i must sleep, but before i do i want to just report some key items from today.
israeli terrorists continue to bomb gaza. i keep thinking that people who think that israeli terrorists can stop bombing gaza are sort of like people who think that obama is all about hope and change. for those still drinking the obama koolaid, here’s some “change” for you:
Under executive orders issued by Obama recently, the CIA still has authority to carry out what are known as renditions, secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to countries that cooperate with the United States.
and israeli terrorists wish to continue their ethnic cleansing project by expelling palestinians to places as far away as venezuela:
Dr. Michael Ben-Ari, No. 4 on rightist party’s Knesset list, offers to expel Israel’s Arabs to countries such as Venezuela and Turkey, seeks to banish ‘leftists’ from High Court, and believes in rebuilding Temple in Jerusalem
meanwhile, matthew is in gaza now. i talked to him tonight. he’s been posting amazing photographs, one of which is below. here is what he says on his blog about this simultaneously stunning photograph/horrifying image:
meanwhile expulsion continues to take place in other forms, such as expelling palestinian workers and making it increasingly impossible for them to feed their families:
Shaher Saad expressed the Secretary-General of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions for the censure and condemnation of the Israeli occupation forces arrested more than 334 Palestinian workers working inside the Green Line, saying it is a flagrant violation of the rights of Palestinian workers who are trying to secure a living for themselves and their families under the strict closures and siege Israeli authorities imposed on the West Bank and Gaza Strip. And the Voice of Israel Radio reported this morning that the Israeli occupation forces arrested during the last week of at least 334 Palestinians working inside Israel the pretext of their stay there without permits, a phrase used by the Israeli police to justify prosecutions and aggression on Palestinian workers, arresting and sentencing them to high fines.
but there is good news today…more boycott statements. more actions you can take.here is a statement from catalan faculty and organizations:
The organizations and individuals signing this manifesto refuse the dishonest and immoral exercise of comparing the two parts of the conflict because Israel is the occupying force and Palestine the occupied country and because the disparity of victims is overwhelming. We refuse to be accomplice to the occupation and the massacre against the Palestinian people. For this reason we ask our governments and to all the civil society to joint the compromise with the culture of peace, as though widely reiterated and expressed by the citizenry of Catalunya. In this present moment, this compromise includes the immediate breaking-off of all the cooperation and commercial association deals with the Israel State in all the levels- European, Spanish and Catalan-, and for that we demand:
there is also a petition to sign to encourage haruki murakami to withdraw from the israeli terrorist book fair coming up in a month (please click on link below to sign):
We ask you to withdraw from the Jerusalem Book Fair and receipt of the “Jerusalem Prize”.
We have heard the news that you are going to participate in the 24th Jerusalem International Book Fair from 15th to 20th February, and will be awarded the “Jerusalem Prize”. We are terribly shocked.
We ask you to seriously reconsider the social and political significance of a world-famous author such as yourself participating in the book fair, which is fully supported by the Foreign Ministry of Israel and the City of Jerusalem, and receiving the award from the mayor of Jerusalem, when Israel has just taken more than 1300 precious lives, injured more than 5300 people, including 500 who are seriously wounded, and destroyed a tremendous number of lives in Gaza and thus committed a series of war crimes.
What we are particularly concerned about is the purpose of the “Jerusalem Prize”, being to praise one’s contribution to “individuals’ freedom in society”. This concept is in total contradiction of Israel’s criminal acts such as massacre, collective punishment, blockade policy, construction of settlements and building of the ‘separation wall’ in East Jerusalem that are effectively eliminating Palestinians’ freedom. If you receive the “Jerusalem Prize” it will contribute to a false image of Israel respecting “individuals’ freedom in society” which will be portrayed and spread by the media. We fear that the unimaginable devastation of humanity which Israel has inflicted continuously and systematically upon Palestinians will be disregarded and Israel’s actions will be accepted Richard Falk, the UN special rapporteur for human rights in the Palestinian territories, has said there was “a prima facie case” that Israel gravely breached the Geneva Conventions during its 22-day campaign in gaza. Citizens’ groups in Europe are preparing to bring the persons responsible before an international tribunal. To avoid the recurrence of this massacre, which reminded us of the Warsaw Ghetto, the international community has to acquit the moral obligation, and send the message “Do Not Allow, Condone or Forget Massacre” to defiant Israel. We regard the receipt of the “Jerusalem Prize” as obviously contradicting this cause.
Furthermore, Mr. Nir Barakat, who was elected mayor of Jerusalem in November last year, is supporting the continued expansion of illegal settlements in East Jerusalem, just as his predecessors. Making Jerusalem the capital, the annexation of East Jerusalem and the construction of settlements in East Jerusalem are all in violation of international law, but Israel claims these to be accomplished facts. This results in keeping true peace far away, and not only in Jerusalem but all Palestinians in the occupied territory become victims of the apartheid policy. We would have to say that Palestinians’ “individuals’ freedom in society” is completely suppressed by Israel. Hence receiving the “Jerusalem Prize” from the mayor of Jerusalem, Mr. Barakat who is in charge of this oppression, contributes towards hiding and vindicating Israel’s apartheid policy all the more. We believe that this is not your intention.
Please turn your attention to the Palestinians, who are being denied their freedom and dignity as human beings and resisting by surviving everyday life. We would humbly ask you to consider the effects your receipt of the “Jerusalem Prize” would have, what sort of message the world would receive in this Middle East situation, what kind of propaganda value it could have to Israel and the possibility of aggravating the critical situation Palestinians are facing.
there is also a renewed call for organizers to protest an israeli terrorist dance company touring the u.s.:
An Israeli apartheid dance troupe started its North America tour in Houston on Wednesday, January 28, 2009. Between then and March 1, 2009 it will go to fourteen more American and Canadian cities. That troupe, the Batsheva Dance Company, is currently scheduled to perform in Purchase, NY on January 30-31 and then it’s on to (in order): Princeton, NJ; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Chicago, IL; Columbus, OH; Ottawa, ON; Ann Arbor, MI; Minneapolis, MN; Vancouver, BC; Santa Barbara, CA; San Diego, CA; Los Angeles, CA; and New York, NY.
and as always ali abunimah has a brilliant article on electronic intifada today about george mitchell. he does some important comparative work between ireland and palestine in the article, but here is his conclusion:
The power-sharing executive in Belfast, led by staunchly nationalist Sinn Féin (closely affiliated with the IRA) and the hardline Democratic Unionist Party, was once as inconceivable as a government made up of members of Hamas and Israeli politicians would be today. US diplomacy played a key role by putting pressure on the stronger parties –- the British government and Protestant unionists –- in favor of the weaker nationalist side. Instead of shunning Sinn Féin the US, prodded by the Irish American lobby, insisted it be brought into the process.
By 2010, Palestinians will outnumber Israeli Jews in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip combined. The two groups can no more be totally separated than Protestant unionists and Catholic nationalists in Ireland.
Like Irish nationalists, Palestinians will never recognize the “right” of another group to discriminate against them. Like Protestant unionists did, Israeli Jews insist on their own state. Israel’s “solution” is to cage Palestinians into ghettos –- like Gaza –- and periodically bomb them into submission just so Israeli Jews, their relative numbers dwindling, can artificially maintain a Jewish state.
If Mitchell is allowed to apply Northern Ireland’s lessons, then there may be a way out. But he goes to Jerusalem with few of the advantages he brought to Belfast. The Obama administration remains committed for now to the failed partition formula of “a Jewish state” and a “Palestinian state” and maintains the Bush administration’s misguided boycott of Hamas, which overwhelmingly won Palestinian elections in 2006. And the Israel lobby — much more powerful than its Irish American counterpart — warps US policy to favor the stronger side, an intransigent Israel committing war crimes. If these policies don’t change, Mitchell’s efforts will be wasted and escalating violence will fill the political vacuum.
and for a good laugh, check out this onion map of gaza. click on the little onion icons for the lovely, witty irony.