on media manipulation and the coup in honduras

i’m still catching up on work and news while i was away at summer camp. one of the important developments was the military coup in hondoruas. john pilger was on democracy now! with amy goodman while i was away discussing this coup as well as the way the u.s. responded to honduras in comparison to demonstrations in iran. this four-part interview also covers palestine, obama, and media manipulation by the u.s. and its partner-in-crime, the zionist entity:

one of the first things that comes to mind when looking at the coup in honduras is the vastly different reaction of the u.s. to honduras and iran, which pilger discusses in the above interview. eva gollinger gave a good overview of the coup in honduras and its context in the socialist worker:

THE TEXT message that beeped on my cell phone this morning read “Alert, Zelaya has been kidnapped, coup d’etat underway in Honduras, spread the word.”

It’s a rude awakening for a Sunday morning, especially for the millions of Hondurans who were preparing to exercise their sacred right to vote today for the first time on a consultative referendum concerning the future convening of a constitutional assembly to reform the constitution.

Supposedly at the center of the controversy is today’s scheduled referendum, which is not a binding vote, but merely an opinion poll to determine whether or not a majority of Hondurans desire to eventually enter into a process to modify their constitution.

Such an initiative has never taken place in the Central American nation, which has a very limited constitution that allows minimal participation by the people of Honduras in their political processes. The current constitution, written in 1982 during the height of the Reagan administration’s dirty war in Central America, was designed to ensure those in power, both economic and political, would retain it with little interference from the people.

What you can do

Activist organizations are calling on supporters of democracy to call the State Department and White House and demand: a cut-off of all military aid to Honduras until President Zelaya and Foreign Minister Rodas are safely returned to office; support for international movements to bring the coup plotters to justice; and replace the U.S. ambassador to Honduras.

Call the State Department at 800-877-8339 and the White House at 202-456-1414.

Zelaya, elected in November 2005 on the platform of Honduras’ Liberal Party, had proposed the opinion poll be conducted to determine if a majority of citizens agreed that constitutional reform was necessary. He was backed by a majority of labor unions and social movements in the country. If the poll had occurred, depending on the results, a referendum would have been conducted during the upcoming elections in November to vote on convening a constitutional assembly. Nevertheless, today’s scheduled poll was not binding by law.

In fact, several days before the poll was to occur, Honduras’ Supreme Court ruled it illegal, upon request by the Congress, both of which are led by anti-Zelaya majorities and members of the ultra-conservative National Party of Honduras (PNH). This move led to massive protests in the streets in favor of Zelaya.

On June 24, the president fired the head of the high military command, Gen. Romeo Vásquez, after he refused to allow the military to distribute electoral material for Sunday’s elections. Vásquez held the material under tight military control, refusing to release it even to the president’s followers, stating that the scheduled referendum had been determined illegal by the Supreme Court, and therefore he could not comply with the president’s order. As in the United States, the president of Honduras is commander-in-chief and has the final say on the military’s actions, and so he ordered the general’s removal. The Minister of Defense, Angel Edmundo Orellana, also resigned in response to this increasingly tense situation.

But the following day, Honduras’ Supreme Court reinstated Vásquez to the high military command, ruling that his firing was “unconstitutional.” Thousands again poured into the streets of Honduras’ capital of Tegucigalpa to show support for Zelaya and their determination to ensure that Sunday’s non-binding referendum would take place. On Friday, the president and a group of hundreds of supporters marched to the nearby air base to collect the electoral material that had been previously held by the military. That evening, Zelaya gave a national press conference along with a group of politicians from different political parties and social movements, calling for unity and peace in the country.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

AS OF Saturday, the situation in Honduras was reported as calm. But early Sunday morning, a group of approximately 60 armed soldiers entered the presidential residence and took Zelaya hostage. After several hours of confusion, reports surfaced claiming the president had been taken to a nearby air force base and flown to neighboring Costa Rica. No images have been seen of the president so far, and it is unknown whether or not his life is still endangered.

President Zelaya’s wife, Xiomara Castro de Zelaya, speaking live on Telesur at approximately 10 am Caracas time, said that in early hours of Sunday morning, soldiers stormed their residence, firing shots throughout the house, beating and then taking the president. “It was an act of cowardness,” said the first lady, referring to the illegal kidnapping occurring during a time when no one would know or react until it was all over.

Casto de Zelaya also called for the “preservation” of her husband’s life, indicating that she herself is unaware of his whereabouts. She claimed their lives are all still in “serious danger” and made a call for the international community to denounce this illegal coup d’etat and to act rapidly to reinstate constitutional order in the country, which includes the rescue and return of the democratically elected Zelaya.

Presidents Evo Morales of Bolivia and Hugo Chávez of Venezuela have both made public statements on Sunday morning condemning the coup d’etat in Honduras and calling on the international community to react to ensure democracy is restored and the constitutional president is reinstated.

Last Wednesday, June 24, an extraordinary meeting of the member nations of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), of which Honduras is a member, was convened in Venezuela to welcome Ecuador, Antigua & Barbados and St. Vincent to its ranks. During the meeting, which was attended by Honduras’ foreign minister, Patricia Rodas, a statement was read supporting President Zelaya and condemning any attempts to undermine his mandate and Honduras’ democratic processes.

Reports coming out of Honduras indicate that the public television channel, Canal 8, has been shut down by the coup forces. Just minutes ago, Telesur announced that the military in Honduras was shutting down all electricity throughout the country. Those television and radio stations still transmitting are not reporting the coup d’etat or the kidnapping of President Zelaya, according to Foreign Minister Patricia Rodas. “Telephones and electricity are being cut off,” confirmed Rodas just minutes ago via Telesur. “The media are showing cartoons and soap operas, and are not informing the people of Honduras about what is happening.”

The situation is eerily reminiscent of the April 2002 coup d’etat against President Chávez in Venezuela, when the media played a key role by first manipulating information to support the coup, and then later blacking out all information when the people began protesting, and eventually overcame and defeated the coup forces, rescuing Chávez (who had also been kidnapped by the military) and restoring constitutional order.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

HONDURAS IS a nation that has been the victim of dictatorships and massive U.S. intervention during the past century, including several military invasions. The last major U.S. government intervention in Honduras occurred during the 1980s, when the Reagan administration funded death squads and paramilitaries to eliminate any potential “communist threats” in Central America. At the time, John Negroponte was the U.S. ambassador in Honduras and was responsible for directly funding and training Honduran death squads that were responsible for thousands of disappeared and assassinated throughout the region.

On Friday, the Organization of American States (OAS) convened a special meeting to discuss the crisis in Honduras, later issuing a statement condemning the threats to democracy and authorizing a convoy of representatives to travel to Honduras to investigate further. Nevertheless, on Friday, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Phillip J. Crowley refused to clarify the U.S. government’s position in reference to the potential coup against President Zelaya, and instead issued a more ambiguous statement that implied Washington’s support for the opposition to the Honduran president.

While most other Latin American governments had clearly indicated their adamant condemnation of the coup plans underway in Honduras and their solid support for Honduras’ constitutionally elected president, Manual Zelaya, the U.S. spokesman stated the following, “We are concerned about the breakdown in the political dialogue among Honduran politicians over the proposed June 28 poll on constitutional reform. We urge all sides to seek a consensual democratic resolution in the current political impasse that adheres to the Honduran constitution and to Honduran laws consistent with the principles of the Inter-American Democratic Charter.”

As of 10:30 a.m., Sunday morning, no further statements had been issued by the Washington concerning the military coup in Honduras. The Central American nation is highly dependent on the U.S. economy, which ensures one of its top sources of income–monies sent from Hondurans working in the U.S. under the “temporary protected status” program that was implemented during Washington’s dirty war in the 1980s as a result of massive immigration to U.S. territory to escape the war zone.

Another major source of funding in Honduras is the U.S. Agency for International Development, which provides over $50 million annually for “democracy promotion” programs that generally support NGOs and political parties favorable to U.S. interests, as has been the case in Venezuela, Bolivia and other nations in the region. The Pentagon also maintains a military base in Honduras in Soto Cano, equipped with approximately 500 troops and numerous combat planes and helicopters.

Foreign Minister Rodas has stated that she has repeatedly tried to make contact with the U.S. ambassador in Honduras, Hugo Llorens, who has not responded to any of her calls thus far. The modus operandi of the coup makes it clear that Washington is involved. Neither the Honduran military, which is majority trained by U.S. forces, nor the political and economic elite, would act to oust a democratically elected president without the backing and support of the U.S. government.

President Zelaya has increasingly come under attack by conservative forces in Honduras for his growing relationship with the ALBA countries, and particularly Venezuela and President Chávez. Many believe the coup has been carried out as a method of ensuring Honduras does not continue to unify with the more leftist and socialist countries in Latin America.

unlike the recent demonstrations in iran, which have garnered all sorts of american media attention and tweets on twitter, the coup in honduras is quite a different story as george ciccariello-maher writes:

The recent street rebellions against the Ahmadinejad regime in Iran were touted by many as the first baptism-by-fire of Twitter as a political tool. Celebrity artilces abounded for a brief time, before such foolish dreams came crashing back to earth under the weight of a metric ton of misinformation, unsubstantiated rumor, and idle gossip.

…And the Tweeters Fell Silent

Any Iranian foolish to put her hopes in this most fickle of constituencies that is the Tweeter must have begun to doubt the wisdom of such an approach as short attention spans inevitably set in and, most devastatingly of all, the death of Michael Jackson stole the headlines. Ahmadinejad couldn’t have planned it better if he had offed MJ himself (in cahoots, perhaps, with South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, the other clear beneficiary of Jackson’s untimely demise). Indeed, the Iranian dissidents were the biggest losers of the day, suffering an even worse fate than Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, and Billy Mays, condemned to historical oblivion by sheer bad timing. But to this list of those suffering from the technophiles’ abandonment of their brief flirtation with the political, we must now add Manuel “Mel” Zelaya, legitimately elected president of Honduras, recently deposed in a barefaced military coup from the far right.

Zelaya, a former centrist who has recently made leftward moves, raised the ire of the entrenched Honduran oligarchy by, among other things, joining the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), a radical counterpoint to U.S.-promoted free trade agreements. His overthrow has been followed by a press blackout, military curfew, and repression in the streets, as hundreds of thousands have rallied to the cause of their former leader, only to meet an iron heel reminiscent of Honduran military regimes of the past (dodging bullets in the street, as the maganificent BoRev puts it, “is sort of like Twittering, for poor people”). There have been mass arrests, injuries, and deaths, but some exceptions not withstanding, these Hondurans are nevertheless, to quote one observer, “Protesters We Don’t Tweet About.”

jeremy scahill lays out the vested interests the united states has in honduras in the context of the role the u.s. has played in the coup:

First, we know that the coup was led by Gen. Romeo Vasquez, a graduate of the US Army School of the Americas. As we know very well from history, these “graduates” maintain ties to the US military as they climb the military career ladders in their respective countries. That is a major reason why the US trains these individuals.

Secondly, the US has a fairly significant military presence in Honduras. Joint Task Force-Bravo is located at Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras. The base is home to some 550 US military personnel and more than 650 US and Honduran civilians:

They work in six different areas including the Joint Staff, Air Force Forces (612th Air Base Squadron), Army Forces, Joint Security Forces and the Medical Element. 1st Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment, a US Army South asset, is a tenant unit also based at Soto Cano. The J-Staff provides command and control for JTF-B.

The New York Times reports that “The unit focuses on training Honduran military forces, counternarcotics operations, search and rescue, and disaster relief missions throughout Central America.”

Significantly, according to GlobalSecurity, “Soto Cano is a Honduran military installation and home of the Honduran Air Force.”

This connection to the Air Force is particularly significant given this report in NarcoNews:

The head of the Air Force, Gen. Luis Javier Prince Suazo, studied in the School of the Americas in 1996. The Air Force has been a central protagonist in the Honduran crisis. When the military refused to distribute the ballot boxes for the opinion poll, the ballot boxes were stored on an Air Force base until citizens accompanied by Zelaya rescued them. Zelaya reports that after soldiers kidnapped him, they took him to an Air Force base, where he was put on a plane and sent to Costa Rica.

It is impossible to imagine that the US was not aware that the coup was in the works. In fact, this was basically confirmed by The New York Times in Monday’s paper:

As the crisis escalated, American officials began in the last few days to talk with Honduran government and military officials in an effort to head off a possible coup. A senior administration official, who briefed reporters on the condition of anonymity, said the military broke off those discussions on Sunday.

While the US has issued heavily-qualified statements critical of the coup—in the aftermath of the events in Honduras—the US could have flexed its tremendous economic muscle before the coup and told the military coup plotters to stand down. The US ties to the Honduran military and political establishment run far too deep for all of this to have gone down without at least tacit support or the turning of a blind eye by some US political or military official(s).

Here are some facts to consider: the US is the top trading partner for Honduras. The coup plotters/supporters in the Honduran Congress are supporters of the “free trade agreements” Washington has imposed on the region. The coup leaders view their actions, in part, as a rejection of Hugo Chavez’s influence in Honduras and with Zelaya and an embrace of the United States and Washington’s “vision” for the region. Obama and the US military could likely have halted this coup with a simple series of phone calls. For an interesting take on all of this, make sure to check out Nikolas Kozloff’s piece on Counterpunch, where he writes:

In November, Zelaya hailed Obama’s election in the U.S. as “a hope for the world,” but just two months later tensions began to emerge. In an audacious letter sent personally to Obama, Zelaya accused the U.S. of “interventionism” and called on the new administration in Washington to respect the principle of non-interference in the political affairs of other nations.

alberto valiente thoresen offers further clarification on the misuse of language in the context of the coup in honduras:

Currently, there is a tragedy being staged in the Central American republic Honduras. Meanwhile, the rest of humanity follows the events, as spectators of an outdated event in Latin America, which could set a very unfortunate undemocratic precedent for the region. In their rage, the almighty gods of Honduran politics have punished an aspiring titan, President Manuel Zelaya, for attempting to give Hondurans the gift of participatory democracy. This generated a constitutional conflict that resulted in president Zelaya’s banishment and exile. In this tragedy, words are once again the healers of enraged minds. If we, the spectators, are not attentive to these words, we risk succumbing intellectually, willfully accepting the facts presented by the angry coup-makers and Honduran gods of politics.

In this respect, media coverage of the recent military coup in Honduras is often misleading; even when it is presenting a critical standpoint towards the events. Concentrating on which words are used to characterize the policies conducted by President Zelaya might seem trivial at first sight. But any familiarity to the notion of ‘manufacturing of consent’, and how slight semantic tricks can be used to manipulate public opinion and support, is enough to realize the magnitude of certain omissions. Such oversights rely on the public’s widespread ignorance about some apparently minor legal intricacies in the Honduran Constitution.

For example, most reports have stated that Manuel Zelaya was ousted from his country’s presidency after he tried to carry out a non-binding referendum to extend his term in office. But this is not completely accurate. Such presentation of “facts” merely contributes to legitimizing the propaganda, which is being employed by the coup-makers in Honduras to justify their actions. This interpretation is widespread in US-American liberal environments, especially after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the coup is unacceptable, but that “all parties have a responsibility to address the underlying problems that led to [Sunday]’s events.” However, President Zelaya cannot be held responsible for this flagrant violation of the Honduran democratic institutions that he has tried to expand. This is what has actually happened:

The Honduran Supreme Court of Justice, Attorney General, National Congress, Armed Forces and Supreme Electoral Tribunal have all falsely accused Manuel Zelaya of attempting a referendum to extend his term in office.

According to Honduran law, this attempt would be illegal. Article 239 of the Honduran Constitution clearly states that persons, who have served as presidents, cannot be presidential candidates again. The same article also states that public officials who breach this article, as well as those that help them, directly or indirectly, will automatically lose their immunity and are subject to persecution by law. Additionally, articles 374 and 5 of the Honduran Constitution of 1982 (with amendments of 2005), clearly state that: “it is not possible to reform the Constitution regarding matters about the form of government, presidential periods, re-election and Honduran territory”, and that “reforms to article 374 of this Constitution are not subject to referendum.”

Nevertheless, this is far from what President Zelaya attempted to do in Honduras the past Sunday and which the Honduran political/military elites disliked so much. President Zelaya intended to perform a non-binding public consultation, about the conformation of an elected National Constituent Assembly. To do this, he invoked article 5 of the Honduran “Civil Participation Act” of 2006. According to this act, all public functionaries can perform non-binding public consultations to inquire what the population thinks about policy measures. This act was approved by the National Congress and it was not contested by the Supreme Court of Justice, when it was published in the Official Paper of 2006. That is, until the president of the republic employed it in a manner that was not amicable to the interests of the members of these institutions.

Furthermore, the Honduran Constitution says nothing against the conformation of an elected National Constituent Assembly, with the mandate to draw up a completely new constitution, which the Honduran public would need to approve. Such a popular participatory process would bypass the current liberal democratic one specified in article 373 of the current constitution, in which the National Congress has to approve with 2/3 of the votes, any reform to the 1982 Constitution, excluding reforms to articles 239 and 374. This means that a perfectly legal National Constituent Assembly would have a greater mandate and fewer limitations than the National Congress, because such a National Constituent Assembly would not be reforming the Constitution, but re-writing it. The National Constituent Assembly’s mandate would come directly from the Honduran people, who would have to approve the new draft for a constitution, unlike constitutional amendments that only need 2/3 of the votes in Congress. This popular constitution would be more democratic and it would contrast with the current 1982 Constitution, which was the product of a context characterized by counter-insurgency policies supported by the US-government, civil façade military governments and undemocratic policies. In opposition to other legal systems in the Central American region that (directly or indirectly) participated in the civil wars of the 1980s, the Honduran one has not been deeply affected by peace agreements and a subsequent reformation of the role played by the Armed Forces.

Recalling these observations, we can once again take a look at the widespread assumption that Zelaya was ousted as president after he tried to carry out a non-binding referendum to extend his term in office.

The poll was certainly non-binding, and therefore also not subject to prohibition. However it was not a referendum, as such public consultations are generally understood. Even if it had been, the objective was not to extend Zelaya’s term in office. In this sense, it is important to point out that Zelaya’s term concludes in January 2010. In line with article 239 of the Honduran Constitution of 1982, Zelaya is not participating in the presidential elections of November 2009, meaning that he could have not been reelected. Moreover, it is completely uncertain what the probable National Constituent Assembly would have suggested concerning matters of presidential periods and re-elections. These suggestions would have to be approved by all Hondurans and this would have happened at a time when Zelaya would have concluded his term. Likewise, even if the Honduran public had decided that earlier presidents could become presidential candidates again, this disposition would form a part of a completely new constitution. Therefore, it cannot be regarded as an amendment to the 1982 Constitution and it would not be in violation of articles 5, 239 and 374. The National Constituent Assembly, with a mandate from the people, would derogate the previous constitution before approving the new one. The people, not president Zelaya, who by that time would be ex-president Zelaya, would decide.

It is evident that the opposition had no legal case against President Zelaya. All they had was speculation about perfectly legal scenarios which they strongly disliked. Otherwise, they could have followed a legal procedure sheltered in article 205 nr. 22 of the 1982 Constitution, which states that public officials that are suspected to violate the law are subject to impeachment by the National Congress. As a result they helplessly unleashed a violent and barbaric preemptive strike, which has threatened civility, democracy and stability in the region.

It is fundamental that media channels do not fall into omissions that can delay the return of democracy to Honduras and can weaken the condemnation issued by strong institutions, like the United States government. It is also important that individuals are informed, so that they can have a critical attitude to media reports. Honduras needs democracy back now, and international society can play an important role in achieving this by not engaging in irresponsible oversimplifications.

what obama reads (or should read)

the other day amira hass had an article in ha’aretz, which i suspect barack obama did not read. in it she articulates the obvious: that the israeli colonial terrorist state has never been invested in peace, only in war and in a never-ending series of negotiations:

Successive Israeli governments since 1993 certainly must have known what they were doing, being in no hurry to make peace with the Palestinians. As representatives of Israeli society, these governments understood that peace would involve serious damage to national interests.

Economic damage:

The security industry is an important export branch – weapons, ammunition and refinements that are tested daily in Gaza and the West Bank. The Oslo process – negotiations that were never meant to end – allowed Israel to shake off its status as occupying power (obligated to the welfare of the occupied people) and treat the Palestinian territories as independent entities. That is, to use weapons and ammunition at a magnitude Israel could not have otherwise used on the Palestinians after 1967. Protecting the settlements requires constant development of security, surveillance and deterrence equipment such as fences, roadblocks, electronic surveillance, cameras and robots. These are security’s cutting edge in the developed world, and serve banks, companies and luxury neighborhoods next to shantytowns and ethnic enclaves where rebellions must be suppressed.

The collective Israeli creativity in security is fertilized by a state of constant friction between most Israelis and a population defined as hostile. A state of combat over a low flame, and sometimes over a high one, brings together a variety of Israeli temperaments: rambos, computer wizards, people with gifted hands, inventors. Under peace, their chances of meeting would be greatly reduced.

Damage to careers:

Maintaining the occupation and a state of non-peace employs hundreds of thousands of Israelis. Some 70,000 people work in the security industry. Each year, tens of thousands finish their army service with special skills or a desirable sideline. For thousands it becomes their main career: professional soldiers, Shin Bet operatives, foreign consultants, mercenaries, weapons dealers. Therefore peace endangers the careers and professional futures of an important and prestigious stratum of Israelis, a stratum that has a major influence on the government.

Damage to quality of life:

A peace agreement would require equal distribution of water resources throughout the country (from the river to the sea) between Jews and Palestinians, regardless of the desalination of seawater and water-saving techniques. Even now it’s hard for Israelis to get used to saving water because of the drought. It’s not difficult to guess how traumatic a slash in water consumption to equalize distribution would be.

Damage to welfare:

As the past 30 years have shown, settlements flourish as the welfare state contracts. They offer ordinary people what their salaries would not allow them in sovereign Israel, within the borders of June 4, 1967: cheap land, large homes, benefits, subsidies, wide-open spaces, a view, a superior road network and quality education. Even for those Israeli Jews who have not moved there, the settlements illuminate their horizon as an option for a social and economic upgrade. That option is more real than the vague promises of peacetime improvements, an unknown situation.

Peace will also reduce, if not erase entirely, the security pretext for discriminating against Palestinian Israelis – in land distribution, development resources, education, health employment and civil rights (such as marriage and citizenship). People who have gotten used to privilege under a system based on ethnic discrimination see its abrogation as a threat to their welfare.

if there were really “peace,” which of course will never happen without justice (read: right of return for palestinian refugees), then the zionist entity would not be able to dump toxic waste on palestinian land as mel frykberg reported in ips:

“Israel has been dumping waste, including hazardous and toxic waste, into the West Bank for years as a cheaper and easier alternative to processing it properly in Israel at appropriate hazardous waste management sites,” Palestinian Environmental Authority (PEA) deputy director Jamil Mtoor told IPS.

Shuqbah, a village of 5,000, lies near the border of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, not far from Ramallah. Israeli companies have been using land owned by a Palestinian middleman in the village to dump tonnes of garbage for as little as 30 dollars per tonne, significantly cheaper than dumping it at Israeli waste sites.

“For several years Israeli companies have been dumping solid and hazardous waste there,” Mtoor told IPS. “The subsequent burning of toxic waste including items such as x-ray films releases carcinogens into the environment, and this has affected the population, with many people developing asthma and related illnesses.”

The Israelis earlier buried the carcasses of thousands of chickens infected with the avian flu virus near Nablus in the northern West Bank, said Mtoor. The PEA also uncovered 500 barrels of insecticide in Hebron in the southern West Bank. Again, a Palestinian middleman had been paid off to accept the barrels on his property.

if there were an end to colonialism in palestine, which is the only way that a real solution could be maintained, then the zionist entity would have to do something about its maps, including those in its textbooks (see second image below), but also its tourist industry maps as per the one below that they are posting all over london:

wiping palestine off the map: zionist entity's ad campaign in london
wiping palestine off the map: zionist entity's ad campaign in london

the palestine solidarity campaign is asking for people to write letters to protest these ads, which you can do by clicking the link below:

Posters have recently appeared in London Underground tube stations advertising Israel as a tourist destination. The map on the advert depicts Israel as incorporating the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights.

Please write to London Underground, the Advertising Standards Agency and CBS Outdoors – the company which manages the poster sites – asking for the removal of these posters, which deliberately deny the existence of Palestine.

zionist entity's textbook showing what it considers to be its borders
zionist entity's textbook showing what it considers to be its borders

of course the zionists, along with their buddy hillary clinton, love to go on and on about palestinians recognizing them and their rights to colonize palestinian land as well as the mythology of palestinian textbooks inciting violence. a lot of this discussion over palestinian textbooks has been about maps–that they don’t recognize borders as delineated by the zionist entity. of course, they never mention the fact that their textbooks–and their colonizing terrorist state in general–have never marked such borders. and palestinians, because this is their land, must show the borders from the river to the sea: this is their history and their future. in any case, yesterday with obama, benjamin netanyahu decided to bring up the textbooks again:

If, however, the Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish state, if they — if they fight terror, they educate their children for peace and to a better future, then I think we can come to a substantive solution that allows the two peoples to live side by side in security and peace. And I add prosperity (inaudible).

for those who still believe this zionist propaganda about the textbooks, you should check out the german georg eckert institute’s study on this, which put to rest several years ago these bogus claims in spite of hillary and company.

but obama was offered another sort of lesson from netanyahu yesterday in the form of a book. not the sort of book that hugo chavez gave to obama–eduardo galeano’s open veins of latin america. the ever inspirational rania blogged about this last month:

Chavez’s gift was a very wise way (if accidental) to get the book international attention and increases its sales and readership — and thus increase awareness on the centuries of colonization and theft of Latin America and thus increase understanding and, potentially, solidarity. Chavez explained: “This book is a monument in our Latin American history. It allows us to learn history, and we have to build on this history.”

but the book netanyahu gave to obama was none other than mark twain’s orientalist tale of traveling in the holy land otherwise known as the innocents abroad:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with a copy of “Pleasure Excursion to the Holy Land,” from Mark Twain’s book “The Innocents Abroad,” when they meet in Washington today. Netanyahu received the book, along with a newly published version in Hebrew (translated by Oded Peled), from the Kinneret Zmora-Bitan publishing house.

In his travel memoir, Twain describes a 1867 trip to the Land of Israel, which he finds a backward and desolate place devoid of culture or law. “Renowned Jerusalem itself, the stateliest name in history, has lost all its ancient grandeur, and is become a pauper village,” he states, calling it a country where prosperity had died out, a place of lost splendor and beauty where joy has turned to sorrow, and where silence and death prevail in its holy places.

actually, while i have serious problems with much of twain’s writing about the arab world in this book, an astute reading of it requires one to also see the irony in it. i wonder, for instance, what obama would make of this passage of twain’s travelogue to the region:

This morning‭, ‬during breakfast‭, ‬the usual assemblage of squalid humanity sat patiently without the charmed circle of the camp and waited for such crumbs as pity might bestow upon their misery‭. ‬There were old and young‭,‬ brown skinned and yellow‭. ‬Some of the men were tall and stalwart‭, (‬for one hardly sees any where such splendid-looking men as here in the East‭,)‬ but all the women and children looked worn and sad‭, ‬and distressed with hunger‭. ‬They reminded me much of Indians‭, ‬did these people‭. ‬They had but little clothing‭, ‬but such as they had was fanciful in character and fantastic in its arrangement‭. ‬Any little absurd gewgaw or gimcrack they had they disposed in such a way as to make it attract attention most readily‭. ‬They sat in silence‭, ‬and with tireless patience watched our every motion with that vile‭, ‬uncomplaining impoliteness which is so truly Indian‭, ‬and which makes a white man so nervous and uncomfortable and savage that he wants to exterminate the whole tribe‭.

twain’s entire text, by the way, can be downloaded for free from project gutenberg in six parts (the link above is to part five where this excerpt comes from). but this description of the palestinians–in comparison to indigenous americans–is telling for a number of reasons most notably the reaction colonizers–both american and zionist–have to the indigenous. while perhaps white man in chief, netanyahu, in the zionist entity is not “exterminating” palestinians right now, they are certainly finding other methods of removal from their ethnic, exclusive, colonial, racist, apartheid regime. building jewish-only colonies that force palestinians out of their homes and off of their land is one such method:

Shortly after the meeting between US President, Barack Obama, and the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli sources said that a new Jewish only settlement would be constructed in the Jordan Valley, less that 20 kilometers away from the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

The new settlement plan was seen by several Palestinian and international officials as a clear Israeli message to the US administration that the country does not intend to halt the construction and expansion of settlements in the occupied West Bank.

The plan comes while Israel is formulating more plans to link major Israeli settlements in the West Bank with Jerusalem in spite of the increasing international condemnation.

and yet another eviction and new colony in al quds:

Israel plans to build 250 units of settlement housing after it forcibly evacuates two East Jerusalem families, a lawyer for the Palestinian president’s office said on Tuesday.

Attorney Ahmad Ar-Ruwaidi said Israel plans to level a total of 27 homes on the family’s Shiekh Jarrah properties after the families are removed, “while the world talks about human rights, genocide, and ethnic cleansing.”

“Once again, Israeli judiciary proved that it is a tool in the hands of Israeli settlement organizations which are conducting settlement programs in Al-Bustan and other neighborhoods of Jerusalem,” he said.

The remarks come after the Israeli district court decided on Sunday to fine each family 50,000 US dollars, with a further fine of 50,000 shekels (12,500 US dollars) if they do not evacuate by 19 July, the date of a court hearing.

The eviction order was issued by “Hotza Laphoal” the Israeli institution that executes court orders.

The families are two of the 27 that live in a 28-building complex in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. The court ruled in favor of a settler organization, Nahalat Shimon, which claims it is the owner of the buildings. The Palestinians are accused of not paying rent to these self-proclaimed landlords.

but in the meeting between obama and netanyahu yesterday it became clear–or perhaps before yesterday?–that it is not any longer the dismantling colonies that the united states advocates; rather, it just wants them to stop building. good luck with either of those. here is ha’aretz’s take on the meeting:

Obama also reminded Israel of its commitment, under a 2003 U.S.-backed peace road map agreement to cease settlement activity in the West Bank.

“We talked about restarting serious negotiations on issues of Israel and the Palestinians,” Obama said, adding that it was in the interests of both sides “to achieve a two-state solution.”

Netanyahu, in his remarks, reiterated that he supported self-government for the Palestinians but made no mention of a state, a position underscoring a rare rift in U.S.-Israeli relations.

“We don’t want to govern the Palestinians. We want them to govern themselves,” Netanyahu said, echoing statements he has made in the past.

for a real justice-based solution, of course, colonies everywhere in historic palestine must stop. it’s not just about the west bank. it is about historic palestine and justice for refugees. but of course we never hear these words from the zionist entity or the u.s. now it’s just about the colonies (u.s.) or iran (zionist entity). here is jacky rowland’s report for al jazeera laying out these issues before netanyahu went to washington:

but the elephant in the room remains palestinian refugees and their right of return. if obama wants to seek justice, which would lead to peace, in the region then he should read are stories like this one of palestinian nakbas and refugee rights as suleiman abu jazzar tells rami almaghari narrates in electronic intifada:

“Only if we return to our homeland, can there be peace. But as long as [Israel] keeps us refugees, we have no choice to resist them now and for generations to come, until we are back in Beir al-Saba,” said 75-year-old Suleiman Abu Jazzar in his home in the Brazil refugee camp in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip.

Along with more than 700,000 other Palestinians, Abu Jazzar was forced from historic Palestine by Zionist forces in 1948, a period referred to by Palestinians as the Nakba (catastrophe) and commemorated in mid-May while Israel celebrates its “Independence Day.” During 1947-48, Zionist paramilitary groups — which later formed the Israeli army — attacked and destroyed more than 450 Palestinian towns and villages. Abu Jazzar’s town of Beir al-Saba was given the Hebrew name of Beersheva by its conquerers.

Abu Jazzar and his family are amongst the more than 4.5 million registered Palestinian refugees living in camps in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon — unable to return to their land, though their right to return is enshrined in international law. There are millions of other Palestinians scattered around the globe comprising the Diaspora, a nation in exile.

“Prior to 1948, we used to live peacefully and happily in our hometown of Beer al-Saba. All out of a sudden, armed Jewish groups attacked the town and displaced my family including myself, as well as many other families,” recalled Abu Jazzar.

“In that period, we fled [to the outskirts of] Beir al-Saba, leaving behind us heaps of barley, our main harvest at that time. When night falls, I recall that myself and other youths of the town, used to sneak into these heaps to bring food for hungry children and women.

“After a while, the Jews began to spot us, and finally we were all displaced form the whole area, leading us to the Gaza Strip, where me and my family were settled in the Rafah area here,” Abu Jazzar said while laying on a sofa in a traditionally-decorated room.

Asked whether residents of Beir al-Saba resisted the Zionist forces, Abu Jazzar put much blame on the Arab countries and armies for the Palestinian refugees’ situation.

“There were no Israeli warplanes at that time, only tanks. Also, their numbers were not that big, but unfortunately we had no guns or weapons. I only recall that someone from the Barahma tribe had a gun. I really blame the Arab armies, which failed us. Their weapons were not that effective. These armies did not even train us how to fight; we were merely farmers and had nothing to do with armament. They are to be blamed for our plight.”

Abu Jazzar endured not only the 1948 dispossession, but he witnessed and survived other Israeli wars and conflicts that he described as more Nakbas for the Palestinian people.

“In 1956, the occupation forces invaded our towns here in Gaza, using tanks and armored vehicles. Also, in 1967, they invaded us again and continued to occupy us until recently. They are not leaving us, they don’t want us to live peacefully,” he said.

More recently, Israeli army launched a three-week comprehensive attack on the Gaza Strip, killing more than 1,400 Palestinians — the majority of them civilians. During this war, Abu Jazzar’s asbestos-roofed house was partially damaged, as Israeli forces destroyed many houses in his neighborhood.

“Only God saved us during the Gaza war, the [Israelis] only want to destroy us completely. I didn’t go anywhere during the war; my family and I remained at the house. Where to go? … In 1948, we left our house and left our farm lands, thinking we would return in a few days. But as you see, son, we are here for 61 years now, and who knows how long we will remain so?”

Umm Salah, Abu Jazzar’s 70-year-old wife, sang a Palestinian folk song about the events of 1948: “You have made us refugees. When we fled al-Ramla and Beir al-Saba, heading to Gaza, carrying our luggage on our shoulders, we wondered: what did you do for us, Ben Gurion [Israel’s first prime minister], you brought us a Nakba!”

Sighing deeply, she said that only God protects them, but she hopes for peace, nevertheless.

“It is true that they are more powerful than us, but where can we go — where? We just resist them by our steadfastness on this land, sticking to our homes,” Umm Salah said.

Both Abu Jazzar and Umm Salah said that they would refuse to take monetary compensation instead of a return to their town of origin. “Our history is there in Palestine,” they said together, “in Beir al-Saba. How could we sell our history?”

The now elderly refugees have evidently passed down their profound connection to their land to their 28-year-old daughter, Laila, who said with great emotion:

“What peace are they talking about? Every day they kill us, our families have lived the suffering for 61 years now. … If there is a truce, this truce cannot last, as they aim to destroy us completely. Look at the last Israeli war on us, they killed many people. We should keep steadfast, until we return to our hometown of Beir al-Saba. We can never accept any compensation, even if we all die one after another.”

grading hiatus

i spent the past few days grading sets of papers and exams for all 4 of my classes. that is around 400 papers. in an ordinary situation this would be a nightmare. but here it is especially challenging as my students english language skills are so weak that it takes an eternity to decipher what they mean. at times these mistakes are a bit funny as in one student who wrote in her land day essay assignment about the “sex martyrs” (there were 6 martyrs on 30 march 1976). others are interesting as with a student who took the wrong meaning from arabic to english (their assignment sheet on land day had arabic and english on it so there should not have been any confusion) when translating الأرض which means both land and earth. the problem is she did her research on the subject in english and not in arabic. thus, she wrote a paper about earth day, which is entirely different than land day. this assignment had some nuances to it depending on which class (postcolonial literature, drama, and research methodology). my research students, for example, had to use this assignment as practice with respect to citation, selecting a primary text for analysis, and determining how to figure out what sources to trust. so imagine my surprise when a number of students–at least 30–thought that a zionist take on land day, a palestinian day on which we commemorate resistance in 1948 historic palestine, would be an appropriate source! not only that: my students–most of whom plagiarized anyway and who accordingly received no credit for the assignment–plagiarizedthe zionist website, disguising itself as “plaestine facts,” thus acting as if these were there own words:

March 30th is “Land Day”, commemorated by Palestinian and Israeli Arabs. In 1976, the first Land Day was a protest over confiscation of Arab land for Jewish settlements in northern Israel. Demonstrations, accompanied by a general strike of the Arab sector, erupted into violent clashes with police with six Arab fatalities.

What actually happened in 1976 has been distorted as the annual event has become an instrument of propaganda. On March 11, 1976, the Israeli government published a plan to expropriate approximately 21,000 dunams (5,250 acres) of land in the Galilee. Only 31 percent of the land in question, or less than one-third, was Arab-owned, some of which was to be used to expand the Arab village of Majar near Acre and to build public buildings in Arab towns. This action by Israel was no different than the eminent domain process that is regularly used in the United States or other countries to acquire land for public projects.

Nevertheless, the most prominent political party in the Arab sector at the time, Rakah (The New Communist List), cynically decided to seize upon the decision and called a general strike for March 30. Riots broke out the night before – in which soldiers and police were attacked with stones and firebombs – and continued the following day, resulting in the deaths of six Israeli Arabs. Though the media portrays Land Day as a day when Israeli Arabs peacefully vented their frustrations, Land Day was in fact born in violence, the product of the machinations of a political party that proudly waved the dubious banner of Marxism-Leninism.

Since 1976 the date has become an annual event for Palestinians and Israeli Arabs who have turned Land Day into a general protest against what they claim are discriminatory practices by the Israeli government. Land Day has often been marked by angry demonstrations and country-wide violence. Land Day demonstrations are also the focus of open support for Hamas and Hizbullah, showing of flags from Syria and other Arab countries, and denunciations of the Israeli Prime Minister and the government’s policies toward the Palestinians.

one of the things we have been going over in class ad nauseum is plagiarism. literally, almost every day. as well as discussing how to trust sources, incluidng zionist sources masquerading as palestinian or “middle east” sources. indeed, they had an exam question like this where they had to read 3 different paragraphs from 3 different internet sources and decide which one was the most trustworthy and then they had to explain why. so imagine my shock to find this.

i do not blame my students. i get insanely frustrated by the plagiarism, but i don’t blame them. i blame many sources: the palestinian authority, the israeli/american terrorists who control palestinian curricula, parents who do not make up for the gaps in the education by teaching their children, students who do not make learning a priority in ways that puts reading first (before their haifa wehbe addictions). and really i’ve been thinking about the role of the saudi/gulf media in all of this. i started talking to my students about mbc and melody hits and other stations on satellite in the region. i really feel that this generation has been dumbed down by these sources. and i do think it is like an addiction to other substances like alcohol, for example. these programs the students watch dumb down their thinking. they check out mentally. and i think that there must be some larger saudi/khaleeji conspiracy going on here. i mean, it is not in their interest to help palestinians liberate their land (or any other arabs in any other regime in the region for that matter–egypt shooting up to the top of my list this week). so by producing these programs or music videos that people watch and lose themselves in they help to placate a public who would otherwise be in the streets resisting.

interestingly rawya rageh on al jazeera the other day interviewed some youth in egypt and asked them about their role models. i love that one of them said hugo chavez! why? because unlike the cia puppet hosni mubarak, chavez stands up for justice of palestinians and others fighting for their rights around the world. here is the report (interview is at the end):

building momentum against israeli apartheid

carlos latuff
carlos latuff
many of you know that it is now israel apartheid week around the world and also here in palestine (i will paste in the information about events in palestine below because the link here to the apartheid website does not seem to be updated yet). there are all kinds of things you can and should do this week–and i would say every single day–to help support this week of educational events (and stuff coming up for yom al ard at the end of the month). the palestinian boycott divestment sanctions (bds) movement created this lovely little pdf for people who want to know what else they can do. click here for the document.

and the boycott of israeli products (though, unfortunately, not american products: please, someone tell me, why/how people can be so willing to give up their lives, to fight and die in order to liberate their land, but they still cannot sacrifice the 2-3 minutes the flavor of coca cola on their tongues. seriously: i want to know the answer to this question because it keeps me up at night. it bothers me that much) is taking off in palestine, it seems. i say “it seems,” because i am very cynical about how this is being framed and who is doing the framing. it is the palestinian authority that seems to be taking the lead here, but i bet that if we went into the offices of these folks we’d find all things israeli. but if they want to coopt this campaign and push their fatah-normalizing followers to boycott too, the more the merrier. here is what was reported late last week:

Buying Palestinian products is a patriotic act of resistance which plays a major role in helping the Palestinian people stay steadfast on their land, said Head of Palestinian Presidential Bureau Rafiq Al-Huseini Saturday.

Al-Huseini spoke at a conference where the Palestinian Authority (PA) announced an initiative to support the production and improvement of Palestinian products as part of a boycott of Israeli goods as well as an effort to strengthen the local economy.

Such an action, he said, “is a peaceful means of countering Israeli settlement plans; it is also something ordinary people can easily participate in.”

The initiative aims at enhancing Palestinian products by improving quality, reducing price and increasing the ability of Palestinian producers to compete against world products both at home and abroad.

“Our vision is to have national products capable of competing in internal and external markets,” Al-Huseini said. “We also aim at strengthening consumer loyalty to Palestinian brands,” he told assembled politicians and businessmen in the Ramallah government compound on Saturday.

Palestinian minister of the Economy Kamal Hassuna said supporting national products was a moral duty, noting that the caretaker government had, from the “beginning, worked to support the private sector through new legislations.”

Head of the Union of Palestinian Industries Basim Khouri, said the union endeavored to increase the portion of national products in the local market by providing high-quality products meeting international standards at competitive prices.

Representative of the Palestinian investment fund Jamal Haddad described supporting national products as a pillar of the Palestinian resistance against occupation because it frees the Palestinian people from dependence on Israeli products and supports local business owners.

and for those of you who think that making responsible choices when you go shopping doesn’t have an effect on the israeli terrorist regime, think again and read what shir hever has to say about it:

Although the Israeli economic media doesn’t concern itself with the moral dimension of the attacks on Gaza, the economic dimension of recent events have created a rising level of concern. In order to demonstrate this trend, here are summaries of four articles that appeared in the Israeli The Marker magazine for economic news:

1. On 2 February, Guy Grimland warned about a growing phenomenon of boycott of Israeli high-tech companies, and several Israeli companies received letters from European and U.S. companies explaining that they cannot invest in Israel for moral reasons.

2. In 3 February, Nehemia Strassler, one of Israel’s most famous economic correspondents, attacked the Israeli Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor, Eli Yishai, for calling on the Israeli military to “destroy one hundred homes in Gaza for every rocket that falls in Israel.” Strassler had nothing to say about the Palestinians living in these homes or about the loss of life, but he warned:

“[the minister] doesn’t even understand how the operation in Gaza hurts the economy. The horror sights on television and the words of politicians in Europe and Turkey change the behavior of consumers, businessmen and potential investors. Many European consumers boycott Israeli products in practice. Intellectuals call for an economic war against us and to enforce an official and full consumer boycott.

Calls are heard in board meetings of economic corporations to boycott trade relations with Israel. So far deals were cancelled with Turkey, the UK, Egypt and the Gulf States, and visits by economic delegations were cancelled. It’s much easier now to switch providers while abandoning Israeli providers. Many company boards are required to take wide considerations into account with regards to the good of society and the environment, and they put political considerations in that slot as well.

Of course there is an economic cost to severing diplomatic ties. Qatar cut its trade relations with Israel, Venezuela and Bolivia cut diplomatic relations. Mauritania recalled its ambassador and the relations with Turkey worsened considerably—and this bad ambiance seeps into the business sector decisions. Here, just yesterday Dudi Ovshitz, who grows peppers for export, said that ‘there is a concealed boycott of Israeli products in Europe.'”

3. On 6 February, Shuki Sadeh wrote about even more companies that have decided to boycott relations with Israel. A Turkish company demanded that Israeli companies sign a document condemning the Israeli massacre in Gaza before they can offer their services for it. Sadeh quoted Naomi Klein’s recent call for boycott, the 2005 Palestinian civil society call for boycott and Israeli organizations that support the boycott and provide information for the global BDS movement. Sadeh’s article also had concerned quotes by Israeli businessmen who demanded government intervention to protect them from the growing boycott.

4. In 11 February, Ora Koren reported that the Israeli business sectors feel the effects of the attack on Gaza. She reported that Israeli businessmen in Turkey are hiding their names so that the local BDS organizations won’t learn about their activities, and that the situation is even worse in the UK.

These four articles are a sign that there is a shift in the effectiveness of the BDS movement against Israel, and that if the momentum is maintained and strengthened, Israeli businessmen may decide to move their headquarters away from Israel, or to begin to put pressure on the Israeli government to begin respecting international law, and ending the occupation.

reporting on israel apartheid week in canada, mel frykberg gives us some context for bds not only because of the israeli terrorist state’s action at “home,” but also for their complicity in apartheid south africa itself:

In the wake of the BDS campaign, critics of Israel have lashed out at what they see as parallels between South Africa’s former apartheid system and Israeli racism.

They point to Israel’s discriminatory treatment of ethnic Palestinians within Israel who hold Israeli passports, and the extensive human rights abuses against Palestinians in the occupied territories by Israeli security forces.

During the apartheid era, ties between Israel and South Africa were extremely strong, with the Jewish state helping to train South Africa’s security forces as well as supplying the regime in Pretoria with weapons.

Meanwhile, Toronto, where the Israel Apartheid Week movement was born, will hold forums, film shows, cultural events and street protests to mark IAW week. One of the guest speakers is former South African intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils.

Kasrils is no stranger to controversy. His parents fled from Tzarist Russian pogroms carried out against Jews, and immigrated to South Africa at the beginning of the last century.

During white rule, as a member of the African National Congress (ANC), working both in exile and underground in South Africa, he was reviled by many white South Africans as a “terrorist”.

He has also been labelled a self-hating Jew by many Israelis and South African Jews due to the strong stand he and the ANC have taken against Israel’s policies.

and today we have great news from the united kingdom. they are making the moral choice not to accept office space in the man who has african and palestinian blood on his hands, lev leviev (now if we can only get the uk to sanction the zoinist regime then we’d be getting somewhere, but i suppose that is too much to ask. i mean, where would the zionist entity be without their british friends?):

The British embassy in Tel Aviv has stopped negotiations to lease a floor in Africa-Israel’s Kirya Tower because of the company’s role in West Bank settlement construction.

The British embassy had been expected to move from its current Hayarkon Street location into the office tower on the corner of Kaplan and Begin. The lease would have cost $162,000 a year, the British press reported.

Africa-Israel is owned by Lev Leviev, a tycoon who recently left Israel and settled in Britain.

jamal juma’ has an article in electronic intifada this week encouraging us on to continue our actions, to build on this momentum with bds as civil society, but his reference to latin america is an important reminder that one of the reasons for bds is that we, as civil society members need to use boycott and divestment pressure to encourage governments to sanction the zionist entity:

Latin America, on the other hand, is the only region wherein popular anger was more or less reflected in official discourse and action. It is no coincidence that Bolivia and Venezuela, the two countries in the region that cut diplomatic ties with Israel, are also the two states whose governments operate, both in principle and in practice, according to the needs of the majority.

Palestine has developed into a global litmus test for democracy. While more progressive states in Latin America stood up for Palestine and BDS, repressive Middle Eastern regimes did their best to crush popular mobilization. The EU governments stood somewhere in the middle, giving further proof of their special form of “democracy” wherein people are allowed to express their opinions but not influence government decisions.

Regardless of governmental political leanings, the mobilizations evidence a considerable and growing popular support for the Palestinian people. Yet, these protests, while encouraging, do not guarantee longer-term political gains. The most recent and sobering example of this were the record numbers of people who turned out to protest the most recent invasion of Iraq and the subsequent problems that have plagued the creation of an effective anti-war movement.

Instead, we should look to the concrete BDS victories that followed Gaza as evidence of lasting political change. The actions of South African workers and Latin American social movements, to mention only a few examples, represent not only anger over Gaza, but also its effective channeling into an organized movement that far predates this most recent atrocity. They indicate that we have managed to build, in a short period of time, an effective focal point for uniting international solidarity and support for the Palestinian cause.

i get impatient with those organizing in the u.s. very easily, one of the many reasons i left the country, because there is still so much educational work to be done before people can see why bds is necessary. i wish that students in american universities, for instance, would work to occupy their institutions and divest now rather than educating, but at the same time i suppose it is important to remember that the students at hampshire college worked on their campaign for 2 years before getting to where they are now. and the research one needs to do in order to discover what israeli and american and european companies that invest in the israeli terrorist state takes a long time. thus, columbia university seems to be on the right path as david judd reports:

Students at Columbia University are taking up the fight for Palestinian rights and have begun organizing around a set of demands for the university’s divestment from Israel.

The students’ demands, released on March 2, include full disclosure of Columbia’s budget and endowment, a public forum on divestment, partnership with a Palestinian university, scholarships for Palestinian students and statements of support for Palestinian academic freedom and self-determination.

Students plan to host a forum on March 4, on “Columbia University’s Relationship to Palestinian rights.” A rally in front of the administration building is planned for the next day.

This comes just two weeks after more than a hundred Columbia University faculty members signed a letter demanding that the university’s president take a stand for academic freedom in Palestine.

at columbia university and elsewhere along the east coast my dear friend ziad abbas, who is a refugee from the village of zakariya in 1948 palestine though he grew up in deheishe refugee camp, is starting his speaking tour this week for israel apartheid week and i strongly encourage people to attend. he is inspirational and amazing in every way:

Ziad Abbas, a Palestinian refugee and journalist from Dheisheh Refugee Camp in Bethlehem, is the cofounder of the Ibdaa Cultural Center. Ziad has worked with Palestinian and international media and has participated in the production of several documentary films. He recently completed his M.A. in Social Justice from the School for International Training (SIT). Currently on leave from the Ibdaa Cultural Center, Ziad works with Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA), a non-profit organization which provides humanitarian aid to children in Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq. The tour will help support MECA’s efforts in Gaza.

Atlanta, GA

TUESDAY March 3rd, 2009 – 7pm
Testimony, Apartheid and Resistance
Harland Cinema
Dobbs University Center/Drawer B
Emory University
FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!!!
Donations to MECA welcome!!
Contact Saba at skhali3(at)emory.edu or Atasi at atasi.das(at)gmail.com
Sponsored by Emory Advocates for Justice in Palestine

Brattleboro, VT

WEDNESDAY March 4th, 2009 – 6:30 pm
International Center (IC) 101
SIT Graduate Institute
1 Kipling Road
FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!!!
Donations welcome!!
Contact Jennifer at Jennifer.McClearen(at)sit.edu or Atasi at atasi.das(at)gmail.com

Marlboro, VT

THURSDAY March 5th, 2009 – 7pm
Ragle Hall
Marlboro College
2582 South Road
FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!!!
Donations to MECA welcome!!
Contact Mikaela at mikaela_sims(at)wsesu.org

New York, NY

TUESDAY March 10th, 2009 – 6:30pm
Silver Center, Room 703
New York University
31 Washington Square Place
(btwn Greene St. & Washington Square East)
FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!!!
Donations to MECA are welcome!!
Contact Morgan at morgan.l.brennan(at)gmail.com or Atasi at atasi.das(at)gmail.com

WEDNESDAY March 11th, 2009 – 7:30pm
Columbia University
FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!!
Donations to MECA are welcome!!
Contact Shaina at srl2127(at)columbia.edu

Washington D.C.

THURSDAY March 12th, 2009 – 7pm
Busboys @ 5th & K.
1025 5th Street NW, DC
(202) 789-2227
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!!
Donations to MECA are welcome!!
Contact Vera at vera.leone(at)gmail.com

Harrisonburg, VA

FRIDAY March 13th, 2009 – 7pm

Strite Conference Room in the Campus Center (main building in center of campus)
Eastern Mennonite University
1200 Park Rd
FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!!!
Donations to MECA are welcome!!
Contact Suzi at suzi(at)clementinecafe.com

Portland, ME

SUNDAY March 15th, 2009 – 7pm
Meg Perry Center
644 Congress St.
FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!!
Donations to MECA are welcome!!
Contact Dan at fugedaboutit(at)gmail.com

Lewiston, ME

MONDAY March 16th, 2009 – 7pm
Bates College
Location: TBA
FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!!!
Donations to MECA welcome!!
Contact Samy at sqarmout(at)bates.edu or Grif gpeterso(at)bates.edu

finally, for those who are in palestine, here is the list of events for israel apartheid week–in arabic followed by english–that you can attend in refugee camps and universities throughout the west bank:

للنشر الفوري: 3 آذار 2009

بيان صحفي صادر عن اللجنة الوطنية الفلسطينية لمقاطعة إسرائيل وسحب الاستثمارات منها، وفرض العقوبات عليها

الجامعات ومخيمات اللاجئين في الضفة الغربية المحتلة تطلق حملة فعاليات أسبوع الفصل العنصري الإسرائيلي (2 – 9 آذار 2009)

يصادف هذا الأسبوع والممتد من الثاني من آذار وحتى التاسع منه، الدورة الخامسة لأسبوع الفصل العنصري الإسرائيلي، والذي يعقد في أكثر من أربعين موقعاً في العالم. وقد امتد هذا الأسبوع إلى فلسطين المحتلة، حيث ان هذه هي السنة الثانية التي ينظم فيها هذا الأسبوع في عدد من الجامعات والمخيمات الفلسطينية في الضفة الفلسطينية المحتلة. ويتضمن أسبوع الفصل العنصري لهذا العام سلسلة من الفعاليات المتنوعة، تشمل المحاضرات والعروض الثقافية، وعروضاً للأفلام الوثائقية وتنظيماً للمعارض، إضافة إلى تنظيم التجمعات والمظاهرات والنقاشات التي تهدف إلى تسليط الضوء على نظام الفصل العنصري الإسرائيلي، وزيادة الدعم لحركة التضامن المحلية والعالمية الداعية لمقاطعة إسرائيل وفرض العقوبات عليها حتى تذعن للقانون الدولي وقرارات الشرعية الدولية ذات الصلة.

ينظم أسبوع الفصل العنصري الإسرائيلي لهذا العام في فلسطين المحتلة تحت عنوان: لنقف صفاً واحداًُ مع غزة، التي تعرضت وسكانها الفلسطينيين إلى هجمة إسرائيلية متوحشة مع بداية عام 2009، أدت إلى استشهاد 1400 معظمهم من السكان المدنيين، والتي ترافقت مع حالة من السخط العالمي الشعبي على المجازر الإسرائيلية، تمثلت في التضامن غير المسبوق مع الشعب الفلسطيني وفي المطالبة بمقاطعة إسرائيل وفرض العقوبات عليها.

هذا وتنظم فعاليات أسبوع الفصل العنصري الإسرائيلي في عدد من الجامعات ومخيمات اللاجئين الفلسطينيين في الضفة الغربية المحتلة، وستأخذ هذه الفعاليات عدة أشكال نضالية سلمية ضد نظام الابرتهايد الإسرائيلي. ورغم انه قد درج استخدام أسبوع الفصل العنصري الإسرائيلي إلا أن الفعاليات ستستمر خلال شهر آذار، وستتكلل بمسيرة جماهيرية بتاريخ 30 آذار 2009 الذي يصادف يوم الأرض. هذا وستنظم مجمل الفعاليات الجماهيرية لهذا اليوم تحت عنوان: مقاطعة إسرائيل وفرض العقوبات عليها. وسترفع الفعالية المركزية شعار:
لنجعل يوم الأرض يوم مقاطعة إسرائيل وسحب الاستثمارات منها وفرض العقوبات عليها.

لقد أصبح أسبوع الفصل العنصري منذ انطلاقته في العام 2005، احد أهم الأنشطة على أجندة التضامن العالمي مع القضية الفلسطينية. ففي العام المنصرم، شاركت 25 مدينة عالمية في الأنشطة والفعاليات المختلفة المنبثقة، إلى جانب مشاركتها في إحياء الذكرى الستين للنكبة الفلسطينية. إن الحضور والمشاركة في فعاليات أسبوع مقاطعة إسرائيل، تعتبر عوامل أساسية للتواصل مع الحركة المحلية والعالمية المتصاعدة الداعية لمقاطعة إسرائيل، وتساعد على فهم طبيعة ومضمون نظام الابارتهايد والاستعمار الاحلالي، والاحتلال الإسرائيلي العدواني.

وفيما يلي قائمة بالمواقع المشاركة في الأسبوع في الضفة الغربية:
القدس: جامعة القدس (ابو ديس)، مخيم شعفاط.
رام الله: جامعة بيرزيت، مخيم الجلزون.
بيت لحم: بيت ساحور، مخيم عايدة.
الخليل: مخيم الفوار.
جنين: الجامعة الامريكية، مخيم جنين.
اريحا: جامعة القدس المفتوحة، مخيم عقبة جبر.
نابلس: جامعة النجاح الوطنية، مخيم بلاطة.
طولكرم: جامعة القدس المفتوحة، كلية خضوري، مخيم نور شمس.
طوباس: مخيم الفارعة

للمزيد من التفاصيل الرجاء التواصل مع: محمد جيوس، الحملة الشعبية لمقاومة الجدار (0599649815)،
وللمزيد من التفاصيل حول الفعاليات في مخيمات اللاجئين الرجاء التواصل مع: حازم سليمان، مسؤول التواصل في بديل/ المركز الفلسطيني لمصادر حقوق المواطنة واللاجئين: (2747346+)، أو (2777086+)، ومباشرة على: info [at] bdsmovement.net

**For Immediate Release**

“Israeli Apartheid Week” Taking Place in Universities and Refugee Camps
Across the Occupied West Bank

March 2nd – March 8th 2009
Jerusalem, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Hebron, Jenin, Jericho, Nablus, Qalqilya, Tulkarem, Tubas
For a detailed list of events, please see: http://apartheidweek.org

BDS National Committee (BNC), Occupied Palestine, 26 February 2009 – The fifth international Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) – occurring in over 40 cities in Palestine and worldwide – will be held across the West Bank from 2-8 March 2009.

This is the second consecutive year IAW is hosted in the West Bank. The week will feature lectures, film screenings, art and photography exhibits, cultural events and demonstrations aiming at deepening the apartheid analysis of Israel, while gathering support for the growing local-Palestinian and international movement for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) until Israel complies with international law.

The theme of this year’s IAW is “Standing United with the People’s of Gaza” – a focus which comes in the wake of the brutal Israeli military attacks on the people of Gaza in early 2009. Over 1,400 Palestinians were killed in the assault, more than 5,000 injured, and 14, 000 homes were totally or partially destroyed. Apartheid week will build upon the widespread protest and indignation witnessed during Israel’s assault and seek practicable ways to hold Israel accountable.

Campus and refugee camp boycott campaigns will be launched and developed during the week, in the lead-up to the 30 March (Land Day) BDS global day of action.

Since its initial launch in 2005, IAW has grown to become one of the most important global events in the Palestine solidarity calendar. Last year, more than 25 cities around the world participated in the week’s activities, which also commemorated 60 years since the expulsion of the Palestinian people from their homes and land in 1947-1948. Attending IAW is important for anyone interested in understanding and connecting with the rising student and youth movement in the West Bank that has taken a pivotal role in organizing and mobilizing against Israeli apartheid, occupation and colonialism.

The full list of locations is as follows:

Jerusalem: al-Quds University (Abu Dis), Shu’fat Refugee Camp
Ramallah: Birzeit University, Jalazon Refugee Camp
Bethlehem: Beit Sahour and ‘Aida Refugee Camp
Hebron: Fawwar Refugee Camp
Jenin: Arab-American University, Jenin Refugee Camp
Jericho: al-Quds Open University, Aqabat Jabr Refugee Camp
Nablus: al-Najah University, Balata Refugee Camp
Tulkarem: al-Quds Open Unversity, al-Khadouri Collge, Nur Shams Refugee Camp
Tubas: Far’a Refugee Camp

For media contacts and inquiries, please contact:
For campus initiatives:
Mohammad Jayyousi, Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, +972-599649815

For initiatives in the refugee camps:
Hazem Suleiman, Badil Resource Center +972-2-277-7086

Please, direct email inquiries to: info [at] bdsmovement.net

tidbits from a tired marcy

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:

How many times will we allow one people to become refugees? 1948, 1967, 1974, 1976, 1982, 2007, 2009 to list just a few…

matthew cassel
matthew cassel

you can see more of matthew’s photographs here in gaza. and electronic intifada has some powerful photographs they posted today as well.

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:

Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions denounces the Israeli occupation forces arrest of 334 Palestinian workers in Israel.

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):

To: Mr. Haruki Murakami

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.

Sincerely,

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.

free derry, ireland
free derry, ireland

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.

never before

rania sent me these videos from a new lebanon-based group called the “never before campaign.” the videos are very powerful. i don’t know any other details about this new group, but it looks promising.

and rami sent me this the other day from beirut, which also seems promising as it articulates so many of the strategic resistance discussions we had when i was there a few weeks ago:

From January 16 to 18 an international gathering of trend-setting importance took place in Beirut, Lebanon. About 1.000 delegates from Lebanon, the Arab world, Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia from the most divers resistance organisations found together in the “Beirut International Forum for Resistance, Anti-imperialism, Peoples’ Solidarity and Alternatives” vibrantly exchanging experiences and forging a common struggle.

In the opening session Hezbollah’s deputy-secretary Sheik Naim Kassem excellently expressed the common spirit: Today there are only two camps in the world. The one of US imperialism and its allies and the other one of the resistances regardless of their ideological, cultural or religious affiliation. The resistances must be unified against its common enemy which is only possible by respecting the diversity.

All of the speakers from the European anti-war and anti-imperialist movements, from Venezuela (which had a massive presence), form India and even from the United States in person of former US attorney general Ramsey Clark strongly confirmed this idea of an anti-imperialist alliance – which is an achievement of utmost importance. Only some years back this had been unthinkable. The resistance movements were mistrusted especially the Islamic ones and the Western antagonist forces still believed to play a global protagonist role.

Although planned long ahead of the Zionist aggression on Gaza, the entire event was marked by the deep support to the Palestinian resistance struggle in Gaza. Nobody, also the forces from non-Islamic countries, took the leadership by Hamas as a pretext to reject the support to the resistance as it had been common in the past. On the contrary, also in Europe massive solidarity demonstration with Gaza with hundreds of thousand participants took place indicating a clear shift in important sections of the antagonist forces. (Which should not deceive us from the fact of a powerful and growing anti-Islamic campaign and sentiment in the West.)

An indicator for the changed climate in favour of anti-imperialism was the participation of what could be called the left wing of the Social Forum. One should recall the times when the vicious formula “no war, no terror” was predominant equating imperialism with the resistances and taking “politically correct” equidistance. Those forces which still hold such a position have decisively lost their influence and do no more lead mass movements.

Careful participants of the Beirut Forum could, however, notice a certain wariness of some participants to lend the same support to the Iraqi and Afghan resistance as they do for Palestine. This might be due to the interests of Iran as a regional power which do conflict with these resistances. In this sense the message by the Iranian president to the forum rightly denouncing the Arab regimes which follow Israeli and US interest as traitors appears somewhat vapid given Iran’s record of support to the Iraqi regime installed by the US occupiers.

Next steps

The signal sent by this conference to form an international anti-imperialist front was already very bold given the fact that it was the first such event of that scale. Nevertheless the organisers were keen to develop some concrete agreements for the next steps. It is clear that new activities and meetings will be needed to go ahead on that track. As Anti-imperialist Camp we draw following conclusions and put forward following proposals in the spirit of the forum:

1) Insist on the campaign to boycott Israel on all levels.

2) Send brigades and delegations to Gaza and other places of resistance to build solidarity from below and allow a direct touch to the reality on the ground in order to counter the distortions of the Western corporate media.

3) Hold an anti-imperialist conference in support of the resistances in Europe as a continuation of Beirut forum. The main axis could be:

a) give voice to the resistances

b) rebuff raging Islamophobia which provides the ideological backing to the ongoing imperialist war

c) propose as the only solution to the Palestinian problem on single democratic state.

4) Build a permanent but open body of global co-ordination of anti-imperialist forces.

Anti-imperialist Camp
January 24, 2009

in contradistinction i received another email from several friends this week about a new campaign in jordan called “voices for palestine.” here is the text of their website:

Dear Friends,

Welcome to our group ‘Voices for Palestine’. We are Arab women from Jordan who have come together in response to the appalling attacks of Israel on Gaza and its people. We are women who come from different backgrounds and affiliations, to speak against the violations that are taking place against the Palestinians and give voice to the victims of these atrocious and disproportional attacks.

Through both our website and our youtube channel, we plan on reporting the realities on the ground in Gaza and share with you our thoughts on how you can make a difference.

We, like many of you, have been glued to our television screens, trying to grasp what in the world is happening over there and why the whole world is silently watching as Palestinian children, mothers, and male civilians have been killed in the hundreds over the past three weeks.

As believers in human rights and dignity, Voices for Palestine, seeks to present what is really happening in Gaza. To speak about this issue with no reservations is our goal, hoping that after you hear what we have to say, you will feel compelled to stand up and speak against what is happening, and act in whatever capacity you can to end the destruction of a nation and its people. We cannot idly watch and allow this genocide to take place.

In solidarity,

Voices for Palestine

they are asking people to go to their youtube site and watch their videos. i’ll post one of them here:

i’m not going to comment on the difference in tone and strategy between this lebanese and jordanian initiative. those who know me know what i think.

oh, did i mention that jordan sent back its ambassador to the terrorist state of israel?

contrast this with the principled position of mohamed el baradei in response to canceling his interviews on bbc:

The head of the UN”s nuclear watchdog has cancelled planned interviews with the BBC in protest at the corporation’s decision not to air an emergency appeal for Gaza on behalf of the Disasters Emergency Committee.

In a statement to the Guardian, Mohamed ElBaradei, a Nobel peace prize winner, unleashed a stinging denunciation of the BBC, deepening the damage already caused by the controversy.

meanwhile in qatar of all places a boycott campaign is underway:

Students of Qatar University will participate in an international campaign to mobilise the public for a boycott of goods produced by American and other Western firms that support Israel, a local Arabic daily reports.

Eleven countries are participating in the campaign.

The student co-ordinator of the campaign at Qatar University, Ibrahim Saad of the faculty of engineering, said there were six firms known to be outright supporters of Israel. “We will mobilise public support and see to it that these firms close down their business operations in Qatar.”

He said he had received overwhelming support from the university students. Starbucks and Coffee Shop are among the immediate targets, says the report. “How could these outlets exist in Qatar and do business with our money while it has been confirmed that they are funding Israel to build Jewish settlements? How could this happen when children are brutally killed in Palestine,” he said.

Starbucks has two outlets in the Qatar University campus, one each in the girls’ and boys’ wings.

However, a memorandum submitted by the students to the university administration seeking the closure of these outlets has received a response that the university is bound by official decisions taken by the government.

and there is yet another petition from the united states calling for a boycott. this one is from academics and cultural workers:

International Writers and Scholars Endorse Academic Boycott of Israel

by Steven Salaita / January 27th, 2009

We stand in support of the indigenous Palestinian people in Gaza, who are fighting for their survival against one of the most brutal uses of state power in both this century and the last.

We condemn Israel’s recent (December 2008/ January 2009) breaches of international law in the Gaza Strip, which include the bombing of densely-populated neighborhoods, illegal deployment of the chemical white phosphorous, and attacks on schools, ambulances, relief agencies, hospitals, universities, and places of worship. We condemn Israel’s restriction of access to media and aid workers.

We reject as false Israel’s characterization of its military attacks on Gaza as retaliation. Israel’s latest assault on Gaza is part of its longtime racist jurisprudence against its indigenous Palestinian population, during which the Israeli state has systematically dispossessed, starved, tortured, and economically exploited the Palestinian people.

We reject as untrue the Israeli government’s claims that the Palestinians use civilians as human shields, and that Hamas is an irredeemable terrorist organization. Without endorsing its platforms or philosophy, we recognize Hamas as a democratically elected ruling party. We do not endorse the regime of any existing Arab state, and call for the upholding of internationally mandated human rights and democratic elections in all Arab states.

We call upon our fellow writers and academics in the United States to question discourses that justify and rationalize injustice, and to address Israeli assaults on civilians in Gaza as one of the most important moral issues of our time.

We call upon institutions of higher education in the U.S. to cut ties with Israeli academic institutions, dissolve study abroad programs in Israel, and divest institutional funds from Israeli companies, using the 1980s boycott against apartheid South Africa as a model.

We call on all people of conscience to join us in boycotting Israeli products and institutions until a just, democratic state for all residents of Palestine/Israel comes into existence.

Mohammed Abed
Elmaz Abinader
Diana Abu-Jaber
Ali Abunimah
Opal Palmer Adisa
Deborah Al-Najjar
Evelyn Azeeza Alsultany
Amina Baraka
Amiri Baraka
George Bisharat
Sherwin Bitsui
Breyten Breytenbach
Van Brock
Hayan Charara
Allison Hedge Coke
Lara Deeb
Vicente Diaz
Marilyn Hacker
Mechthild Hart
Sam Hamill
Randa Jarrar
Fady Joudah
Mohja Kahf
Rima Najjar Kapitan
Persis Karim
J. Kehaulani Kauanui
Haunani Kay-Trask
David Lloyd
Sunaina Maira
Nur Masalha
Khaled Mattawa
Daniel AbdalHayy Moore
Aileen Moreton-Robinson
Nadine Naber
Marcy Newman
Viet Nguyen
Simon J. Ortiz
Vijay Prashad
Steven Salaita
Therese Saliba
Sarita See
Deema Shehabi
Matthew Shenoda
Naomi Shihab Nye
Magid Shihade
Vandana Shiva
Noenoe Silva
Andrea Smith
Ahdaf Soueif
Ghada Talhami
Frank X. Walker
Robert Warrior

gaza & boycott, divestment & sanctions

the boycott movement is gaining steam globally. it is amazing to watch. it gives me hope that people will not forget gaza. that they will be steadfast and help palestinians in gaza to remain steadfast. there is even a new rap song by invincible, an anti-zionist jew, about the boycott which you can download for free if you click this link. here is the final verse (btw: i don’t think she’s israeli; as far as i know she is american):

Look, i’m Israeli, my government’s so arrogant
War criminals who call Palestinians terrorists
For resisting extinction and occupation
Comparing this to genocide and reservations of Native Americans
Its a massacre! Kick out they ambassadors!
Divest from their apartheid like South Africa
Boycott em like King to Montgomery buses,
Show them we want peace but only with real justice
They murdering the media and witnesses left
We gonna stop shopping at all the businesses that invest
In building they settlements and gentrifying our corners
Illegal walls over there and the US-Mexico border
Build a worldwide movement til the truth is heard
And supporting the Israelis who refuse to serve
All the C.O.s who AWOL when deployed to Iraqi stations
All the people rallying while the cops are chasing
If we enlisted in the system we got an obligation
We ain’t got the patience, time to stop the occupation

Boycott, Divest, and Sanction
Til there’s right of return for displaced and reparations

and lovely, lovely mark gonzales along with the other fabulous rappers from human writes project–nizar wattad and omar chakaki–did a benefit show for gaza the other day in my hometown los angeles. they called it “get down for gaza” and all of them emanated sheer brilliance.

it is important for these voices to be heard. to be shared. to empower us to continue with our resistance work. i’ve been thinking a lot about various levels of boycott and one thing i wish i could convey to the leadership of hamas is this: to take a strong moral stand and to refuse any reconstruction or humanitarian aid from the united states or the israeli terrorist state. this is what hezbollah did in 2006. this is why boycott is an essential element of resistance. if hamas does not take this stand they will be giving israelis jobs and they will likely be overcharged for those goods. they need to force humanitarian organizations to take the same moral stand. even the palestinian authority, that bastion of normalization, is shackled with respect to funds, some of which are for gaza:

Israel is preventing the Western-backed Palestinian Authority from transferring cash to the Gaza Strip to pay its workers and others hard-hit by war, Western and Palestinian officials said on Wednesday.

Setting up interim international committee that would fund, organize aid directed towards reconstruction of
The restrictions threatened to undercut the ability of President Mahmoud Abbas’ West Bank-based government to reassert a presence in the Hamas-ruled territory after Israel’s 22-day offensive, said the officials, who asked not to be identified.

The cash restrictions also underscored the wider hurdles facing reconstruction, estimated to cost more than $2 billion, in the Gaza Strip, where 1.5 million Palestinians live.

but there is good news because those who don’t normalize are rewarded. and those who do will be punished as is the case with veolia:

Today the Stockholm community council in Sweden announced that the French company Veolia who has been the current operator at the Subway’s in Stockholm County for 10 years lost the contract to the MTR-cooperation. The contracts for the coming 8 years is worth 3,5 Billion EURO and has been the biggest ongoing public contract procurement process in Europe.

Although the board for county’s public transportation ensured the decision was based on commercial factors the debate about Veolias involvement in a controversial tramway project in Jerusalem (Jerusalem light railway) has been intense in Swedish media.

The tramway connecting the Israeli west Jerusalem with illegal Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian territory has triggered discussions about Veolia’s ethical policy. Public protests against Veolia has brought the attention to the dilemma of operating public services when you at he same time are involved in politically controversial activities.

As late as the day before the decision the community council received lists with thousands of signatories from people demanding the county council to choose an operator who should not be associated with violations of international humanitarian law.

– This is clearly another sign of the importance for commercial actors not to have their brand associated to unethical behaviour, in the case of illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian territory we can already see a trend of international companies who are moving out their operations from settlements, says Joakim Wohlfeil, at the Swedish development organization Diakonia.

likewise the movement to prosecute israeli terrorist leaders for war crimes is building, even among the some 17 israelis who are not with its state terrorism:

Anonymous self-described Israeli human rights activists have set up an Internet site detailing alleged war crimes committed by senior government officials and Israel Defense Forces officers. No known human rights organization is behind the site, whose founders refuse to give their names.

The site, www.wanted.org.il, includes “arrest orders,” complete with pictures and personal details, for Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai, Public Security Minister Avi Dichter, National Infrastructure Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi and his two predecessors, Dan Halutz and Moshe Ya’alon, former air force commander Eliezer Shkedy and others. It also explains how to inform the International Criminal Court in The Hague of when the “suspects” are outside Israel, and hence vulnerable to arrest.

in england, unlike the u.s., students are becoming incredibly active stating sit-ins at their universities in solidarity with gaza and to force their universities to not grant honorary degrees to israeli terrorist war criminals:

Students at King’s College London are staging a sit-in protest on campus over the treatment of Palestinians in Gaza and the honorary doctorate bestowed on the Israeli president, Shimon Peres.

In the latest of a flurry of occupations at English universities in response to Israel’s actions in Gaza, more than 100 students took over a lecture theatre in the university yesterday.

Kings students are demanding that the university issue a formal statement condemning Israel’s bombing of Gaza and revoke the honorary doctorate Peres was awarded in November last year.

the students at king’s college also have a blog where you can track their activities. and thankfully this energy is contagious as now the students at warwick university they have also staged a sit in and here are their demands from their blog:

1. Warwick University should suspend all relations with companies which supply the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. This includes BAE Systems, MBDA, QinetiQ and Rolls Royce.

2. That the University donate old computer equipment and textbooks to universities in Palestine, specifically those that were partially destroyed in Gaza during the current Israeli military operation.

3. That the University fund and provide logistical support for a series of talks on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

4. That there be no legal, financial, or academic measures taken against anyone involved in or supporting the sit-in. This extends to the Student’s Union. Students involved should be guaranteed free movement in and out of the space.

and today at oxford university students took over a building in solidarity with gaza:

More than 80 students on Thursday took over one of Oxford University’s buildings to demand the university releases a statement condemning Israel’s recent offensive against Hamas in Gaza.

“Palestinians have the same rights as we do, including the right to education as enshrined in the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights,” a spokesperson said.

and mounting pressures for a war crimes trial for israeli terrorists like livni is already having an effect:

Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni nearly cancelled a planned trip to Belgium over concerns that the Israeli leader could face legal actions for war crimes.

this is exactly what we want. we want them to live in fear of facing up to the responsibilities for the crimes they commit. and we must keep this up. it is essential that we keep up the pressure on this and let this energy spread globally. where are the american students? why aren’t they occupying university buildings to get their university and government’s attention on gaza? i especially wonder about the new york university students and faculty in light of this recent news that sami sent me:

After months of planning and promoting, NYU has announced that it will delay the opening of its Tel Aviv study abroad site due to enrollment difficulties following military strife in the area. The program, which was slated to launch this month, will not host students until September 2009.

“Because of the conflict in Gaza and Israel and a consequent decline in enrollment that would compromise the quality of our program and its cocurricular offerings, the university chose to delay the opening of its NYU in Tel Aviv study abroad program,” university spokesman John Beckman said.

someone needs to do something at that university. something big to shut this program down. i know that most of them drank the obama koolaid, but really, the pressure must be kept up. (yes, i know he ordered guantanamo to be closed today, but that is merely symbolic: he didn’t order any of the cia secret torture prisons to be shut, for instance.) obama just delivered a speech in which he said “hamas must recognize israel” and that “israel has a right to defend itself.” no palestinians with a spec of self respect should recognize israel’s right to exist. no one should recognize israel’s right to exist for that matter. they do not. jews have a right to exist as citizens wherever the live, of course. but israel is a colonial terrorist regime and does not have a right to exist. joseph massad lays out why they don’t have these rights in his beautiful essay on electronic intifada, but here is an important point he makes, which, of course, obama doesn’t get:

The major argument here is two-fold, namely that while Israel has the right to defend itself, its victims have no similar right to defend themselves. In fact, the logic is even more sinister than this and can be elucidated as follows: Israel has the right to oppress the Palestinians and does so to defend itself, but were the Palestinians to defend themselves against Israel’s oppression, which they do not have a right to do, Israel will then have the right to defend itself against their illegitimate defense of themselves against its legitimate oppression of them, which it carries out anyway in order to defend itself legitimately.

robert fisk, commenting on obama’s vapid inaugural address noted what people here are thinking (though if read the full article i should warn you that no one here is thinking about anything close to two states or israeli terrorists’ security; they are thinking about the right of return–except, of course, for normalizers and collaborators):

It would have helped if Obama had the courage to talk about what everyone in the Middle East was talking about. No, it wasn’t the US withdrawal from Iraq. They knew about that. They expected the beginning of the end of Guantanamo and the probable appointment of George Mitchell as a Middle East envoy was the least that was expected. Of course, Obama did refer to “slaughtered innocents”, but these were not quite the “slaughtered innocents” the Arabs had in mind.

There was the phone call yesterday to Mahmoud Abbas. Maybe Obama thinks he’s the leader of the Palestinians, but as every Arab knows, except perhaps Mr Abbas, he is the leader of a ghost government, a near-corpse only kept alive with the blood transfusion of international support and the “full partnership” Obama has apparently offered him, whatever “full” means. And it was no surprise to anyone that Obama also made the obligatory call to the Israelis.

or perhaps obama should take a lesson from mark steel who correctly points out the reality and cuts through the propaganda of what really goes on here in palestine:

The worrying part about whether the ceasefire in Gaza can hold together will be whether the international community can stop the flow of arms to the terrorists. Because Israel’s getting their planes and tanks and missiles from somewhere and until this supply is cut off there’s every chance it could start up again.

The disregard for life from these terrorists and their supporters is shocking. For example Thomas Friedman, the New York Times columnist, wrote that the purpose of the Israeli attack must be to “inflict a heavy death toll and heavy pain on the Gaza population”.

Replace “Gaza” with “western”, and that could have been written by al-Qa’ida. Maybe this is the problem: the Israelis are writing their policies by downloading statements from an Islamic Jihad website and just changing the place names. Also, if the Israelis think the Hamas rockets are as lethal as they say, why don’t they swap their F-16 fighters and Apache helicopters for a few of them?

there are so many reasons why one must keep up this pressure. the “war” on gaza may be over, but the root of the problem is not. obama’s new appointment to the region, george mitchell, will bring more of the same. in a speech he just delivered he wants the same old 2-state solution that will continue the basically 4 state reality of palestinians in gaza, the west bank, 1948 palestine, and refugees in the region and around the world. this is unacceptable.

i hate to break it to you, but foreign policy with respect to palestine is not going to change. it will be more of this same, which kevin alexander gray characterizes as follows:

When you think about it, US foreign policy toward Palestine has been a segregationist or apartheid policy. In his 2006 book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, former President Jimmy Carter likened Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land and its repression of Palestinian people, both within Israel and in the occupied territories, to the state of apartheid, which existed in South Africa prior to the early 1990s. Apartheid means ‘separateness.’ And there is little debate that Zionism, the official ideology of Israel, is predicated on religious and ethnic separation or segregation. A self-described Jewish state — that is, a state that operates of, by and on behalf of a single group of people — cannot also be a secular, democratic state where persons of all religious and ethnic backgrounds are treated equally. A Jewish state that has never declared its borders, that has annexed and occupied territories, flouting international law and subjecting the indigenous population to poverty, indignity, theft, torture and death, is not only a colonialist outlaw state; it is also racist. As one Palestinian gentleman remarked to me, “While blacks in America were once considered subhuman, Palestinians are not considered humans at all.”

And Israel could not have pursued any of these policies without the steadfast financial and political support of the United States. It is no secret that Israel is the largest recipient of U.S. aid in the world. It receives more than $15 million every day from the United States, or $30 billion a year by most estimates. The F-16 fighter jets and Apache helicopters that have dropped hundreds of tons of bombs and missiles on Gaza are made in the United States and provided to the Israeli government. Every American taxpayer underwrites Israeli-style apartheid.

in south africa zwelinzima vavi the general secretary of the congress of south african trade unions (COSATU) also calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions in solidarity with palestinians:

1. All trade unions, social movements, NGOs, religious organisations and academics to support and actively participate in the boycott, disinvestment and sanctions campaign against Israel, refusing to handle anything that comes from and that goes to Israel in order to isolate it until it submits to international law and withdraws from all the occupied territories

2. We urge all companies and all shipping companies to refuse to carry any shipment of arms to Israel. Any shipping company who carries these weapons has the blood of the people of Gaza on its hands!

3. We call upon all governments to enforce international law, by refusing to recognise a country that makes a mockery of international law and the pursuit of human dignity. In this regard, they must expel Israeli ambassadors and representatives in order to ensure that we isolate it throughout the world until it subscribes to the ideals of human dignity! In this case, we salute the bold example of Venezuela and call upon all countries to emulate it.

4. We call upon international media to expose the real truth behind the war and not to hide the real issues in the name of objectivity, by projecting an image of Israel as a state under siege by terrorist, thus discrediting the legitimate resistance of the Palestinian people. Balanced reporting does not mean, massaging issues and diluting the truth even in the face of insurmountable evidence against the wrong side.

5. We call upon the international trade union movement to emulate the heroic example of the Norwegian Locomotive Drivers Union, which on January 8 ensured that all trains in the whole of Norway, and all trams and subways in Oslo, stood still for two minutes in protest against Israeli invasion. In the process, they issued the following information for passengers: “Because of the situation in the Gaza Strip, the Locomotive Drivers Union in Norway has decided to demonstrate our solidarity with the Palestinian people. This will be organised by adding two more minutes of stoppage at the station. The same action applies to all passenger trains in Norway simultaneously. We demand the immediate withdrawal of all Israeli troops from the Palestinian territory. Thank you for your understanding”. This is very inspiring coming from Europe where the tendency, even amongst progressives, is to be apologetic about Israel and condemn the Palestinian struggle as acts of terrorism

6. We call for particular focus on targeting the conservative US and British foreign policies, which requires that we work with our counterpart unions and progressive organisations in these countries to effect radical foreign policy changes in relation to the Middle East. This should include exposing the complicit role of these two states in perpetuating the violence and arming Israel, while rhetorically positioning themselves as anti-terrorists.

7. We acknowledge the progressive role of our government in relation to the situation in the Middle East, including its humanitarian support for the suffering people of Gaza, but believe that there is a lot more we can do working together. In this instance, we call for the cessation of all trade relations with Israel.

8. The Arab League must be brought under pressure to act in solidarity with the Palestinian people and limit the chances of some states openly collaborating with Israel, but to lead the global offensive for the isolation of Israel, owing to their strategic proximity in that area.

all of this is necessary and all of this must be cultivated, we must grow it. and quickly. we cannot give up on this momentum. and we must fall into the false notion that the war on gaza is over. it’s not. today, for instance, the israeli terrorist navy fired on palestinians from the sea:

Israel’s navy shelled the Gaza Strip on Thursday morning, injuring seven Palestinians, including five fishermen.

Mu’awiyah Hassanain, the director of Ambulance and Emergency Services in the Palestinian Health Ministry told Ma’an that Israeli gunboats shelled the As-Sudaniya area northwest of Gaza City.

He said the wounded people were taken to Ash-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

Hassanain added that rescue teams are still working to recover the corpses, many of them now decomposing, of those killed in Israel’s three-week war on Gaza.

Separately, two Palestinians died in Egyptian hospitals where they were treated for wounds from Israel’s three-week offensive.

Medical officials identified them as: Tamer Omar Al-Louh, 22, from Gaza city and Azzam Mu’awad Ash-Shafe’y, 24, from Rafah.

The death toll from the war is now 1,330, with more than 5,000 injured.

and the suffering for those families who survived has not ended. in some ways it is only beginning as al jazeera’s sherine tadros continues to follow up with the samouni family–the family who saw 30 of its members massacred by israeli terrorists. this report shows nawal samouni who gave birth to her daughter while under attack by israeli terrorists:

in light of this and many other massacres haidar eid, a professor in gaza, also continues his call for boycott, divestment and sanctions arguing beautifully about the lack of moral courage from the region and the world and connecting these massacres to the south african shapeville massacre, which was a turning point in the anti-apartheid struggle:

For 22 long days and dark nights, Palestinians in Gaza were left alone to face one of the strongest armies in the world — an army that has hundreds of nuclear warheads, thousands of trigger-happy soldiers armed with Merkava tanks, F-16s, Apache helicopters, naval gunships and phosphorous bombs. Twenty-two sleepless nights, 528 hours of constant shelling and shooting, every single minute expecting to be the next victim.

During these 22 days, while morgues overflowed and hospitals struggled to treat the injured, Arab regimes issued tons of statements, condemned and denounced and held one meaningless press conference after another. They even held two summits, the first one convened 19 full days after the assault on Gaza began and the second one the day after Israel had declared a unilateral ceasefire!

The official Arab position vis-a-vis the Palestinians since 1948, with the exception of the progressive nationalist era (1954-1970) has been a lethal cocktail of cowardice and hypocrisy. Their latest collective failure to break the two-year old Israeli siege of the Gaza Strip and their lack of action to support Palestinians under brutal military assault must be questioned.

Arabs must demand answers from the spineless Arab League because there was no brotherly solidarity shown to Gazans during the Israeli assault. There was no pan-Arabism evident in their platitudes. Some, shockingly, even found it an appropriate time to blame Palestinians for the situation they found themselves in, instead of demanding that Israel stop its merciless assault.

In Gaza today, we wonder how the expressions of support for us in the streets of Arab capitals can be translated into action in the absence of democracy. We wonder whether Arab citizens of despotic regimes can nonviolently change the system. We torment ourselves with trying to discern the means that are currently available for democratic political change. With the ongoing massacre in Gaza, and the construction of an apartheid system in Palestine (in all of historic Palestine, including the areas occupied by Israel in 1967), we know that to survive, we must have the support and solidarity of our Arab brothers and sisters. We saw the Arab people rise to that challenge and stand by us for 22 days but we did not see their leaders behind them.

Archbishop Desmund Tutu of South Africa said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” The UN, EU, Arab League and the international community by and large have remained silent in the face of atrocities committed by Apartheid Israel. They are therefore on the side of Israel. Hundreds of dead corpses of children and women have failed to convince them to act. This is what every Palestinian knows today — whether on the streets of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank or refugee camps in the Diaspora.

We are, therefore, left with one option; an option that does not wait for the United Nations Security Council, Arab Summits, or Organization of Islamic Conference to convene: the option of people’s power. This remains the only power capable of counteracting the massive power imbalance in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The horror of the racist apartheid regime in South Africa was challenged with a sustained campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions initiated in 1958 and given new urgency in 1960 after the Sharpeville Massacre. This campaign led ultimately to the collapse of white rule in 1994 and the establishment of a multi-racial, democratic state.

Similarly, the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions has been gathering momentum since 2005. Gaza 2009, like Sharpeville 1960, cannot be ignored: it demands a response from all who believe in a common humanity. Now is the time to boycott the apartheid Israeli state, to divest and to impose sanctions against it. This is the only way to ensure the creation of a secular, democratic state for all in historic Palestine.

eid’s words are the only way out: the people’s option. and the people’s option, unlike the “white man’s” option (aka the west) is liberation of palestine through various modes of resistance, including boycott divestment and sanctions. fortunately there is now a campaign for american academics to lend their support to this method of resistance. our call is now published on electronic intifada and you may visit our website as well. there is an email address for you to endorse the call.

on getting away with murder

we really need new language. new words. how the f(&^ can one make it clear the extent to which israeli terrorists get away not just with murder, but with massacres, with genocide. i am not only speaking about now about gaza, but SIXTY ONE YEARS OF GETTING AWAY WITH MURDER. how is it possible that the world is silent and watches. and i wonder now as israeli terrorists bomb the united nations headquarters in gaza, why aren’t united nations workers across the planet striking? they also targeted journalists again today, injuring two from abu dhabi television:

The UN refugee agency says its Gaza headquarters has been struck by Israeli artillery fire and the building is now ablaze.

Spokesman Chris Gunness says the building was hit by what was believed to be three white phosphorous shells. The weapons burn at extremely high temperatures and can set things on fire.

However, witnesses said a nearby building was struck, and the UN building remained intact. It was hard to verify the accounts because the entire area was covered in black smoke.

Gunness says the building had been used as a shelter for hundreds of people fleeing Israel’s 20-day offensive in Gaza. It’s not clear how many people were there at the time. He says three people were injured.

The Israeli army had no immediate comment on the incident.

Meanwhile, an explosion blasted a tower block in the city of Gaza today that houses the offices of Reuters and several other media organisations, injuring a journalist for the Abu Dhabi television channel.

Reuters journalists working at the time said it appeared the southern side of the 13th floor of the Al-Shurouq Tower in the city centre had been struck by an Israeli missile or shell. Reuters evacuated the bureau.

Colleagues said at least one journalist working for Abu Dhabi television on the 14th floor was injured.

The 13th floor houses a local television production company. The Reuters bureau is on the 12th floor. Live television footage showed smoke coming from the roof of the building, which towers over the generally low-rise city centre.

An Israeli army spokesman said he was checking the report.

of course, chief israeli terrorist and propagandist mark regev is busy telling al jazeera that this attack was done by palestinians. interesting. palestinians now have white phosphorous bombs and f-16s? and just now israeli terrorists bombed a hospital in tel al hawa, with 500 people inside. here is the email i received and al jazeera has confirmed it, but there is no link yet:

Al-Aqsa hospital, Gaza City located in the Tel al Huwa neighbourhood of Gaza has been under attack by the Israeli army since 1:30 AM.

According to international volunteers, it has been hit by shells four times.

The hospital has received over 150 calls for help from people including many children in the surrounding area who have been wounded
and are in desperate need of medical care. The Israeli army has surrounded the hospital and no one is able to get in or out.

No one is able to get to these children.

and because israeli terrorists are a people who love not only to murder and massacre, but also love to jail and imprison, there are now 500 palestinians in jails inside of their gaza prison:

At the site of the former settlement of Netzarim is one camp, with a second in the north’s Beit Hanoun, another in Bani Suheila in the south and a four near the Karni Crossing.

A report reveals that some Palestinian security prisoners were deported to the Israeli intelligence service to be investigated as part of the “wanted lists of the occupation authorities” for belonging to Hamas.

none of those imprisoned in the prison inside the prison are being allowed access to lawyers, of course. and palestinians inside 1948 who are protesting also go to jail:

In the afternoon on 1 January 2009, the Israeli police released the actors Hanan Helou and Saleh Bakri from detention. They had been arrested the night before at a demonstration in Haifa where placards were raised and candles lit in solidarity with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip being bombarded by Israeli air attacks. The demonstration took place on Ben Gurion Street, close to midnight, when others were crowded into cafes and restaurants welcoming the New Year.

During the peaceful demonstration, without any warning, a group of police officers approached the actress, Hanan Helou, and tore up the placard she was carrying and beat her causing injuries all over her body; they also beat everyone present and anyone who asked them to stop. In addition, the police severely beat the actor, Saleh Bakri, and arrested him and his friend. Following the arrest, the police refused to provide medical assistance to the detainees, despite the injuries and nausea suffered by the actress Helou.

and israeli terrorist banned unifil peacekeepers from visiting sites where resistance rockets from lebanon landed.

20 days of genocide. 1,066 martyrs so far. and it continues to get worse. and i cannot find the words to describe the level of worseness it is. the level of evil. they are beyond evil. i struggle to fall into the abyss of george bush’s banal language–i’m thinking “evil-doers” here–but there really are no words to describe this. they are worse than the nazis. they are worse because they know and they spend 61 years consistently murdering a people. and the world’s guilty conscience lets them get away with it. when will the f&^%$#) world feel its guilt about the complicity they have in slaughtering palestinians? how many must die before they come clean?

there is one person today who deserves big kudos for standing up, for having cajones:

A Kuwaiti Islamist MP called on Wednesday for moving Arab League headquarters from Cairo to Caracas after expelled the Israel’s ambassador because of its onslaught on the Gaza Strip.

“I call for moving the Arab League from Cairo to Caracas,” MP Waleed al-Tabtabai said during a special debate in parliament over the Israeli offensive.

Tabtabai said that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez “has proved that he was more Arab than some Arabs,” after he expelled the Israeli ambassador in protest against the Israeli onslaught on Gaza.

from nahr el bared to gaza

aside from a seeing a few friends while in beirut, i’ve been kind of hiding out. just don’t feel like going out. just don’t feel like being in spaces where beirutis are out laughing and having fun. but i leave rania’s house for the obligatory 3 hours a day when the electricity is cut. i see people i know. i haven’t even had the energy to email or call people to let them know i’m here, though, so it’s all by accident. it’s not that i don’t want to see friends, it is just that i cannot muster the energy. i can’t tear myself away from reading, writing, watching about gaza. but somehow word is out that i’m here and one friend asked if rania and i could meet up with her tonight. she had an american friend with her doing research about nahr el bared refugee camp and she wanted us to meet her. we met up tonight and my friend brought us a surprise–a mutual friend from nahr el bared refugee camp. my other friend lives in nahr el bared, too, though she is from gaza. we were all asked to re-tell the story of how the nahr el bared refugee campaign got started. my mind is such a blur right now, so singularly focused and fixated on gaza that it was difficult for me to remember at first. but as we all shared stories it began coming back to me.

my memory especially was revived listening to my friend talk about living through the lebanese army’s assault on the palestinian refugee camp in the spring and summer of 2007. i remember meeting him for the first time after he got out. he was first taken to prison because he had pockets filled with all sorts of things that seemed suspicious. you see, he is a nurse and he had pockets filled with things like bandages and other sorts of first aid materials. i’ve written about all this before, at the time it happened. but listening to him tell me about it today i couldn’t help but think about the people of gaza. to compare. here, his choice was to remain in his home or to flee; fleeing, for palestinian men in particular, meant at least a short stint in prison. and then flight to another refugee camp, in his case baddawi, where we first met. in nahr el bared, where the camp was so totally destroyed that only a few thousand–out of 31,000–were allowed to return home last year. most remain outside, not even allowed to return for a visit. when the palestinians from nahr el bared fled they took nothing. they lost the keys to their homes in palestine. the title deeds to their houses and land in palestine. all lost. the lebanese army destroying and stealing what they could before the handful of palestinians could return home.

my friend was one of the “lucky” ones who could return home–home to his refugee camp that had been destroyed. home to a home, which is not his home; it is a temporary home until israeli colonial terrorists are forced to abide by international law and allow all palestinian refugees the right to return home to palestine. to their villages, cities, and exact, precise homes and land where they came from.

all of this, of course, made me think of gaza. where my other friend who was with us is from. she is from rafah. her family, thank god, is still okay. but they, like everyone else in gaza, are forced to continually move around to seek shelter from the bombs raining on them with no ability to flee. or when they do flee israeli terrorists shoot at them. unlike nahr el bared, people in gaza don’t even have the choice of leaving and being forced to go to prison–as was the case with many nahr el bared refugees. though in nahr el bared, too, we had to fight to allow palestinians who wanted to leave an opportunity to flee. we had to do this even when there were pregnant women, children, elderly people trapped inside. in both cases, though, refugees were made and are made into internally displaced people (idps). in both cases palestinian refugees sought and seek shelter in unrwa schools. in both cases the united states provides military materiel to aid the destruction and death of palestinian refugees. these are the many nakbas. the repeated nakbas that recur. they comprise the physical and psychological trauma that was produced by the birth of the israeli colonial terrorist state. here is a recent, short film that shows some of the continuing struggles for palestinians in nahr el bared refugee camp trying to rebuild their lives after utter destruction to give you a point of comparison:

earlier today, at dinner, i was with a friend who received an sms message on her phone. it was from a friend who had just received a call on her landline that was from israeli terrorists. it was a recording, in broken arabic, threatening her stating “look what they [palestinians] did to you. you shouldn’t support them [hezbollah, hamas] or else.” apparently a number of people are receiving these messages. this produces more of the psychological terror and trauma–because of repeated israeli terrorist aggression against lebanon and those palestinians and lebanese who live here–and makes people wonder if israeli terrorists will begin assaulting lebanon too as they did in the summer of 2006 when they besieged both gaza and lebanon. interestingly, an article by rannie amiri in the palestine chronicle today compares the massacre in qana in 1996 with the one in jabalya now.

in nahr el bared 46 palestinians were murdered. now in gaza we have surpassed 1,000. there are now 1,033 martyrs and 4,580 wounded, 1/3 of whom are children.

earlier today robert fisk commented on al jazeera about the situation, identifying the key issue–the only issue–that will solve this problem. it is not a ceasefire. it is not a two-state solution. it is the liberation of palestine and the right of return for palestinian refugees for those in gaza and in nahr el bared:

Robert Fisk, a journalist and Middle East expert, said neither the current Gaza war nor the broader 60-year regional conflict would end without resolving the Palestinian issue.

“Why are they [Palestinians] dispossessed? Why are settlements – colonies for Jews and Jews only – being built on Arab land illegally? And still it continues,” he said in an interview with Al Jazeera.

“Unless we deal with… [Palestinian refugees], there will not be an end to this war”

“Unless we deal with this [Palestinian refugees], there will not be an end to this war. There might be a ceasefire in Gaza, a ceasefire in the West Bank, but there will not be an end to the war. That is the problem.”

Earlier this week, the United Nations Security Council adopted a legally binding resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

However, both Israel and Hamas have ignored it and continued fighting.

Fisk said that Israel will be able to flout the UN ceasefire demand as long as the US – the only country to abstain from the 15-member security council vote on the resolution – continues to back the country.

“It’s quite clear from Hillary Clinton’s [incoming US secretary of state] most recent comments that it [the US backing of Israel] will continue under Barack Obama.

“I see no change, I see no hope at all in the future,” Fisk said.

while palestinians in gaza are dying israeli terrorists decide to target a cemetery:

and while there is death and suffering everywhere in gaza, so too, there is life, or an attempt at life as women give birth to babies in the midst of this war:

a team of doctors recently returned from a fact-finding mission in palestine to write a piece for one of the most prestigious journals in the field of medicine, the lancet. their conclusion is telling: boycott:

Unlike Gaza, the West Bank does not threaten Israel with missiles, but nevertheless suffers widespread erosions of human rights which we witnessed on a fact-finding tour in November, 2008.

Restriction of movement due to the separation barrier and checkpoints, combined with the need for travel permits, delay access to hospitals for both patients and health workers. We saw 33-week-old triplets delayed for over 5 h while awaiting permits and finally transferred without their parents, and heard of hospital workers’ commuting times increasing from 30 min to more than 2·5 h after the closure to them of nearby checkpoints. At the medical schools we heard of the immense difficulties staff and students face as a result of the paralysing restrictions on travel between institutions in the Occupied Territories.

The total blockade of Gaza meant our entry there was denied, as it has been for humanitarian workers and essential food, energy, and medical supplies since the closure of the border in early November. We heard from Physicians for Human Rights—Israel, of the reduction in exit permits being granted for treatment outside Gaza, and of the practice of denying exit to some patients unless they collaborate with the security service in intelligence gathering.

We saw how the Palestinians’ opportunities to make a living are being eroded, both by illegal Israeli settlements on their farmland and by discrimination against their industry.

Violence continues at all levels: we spoke with schoolchildren, injured in stone-throwing attacks by Israeli children occurring while Israeli soldiers looked on. Children as young as 12 years are prosecuted in the Israeli military courts. The most common charge against children in the military courts is for stone-throwing, which under military law carries a maximum penalty of 20 years.

Our experience in the West Bank caused us grave concerns, which have been realised more rapidly and devastatingly than any of us could have anticipated, in the current disproportionate attacks by Israeli forces on Gaza. Our personal insight into this includes the attack by the Israeli navy on the boat Dignity when underway to provide emergency health care to Gaza, and which was carrying a member of our tour group.

This report is for our colleagues around the world who might be unaware of the deliberate erosion of human rights in both the West Bank and Gaza. We suggest that, in view of the failure of other measures to influence those in power, serious consideration be given to targeted academic and trade boycotts.

support for boycott and sanctions is rapidly growing and perhaps as a result of this israeli terrorists unleash their propaganda machine to tarnish the reputation of the one or two leaders with the moral courage to stand up for justice, like hugo chavez. today ha’aretz reported that he was going back on his earlier decision to stop normalization with the israeli terrorist state. fortunately, it is not difficult to find out the real answer:

Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Affairs Nicolás Maduro Wednesday said that only one Israeli official is left in Caracas taking charge of the “vital issues” of the diplomatic delegation. Maduro added that Venezuela has not backed down on the expulsion of Israeli Ambassador Schlomo Cohen.

In a statement, Maduro denied “reports from the Jewish News Agency” that the government of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez is trying “to mend ties with Israel,” EFE reported.

Maduro stressed that “the reports of the Jewish News Agency” aim to “manipulate information to try to slow down and lower the moral and political impact” of Caracas decision “to declare persona non grata and expelling seven officials of the Israeli embassy, including the Ambassador in Caracas.”

“We have cut diplomatic relations to a minimum. There is just one official left who is responsible for the basic administrative affairs of the Israeli mission in Caracas,” Maduro said in the statement.

likewise, bolivia’s president, evo morales, made a strong statement today condemning the genocide in gaza–taking his cue from father miguel d’escoto brockman’s statement yesterday on al jazeera–and ending his normalization with the zionist entity as well:

Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia, says he is breaking off ties with Israel in protest against its war in Gaza, which has left more than 1,000 Palestinians dead.

Morales said on Wednesday that he would seek to get top Israeli officials, including Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, charged with “genocide” in the International Criminal Court.

The Bolivian president also dismissed the United Nations and its “Insecurity Council” for its “lukewarm” response to the crisis and said the general assembly should hold an emergency session to condemn the invasion.

“Considering these grave attacks against … humanity, Bolivia will stop having diplomatic relations with Israel,” Morales told diplomats in the Bolivian capital, La Paz.

He also said that Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, should be stripped of his Nobel Peace Prize for failing to stop the invasion.

rania, of course, already has a great post on bolivia and palestine so i won’t say more except to say, read rania’s blog. and, meanwhile, more are working towards a war crimes tribunal of israeli terrorists so they can be put in the place they belong: prison:

A Foreign Office source confirmed the UK would consider backing calls for a reference to the ICJ. “It’s definitely on the table,” the source said. “We have already called for an investigation and are looking at all evidence and allegations.”

An open letter to the prime minister signed by prominent international lawyers and published in today’s Guardian states: “The United Kingdom government … has a duty under international law to exert its influence to stop violations of international humanitarian law in the current conflict between Israel and Hamas.”

The letter argues that Israel has violated principles of humanitarian law, including launching attacks directly aimed at civilians and failing to discriminate between civilians and combatants.

The letter follows condemnation earlier this week from leading QCs of Israel’s action as a violation of international law, and a vote by the UN’s human rights council on Monday on a resolution condemning the ongoing Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip.

and i’m just finding it a bit curious: why did the jerusalem post have an article today about motorola’s woes? i can’t help but think the boycott motorola campaign for its complicity in israeli terrorism might have something to do with this economic downturn for this company complicit with state terrorism and massacres.

these are all reasons why some people, like yousef abuddayeh, think that the demise of the zionist terrorist state is on the horizon (thanks rania) :

Effectively, the Zionist political leadership is succumbing to its exclusivist need for self-preservation as a colonial settler polity. Effectively, the Zionists are unable to use even a feeble fig leaf to cover its Apartheid system. How else would a polity expel 20% of the population from political representation, albeit superficially, while simultaneously scorching its surrounding in the literal meaning of the word? The Zionist political system is clearly showing significant signs of implosion. It cannot reconcile settler colonialism with democratic representation, and certainly cannot reconcile citizenship with theocratic exclusion. Hence the two major attributes of Zionism (exclusion and colonialism) are the very same factors that the Israeli polity is now facing.

This was the case in South Africa. Several decades after it was founded as a settler colony, and years following the imposition of the Apartheid system as a state policy, it too had to face the inevitable: settler colonialism and democratic representation cannot be reconciled. And it too imploded during a time when many believed that it was the strongest military power in the area and one of the most powerful in the world. Naturally, South Africa’s strongest ally was at that time the Zionist polity itself, given the equivalence in ideology, form of government, and militarist nature. In fact, just as the Zionist regime continuously attacks Lebanon, the Apartheid regime continuously attacked neighboring states.

it may be a bit premature, but we are on the road to liberating palestine. we must push forward. fast. now.

gaza “cease-fire”

according to my oxford english dictionary cease-fire means:

cease-fire:
noun
a temporary suspension of fighting, typically one during which peace talks take place; a truce.
• an order or signal to stop fighting

yesterday, of course, the united nations security council voted for a “cease-fire.” 14 voted in favor of this. 0 voted against it. 1 abstained (u.s.) un sc resolution 1860 reads:

“The Security Council,

“Recalling all of its relevant resolutions, including resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 1397 (2002), 1515 (2003) and 1850 (2008),

“Stressing that the Gaza Strip constitutes an integral part of the territory occupied in 1967 and will be a part of the Palestinian state,

“Emphasising the importance of the safety and well-being of all civilians,

“Expressing grave concern at the escalation of violence and the deterioration of the situation, in particular the resulting heavy civilian casualties since the refusal to extend the period of calm; and emphasising that the Palestinian and Israeli civilian populations must be protected,

“Expressing grave concern also at the deepening humanitarian crisis in Gaza,

“Emphasising the need to ensure sustained and regular flow of goods and people through the Gaza crossings,

“Recognising the vital role played by UNRWA in providing humanitarian and economic assistance within Gaza,

“Recalling that a lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only be achieved by peaceful means,

“Reaffirming the right of all States in the region to live in peace within secure and internationally recognized borders,

“1. Stresses the urgency of and calls for an immediate, durable and fully respected ceasefire, leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza;

“2. Calls for the unimpeded provision and distribution throughout Gaza of humanitarian assistance, including of food, fuel and medical treatment;

“3. Welcomes the initiatives aimed at creating and opening humanitarian corridors and other mechanisms for the sustained delivery of humanitarian aid;

“4. Calls on Member States to support international efforts to alleviate the humanitarian and economic situation in Gaza, including through urgently needed additional contributions to UNRWA and through the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee;

“5. Condemns all violence and hostilities directed against civilians and all acts of terrorism;

“6. Calls upon Member States to intensify efforts to provide arrangements and guarantees in Gaza in order to sustain a durable ceasefire and calm, including to prevent illicit trafficking in arms and ammunition and to ensure the sustained re‑opening of the crossing points on the basis of the 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access between the Palestinian Authority and Israel; and in this regard, welcomes the Egyptian initiative, and other regional and international efforts that are under way;

“7. Encourages tangible steps towards intra-Palestinian reconciliation including in support of mediation efforts of Egypt and the League of Arab States as expressed in the 26 November 2008 resolution, and consistent with Security Council resolution 1850 (2008 ) and other relevant resolutions;

“8. Calls for renewed and urgent efforts by the parties and the international community to achieve a comprehensive peace based on the vision of a region where two democratic States, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace with secure and recognised borders, as envisaged in Security Council resolution 1850 (2008), and recalls also the importance of the Arab Peace Initiative;

“9. Welcomes the Quartet’s consideration, in consultation with the parties, of an international meeting in Moscow in 2009;

“10. Decides to remain seized of the matter.”

Statements before Vote

BERNARD KOUCHNER, Minister for Foreign Affairs of France, speaking in his national capacity, said the Council was meeting in the common cause of achieving a ceasefire. In Gaza, there was an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. He said he was moved and distressed by the plight of the victims and families on both sides. The immediate end to hostilities was something the European Union and President Nicolas Sarkozy had been committed to.

He said the draft called for the end to the firing of rockets, the end to the Israeli operations, the opening of the border crossings and an end to arms smuggling. Those parameters were something the President of France had brought up with the leaders of the region and President Hosni Mubarak had drawn up a proposal. That plan was the only way to peace. He expressed regret that it had not been possible to give a little more time to reconcile different views or to endorse the results of negotiations now under way. The message of hope needed to be heeded without delay and negotiation under way needed to achieve prompt results.

Action

The Council then adopted resolution 1860 (2009) by a vote of 14 in favour with 1 abstention (United States).

there are many problems with this un resolution, number one being that there is no reference, of course, to the united nations’ role in creating this problem by going against its own charter and partitioning and colonizing palestine in the first place via un resolution 181. there is no reference to un resolution 194 codifying palestinians’ right of return, although un resolution 242, which is referred to, reaffirms that legal right for all palestinian refugees. like many un resolutions, palestinians and israeli terrorists are treated as equal entities, which they are not: palestinians are not equal to palestinians as they are colonized by israeli terrorists. moreover, this resolution names hamas and not palestinians as if all palestinians–indeed the world if you see the protests in the streets–are not behind the people of gaza. this war is against the people of gaza, not hamas. the resistance fighters in gaza cannot be reduced to hamas: dflp, al aqsa martyrs brigades, these are all resistance fighters from a wide range of ideological perspectives. in any case this un resolution once again shows the united nations’ impotence with respect to protecting the rights of palestinians to live in their land free from alien settler colonist terrorists or to return to their original villages. moreover, as could be expected israeli terrorists live according to their own rules and not only have not acted according to this agreement, during the voting i watched a split screen on al jazeera that showed the voting and speeches on one side of the screen and the increased intensity of the bombing on the other side. here is what the israeli terrorist regime had to say:

A few hours after the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1860 calling for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, the limited cabinet including Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak convened Friday morning to decide whether Operation Cast Lead should be expanded, or if fire should be held.

Israel has shown a certain level of apathy to the resolution, and Hamas has also stated it is not bound by and will not accept the decision.

“Israel has acted, is acting, and will continue to act only according to its calculations, in the interest of the security of its citizens and its right to self defense,” Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said.

here is an account of what happened as the voting was taking place in new york city:

A series of explosions has rocked the Gaza Strip despite the UN Security Council passing a resolution calling for an “immediate ceasefire” there.

Al Jazeera’s Zeina Awad, reporting from the Israel-Gaza border, said air raids, tank shelling and gunfire had continued in the early hours of Friday, moments after the resolution had passed.

About half a dozen explosions were heard in Gaza as council members at the UN building in New York were extolling the virtues of the resolution that came after days of diplomatic wrangling.

And there was no sign that either Israel would stop its offensive in the Palestinian territory – now in its 14th day – or Hamas would stop its rocket attacks.

The Israeli military said air raids hit 50 targets in Gaza overnight.

israeli terrorist actions over the past 24 hours since un sc 1860 was passed is indicative of what happened in the last 72 hours of the july 2006 israeli terrorist invasion of lebanon when they littered the whole of south lebanon with american-made cluster bombs in violation of the u.s. arms export control act. it is worth taking another look at un sc 1701, which “ended” that summer’s war of colonial, expansionist violence by israeli terrorists; like un sc 1860 palestinians are forced into submission by this resolution just as lebanese were forced into submission via 1701.

here is the al jazeera footage of the united nations meeting approving the resolution:

it is worth remembering the last time there was a so-called “cease-fire” and who broke that “cease-fire” given that israeli terrorists like to repeat the lie that it was hamas. it was not:

On Nov. 4 — just when the ceasefire was most effective — the IDF carried out an attack against a house in Gaza in which six members of Hamas’s military wing were killed, including two commanders, and several more were wounded. The IDF explanation for the operation was that it had received intelligence that a tunnel was being dug near the Israeli security fence for the purpose of abducting Israeli soldiers.

Hamas officials asserted, however, that the tunnel was being dug for defensive purposes, not to capture IDF personnel, according to Pastor, and one IDF official confirmed that fact to him.

After that Israeli attack, the ceasefire completely fell apart, as Hamas began openly firing rockets into Israel, the IDF continued to carry out military operations inside Gaza, and the border crossings were “closed most of the time”, according to the ITIC account.

meanwhile israeli terrorists stepped up their attacks today on palestinians in gaza on a number of fronts as the number of murdered palestinians rose to 801. this is what “cease-fire” looks like to israeli terrorists:

Less than twelve hours after the UN resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza was passed another 29 Palestinians were confirmed dead as a result of the Israeli air and artillery strikes.

By mid-afternoon the Israeli cabinet adjourned and announced that the operation in Gaza would be “widened.”

Director of Ambulance and Emergency Services in the Palestinian Health Ministry Muawiyah Hassanain said that the death toll over two weeks of the Israeli offensive in Gaza is 781 with more than 3,300 injured.

The latest victim to be identified was a woman, Nareman Abu Au’da, who was killed by the shrapnel of an artillery shell that hit her house in Beit Hanoun, in the north of the Gaza Strip. Medical officials identified her on Friday evening.

Three Family homes targeted

As the news of the Israeli rejection of the ceasefire came out shelling was reported in northern Gaza, which targeted the home of the Sa’id family, killing 42-year-old Fatima Sa’eed Sa’id, 25-year-old Sumeya , and 12-year-old Ata Jamil, in an air strike on the home in Al-Qarem in northern Gaza.

When strikes targeted the Abu Hasna home in Old Gaza City Friday morning one of the Abu Hasna boys was killed and several others killed. He was taken to the nearby Kamal Udwan hospital where he was identified as 15-year-old Muhammad Atef Abu Al-Husna and pronounced dead.

Seven Palestinians from the Salha family were killed by an Israeli tank shelling at 4am that leveled their home in the town of Beit Lahiya, in the northern Gaza Strip. Among the dead were 60-year-old Mohammad Mubarak Saleh, his wife Halima Saleh. Another son was also injured.

Air raids level empty houses

Israeli airstrikes demolished ten homes overnight, including the residence of the chief of police in Gaza Abu Obeida Al-Jarrah, in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City.

Warplanes also destroyed the house of the head of Palestinian security in the southern city of Rafah, a man who is said to be affiliated to Hamas’ armed wing.

A police station in the Zaitoun neighborhood of Gaza was also demolished, along with the Ar-Rebat Mosque in Khan Younis and an office linked to Islamic Jihad.

Israeli Navy attacks central Gaza

In the town of Al-Zawaydah, in the central Gaza Strip, three were killed and seven injured by shelling from Israeli gunboats. The victims were taken to Al-Aqsa Hospital.

Tanks pushing across Khan Younis district

Also at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital, nine corpses and 40 injured people arrived overnight, victims of an attempt by Israeli tanks to cut across the middle of the Gaza Strip to the sea. Israeli tanks have already cut across in one place farther north.

Among those killed in the central Gaza incursion is a member of the Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad. The movement said Jihad Abu Mudif died after being seriously wounded in fighting with Israeli troops near the city of Khan Younis.

and of course, americans are not only supplying the weapons to israeli terrorists: they are also supplying the manpower:

The US Army Corps of Engineers has been helping the Egyptian government detect tunnels used to move weapons and other contraband into Gaza, the Pentagon said Thursday.

A small number of US civilians with the Corps have been providing technical advice to the Egyptians over a period of months, said Geoff Morrell, the Pentagon press secretary.

“There has been a concerted effort for some time by the Egyptians to go after some of these tunnels — detect them, block them, eliminate them — and I think the Army Corps of Engineers has provided some technical advice on how to do so,” Morrell said.

in addition to these terrorist activities listed above they attacked the media just like their american terrorist counterparts like to do in iraq:

Israeli airstrikes hit the Jawwara building in Gaza City on Friday afternoon.

The building was home to more than 20 local, national and international press offices.

No injuries were reported, but the already limited information coming out of Gaza, given Israel’s decision to bar international journalists from the area, will be further compromised.

there were chinese, turkish, arab, and iranian foreign journalists in that building. and rafah was razed today as this video footage from the guardian/international solidarity movement shows:

so israeli terrorism persists. but it would persist with or without a united resolution. it will persist with or without global protests, although there have been many all around the world from kenya to jordan:

perhaps as a result of some of this protesting–the likes of which we did not even see in the summer of 2006 when israeli terrorists were invading lebanon and gaza at the same time–there is some important movement with respect to boycott, divestment and sanctions. here is a sampling of some of those important developments:

A coalition of major humanitarian, human rights and development organizations called on the European Union today [7 January 2009] to immediately suspend any further enhancement of its relations with Israel, known as an “upgrade,” until it agrees to a comprehensive ceasefire and provides unimpeded humanitarian access. Both Israel’s offensive in Gaza and Hamas rocket attacks into Israel have caused unacceptable civilian casualties.

A Nobel Peace Prize laureate on Sunday called on both the United Nations secretary-general and UN General Assembly president to “seriously consider” trying Israel for war crimes.

Ma’an learned that Laureate Mairead Maguire is insisting the UN establish an International Criminal Tribunal for Israel (ICTI), according to a letter sent to Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and General Assembly President Father Miguel D’Escoto on Sunday.

Maguire called on UN leaders to add their voices “to the many calls from international jurists, human rights organizations and individuals” calling for trying Israel for “atrocities against the people of Gaza and Palestine.”

Canadian Response to Gaza Situation

Dear Prime Minister Harper and Foreign Affairs Minister Cannon: We the undersigned [300] academics and educators express our condemnation of Israel’s attack on Gaza. With over 600 dead, including 100 children, we call on the Canadian government to demand an immediate cessation of Israeli hostilities.

As per the position of UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Palestine, Richard Falk, the attack constitutes a war crime in that it is completely disproportionate to the threat posed, and violates international humanitarian law on at least three grounds: Collective punishment, Targeting Civilians, Disproportionate military response.

We call on the Canadian government to implement sanctions against the Israeli government until it ceases its attack against the people of Gaza and fully complies with international law.

In Malaysia and Italy, critics of Israel’s Gaza assault have called for a boycott of Israeli and US goods.

“We cannot remain silent about what is happening in Gaza. We had thought of drawing up a list of businessmen who have links with Tel Aviv because people do not know who they are,” Giancarlo Desiderati, a member of a small group of Italian traders who called for the boycott on its website, said.

At least 5,000 people protested outside the US embassy in Malaysia on Friday, and around 300 held a noisy protest outside the National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur to urge Arab countries to cut off oil supplies to the US and boycott goods from Coca-Cola, Colgate and Starbucks.

Addressing the crowd, Mahathir Mohamed, a former prime minister, told Malaysians that they “will not die if they do not use the US goods” and urged those working for US companies such as fast-food giant McDonalds to quit their jobs.

“I hope Starbucks and McDonald’s employees will stop working there,” he said.

Survivors of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of 8,000 Bosnian Muslims protested in front of the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo on Thursday to call on Washington to stop Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Munira Subasic, who lost her son and husband when Bosnian Serbs took over the eastern town of Srebrenica, said she felt solidarity with the Palestinian people.

“In 2009, Palestinian mothers are going through ordeals we experienced in 1995 and we are raising our voice because we know about pain and suffering. We know how it feels to lose a child or husband,” said Subasic.

Protesters said they felt they had to react to killings of more than 660 Palestinians and the suffering of refugees in the 13-day-old offensive launched by Israel.

Jordan has recalled its ambassador to Israel in protest of the IDF’s offensive in Gaza, Ynet learned Friday evening.

Ambassador Ali al-Ayed was summoned to Amman by the Jordanian Foreign Ministry and was instructed by the government to remain in the Hashemite Kingdom.

After Hugo Chavez expelled Israel’s Ambassador to Venezuela earlier this week, Jordanians left flowers by the Venezuelan embassy in Amman on Thursday, January 8th, as a show of respect.

A number of prominent South Africans have condemned the brutal attacks currently being perpetrated by the Israeli army in Gaza, and have called for diplomatic sanctions as a response. Among those who have voiced their condemnation are Eddie Makue, General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches; former government Minister Ronnie Kasrils; Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven; and University of Johannesburg academic Professor Steven Friedman.

and, finally, i quote naomi klein’s article from the nation telling us that now is FINALLY! the time to call for, participate in, push for boycott:

It’s time. Long past time. The best strategy to end the increasingly bloody occupation is for Israel to become the target of the kind of global movement that put an end to apartheid in South Africa.

In July 2005 a huge coalition of Palestinian groups laid out plans to do just that. They called on “people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era.” The campaign Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions–BDS for short–was born.

Every day that Israel pounds Gaza brings more converts to the BDS cause, and talk of cease-fires is doing little to slow the momentum. Support is even emerging among Israeli Jews. In the midst of the assault roughly 500 Israelis, dozens of them well-known artists and scholars, sent a letter to foreign ambassadors stationed in Israel. It calls for “the adoption of immediate restrictive measures and sanctions” and draws a clear parallel with the antiapartheid struggle. “The boycott on South Africa was effective, but Israel is handled with kid gloves…. This international backing must stop.”

Yet many still can’t go there. The reasons are complex, emotional and understandable. And they simply aren’t good enough. Economic sanctions are the most effective tools in the nonviolent arsenal. Surrendering them verges on active complicity. Here are the top four objections to the BDS strategy, followed by counterarguments.

1. Punitive measures will alienate rather than persuade Israelis. The world has tried what used to be called “constructive engagement.” It has failed utterly. Since 2006 Israel has been steadily escalating its criminality: expanding settlements, launching an outrageous war against Lebanon and imposing collective punishment on Gaza through the brutal blockade. Despite this escalation, Israel has not faced punitive measures–quite the opposite. The weapons and $3 billion in annual aid that the US sends to Israel is only the beginning. Throughout this key period, Israel has enjoyed a dramatic improvement in its diplomatic, cultural and trade relations with a variety of other allies. For instance, in 2007 Israel became the first non-Latin American country to sign a free-trade deal with Mercosur. In the first nine months of 2008, Israeli exports to Canada went up 45 percent. A new trade deal with the European Union is set to double Israel’s exports of processed food. And on December 8, European ministers “upgraded” the EU-Israel Association Agreement, a reward long sought by Jerusalem.

It is in this context that Israeli leaders started their latest war: confident they would face no meaningful costs. It is remarkable that over seven days of wartime trading, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange’s flagship index actually went up 10.7 percent. When carrots don’t work, sticks are needed.

2. Israel is not South Africa. Of course it isn’t. The relevance of the South African model is that it proves that BDS tactics can be effective when weaker measures (protests, petitions, back-room lobbying) have failed. And there are indeed deeply distressing echoes: the color-coded IDs and travel permits, the bulldozed homes and forced displacement, the settler-only roads. Ronnie Kasrils, a prominent South African politician, said that the architecture of segregation that he saw in the West Bank and Gaza in 2007 was “infinitely worse than apartheid.”

3. Why single out Israel when the United States, Britain and other Western countries do the same things in Iraq and Afghanistan? Boycott is not a dogma; it is a tactic. The reason the BDS strategy should be tried against Israel is practical: in a country so small and trade-dependent, it could actually work.

4. Boycotts sever communication; we need more dialogue, not less. This one I’ll answer with a personal story. For eight years, my books have been published in Israel by a commercial house called Babel. But when I published The Shock Doctrine, I wanted to respect the boycott. On the advice of BDS activists, I contacted a small publisher called Andalus. Andalus is an activist press, deeply involved in the anti-occupation movement and the only Israeli publisher devoted exclusively to translating Arabic writing into Hebrew. We drafted a contract that guarantees that all proceeds go to Andalus’s work, and none to me. In other words, I am boycotting the Israeli economy but not Israelis.

Coming up with this plan required dozens of phone calls, e-mails and instant messages, stretching from Tel Aviv to Ramallah to Paris to Toronto to Gaza City. My point is this: as soon as you start implementing a boycott strategy, dialogue increases dramatically. And why wouldn’t it? Building a movement requires endless communicating, as many in the antiapartheid struggle well recall. The argument that supporting boycotts will cut us off from one another is particularly specious given the array of cheap information technologies at our fingertips. We are drowning in ways to rant at one another across national boundaries. No boycott can stop us.

Just about now, many a proud Zionist is gearing up for major point-scoring: don’t I know that many of those very high-tech toys come from Israeli research parks, world leaders in infotech? True enough, but not all of them. Several days into Israel’s Gaza assault, Richard Ramsey, the managing director of a British telecom company, sent an e-mail to the Israeli tech firm MobileMax. “As a result of the Israeli government action in the last few days we will no longer be in a position to consider doing business with yourself or any other Israeli company.”

When contacted by The Nation, Ramsey said his decision wasn’t political. “We can’t afford to lose any of our clients, so it was purely commercially defensive.”

It was this kind of cold business calculation that led many companies to pull out of South Africa two decades ago. And it’s precisely the kind of calculation that is our most realistic hope of bringing justice, so long denied, to Palestine.