest in enterprises conducting business in or involved in construction in the occupied territories. Unions in Europe have applied international law forbidding the economic exploitation of illegally occupied territory and have embargoed goods made in the West Bank. Faced with the refusal by Israeli authorities to allow academic freedom in the occupied territories, many universities have broken contact with Israeli institutions with ties in the West Bank.
When governments refuse to act in the name of civilised society to prevent gross abuses of human rights, we as individuals have a duty to act. The campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions deserves the full support of every thinking and caring Australian.
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United Methodists Vote to Divest from Companies that Benefit from Occupation of Palestine

Intifada Palestine
18. Jun, 2010





End the Occupation, Northern Illinois Conference of the United Methodist Church

ST. CHARLES, ILL. June 15, 2010 – At its annual conference, the Northern Illinois Conference (NIC) of the United Methodist Church (UMC) voted to divest all holdings in three international corporations that profit from the occupation of Palestine. This action is in response to a plea by
Palestinian Christians for action, not just words.

Divestment is a nonviolent form of economic protest long-used by churches and other shareholders to encourage companies to end unjust practices.  By selling its investments in Caterpillar (CAT), General Electric (GE) and Terex (TEX), the NIC expresses its commitment to do no harm with its investments and affirms the call of the UMC Book of Discipline to “avoid investments that appear likely, directly or indirectly, to support violation of human rights” (Paragraph 716).

These three companies are among 20 targeted by UMC conferences across the country because they (1) have a presence on occupied land, (2) are involved with the physical settlements, checkpoints and the separation wall, or (3) support activities of the Israeli military in the occupied territories.

Connie Baker from the End the Occupation Task Force of the Board of Church and Society which brought forth the resolution stated: “We are resolute in our support of peace for both Israelis and Palestinians in the Holy Land and the rights of each to co-exist according to the principles set forth in the Geneva Conventions.    It is a small step, but an important one.”

The conference will also send a list of the 20 offending companies to the nearly 400 local churches in Northern Illinois and encourage them to consider divestment from any corporations on the list.

For the list of targeted corporations, which was compiled by the New England Conference (UMC)

Divestment Task Force, please see:
Source: Peace and Justice Coordinators
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Lebanese aid flotilla - Miriam - set sail for Gaza: Lebanon Rejects Threats; Hezbollah Denies Link

Al-Manar : Lebanon Rejects Threats; Hezbollah Denies Link

18/06/2010 One day after the new Israeli threats against Lebanon over the Gaza-bound aid ships, Hezbollah issued a statement on Friday in which it rejected all accusations and expressed full support for the missions.

In the statement, the Resistance party reiterated its praise for all human moves aimed at breaking the siege of the Gaza strip and hailed the courage of all participants in Gaza-bound aid missions and ships.

However, Hezbollah believed that the success of such initiative depends on its popular and civil nature. Thus, the Resistance party has decided to remain distant from this human move at all levels whether at the cooperation level or logistically or even humanly, the statement added. This decision comes to oblige the enemy to lose the opportunity of fabricating any pretext to attack the participants, Hezbollah statement concluded.

Earlier, Lebanese and Egyptian premiers Saad Hariri and Ahmed Nazif condemned the new Israeli threat against Beirut, saying it "might have dire consequences” for Tel Aviv.

Hariri and Nazif took the stance after Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned the Beirut government against allowing an aid ship to depart Lebanon for the besieged Gaza Strip. "I say clearly to the government of Lebanon: You are responsible for the boats leaving your ports, which have the clear and stated intention of trying to break the naval blockade on Gaza," he said in a statement.

"The Israeli government continues to threaten Lebanon," Hariri said at a news briefing with visiting Nazif in Beirut on Thursday. "There are fleets coming from Europe," Hariri said, wondering whether the Israeli defense minister would attack and threaten Europe or other countries sending aid to Gaza?

"Enough lies ... Israel's actions are not humanitarian and are rejected by all human rights treaties," the Lebanese prime minister went on to say.

Nazif, for his part, warned Israel against consequences of a similar assault on the women activists' aid ship. The Egyptian premier said that an Israeli attack on the ship "might have dire consequences as we saw with the Turkish Freedom flotilla."

"The region is facing a crossroads between the will for peace, which all Arab states voice and the international community supports, and Israel's reluctance and intransigence," Nazif said.
Last week a group of female Lebanese activists announced a plan to send an aid ship loaded with medical supplies to Gaza. The organizers of the aid convoy say 50 Lebanese and foreign activists would be aboard the ship.

In addition to the initiative of the Lebanese women, two non-governmental organizations - the Free Palestine Movement and the Beirut-based Journalists Without Limits – had also announced their intention to send ships to Gaza soon.

Israel threatens to arrest and try passengers of international ships bound for Gaza


Israeli authorities have warned that they will arrest any peace activists who participate in international aid convoys bound for the Gaza Strip and put them on trial.

According to Maarif Hebrew newspaper, "Israel sent a clear warning to the international community with the announcement that it plans to arrest, conduct a thorough investigation and prosecute any person on board the ships that are expected to arrive soon."

This was a reference to Lebanese and Iranian ships allegedly being sent to break the illegal blockade of Gaza, and a second Freedom Flotilla later in the year.

A spokesperson for the Israeli Foreign Ministry said, "We have asked foreign ambassadors to send a message to the citizens of their countries asking them to reconsider being on board similar aid ships given that the treatment they will encounter will vary from that used with the last flotilla that sailed from Turkey." Any ships sailing from Lebanon would, the spokesperson said, face the possibility of hostile treatment. "Turkey is not defined as an enemy country", the spokesperson added, whereas Lebanon is regarded as such by Israel.

Israel is apparently keen to send threatening letters explaining that passengers detained will not be deported after 24 hours at the expense of taxpayers in Israel, as with the Freedom Flotilla, "but will stand trial and will be jailed".


Lebanese aid ship 'Miriam' christened


Bethlehem - Ma'an - A group of Lebanese women on Thursday christened the boat on which they hope to arrive in Gaza the "Miriam" in honor of the Virgin Mary, Agence-France Presse reported Friday.

"Mariam has begun to achieve its goals and aims, as Israeli officials expressed fear and sent out warnings and threats before deciding to ease the blockade on Gaza," a spokeswoman from the group, Rima Farah, told the French wire service, adding that faith would be the only weapon on board the ship.

The group of women, made up of Christians and Muslims, gathered in the southern Lebanese town of Maghdushe and prayed together for the safety of the ship set to sail later in June along with European activists and journalists.

Israeli officials expressly warned ships coming from Lebanon and Iran that their boats would be stopped by force if they attempted to enter Gaza waters and dock at the Gaza City Port.

The women told AFP they are not affiliated with any political party, and only hope to bring aid and medicine to Gaza. "The ship is now ready," organizer Samar Al-Hajj told AFP. "We are not afraid."
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Israel's propaganda war

Israel's propaganda war

Israel's ability to shape public opinion regarding the flotilla massacre is intimately linked to its long-standing campaign to manipulate global public perceptions of what has been happening in Palestine all along since Israel's birth in 1947.

Its policy remains consistent. It is a successful strategy always focusing on Jewish victimhood.

The success is rooted in a political reality. Where knowledge is limited, and the desire and means to learn and understand the complex reality or issues doesn't exist, public opinion can be manipulated and shaped by whoever generates the most powerful symbols.

The precise truth or falsehood of this portrayal hardly matters. For most of the world thus far, the Palestine issue is poorly understood and not a matter of immediate concern. The manipulators intend to shape the perceptions of a global public with limited interest in or understanding of the issues, filling in the blanks with their own narrative. Their use of the media is a powerful political weapon designed to define perceptions. Using an amalgam of incidents and images to display, a propaganda war is being waged to create sympathy.
The moral question has been made ambiguous.

What seems to matter is the ability to identify the victim as victimizer through obfuscation and confusion thus helping form global opinion that would lead members of the international community to adopt political stances advantageous to the opinion managers.

Israel's success in establishing its own narrative in the public sphere as the dominant one is in no small measure due to the excellence of the Jewish community in the media field. Moving stories made into movies like the "Exodus" and many others are poignant accounts of Jewish suffering. It is equally important to recognize the Palestinian/Arab inability to offer their own narrative in a coherent constructive way
Times have changed. Because of plethora of technologies now there are opportunities for many to present alternative ideas and counternarratives and be heard across this planet...   The ground seems to be shifting.
The flotilla incidence has gotten the State of Israel in a pickle. Though all its faithful propagandists are out in public arguing that there was nothing wrong with the raid on the ships carrying aid to Gaza, and the American media are straining every which way and even very much against their better instincts, to cooperate, they are not succeeding in making a dent in the public perception. There remains in the minds of most people across the globe the perception that things truly shocking and fundamentally unacceptable took place out there on the high seas. 

Eyewitness accounts have begun to come back from those arrested on the ships.  With all clarity it is apparent that the Israeli forces did their best to pre-empt the account of the story, giving thereby prima facie evidence of careful planning for exactly what happened. They took care to cut off all communication from those ships at sea except their own. All cameras, electronic devices that could hold any pictures or video were confiscated and have not been returned. That was an accomplishment, as practically everyone on board had cameras and recording devices. It was only by hiding away a few of those tiny memory cards that passengers were able to retain any of the horrifying pictures and video that are now beginning to emerge. Even now, few people have seen those other than on Internet postings. Our America media are not publishing them.

Passengers were kept incommunicado for the period of the first few days during which these events could be expected to hold the attention of the news cycle.  They were all initially detained at Ashdod, but quickly transferred to a special prison that had been prepared for them in advance near Beersheba, far from anywhere that outside reporters had accesses to.

Several journalists, now finally beginning to talk, were on the ship, and the Israelis' first action was to put a gun to the head of the lead Turkish organizer of reporting, and kill him instantly. He was one of the five killed by shots to the head at point blank range. The one 19-year-old Turk among the killed, Furkan Dogan, who happened to have joint American citizenship, was shot five times at a range of less than 45 centimeters, once in the face, once in the back of the head, twice in the leg and once in the back. The main Internet man in the media room was also shot in the head. The Turkish forensic people who were able to examine the bodies of the dead once they were finally returned report that some had been shot as many as thirty times.

All the passengers were thrown into terrified panic as these events so suddenly unfolded.  None had expected that the effort to prevent their getting to Gaza would be so savage and violent.  Even the resistance put up by a few passengers as the first Israeli paratroopers arrived on deck was sporadic and unplanned.  The descending soldiers were disarmed. The guns taken from them were not discharged but were thrown into the sea. The Israelis who had been overpowered - they had evidently expected no resistance - were promptly given medical attention by a Turkish doctor on board, Dr. Hasan Huseyin Uysal, and were turned over to the Israelis at once as more arrived from the boats. Wounded defenders were dragged by the Israelis below decks out of sight.  Medical attention was denied to them for a matter of hours and several of the deaths resulted from this wanton refusal of treatment.

The terrified passengers were then confined on land in crowded facilities, refused access to toilets, many of them beaten and abused. It was demanded of them all that they sign confessions for entering Israel illegally, but they refused on the basis that they had had no intention of entering Israel but had been trying to enter supposedly independent Gaza. They saw themselves as kidnapped or abducted at sea and brought to Israel against their will.  Holding them proved such an embarrassment to the Israelis that after a few days the Turks were allowed to land planes that took them out of the country.

More details of Israeli excesses are emerging and will continue. But the question is what is happening subsequently. Zeev Sternhell's editorial in the Haaretz newspaper, titled "Time to pay the bill," sees it as an unprecedented crisis, "the last link in a long chain of failures and acts of folly," which deprives Israel of the standing it has so long held as "a responsible and level-headed power." He cites acts of restraint by Israel in earlier conflicts, but regards Benjamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak, Moshe Ya'alon and Avigdor Lieberman as belonging to a different species of politician, one that cannot be relied on, with the consequence that the world - even the United States - will no longer allow Israel to function without supervision and an effective kind of pressure.  It can no longer be assumed that any action of Israel is justified by the very fact that Israel has done it. It is not surprising that Ehud Barak, defense minister and therefore responsible for the actions of the Israeli military, has apparently had to cancel a visit to Paris for fear of arrest over this episode.

The UN Security Council has deplored "the acts which led to" all this violence, leaving it a bit up in the air whose violence it was talking about, but the Obama administration has called the whole siege situation in Gaza unsustainable and called, in the words of the UN resolution, for a credible investigation, urging that it be more than an internal investigation of themselves by the Israeli military.

The Israelis, though, blandly announce that they will do just that, an internal investigation that will convince no one who is not already determined to be convinced... Netanyahu government's decision to establish the Tirkel Commission which is supposed to probe the lethal raid on the Gaza Flotilla is a deliberate attempt to appease the international condemnation and outrage over the incidence. The commission is required to function only within the parameters that Netanyahu government has laid out. The commission is specifically and explicitly excluded from calling any soldier or officer to testify. It must place a blind trust in the army's own investigation of its own doings, which is carried on secretly and whose pre-selected results will be presented to the commission. And it is highly unlikely that the commission would hear and seriously consider the eyewitness testimonies of the boat's Turkish, European and American passengers, whom the State of Israel already branded as "terrorists".

And in that context our President Obama, as clearly as he evidently sees all this and anxious as he is to have a proper and credible investigation by others than those who carried out the raid themselves, is now urged to temper any even implicit criticism of Israel over it and recite the Israeli propaganda line, with threats of political consequences if he does not obey. What a fearful new embarrassment for the United States should he do so, how discrediting before the entire world that knows better, how disheartening a real disservice to any good for the Israelis!

Hamas, of course, could make it very easy for Obama to bow this way before Israeli demands, by initiating some vengeful act that would further poison the world's perception of them and their cause, or even some spate of invective or inflammatory rhetoric that would adversely color the situation.

The president hopefully will unequivocally endorse the demand of the international community for an independent inquiry. He should not be blindsided by the propaganda war or internal political pressures.
This should be his moral commitment.

- Fr. Raymond G. Helmick, S.J. is instructor in conflict resolution, Department of Theology, Boston College and author of Negotiating Outside the Law: Why Camp David Failed (London, Pluto Press 2004). Dr. Nazir Khaja is a peace activist, chairman of Islamic Information Service, Los Angeles. Both authors have been members of Middle-East Peace delegations with Rev. Jesse Jackson and others on a number of occasions and have met the Palestinian leadership.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Suddenly, the Israel lobby discovers a genocide

I tried to blow the whistle on the Israel lobby's denial of the Armenian Genocide -- and I had to leave my job

By Mark Arax
  • Reuters/Jessica Rinaldi
Armenian Americans and people against genocide gather to commemorate the 95th anniversary of the World War One killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks and a call for it to be termed a genocide in New York City April 25, 2010.
Some of the most powerful leaders in the American Jewish community have stepped forward in recent days to acknowledge the 1915 Armenian Genocide at the hands of Ottoman Turkey.

On the surface, this would seem unremarkable. As victims of the Holocaust, Jews might be expected to stand beside the Armenians and their tragedy. After all, the massacres and death marches across Anatolia during the fog of World War I became a model for Hitler himself.

But this sudden embrace of the Armenian Genocide actually marks a shameless turnaround for the major American Jewish organizations. For decades, they have helped Turkey cover up its murderous past. Each year, the Israel lobby in the U.S. has played a quiet but pivotal role in pressuring Congress, the State Department and successive presidents to defeat simple congressional resolutions commemorating the 1.5 million Armenian victims.

Genocide denial is not a pretty thing, they now concede, but they did it for Israel. They did it out of gratitude for Turkey being Israel’s one and only Muslim ally.

Now the game has changed. Israel and Turkey are locked in a feud over the Palestine-bound flotilla that was intercepted on the high seas by Israel. Turkey is outraged over the killing of nine of its citizens on board. Israel is outraged that a country with Turkey’s past would dare judge the morality of the Jewish state.
So the Armenian Genocide has become a new weapon in the hands of Israel and its supporters in the U.S., a way to threaten Turkey, a conniver’s get-even: Hey, Turkey, if you want to play nasty with Israel, if you want to lecture us about violations of human rights, we can easily go the other way on the Armenian Genocide. No more walking the halls of Congress to plead your shameful case.

If I sound cynical about all this, maybe I am.

In the spring of 2007, I wrote a story that revealed how genocide denial had become a dirty little pact between Turkey and Israel and its lobby in the U.S.

The story, as it turned out, was my last story at the Los Angeles Times, the only story in my 20-year career that was killed on the eve of publication.

Three years later, I can still hear myself framing its contours to one of our editors in the Washington bureau:
A rift over genocide denial has begun to crack open inside the Jewish community. If you listen closely, you can hear the stirrings of a debate.

On one side were the conservative, Likud-devoted lions of the major Jewish organizations who championed the virtues of Turkey, the first Muslim country to formally recognize Israel. As long as Ankara continued to cooperate in Israeli military exercises and purchase Israeli war machines, it deserved special treatment. Israel itself had adopted an official policy of denying the Armenian Genocide. Its supporters in the U.S. were obliged to do the same.

On the other side were more progressive Jews who couldn’t stomach the notion that Holocaust survivors were working so diligently to erase the memory of another people’s genocide. How could Jewish leaders whose every sense was tuned to detect the Holocaust deniers in our midst, who had gone to the ends of the earth to hunt down Hitler’s henchmen, now enlist with the patrons of genocide?

It was the sort of hypocrisy that made the vow of "Never Again" sound exclusive, a shelter for just one.
My editor was intrigued. Here was an important and timely topic that no newspaper or magazine had ever covered. The fact that I was the grandson of Armenian Genocide survivors didn’t seem to give him any pause. If nothing else, my ethnic background gave me a working knowledge of the issues and the players.
I knew that experts in the field of Holocaust studies recognized the Armenian Genocide as an antecedent with chilling echoes. And Jewish scholars were openly condemning Turkey’s long campaign of denial, seeing it as the psychological continuation of genocidal trauma.

But these same scholars were mostly silent when it came to the behind-the-scenes role that Israel and its lobby in the U.S -- the Anti-Defamation League, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, neoconservative think tanks and Bush administration hawks -- were playing in this denial.

This was the story I wanted to tell as the ceremonial bill went to committee that April -- the month that Armenians remember their martyrs.

The only caution from my editor was that I conduct all interviews on-the-record. "Unnamed sources aren’t going to work for this one," he said.
I drove down Wilshire Boulevard and knock
ed on the door of the Turkish Consulate. The diplomat in charge, a polished man in a three-piece suit, wondered how the events of 1915 could constitute a genocide if I, an Armenian, was standing literally before him.

“So both of your grandfathers survived, huh?” he said in an accuser’s tone.

I tracked down Yair Auron, the professor at the Open University of Israel who had authored the seminal 2003 book “The Banality of Denial: Israel and the Armenian Genocide.”

He had written it out of shame, he said. "Denial of the Armenian Genocide in the Jewish Diaspora is closely connected to the policy of denial in Israel. This is nothing less than a betrayal of the moral legacy of the Holocaust."

Then I found my way to the equivocators and deniers who sat at the helms of the major American Jewish organizations. None was more blunt than Abraham Foxman, the head of the Anti-Defamation League in New York. The Armenian Genocide had become his own convenient cudgel to keep Turkey in line.
Foxman had just returned from a meeting with Turkish military and government leaders to discuss pressuring Congress, the State Department and President Bush to turn back the genocide resolution once again.

"Our focus is Israel," he explained. "If helping Turkey helps Israel, then that’s what we’re in the business of doing."

But such a bottom line would seem an uncomfortable place for a Jewish leader to be when the question was genocide.

"Was it genocide?" he said. "It was wartime. Things get messy."

He questioned whether a bill in Congress would help "reconcile" the differences between Turks and Armenians, as though the whole thing was a marital spat that needed some calming down.

"The Turks and Armenians need to revisit their past. The Jewish community shouldn’t be the arbiter of that history. And I don’t think the U.S. Congress should be the arbiter, either."

He was lifting lines right out of the Turkish playbook. I almost had to revisit his website to make sure that the ADL was still in the business of fighting not only anti-Semitism but "bigotry and extremism" and "securing justice and fair treatment to all."

I pointed out that the genocide had already been documented as a fact by many prominent historians. And Congress recognizes all sorts of people's history. Resolutions commemorating the victims of the Holocaust, for instance.

"You’re not suggesting that an Armenian Genocide is the same as the Holocaust, are you?"

I tried to draw the parallels that the scholars had drawn, but Foxman saw it as an affront. The oneness of the Holocaust was being debased by Armenians looking for a piggyback ride.

"Are you Armenian?" he finally asked.

"Would it matter if I was?" I replied. “Black reporters cover civil rights. Latino reporters cover immigration. Jewish reporters write about Holocaust deniers. We’re journalists.”

I wrote the story and filed it. My editor in Washington was pleased. It landed on the weekend budget, a strong candidate for Page One.

The weekend came and went, but the story held. I called the editor and asked if there was a problem. He was sorry to say that the story had been killed -- on a last-minute order from the managing editor.
“But why?” I asked.
"Your byline," he said.
"My byline?”

Then it hit me. Even as the paper was nominating one of my other stories for a Pulitzer Prize, on this story I was an Armenian.

The official explanation was a beauty. The managing editor said I was not an objective reporter because I had once signed a petition stating that the Armenian Genocide was a historical fact.

I had never signed such a petition. But if I had, how did this prove bias? Our own style book at the Times recognized the genocide as a historical fact.

"Would you tell a Jewish reporter that he couldn’t write about Holocaust denial because he believed the Holocaust was a fact?” I asked.

His answer was to reassign my story to a colleague in Washington who covered Congress. That this reporter was Jewish -- and the story dealt with Jewish denial of the genocide -- didn’t seem to faze the managing editor. The colleague, who may not have had a choice in the matter, proceeded to gut my story. By the time he was done, there was not a single mention of Jewish denial.

After an ugly public fight, I left the paper. The managing editor was later pushed out when an internal probe showed that my story was factual and without bias.

These days, I find myself more than a curious observer of the new cold war that has broken out between Turkey and Israel and its supporters.

What to make of the rush of Jewish leaders -- from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington to a city councilman named Jack Weiss in Los Angeles -- coming forward in the past few weeks to divulge their role in genocide denial?

"Frankly, [it] was not becoming for Jews, given that we have likewise been victims of genocide," Weiss wrote in an inelegant piece in the Jewish Journal.

How to account for these sudden confessions? A pang of remorse? A cleansing of the soul? I’m afraid not. These aren’t confessions, at all. Rather, they are reminders of the debt Turkey owes Israel -- and they come with teeth bared.

Last week, four Jewish professors from Georgetown and Bar Ilan universities urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide. Take that, Turkey!
How will Ankara react? Will fear of genocide recognition, which it considers a national security issue, eventually cause Turkey to soften its accusations of apartheid against Israel and become a compliant ally again?

And what about the Armenians and their lobby? Aren’t they guilty of their own cynicism for watching the flotilla feud and now thinking that the winds of geopolitics have finally blown their way? Will they cozy up to Jewish leaders suddenly eager to embrace their genocide? Or will they tell them "thanks but no thanks" and join Turkey in standing up for the Palestinian cause?

Only next April, the season of the return of the genocide resolution, will tell.

Mark Arax is the author of several books, including the most recent, “West of the West.”

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Gaza students call on Tiesto to cancel Israel concert

Open letter, Palestinian Students' Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel, 18 June 2010

The following letter to Tiesto -- a Dutch musician scheduled to perform in Eilat, Israel next month -- was issued on 18 June by the Palestinian Students' Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel (PSCABI):

Dear Tiesto,

Nietzsche once said that life without music would be a mistake. The greater mistake against humanity would be to deny one the ability to express themselves in music, in poetry, in dance, in literature, in pleasure and in love.

Dear Tiesto, as you must be aware, we, in Gaza, have been denied the ability to express ourselves. We are denied a voice, denied a smile, to live in safety and security, denied the right to express love, denied sleep, denied the right to express pain, denied the right to read, to write, denied to be human, and what is left? This is life under Israeli medieval siege. Even the people who feel with us are punished for their freedom of expression. They were attacked, shot at, terrorized and butchered as the world stood in horror to the acts of state terrorism that could only be compared to 1930s Germany and Italy, to the Stalinist era, and to the crimes of the rogue state of apartheid South Africa.

Dear Tiesto, you must have been, like us, shocked at the video of an Israeli occupation soldier executing a courageous, conscientious activist Furkan Dogan's head with four bullets from a close range.

Furkan was 19 and a student like us. When the Israeli occupation soldiers shoot, they shoot to kill. When they tell you stop and obey their commands, they expect you to obey most slavishly with no resistance. Their arrogance, and superiority are not to be challenged and you must be taught to lower your head. That will never happen.

The latest Israeli massacre against international peace activists on board of the Turkish aid boat to Gaza is just a miniature picture of what happens every day in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, not to mention the third class citizenry of Israel implementing racist laws and a continuous process of ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians of 1948.

Dear Tiesto, the farmer is killed on the spot as she waters her blossoming lemon tree, or what is left of her lemon orchids after Israeli bulldozers uproot them. The poor fisherman is shot as he lingers in one mile of water, a limitless sea transformed to a cage, because a soldier had a whim. And 78 students who finished their high schools and who won scholarships to pursue their education abroad are prevented every year from traveling, which violates the right of movement guaranteed under the human rights universal jurisdiction.

We write to you from Gaza, where we can no longer sing, and where no international singer and DJs are allowed to play and sing for us. We are choked now after four years of a stifling, deadly Israeli siege. The amputated bodies of more than 440 children failed to move leaders of the world towards this human made catastrophe.

Dear Tiesto, a child of four in the poorest neighborhood of Jabalya's refugee camp in Gaza does not know what chocolate tastes like because Israel says so!

Dear Tiesto, we write to you to appeal to you to be on the just side of history, to have your voice with the oppressed. Like many other internationally renowned musicians and singers who decided not to entertain apartheid Israel such as Elvis Costello, Gil Scott-Heron, the Klaxons and Gorillaz Sound System, the Pixies, Carlos Santana and David Banhart, we expect you to follow suit and refrain from doing so. We expect you to sing against apartheid, against ethnic cleansing, for freedom, justice and accountability.

Dear Tiesto,

We are traumatized, but hopeful; angry, but full of love; devastated, but strong. Echoing the boycott, divestment and sanctions call of our Black South African comrades against apartheid, we ask you to boycott Apartheid Israel. Dear Tiesto, please don't play for Israel.

Palestinian Students' Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel (PSCABI) Besieged Gaza, Palestine

When......and What ??

Frastrated Arab's Diary
An Arab,  carrying
the "next-terrorist"

When an Israeli shoots at an Arab ,
it is
"War on Terrorism".

When an Arab shoots at an Israeli,
it is
Terrorism against the War.

When the Israeli-Navy
hijacks a humanitarian- aid-ship
it is for
 " protecting the shores of a stolen Land"

When Somalian-pirates
hijack a toxic-garbage- ship
it is for
" What ?? precisely  "

And what if , a toxic-waist-ship
came from the Israeli-nuclear- plant
in Dimona
and the Pirates
were to be some Somalian-jews ??
............ .

Raja Chemayel
Posted by Тлакскала at 6:21 PM
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Wiles : Rise People, Rise

Via My Catbird Seat

- 18. Jun, 2010
By Rich Wiles

Raise the Palestinian Flag

Through the recent murderous events in international waters Israel has once again shown its true colours and its total disregard for humanity. From the global reaction over the last week it seems that, for once, a huge majority of people around the world have seen these attacks in a clear light. Let us call a massacre a massacre. Whilst these atrocities have clearly appalled millions of people, the inhumanity of the Zionist regime should have come as no surprise, for this is nothing new.

What happened to the dedicated human rights activists aboard the Freedom Flotilla in the early hours of Monday 31 May was yet another example of Israel’s barbarity against innocent human beings, yet by the following afternoon it could not even be called the latest attack. As people around the world took to the streets to call for an end to Israel’s impunity, people in Palestine continued to resist all the way from the southern Palestinian town of Rafah in Gaza, north and across the Palestinian towns of 1948 Palestine, and yet further around the West Bank. At Kalandia Checkpoint near Ramallah, Palestinians gathered to demonstrate against the massacre at sea. The IDF response was violent as is the norm, and this led to more bloodshed. A 21-year-old American photographer was shot in the eye by what is thought to have been a high-velocity tear-gas canister. Emily Henochowicz was immediately rushed to hospital; she now has only one eye…

On Tuesday, three Palestinians were killed in Gaza including a 65-year-old woman who was shot in the legs in the area of the Kerem Shalom crossing. In the following days, Zionist settlers, who are supported by the Israeli government in their colonisation of Palestinian land through financial incentives and ideology (let us not forget that Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is himself a settler living in a West Bank colony near Bethlehem), have continued their violent campaigns against Palestine and its people. In the northern West Bank, settlers from the Yitzhar colony torched around 100 dunums of Palestinian almond and olive groves on Wednesday. On the same day, in Al-Khalil (Hebron), a Palestinian was killed by settlers in a car crash. Thursday morning brought yet more Palestinian blood; this time is was the blood of two schoolboys. As children from Al-Aroub refugee camp crossed a road on their way to class a car stopped and an armed settler stepped out of the vehicle. According to witnesses, the settler then proceeded to open fire on the schoolboys. This incident happened in full view of the permanently manned IDF watchtowers that dominate the entrance to Al-Aroub Camp. Two boys were shot; one was hit in the thigh, whilst the second boy is still in critical condition after being shot through his stomach. Doctors are as yet still unsure if this boy will survive. Following the shooting the settler got back in his car and drove away.

People around the world are expressing their anger at the massacre carried out against the flotilla, and rightly so, but nobody should lose sight of the wider context. The activists on board those ships were demonstrating their support for justice, and their refusal to remain silent. The exact details of injuries and deaths is still unclear, but what is abundantly clear is that they died in defence of Palestine. As those people died, so other innocent people are continuing to die much as they have done for over 62 years under the black clouds of Zionism.

It seems that at last, huge numbers of people around the world are taking notice of events in Palestine, and more widely against Palestinian people and their supporters. Israel’s continued and developing disregard for life and the rule of law is being clearly seen globally by people who would not consider themselves to be activists. These actions are no longer only known by those who choose to find out for themselves; the truth is becoming so very clear for so many people. What happened in international waters in the early hours of Monday morning was grotesque and inhumane, as were the events in the following days which must also be recognised internationally.

The 1948 massacres in Deir Yassin, Tantura, and other villages; the massacre in Kufr Qassem in 1956; the massacres in the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila in 1982; the massacres in Qana in 1996 and again in 2006; the massacre in Jenin Refugee Camp in 2002; the massacres in Gaza through 2008 and 2009; the ongoing external and internal displacement of millions of Palestinians, and more than 60 years of ongoing colonisation of Palestinian lands and all-encompassing denial of rights — this is the context in which this most recent massacre is inextricably rooted.

The Israeli propaganda machine is working harder than it has ever had to work before, but its wheels are falling off. The lies of Binyamin Netanyahu and his fellow war criminals are becoming more and more desperate, and more and more transparent.

People of the world, you can see what is happening. You are taking to the streets. You are rightly angry at this inhumanity. For the sake of your fellow human beings this barbarity must be stopped forever. All inalienable rights must be enforced, and all occupied lands must be liberated. Now must be our time; Rise people, rise.

* The writer is an artist, author and activist based in Palestine. His latest book is Behind the Wall: Life, Love & Struggle in Palestine (Potomac Books).

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Iternational organizations renew condemnation of Gaza siege

Nora Barrows-Friedman, The Electronic Intifada, 17 June 2010

Palestinian medics treat a man wounded by Israeli fire during a protest of Israel's buffer zone in Gaza City, April 2010. (Hatem Omar/MaanImages)

On Monday, 14 June, Muhammad Juma Abu Wardeh, a 17-year-old Palestinian laborer, was shot and wounded by Israeli snipers along the "buffer zone" in eastern Gaza as he collected materials for a cement plant in Jabaliya, north of Gaza City. Israel's ongoing blockade against the Gaza Strip has prevented access to raw construction materials, such as cement and industrial aggregates, forcing workers to risk their lives to trawl open agricultural areas for resources.

Since the 31 May attack on the Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla, during which Israeli naval commandos boarded the Mavi Marmara ship in international waters and killed nine unarmed activists, international organizations and several governments have condemned Israel for its actions at high sea. Furthermore, they have addressed the draconian policies associated with the three-year blockade against the Gaza Strip that the Freedom Flotilla aimed to break.

In a move widely seen as a token gesture meant to ease public outcry against its policies, Israel's National Security Cabinet stated on Thursday, 17 June that it would change its "method" of the blockade in order to ease the import of banned items into Gaza. According to a 17 June statement by Amnesty International, citing media reports, "Israel is to move from allowing only listed products into Gaza to using a list of products that will be specifically prohibited. It is not yet clear which products will remain prohibited and there is also no mention of allowing the free movement of people, also a human right under international law" ("Israel Gaza Blockade must be Completely Lifted").

The Palestinian news agency Maan reports that "under the plan, the port would remain closed, the naval blockade would continue, the Erez crossing would close and Israel would continue controlling the 300-meter wide 'no go zone' that amounts to some 67 square kilometers of the tiny Gaza Strip" ("Israeli cabinet to change 'method' of siege," 17 June 2010). The elected Hamas government swiftly condemned Israel's plan, saying that it was an attempt to "mislead" the public.

In its statement released following the Israeli government's announcement, Amnesty International urged the Israeli government to "completely lift" its blockade against Gaza. Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International's director for the Middle East and North Africa, denounced Israel's move: "This announcement makes it clear that Israel is not intending to end its collective punishment of Gaza's civilian population, but only ease it. This is not enough ... Any step that will help reduce the dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza is to be welcomed, but Israel must now comply with its obligations as the occupying power under international law and immediately lift the blockade."

Alongside the draconian banning of imports into Gaza, the non-existent export flow has plunged Gaza into an economic crisis, which is not addressed in Israel's new plan for the blockade.

"Just as important as allowing goods into Gaza is allowing exports to leave Gaza, yet there is no mention of this in today's announcement," stated Smart. "Banning the vast majority of exports, raw materials and the movement of people has destroyed the economy of Gaza, and pushed its population into unemployment, poverty and dependency on aid agencies for survival. These problems will not be solved while the blockade continues."

Amnesty's appeal comes on the heels of a similar statement released on Monday, 14 June by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). In its statement, the ICRC categorized Israel's blockade against the Gaza Strip as a violation of international law, ending three years of self-described neutrality by the organization, as it hesitated to publicly condemn Israeli policies against Gaza until this point.

"The closure imposed on the Gaza Strip is about to enter its fourth year, choking off any real possibility of economic development," the statement read. "Gazans continue to suffer from unemployment, poverty and warfare, while the quality of Gaza's health care system has reached an all-time low ... The whole of Gaza's civilian population is being punished for acts for which they bear no responsibility. The closure therefore constitutes a collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel's obligations under international humanitarian law."

The ICRC's full statement calls on the international community to make sure Israel ends the blockade and meets its obligations toward Palestinians in Gaza under humanitarian law ("Gaza closure: not another year!").

ICRC spokesman Simon Schorno told The Electronic Intifada from Washington, DC that although confidential meetings to address the Gaza blockade were held with Israeli officials last year, the Israeli government had not fulfilled its obligations under international law. "We've been saying all along that [Israel was] violating international law," Schorno said. "Now we're publicly denouncing its violations of the law against Gaza."

Schorno said that the ICRC identified several issues that impede normal life in Gaza under Israel's blockade. "First of all, the closure is the main obstacle. We emphasize that the strict provisions of health services in Gaza -- including the medicines that patients are allowed to receive, the maintenance of medical equipment, and the electricity shortages -- are very problematic. Dialysis machines, for example, need electricity to work. Power cuts prevent doctors from treating patients. And the situation regarding clean water is terrible. There is virtually no access to clean water, as the entire ground system has been contaminated."

Schorno told EI that as a direct result of Israel's blockade, along with Egypt's years-long collusion with Israel's policy of border closure, Palestinians inside the Gaza strip have been forced to purchase lower-quality goods at skyrocketing prices -- usually smuggled through the vast tunnel network at the Gaza-Egypt border. He also said that Israel's militarized enforcement of Gaza's shrinking maritime sovereignty in the Mediterranean, and the 300km-long "no go zone" along the land perimeters of the strip, has devastated the local fishing and agricultural economies.

"What we're aiming for with this statement is to ensure that signatories to the Geneva Conventions abide by its obligations," Schorno added. "Israel did not provide any results. We're not naive; we don't think that the statement will immediately change things, but we can call on all parties to act and for collective punishment to come to an end. The fact that we can speak about this matter, and these violations, makes a difference. This is an important step."

Nora Barrows-Friedman is an award-winning independent journalist, writing for The Electronic Intifada, Inter Press Service, Truthout and other outlets. She regularly reports from Palestine, where she also runs media workshops for youth in the Dheisheh refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.