Julie Webb-Pullman reports

Posts tagged “Israel

Israel conducts dawn raids in Gaza

Shortly before dawn on Friday 31 January, Israel warplanes carried out a series of air-strikes in locations across Gaza.

In a most cynical exercise in excess, three missiles struck a children’s entertainment centre, “Bissan City.”

Children's entertainment centre bombed into oblivion

Children’s entertainment centre bombed into oblivion

Another air-strike targeted a military site of Al-Quds Brigades in Rafah, causing injury.

A residential house in the area of Ferdaws in the city of Rafah was targeted, with injuries reported.

A further attack in the northern Gaza Strip resulted in the arrival of two injured to Balsam Hospital.

The spokesperson of the Ministry of Health, Ashraf Al Qudra, has confirmed that the early-morning strikes caused a total of eight injured, including children.

Some of today's injured being treated in Gaza

Some of today’s injured being treated in Gaza


Open Letter to Oxfam CEO Mark Goldring re Scarlett Johannson & SodaStream

Dear Mark,

Oxfam global ambassadors must demonstrate that they are worthy of both Oxfam’s and the international community’s respect by conducting themselves in a manner commensurate with the principles of Oxfam.

A person promoting – thus condoning – gross breaches of international law, is surely not a suitable Global Ambassador for Oxfam.

Oxfam Global Ambassador Scarlett Johannson has signed on to a SodaStream Endorsement deal. SodaStream is an Israeli company that makes products in a settlement built on West Bank territory Israel has occupied since 1967. Such settlements are illegal under international law, and the subject of several United Nations Resolutions.

Continuing to use Scarlett Johannson as an Oxfam Global Ambassador implies that Oxfam also condones these practices, which contravene the rights of Palestinians and the will of the international community, as well as international law.

If thumbing its nose at international law has become one of the principles of Oxfam, the international community – who provides a significant proportion of Oxfam’s funding – has the right to a clear statement on it, not to be fobbed off with secret “dialogue” between Oxfam and Scarlett Johannson.

In the circumstances, the clearest statement that Oxfam does NOT condone breaking international law, or profiteering from illegal Israeli settlement activity, is to immediately dissociate the organisation from the person promoting such practices – Scarlett Johansson.

Oxfam cannot expect either continued support OR respect from the international community otherwise.

Is an ethics-deficient Hollywood actress really worth so much more than the years of goodwill, assistance and hard work Oxfam has achieved to date, and with good judgement and good leadership, could continue to achieve?

Every minute that Oxfam prevaricates on this issue causes more damage to Palestinians, to Oxfam, and to the people it was designed to help – the poor, not transnational companies contravening international law, and exploiting Palestinians for commercial profit.

I draw your attention to a statement made in the Guardian a few months after your appointment to the position of CEO of Oxfam: “We want an organisation that represents the next 50 years, not the last 50.

I also want Oxfam to be an organisation that represents the next 50 years – of justice, freedom and economic opportunity for Palestinians on their own lands, not the last 50 years that have represented nothing but ethnic cleansing, displacement, land theft, and loss of Palestinian life and liberty through illegal Israeli settlements.

As CEO I ask you to take a step towards that future, and immediately relieve Scarlett Johannson of her Oxfam Global Ambassadorship.


Gaza: escalation or provocation

Israeli military forces this morning shot and killed a Palestinian civilian in the Northern Gaza Strip. Bilal Owaida, 20 years old, was walking with friends in land close to the buffer zone near Jabalia camp when Israeli forces opened fire on them, killing him and injuring three others.

Bilal Owaida

Bilal Owaida

There is widespread belief that Israel is trying to provoke an escalation, having killed five Palestinians and wounded 23 already this month, including members of the Al Quds Brigades and Islamic Jihad, as well as civilians.

Coupled with the US State Department’s announcement of the addition of Islamic Jihad’s Deputy Secretary-General Ziyad al-Nakhalah to the list of “terrorist organizations and individuals” there is concern that the US has given Israel political and legal cover to target leaders of the Palestinian resistance.

The spokesman for Islamic Jihad, Daoud Shihab, told AlMonitor on Thursday that his movement was not responsible for the recent escalation.

“We in Islamic Jihad hold Israel responsible, because it wants to evade the understandings of the truce and is once again resorting to assassinations,” he said. “There has been no military response from the Al-Quds Brigades. Israel’s allegations are false and are aimed at harming the resistance factions.”

Shihab said there is a consensus among the resistance factions to commit to the truce, despite the large number of violations and attacks carried out by Israel.

“If Islamic Jihad was behind the rocket launches [last week], we would have announced that very clearly,” Shihab said. “We will not escalate or initiate anything that breaks the agreement.”

Israel appears to have no such qualms. Not satisfied with making deposits in the “bank” of resistance leader targets that it wants to liquidate, it has increasingly taken to the withdrawal of civilians, as today’s death shows.


Israeli drone kills two in Beit Hanoun

An Israeli drone strike on a car in Beit Hanoun, north Gaza, has killed two people.

Spokesman of the Ministry of Health in Gaza, Ashraf AlQudra has confirmed the deaths of Ahmad AlZa’anin, 21 years old, and his cousin Muhammad Za’anin, 23.

Ahmed AlZaanin

Ahmed AlZaanin

The drone strike follows yesterday’s threat by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to teach Gaza’s ruling Hamas movement a lesson “very soon.”

Netanyahu made the threat at a joint press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the Palestinian capital, Jerusalem.

Drones and F-16s are flying low over Gaza, while Israeli military vehicles mass on the border east of Khan Younes.

The Palestinian government in Gaza has declared a state of emergency, and the evacuation of the headquarters of security and government.

The Palestinian resistance movements have declared a state of full alert.

Members of the Palestinian resistance in Gaza have responded to the Israeli extra-judicial killing of the two young men with a barrage of rocket fire towards Israeli settlements and military bases.

The Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades – the military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in Gaza – has issued a statement mourning the deaths of Ahmed Za’anin and his cousin Mohamed Za’anin. It stated that the two martyrs were cadres of the Brigades of the Martyr Abu Ali Mustafa.


Gaza under attack from Israeli F-16s, helicopters, navy

Gaza

Israeli F-16s are carrying out a series of air-raids in Gaza City. Residents report huge explosions, one near the seaport that caused the ground to roll.

Residential areas are also under attack. Raed Qaddura, father of a newborn baby, reported that all his dishes and glasses were broken in the first strikes, and another strike was happening as we spoke.

It appears that the main targets are training fields of the Al Qassam brigades.

Updates to follow.

UPDATE: 5 injuries have now been reported, four children and one woman

Israeli navy is also firing on Palestinian fishing boats at sea


The whitewashing of Ariel Sharon

By Ramzy Baroud

The death of former Israeli leader Ariel Sharon enlivened US media’s interest in the legacy of a man considered by many a war criminal, and by some a hero. In fact, the supposed heroism of Sharon was at the heart of CNN coverage of his death on January 11.

Sharon spent his last eight years in a coma, but apparently not long enough for US corporate media to wake up from its own moral coma. CNN online’s coverage presented Sharon as a man of heroic stature, who was forced to make tough choices for the sake of his own people. “Throughout, he was called ‘The Bulldozer’, a fearless leader who got things done,” wrote Alan Duke.

In his article, “Ariel Sharon, former Israeli Prime Minister, dead at 85”, Duke appeared to be confronting Sharon’s past head on. In reality, he cleverly whitewashed the man’s horrendous crimes, while finding every opportunity to recount his fictional virtue. “Many in the Arab world called Sharon ‘the Butcher of Beirut’ after he oversaw Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon while serving as defense minister,” Duke wrote.

Nevertheless, Sharon was not called the “The Bulldozer” for being “a fearless leader” nor do Arabs call him “the Butcher of Beirut” for simply “overseeing” the invasion of Lebanon. Duke is either ignorant or oblivious to the facts, but the blame is not his alone, since references to Sharon’s heroism was a staple in CNN’s coverage.

Sharon’s demise however, and the flood of robust eulogies will neither change the facts of his blood-soaked history, nor erase the “facts on the ground” – as in the many illegal colonies that Sharon so dedicatedly erected on occupied Palestinian land.

Sharon

Following the Israeli occupation of Gaza along with the rest of Palestine in 1967, Sharon was entrusted with the bloody task of “pacifying” the headstrong Strip as he was the head of the southern command of the Israel Defense Forces. Sharon was dubbed the “Bulldozer” for he understood that pacifying Gaza would require heavy armored vehicles, and Gaza’s crowded neighborhoods and alleyways weaving through its destitute refugee camps were not suited for heavy machinery.

Therefore, he resolved to bulldoze thousands of homes, preparing the way for tanks and bulldozers to move in and topple even more homes. Modest estimates put the number of homes destroyed in August 1970 alone at 2,000. Over 16,000 Palestinians were made homeless and thousands were forced to relocate from one refugee camp into another.

The Beach Refugee Camp near Gaza City sustained most of the damage. Many fled for their lives, taking refuge in mosques and UN schools and tents. Sharon’s declared objective was targeting the terrorist infrastructure. What he in fact meant was targeting the very population that resisted and aided the resistance, for they indeed were the very infrastructure he harshly pounded for many days and weeks.

Sharon’s bloody sweep also resulted in the execution of 104 resistance fighters and the deportation of hundreds of others. Some were sent to Jordan, others to Lebanon, and the rest were simply left to rot in the Sinai desert.

Sharon’s violence was part of an equally disturbing logic. He believed that any strategic long-term plan to secure Israel must have at its heart a violent campaign aimed at disorienting Palestinians. He was quick to capitalize on the Allon plan, named after Yigal Allon, a former general and minister in the Israeli government, who took on the task of drawing an Israeli vision for the newly conquered Palestinian territories.

Sharon recounted standing on a dune near Gaza with cabinet ministers, explaining that along with military measures to control the Strip he wanted “fingers” of settlements separating its cities, chopping the region in four. Another “finger” would thrust through the edge of Sinai, helping create a “Jewish buffer zone between Gaza and Sinai to cut off the flow of weapons” and divide the two regions in case the rest of Sinai was ever returned to Egypt. That legacy disfigured and isolated Gaza, even years after Sharon implemented his policy of unilateral “disengagement” in 2005. He relocated the settlers to other illegal colonies in the West Bank and imposed a hermetic siege on the Strip, the consequences of which remain suffocating and deadly.

Sharon was keen on espousing or exploiting the division of his enemies. He moved against Lebanon in 1982, when the country was at its weakest point, exhausted by civil war. And when Israeli forces finally occupied Lebanon in 1982, as Palestine Liberation Organization fighters were shipped by sea to many countries around the Middle East, a triumphant Sharon permitted his Christian Phalangist allies to enter the defenseless Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps.

In the days between September 16-18, 1982, as Israeli troops completely besieged the camps, the Phalangists entered the area and carried out a massacre that gruesomely defined both the Lebanese civil war and the Israeli invasion, killing thousands of Palestinian refugees, mostly butchered with knives, but also gunned down.

Although Sharon was partly discredited after his disastrous war in Lebanon, Israeli voters brought him back repeatedly, to lead the rightwing Likud party in May 1999 and as a prime minister of Israel in February 2001. The aim was to subdue rebelling Palestinians during the Second Intifada. In fact, it was Sharon’s provocative “visit” to one of Islam’s holiest shrines a few months earlier that sparked anger among Palestinians and, among other factors, started the uprising.

Sharon attempted to crush the uprising with the support and blessings of the US, but he failed. By the end of August 2001, 495 Palestinians and 154 Israelis were killed. International attempts at sending UN observer forces were thwarted by a US veto on March 27, thus paving the way for the Israeli army to thrash its way into Palestinian refugee camps and other areas formerly controlled by the Palestinian Authority.

In March and April 2002, Sharon ordered Operation “Defensive Wall”, which resulted in major military incursions into most West Bank cities, causing massive destruction and unprecedented bloodletting. The Israeli operation led to the killing of hundreds of Palestinians, the reoccupation of major Palestinian towns, the destruction of Arafat’s headquarters in Ramallah, and the subsequent besiegement of the Palestinian leader in his barely standing office.

Sharon was no hero. It is time for US media to wake up from its own coma, and confront reality through commonsense and the most basic human rights values. It should not be looking through the prism of the most rightwing, if not fascist elements of Israeli society.

Ramzy Baroud is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant and the editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London).

(Copyright 2014 Ramzy Baroud)


What are they doing to Rafah?

Norway, Canada, the USA, Australia and New Zealand have already done it. The United Kingdom, Germany, Greece and Italy are about to.

Activists all around the planet are today presenting Egyptian embassies and consulates with the demands of more than 12,000 people worldwide to permanently open the Rafah crossing, leave the tunnels alone, and allow travel and trade for Gazans trapped by the Israeli siege.

First off the mark was Norway, where Lene Oline Sedolfsen presented the petition to the Egyptian diplomats. Next was Ottowa, where Tyler Levitan and Hassan Husseini made the delivery. Then Washington DC, where Pam Bailey accompanied Medea Benjamin and Gael Murphy to the Egyptian consulate presented the demands to Dr. Yasser Elwy. In Sydney James Godfrey and Michael Coleman from Free Gaza Australia handed it over to consular official Ahmed Morsy, while in New Zealand Egyptian embassy official Mahmoud Zayed received it from Julie Webb-Pullman in Wellington.

James Godfrey presents the petition to Ahmed Morsy in Sydney

James Godfrey presents the petition to Ahmed Morsy in Sydney

The petition, an initiative of the #OpenRafahBorder International Campaign, a grassroots organisation of students and activists from Gaza who deceided to do something about the suffering caused by the Rafah border closures, was accepted by all of the diplomats with courtesy and respect, and promises to forward them to their superiors in Cairo.

The activists reported the diplomats also made the same points:
• While Egypt is concerned about the situation in Gaza, it is primarily an issue for Israel as the occupying power. Thus, for example, Egypt does not want to formalize or legalize the tunnels — which would let Israel off the hook, while also jeopardizing Egypt’s security.
• Egypt has a right to deal with security issues in the Sinai Peninsular. There is no policy calling for, or a desire to impose, collective punishment. Its restrictions on traffic in and out of Rafah come only when there is terrorist activity in the Sinai. Egypt must also worry about its population there, so there is an inevitable, unavoidable trade-off.
• Egypt is working to end the occupation by supporting John Kerry’s so-called “peace process.”
• Egypt feels a strong bond with the Palestinians, and always will.

While it is not surprising to hear them all singing from the same songbook, they may find themselves surprised by the increasingly loud chorus from the international community unsatisfied with their libretto.

Nothing any of the Egyptian diplomats said justifies the role of Egypt in the continued closure of Gaza, and the ongoing suffering of 1.7 million people.

“Ultimately, Rafah must be expanded to allow security without closure, as well as the movement of goods, in addition to people,” said Pam Bailey after the meeting in Washington DC.

Is this a realistic prospect?

It certainly is. Earlier this month Israel rejected a donated high-tech container scanner at the Kerem Shalom crossing that Dutch officials consider would provide a solution to Israel’s security concerns about Gazan exports.

If the Egyptians are serious about their bond with Palestinians, avoiding collective punishment, and dealing with security issues, they and the Netherlands could negotiate the scanner’s relocation to Rafah – and open the border forthwith.

Lene Oline Sedolfsen presents the petition  in Norway

Lene Oline Sedolfsen presents the petition in Norway

From Canada to Egypt, with love - for Gaza

From Canada to Egypt, with love – for Gaza


Israeli authorities open sewage dams flooding east, central areas of Gaza

Gaza, ALRAY –Israeli occupation authorities opened up dams to the east of Gaza city on late Friday.

Sewage flooding east of Gaza city (ALRAY photo)

Sewage flooding east of Gaza city (ALRAY photo)

Eyewitnesses said many residential areas and farming land east of Gaza city were flooded when the Israeli authorities opened up the dams.

The residents of the area appealed to the concerned authorities to intervene before sewage water completely submerge their properties.

Earlier on Friday, Chairman of Government’s Disaster Response Committee Yasser Shanti said the Israeli authorities opened up dams just to the east of the border with the Gaza Strip earlier in the day.

He warned that the residential areas within the Gaza Valley would be flooding within hours, saying the move would flood areas in Moghraqa and other parts of Deir el-Balah in central Gaza.

Shanti called upon residents of areas near the Gaza Valley to evacuate their homes in preparation for the anticipated flooding.

The Gaza Strip is currently under a state of emergency due to severe weather conditions caused by a historic storm front moving south across the Levant.

Fuel shortages have caused daily life in the Gaza Strip to grind slowly to a halt since early November, as power plants and water pumps are forced to shut down, cutting off access to basic necessities for Gaza residents.

Lack of diesel fuel is a result of the tightening of a seven-year-long blockade imposed on the territory by Israel with Egyptian support.

The Gaza Strip has been under a severe economic blockade imposed by the Israeli occupation since 2006.

Ma’an contributed to this report.


Gaza Minister of Health declares state of emergency

Photo by Wafaa H. Aburahma

Photo by Wafaa H. Aburahma

As the situation in Gaza deteriorates due to snow and freezing temperatures on top of electricity cuts, the Minister of Health Dr Mufiz al-Makhalalati has declared a state of emergency, and called on all his personnel to assist the Civil Defence crews and municipalities in alleviating the distress.

Already 146 households accounting for 734 people have been forced to take emergency shelter in nearby schools and police stations, while 500 families, or more than 3200 people, have received assistance such as food, clothing and blankets.

The situation is dire and will get worse, with the current temperature at 3 degrees Celsius, and more bad weather predicted. The young and the old are particularly vulnerable, and desperately need electricity for warmth, and medications.

International governments and all people of good conscience must act quickly to ensure that Gaza’s suffering ends now, by forcing an end to the Israeli siege thus letting in the fuel required to run the power plants, essential medicines and medical supplies, and the equipment needed to provide emergency civil defence services – not only for this particular crisis, but on a permanent basis.


Snow adds to Gaza’s woes

Gaza under snow (Photo: Maysam Yusef)

Gaza under snow (Photo: Maysam Yusef)

Snow is falling in Gaza, adding another layer of misery to the freezing and flooded conditions being experienced by its besieged population. Most homes have been without electricity for 24 of the last 36 hours, many streets are under water, and schools have been closed for the last two days.

In a press release on Thursday, Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri warned of an unprecedented humanitarian disaster due to the siege-induced power crisis and the atrocious weather conditions, describing the situation as “collective punishment.”

Some 30 people have been injured in car accidents and building collapses since the onset of the current bad weather bringing flooding of roads and houses in its wake.

Yousef al-Zahar, Director General of Civil Defense, said that civil defense crews are doing what they can, but they are hampered by the lack of fuel due to the siege, and cannot pump flood-waters.

Interior Minister Fathi Hammad on Wednesday noted the lack of equipment necessary for civil defence activities, stressing the need for the international community to put pressure on Israel to allow the entry of heavy equipment and tools in order to enable the disaster emergency committees to do their work.

His calls so far seem to have fallen on deaf ears.

The simple solution to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza – lifting of the illegal Israeli siege, and opening the Rafah border for the legitimate passage of people and goods – is in the hands of the international community – along with the lives of all Gazans freezing in the dark tonight with no hope of real help reaching them.


As Gaza drowns in sewage, UN rapporteur announces first UN World Toilet Day

Gaza streets awash with sewage. Photo: Majed Abusalama

Gaza streets awash with sewage. Photo: Majed Abusalama

As streets in Gaza flow with excrement, as families stay awake until 2am to take advantage of the two hours that water will flow through the taps – if they are lucky – the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, Catarina de Albuquerque, celebrated the UN General Assembly’s decision declaring 19th of November as UN World Toilet Day with a Press Release on November 15.

The irony will not escape Palestinians in Gaza – they must be asking themselves “Is she for real?” Or is it just a very cynical preliminary to announcing Gaza’s latest distinction – from being the largest open air prison in the world, to being the largest open air toilet?

“I hope this declaration galvanises national and international action to reach the billions of people who still do not benefit from this basic human right,” the Special Rapporteur said in the statement released the day after the al-Sabra neighbourhood in al-Zaytoun, Gaza City, was flooded with sewage.

Perhaps she could make a special effort to contact Israel and Egypt directly, being the UN member states that are preventing the entry of fuel supplies into Gaza necessary to run the power plant that provides the electricity to run the sanitation and water pumps that would enable Gazans to enjoy this ‘basic human right.’

Perhaps she could make a special effort to remind the Palestinian Authority (PA) to take off their blinkers and ‘observe’ the conditions of their fellow statesmen and women in Gaza, and maybe even suggest the PA cease colluding with Israel in extorting exorbitant prices for fuel from the besieged Gazan authorities – fuel which the European Community has funded, but which both Israel and the Palestinian Authority are seeking to profiteer from by imposing on Gaza excessive price hikes (Israel), and additional taxes (the PA).

And perhaps the United Nations and its member states could ‘put their money where their mouth is’ – they still have three days in which to clean up their act, and ensure that World Toilet Day is not the day that Gaza is officially accorded that questionable distinction.


Zionist spider Jesus T. Vasquez crawls out from under his rock again

Desperate Zionists are again recycling their fake press release in a pathetic attempt to discredit pro-Palestinian activists and organisations in New Zealand and Australia.[1]

Needless to say, I assert that none of the events I am alleged to have organised or attended took place, and I deny all of the attributions made to me contained in this fiction calling itself a press release. I most assuredly had no part in writing or sending it out.

In a clear sign they must be running out money as well as ideas, they are peddling the same barely-altered nonsense sent out to news agencies and others in 2011 [2] and 2012 [3], in 2011 purporting to be from Alison Weir, Kathleen M. Christison, Prof. John Mearsheimer, Steve Fake, and the illustrious Jesus T. Vasquez, Director of Communications of Bangor, Maine, soon to self-promote to Jesus T. Vasquez Director, Strategic Communications, Christchurch, New Zealand.

The 2011 and 2012 versions differ little, except for the names – they were even too lazy and/or sloppy to remove the page number from the Hasbara manaual that appears at the bottom of each release!

This year there seems to have been some small attempt to update their information – “Ahmadinejad” has been replaced by “Iranian ayatollahs” in the rant – but there has been no attempt whatsoever to disseminate anything that could remotely be considered accurate, or factual.

If this is quality of contemporary Zionist propaganda, we can all breathe a sigh of relief!

[1] The latest:
New Zealanders to Boycott Arab and Iranian Goods

News Release
No. NR – 19,004
For Immediate distribution

WELLI NGTON, 06 July — A new boycott campaign against the Arab world and Iran that will require the cooperation of every lover of Middle East freedom has been launched by a group of outspoken New Zealanders, it was announced today by its founder Julie Webb-Pullman, a prominent international activist and journalist.

“It is high time we exposed the crimes against humanity committed by the modern pharoahs of the Muslim Middle East. Hosni Mubarak and Col. Mouammar Gaddafi, who enslaved the long-suffering Egyptian and Libyan peoples with 30-year dictatorships that are unprecedented in modern history, have now been ousted but democratic government is still not in sight.

Meanwhile Algeria, Bahrain, Yemen, Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon and Jordan are being ruled by fascist thugs and usurpers who are massacring their own people ,” Webb-Pullman stated.

Speaking to hundreds of Syrian students and refugees in the nation’s capital, Webb-Pullman excoriated the Arab and Iranian regimes for plundering their countries of their wealth and depriving their people of their basic human rights. She particularly upbraided Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Iran for their entrenched system of apartheid against their Christian Copt, Maronite, Melkite, Palestinian, Berber, Shia and Kurd populations.

The popular activist who has fought for the downtrodden Palestinian Arabs, bewailed the thousands of civilians recently massacred by the Arab and Iranian security forces in the streets of Algiers, Cairo, Alexandria, Teheran, Manama, Damascus, Deraa, Latakia, Homs, Idlip, Amman, Jeddah, Gaza City, Aden, Taiz and Sanaa.

“It is simply incomprehensible that these bloodthirsty governments are committing genocide against their own people,” she declared. “What’s more, they are committing unspeakable apartheid crimes against the Palestinian refugees in their midst, especially in Lebanon and Syria at the behest of the illegitimate para-state organization Hizbullah and the savage Alawite regime in Damascus,” she averred.

As a consequence, her new organization — New Zealanders for Boycotting Arab and Iranian Goods (NEZBAIG) — will be demanding that New Zealand importers immediately terminate their contracts for the purchase of petroleum, petrochemicals, plastics, cotton yarn and garments, rugs, fertilisers, majdhool dates, taboule, figs, and sheet metal from these countries. In addition, all New Zealand firms and universities with investments and joint ventures in these tyrannies will be pressured to divest their assets from them. Of equal importance is our campaign for the Wellington government to implement sanctions by halting its lamb and dairy shipments to the Nazi-like governments of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

“We are confident that the international community – and particularly the New Zealand public – is prepared to support our initiative until the vicious dictatorships of the Arab Middle East and Iran are overthrown and their civilian populations are finally endowed with classical democracy,” Webb-Pullman affirmed.

“The welfare of the beleaguered Arab and Iranian people must be our number one priority,” she stated.

The new boycott campaign is supported by the Federation of New Zealand Muslims, the Association of Arab Students and Professors in New Zealand, the Palestine Human Rights Campaign, Global Peace and Justice Auckland, the League for Iranian Democracy, as well as by the internationally-acclaimed online news agency Scoop.

NEZBAIG co-founder Leslie Bravery, chair of Palestine Human Rights Campaign who has long crusaded for the seething Arabs of the Middle East, pointed out that the illegitimate Muslim governments there are being targeted by his followers with arrest warrants should they step foot on New Zealand soil or seek asylum here. Under the international law of universal jurisdiction, war criminals and their genocidal ilk are liable to arrest upon the issuance of a certification by the New Zealand intelligence community.
He emphasized that his group’s actions were in complete fulfilment of the treasured New Zealand tradition of seeking justice for suffering humanity. Moreover, it has the complete approval of his Middle East advisor, Samah Sabawi, director of the Al-Shabaka Centre for Australasia and a veteran critic of Arab war crimes.

“We must lose no time in bringing Assad and the Iranian ayatollahs to the gallows just as Osama Bin Laden and Col. Gaddafi were so readily dispatched,” Bravery declared to tumultuous applause. “And we mustn’t forget our obligation to overthrow the unelected thugs ruling in the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas fanatics in Gaza who are torturing their brother Arabs in dismal dungeons,” Bravery added.

Casting aside his long antipathy towards Israel, Bravery praised the Jewish state for striking Syrian military sites. He pleaded with it to invade Syria and Iran under the UN’s Responsibility to Protect Doctrine and wipe out their respective illegitimatel Shi’ite feudal ruling classes.

“Only such a humanitarian gesture can have the desired effect of strengthening the region-wide intifadas in these countries leading to the toppling of their authoritarian regimes and the implementation of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all the Geneva Conventions,” he posited.

Bravery solemnly drew attention to the holocaust nakba that has befallen the Syrian Palestinians who are drowning in blood. Some 3,000 of them have been slaughtered and gassed by their Syrian Arab brethren, 65,000 have been turned into refugees fleeing to Lebanon and Jordan and UNWRA has announced that over 80 percent of the half-million population holed up in 14 concentration camps around Yarmouk have been displaced from their homes.

As a result, both Bravery and Webb-Pullman are making their way to the Turkish frontier where they will enter Syria to document for the whole world the ghastly atrocities being inflicted on the Syrian Palestinians. “These massive war crimes are a violation of international law and New Zealand can help put a stop to this through an effective boycott policy,” the pair stated.

“As for our myriad of friends among the general public, we sincerely hope they will be moved to embrace the boycott of Arab and Iranian goods with the objective of liberating the oppressed Arab masses, ” Webb-Pullman and Bravery concluded.

– 30 –

[2] The 2011 version in the US
Hasbara Disinformation
Submitted by Steve on Thu, 07/14/2011 – 4:40am

I relate the following trivial incident only for its comedic value. Shortly after returning to the U.S. from the U.S. boat to Gaza in Athens, I received an email from one “Jesus Terrence Vasquez.” The email purports to be a press release (reproduced below), announcing the formation of a new campaign dedicated to opposing Middle Eastern tyrannies.

I am listed as a contact, and identified as an organizer for a non-existent organization, “Americans for a Secular Gaza.” One comical aspect is the attempt to demonstrate hypocrisy and selective concern for humanitarian situations. As if Chomsky has not been a long-time dedicated critic of Mubarak, before it was popular to be so, and while all loyal Washington-Tel Aviv loyalists backed the thug.

Americans for Boycotting Arab and Iranian Goods

News Release

No. NR – 327,668
For Immediate Distribution
Updated and Revised at 1100 Hrs EDST

WASHINGTON, July 12 — A new boycott campaign against the Arab world and Iran requiring the cooperation of every supporter of Middle East freedom has been successfully launched by a group of dedicated Americans, it was revealed today by its founders.

“It is high time we exposed the crimes against humanity committed by the modern pharoahs (sic) of the Muslim Middle East. Hosni Mubarak, who enslaved the long-suffering Egyptian people with a 30-year dictatorship that is unprecedented in modern history has now been ousted but a reactionary miltary junta has seized power in his stead. Meanwhile Algeria, Morocco, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman,Tunisia, Gaza, the West Bank and Jordan are being ruled by hereditary fascist thugs and usurpers who are massacring their own people ,” stated prominent Middle East activist Alison Weir.

Speaking to hundreds of Muslim Americans in front of the Syrian embassy, Weir excoriated the Arab and Iranian regimes for plundering their countries of their wealth and depriving their people of their basic human rights. She particularly upbraided Egypt, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Syria and Iran for their entrenched system of apartheid against their Christian Copt, Berber, Shia and Kurd populations.

The Executive Director of the lobbyist organization If Americans Knew also deplored the thousands of civilians massacred by the Arab and Iranian security forces in the streets of Algiers, Alexandria, Benghazi, Baydah, Tobruk, Tunis, Cairo, Alexandria, Deraa, Latakia, Banias, Homs, Teheran, Misrata, Manama, Amman, Jeddah, Gaza City, Aden and Sanaa.

“It is simply incomprehensible that these bloodthirsty regimes are committing genocide against their own people,” she declared.

As a consequence, her new organization — Americans for Boycotting Arab and Iranian Goods (ABAIG) — has demanded that all US importers immediately terminate their contracts for the purchases of petroleum, petrochemicals, plastics, cotton yarn, towels and garments, rugs, fertilisers, majhool dates, figs, strawberries, taboule, couscous and sheet metal from these countries. In addition, all US firms with investments and joint ventures in these tyrannies, including Chevron, Standard Oil, Boeing and Starbucks, are being pressured to divest their assets from them. Of greater importance is our campaign for the US to implement new sanctions by halting its tank and missile weapon shipments to the Nazi-like governments of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

“We are now happy to report that the American people is supporting our initiative until the vicious dictatorships of the Arab Middle East and Iran are overthrown and their civilian populations are finally endowed with classical democracy,” Weir affirmed. She particularly lauded President Obama for ordering the divestment of US corporations and personnel from Libya and the Administration’s military strikes against Col. Gaddafi’s kiling machine.

“The welfare of the beleaguered Arab and Iranian people must be our number one priority. It is vitally urgent that the international community quickly bring the genocidal dictators Gaddafi, Assad and Ahmadinejad to the gallows, just as Osama Bin Laden was so speedily dispatched, ” she stated.

She also warned against allowing the criminal Fatah and Hamas factions continuing to rule in Palestine. They operate deathly prisons and torture chambers. She repeated her insistence that their undemocratic leaders be ousted and be hauled before the International Criminal Court in the Hague for their despicable war crimes detailed in the Goldstone Report.

The new boycott campaign is supported by the Prof. Noam Chomsky of MIT, the Presbyterian Church, Code Pink, Americans for a Secular Palestine, the Green Party, the Association of Arab American Professors, Prof. John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago, filmmaker Michael Moore, Friends of Middle East Democracy, Veterans for Peace, author Alice Walker, the International Solidarity Movement, Alexander Cockburn, editor of Counterpunch magazine, the League for Iranian Democracy, American Women Against Saudi Gender Apartheid, the Libyan National Council, Prof. S. Makdisi of UCLA at Berkeley as well as by the American Muslim Congress.

ABAIG co-founder Kathleen Christison, former CIA analyst and long a crusader for the seething Arab masses of Gaza and the West Bank, pointed out that the illegitimate Muslim government leaders of the Middle East are being targeted by her bevy of activists with arrest warrants should they step foot on American soil or seek asylum here. Under the international laws of universal jurisdiction, war criminals and their genocidal ilk are liable to arrest upon the deposition of a citizen’s complaint before the Secretary of Homeland Security.

She emphasized that her group’s actions were in complete fulfilment of the treasured American tradition of seeking justice for suffering humanity. Moreover, it has the complete approval of her political mentor former President Jimmy Carter.

In that regard, she echoed the call on the international community to bring to justice Col. Moammar Gadhafi, the fascist ruler of Libya who is bombing his own people with war planes dropping cluster bombs, as well as the war criminals Ahmadinejad and Assad of Iran and Syria respectively. “These greasy rats should be torn limb from limb,” she declared to tumultuous applause before the Washington protestors.

She particularly singled out the apartheid oppression inflicted by the Lebanese government against the Palestinian refugees in its midst, an act advised and consented to by the illegitimate para-state organization Hizbullah.

Casting aside her life-long enmity towards Israel, Christison pleaded with it to invade Syria and Iran and wipe out their respective Alawite and Shi’ite ruling classes. “Only such a humanitarian intervention can have the desired effect of strengthening the region-wide intifadas in these countries leading to the toppling of their authoritarian regimes,” she posited.

“As for our myriad of friends amidst the general public, we do sincerely thank them for embracing the boycott of Arab and Iranian goods which will immeasurably assist in the liberation of the revolutionary Arab and Iranian masses, ” Weir and Christison concluded.

– 30 –

Media contacts:

Alison Weir
Founder ABAIG and Chief Media Spokesperson
Executive Director
If Americans Knew
alisonweir@ifamericansknew.org/contact@ifamericansknew.org
[…]

Kathleen M. Christison
Co-founder ABAIG
Former CIA intelligence Analyst
kb.christison@earthlink.net
[…]

Prof. John Mearsheimer
University of Chicago
Chicago, IL
j-mearsheimer@uchicago.edu

Steve Fake
Organizer, Americans for a Secular Gaza
steven.m.fake@gmail.com

Jesus T. Vasquez
Director of Communications
j.terrencevasquez@gmail.com
Bangor, Maine

Guaranteed Distribution to 450,000 media, government and NGO activists around the world via Internet, Twitter, Facebook, My Space.

I subsequently emailed Mr. Vasquez. I would not ordinarily reproduce correspondence without permission. However, under the circumstances, the normal etiquette seems irrelevant.

Jul 12, 2011 at 4:56 PM
Dear Mr. Vasquez,

Very inventive. May I ask who you are?


Steve Fake

Wed, Jul 13, 2011 at 1:13 PM
Dear Mr. Fake,

Like you, I am an American dedicated to end the wretched suffering of the Arab people by their genocidal rulers.

I am currently organizing a flotilla to smash the brutal Syrian siege of its Kurdish and Druse people who live under apartheid conditions. Our many efforts at liberating the indigenous Berber people under Arab exterminationist rule in Tunisia have been successful.

The UN yesterday stated that the world’s worst humanitarian catastrophe is occurring in Somalia where Arab war criminals are committing genocide. We are organizing civil society to reverse this situation as well.

I would like to count on your support. A donation of $9,450 (less than a vacation in Greece) would prove immensely helpful.

Kind Regards,

Jesus T. Vasquez

Putting aside the ludicrous implications of hypocrisy, Mr. “Vasquez” appears to have rather overestimated the budgetary allotments of flotilla passengers while in Greece. I have since requested that he supply me with the necessary routing information to place a donation (perhaps for the oddly precise sum he lists). I will post an update if he responds. One can only hope that “Vasquez” is on someone’s payroll, and not engaging in such inanities on his own time.

[3] Twice sent out in 2012, on 28 August and again on 08 September:

New Zealanders for Boycotting Arab and Iranian Goods

News Release
No. NR – 5,679
For Immediate distribution

AUCKLAND, 07 September — A new boycott campaign against the Arab world and Iran that will require the cooperation of every lover of Middle East freedom has been launched by a group of outspoken New Zealanders, it was announced today by its founder Julie Webb-Pullman, a prominent international activist and journalist.

“It is high time we exposed the crimes against humanity committed by the modern pharoahs of the Muslim Middle East. Hosni Mubarak and Col. Mouammar Gaddafi, who enslaved the long-suffering Egyptian and Libyan peoples with 30-year dictatorships that are unprecedented in modern history, have now been ousted but reactionary governments have seized power in their stead. Meanwhile Algeria, Bahrain, Yemen, Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon and Jordan are being ruled by fascist thugs and usurpers who are massacring their own people ,” Webb-Pullman stated.

Speaking to hundreds of Muslim students and refugees from North Africa and the Middle East at the main university campus, Webb-Pullman excoriated the Arab and Iranian regimes for plundering their countries of their wealth and depriving their people of their basic human rights. She particularly upbraided Egypt, Lebanon, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Iran for their entrenched system of apartheid against their Christian Copt, Maronite, Melkite, Palestinian, Berber, Shia and Kurd populations.

The popular activist who has fought for the downtrodden Palestinian Arabs, bewailed the thousands of civilians recently massacred by the Arab and Iranian security forces in the streets of Algiers, Cairo, Alexandria, Teheran, Manama, Damascus, Deraa, Latakia, Homs, Idlip, Amman, Jeddah, Gaza City, Aden, Taiz and Sanaa.

“It is simply incomprehensible that these bloodthirsty governments are committing genocide against their own people,” she declared. “What’s more, they are committing unspeakable apartheid crimes against the Palestinian refugees in their midst, especially in Lebanon and Syria at the behest of the illegitimate para-state organization Hizbullah and the savage Alawite regime in Damascus,” she averred.

As a consequence, her new organization — New Zealanders for Boycotting Arab and Iranian Goods (NEZBAIG) — will be demanding that New Zealand importers immediately terminate their contracts for the purchase of petroleum, petrochemicals, plastics, cotton yarn and garments, rugs, fertilisers, majdhool dates, taboule, figs, and sheet metal from these countries. In addition, all New Zealand firms and universities with investments and joint ventures in these tyrannies will be pressured to divest their assets from them. Of equal importance is our campaign for the Wellington government to implement sanctions by halting its lamb and dairy shipments to the Nazi-like governments of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

“We are confident that the international community – and particularly the New Zealand public – is prepared to support our initiative until the vicious dictatorships of the Arab Middle East and Iran are overthrown and their civilian populations are finally endowed with classical democracy,” Webb-Pullman affirmed.

“The welfare of the beleaguered Arab and Iranian people must be our number one priority,” she stated.

The new boycott campaign is supported by the Federation of New Zealand Muslims, the Association of Arab Students and Professors in New Zealand, the Palestine Human Rights Campaign, Global Peace and Justice Auckland, the League for Iranian Democracy, as well as by the internationally-acclaimed online news agency Scoop.

NEZBAIG co-founder Leslie Bravery, chair of Palestine Human Rights Campaign who has long crusaded for the seething Arabs of Palestine, pointed out that the illegitimate Muslim governments of the Middle East are being targeted by his followers with arrest warrants should they step foot on New Zealand soil or seek asylum here. Under the international law of universal jurisdiction, war criminals and their genocidal ilk are liable to arrest upon the issuance of a certification by the New Zealand intelligence community.
He emphasized that his group’s actions were in complete fulfilment of the treasured New Zealand tradition of seeking justice for suffering humanity. Moreover, it has the complete approval of his Middle East advisor, Samah Sabawi, director of the Al-Shabaka Centre for Australasia and a veteran critic of Arab war crimes.

“We must lose no time in bringing Assad and Ahmadinejad to the gallows just as Osama Bin Laden and Col. Gaddafi were so readily dispatched,” Bravery declared to tumultuous applause. “And we mustn’t forget our obligation to overthrow the unelected thugs ruling in the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas fanatics in Gaza who are torturing their brother Arabs in dismal dungeons,” Bravery added.

Casting aside his life-time enmity towards Israel, Bravery pleaded with the Jewish state to invade Syria and Iran and wipe out their respective illegitimatel ruling classes. ” Only such a humanitarian gesture can have the desired effect of strengthening the region-wide intifadas in these countries leading to the toppling of their authoritarian regimes and the implementation of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all the Geneva Conventions,” he posited.

“As for our myriad of friends among the general public, we sincerely hope they will be moved to embrace the boycott of Arab and Iranian goods with the objective of liberating the revolutionary Arab masses, ” Webb-Pullman and Bravery concluded.

– 30 –

For Information:
Julie Webb-Pullman
NEZBAIG Founder
Journalist
jwebb@gmail.com

Leslie Bravery
Co-Founder, NEZBAIG
Chair, Palestine Human Rights Campaign
Auckland, New Zealand
leslie.bravery@palestine.org.nz

Jesus T. Vasquez
Director, Strategic Communications
Christchurch, New Zealand
j.terrencevasquez@gmail.com

Ali Kazak
International Advisor
Palestine Human Rights Campaign
akazak@bigpond.net.au


Dr Ahmed Yousef on the Mavi Marmara massacre


Political thought and strategies of Hamas in light of the Arab uprisings

AMEC Briefing No. 3/2013
MARCH 2013

By Khalid Mish’al

Khalid Mish'al

Khalid Mish’al

Khalid Mish’al is the head of the Political Bureau of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas)

This article is published in terms of a partnership agreement between AMEC and Beirut-based Al-Zaytouna Centre for Studies and Consultations

In August 2010, AMEC published the English translation of an interview with Khalid Mish’al, head of the Political Bureau of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas). The interview laid out the vision and strategies of Hamas at the time. A few months later, uprisings began in North Africa and spread across the Middle East and North Africa, changing the nature of politics and the balance of power in the region. In November 2012, the Beirut-based Al-Zaytouna Centre for Studies and Consultations hosted a conference with the theme ‘Islamists in the Arab World and the Palestinian Issue in Light of the Arab uprisings’ at which Mish’al presented a paper outlining the views of his movement regarding the uprisings and how they affect Hamas’ plans for the future. The paper was rewritten by Mish’al, published in Arabic by Al-Zaytouna Centre and translated into English by Middle East Monitor (MEMO). We publish an edited version here, in terms of a partnership agreement with Al-Zaytouna, in order to expose English-speaking audiences to the views and strategies of Hamas, a critical player in the Palestinian-Israeli context. The paper is an important document reflecting the views of an important player in Palestinian and broader Middle Eastern politics and is therefore an important reference document. It explores Hamas’ vision and the practical application of its strategies.

In the name of God, Most Merciful, Most Beneficent

I begin by thanking Al-Zaytouna Centre for holding this important conference at this critical time. God willing, this conference will result in important conclusions that will guide the Arab Spring, evolve its position on the Arab-Zionist conflict and produce two advantages: first, the advantage of an internal structure based on new foundations of freedom, democracy and combating corruption; and second, the advantage of a strong, coherent, and independent foreign policy that maintains its decisions and improves Arab and Islamic performance in relation to Palestine and the general issues of the ummah (nation).
The importance of this conference lies in the following:

Its timing. It is being held in light of the Arab Spring and the progress of the people’s will, their political role and their control over decision-making.

It is the result of the evolution of the role of Islamists and their rise to power in some Arab countries.

It is being held out of consideration for the growing role of the region’s resistance movements, especially following the decline in their official role over the past decades, and in light of their growing national roles, as well as their significant achievements.

It takes into account the decline of the Zionist project, despite its continued military and technological superiority in the region. This entity is undoubtedly declining and its image in the world deteriorating. It has not achieved any victories for a long time, and perhaps what happened during the eight-day Gaza War in which the Palestinian resistance emerged victorious is a significant indicator of this.

The report we are presenting today in this conference on the vision of Hamas and its positions addresses the reality and not just an anticipation of the future. Hamas has been working and striving for the past twenty-five years, and although it may slip up sometimes, it usually gets it right, and we ask God to accept our deeds.

Hamas’ vision for the Palestinian question
This section perhaps represents the fundamentals and declarations that are well known and familiar. However, a reiteration of these basic principles is always important. When we speak in this context, we do not only speak of Hamas as an Islamic movement, but also as a national liberation movement. Some of what we articulate here falls under the category of fundamental principles, and some under policies and positions.

1. Palestine, from its [Jordan] river to its [Mediterranean] sea, from its north to its south, is the land of the Palestinian people; it is their homeland and their legitimate right. We will not relinquish an inch or any part of it – for any reason or under any circumstances or pressures.

2. Palestine, in its entirety, is an Arab and Islamic land. It has Islamic and Arab affiliations and is considered a blessed and sacred land. Moreover, it has a special place in the heart of every Arab and Muslim, and also has a status and respect in all religions.

3. We will not, in any way, recognise the legitimacy of the occupation. This is a principled political and moral position. We do not recognise the legitimacy of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, nor do we acknowledge ‘Israel’ or the legality of its presence on any part of Palestine, no matter how long it remains – and, God willing, this will not be long. All that has occurred in Palestine, including its occupation, settlements, Judaisation, the changing of its landmarks and the falsification of facts in favour [of the occupation] is wrong and must end, God willing.

4. The liberation of Palestine is a national, domestic and legitimate duty. It is the responsibility of the Palestinians, the Arabs and the Islamic ummah. It is also a responsibility for all human beings in accordance with the values of truth and justice.

5. Jihad and armed resistance is the correct and authentic means for the liberation of Palestine and the restoration of all rights. This battle must, of course, be accompanied by all forms of political, diplomatic, media, national and legal resistance, as well as the investment of the entire nation’s energies and the summoning of all the various strengths we possess.

6. Resistance is a means and not an end. If we had any other way to liberate the land, end the occupation and regain our rights without the shedding of blood and other painful sacrifices, we would have taken it. However, the experiences of nations throughout history have proved that the only option available to expel the occupiers, counter aggression and restore the land and rights of the people is resistance in all its forms, starting with armed resistance.

7. We are not fighting the Jewish people merely because they are Jewish. We are, however, fighting those who are Zionist occupiers and aggressors. We will fight anyone who tries to attack us, seize our rights or occupy our land, regardless of their religion, affiliations, race or nationality.

8. The Zionist project is a racist, hostile and expansionist project based on murder and terrorism. Hence, it is the enemy of the Palestinian people and poses a real threat to them, as well as to their security and other interests. Indeed, it would not be an exaggeration to say that it is a danger to the security of the entire human community, its interests and stability.

9. We hold onto Jerusalem and its Islamic and Christian sacred sites. We will not give them up, nor will we relinquish any part of them. They are our right, our essence, our history, our present and our future. Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine and is cherished in the hearts of Arabs and Muslims as a sign of their status and pride. ‘Israel’ has no legitimacy or right to Jerusalem at all, nor does it have any legitimacy or right to any part of Palestine. All Israeli actions in Jerusalem, such as Judaisation, entrenchment of settlements, falsification of facts and attempts to usurp our history are unacceptable.

10. We stand firm on the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees and displaced individuals, and their right to their homes from which they were expelled or were prevented from returning to, whether in the occupied territories of 1948 or 1967 – that is, to all of Palestine. We refuse to compromise on this right in any way. At the same time, we reject all land resettlement and alternative homeland projects.
Brothers and sisters, this is an opportunity to pause at the ‘symphony’ that plays from time to time; there were once fears of resettlement in Lebanon, Jordan or an alternative homeland, and nowadays it is the Sinai. To the Palestinian, there is no compensation for Palestine but Palestine itself. The actions of our people in the recent Gaza War and wars of the past, as well as in the ongoing intifadas and revolutions is proof of this great nation’s insistence on, and attachment to, its land.

11. The unity of the Palestinian land: The West Bank (including Jerusalem), the Gaza Strip, and the occupied lands of 1948 are all one land, one unit with no part separated from the other. It is, as a whole, the homeland of the Palestinian people. The current situation in Gaza is an exceptional case that has been imposed upon us. We cannot accept that Gaza will be separate from the West Bank, for they are one, and together they are a part of the Palestinian homeland.

12. We stand firm on the unity of the Palestinian people, both Muslims and Christians, and all its intellectual, political and ideological elements, as well as its resistance, militants and political forces and factions.

13. The unity of the Palestinian political system and its institutions and the unity of its national authority through the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which needs to be rebuilt on valid grounds to include all Palestinian forces and components. The current division does not reflect our origin, nor does it reflect reality. This division has been imposed upon us after international and regional forces rejected the results of the 2006 Palestinian elections in which Hamas was victorious. However, the unity of the Palestinian political system is imperative and we are sparing no efforts to achieve this, God willing.

14. Liberation first, the state later. A true state is the fruit of liberation, but a state that is the fruit of an agreement is merely a symbolic entity or a self-governing authority. Call it what you will, but a real state is the fruit of liberation first, and there is no alternative to establishing a Palestinian state with true sovereignty over the entire territory.
On the other hand, the Palestinian Authority is a reality we want to manage through a national partnership with others to serve our people, their rights, and their liberation project in a manner that is consistent with their national principles.

15. Independent Palestinian national decision: This is a principle that is based on non-dependency or reliance on any other country or party in the world, whether it is friend, ally, enemy or opponent. However, this does not mean, nor can we accept it in the context of limiting the Palestinian issue to the Palestinians and terminating or weakening the Arab and Islamic roles. The issue of Palestine was, and will remain, not only an Arab and Islamic issue, but also a humanitarian issue.

16. The establishment of national Palestinian institutions and authorities should always be based on democracy, starting with free and fair elections with equal opportunities. Moreover, the principle of partnership and national coalition work should be present in every phase, regardless of the chances of success, with emphasis on the fact that opposition is a legitimate right for everyone, provided that the opposition is constructive. In addition to this, everyone must refer to the results of the ballot boxes and respect the will of the people, as well as accept the peaceful change of authority. We must also be reminded that we are a special and unusual case since we are still living under occupation.

17. We will not intervene in the affairs of other countries, and we will not engage in debates, conflicts or alliances with other nations. We have adopted a policy of opening up to the different countries of the world, especially Arab and Islamic countries. We certainly strive to have balanced relations, the scale and standards of which will be in the interest and service of Palestine and its people and will support their steadfastness and determination. The criteria for these relations are, of course, the nation’s interests and security and the rejection of dependency on any country or party in the world.

18. The unity of the nation, including all its ethnic, religious and denominational elements. It is one nation in its interests and history – present, past and future – and we deal with it accordingly. As we acknowledge the diversity and variety in our ummah, we realise the need for everyone in our nation to distance themselves from incitement and conflict, as well as to avoid taking sides on this basis. Instead, we must coexist as we have in past centuries. Moreover, everyone in this nation must know their limits and claim their rights without violating the rights of others. The greater good of the nation must outweigh any sectarian or factional interests.

19. Any progressive tactical or detailed political programme must be in line with national Palestinian principles and may not contradict them. Moreover, every partial or full judgement must be subject to this principle, and, therefore, we reject any projects, agreements or peace settlements that diminish these fundamentals and principles and affect Palestinian national rights.

As you can see, this last point on the matter of fundamentals, policies, attitudes, and principles is an important summation of what has been mentioned thus far.

Practical application of principles and positions
Some may wonder what the reality of this strong rhetoric is. Where is its application on the ground?

We say that the movement’s performance on the ground is similar to the performance of all humans: it may be right or wrong. However, as a movement, our performance has mostly been right, thanks to God. Our performance is largely in line with our announced principles and values. Occasionally, there are gaps, mistakes, or sometimes ambiguous images that suggest there are contradictions or conflict with what is announced. However, we clearly say, even if we have a lapse in judgement, or if some images are misleading, that our standards are identical to the principles, fundamentals, policies, and attitudes
we have mentioned.

I will give four examples to illustrate this:

1. Resistance: This is a primary principle and our strategic choice. Some have had doubts that talk of a truce means giving up on the resistance; this, of course, is arbitrary. In short, the path of resistance, in terms of its preparation, organisation and performance for the liberation of Palestine is a path that cannot be interrupted. In addition to this, the management of the decision of escalation and truce, as well as diversifying our methods and manners, all fall under the process of managing the decision, and not the principle of the decision, as the principle cannot be changed.

Moreover, while the enemy and the settlers are out of Gaza, Gaza cannot be taken out of the circle of the conflict, even though necessity calls for a change in its role in the battle by virtue of its circumstances. Thankfully, Gaza is still a source of hope, not only for Palestine but for the entire region. We have just emerged from an aggressive war on the Gaza Strip, which ended with a victory for the Palestinian resistance, and succeeded in ending the war on its terms.

In the case of the West Bank, the absence of the resistance for several years does not change the authenticity or principle of resistance. The absence of resistance in the West Bank has been the necessary course for our people because of the massive security pressures from every direction, both close and distant. We consider the decline of the resistance role in the West Bank as inevitable and a forced reality that we strive to overcome by maintaining our intention and preparing for a new start. God willing, the resistance will return to the West Bank, reassuming its effective and essential role in every phase of the Palestinian struggle, as the enemy will not withdraw from our land without the pressure of resistance.

2. Participation in the Palestinian Authority: Doesn’t this contradict the movement’s position on the Oslo Accords? This is a legitimate question, and there is no doubt that the matter is vague on the surface, but we believe the answer is clear. Our positions on Oslo and all the agreements of surrender are decisive. However, there are obligations that compelled us to enter the authority to change its role and combine the service of the people and the management of day-to-day affairs on the one hand, with the right to resist the occupation on the other. Today we are an authority in the Gaza Strip, while we resist and develop and strengthen this resistance, with the realisation that it is difficult to practically combine all these considerations. However, our support of the principles and our commitment to them allows us to mould the reality to our principles and not the other way around.

3. Agreeing to a state on the 1967 borders: Some people worry that this is following in the footsteps of those before us and that, eventually, the bigger dream will shrink. To this we say ‘No’. We are not necessarily convinced that the liberation of the occupied territory of 1967 is a practical goal. Personally, I believe, in terms of the prevailing reality, that anyone who can liberate the territories occupied in 1967 is able to liberate the rest of Palestine. Furthermore, there is a need to unify the Palestinian as well as the Arab stance on a common position and vision, regardless of how the programme to achieve that vision may vary from one party to another. This is what drives us, the Hamas movement and other resistance movements, to take this political stance – as long as it is not at the expense of the rest of the Palestinian land and does not contain any abandonment of our rights on any part of our land, nor includes any recognition of ‘Israel’.

4. The matter of the division: This is also a reality that has been forced upon us; we did not choose it. As everyone knows, it was imposed on us in 2007 when several international and regional parties rejected the results of the 2006 elections. I attest, at this historical moment, that the division occurred on 13, 14 and 15 June 2007. On 15 June I called the Egyptian authorities and informed them we were ready to settle the matter and reconcile, because the division was not our choice and had been forced upon us. Since then, we have been continuously working on putting an end to that outcome, and striving to achieve reconciliation on national foundations that ensure the rearrangement of the Palestinian internal situation within the framework of the Palestinian Authority and PLO, and the adoption of a national political programme that aligns with Palestinian fundamentals, rights and national interests.

Changes in the Arab World and their effects on the Palestinian question and Hamas’ role
We now move on to the second part of the topic: an understanding of the changes in the Arab world and their impact on Palestinian question and on the role of Hamas, as well as the challenges and opportunities resulting from them.

1. In addition to its significance to the nation in the context of its historical regeneration, the Arab Spring was also a major strategic development in the path to liberating Palestine and confronting the Zionist project. This is because Palestine’s battle and liberation needs a strong and robust nation on its internal front, and a foreign policy that is based on the people’s will and has their approval.

2. There is no doubt that the Arab Spring has increased Israeli concerns and muddled their calculations because the rules of the game to which the enemy is accustomed have begun to change. We will be satisfied with addressing just the main points on this topic due to the limited time.

3. We have no doubt that the Arab Spring and the changes it brought about in the Arab world give Hamas and the Palestinian resistance movements an opportunity to work in a better Arab environment that is more in line with the resistance and consistent to national Palestinian principles and rights.

4. Obviously, the revolutions and the major events succeeding them change the map of Hamas’ political relations, and have added to and impacted on them. Hamas’ political relations with Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco have certainly seen a qualitative improvement in comparison to the former situation. Keeping in mind that Hamas has had varied relations with most Arab countries over the past two decades, the Arab Spring enhanced some of these relations, as well as continued others. We are, of course, concerned about all of them.

As for the impact of the Arab Spring on the movement’s international relations, one issue that is well-known is that our unique relationship with Syria has suffered. We did not wish for events to happen as they did and, from the very first moment, as history will attest, we were keen for matters to evolve differently. We want Syria to remain strong in terms of its security, stability and foreign policies which, over the last few years, have been aligned to the resistance. This is a historical truth, and with the Arab Spring and its natural shift to the Syrian arena, the Syrian people are no less concerned with democracy, freedom and their involvement in decision making than any other Arab nation. We also hope that an internal policy is adopted that responds to the people’s will. We have given many pointers in this direction, not as interference in Syria’s internal affairs, but as honest advice in our attempt to be protective of Arab, including Syrian, interests. Syria will remain the resistance’s fortress, through its foreign policies based on an internal policy that satisfies its people and responds to its demands. However, unfortunately, things moved in the tragic direction we are witnessing today. Resistance is not an official choice made strictly by countries, but has always been the choice of the people first. When a leader feels his people support the resistance, he will be stronger. The people have always supported the resistance, but among the regimes, some support it, some are negative towards it, and some are enemies of the resistance.

This is undoubtedly an example of how our relations have been impacted, and there are other well-known examples as well. However, Hamas – and this is an important point that must be emphasised – has not moved from one axis to another; Palestine and the Palestinian resistance are the essence of the resistance axis. Resistance, and the axis of resistance, is not just a hotel where we merely reside in or leave at whim, and resistance is not linked to geography. When the Hamas leadership was in Jordan, along with its presence inside Palestine, Hamas was supporting the resistance and exercising resistance. Later, even after we moved to Qatar, then Syria, then other countries such as Egypt, Hamas remained a resistance movement. Hamas has and always will be a supporter of the resistance and will be a resistance movement – regardless of its geographical location – because this is its essence and its strategic choice until, God willing, we liberate Palestine.

5. The Arab Spring and its major events temporarily distracted the world from the Palestinian issue. This is certainly a loss, but it is a short and a temporary loss. Arab nations have a right to pursue their interests and concerns, and we are sure that even when Arab nations are busy with their internal affairs, Palestine is present in their minds, hearts, and in their slogans. The last war on Gaza provided us with renewed and concrete evidence that Palestine’s status never changes in the eyes of the nation, even when different parts of it are busy with their internal affairs and developments.

Challenges, problems facing Arab Spring countries
It is clear that there are challenges and problems facing the Arab Spring and its countries that call for a series of observations and alerts. It is also essential for there to be a high degree of directness, honesty and transparency when dealing with this subject, for a leader does not lie to his people. Based on this, I will make a series of recommendations and blunt observations on this subject, only for the objective of contributing to the greater good of our great nation.

1. There is a need to strike a balance between internal priorities – meaning national concerns and national priorities – with foreign priorities. This can be done without creating a conflict between them as success internally strengthens a country’s foreign position, and vice versa. It is wrong to adopt a policy of isolation. What we are saying is that being concerned with the bigger issues does not only enhance a country’s regional and international role, but also serves the country’s internal policies in facing pressures and attempts at external intervention. It is wrong to protect oneself by hiding away; instead, protect yourself with openness, by taking initiative, and by getting involved in broader issues.

2. It is necessary not to manage the substantial current phase in the nation’s history from a small individual location, but to do so from the broader context of the Arab and Islamic nation through cooperation and integration. I assure you that this serves the concerns, interests and the individual internal issues of a country. Economic, security and political integration between Arab countries, particularly during this difficult transitional phase that some Arab Spring countries are going through, serves these countries and their people and eases this transitional phase. The people and their leaders are in their own countries and are busy with their individual concerns, and this is their natural right. But while they are rebuilding their countries, they must think of the nation’s concerns and interests! Where does it stand? What is its role? Where is its place under the sun? The nation has been a field for others to play in and wrestle over, while it has been absent from this field. The time has come for the nation to become a key player and contribute to rebuilding the regional map. This is the responsibility of everyone; we must build our countries and, at the same time, the greater Arab nation. The Arabs have been absent for many decades, and today is the day they return to the stage, not to wrestle with anyone – except for the Zionist enemy and anyone who invades their land – but to build a map of balance, integration and cooperation along with other regional and neighbouring countries, without forgetting the Arab position or their role.

3. The relationship with the West and major countries outside the West must be managed, and this is normal in today’s world for political and economic purposes. However, this must not be at the expense of the Palestinian issue and the Arab role and responsibilities related to it. I say this while I am confident that the nation, God willing, is aware of this. This is just a reminder. We believe that it is necessary not to give free concessions to the West while managing our relations with it. The legitimacy of the Arab Spring countries stems from their people’s will, not foreign support, and addressing major issues strengthens these countries, not weakens them.

4. There is a need to raise the bar of the Arab stance, the Arab League, and for every country in the region, particularly in terms of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Moreover, it is necessary to reconsider and review the current Arab strategy. To begin with, this requires changing the political language. It is true that the people need time, but it is not right, after this Arab Spring, to keep the same language, initiatives, projects and attitudes. I know that full transformation and development requires time, but we must take the first step towards this now; the political language and terms of the Arab political dialogue must change. We must initiate and research reorientation of the Arab strategy on the Arab-Israeli conflict, and from there we must move towards changing the attitude towards the resistance and resistance movements. What in the past were strange, rejected or taboo topics in terms of Arab official norms – such as not supplying arms to the resistance – must become possible today. A strategy must be drawn for the nation on how to support the resistance movements with funds and arms, and how to back it politically. Parts of such a strategy will be announced publicly while others will remain covert. This will be a strong message from the nation that times have changed, and the world must respect the nation’s will, rights and interests. We cannot remain biased to ‘Israel’ and stand by helplessly while it disregards the nation and violates its rights, interests, and sanctities.

If there are no official wars between armies, the nation should at least support the golden option that has proved its worth, with the help of God, especially during the past years. Since 1967, ‘Israel’ has not won a true war, unless we consider 1982 when it expelled the Palestinian revolutionaries from Beirut and Lebanon. Thereafter, ‘Israel’ has not been victorious, neither in Lebanon nor in any part of Palestine, especially Gaza, and this is credited, after God, to the resistance, the heroes of the resistance, the weapons of the resistance and the support of the nation.

Furthermore, there is a need to turn the page on old projects and initiatives, and to search for new visions, projects and strategies, beginning with obtaining assets of real strength, and keeping the nation’s options open.

5. The peace agreements with ‘Israel’ and the positions of the Arab countries that are party to them is certainly a heavy legacy that needs to be reconsidered. However, the question is how, in what way, and when. What is extremely important is that it must be done. Political settlements and agreements with ‘Israel’ are unfair to the nation and to Palestine; they are neither an advantage, nor do they represent a normal situation. ‘Israel’ is not and will not be a friend or a neighbour, but is an enemy to the Palestinians and to the nation as a whole. If we characterise the agreements as such, we must make it a priority to address the relations, contact and normalisation with the Israeli occupier. This is unacceptable, especially in light of the Arab Spring, because the nation’s leaders must realise that the anger of their people is not only a result of internal policies but also a result of the nation’s shame and weak position, weak policies and weak strategies in terms of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

6. With regards to the rise of Islamists to power and the significance and impact this has on the issue, it must be clear that this does not imply that Palestine needs only Islamists, or that Hamas and the Islamic Jihad – as national Islamic Palestinian powers – are only in need of Islamists due to their importance, distinction and firm position on the issue. On the contrary, we need all the nation’s trends and elements: Islamists, nationalists, liberals and leftists. This is our nation, we need everyone in it, and Palestine was and will remain an issue for the whole nation. It is also necessary to dissociate ourselves from any divisions or sectarian, racial or religious alignments. May God rid us of the hateful sectarianism that has spread over the region. May God rid us of racial, religious and denominational divisions. Our nation has always been characterised by this beautiful diversity; this is a history that we have inherited, which has formed the nation’s civilisation and course throughout history. Today, it is wrong for us to explore these gaps into which our enemies pour oil and light fires to destroy us. This not only requires us to instil correct ideas and concepts, but also requires that our behaviour – as countries, movements, academics, or intellectuals – must be in line with these positions and concepts, and does not promote sectarian or ethnic feelings.

In this Arab Spring, we want our nation to be unified for Palestine, and we want it to build its internal front based on the interests of its people. These people are today thirsty for freedom, democracy, development, making a dignified living, progress, advancement and technology. At the same time, they look forward to having an advanced nation comparable to other nations, and a firm grip on managing their relations, foreign policies and their battle with the Zionist enemy.

These are our humble experiences that we wished to convey, and perhaps they will be beneficial. We hope that Hamas continues, as it has always done, to meet your expectations and gain your confidence.

ENDS

Originally Published by:
Afro-Middle East Centre (AMEC)
PO Box 411494
Craighall
2024
South Africa

Tel: +27 11 880-0525
Fax: +27 86 544 9913

eMail: info@amec.org.za

Web: http://www.amec.org.za

AMEC insights is a series of publicly-accessible publications, providing trenchant analyses of topical issues related to the Middle East and the MuslimWorld. If you want to be added to the mailing list, please email info@amec.org.za


Hugo Chavez’s 2009 speech on Gaza after expelling the Israeli Ambassador from Venezuela

Uploaded on 6 Jun 2009

Hugo Chavez Kicks Out Israeli Ambassador to Venezuela

Venezuela yesterday expelled the Israeli Ambassador, saying it was an act of solidarity with the people of Gaza.

From an official statement:

The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela expresses, yet again, together with people across the world, horror at the death of innocent women and children—a product of the Gaza Strips invasion by Israeli troops and the continual aereal and ground bombardment systematically unloaded by the State of Israel on the Palestinian Territory

At this tragic and indignant hour, the People of Venezuela manifests its unrestricted solidarity with the heroic Palestinian people; share the pain that has overcome the thousands of families for the loss of their loved ones; and standing with them, the Venezuelan government affirms that it will not rest until those responsible for these criminal atrocities are severely punished.

The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela sharply condemns the flagrant violations of the international law which the State of Israel has incurred, and denounces its planned use of State terrorism, with which this State has positioned itself at the margins of National order.

For the reasons outlined above, the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has decided to expel the Israeli Ambassador and part of its personnel at the Israeli Embassy in Venezuela, reaffirming its vocation of peace and its existence that international law be respected.

The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has prepared its mission in accordance to the UN so that, together with the majority of governments who require it, pressure is put on the Security Council to apply urgent and necessary measures to stop the current invasion of the State of Israel against the Palestinian Territory.

President Hugo Chávez, who has supported encounters with high representatives from the World Jewish Congress and has always opposed all anti-Semitism as he has all types of discrimination and racism, makes a brotherly plea to the Jewish community throughout the world to oppose the State of Israels criminal policies that serve as a reminder of the worst pages in the history of the twentieth century. With the genocide of the Palestinian people, the State of Israel will never be able to offer its own people a prospect toward a necessary and long lasting peace

Palestinian “holocaust” and said the presidents of Israel and the United States should be tried in international court.

“The Holocaust, that is what is happening right now in Gaza,” Chavez said in televised comments. “The president of Israel at this moment should be taken to the International Criminal Court together with the President of the United States.”

The socialist Chavez, a harsh critic of Israel and the United States, on Monday had accused Washington of poisoning the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to destabilize the Middle East and justify U.S.-backed Israeli incursions.

Israel is under international pressure to reach a cease-fire with Hamas militants and halt an offensive that has killed nearly 600 Palestinians, including more than 40 in a U.N. school sheltering civilians.

The United States, which Chavez describes as a decadent empire, firmly backs Israel — its principal ally in the region

i appreciate you Mr.CHAVEZ you are better than most of our arab leaders,,, THANK U VERY MUCH


Israel: immune or impugnable?

From Alray Media

Image

READ FULL ARTICLE HERE

Whilst Israel has ratified the main human rights conventions, it is not a party to any of the Optional Protocols other than Children in Armed Conflicts, nor has it accepted the jurisdiction of any of the treaty body committees, which means that relevant committees cannot receive or act on complaints or claims against Israel.

Even where Israel has ratified conventions, it has made important reservations, rendering itself virtually immune from almost any action against it.

The most we can hope for is that the circumstances of Arafat Jaradat’s death will be exposed to the international community, and will serve as a catalyst, as did the death in South African custody of Steve Biko in alerting the world to the atrocities being committed by the apartheid state of South Africa and ultimately leading to its downfall.

The rogue and apartheid state of Israel is equally in need of the disapprobation and condemnation of the international community for its chronic and extreme abuses of Palestinians and Palestinian detainees, for its daily practices of torture, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of Palestinian detainees and their families, and for its blatant disregard of international laws, norms and minimal standards of civilised behaviour.


Israeli settlements symbolise the acute lack of justice experienced by the Palestinian people

OHCHR PRESS RELEASE

GENEVA, 31 JANUARY 2013 – The International Fact-Finding Mission on Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory today published its findings on the implications Israeli settlements have upon the human rights of the Palestinian people.

The report states that a multitude of the human rights of the Palestinians are violated in various forms and ways due to the existence of the settlements.

These violations are all interrelated, forming part of an overall pattern of breaches that are characterised principally by the denial of the right to self-determination and systemic discrimination against the Palestinian people which occur on a daily basis.

Since 1967, Israeli governments have openly led, directly participated in, and had full control of the planning, construction, development, consolidation and encouragement of settlements, the report states.

“In compliance with Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention Israel must cease all settlement activities without preconditions,” said Ms. Christine Chanet, chair of the Mission from France.

The report states that settlements are established and developed for the exclusive benefit of Israeli Jews. The settlements are maintained and advanced through a system of total segregation between the settlers and the rest of the population living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. This system of segregation is supported and facilitated by strict military and law enforcement control to the detriment of the rights of the Palestinian population.

“We are today calling on the government of Israel to ensure full accountability for all violations, put an end to the policy of impunity and to ensure justice for all victims,” said Ms. Asma Jahangir, member of the Mission from Pakistan.

The report states that Israel is committing serious breaches of its obligations under the right to self-determination and under humanitarian law. The report also concludes that the Rome Statute establishes the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction over the transfer of populations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

“The magnitude of violations relating to Israel’s policies of dispossessions, evictions, demolitions and displacements from land shows the widespread nature of these breaches of human rights. The motivation behind violence and intimidation against the Palestinians and their properties is to drive the local populations away from their lands, allowing the settlements to expand,” said Ms. Unity Dow, member of the Mission from Botswana.

The report states that private entities have also enabled, facilitated and profited from the construction of the settlements – both directly and indirectly.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

· The full report is available at: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session19/Pages/IsraeliSettlementsInTheOPT.aspx

· The press release is available in Hebrew, Arabic, French and English at: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session19/Pages/IsraeliSettlementsInTheOPT.aspx

· All media enquiries and requests for interviews should be emailed to: ffmsettlements@ohchr.org or telephone: + 41 79 752 0481.

· Full title of the report: “Report of the independent international fact-finding mission to investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem”.

· The report will be formally presented to the Human Rights Council (HRC) on 18 March 2013.

· The International Fact-Finding Mission: Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory was established by Human Rights Council Resolution 19/17.

· On 22 March 2012, at its 19th session, the Human Rights Council (HRC) adopted resolution 19/17 entitled “Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan” by which the HRC decided to “dispatch an independent international fact-finding mission, to be appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council, to investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.”

· For the full 19/17 Resolution text:
http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/RESOLUTION/GEN/G12/130/13/PDF/G1213013.pdf?OpenElement

· For further information: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session19/Pages/IsraeliSettlementsInTheOPT.aspx

ENDS


PCHR Condemns Raids of Three Civil and Human Rights Organisations in Ramallah by Israeli Forces

PALESTINIAN CENTRE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

______________________________________

PRESS RELEASE

Ref: 150/2012

Date: 11 December 2012

Time: 13:30 GMT

PCHR Condemns Raids of Three Civil and Human Rights Organisations in Ramallah by Israeli Forces

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the raids of the offices of three civil and human rights organisations in Ramallah in the West Bank by Israeli Occupation Forces. The organisations affected were the Palestinian NGO Network, the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, and Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights. Israeli soldiers searched the offices and confiscated a number of items. PCHR believes that these raids are an act of Israeli aggression against the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).

According to the findings of investigations by PCHR, at approximately 03:00 on Tuesday, 11 December 2012, Israeli forces, accompanied by military vehicles, moved into Ramallah. They broke the front gates and stormed the Sabat building, in al-Masyon neighborhood in the centre of Ramallah, where the offices of Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights and the Palestinian NGO Network are located. During the raid, Israeli soldiers searched the offices, employees’ desks and the work files of the two organisations. Before withdrawing, they confiscated a number of PCs and laptops from the Documentation and Search Unit of from Addameer, files and documents from the Media Unit, and a memory card, a hard drive, a video camera and papers related to the organisation’s work.

At the same time, a unit of Israeli forces stormed the Headquarters of the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, in the Ahmed Ryad building, near Palestine Public Health Complex, in Qadoura Refugee Camp, in Ramallah. Soldiers broke the front gate of the Headquarters, broke in the office doors, searched the offices and interfered with the contents of the office. During the raid, Israeli soldiers confiscated 7 laptops, 3 PC hard drives, the internet server and a number of other items. They also stole nearly NIS 3000.

PCHR strongly condemns this attack by Israeli forces against civil society organisations in the West Bank, and reiterates its call to the international community and the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to take serious measures to put an end to Israeli crimes against Palestinian civilians and against Palestinian civil society organisations.


Time for the Egyptian ‘opposition’ to observe democratic norms

07 December 2012

It is not the Morsi government that has lost legitimacy, but the manifestly mis-named National Salvation Front.

In a genuine democracy, the opposition accepts that the government is elected to rule and that the opposition’s role is constructive criticism and keeping alternative policies in view – through the parliamentary process.

An opposition that spurns the parliamentray process, that spurns dialogue, and that sinks to vicious street thuggery in order to achieve its ends does not deserve the support or respect of the Egyptian people, or of the international community.

The torching of Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in Cairo and several other regional centres, attacks on the Presidential Palace and on Morsi’s home, and the murder of six Morsi supporters by ‘opposition’ protesters are hardly the hallmarks of democracy, or of a legitimate opposition, in action.

Rather, they are the hallmarks of a brutal, illegitimate and concerted destabilisation attempt – and it is no coincidence that it comes hot on the heels of the Egyptian-brokered Isarel-Gaza ceasefire agreement.

The roles of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mohamed ElBaradei and co-conspirator Amr Moussa, ex-leader of the Arab League, in these shameful proceedings is nothing short of scandalous. Both should know better.

If ever two people disqualified themselves from serious consideration for leadership roles in a democratic state by their own blatantly undemocratic behaviour, surely these two must top the list by their actions over the past week.

Mahmoud Hussein, Secretary-General of the Muslim Brotherhood, was generous in describing opposition protesters’ behaviour as “crude and contemptible ways of expression, rather than (putting) their points across in a civilized manner” – many would call it outright barbarity.

If there is to be any ‘national salvation’ in Egypt, it must begin with dialogue, not with street thuggery masquerading as legitimate dissent.

And if creating a genuine democracy in Egypt is the aim of the opposition, and of the Egyptian people, the first steps should be taken in the houses of parliament, not in the streets.

Isn’t that what 846 Egyptians died for in 2011?


One Voice in Gaza: normalization at its best!


PRESS RELEASE

5 December 2012

The One Democratic State Group, Besieged Gaza, Occupied Palestine

It has come to our knowledge that One Voice, “an international grassroots movement that amplifies the voice of mainstream Israelis and Palestinians, empowering them to propel their elected representatives toward the two-state solution” has started recruiting youth from The Gaza Strip. This is supposed to be part of its work “to forge consensus for conflict resolution and build a human infrastructure capable of mobilizing the people toward a negotiated, comprehensive and permanent agreement between Israel and Palestine that ends the occupation, ensures security and peace for both sides…” The movement recognizes that violence by either side will never be a means to end the conflict. (emphasis added). In its new Gaza initiative, One Voice “planned an intensive 36-hour training program in leadership skills and teamwork.”

The Palestinian Students Campaign for the Academic boycott of Israel, like Palestinian Youth Against Normalization, considers One Voice a normalizing organization since it ignores the reality which is Israel’s oppression and systematic discrimination against the Palestinian people in its three components: 1948, 1967, and the Diaspora. OV, amongst other organizations, targets Palestinian youth to engage them in dialogue with Israelis without recognizing the inalienable rights of Palestinians, or aiming to end Israel’s occupation, colonization, and apartheid.

We reiterate our commitment to the statement issued by Palestinian youth against normalization which was endorsed by almost all Palestinian youth and student organizations.

We consider One Voice to be an organization that aims to normalize apartheid and the ethnic cleansing of Palestine that took place in 1948. One Voice Movement’s vision is based on a “two-state solution”, without any commitment to international parameters — which assumes equal responsibility of “both sides” for the “conflict”, and suspiciously fails to call for Israel’s full compliance with its obligations under international law through ending its illegal military occupation, its denial of Palestinian refugee rights (particularly the right of return), and its system of racial discrimination against its own Palestinian citizens.

Some of the events organized by One Voice, like the One Million Voices, are sponsored by Israeli institutions (mostly from the private sector) and endorsed by mainstream Israeli political figures from parties including the Likud, Labour and Shas. These Israeli “partners” are unquestionably complicit in maintaining Israel’s occupation and other forms of oppression.

One Voice seems to ignore the fact that the reason why Palestinians and Israelis cannot get together is because the former are colonized and the latter are settler colonists. It also ignores the fact that Israel is an apartheid state, as former American president Jimmy Carter and anti-Apartheid activist and Nobel Laureate Desmund Tutu called it; a state that discriminates not only against the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, but also against the 1.2 million Palestinians living in it as third class citizens.

We, Palestinian youth of Gaza, ask if One Voice trainers and leaders in Tel Aviv are willing to admit that the creation of the state of Israel was responsible for the continuing ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people since 1948? That it illegally occupies the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and racially discriminates against the 1948 Palestinians in what the United Nations Special Rapporteur John Dugard described as, “the only remaining case after South Africa of a Western-affiliated regime that denies self-determination and human rights to a developing people and that has done so for so long”. A state responsible for ongoing house demolitions, illegal settlement expansions and the building of a monstrous Apartheid Wall — not to mention the collective punishment of 1.5 million Palestinians of Gaza, who are subjugated to a brutal, medieval siege entering its fifth year?

The One Voice website never alludes to the children and teenagers killed by Israel in the last two genocidal wars against the Palestinians of Gaza. Or is that considered a form of “dialogue” between “two equal parties” engaged in a “conflict?” Will there be a reference to the violence of the colonizer; the fourth largest army in the world with more than 450 nuclear heads? Will it state the fact that two thirds of the Palestinians of Gaza are refugees who were ethnically cleansed from the towns and villages where Israeli One Voice trainers and leaders live now?

Instead, One Voice is working on “building a mass grassroots movement that will amplify the voice of the moderates on both sides”, wanting to “show that there are partners for negotiations and peace on both sides” Where are the “two sides” of this “conflict?” Palestinian resistance is considered a “form of violence…(which) brings more violence and suffering to people on both sides! ” This is an issue of injustice around continuous dispossession and subjugation of one people by another people. Do we understand from One Voice that there was a “conflict” between the native Blacks of South Africa and the White supremacists of the apartheid regime?

The One Voice programme is one more arrogant attempt to equate the colonizer and colonized; oppressor and oppressed; victim and executioner. This is camouflaged by changing its name in Arabic to “Palestinian Voice!” We ask: will One Voice ever condemn Israel’s policy of apartheid and ethnic cleansing? Will it openly support the Palestinian right to self-determination?

We, therefore, consider One Voice projects in Gaza a continuation of a campaign of normalization that aims at whitewashing Israel’s tarnished image and does nothing but falsely creates the facade that there are actually two equal sides to “the conflict.” No wonder that tens of cultural and other civil society organizations in Palestine and the Arab World called One Voice “peace activities” as “camouflaging of Apartheid.”

We call on all Palestinian youth not to take part in this public relations charade that conceals a misleading political program that falls significantly short of international law tenets and the Palestinian national program. We expect the Palestinian participants to withdraw their support for this movement that only serves to blind the Palestinian public and sidetrack it from struggling, with the solidarity of its international supporters, for its UN-sanctioned rights, for justice, equality and freedom.

Signed by:

The Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel (PSCABI)

Progressive Student Union Bloc

Fateh Youth Organization

Islamic Bloc

Palestinian Student Labor Front

Union of the Palestinian Students struggle committees

Islamic League of Palestinian Students

The Palestinian Popular struggle Front Union

Union of the Palestinian Students struggle committees


UN Special Rapporteur: Israel must deliver on cease-fire agreement in the Gaza Strip

PRESS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER OF HUMAN RIGHTS

CAIRO (5 December 2012) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967, Richard Falk, called today on Israel to abide by and fully implement the cease fire agreement that ended the recent crisis with Gaza.

The human rights expert has just concluded a week-long mission to the region, with the initial purpose assessing the overall impact of Israel’s prolonged occupation and blockade against the Gaza Strip, which is an integral part of Palestine. “However,” he explained, “there arose an urgent need to investigate Israel’s seemingly deliberate attacks against civilian targets during recent hostilities.”

“We visited the sites of attacks and spoke with surviving family members. It is clear that some attacks killed and harmed civilians in a grossly disproportionate manner and thus appear to violate international law,” Mr. Falk said. “There is a widespread feeling among Palestinians that Israel is above the law, and that it is likely to continue to have the benefits of impunity even when it flagrantly and repeatedly violates international human rights and humanitarian laws.”

“Experience has shown that Israel fails to meet its international obligation to promptly and impartially investigate its own actions,” he noted. “Experience has also shown that Israel is not likely to carry out its obligations under the cease fire agreement; indeed during our visit we heard Israeli warplanes flying directly overhead and received reports of Israeli military incursions into the Gaza Strip.”

The Special Rapporteur called for sustained pressure from the international community, including both Governments and civil society, to secure Israel’s full implementation of the cease fire agreement, noting that without such pressure it is extremely unlikely to hold. “Worldwide support for the recent General Assembly resolution that made Palestine a non-Member observer State should serve as a starting point for more concerted international protection of Palestinian rights,” he said.

Mr. Falk stressed that talks to clarify how certain aspects of the cease fire agreement will be implemented, in particular with regard to access to maritime and agricultural resources, must be swiftly concluded.

“Every day Palestinian fishermen and farmers risk being shot at or detained by Israeli forces. Already since the agreement was reached, Israel has detained 13 fishermen, confiscated 4 fishing boats and sank another fishing boat,” he said. “Such actions signal an Israeli intention to maintain its coercive style of occupation rather to explore whether implementing the ceasefire agreement might lead toward a more hopeful future.”

“Palestinians and the international community are confronted with huge challenges to address underlying problems that have been severely aggravated by Israel’s occupation and blockade,” the independent expert said, underscoring the urgent need for access to clean water and sanitation, productive agricultural land, and new infrastructure.

“We received extensive briefs on what could be done if sufficient resources and political will are made available,” he said. “One example is the construction of a desalinization plant to meet urgent water and agricultural needs, but in many such cases funding is not forthcoming as donors are reluctant to invest in infrastructure projects that Israel is likely to bomb in one of its periodic large-scale attacks against Gaza.”

According to the Special Rapporteur, “unless these underlying problems are addressed soon, it appears that Gaza will be uninhabitable by 2020, as predicted by a recent UN report. Some of the experts with whom we spoke actually believe that 2016 is a more reasonable assessment. This indicates the gravity of the human rights crisis in the Gaza Strip.”

During his visit to Cairo and the Gaza Strip, Mr. Falk met with governmental, inter-governmental and civil society representatives, as well as victims and witnesses. He received briefings from the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) and other UN agencies, which provided an in-depth picture of the magnitude of the challenges in Gaza and the difficulties of addressing such challenges in a situation of occupation and blockade. He expressed his special appreciation to the people of Gaza and the international civil servants with whom he spoke for their support and engagement.

Mr. Falk’s next report to the Human Rights Council, which he intends to present in June 2013, will fully address the many concerns that were raised during the mission.

ENDS

In 2008, the UN Human Rights Council designated Richard Falk (United States of America) as the fifth Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights on Palestinian territories occupied since 1967. The mandate was originally established in 1993 by the UN Commission on Human Rights. Learn more, log on to: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/countries/ps/mandate/index.htm

UN Human Rights – Occupied Palestinian Territories: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/MENARegion/Pages/PSIndex.aspx
UN Human Rights – Israel: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/MENARegion/Pages/ILIndex.aspx

For more information and media requests, please contact Kevin Turner (+41 79 201 0122 / kturner@ohchr.org) or write to sropt@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)


Israeli sound bomb shakes Gaza City

03 December 2012
10:00 am

Gaza City residents have just reeled at the sound a huge explosion, which has since been identified as a sonic boom, or Israeli sound bomb.

Meanwhile, the United Nations observes.


Israeli tanks and bulldozers invading Gaza territory

03 December 2012
09:11 am

In a clear breach of the ceasefire agreement, Israeli military forces are currently conducting a ‘leveling operation’ 300 meters inside Gaza territory south-east of Al Maghazi.

Four tanks and five bulldozers are preparing the ground for what many here expect to be a land invasion in the near future.

Meanwhile, the United Nations observes.


PCHR: Israeli Forces Arrest 14 Fishermen, Confiscate 3 Fishing Boats

PCHR
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

PRESS RELEASE

02 December 2012

In New Violation of Cease-fire Agreement, Israeli Forces Arrest 14 Fishermen and Confiscate 3 Fishing Boats: Number of Arrested Fishermen Increases to 29 and Confiscated Boats to 9

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) repeats its condemnation of Israel’s violations against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip. PCHR is concerned over the escalation of Israeli attacks directed against fishermen since the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip that was stopped following the cease-fire agreement reached between Palestinian resistance groups and the Israeli occupation forces, under Egyptian and international auspices. Attacks against fishermen escalated despite the Israeli authorities’ announcement of allowing the fishermen to fish up to 6 nautical miles off the Gaza shore in the context of the cease-fire.[1] Since the cease-fire agreement came about, Israeli occupation forces have arrested 29 fishermen, including 14 who were arrested on Saturday, 01 December 2012. Additionally, 9 fishing boats were confiscated and damaged, including 3 boats that were confiscated on Saturday.

On Saturday morning, 01 December 2012, the Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishermen and boats in Gaza’s waters while they were fishing about 3 nautical miles off the Gaza shore. As a result, an engine of a fishing boat was damaged. The Israeli naval forces chased 3 boats and arrested 14 fishermen who were on board of the boats.

In his testimony to a PCHR fieldworker, one of the fishermen, Ramez Izzat Baker, 41, from Gaza City, said:

“At 06:30 on Saturday, 01 December 2012, I went fishing with my brother Rami, 34, and 3 of my cousins: Bayan Khamis Baker, 17; Mohammed Khaled Baker, 17; and Omar Mohammed Baker, 22, off the Gaza shore. We started fishing about 3 nautical miles off the shore. At 10:00, an Israeli gunboat approached and chased us ordering us to stop. The Israeli forces started firing heavily at us. Therefore, we stopped fishing for fear of being harmed or our boats getting damaged. They ordered us to take our clothes off, jump into the water and swim towards the gunboat. We did what they ordered us to do. The Israeli forces arrested us (my brother, three cousins and me) and transported us to Ashdod seaport, where we were questioned. At 21:00, we were released, while our boats remained in custody.”

In another incident, an Israeli gunboat attacked 2 fishing boats belonging to Sabri Mohammed Baker,52, and Eid Mohsen Baker, 23, who are both fishermen and live in Gaza City. The 2 men were fishing approximately 2 nautical miles[2] off the shore when Israeli naval forces opened fire at the boats, damaging the boat that belongs to Eid Baker. The Israeli naval forces ordered the 9 fishermen who were on board of the 2 boats to stop fishing and then arrested them. They took them to Ashdod seaport and interrogated them. The naval forces kept the two boats. At approximately 21:00, 8 fishermen were released while Emad Mohammed Baker, 33, from Gaza remained in custody.

In light of the above, PCHR:

1. Condemns the continued Israeli violations against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza sea, and calls upon Israel to immediately stop its policy of chasing and arresting Palestinian fishermen, and to allow them to sail and fish freely;

2. Believes that the violations committed against the Palestinian fishermen within the 6 nautical miles limit proves false the Israeli claims of permitting the fishermen to fish freely up to 6 nautical miles from the shore;

3. Calls upon the international community, including the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 on the protection of civilians in times of war, to intervene to immediately stop the Israeli violations against the Palestinian fishermen, and to allow them to sail and fish freely in the Gaza sea.

Public Document

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For more information please call PCHR office in Gaza, Gaza Strip, on +972 8 2824776 – 2825893

PCHR, 29 Omer El Mukhtar St., El Remal, PO Box 1328 Gaza, Gaza Strip. E-mail: pchr@pchrgaza.org, Webpage http://www.pchrgaza.org

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