a dribble

today was supposed to be ahmad sa’adat’s day in court. although his trial has been postponed before, it seemed as if it might actually take place today but it has been postponed yet again. maybe they are still fabricating evidence. not that they need any. the zionist state will do what it wants to. it always dos. there was a demonstration in nablus yesterday in solidarity with sa’adat, but i didn’t know about it in time so i wasn’t able to go. but there are photographs and excerpts from the speeches on the pflp website. if you follow the daily listing of palestinians who are kidnapped by israeli terrorist forces (itf) and taken to israeli jails every day you will notice that over the last couple of years pflp has been targeted far more than other political parties. this is particularly true among youth. in one case–a friend of a friend who is 15 years old–has had his trial postponed three or four times already. my friend’s theory is that the zionist state does this on purpose so that it can wait until he turns 16 in a few months. then if he ever does have a military trial (they are all military courts) he will receive a harsher sentence. for what you might ask? for being a member of pflp. for fighting for his right to exist. oh the irony: we are barged daily with rhetoric about the zionist state making everyone bow to it and say that “it has a right to exist” when palestinians are never afforded that luxury. not in language. not in real life.

not here not there. there was a trial today, however. this one convicted members of the holy land trust foundation because they were found to be giving money to hamas. in the u.s., as in the zionist state, palestinians are always already terrorists, you know:

Ghassan Elashi, Holy Land’s former chairman, and Shukri Abu-Baker, the charity’s ex-chief executive, were convicted of a combined 69 charges, including supporting a specially designated “terrorist” organisation, money-laundering and tax fraud, The Associated Press reported.

Mufid Abdulqader and Abdulrahman Odeh were convicted on three counts of conspiracy, and Mohammed El-Mezain was convicted on one count of conspiracy to support a “terrorist organisation”.

interesting that the charges included conspiracy. if you read the reporting on the subject you’ll see that an anonymous israeli was allowed to be a witness in this case. apparently if you raise money for an islamic charity to feed hungry people in gaza–whether or not it is through hamas or any other organization–you are a terrorist. there is a website keeping track of the case where as actions emerge you can follow the case and help.

sometimes it is hard to know which direction the u.s.-israel collusion operates–or when it switches from one direction to the other. apparently, the u.s. asked ehud olmert not to carry out any “major military operations” in the waning days of george bush’s presidency. i guess that is why the itf is continuing their “minor military operations” every day. especially in gaza. but honestly, i don’t know which is worth: the quick death of a missile falling on your home or the slow death that comes from hunger or from a lack of medicine, electricity to run medical equipment. this morning the zionist state allowed a small trickle of fuel into gaza. mahmoud al-khizindar, the deputy chief of the federation of fuel companies in gaza said it would last for about 30 hours. that means there are 17 hours left until gaza shuts down again. but he also said this:

He also said that Israel did not allow other types of fuel to be shipped, including cooking gas and gasoline for cars.

Late on Monday night, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered his military to resume the blockade of Gaza on Tuesday, citing reported homemade rockets fired from the Strip.

Israeli media claimed one such projectile was fired from the Strip on Monday night, causing no damage. No Palestinian group claimed responsibility for the attack.

as a result of this siege and the minimal fuel trickling in, palestinians are getting even more creative than usual:

To deal with the lack of kerosene, Gazans are adding white salt to diesel smuggled in from Egypt through underground tunnels, in order to light old kerosene lamps.

Falafel restaurants are only able to operate once a day (either in the morning or at night) in order avoid wasting gas.

there is a moving photo-essay on electronic intifada today by sameh habeeb that illustrates what this blackout looks like in gaza. how it affects daily life in gaza.

there is some food in gaza now, particularly for refugees. but it is a dribble. it is not nearly enough. john ging, unrwa chief of operations in gaza remains hopeful that more will be allowed to enter:

It’s a small, very small quantity that is coming in, but it’s the first resupply in over a week, and the situation, as I say, had become very desperate, and we hope, now, that it’s, as I say, the first step back to a positive situation here.

i wish i could be as hopeful. there is a new closure. gaza is closed again. the jail is on lockdown. i find it difficult to be hopeful because while the itf opened gaza for a fleeting moment to let aid inside, they also used it as an opportunity to make sure palestinian farmers could not grow their own food:

Israeli forces rolled into southeast Gaza Strip on Tuesday and bulldozers started to flatten farmlands, witnesses and security sources said.

The residents of al-Fukhari neighborhood, to the east of Khan Younis town, said nine tanks and two bulldozers suddenly entered the area and destroyed greenhouses and potato fields.

They added that the tanks used their machine guns to cover the bulldozers, forcing farmers and the residents to flee westward.

i think it is necessary to understand what 20 days of closure to a population already besieged does to human lives. below is a report from the popular committee against the siege (pcas):

The recent Israeli hazardous siege tightened 20 days ago is considered as a death sentence against Human as well as birds and animals. PCAS chairman, MP Jamal EL Khoudary expressed his deep anger towards Israeli policy of collective Punishment. He considered what’s happening as flagrant violations of all international humanitarian accords particularly the Fourth Genva Convention.

This new report comes out as a final call before a real collapse hits the life totally. This report uncovers part of enormous repercussions resulted in Israeli inhuman siege. It is also a clear message to United Nations, European Union and International Community to take responsibility immediately and end siege.

Siege Report of the latest 20 days only:

Health Sector:

Crisis and Catastrophes:

A Palestinian man holds wood as he walks in a street in the southern Gaza Strip November 23, 2008. Gaza is facing a humanitarian catastrophe as Israel continues to prevent aid reaching the territory by blocking crossing points.

A Palestinian man holds wood as he walks in a street in the southern Gaza Strip November 23, 2008. Gaza is facing a humanitarian catastrophe as Israel continues to prevent aid reaching the territory by blocking crossing points.

– A severe shortage of basic medicines is up to 40%. Medicines of diabetes, heart, asthma and other chronic diseases are vanished from Gaza. Additionally, other kind of medicines for Cancer, Lennar and liver failure face sharp shortages.

– Sterilization and Disinfection and medical equipments and clothes face decrease up to 30%.

– There is severe shortage in Solutions and pigments and laboratories tools. These shortages amounted of 40% directly affect patients.

– Some Medical Machines are in bad need for spare parts and maintenance. Due to siege none of the needed is being achieved. Medical machines of Gas measurements of children incubators are being affected as well.

– The power cuts and continued blackouts damaged part of machines and its programming systems.

– Damage hit C.T and X.Ray Departments at al Shifa’ and European hospitals. These are so crucial to diagnosis tumours of cancer and other diseases. Spare parts for medical T.V are not available!

– Gases used for surgeries are not enough and what’s available is only for 7 days. In the normal time there has to be a strategic storage for at least 3 months of these gases.

– Generators of hospitals are working for long hours due to Power cuts and this affected performance, already a generator of Al Shifa’ hospital stopped.

– Natural cocking gas is not available leaving kitchens of all Gazan hospitals closed. This affects food quality for sick people. Additionally, laundries of clothes and medical cloths are closed vowing of more disease.

– Vaccines for children are about to vanish vowing of problems for children in regard of immunity against diseases.

– Around 260 peoples already died due to closure and not being able to travel. More than 35% of victims are of children.

– Hospitals run the badly needed surgeries and some other normal ones due to the above problems.

– Around 60% of ambulances are being stopped and some medical vans as well.

Agricultural, Animal and Bird Sector:

This sector is one of most negatively affected by recent closure of collective punishment. Animals are and birds are being sorted as terrorists as the same as Gazans in Israeli view.

– Gaza needs 150 tons of fodder a day, since 3 weeks none of it entered.

– More than 700000 of chickens executed due to lack of fodder.

– Looses amounted of 20% due to lack of vaccinations, serums and lack of fodder.

– Fishing sector lacks natural gas needed for fishing and also the process of incubation is being halted.

– Agricultural tools like insecticides, seeds and fertilizer not available. This negatively affects the sector and already did with start of siege.

– Agricultural products are being held in Gaza as Israel prevents any kind of exportation since a year and a half.

Closing Commercial Crossings:

Israel closed crossings and decreased quantities of all sorts of commodities into Gaza starting in mid of 2007. Only 15% of Gaza’s needs amounted of 600 vans get into Gaza. On the 4th of November, Israel closed all crossings totally. Even the 15% which is not enough, Israel cut it.

Fuel Crisis:

Palestinians queue with their cooking gas bottles at a station in the central Gaza Strip refugee camp of al-Nusseirat. Israel said it will maintain its siege of the Gaza Strip despite international concern over a deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the aid-dependent Palestinian territory.

Palestinians queue with their cooking gas bottles at a station in the central Gaza Strip refugee camp of al-Nusseirat. Israel said it will maintain its siege of the Gaza Strip despite international concern over a deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the aid-dependent Palestinian territory.

Israel completely cut all kind of fuel including the Industrial one needed for the key power plant. Cocking gas, fuel, Benzine and Gasoline don’t enter Gaza leaving people in dire situation.

The power plant is function 50% of its capacity as it was hit by Israel in 2006. It produces around 70 Megawatt out of 140 Megawatt due to lack of spare parts. It consumes around 300 thousands litters of industrial fuel beside the storage fuel, none of that entered Gaza for the last 20 days.

The stoppage of plunged 50-60% into deep darkness due to lack of power. The rest parts depend on Israeli and Egyptian power. Israeli power lines are in bad need for maintenance and repair.

Bread and Bakeries Crisis:

In Gaza the number of bakeries is 47 but now the working ones are 17 only.

Normally, Gaza needs 450 tons of flour; 100 goes for bakeries and 300 for house use. Part of the house share is being provided by UNRWA which halted its work lately.

The remaining flour and wheat quantities would be covering the needs of people for 15 days. After then and if Israel would no be opening border points then a real famine would happen.

Water and Sewage:

The sector faces a sharp shortage in chlorine needed for Water and soon it will not be pumped along with drinking water. Therefore, contaminated water mixed with sewage would be a reason for plagues.

A more bacterium water would be pumped for civilians in Gaza. Gaza needs 60 cubic of chlorine material and the recent storage is Zero.

Around 100 water wells work out of 145 with 60% capacity of the normal performance. 45 water wells work with ability of 80% this due to spare parts shortage and Israeli closure.

Consumption of water is 220 thousand cubic in the normal time. However, it decreased to 40%. Some areas in the Gaza strip don’t get water especially the high locations.

Another serious outcome is sewage water leaking into the sea. It is estimated of 77million litters a day This kills fish resources and causes environmental disaster.

Commodities and Food Crisis:

Basic food stuff like milk, flour, food oils, meat, rice and legumes are not available with big quantities. Other needs are not available like raw materials.

Estimates for daily consumption of the following food products in the Gaza Strip are: 867 tons of flour, 153 tons of sugar, 110 tons of rice, 75 tons of different kinds of oil and 49 tons herbs and vegetables. According to crossing administration only 15 % of Gaza needs get in.

UNRWA Crisis:

Due to the crossing closures all kind of services and relief stuff are being banned to get into Gaza. The UNRWA which provides food parcels for 750.000 persons stopped its vital work.

Industrial Sector:

The industrial sector depends completely on imported raw materials. It depends up to 80% on imported machines and spare parts, and during the peak season of production (May – June) it is possible to export 748 truckloads of industrial products per month (including furniture, food products, clothing and agricultural products).

Since the beginning of the siege, the Occupation cancelled the application of its Customs Code for the Strip, resulting in the stopping of all industrial activities, which depends up to 85% on imported raw materials that are imported from Israel or in transit through it, and statistics indicate that more than 97% of industrial establishments, a total of 3,900, were shut down, stopping the export of their product; as a consequence 33,000 out of 35,000 employees and workers in this sector joined the ranks of the unemployed up to the date of the imposition of the siege in mid June 2007, and after the siege the number of employed industrial workers does not exceed 1,500.

there is a reprieve. but none of the aspects of this siege, listed above, will go away with 40 trucks of aid or 30 hours of fuel for electricity. it will continue in its cyclical ways. siege, reprieve, siege, reprieve. i wonder if this feels at all normal to people in gaza now. here the cyclical nature of the siege is a bit different. for those who live in nablus and don’t leave very often you can generally go about your day in a normal way. you can go to work or school. you can buy your food. you can meet up with friends. but at night the siege begins. at night the jeeps or tanks roll in. they kidnap palestinians. they kill palestinians. and then daylight comes and somehow things are back to “normal.” though in khalil yesterday, the itf stormed the palestine technical college in arroub refugee camp, kidnapped students from some of the classrooms. i think they don’t want people here to get used to “normal.” this is the same reason why we must endure their sonic booms every day in the sky above.

i wonder if there was any cash on those trucks coming into gaza because even if there are some food items entering, what will people use to buy the food given that the banks are running out of money there:

Local banks in Gaza, under pressure from Israeli sanctions, are running out of cash and desperate Palestinians lined up at branches Monday hoping to pull money out of frozen accounts.

But most banks have sharply curtailed withdrawals over the past two weeks and some have posted signs telling customers they cannot take out any more money. The U.N. stopped distributing cash handouts to Gaza’s poorest last week.

Economists and bank officials are warning that tens of thousands of civil servants will not be able to cash paychecks next month.

you see, this crisis is layered. it affects every aspect of people’s lives. most people who work, who receive a paycheck of some sort, who live their lives every day by working, cleaning their homes, cooking, shopping–they don’t think about the simple things that they do. i don’t think people wonder about banks running out of cash. or employers not being able to pay their employees (though thanks to the economic crisis the u.s. made global perhaps more people do). but i think people take it for granted that they can do these simple things every day. the things that make life normal.

i mentioned the other day that interpal, a palestinian charity in the u.k. that gives aid to palestinians is under attack. they are being stopped from transferring money (let’s hope this situation doesn’t go the way of the holy land trust case in the u.s.). there is now a petition you can sign to try to stop lloyds tsb from closing their account. one would hope that if this gets turned around and money gets transferred that it can be withdrawn in gaza.

it is telling that the zionist state is getting nervous. in spite of the arrogance with which they operate their death machine every single day, they are still most frightened about language. they are afraid of people telling the truth. of using language that expresses and describes their hate, their racism. they are especially concerned about such language when it appears in the united nations:

United Nations General Assembly President Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann on Monday likened Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians to South Africa’s treatment of blacks under apartheid.

Israel’s actions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip were like “the apartheid of an earlier era,” said Brockmann, of Nicaragua, speaking at the annual debate marking the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

He added: “We must not be afraid to call something what it is.”

Brockmann stressed that it was important for the United Nations to use the heavily-charged term since it was the institution itself that had passed the International Convention against the crime of apartheid.

some zionists take their battle to universities–as it recently did at boise state (see video i posted yesterday)–and now at leeds university:

Leeds University Union agreed last week, by a vote of 12 to 11, to send a motion to referendum which will label anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism and silence pro-Palestinian groups on campus.

The motion, shrouded in the language of combating anti-Semitism, is a reversal of a motion passed two years ago which gave Palestinian activists at Leeds University the rights enjoyed by their counterparts throughout the country. If passed, organizations which have an anti-Zionist platform, such as the Socialist Workers Party and the Palestine Solidarity Group, will be prevented from receiving funding from the union and prevented from holding many of their events.

this is how they try to cover up their crimes. their war crimes. their crimes against language. students at leeds are asking for your help. you may register your complaint:

The motion will go to referendum the week beginning Friday, 28 November and the results will be announced on Friday, 5 December.

To register your opposition to the motion contact:

University Secretary Roger Gair
j.r.gair@adm.leeds.ac.uk

University Vice-Chancellor Michael Arthur
m.j.p.arthur@adm.leeds.ac.uk

Chief Executive of Leeds University Union Lesley Dixon
l.dixon@luu.leeds.ac.uk

there is another petition circulating that needs signatures. a petition condemning yet another twist of language, that reveals the nature of zionism. it asks people to protest the so-called “museum of tolerance” in its attempt to build its museum on a palestinian cemetery. here is the language of the petition and a link where you can sign it and get more information:

Building a ‘Museum of Tolerance’ atop the cemetery, unlike the admirable goal of furthering tolerance and understanding, will only add to the existing pain and suffering of Palestinians and Israelis, irreversibly damage relations between Muslims and Jews worldwide and sow new feelings of animosity and division for generations to come.

A comprehensive path toward reconciliation in Jerusalem must include measures to respect beliefs and heal the wounds of Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities.

Therefore, we ask that the Wiesenthal Center, in the spirit of cooperation and respect for all people and faiths, relocate the planned ‘Museum of Tolerance.’ Doing so will not only save the Wiesenthal Center time and money but also help avoid fanning the flames of intolerance in that volatile region.

and for those of you who think that your signatures, your voices don’t matter here is the good-news story of the day from rania:

Israeli water cooler company Eden Springs has closed its East of Scotland depot after losing, according to a well placed industry insider, ‘hundreds of contracts’ across Scotland. Among the major losses in recent months, in an industry that is generally expanding, are contracts with East Lothian and West Lothian Councils and Caledonian MacBrayne Ferrries, the sole link between the mainland and Scotland’s many islands. Heriot –Watt University in Edinburgh has also cancelled and Stevenson College, the Scottish Council of Voluntary Organisations, as well as a number of Scottish trade union and student bodies have all voted to boycott Eden springs explicitly on the grounds of their violations of international and human rights law.

the boycott works. this is yet another reason why the zionists freak out when we use the word apartheid to describe their policies of destruction and brutality. when we use that word to adopt practices, like boycott, that brought the racist regime in south africa to its knees.

and there is more you can do, too. u.s. campaign to end the occupation is organizing a rally in washington dc tomorrow. here are the details and some other things they ask you to do:

With Gazans already impoverished and struggling to survive, on November 5, Israel completely sealed Gaza’s border crossings. This followed an unprovoked Israeli attack on Gaza that killed six Palestinians, despite a ceasefire, and Palestinian rocket fire in response. As a result of Israel’s closure, the United Nations has been forced to stop food distribution to 750,000 needy people, and 70% of Gaza is now without power due to a lack of fuel. According to reports, even candles are now in short supply. “Let’s see this for what it is.” said UN spokesman Chris Gunness. “Fifty-six percent of the Gaza Strip are children. Let us not cause suffering of innocent children.” Blocking witnesses, on November 13, Israel denied the entry to Gaza of 20 senior EU diplomats. Israel also has refused to allow foreign journalists to enter Gaza. Foreign Press Association chairman Steven Gutnik called the ban “a serious violation of freedom of the press” and said “it is essential that journalists be allowed to enter the Gaza Strip since it is the foreign media that serves as the world’s window into Gaza. Israel allowed a trickle of aid to enter Gaza today. Gaza has 1.5 million residents, the large majority of whom are displaced refugees from 1948.

In response to calls from Gaza, we urge you to take one or more of the following actions:

1) Contact Your Political Representatives: Contact your congressional representatives (http://capwiz.com/fconl/directory/leadership_list.tt ) and demand that the US government pressure Israel to stop starving Gazans, end the siege, and respect basic Palestinian rights.

Tell this directly to the U.S. Mission to the UN:

Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad
Phone: (212) 415-4053

2) Organize a Protest: Organize public protests and educational events calling for an end of Israel’s abuse of Palestinian rights in Gaza.

3) Boycott the Occupier, Not the Occupied: Take action for long-term change and join the growing international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement. Organize a BDS campaign in your community, in response to the call by over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations, until Israel ends its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands, dismantles the Wall, recognizes the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel, and implements the right of return for Palestinian refugees as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

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