on orange & other adventures in normalization

i love orange. it’s my favorite color. i even painted my office at boise state university orange a few years ago. but in this region colors always take on new meanings that destroy colors and what they mean. for instance, when i first moved to palestine in the summer of 2005 i discovered that orange was the color that the zionist terrorist colonists in gaza were using to protest their removal from occupied gaza. you still see their orange ribbons on backpacks and and rear view mirrors. these are the same people who are building new colonies and expanding them in naqab, al quds, nasra and everywhere else.

orange

but why am i writing about orange? well, actually it’s not the color i’m speaking of. it’s the corporation. when i lived in jordan (2005-2006) i had a land line in my house from the jordanian national telecom company and i had internet from a company called wanadoo. it seems that in the time since i lived here last, both have been swallowed up by orange (which is why i won’t be having a land line or internet service or cell phone service from orange). for the land lines this is a huge issue: it means that jordan has privatized its telecommunications sector to a foreign company. apparently, this happened two years ago:

The Jordanian mobile operator, MobileCom – a subsidiary of Jordan Telecom Group (JTG) has rebranded under the Orange brand name. Jordan Telecom is 51% controlled by France Telecom which in turn, owns Orange.

“With this move, Orange becomes the sole commercial brand for JTG’s fixed, mobile, and internet services,” said Chairman of the Board of Directors of JTG Dr Shabib Ammari. “Our customers will be enjoying Orange’s competitive range of telecom solutions and top quality services, enjoying the premium offering that will meet their needs to full satisfaction through this single and reputable provider,” added Ammari.

The GSM arm of JTG was first registered on 21st September, 1999 and launched full public service across the Kingdom on 15th September, 2000. The infrastructure was provided by Ericsson.

Orange Jordan has around 1.7 million subscribers according to figures from the Mobile World, which gives the company a market share of 36%.

and orange has fully inserted itself and its brand into jordanian life. billboards are everywhere. there are orange ramadan placemats in restaurants and cafes. and they even have some magazine that i found in my hotel room when i was in amman on my way to the u.s. for a couple of days. it is inescapable. but it is also possible not to participate in this orange branding of jordan, which, according to the jordanian blogger black iris, they aren’t offering such hot service:

Since writing that open letter to Orange Telecom Jordan on their terrible service I’ve noticed the link really flying around the twittersphere. It’s gotten around 1,700 views in the past 48 hours, which, along with the comments and emails people left me, is a real indication that many are simply not happy with the Kingdom’s telecom giant and it’s level of service.

but i think there are other reasons, aside from crappy service, that people in jordan should be up in arms that their national telecom industry was handed over to orange. some of what i am about to say is speculative, but the facts will be backed up with reports. my suspicion about orange was first raised because i know it to be one of the main mobile phone companies in the zionist entity. for many years, it was the only mobile company that palestinians had access too before they created their own network, jawal. orange is not an israeli company, but i have been told it was started by two french jews. i have looked to find out more about the people who started and/or who run orange headquarters, but it has been difficult to find anything out on them. my curiosity is that is suspect they are like howard shultz, ceo of starbucks, who donates a significant amount of his profits to the zionist entity every year. i don’t have any such information yet (though if anyone out there knows the dirt on orange please send it my way! ), but here is what wikipedia has to say about it:

Microtel Communications Ltd. was formed in April 1990 as a consortium comprising Pactel Corporation, British Aerospace, Millicom and French company Matra (British Aerospace soon acquired full control of the company). In 1991 Microtel was awarded a license to develop a mobile network in the UK, and in July 1991 Hutchison Telecommunications (UK) Ltd acquired Microtel from BAe. BAe was paid in Hutchison Telecommunications (UK) Ltd. shares, giving the company a 30% share. Hutchison Whampoa held 65% and Barclays Bank the remaining 5%. Microtel was renamed Orange Personal Communications Services Ltd. in 1994. The Orange brand was created by an internal team at Microtel headed by Chris Moss (Marketing Director) and supported by Martin Keogh, Rob Furness and Ian Pond. The brand consultancy Wolff Olins was charged with designing the brand values and logo and advertising agency WCRS created the Orange slogan “The Future’s bright, the Future’s Orange” along with the now famous advertising. The logo is square because a round orange logo already existed for the reprographics company, Orange Communications Limited, designed by Neville Brody in 1993.

Orange plc was formed in 1995 as a holding company for the Orange group. France Telecom formed the present company in 2001 after acquiring Orange plc (which had been acquired by Mannesmann AG, itself purchased by Vodafone shortly after, leading Vodafone to divest Orange) and merging its existing mobile operations into the company. The company was initially 100% owned by France Telecom (although there were and still remain minority investors in some of the national operating companies). In 2001 15% was sold in an IPO, but in 2003 the outstanding shares were bought back by France Telecom.

so there is no proof or connection to the zionist entity in any way yet. but that is okay. there is proof that their hands are dirty any way. like all cell phone companies that exist in the zionist entity, they are a part of the colonial infrastructure. here is a report from who profits laying out how orange, along with the other cell phone companies participate in colonialism and occupation:

All Israeli cellular communication companies are commercially involved in the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Golan Heights. These companies build infrastructure, maintain property and equipment in illegal Israeli settlements, much of it on privately owned Palestinian lands. They all provide services to the Israeli military and to all Israeli settlers, and some provide specially designed services. They use the Israeli control of the Palestinian territory to exploit the Palestinian frequencies and to impose their services on the Palestinian captive market.

Currently there are four Israeli cellular communication service providers: Cellcom, Partner (Orange), Pelephone and MIRS. Cellcom is part of the IDB group, a conglomerate of Israeli and international companies, one of the major players in the Israeli market; Partner is a subsidiary of the Chinese Hutchison Telecommunications International (HTIL); Pelephone is fully owned by Bezeq, the Israeli Telecommunication Corporation; MIRS is a subsidiary of Motorola Israel.

All four have dozens of antennas, transmission stations and additional infrastructure erected on occupied Palestinian land: MIRS holds at least 86 antennas and communication facilities on occupied territory, Cellcom at least 191, Pelephone 195 and Partner 165. As a survey by Yesh Din reveals, many of these antennas and communication facilities were erected on confiscated privately owned Palestinian land. Often, these devices are guarded by Israeli guards, and at least in one occasion, they were used as seeds for a new settlement outpost. Using this infrastructure, the companies provide services to Israelis in these areas, both to the settlements and to the Israeli soldiers operating in the occupied West Bank.

All four, Cellcom, Partner, MIRS and Pelephone, operate service stores in West Bank settlements. Additionally, MIRS is the exclusive provider of cellular phone services to the Israeli army (since 2005 and at least until 2011). This company installs communication units in army vehicles and it builds communication facilities in army bases throughout the West Bank and Golan Heights. The company also offers special rates for service personnel and their family members.

Cellcom, Partner and Pelephone are also operating in the Palestinian market. The conditions of the occupation ensure several advantages for these companies over the Palestinian cellular communication providers. The Israeli authorities do not provide permits for Palestinian companies to install antennas and transmission infrastructure in area C, which is under full Israeli control and constitutes 59% of the entire West Bank, making it virtually impossible for Palestinians to provide cellular coverage in many areas of the West Bank. Additionally, the frequency allocation granted by the Israeli authorities to Palestinian providers is very limited, and the Israeli authorities impose significant limitations on the Palestinian providers when it comes to the import of devices or the on ground installation of communication transmission devices. Even when the Israeli authorities do allow equipment into the Palestinian territory – it is often delayed by months or years, and by the time it arrives to the Palestinian providers it is outdated. Together, these limitations restrict the reception ranges and the overall quality of service by Palestinian providers, and the Palestinians turn to services provided by the Israeli companies, especially when traveling outside of the major Palestinian cities.

The Israeli control of frequencies and the implications of this control have been evident in the case of Wataniya Palestine. In 2007 Wataniya Palestine, a joint venture of Palestine Investment Fund and Wataniya Telecom of Kuwait, was licensed to become the second Palestinian cellular communication provider. On July 28, 2008 an agreement was signed by the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority, allocating frequencies for Wataniya’s use. The frequencies were supposed to be released by April 1 of 2009. As of August of 2009, none were released due to ongoing delays from the Israeli government. Consequently, Wataniya Telecom announced that it would back out of its initiative to operate cellular communication services in the occupied Palestinian territory.

According to a World Bank report issued in January of 2008, 20% to 45% of the Palestinian cellular market at that time was in the hands of Israeli companies. In breach of the Oslo Agreements, the Israeli companies do not pay taxes to the Palestinian Authority (PA) for their commercial activity in the Palestinian market. The World Bank report estimated that the lost annual PA tax revenues due to unauthorized Israeli operations amounted to $60 million. Additionally, the PA claimed that these Israeli companies have been targeting West Bank clients and actively selling to the Palestinians in the West Bank although they were never licensed to do so by the PA.

Surprisingly, even when using Palestinian providers, Palestinian customers have to rely on the Israeli companies because of the restrictions on Palestinian construction of telecommunication infrastructure. The Israeli companies collect a percentage surcharge on all interconnection revenues from calls between Palestinian landlines and cellular phones as well as calls between cellular phones of Palestinian operators and Israeli operators. Similarly, Palestinian operators have to depend on the costly services of Israeli companies for any international call, for calls connecting the West Bank and Gaza and for calls between different areas in the West Bank.

For more information, see the Who Profits website at: www.whoprofits.org.

here is a brief summary on orange in the zionist entity by who profits as well (who i normally don’t link to because they are colonists who don’t see themselves as colonists merely because they don’t live in the west bank):

An Israeli provider of cellular phone services.

The company erected more than 160 antennas and telecommunication infrastructure facilities on occupied land in the West Bank and the Golan Heights.

The company provides cellular communication services to the settlers and Israeli soldiers in the occupied territory. Additionally, the company enjoys the structural advantages of Israeli cellular services providers over Palestinian competitors in the Palestinian market.

Click here to read the full report about the involvement of the Israeli cellular companies in the occupation.

Involved in:

Palestinian Captive Market
Israeli Construction on Occupied Land
Services to the Settlements

51% of company shares are held by Scailex, which is controlled by Ilan Ben-Dov.

so this is why i am boycotting orange. i don’t need a land line. i have a cell phone from a kuwaiti company (zain) and internet (insha’allah soon) from a jordanian company (umniah). but what i see a lot of in jordan is heavy levels of consumption among a population who does not know, does not want to know, or does not want to sacrifice in the ways one must sacrifice in order to resist. part of this may be because i don’t have internet at my house yet and the only place near my house to get it (i.e., within walking distance) is a mall. so i’m being subjected to my least favorite sort of space with people participating in my least favorite activity all around me as i work in an internet cafe around people who eat and drink and smoke all day while i fast (it is ramadan, but there seem to be lots of jordanians who are not fasting). and i’m thinking a lot about sacrifice. not just because it is ramadan and i am fasting and my empty stomach makes me think about it, but also because i don’t understand why it consumption and globalization have turned the world numb and dumb. the divide between want and need is completely gone. and this is something i find so disturbing. i don’t know why people cannot just say no to so many things.

i also wonder why people cannot say no to normalization with the zionist entity. why they cannot say no on a personal or a collective level in places like jordan. for instance, there was a report in ha’aretz a few weeks ago about a sweatshop owned by zionist terrorist colonists in jordan:

If the term “sweatshop” used to be associated with Asian countries and global brands such as Nike, now such methods of production by exploiting workers have made aliyah. Two Israeli entrepreneurs run a sweatshop in Jordan that produces clothes for leading Israeli brands such as Irit, Bonita, Jump and Pashut, Haaretz has learned.

The National Labor Committee, a U.S.-based workers’ rights organization, has released a report accusing the Musa Garments factory in Jordan of employing workers under inhuman conditions, and charges the company with “human trafficking, abuse, forced overtime, primitive dorm conditions, imprisonment and forcible deportations of foreign guest workers.”

The report exposes what is said to be one of the biggest secrets of the Israeli fashion industry, saying the cheap production costs for Israeli labels is a very expensive price for workers’ rights at Musa Garments.

The report says Mr. Musa, the owner, is an Israeli. But the real owners are Jack Braun and Moshe Cohen from Tel Aviv. The factory is located in the Al Hassan industrial area in Irbid, Jordan. The two employ 132 people from Bangladesh, 49 from India and 27 Jordanians. Chinese, Sri Lankans and Nepalese have also worked there in the past. “They all come for one reason only: To earn as much money as they possibly can to pay off the debts they incurred to purchase their three-year work contracts in Jordan, and send money home to their families,” states the report.

The report explains how the “guest workers” face inhuman conditions from their first day. Management takes away their passports, sometimes for the entire three-year period. Workers who asked for their passports back – or at least a copy – were refused, an illegal act and serious human rights violation.

The conditions are close to slavery. Until December 2008, when the economic crisis hit the company, workers averaged shifts of between 12 and a half and 13 and half hours a day, seven days a week – even though their contracts give them Fridays off. They also had to work on Jordanian national holidays. Anyone who missed a shift was fined three days’ wages, the report claims.

After December last year, the pace of production was stepped up and instead of having to sew 30 pieces an hour, workers were made to sew 40 – for the same wages.

“The public must know that products have a heavy human cost too,” said Dr. Roi Wagner of the Kav LaOved (Worker’s Hotline) organization. “The pursuit of lower production [costs] is very often dependent on violating human rights. The price is paid by Israeli workers whose jobs disappear, and also by the ‘cheap’ workers who produce goods in places where it is easier to abuse them. The manufacturer is not the only one responsible, but also the companies [that buy the goods] and the consumers,” said Wagner.

The list of complaints is long, including subhuman living conditions such as 4-8 people in a tiny dormitory room, no showers and water for only an hour or two a night. There is no heat in the rooms in the winter, and the bathrooms are filthy. The roofs leak.

One of the owners, Jack Braun, claims the truth is completely different. “The report is a total lie,” he said. “The workers went on strike for a reason I don’t know. As a result, human rights organizations arrived and the workers lied – though every one of their claims was proved false. They attacked the Bangladeshi consul and police who tried to talk to them. The conditions we provide them, in terms of work and food and housing, are above and beyond. We always paid them as required – they earn tiny salaries, so why shouldn’t we pay them?” said Braun.

Bonita’s management said they do not work with the company.

Kobi Hayat, one of the owners of Pashut, said: “I do not know of the place since we work through a subcontractor who receives the material from us, manufactures in Jordan and returns the clothes. I have never been there, and I do not know who receives the work, so it is hard for me to discuss the claims.”

a few days later another article appeared saying it was not a sweatshop:

Jordan’s Ministry of Labor on Wednesday rejected accusations that a local factory supplying clothing to Israel was abusing its workers, saying there was no evidence of either human trafficking or forced work.

On Sunday The National Labor Committee, a U.S.-based workers’ rights organization, released a report accusing the Musa Garments factory in Jordan of employing workers under inhuman conditions, and charges the company with “human trafficking, abuse, forced overtime, primitive dorm conditions, imprisonment and forcible deportations of foreign guest workers.”

of course, it is great to see that the government in jordan is concerned about having a sweatshop or human trafficking in their midst. but whee is the outrage over having a zionist terrorist colonist business on their land and in their midst? given that official jordanian policy is that they are at “peace” with the enemy, it makes sense that the government isn’t outraged. but where are the people? compare this to how egyptians responded recently when the government was working on a gas deal with the zionist entity as reported by adam morrow and khaled moussa al-omrani in the electronic intifada:

Opposition figures and political activists have slammed a new deal to sell Egyptian liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Israel at what they say are vastly reduced prices.

“Egyptian gas is being sold to Israel at prices far below the international average,” Ibrahim Yosri, former head of legal affairs and treaties at the Egyptian Foreign Ministry told IPS. “This agreement is proof that the ruling regime is unconcerned with public opinion and is insistent on depriving the Egyptian public of its rightful national assets.”

On 28 July, Egypt formally agreed to sell between 12.5 billion and 16 billion cubic meters of LNG per year to Israel for a period of between 17 and 22 years. The Cairo-based Egyptian-Israeli energy consortium Egyptian Mediterranean Gas (EMG) will supply the gas to Israeli firm Dorad Energy for a total reported cost of between $2.1 billion and $3.3 billion.

Given longstanding popular condemnation of Israeli policies, particularly those relating to Palestinian populations in the Gaza Strip and occupied West Bank, the deal also stirred political controversy.

“It is absolutely forbidden that we support a country currently at war with Islam and Muslims, and which occupies the land of Palestine,” Nasr Farid Wassil, former Grand Mufti of the republic, was quoted as saying in the independent press. “All economic relations with such a country should be severed.”

Despite its unpopularity, the deal is not the first: under an earlier energy accord, Egypt has been exporting LNG to Israel since May of last year. Extracted from fields in Egypt’s northern Sinai Peninsula, gas is pumped via submarine pipeline from the coastal town al-Arish to the Israeli port city Ashkelon.

The first accord, signed in 2005, allowed EMG to sell 1.7 billion cubic meters of LNG annually to the Israeli state-run Israel Electric Corporation for a period of 15 years. The sale price was never officially disclosed, fueling speculation by critics that gas was being sold to Israeli buyers at reduced prices.

Egypt is one of the few Arab states, along with Jordan and Mauritania, to have full diplomatic relations with Israel. Nevertheless, bilateral cooperation has remained severely hampered by popular disapproval of Israeli policies.

meanwhile the united states–and hillary clinton in particular–are pushing normalization among african countries with the zionist entity as ips reporters jerrold kessel and pierre klochendler explain:

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been busy pursuing one aspect of the Obama Administration’s agenda – carrying to Africa the U.S. message of accountability. With a rather different agenda, Israel’s foreign minister Avigdor Liberman also has Africa in his sights.

Whereas the U.S. is pressing a moral message hard – more democracy and less corruption, the Israeli approach is entirely pragmatic.

It’s not the first time Israel has been heavily involved in Africa.

Tanzanian freshmen at the University of Dar es Salaam will be excused for being unaware of the fact that their campus strikingly resembles facilities in Tel Aviv and Beersheba, two of Israel’s leading universities. That’s because the UDSM campus was designed by Israeli architects.

Nearly half a century ago, there was unexpected interaction between sub- Saharan Africa, just emerging from the dark years of colonial rule, and Israel – which had come into existence a decade-and-a-half earlier after ridding itself of a British presence – busily engaged in reaching out to other emerging nations.

Ever since, it’s been a relationship of ups and downs.

The aid to development programmes of Israeli experts, especially in the fields of irrigation, agriculture, communal rural development and medical training, won Israel considerable sympathy, and friends, in many of the newly- independent states. Hundreds of African students and experts underwent specialised training, tailor-made for their societies, in Israel.

But, as was the case in the Cold War era, the Israeli development projects were not entirely altruistic.

There was also the political motive of trying to break the ostracism in which Arab states and their allies in the Third World were encasing the fledgling new Middle Eastern state. This became especially acute following the 1955 conference of the non-aligned world in Bandung in Indonesia, where non- co-operation with Israel was adopted as policy.

There was a strategic dimension too. Israel’s legendary first prime minister David Ben-Gurion and his foreign minister Golda Meir foresaw a policy of encircling the circle of Israel’s regional isolation through alliances with non- Arab states on the periphery of the region – Turkey and Iran and, critically, Ethiopia in the Horn of Africa.

Just back from an extensive tour of South America, Liberman is soon to set out on a five-nation African tour. The Israeli foreign ministry calls it “an out- of-the-ordinary visit”, the most extensive ever by Israel’s top diplomat to the continent. He will criss-cross Africa to take in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Angola and Nigeria.

if you look at the website for the orange company, by the way, or its wikipedia page, you’ll notice that many of the above-listed countries in africa are also being subjected to orange telecom. just say no.

zionism is discrimination is oppression is racism is apartheid.

as i watch the protests flaring in moldova, avigdor lieberman’s home country who is the foreign minster of the zionist entity, i keep thinking what a great time it would be for him to go home. back to where he came from. he wants “transfer” for palestinians in 1948. what about a transfer for him back to his homeland? i was thinking about this as i read ahmad tibi’s utterly brilliant op-ed in the new york times today. tibi is a member of the knesset and increasingly becoming the next azmi bishara. (hopefully not the same outcome of forced exile from his homeland.) i had forgotten where exactly lieberman came from. in any case, here is tibi’s op-ed in full because he explains the situation in 1948 palestine so beautifully and clearly, especially for an american audience:

The right-wing coalition of the new Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, does not bode well for Palestinians in Israel. With the appointment of Avigdor Lieberman as foreign minister, the extremists are going after the indigenous population and threatening us with loyalty tests and the possibility of “transfer” into an area nominally controlled by the Palestinian Authority.

Netanyahu’s intransigence vis-à-vis Palestinians in the occupied territories is certainly cause for concern. No less concerning is what the Netanyahu-Lieberman combination may mean to Palestinian citizens of Israel.

This government, particularly with Lieberman as foreign minister, should be boycotted by the international community, just as it once boycotted Jörg Haider, the late Austrian far-right politician who won global notoriety for his anti-immigrant views.

Lieberman, in one of many outrageous comments, declared in May 2004 that 90 percent of Israel’s Palestinian citizens “have no place here. They can take their bundles and get lost.”

But my family and I were on this land centuries before Lieberman arrived here in 1978 from Moldova. We are among the minority who managed to remain when some 700,000 Palestinians were forced out by Israel in 1948.

Today, Lieberman stokes anti-Palestinian sentiment with his threat of “transfer” — a euphemism for renewed ethnic cleansing. Henry Kissinger, too, has called for a territorial swap, and Lieberman cites Kissinger to give his noxious idea a more sophisticated sheen. Lieberman and Kissinger envision exchanging a portion of Israel for a portion of the occupied West Bank seized illegally by Jewish settlers.

But Israel has no legal right to any of the occupied Palestinian territories. And Lieberman has no right to offer the land my home is on in exchange for incorporating Jewish settlers into newly defined Israeli state borders. We are citizens of the state of Israel and do not want to exchange our second-class citizenship in our homeland — subject as we are to numerous laws that discriminate against us — for life in a Palestinian Bantustan.

We take our citizenship seriously and struggle daily to improve our lot and overcome discriminatory laws and practices.

We face discrimination in all fields of life. Arab citizens are 20 percent of the population, but only 6 percent of the employees in the public sector. Not one Arab employee is working in the central bank of Israel. Imagine if there was not one African-American citizen employed in the central bank of the United States.

Israel is simultaneously running three systems of government. The first is full democracy toward its Jewish citizens — ethnocracy. The second is racial discrimination toward the Palestinian minority — creeping Jim Crowism. And the third is occupation of the Palestinian territories with one set of laws for Palestinians and another for Jewish settlers — apartheid.

A few weeks ago, Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu Party led the charge in the Israeli Knesset to ban my party — the Arab Movement for Renewal — from participating in the elections. Netanyahu’s Likud also supported the action. The Supreme Court overturned the maneuvers of the politicians. But their attempt to ban our participation should expose Israel’s democracy to the world as fraudulent.

Lieberman’s inveighing against Palestinian citizens of Israel is not new. Less than three years ago, he called for my death and the death of some of my Palestinian Knesset colleagues for daring to meet with democratically elected Palestinian leaders. Speaking before the Knesset plenum, Lieberman stated: “World War II ended with the Nuremberg trials. The heads of the Nazi regime, along with their collaborators, were executed. I hope this will be the fate of the collaborators in this house.” Lieberman now has the power to put his vile views into practice.

We call for more attention from the Obama administration toward the Palestinian minority in Israel. It is a repressed minority suffering from inadequately shared state resources. The enormous annual American aid package to Israel fails almost entirely to reach our community.

Between Netanyahu and Lieberman, the Obama administration will have its hands full. Make no mistake that Netanyahu and Lieberman will press the new administration hard to accept Israeli actions in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem — as well as discriminatory anti-Palestinian actions in Israel itself. Settlements will grow and discrimination deepen. American backbone will be crucial in the months ahead.

the bold above is mine. it highlights the simultaneous forms of discrimination, racism, and apartheid that exist for palestinians, oftentimes overlapping depending on one is at any given moment. one clear cut example of this is banning of palestinian employees from railway jobs as jonathan cook reports for electronic intifada:

A decision by Israel’s state-owned railway company to sack 150 Arab workers because they have not served in the army has been denounced as “unlawful” and “racist” this week by Arab legal and workers’ rights groups.

The new policy, which applies to guards at train crossing points, is being implemented even though the country’s Arab citizens — numbering 1.2 million and nearly one-fifth of the total population — have been exempt from serving in the military since Israel’s establishment.

Ahmed Tibi, an Arab member of the Israeli parliament, complained to Israel Railways and the attorney general last week, arguing that the move was meant “to cleanse the railways of Arab employees.”

“It is an especially grave matter as this is a public company whose operations are meant to benefit all citizens,” he said.

these are some of the many reasons why boycott is called for. why more people are joining in to resist this blatant racism that exists in the zionist entity. salim vally a south african professor who was actively involved in the academic boycott of south africa under apartheid has a very important essay that he published this week in links: the international journal of socialist renewal that builds on some of the things that tibi says in his piece above. here is what vally says, in part, but it is definitely worth clicking on the link and reading it in full:

The Palestinian struggle does not only exert a visceral tug on many around the world. A reading of imperialism shows that apartheid Israel is needed as a fundamentalist and militarised warrior state not only to quell the undefeated and unbowed Palestinians but also as a rapid response fount of reaction in concert with despotic Arab regimes to do the Empire’s bidding in the Middle East and beyond.

Over the years this has included support for the mass terror waged against the people of Central and South America and facilitating the evasion of international sanctions against South Africa. Besides providing a ready supply of mercenaries to terrorise a populace — whether in Guatemala, Iraq or New Orleans — Israel also lends its expertise of collective punishment and mass terror. We have to recognise that the foundation of the Israeli economy was founded on the special political and military role which Zionism then and today fulfils for Western imperialism. While playing its role to ensure that the region is safe for oil companies it has also carved out today a niche market producing high-tech security essential for the day-to-day functioning of New Imperialism.

The unrestrained hand of US imperialism and its support for barbarism whether in Iraq or Palestine should hasten our actions. In Gaza, 80 per cent of the population live in poverty and close to a million people have no access to fresh water, electricity and other essential services. Close to 70,000 workers have lost their jobs in the siege of Gaza. The killing of Palestinians continues on a ferocious basis — daily missiles are launched from US-made helicopters and fighter jets. These cowardly war crimes are carried out with impunity — no longer even meriting a mention in the mainstream press….

First, it took a few decades of hard work before the boycott campaign made an impact. Despite the impression given by many governments, unions and faith-based groups that they supported the isolation of the apartheid state from the outset this is just not true. Besides the infamous words of Dick Cheney, when as a senator he called for the continued incarceration of Nelson Mandela because he was a “terrorist” quite late in the day, and the support given by US President Ronald Reagan and British Prime Minister Thatcher, together with regimes like dictator Pinochet’s Chile, Israel and others, most powerful institutions, multilateral organisations and unions were hesitant for many years to fully support the campaign. The Anti-Apartheid Movement (AAM) was formed in 1959 and the first significant breakthrough came in 1963 when Danish dock workers refused to off-load South African goods.

The rise of the AAM must be seen in the general effervescence of liberation struggles and social movements in the turbulent 1960s/early 1970s and in the context of, whatever our opinion was of the USSR and its motivations, a counterweight to the US hegemon. This, together with the viciousness of the pro-Israeli lobby, its opportunistic reference to the Holocaust and anti-Semitism and the post-9/11 climate of fear, silencing dissent and Islamophobia, makes the task of isolating apartheid Israel more difficult. Despite these seemingly daunting obstacles the movement for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel is gaining momentum and already some significant gains have been made. Gains which would’ve been difficult to imagine just a few years ago.

Second, arguments opposed to the boycott related to the harm it would cause black South African themselves and the need for dialogue and “constructive engagement” were easily rebuffed by lucid and knowledgeable arguments. The South African regime, like the Israeli regime today, used “homeland’’ leaders and an assortment of collaborators to argue the case for them. Careful research played an important role in exposing the economic, cultural and the armaments trade links with South Africa to make our actions more effective as well as to “name and shame” those who benefited from the apartheid regime.

Third, sectarianism is a danger that we must be vigilant about and principled unity must be our lodestar. Some in the AAM favoured supporting only one liberation movement as the authentic voice of the oppressed in South Africa. They also aspired to work largely with “respectable” organisations, governments and multilateral organisations and shunned the much harder and patient linking of struggles with grassroots organisations. In the UK for instance as elsewhere this sectarian attitude resulted in debilitating splits. The biggest chapter of the AAM in London, which supported the anti-imperialist struggle in Ireland and was part of the “Troops Out Movement’’, were ostracised by the official AAM. The latter was also keen not to annoy the British government by taking a stronger stance against racism in Britain.

The healthy linking of struggles against racism, in support of the indigenous people and workers in North America with the Palestinian struggle that I have witnessed must be lauded. At a huge Palestinian solidarity rally in South Africa recently members of the Palestinian Solidarity Committee were asked by officials from the Palestinian ambassador’s office to pull down the flag of the Western Sahrawi Republic because they feared this would alienate the ambassador of Morocco. We refused this request much to the glee of Polisario Front supporters present.

Fourth, the campaign for boycotts, divestment and sanctions must be in concert with supporting grassroots organisations in Palestine as a whole and in the Palestinian diaspora. This can take many forms and shapes including “twinning’’ arrangements, speaking tours, targeted actions in support of specific struggles and concrete support.

jonathan "zapiro" shapiro

there was a report on cnn of all places that featured jonathan shapiro or “zapiro” who is a jewish south african cartoonist (one of his cartoons is pictured above). in the piece he tells the reporter: “i’ll tell you something. i’ve said it many times and i’ll say it again. it’s been harder as a jewish south african who sees himself as contesting the mainstream jewish view on israel and on political zionism than it ever was being a white south african being involved in the struggle. that’s how hard it is. it’s actually harder.”you can watch the video by clicking on this link.

why is it harder to be critical of apartheid in south africa than apartheid in palestine? because there is no equivalent of anti-semitism when dealing with racism. racism is just racism. zionism, of course, is racism too, but when you say that in the united states you are called anti-semitic. case in point: the archbishop desmond tutu is facing renewed criticism again from the anti-defamation league (that bully of a zionist entity in the u.s.) because he is now on the advisory board the academic & cultural boycott of israel:

Citing his long history as a strident critic of Israel and his vocal support for anti-Israel boycotts, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today said that Archbishop Desmond Tutu was a “poor choice” to deliver the commencement addresses at Michigan State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“Desmond Tutu is a poor choice for commencement speaker,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “His statements about Israel have time and again conveyed outright bigotry against the Jewish homeland and the Jewish people, and his deepening involvement in the anti-Israel boycott effort should have raised a red flag. This is not someone to be held up as a model or awarded an honorary degree, given his history of bombastic rhetoric and unceasing support for the anti-Israel boycott effort.

“It is one thing to give him a platform to speak on campus; it is quite another to confer an honorary degree on an individual who actively promotes academic boycotts,” Mr. Foxman added.

In a letter to Dr. Lou Anna K. Simon, President of Michigan State University, the League called on the university to reconsider the invitation extended to Archbishop Tutu unless he “publicly repudiates” his support for an academic and cultural boycott of Israel.

“Archbishop Tutu has unequivocally endorsed an academic boycott based on ideas that are anti-Semitic and should be anathema to any institution of higher learning truly committed to academic freedom,” the League said it its letter to MSU. ADL sent a similar letter to Dr. Holden Thorp, Chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The League noted that MSU’s president and UNC’s chancellor were among more than 200 U.S. college and university presidents who issued, in July 2007, an unequivocal statement against university-led boycotts.

Archbishop Tutu is a participant in the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI). The campaign prominently includes Bishop Tutu as a member of its Advisory Board, whose formation was announced on March 30. The USACBI refers to Israel’s “illegal occupation of Palestine and its apartheid system” and calls for the “complete academic and cultural boycott of Israeli academic institutions.”

for those not in the know the adl’s name, like all zionist names, is a euphemism: it has nothing to do with fighting against defamation: it in fact is the reverse. it defames. period. what they don’t want you to speak about is the racism inherent in the zionist entity. a recent interview with hatim kanaaneh, who blogs at a doctor in galilee, sheds some further light on this sort of racism that adl not only doesn’t speak out against: it is full heatedly in support of in every way. here is some of what dr. kanaaneh has to say:

Dr. K: Discrimination is a built-in part of life and the laws of the country. Remember that what we are dealing with here (and the basic issue of contention in the conflict between Zionism and all of us native Palestinians) is a conflict over land.

As a Palestinian I am disqualified by law from equal access to land ownership or use. This is given a deeper expression in the form of the Law of Return granting any Jewish person anywhere in the world automatic citizenship with all the benefits that accrue with it of access to land, housing, financial and social assistance, and to the symbols of the state while no Palestinian who is not born here can dream of ever becoming a citizen.

Recently laws were passed specifically to prevent our children from marrying other Palestinians and from the right to bring their spouses under the standing laws of family unification applicable to Jewish citizens.

The absolute majority of land we, the Palestinian citizens of the state of Israel since its establishment in 1948, once owned has been confiscated for the benefit of our Jewish co-citizens through a maze of some three dozen laws specifically designed for the purpose. Were it not for the 1976 uprising that has come since to be commemorated as Land Day, we would have lost the remainder. We, nearly one-fifth of the total population of Israel, now own about 3 % of its land. After all, we are dealing with what has been defined by Zionism as “the land of Israel” in an ethnic sense, a definition that excludes us, Palestinians. The last stroke in the continuing saga of disenfranchisement is the requirement from us to pledge allegiance to Israel as the state of the Jews. And once we take such an oath, it would be up to the same racist crowd to define what constitutes a breach of it, a process inevitably leading to our expulsion one way or the other.

Beyond such basic discriminatory laws the whole official system and all Zionist civilian structures, many of which are legally entrusted with state-level powers and duties, are imbued with a sense of messianic zeal. Our experience with such bodies is not unlike a preview of the current practices in the Palestinian Occupied Territories where Palestinians are not allowed to drive on roads for settlers. The multitude of new settlements, named ‘Mitzpim’, or hilltop lookouts, are intended to guard the land in Galilee from us, its indigenous population, and they are surrounded by barbwire and interconnected by special roads that bypass our villages. True, we were not prevented from using those roads, but they were of little use to us because they led only to the various settlements.

At the practical level this translates into set rules and regulations that exempt Palestinians like me from all sorts of benefits if they are not openly anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian. Much of this is practiced under the blanket justification of security, the holiest of all holy cows in the country….

Another area in which this phenomenon is evident is the differential implementation of the law. Take, for example, the practice of house demolition within Israel. Mind you, we are not speaking here of the savage collective punishment practiced by the Israeli occupying forces against Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. We are speaking of the practice of demolition of homes built without permit within Israel proper.

In absolute numbers there are more illegally constructed structures in Jewish communities, but the demolition is practiced almost exclusively against Arab home owners. The basis for the construction of homes without permit is also rooted in discriminatory practices in the laws of zoning which in many cases have retroactively criminalized all residents of many villages whose existence predated the state, itself. Such “Unrecognized Villages” are frequently the site of home demolitions.

The cumulative end result of all the openly discriminatory laws, the hidden disadvantages, and the differential application of the rules and regulations are clearly seen in comparative figures from officially published data of the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics.

what dr. kanaaneh mentions in the excerpt above–and more thoroughly in the full interview you can read if you click the link above–is the sort of racism that palestinians in 1948 experience. for instance today in naqab palestinians had their farmland destroyed by israeli terrorists:

For the second consecutive day, the Israeli Lands Department and police forces continued on Monday to plough and demolish groves owned by residents of unrecognized Arab villages in the Negev.

On Sunday, demolition was concentrated on lands owned by the Turi family in the Al-Araqib area, and on Monday it was concentrated in different parts of Ar’ara in the Negev. Parts of the lands demolished on Monday are owned by Abu Mqeirih family in eastern Ar’ara.

The director general of the Regional Council of Unrecognized Villages, Atwah Abu Freih, said, “We are surprised at this frivolous behavior of the Israeli Lands Department, demolishing lands of people who owned that land before the creation of Israel.

“Furthermore, Israeli military patrols from the Ministry of Agriculture have been chasing cattle owners, depriving them of pasture for their herds unless they register and pay taxes. To make it more difficult in light of a drought this year, they ploughed and demolished fields of wheat and barley,” Abu Freih added.

just like in 1948, of course, palestinians in the west bank experience the same treatment. the difference is those in places like khalil get a tad bit more media attention. ma’an news, for instance, reported on one man in khalil who has suffered the same fate as his kin in 1948 palestine:

Abu Mohammad Al-Hreini stands on a hill near his house in the Al-Musafer area to the south of Hebron, pointing at his land.

“That’s my land that was confiscated and now it lies behind the separation wall and I’m prevented from reaching it; it was confiscated forever,” he explains.

Al-Hreini and other residents are in mourning because their agricultural farmland were confiscated to construct the wall, which Israel maintains is for security. But these Palestinians are afraid of being expelled from the area as a pretext for preserving the settlements located south of the Hebron governorate.

“We live in a constant state of fear, where we hear a new Israeli plan every day that threatens our future in this area,” says Al-Hreini.

He adds, “Hundreds of dunums were confiscated from the Masafer Yatta area, close to the Suseya settlement, which in fact was constructed on our own agricultural land.” He explains that they cannot even sleep, since Israeli forces keep patrolling the area to force them to leave.

Israeli authorities confiscated 500 dunums of his own farm for the sake of constructing the wall.

According to Al-Hreini, the residents of the area suffer from water contamination coming from the settlements and they are also imposed to continuous violations by soldiers and settlers.

On the other hand, anti-settlement organizations warned of Israeli plans to isolate the Al-Masafer area from Hebron governorate, in an effort to expel the residents to join the area with neighboring settlements

and apparently even americans traveling on formal delegations can be accosted by, though not attacked, israeli colonist terrorists as ma’an news reported today:

Armed Israeli settlers prevented a delegation from the US Consulate from approaching a settlement near Nablus on Monday, according to diplomatic officials.

In a telephone call to Ma’an, a spokesperson for the US Consulate to Jerusalem said that officials were near the Hioval settlement, close to the Nablus-area village of Qaryut, when armed settler guards stopped the delegation.

According to the American officials, the visit was a routine and periodic trip to areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, and the visit was previously scheduled.

Ghassan Doghlus, the head of the village’s local council, told Ma’an that settlement guards stopped the American delegation from entering the area.

“The guards prevented the delegation from getting close to the settlement and the nearby lands that were confiscated; the guards pointed their arms at the delegation, forcing them to leave the area,” he said.

Another spokesperson for the US Consulate in Jerusalem, Michaela Sweitzer-Blum, confirmed that armed Israeli settlers did confront an officer from the US Consulate back from the edge of the settlement.

“They [the US delegation] did meet up with some armed guards from a local outpost,” she said of the incident.

i am glad that a formal american delegation had to deal with this. those of us who live here deal with it every day. i wish they experienced worse so they would know how it really is. i hope that obama experiences the same when he comes in june. maybe then they will listen to palestinians and support them in liberating their land. (okay, it’s late, i’m entitled to dream a bit.) in any case, dear nora barrows-friedman wrote a great piece for ips that is hot off the press on the subject that shows what the people whose houses are being demolished and whose houses are threatened with demolition want:

Nasser Al-Ghawei tells IPS from inside the Al-Kurd tent in Sheikh Jarrah that earlier this year Palestinian families felt relief when the Turkish government, dismayed at Israel’s brutal actions in Gaza, decided to release documents from the Ottoman-era archives that prove Palestinian-Arab ownership of the land. “We took these papers back to the court to prove that this is Arab land,” Al-Ghawei says. “And the decision was negative.”

An Israeli lawyer representing the settler group offered Al-Ghawei and his 16 other family members 17 million dollars to leave their home. “Seventeen million dollars cannot pay for my memories. I was born in this house…This is my identity,” Al-Ghawei says.

The European Union describes Israel’s military and court actions in occupied East Jerusalem as discriminatory, and recognises a “clear Israeli intention to turn the annexation of East Jerusalem into a concrete fact.” A more subdued response to Israel’s continued occupation and colonisation of East Jerusalem has come from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who recently called Israel’s house demolition orders there “unhelpful, and not in keeping with the obligations entered into under the ‘road map’.”

Under international law, the military occupation, settlement construction and accelerated annexation of Palestinian neighbourhoods and villages in East Jerusalem is illegal.

Jimmy Johnson, international coordinator with the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, tells IPS that the only recourse that remains to end this battle in Sheikh Jarrah for the Palestinian residents is international pressure. “Most effective in the short term is trying to raise international pressure, especially on the United States. As long as the U.S. is backing Israel, relatively unconditionally, it doesn’t matter so much if Sweden or Brazil or India wants to pressure Israel directly. But if you can get the U.S. to switch its policies, especially in response to international pressure, that’s when we can begin to see some change here.

“Inside the Israeli bureaucracy, there is no more recourse left,” Johnson says. “International pressure is the only way that the Hanoun family and other families won’t be evicted from their houses.”

read the rest at the above link. meanwhile the theft continues. and the zionists are grasping at straws. now they have stolen a part of the old city in al quds to try to pretend that they belong on this land. yet another theft. yet another ridiculous fight over archaeology that never proves anything. they should stick to the stories in the bible. those mythological tales are as good as any story they fabricate about so-called evidence of their presence here. and even if it proved they were here eons ago that does not give them to live on a land that does not belong to them. in any case here is zeina awad’s report for al jazeera on the subject:

for those of you boycotters out there–or those of you who are convinced by the daily shreds of evidence i offer as to why you should boycott–here is a new website (new to me, that is) that i stumbled upon the other day. it is called karma banque and it is a website that is devoted to targeting corporations in the u.s. stock exchange that should be boycotted. the companies here are not here necessarily because they are zionist and support israeli terrorism per se. but the beauty of it is that the same companies that do that–coca cola, starbucks, mcdonald’s, microsoft and pepsi are on the list because of other sorts of criminal behavior. click the link above and check it out.

picture-1

i want tulkarem to be my valentine

in an article in electronic intifada the other day, the always politically astute ali abunimah offered his assessment of the rising fascism in the zionist entity:

Yisrael Beitenu’s manifesto was that 1.5 million Arab Palestinian citizens of Israel (indigenous survivors or descendants of the Palestinian majority ethnically cleansed in 1948 ) be subjected to a loyalty oath. If they don’t swear allegiance to the “Jewish state” they would lose their citizenship and be forced from the land of their birth, joining millions of already stateless Palestinians in exile or in Israeli-controlled ghettos. In a move instigated by Lieberman but supported by Livni’s allegedly “centrist” Kadima, the Knesset recently voted to ban Arab parties from participating in elections. Although the high court overturned it in time for the vote, it is an ominous sign of what may follow.

Lieberman, who previously served as deputy prime minister, has a long history of racist and violent incitement. Prior to Israel’s recent attack, for example, he demanded Israel subject Palestinians to the brutal and indiscriminate violence Russia used in Chechyna. He also called for Arab Knesset members who met with officials from Hamas to be executed.

But it’s too easy to make him the bogeyman. Israel’s narrow political spectrum now consists at one end of the former “peace camp” that never halted the violent expropriation of Palestinian land for Jewish settlements and boasts with pride of the war crimes in Gaza, and at the other, a surging far-right whose “solutions” vary from apartheid to outright ethnic cleansing.

What does not help is brazen western hypocrisy. Already the US State Department spokesman affirmed that the Obama administration would work with whatever coalition emerged from Israel’s “thriving democracy” and promised that the US would not interfere in Israel’s “internal politics.” Despite US President Barack Obama’s sweet talk about a new relationship with the Arab world, few will fail to notice the double standard. In 2006, Hamas won a democratic election in the occupied territories, observed numerous unilateral or agreed truces that were violated by Israel, offered Israel a generation-long truce to set the stage for peace, and yet it is still boycotted by the US and European Union.

Worse, the US sponsored a failed coup against Hamas and continues to arm and train the anti-Hamas militias of Mahmoud Abbas, whose term as Palestinian Authority president expired on 9 January. As soon as he took office, Obama reaffirmed this boycott of Palestinian democracy.

The clearest message from Israel’s election is that no Zionist party can solve Israel’s basic conundrum and no negotiations will lead to a two-state solution. Israel could only be created as a “Jewish state” by the forced removal of the non-Jewish majority Palestinian population. As Palestinians once again become the majority in a country that has defied all attempts at partition, the only way to maintain Jewish control is through ever more brazen violence and repression of resistance (see Gaza). Whatever government emerges is certain to preside over more settlement-building, racial discrimination and escalating violence.

There are alternatives that have helped end what once seemed like equally intractable and bloody conflicts: a South African-style one-person one-vote democracy, or Northern Ireland-style power-sharing. Only under a democratic system according rights to all the people of the country will elections have the power to transform people’s futures.

But Israel today is lurching into open fascism. It is utterly disingenuous to continue to pretend — as so many do — that its failed and criminal leaders hold the key to getting out of the morass. Instead of waiting for them to form a coalition, we must escalate the international civil society campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions to force Israelis to choose a saner path.

abunimah references lieberman’s desire to execute palestinians living in 1948 palestine who he deems “disloyal.” azmi bishara was one of those people subjected to this racist agenda as he wrote a couple of years ago:

During my years in the Knesset, the attorney general indicted me for voicing my political opinions (the charges were dropped), lobbied to have my parliamentary immunity revoked and sought unsuccessfully to disqualify my political party from participating in elections — all because I believe Israel should be a state for all its citizens and because I have spoken out against Israeli military occupation. Last year, Cabinet member Avigdor Lieberman — an immigrant from Moldova — declared that Palestinian citizens of Israel “have no place here,” that we should “take our bundles and get lost.” After I met with a leader of the Palestinian Authority from Hamas, Lieberman called for my execution.

unfortunately there are also american jews who support this kind of thinking (and who also distort what libeberman actually calls for) that led to bishara’s exile:

But the Anti-Defamation League, an organization that is quick to spot instances of discrimination, says Lieberman is right to be concerned about apparent acts of disloyalty by Israeli Arabs.

Abraham Foxman, the ADL’s national director, noted with concern the trips by Arab Israeli Knesset members to enemy states and expressions of solidarity with Hamas by Israeli Arabs during Israel’s recent military operation in the Gaza Strip.

and for those who think that israeli colonists reserve their racism just for palestinians, a reminder of how their racism is also directed against its ethiopian citizens:

In a conversation the real estate agent had with A., the owner of one of the building’s apartments, A. asked about the potential buyers. When he heard that they were Ethiopian immigrants, he replied, “Out of the question… This is unacceptable in my apartment.

“Excuse me, but there are no Ethiopians in this area at all, and there won’t be any. This is our policy. I have no problem with them living somewhere else… Anyone can come, but not Ethiopians. This is how it is in the entire building, at least I hope it is, in order to preserve the apartment’s value and the building’s value.”

but back to the that saner path of boycott, divestment, and sanctions (bds), which is picking up so much steam every day that it is difficult to keep track. even in jordan there is a boycott campaign that seems to be gaining momentum. but perhaps the most significant news comes from hampshire college in the u.s. which just received the honor of being the first american university to divest from the israeli terrorist, colonialist state:

Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, has become the first of any college or university in the U.S. to divest from companies on the grounds of their involvement in the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

This landmark move is a direct result of a two-year intensive campaign by the campus group, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). The group pressured Hampshire College’s Board of Trustees to divest from six specific companies due to human rights concerns in occupied Palestine. Over 800 students, professors, and alumni have signed SJP’s “institutional statement” calling for the divestment.

The proposal put forth by SJP was approved on Saturday, 7 Feb 2009 by the Board. By divesting from these companies, SJP believes that Hampshire has distanced itself from complicity in the illegal occupation and war crimes of Israel.

Meeting minutes from a committee of Hampshire’s Board of Trustees confirm that “President Hexter acknowledged that it was the good work of SJP that brought this issue to the attention of the committee.” This groundbreaking decision follows in Hampshire’s history of being the first college in the country to divest from apartheid South Africa thirty-two years ago, a decision based on similar human rights concerns. This divestment was also a direct result of student pressure.

The divestment has so far been endorsed by Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Rashid Khalidi, Vice President of the EU Parliament Luisa Morganitini, Cynthia McKinney, former member of the African National Congress Ronnie Kasrils, Mustafa Barghouti, Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, John Berger, Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire, and Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, among others.

The six corporations, all of which provide the Israeli military with equipment and services in the Occupied West Bank and Gaza are: Caterpillar, United Technologies, General Electric, ITT Corporation, Motorola, and Terex (see above link for info sheet for more information on these corporations.) Furthermore, our policy prevents the reinvestment in any company involved in the illegal occupation.

there is a larger context for hampshire college taking the lead in the u.s. as they were also the first to divest from south africa when it was under its apartheid regime:

Hampshire played a similar leading role in the struggle against apartheid South Africa. In 1977, students in the Committee for the Liberation of Southern Africa occupied the college’s administrative offices. They won their demands, and Hampshire became the first U.S. college to divest from apartheid South Africa.

By 1982, similar struggles won divestment at other colleges and universities, including the nearby Umass Amherst, the University of Wisconsin, Ohio State University and the entire University of California system (which withdrew $3 billion in investments). By 1988, over 150 institutions had divested from South Africa.

By the end of the 1980s, as well, dozens of cities, states and towns across the U.S. had put in place some form of economic sanctions against the apartheid regime in South Africa. Inspired by the resistance of Black South Africans, the U.S. movement pressured Congress to pass (over a veto by President Ronald Reagan) sanctions against the racist regime. The solidarity movements around the world provided important support to the struggle of Black South Africans that defeated apartheid.

Hampshire College’s role in the campus anti-apartheid movement was an inspiration and a tool for SJP’s movement for divestment from corporations that support Israeli apartheid, according to SJP member Brian Van Slyke. “That Hampshire was the first college to divest from apartheid South Africa was really a rallying cry for us on this campus,” he said.

the students at the university of rochester will hopefully follow suit, though their recent sit-in at their institution, like those in the u.k., had limited demands. here is what one of the organizers says about their solidarity sit-in with gaza:

Kyle: (LIke Ryan and Adriano said) SDS at UR organized an occupation of Goergen Atrium and Auditorium on campus in solidarity with Gaza. Beforehand, they had presented the administration with an official letter demanding that UR divest from corporations that profit from Israel’s occupation of Palestine, and to provide direct aid to the people of Gaza. This wasn’t an occupation like the illegal sit-down strikes of 1930’s because the campus administration allowed SDS to reserve the building in the interest of “peaceful dialogue”. They also provided the Dean of Student Affairs for negotiation of the demands.

As the day went on, the Dean informed the organizers that UR students would be punished if not out of the building by midnight. So we decided to call for as many campus and community members to mobilize around that time as possible to put as much pressure on the Dean as possible to deliver on our demands.

The Dean agreed to negotiate at 10pm and we had maybe 75 people in the building for support. Through the negotiations, the Dean agreed to the following plan of action: that the administration organize a public forum with UR investors, SDS and the community on the university’s investment policy and its investment in Israel; that UR commit resources and provide any needed information for a campus-wide fund drive for Palestine; that UR work to assess needs in Gaza and donate surplus supplies to universities, such as computers and books; and that UR commit to reaching out to Palestinians with international student scholarships.

Feb 6th was a day of education, debate and mobilization. It was a concrete show of solidarity with the people of Gaza and protest against Israel’s occupation. It was a concrete demonstration of real democratic decision-making and flexibility.

and at the university of manchester students made some headway with their occupation of their university in support of palestinians:

On Wednesday 11th Feb the University of Manchester Students Union passed a motion in support of the people of Gaza, which includes a resolve to boycott Israel, in an emergency general meeting . The meeting, which was attended by over 1000 students, was called in response to the crisis in Gaza. It follows a week long occupation of University of Manchester buildings by students. The University of Manchester Students Union is the biggest in Western Europe, and is also the first western students union to pass a motion includes an out and out boycott of Israel.

The policy that was passed compared Israel to apartheid South Africa and supported the global Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement. It called for the Union to divest from Israel, boycotting all companies which support or benefit from the Israeli occupation, and to lobby the University to adopt a similar boycott policy towards Israel. The motion also condemned the University for its lack of progress in divesting from arms companies. Following the meeting the union will send a letter to the BBC condemning their refusal to air the Disaster Emergency Committees (DEC) appeal for Gaza, as well as facilitating a day of fundraising with proceeds going to the DEC.

a note on some of these occupations of british universities: many of them came into existence as a way to protest the israeli terrorist aggression on gaza. as a result so much of their language is rooted in solidarity with gaza, which is great. but the recent attacks on gaza cannot be separated from the attacks on palestinians more generally and the colonial project that has been going on for over 60 years. while we certainly need to lend our support to palestinians in gaza, the bds movement is about liberating palestine in general, not just gaza. only then will we justice be rendered. it is also problematic when some boycott campaigns fixate on particular companies that are only being boycotted because they are operating in colonies in the west bank; there are many others that have factories on the land of destroyed villages in 1948–like nestle (osem)–that need to be boycotted as well:

Now for the challenge. I want all of you to boycott Nestle, all their products and find substitutes. Post the substitutes you find on the wall. We can help each other. Second everyone is to find three friends and convince them to join the challenge. Do not just forward this message, people ignore them, I know I do sometimes. And ask them to be honest if they are going to join or not. If 2 out of the three will join you need to find a third friend. And you have these friends convince at least 3 friends. Try to find friends around the world to join the boycott. The more people and countries involved the better.

And we obviously have to let Nestle know we are boycotting them. There will be a draft letter on the discussion board to be sent to Nestle.

Valentine’s Day and Easter is when companies make the most money from chocolate sales. They depend on this money for the rest of the year. The power is ours. Buy Cadbury Easter eggs, Caramilk bars, etc… Let’s win this challenge.

Palestine is crying for our help. Will you answer the call?

Letter to be sent to Nestle:

Dear Mr. Paul Bulcke,

I write with reference to Nestle’s continued support for Israeli apartheid.

By Nestle’s investments in Israel it is directly helping perpetuate gross violations of human rights upon Palestinians. I urgently request you to reconsider your support for a state that has a track record of persistent abuse of basic human rights, by henceforth, divesting your holdings from Israel.

In the meantime, I will have no alternative but to boycott your products, and encourage others to do so. I look forward to receiving your assurances that you will no longer be investing and, thus supporting, Israeli apartheid.

Regards,

To send this letter to Nestle, use this link.
http://www.nestle.com/Common/Header/ContactUs.htm?CTY=BF2F535E-5671-443B-AE7A-98652690816D

A website to show you what Nestle goods to boycott. It’s broken down by country for ease of use. Together we can do this!!!

http://www.infactcanada.ca/nestle_boycott_product.htm

http://www.nestleusa.com/PubOurBrands/Brands.aspx

indeed it is valentine’s day tomorrow–another holiday i loathe for its hyper consumption among other reasons–but i approve of valentine’s day related activities that surround boycott and there are a few, starting with blood diamond boycotting:

Fifty-five New York rights advocates called today on the city’s shoppers to boycott Israeli diamond mogul and settlement-builder Lev Leviev. The pre-Valentine’s Day protest was the 13th demonstration held in front of Leviev’s Madison Avenue jewelry store since it opened in November, 2007. Many New York shoppers paused to look at the heart-shaped signs and a Dating Game skit featuring a protester playing Leviev, and to listen to the noisy chants and the song “Lev’s Diamonds are a Crime’s Best Friend.”

The protesters oppose Leviev’s construction of Israeli settlements on Occupied Palestinian land in violation of international law, as well as his abuses of marginalized communities in Angola, Namibia and New York. Riham Barghouti of Adalah-NY explained, “The campaign to boycott Leviev is part of a growing international movement to boycott Israeli businesses due to their involvement in human rights abuses. We had more people protesting today and the boycott movement is growing worldwide due to outrage over Israel’s attack on Gaza, which killed approximately 1300 Palestinians, over 400 of whom were children.”

or this action protesting flowers from israeli colonists:

Two days before Valentine’s Day a group of 15 women have locked themselves to the gates of Israeli export company Carmel Agrexco to stop the delivery of Valentine’s roses.

The flowers are grown in illegal settlements on Palestinian land and therefore constitute illegally traded goods. The women say that they will blockade Carmel Agrexco until they are cut from the gates and arrested. Three women have already been violently arrested.

okay, one caveat on the valentine’s day thing: if the flowers come from falasteen, especially gaza right now, i approve:

Israel has made a pre-Valentine’s Day gesture by allowing 25,000 carnations to cross the border in the first exports permitted from blockaded Gaza in a year. But the shipment through the Kerem Shalom crossing was condemned as a “propaganda” move by Gaza growers used to exporting 37 to 40 million carnations a year and are unlikely to reach Europe in time to be sold in shops tomorrow.

but yet another valentine’s day (indeed every day) boycott we should participate in is related to the united states’ modern-day slave labor in its prison system where they make lingerie (among other products) that many consumers will likely be purchasing for valentine’s day:

With Valentine’s Day approaching, perhaps you’re planning a trip to Victoria’s Secret. If you’re a conscientious shopper, chances are you want to know about the origins of the clothes you buy: whether they’re sweatshop free or fairly traded or made in the USA. One label you won’t find attached to your lingerie, however, is “Made in the USA: By Prisoners.”

In addition to the South Carolina inmates who were hired by a subcontractor in the 1990s to stitch Victoria’s Secret lingerie, prisoners in the past two decades have packaged or assembled everything from Starbucks coffee beans to Shelby Cobra sports cars, Nintendo Game Boys, Microsoft mouses and Eddie Bauer clothing. Inmates manning phone banks have taken airline reservations and even made calls on behalf of political candidates.

the best news to come out about boycott this week, however, i must say comes from the city of tulkarem, which is a bit north of where i live. they have taken the moral high ground to boycott israeli goods as a city. here in nablus we are still struggling to remove their products from an najah university, though of course our goal is to remove them from the city at large. i am elated at this recent development:

The city of Tulkarem will begin a total boycott of Israeli goods starting March, the chamber of commerce announced Thursday.

The chamber, in conjunction with several local merchants and organizations, decided to launch the campaign, called “Keeping Tulkarem Clean of Israeli Goods.” The city will have assistance in organizing popular awareness of the efforts from coordinators from the popular anti-wall campaigns including Jamal Jum’ah.

Member of the local coordination committee Jamal Barham stressed the importance of unifying efforts to ensure the success of the campaign. This will include helping shop owners identify non-Israeli goods to replace common items like milk, flour, juice and chocolate.

The goal of the Tulkarem project is to increase the production of Palestinian goods from supplying 15% to 25% of consumer goods in Palestinian areas. They anticipate that this jump will provide at least 100,000 jobs in the production sectors.

Palestine is the second largest consumer of Israeli goods and imports 2.6 billion US dollars of Israeli made products per year.

this news from tulkarem is making me rethink the whole valentine’s day thing. i’m wondering if i can ask a city to be my valentine.

for those who feel inspired by this onslaught of bds movement i encourage you to read below and organize some sort of action for the global bds day on march 30th:

Join the Global BDS Action Day, March 30th

launched at the WSF 2009 in Belém

In December 2008, Israel decided to mark the 60th anniversary of its existence the same way it had established itself, perpetrating massacres against the Palestinian people. In 23 days, Israel killed more than 1,300 and injured over 5,000 Palestinians in Gaza. The irony of history is that Israel targeted those Palestinians and their descendants – whom it had expelled from their homes and pushed into refugee-hood in Gaza in 1948, whose land it has stolen, whom it has oppressed since 1967 by means of a brutal military occupation, and whom it had tried to starve into submission by means of a criminal blockade of food, fuel and electricity in the 18 months preceding the military assault. We cannot wait for Israel to zero in on its next objective. Palestine has today become the test of our indispensable morality and our common humanity.

We therefore call on all to unite our different capacities and struggles in a Global Day of Action in Solidarity with the Palestinian people and for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel on March 30th.

The mobilization coincides with the Palestinian Land Day, the annual commemoration of the 1976 Israeli massacre of Palestinians in the Galilee in struggle against massive land expropriation, and forms part of the Global Week of Action against the Crises and War from March 28 to April 4.

We urge the people and their organizations around the globe to mobilize in concrete and visible BDS actions to make this day a historic step in this new anti-apartheid movement and for the fulfilment of the rights and dignity of the people and the accountability of the powerful. In our March 30th BDS actions, we will particularly focus on:

* Boycotts and divestment from Israeli corporations and international corporations that sustain Israeli apartheid and occupation.

* Legal action to end Israel’s impunity and prosecute its war criminals through national court cases and international tribunals.

* Cancelling and blocking free trade and other preferential agreements with Israel and imposing an arms embargo as the first steps towards fully fledged sanctions against Israel.

The time for the world to fully adopt and implement the Palestinian call for boycotts, divestment and sanctions is NOW. This campaign has to become an urgent part of every struggle for justice and humanity, by adopting widespread action against Israeli products, companies, academic and cultural institutions, sports groups, international corporations supporting Israeli policies of racism, ethnic cleansing and military occupation and pressuring governments for sanctions. It must be sustained until Israel provides free access to Gaza, dismantles the Apartheid Wall and ends its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands; recognizes the right of the Arab Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and respects, protects and promotes the rights of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties.

For more information, see: www.bdsmovement.net

For information on how to join the action day and how to develop BDS action in your country, organization and network, please contact the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) at: info [at] bdsmovement.net.

just one request for those who choose to take the moral highground and participate not only in a day of boycott action on march 30th but who change their daily behaviors as a result of the boycott: we must do this in response to the totality of israeli terrorist colonialism on every square inch of the land that is palestine, not just what people call “occupation” unless they mean all of historic palestine. all of palestine is occupied and this is what the bds movement should seek to end.

on hope and change (for real)

yesterday afternoon, after classes finished, i headed to the al yasmeen hotel for a talk that our boycott group was sponsoring. the talk, however, was not about boycott; it was about barack obama. naively, i had suspected that the speakers would be critical of obama. i expected the speakers to speak from a radical, or even a progressive point of view. instead i found liberal rhetoric from people who under bush might have been thought of as radicals. instead, what i found was optimism. i know that after george bush having a different president is a relief. a huge relief, to be sure. but to pretend like things will change for the better for palestinians, afghans, iraqis, pakistanis is to continue to drink the koolaid. for sure i want hope and change, too. that is why i voted for cynthia mckinney. but i am also realistic about what change is possible with any american president regardless of their race. what concerns me is their politics. and the change i want is radical. i will not throw a party because i am thrown a bone.

my choice for president, cynthia mckinney, has this to say to those who see hope and change in obama:

One of the first under-reported acts of President Obama was to sign an order continuing the drone airstrikes, resulting in at least 22 killed so far. For the dead children of Afghanistan or Pakistan or Gaza, it doesn’t matter to their parents if the bomb was dropped by Bush or Obama or the client state they support. And President Obama has made it clear that the bombs will continue to drop; it is up to us–the people of the United States–to stop them. That’s why it was on my birthday, in front of the Pentagon in 2007, that I declared my independence from every bomb dropped, every child killed, every veteran maimed in the name of U.S. wars. I said it, and I meant it, and I knew I was going to have to do something I’d never done before if I was ever going to have something I’d never had before. So I left the Democratic Party.

I don’t regret my decision one minute. I draw my strength from Dr. King, who in his own way, did the same thing when he refused to segregate his moral concerns.

My neighborhood in Los Angeles, Watts and South Central, is already a police state. Tonight, 25 to 30 young black men, standing handcuffed, outside the barber shop. Every night, routine dehumanization is carried out in black and brown neighborhoods by LAPD. I see it. I never miss it. It’s all around me.

Oscar Grant murdered in cold blood by law enforcement. Robert Tolan, murdered in cold blood by law enforcement, for driving his father’s car, mistaken for stolen.

Filiberto Ojeda Rios assassinated by the U.S. government; I met his wife and heard the entire story of what happened as he was shot by the FBI and then bled to death.

Innocent black and brown and poor white men on death row. How many Troy Davises and Mumia Abu Jamals will we allow to exist in our country?

Native Americans trying to survive despite genocide and ethnic cleansing, struggle against drug and alcohol abuse and poverty, and try to keep their culture alive.

And yet the likes of Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, Nancy Pelosi, and now Barack Obama say nothing about the pain I see on the mean streets and reservations across our country, and the miscarriages of justice that are its regular feature, but they allow Bush and company to get away with the highest of crimes, involving millions of deaths.

do you see what i mean? mckinney has a vision for change, the kind of change that i hope for. the kind that involves justice. the kind that challenges the relationship between the rulers and the ruled.

but where is the change when the u.s. is asking the war criminals to investigate their war crimes in gaza?:

Israel must investigate allegations that its army violated international law during its three-week war against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, the new U.S. envoy to the United Nations said on Thursday.

“We expect Israel will meet its international obligations to investigate and we also call upon all members of the international community to refrain from politicizing these important issues,” Ambassador Susan Rice said in her debut speech before the UN Security Council.

Rice said that Hamas had been guilty of violating international law “through its rocket attacks against Israeli civilians in southern Israel and the use of civilian facilities to provide protection for its terrorist attacks.”

“There have also been numerous allegations made against Israel some of which are deliberately designed to inflame,” she told the council during a meeting on international humanitarian law.

where is the change when george mitchell tells us that obama is committed to george bush’s vision for carving up the land AND denying palestinian refugees the right of return under un resolution 194?:

Mitchell told Israeli officials that the new administration was committed to Israel’s security, to the road map, and to the 2004 letter by president George W. Bush stating Palestinian refugees would not return to Israel and the border between Israel and the Palestinian Authority would take into consideration facts on the ground, meaning large settlement blocs would remain in Israeli hands.

where is the change when israeli colonists/terrorists continue to build colonies without anyone challenging them?

The report, released Wednesday by the group Peace Now, found that settlement construction in 2008 increased by almost 60 percent, including new construction both inside and outside of the security barrier and within illegal settlement outposts.

real change would mean: sanctions to stop using u.s. taxpayer money to fund their colonial terror project for one thing.

where is the change when the changes that obama himself promised are already being violated in less than a week (thanks tam tam) :

Unfortunately, we are again asking the president to explain why exactly he announced, with great fanfare, new ethics rules if he had no intention of abiding by them.

The Obama administration is yet again asking for a waiver to its very own rules about hiring lobbyists.

This time, it is the new treasury secretary, Tim Geithner. He wants a former lobbyist for Goldman Sachs to be his top aide at the Treasury Department.

for those who need to be reminded of why obama is more of the same bush policies you should read what as’ad abukhalil says about the reality of the so-called “change” coming from obama:

The inauguration speech included an insinuation towards the Islamic world, but it was met with exaggeration and reverence in Arab media. The series of wars and humiliation by the Bush administration has made Arabs easy victims of pretty talk, only comparatively.

However, Obama’s “reference” towards the Islamic world came in the context of his speech about terrorism and his pursuit of terrorists. In other words, he made no methodical shift from Bush’s administration’s perspective (or that of Zionists), which links the Muslim to the terrorist.

He offered no meaningful initiative to causes which concern the Arab and Islamic worlds, such as American wars and traditional western orientalist hostility, the United Sates’ support for tyrannical regimes in the Middle East, and Israel and its incessant wars and aggression.

Obama called on some regimes which “repress” their people, but everyone knows that those include only regimes which object to the American will. This means that Obama’s politics won’t be different from Bush’s politics with regard to democracy. Violation of Arabs and Muslims rights are allowed and praised if the oppressor is supportive of US wars. The proximity of Obama’s politics to those of Bush surface on more than one front, as he postponed his decision to shut down Guantanamo Camp, or he decided to shut it down within a year, after he had spoken about immediate closure. Torture may remain secretive, as the appointed Attorney General indicated.

The issue of withdrawal from Iraq has also changed. Today he speaks very vaguely about a “responsible withdrawal” from Iraq, after he used to promise complete withdrawal within a six-month period at the beginning of his electoral campaign.

As for Afghanistan, he promised to escalate the war there and increase the number of occupying troops. This means that Obama considers a policy of “surge” in Afghanistan in return for Bush’s “surge” in Iraq.

Hence, the difference between the two men, Bush and Obama, is only with regard to the location of downpour of bombs and rockets, not about ceasing them altogether. Obama surpassed Bush by calling for violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty under the rubric of “pursuit” of terrorists. And a number of Pakistani citizens were in fact killed on the first days of Obama’s administration. This was termed “inauguration bombardment.”

here is one of the first signs of more of the same in afghanistan, bombs dropped on afghan civilians and we know from obama that he promises more where this came from:

cindy sheehan gets it, too, in her critique of obama as the new emperor of the united states:

There are already indications of The Empire® beginning to fray around the edges. The latest being the US/Israeli assault on Gaza, that although very destructive, was not able to fully suppress Hamas and achieve its aims. In Iraq, the MIC has not been victorious in subduing that population and there are indications that what might rise out of the ashes will be a more religious and anti-American regime: (once the Iraqi people vanquish the US pro-consul, Maliki) no matter how many bases or how large the embassy we leave in Iraq.

Many people looked at Obama as a “peace candidate” where he is no such thing. In the first week of office, he demonstrated that the Bush regime’s illegal CIA drone bombings in the tribal regions of Pakistan would continue. Recently the US military took $40,000.00 to a village where 15 civilians were killed (less than three grand per person) with the imperialistic hubris that a few thousand lousy American dollars will pay for the life of a loved one. The Pakistani government is getting quite a bit of pressure from the civil society there about the illegal US strikes against its sovereign territories, but like all empires, the US could not care less about the people its killing, or protests against its policies.

as’ad also gets it when he critiques obama’s appearance on al arabiya this week (note: bushama is as’ad’s new name for obama):

Thirdly, there is nothing that Bushama said that was not said by Bush. The CNN guest, Aslan something who always impresses me with his lack of knowledge on the Middle East when he speaks on the Middle East, kept saying in awe that the president spoke respectfully about respect in his address to Muslims and Arabs. But so did Bush, and Bush went to a mosque in Washington, DC–in order to prepare for the bombs and missiles to fall on Muslim and Arab heads. Fourthly, Obama in talking about the Middle East–the Palestine question and beyond–suffers from an acute case of “economism” or economic reductionism. He has the tendency to reduce all Arab and Muslim issues to job and medical care. It is NOT only the economy–stupid. It is also about pride and dignity and Palestine AND about freedom from the severe oppression that people suffer under governments that are coddled and armed by the very same US of A. So the words fall hollow here. Fifthly, Obama as a representative of the White Man (and he can also be referred to as the White Man, analytically speaking just as Margaret Thatcher was a representative of the White Man) did not deviate from the deep racism that characterizes US foreign policy to the Arab-Israeli conflict. I mean when he refers to Israel’s security as “paramount” he is basically saying (like previous US president) that the security of the Palestinians is inferior because they are seen as inferior people. There is no question about that. It means that and the racism is reflected clearly in the disregard of Israeli WMDs. It never comes up in any interview with US officials on Al-Arabiyya (it is featured regularly in Al Jazeera as yesterday’s interview with Brent Scowcroft showed). Karl Marx wrote somewhere about the danger of covering up the chain with flowers. Obama is no different than Bush but American bombs and missiles under his administration will be decorated and covered with flowers. If that is a reason to celebrate, please open the champagne bottles NOW.

one thing as’ad left out of his commentary was obama’s big blunder of an historical statement about the nature of the united states:

He added that “we sometimes make mistakes,” but said that America was not born as a colonial power and that he hoped for a restoration of “the same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago.”

um…try telling that to leonard peltier! (see lower down in this post for a petition to sign regarding peltier).

there are others who can see through the obama rhetoric directed at the arab world such as m. junaid levesque-alam who wrote “a muslim’s memo to obama”:

Obama’s decision to emphasize the absurd instead of the obvious was very revealing. It was a message that Muslim life is expendable. It was a message that Muslims can be killed en masse. And it was a message the Muslim world heard loudly.

If one hundred Palestinian corpses are placed next to one Israeli corpse, the “new” White House informed Muslims through Obama’s messaging, its scales of sympathy will still not tip in their favor. They will be addressed tersely only to demand that they recognize their oppressor’s right to exist.

This is akin to yelling into the ear of a rape victim during an assault that she must recognize the rights of her rapist. It is an insult with few parallels–but many echoes.

another sign of the lack of hope and change emanating from the failure of so-called leftists–also pointed out by as’ad:

If the standards that some leftists now want to impose on the Palestinian resistance were imposed on French resistance to Nazi occupation, there would have been no resistance whatsoever in France and all the fighters of the resistance would have joined Jean Cocteau in the cafes of Paris and would have chanted with him: “Love live this shameful peace.”

and as’ad has an important historical reminder about the cold, calculated, forgetful memory about the rationale israeli terrorists used to start the june 1967 war (which of course should be read ironically given their “reason” for assaulting gaza):

“What Israeli PM Abba Eban said about blockades during the 1967 war: “To blockade, after all, is to attempt strangulation–and sovereign states are entitled not to have their State strangled. The blockade is by definition an act of war, imposed and enforced through violence. Never in history have a blockade and peace existed side by side.” From “The Israel/Arab Reader” Second ed. Ed. Walter Laqueur (1971ed.) pp. 219.

the above quote, of course, should not be forgotten, especially the part i bolded, given that the siege on gaza continues through israeli terrorists’ continued blockade by air, land, and sea. the sort of damage that the wreaked not only on human beings, but also on their livelihood. just look at al jazeera’s report on the israeli terrorist damage done to palestinian farmers in gaza:

or watch al jazeera’s report on the psychological damage the israeli terrorist aggression on gaza has created:

when i asked rami yesterday for some grounding away from the insanity of people putting their hope in obama he reminded me of many things, most importantly:

We also know that we-i mean our class- are irrelevant, and that the real struggle is between the rulers and the ruled

yes. this is it. this is where the revolution is. it is about the farmers. it is about the workers. it is about changing the system not the ruler. reggie sent me this article from the american communist party, which poses this challenge to us who are interested in real change:

Left to itself, tomorrow’s disappointment of today’s raised expectations will not automatically show people a way out of this madness. Disillusionment with Obama, when and if that comes, can lead to cynical passivity or to people giving up their original better ideals as being “naïve” and “foolish”…and becoming active supporters of the very crimes they once opposed.

But that too is where the revolutionaries come into the picture. As big questions are being discussed on street corners, classrooms, and offices, there are openings for answers that speak to the reality of the situation. Even as we are continuing to unite with people and lead forward resistance, we have to be actively and eagerly jumping into struggle with all of those caught up in this Obama-mania over the real nature of this system and what it will REALLY take to change it. We have to show them, in a living way, what it means to say that this is a SYSTEM. And we have to engage them, again in a living way, with what is meant by REVOLUTION—real revolution—and what their role in all that is and must be.

In a strategic sense, it is good that we are presented with this challenge. How could anyone imagine a revolution in the U.S.A. that did not have to go up against a lot of deeply embedded myths, values, and accepted lies? Let’s take this on and take this up with a materialist understanding of what this system must do to people and how utterly unnecessary is the suffering it imposes on people. Let’s jump into the fray—both the struggle to fight the power, and the struggle to transform the people, FOR revolution—with creativity and confidence borne of our dialectical understanding that the world is constantly changing, and that people’s conscious actions have a profound effect on that. And let’s get in there with the verve that comes from our grasp of the kind of society we are trying to bring into being, and the potential attractive power of that vision.

And there is an opening to do that now. In the current mix, and all the way through the process people go through confronting the reality of what Obama represents, we can and must reach out boldly and broadly to build a revolutionary movement that can bring about the real change the world needs.

To restate the crucial question we opened with: What will all these people do as it becomes more and more clear that Obama is dashing their hopes and shattering their illusions that he will act to bring about change that so many people long for—change that will really be in the interests of the great majority of people, here and around the world?

The answer to that—the potentially world-changing, world-historic answer—depends on you.

no i don’t want hope and change from obama. i see no reason to be hopeful. and i am not interested in the sort of minimalist change he is offering. i want the sort of change evo morales brings to bolivia:

He shook his fist in the air, the applause died down. “And I want you to know something, the colonial state ends here. Internal colonialism and external colonialism ends here. Sisters and brothers, neoliberalism ends here too.”

i want the kind of change that releases leonard peltier from prison immediately (and on that note please sign the petition linked below):

Please Let President Barack Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, U.S. Penitentiary-Canaan Warden Ronnie R. Holt, Federal Bureau of Prisons Northeast Regional Director D. Scott Dodrill, U.S. Prisons Director Harley G. Lappin, the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Leaders, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the American Civil Liberties Union and members of the national media know you HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE SAFETY AND WELLBEING OF LEONARD PELTIER!

i want the kind of change that prosecutes israeli war criminals and feeds them the justice they deserve (not just for gaza but for 61+ years of war crimes):

Public asked for information on travel plans and whereabouts of top Israeli leaders

By Redress Information & Analysis

26 January 2009

An international human rights organization has submitted evidence to the International Criminal Court for the arrest of top Israeli leaders for war crimes in Gaza and has called for information about the travel plans and whereabouts outside Israel of the suspects.

A human rights organization has called for the arrest of a number of senior Israeli leaders for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The International Coalition against Impunity (HOKOK), a non-governmental organization registered with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, has submitted a “Letter of Notification and Referral” to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court outlining the case for the arrest of 15 Israeli political and military leaders for crimes committed in Gaza in violation of the Rome Statute and the Fourth Geneva Convention.

It has also issued an international appeal for information about the undermentioned war crimes suspects. Members of the public in Israel and throughout the world who have information about the travel plans or whereabouts of the undermentioned suspects when they are outside Israel should report this immediately to:

The Prosecutor

P.O. Box 19519

2500 Hague

Netherlands

Fax +31 70 515 8 555

otp.informationdesk [at] icc-cpi.int

The Israeli war crimes suspects are:

1. Ehud Barak
2. Amir Peretz
3. Binyamin Ben Eliezer
4. Avi Dichter
5. Carmi Gillon
6. Dan Halutz
7. Doron Almog
8. Ehud Olmert
9. Eliezer Shkedy
10. Gabi Ashkenazi
11. Giora Eiland
12. Matan Vilnai
13. Moshie Bogie Yaalon
14. Shaul Mofaz
15. Tzipi Livni

here is a report form al jazeera’s zeina awad on the war crimes investigations in gaza:

and this war crimes case as well:

National Infrastructure Minister and former Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and former IAF and IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz may face criminal charges in Spain for killing Palestinian civilians seven years ago.

A Spanish court granted a petition by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights on Thursday, asking the two be investigated for alleged “crimes against humanity” for their involvement in the 2002 assassination of Hamas operative Salah Shehade. Fourteen civilians were killed in the incident and about 100 more were injured.

i want the kind of change that shows israeli terrorism in all its true colors, so people understand that their racism is widespread and that all are complicit in the thinking and actions among the civilian AND military (which overlap completely since military service is compulsory):

“Fire on anything that moves in Zeitoun” – that was the order handed down to Israeli troops in the Givati Shaked battalion, who reduced the eastern Gaza City suburb to little more than rubble in a matter of days.

According to Israeli soldiers who took part in the three-week offensive, the destruction of the area, a known Hamas stronghold, was designed to send a wider message to Gazans. “We pounded Zeitoun into the ground,” an Israeli soldier who was deployed in the area, told The Times.

“We knew everything was booby-trapped, we knew that they would try to kidnap us and if they did that was the end, we were finished . . . so we took no chances. We pounded them with fire; they never had a chance.”

i want the kind of change that does not include palestinian resistance making concessions to the zionist colonists who stole their land by recognizing the zionist entity or by making any concession that does not include the complete and total liberation of palestine:

“We accept a state in the ’67 borders,” said [Ghazi] Hamad. “We are not talking about the destruction of Israel.”

One hardline Hamas politician, Yehiel El Abadsa, said his group should not reconcile with Fatah and that Hamas “will be the ones to rebuild Gaza.

the kind of change i hope for is one that shows iraqis, pakistanis, and afghans as resisting and kicking out all u.s. installations, not just the abomination that is blackwater:

Blackwater, a US private security firm, has been barred from providing security for US diplomats in Iraq for its alleged involvement in the deaths of at least 17 civilians in 2007.

The Iraqi interior ministry on Thursday said the measure followed the firm’s “improper conduct and excessive use of force”.

Five former Blackwater guards are awaiting trial in the US for the incident that took place in September 2007.

one thing that we can all do, that we can all practice, live by is boycott. it works. and it is working more very single day. just look at the beautiful damage jordanian farmers are causing israeli terrorist farmers who farm stolen palestinian land:

Fruit growers in Israel have reported delays and reductions in orders from abroad since the military operation in Gaza was launched, due to various boycotts against Israeli produce.

Farmers say much of their produce is being held in warehouses due to canceled orders, and fear a sharp decrease in fruit exports to countries such as Jordan, Britain, and the Scandinavian countries.

“We export persimmons, and because of the fighting a number of countries and distributors are canceling orders,” Giora Almagor, of the southern town of Bitzaron, told Ynet. He said some of the produce had already been shipped while some was awaiting shipment in warehouses.

Almagor said a large number of cancellations came from Jordan. “The produce stays packed in warehouses, and this is causing us massive losses,” he said.

and while we may not be able to attribute the pro-palestinian boycott of starbucks to the company’s financial problems (because indeed there are hundreds of other reasons to boycott starbucks), it is a welcome sign to see them hit by the economic downturn as well:

Thousands of baristas are to lose their jobs as Starbucks shuts stores to cope with dwindling sales of lattes, cappuccinos and frappuccinos as cash-strapped consumers lose their thirst for coffee.

The Seattle-based chain tonight revealed a 70% slump in quarterly profits to $64.3m and announced that it intends to shed 6,700 employees this year. It is closing 300 stores, two thirds of which will be in the US, on top of 660 shutdowns last year.

As the global economy turns sour, appetite for Starbucks’ premium-priced drinks appears to be waning. Like-for-like sales fell by 10% at American stores and dropped by 3% elsewhere in the world – including a decline in the UK during the three months to December.

Starbucks’ chief executive, Howard Schultz, is joining in the belt-tightening by asking the company’s board to cut his basic salary from $1.2m to $10,000. Schultz, 55, dropped off Forbes’ list of the world’s billionaires last year as the value of his stake in Starbucks plunged.

and the u.s. academic and cultural boycott of israel is gaining exposure, even in the israeli terrorist press:

While Israeli academics have grown used to such news from Great Britain, where anti-Israel groups several times attempted to establish academic boycotts, the formation of the United States movement marks the first time that a national academic boycott movement has come out of America. Israeli professors are not sure yet how big of an impact the one-week-old movement will have, but started discussing the significance of and possible counteractions against the campaign.

and now there is an australian boycott of israeli academic and cultural institutions as well:

Australian Academic Boycott of Israel Responding to the CALL of Palestinian civil society to join the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, we are an Australian campaign focused specifically on a boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions, as delineated by PACBI (Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel).

this is especially important as we recall what israeli terrorists did to the islamic university of gaza, which recently came out with a statement asking us to work in solidarity to support them as they work to rebuild their university:

We firmly believe that the illegal Israeli occupation have deliberately and continuously targeted the Palestinian academic institutions, including IUG, in an attempt to keep the Palestinians ignorant and insecure so the oppressive Israeli occupation could last longer.

By destroying the university buildings, IUG is facing major disarray and delay in completing the second semester, entailing the inability of hundreds of students to graduate. Such bombardment is a flagrant violation of international law including the Fourth Geneva Convention. This violation shows a total disregard for Palestinian rights to education and for the legitimacy of the international community and international law, declarations and resolutions.
We therefore call upon all academics, students, concerned bodies and the international community to show their support and solidarity to the right of the Palestinians to education:

1. Boycotting Israeli academic institutions and refraining from participation in any form of academic and cultural cooperation.

2. Lobbying (emails, letter, fax, etc) your MP and government to pressure the government of Israel to adhere to its legal obligations to end occupation and stop attacking Palestinian educational institutions.

3. Preparing and signing petitions calling on trade unions, education institutions, organizations, social and political movements and concerned individuals around the world to support the right to education in Palestine.

4. Organizing exchange visit to and from IUG to students and faculty members to come on a speaking tour to universities and organizations in your country.

5. Sponsoring students at IUG to enable them to continue their education.

6. Initiating active academic relations with IUG through departmental links; student and faculty exchange; joint research projects; and inclusion at international academic conferences.

7. Making a donation to reconstruct the IUG buildings and facilities.

8. Establishing connections with Palestinian universities, students and faculty, through solidarity links or academic exchange.

9. Support the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s call for “a full investigation and to make those responsible people accountable.”

the academic boycott is also crucial given the ways which israeli terrorist universities not only

And that brings us to [Shlomo] Zand’s second assertion. He argues that the story of the Jewish nation — the transformation of the Jewish people from a group with a shared cultural identity and religious faith into a vanquished “people” — was a relatively recent invention, hatched in the 19th century by Zionist scholars and advanced by the Israeli academic establishment. It was, argues Zand, an intellectual conspiracy of sorts. [Tom] Segev says, “It’s all fiction and myth that served as an excuse for the establishment of the State of Israel.”

thus, a renewed call came out from palestinian civil society seeking further support for the boycott:

However, Israel’s hidden goals were to deepen the rift already existing between Hamas in Gaza and Fatah in the West Bank, in order to further divide Palestinian people both politically and geographically.

We call for immediate action to be taken to achieve the following:

* An immediate end to the internal conflict, a revival of national unity as to avoid polarization on a regional and international level, which does not serve common Palestinian goals, and formation of a National Unity Government to lead the Palestinian people through these critical times.

* Immediate commencement of reconstruction work in Gaza with a priority of finding homes for those without. The reconstruction of Gaza should be handled by Palestinians as their knowledge of the affected areas is second to none. Although Israel should take full responsibility for rebuilding all destroyed civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip, if reconstruction is to be bankrolled by the international community, reconstruction funds should be handled exclusively by a Palestinian team, which should be selected on the basis of transparency, accountability and professionalism, and should consist of members from civil society, the private sector and the government. This team should utilize their collective experience on a local, regional and international level and apply it as specified by the needs of the team.

* Cooperation with civil and popular initiatives in order to allow them the possibility to assist the victims of this war. In addition, the role and independence of civil society should also be respected.

* We, Palestinian non-governmental organizations declare our complete rejection of any aid coming from USAID due to the United States’ constant military and financial support to Israel, or from any other parties whose support to Israel facilitated Israel’s military aggression in the Gaza Strip.

* An end of the siege on Gaza and opening of the borders and crossings. In addition, a safe and free passage that links the West Bank to Gaza should be created, while avoiding anything that deepens the already existing division between the West Bank and Gaza.

* Preservation of the freedom of expression and right to criticize the performance of any authorities involved in the war, and let them be answerable for their respective roles. We call for the release of all political prisoners and the immediate cessation of arrests, while allowing media impartiality and freedom from external influence.

* Conducting a comprehensive revision of Palestinian negotiating policy to ensure an immediate cessation of the construction of Israeli settlements, the end of the siege on Gaza, the end of Israel’s policy to isolate Jerusalem and to end all Israeli aggression. This policy should be linked with existing UN treaties, resolutions and standards of international law and should help develop Palestinian political discourse and its mechanisms. The reference of negotiation should be based on the Palestinian Political Prisoners Initiative with an emphasis on the right to resist.

* The intervention of the international community in providing protection for the people of Gaza and the West Bank, ending the occupation of Palestinian territory by Israel and guaranteeing Palestinians’ right to self-determination, through application of international conventions and resolutions. It is not acceptable to place the Palestinians on the same level as the Israelis; it is now clearer than ever who the oppressor is and who is being oppressed.

* Bringing the Israeli authorities before a war tribunal to hold them to account for the damage and destruction they have caused in Gaza, and to ensure the appropriate reparations are made. We propose to form a national committee to work on this front.

* Upholding the current global boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign to boycott Israeli goods, support of divestment initiatives and encourage sanctions against Israel, to re-enforce its aims in light of Israel’s recent war crimes in Gaza.

and one more thing about boycotts. i realize that it is difficult to call for anti-normalization with israeli people as well as institutions, but in practice i think this is necessary. this is, unfortunately, one of the problems with organizing, especially with americans who worry more about freedom of speech than palestinian people’s lives. also, it is important to remember that palestinians have a right to resist colonialism with armed resistance. while i support these boycott measures they cannot be adequately used to dismantle israeli terrorism, colonialism, and apartheid alone. just as south africa was not liberated through boycott, divestment and sanctions alone–it took a long armed resistance struggle as well–so too will be the case with palestine. both are needed. and both need to be supported.

and one final note: i highlighted the usaid boycott above in this most recent call from palestinian civil society. this is essential. there are so many ways in which usaid is a huge part of the problem. i was just invited to participate in a palestinian faculty development program from amideast, but declined because of its usaid funding. this usaid funding, for instance, makes it such that faculty from the islamic university of gaza are ineligible to participate regardless of which–if any–political party they belong to. rami has an amazing analysis of usaid that i think everyone should read. this is when i first met him–when he first gave this talk in beirut–and what instantly made me want to get to know him. i’ve been grateful ever since as he is one of the most committed revolutionary thinkers i know and one of the most devoted friends i have:

Development aid is the profession of donor organizations. They see development as a set of rational managerial prescriptions. For many beneficiaries in Lebanon, development is a direct transference of Western values, synonymous with “modernization”. Many recipients are trained to think this way: this is part of the package deal. The World Bank, the USAID, the EU and even the UNDP have been known to impose expertise and authority. They have also been accused of silencing alternative voices, promoting a dependent path to development, and keeping their eyes closed to the power imbalance they create. The job needs to be done, and often, these power imbalances are part of the job, and not just an externality.

Donors operate according to a semi-declared agenda related chiefly to politics (USAID) or politics and trade (EU). They impose strict conditions on the employment of consultants (international becomes a euphemism for “from donor country”). They recycle the funds in purchases and employment, and use aid to dump excess food production and distort local markets, with total disregard to citizen’s preference and health.

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

on solidarity & not forgetting gaza

coffin counter
coffin counter

this is going to be a quick hodge-podge post because tam tam and rania are conspiring against me to make me sleep. they are talking behind my back about this. hmmmm. and rami sends me email messages at 4 am telling me to go to sleep when clearly he is wide awake, too. anyway, muna sent me this coffin counter. the graphic is interesting, though it appears to be a bit slow in keeping up. also from dear muna–an important demonstration planned for sunday in beirut:

الأمهات في لبنان يعزين أمهات غزة

قدّمن المواساة والعزاء لأمهات وعائلات غزة

مع أطفالكنّ

مع شموعكنّ

مع يافطاتكنّ

باللباس الأسود

تضامنّ مع أخواتكنّ في غزة

المكان: كورنيش رملة البيضاء
الزمان: يوم الأحد 18 كانون الثاني، 5 – 7 مساءً

– منى، لبنى، ريما، رملة، مزنة، مها، ربى، أمال، هبة، ألين، نجوى، صونيا…
———————————————————————–

Mothers in Lebanon:
Join us to offer your Support and Condolences
to the mourning mothers and families in Gaza

Come with Your Children

Hold a Candle

Make a Banner

Wear Black

Take a Stand

Place: Ramlet Al-Bayda Corniche
Date: Sunday 18 January, 5 – 7 PM

– Aline, Lubna, Maha, Muna, Ramla, Ruba, Rima, Najwa, Hibah, Amal, Muzna, Sonya…

and more beirut events for gaza from baha’a:

FRIDAY January 16th: Talk-In; AUB Main Gate; 1:00-3:00; to be followed by a protest march to the ESCWA sit-in

SATURDAY January17th: Gaza-Present: Sight & Sound Performance; Massrah al-Madina; 1pm

SATURDAY January 17th: “Karakeeb” fund-raising children’s play (Save the Children- Sweden); Massrah Dawwar al-Shams; 4pm. Tickets on sale at the theatre @ LL20,000 & 30,000. (tel:01-381290)

SUNDAY January 18th: Gaza-Present: Sight & Sound Performance; Ain el-Mreisseh; 2pm

SUNDAY January 18th: National Palestinian Theatre play “Afoul al-Qamar”, Massrah Dawwar al-Shams; 6:00-8:00 (open invitation)

MONDAY January 19th: Performance by “Ushshaq al-Aqsa” Troupe, “Jaffra” Troupe, & Qassem Istambouli (open invitation); Massrah Dawwar al-Shams; 6:00-8:00 (open invitation)

MONDAY January 19th: Gaza-Present: Sight & Sound Performance; Mar Elias; 6pm

TUESDAY January 20th: Public Talk by Dr. Rita Giacaman – Birzeit University on the situation in Gaza and the reaction on the West Bank; T-Marbouta; 7pm,

WEDNESDAY January 21th: May Nasr & “Ushshaq al-Aqsa” Troupe in fund-raising concert, AUB Bathish Hall (West Hall), 6:30. Tickets available in front of West Hall @ LL10,000.

all of these actions, of course, are so that we remind gaza that we are with them. that we stand in solidarity with them. the same goes for boycott actions that are spreading like wildfire around the world. the variety of voices being lent to palestinian solidarity right now should put the bulls*&^ arab league and arab summit and leaders to shame, even in spite of qatar and mauritania severing ties today with the zionist entity (though it took them 21 days and 1,069 martyrs and 5,1015 wounded palestinians before they acted). or bashar al assad calling for cutting relations with the israeli terrorist state all the while he negotiates with them behind closed doors, and sometimes open doors. but these are heads of state. we don’t expect such people to act with a moral compass.

but in nepal, as rami blogged, farmers are in solidarity with gaza. they don’t need political meetings in fancy hotels where they hash out points and jockey for power. they stand up for what is just and moral because it is just and moral:

All Nepal Peasants’ Federation lodges strong protest against Israeli inhuman killing of Palestinian people condemning the military attack on Gaza and calls upon to stop immediately all acts of aggression, blockade of all types and inflicting suffering upon innocent civilian population.

ANPFa believes that military attack can never be a solution of the problem. The slaughter resumed after a brief truce only fuels further the conflict and it quashes hopes of peace for Palestinian people.

We also call upon the conflicting parties to sit on peaceful dialogue and solve the problems politically.

We hereby call on the international community to immediately deploy an international peace-keeping force bringing an end to the attack, protect innocent civilians and alleviate the escalating inhuman crisis in Gaza.

We urge the international community to press for immediate resumption of peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine based on the Arab Peace Initiative as the only way of bringing peace in the region.

though we do have turkey speaking out (anyone for bringing back the ottoman empire? or at least those open borders…?):

Turkey’s prime minister on Friday said Israel should be barred from the United Nations while it ignores the international body’s calls to stop fighting in Gaza.

“How is such a country, which does not implement resolutions of the UN Security Council, allowed to enter through the gates of the UN [headquarters]?” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

this is one of the ways pressure can be exerted on the zionist entity–by pushing for them to be removed from the UN–permanently. but also on the local level you can do what people in cambridge have been doing for years now to work for divestment on the local level. that work, which of course includes grassroots educational work, led to a recent decision (which i don’t agree with politically at all; it is just nice to see an american city council taking up this issue of palestine and at least acting in solidarity, even if that solidarity is a bit misguided):

The Cambridge City Council today convened a public hearing on a bold and timely resolution regarding the situation in Gaza, with eloquent comments by many residents of Cambridge and heartfelt deliberations by City Council Members.

Summary of original resolution: “That the Cambridge City Council go on record recognizing the grievous impact of the loss of lives in the conflict on families and communities, mourning those lives on both sides of the conflict, condemning the attacks and invasion of Gaza by the Israeli military and the rocket attacks upon the people of Israel, and call for an immediate end to all attacks on civilians on both sides.”

The resolution was proposed by Councillor Marjorie Decker and Mayor Denise Simmons, and drafted with the support of the Cambridge Peace Commission .

In an unprecedented decision after the 3-hour hearing, the Council voted to adopt the resolution with 8 members voting in favor and 1 voting present. It included a last minute amendment requesting a long-term negotiated truce between both parties and support for a 2-state solution.

Read the full text of the original Gaza resolution (Cambridge City Policy Order Resolution O-15, January 12, 2009). The amended resolution will be posted online soon.

This landmark resolution should encourage many others around the country to propose similar actions in their own city councils and have congressional representatives finally take notice of the injustice and bias in US foreign policy in the Middle East, particularly regarding the devastating siege of Gaza.

Please show your support by thanking members of the Cambridge City Council for their bold and courageous action for an end to the siege in Gaza and a just peace in the region. Contacts for council members can be found here: http://www.cambridgema.gov/ccouncil.cfm

what is even better is the news that jordanian farmers are acting in solidarity with people in gaza:

Fruit growers disappointed by canceled orders from abroad, leaving produce to rot in warehouses, Yair Hason, YNet 01.16.09 – Fruit growers in Israel have reported delays and reductions in orders from abroad since the military operation in Gaza was launched, due to various boycotts against Israeli produce.

Farmers say much of their produce is being held in warehouses due to canceled orders, and fear a sharp decrease in fruit exports to countries such as Jordan, Britain, and the Scandinavian countries.

“We export persimmons, and because of the fighting a number of countries and distributors are canceling orders,” Giora Almagor, of the southern town of Bitzaron, told Ynet. He said some of the produce had already been shipped while some was awaiting shipment in warehouses.

Almagor said a large number of cancellations came from Jordan.

“The produce stays packed in warehouses, and this is causing us massive losses,” he said.

“The longer the fruit waits in storage after sorting, the more its quality decreases. We also have to pay for cooling the merchandise that should have already left, and the cost in considerable,” he added.

Ilan Eshel, director of the Organization of Fruit Growers in Israel, said Scandinavian countries have also been canceling orders.

“It’s mostly Sweden, Norway, and Denmark,” he said. “In Scandinavia the tendency is general, and it may come to include all of the chains.”

Eshel says the boycott did not exist before the Gaza offensive was launched.

“It’s getting worse, and more voices can be heard calling to boycott Israeli merchandise,” he said. “Until the operation began we had excellent business, though the economic recession in Europe was causing a slight fall in the market.”

He added that winter was an especially difficult season to be unable to export fruit, because the avocado, persimmon, and citrus markets are at their height.

starbucks-david

and in beirut activists have been targeting starbucks as part of their gaza solidarity work:

Over the past week, pro-Palestinian activists have staged protests outside several branches of the popular coffee chain Starbucks in Beirut, accusing the company of supporting Israel and Zionism. On Tuesday, protesters closed down the Starbucks store in Beirut’s Hamra district. On Thursday, demonstrators took to the Starbucks branch in Beirut’s Verdun neighborhood where they were greeted by riot police.

british academics have written an open letter, published in the guardian, calling for boycott, divestment, and sanctions:

We must do what we can to stop Israel from winning its war. Israel must accept that its security depends on justice and peaceful coexistence with its neighbours, and not upon the criminal use of force.

We believe Israel should immediately and unconditionally end its assault on Gaza, end the occupation of the West Bank, and abandon all claims to possess or control territory beyond its 1967 borders. We call on the British government and the British people to take all feasible steps to oblige Israel to comply with these demands, starting with a programme of boycott, divestment and sanctions.

in london students also took action in solidarity with gaza at the prestigious london school of economics:

More than 40 students were continuing their sit-in at the London School of Economics today in protest at the conflict in Gaza.

A rally was due to take place this afternoon attended by veteran politician Tony Benn and anti-war campaigner Lindsey German.

The students are demanding that LSE director Howard Davies issues a statement condemning Israeli violence on Gaza.

The protest began last night when a group of students entered the LSE’s Old Theatre in central London and occupied the stage.

In a statement the students said: “LSE is an institution founded on the Fabian values that were the precursor of the human rights agenda of modern politics.

“LSE must restate those values and condemn state criminality. It is not a matter of politics, it is a matter of humanity.”

at georgetown university (thanks tam tam) sohrab ghassemi authored a strong statement in the student newspaper, addressed to university president
degoia:

The situation in Gaza is one which should shock the conscience of the world and the conscience of our university. We take heart in the fact that we attend a Jesuit institution that has a great tradition of being a voice for justice in the world. President DeGioia, we call on you to lead our community by again upholding our institution’s Jesuit tradition of standing for social justice in the face of the massacres of innocent civilians in Gaza.

We call on you, as the leader of an educational institution, to condemn the destruction of the educational infrastructure in Gaza. We ask you to issue a statement condemning the massacres in Gaza, calling for an immediate and total cease-fire and expressing especially your deep concern for the educational and religious institutions and civilian life of Gaza.

Over 400 Georgetown students, faculty and staff have signed in support of this letter. The following on-campus groups have also endorsed it: the Georgetown chapters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán, the Pakistani Students Association, Georgetown Students for Justice in Palestine, the Muslim Students Association, the Georgetown Solidarity Committee and Our Moment.

in lebanon i helped rania and rami write a statement supporting the academic boycott campaign yesterday; rami posted the draft which we are using to collect signatures of professors in lebanon. so far the signatures are not coming as quickly as one would hope, but here is the statement we drafted:

Statement of Academics in Lebanon

In this latest onslaught against Palestinians, Israel has attacked a university, the Ministry of Education, schools across the Gaza Strip, and several UNRWA schools. Such attacks against learning centers are not unique for Israel. Most particularly since 1975, Israel has infringed upon the right of education for Palestinians by closing universities, schools and kindergartens, and by shelling, shooting at, and raiding hundreds of schools and several universities throughout the occupied Palestinian territories.

Nor have these attacks been limited against Palestinians. As academics in Lebanon, we are all too familiar with Israeli onslaughts against educational centers. In its latest assault, in 2006, for example, Israel destroyed over 50 schools throughout Lebanon, and particularly schools designed for the economically disadvantaged in the South.

We thus stand, as academics in Lebanon, in urging our colleagues, regionally and internationally, to oppose this ongoing scholasticide and to support the just demand for academic boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel. Specifically, we ask our colleagues worldwide to support the call by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel to comprehensively and consistently boycott and disinvest from all Israeli academic and cultural institutions, and to refrain from participation in any form of academic and cultural cooperation, collaboration or joining projects with Israeli institutions as a contribution to the struggle to end Israel’s occupation, colonization and system of apartheid.

We further call on the enforcement of Lebanese anti-normalization laws with Israel, and thus for the prosecution of individuals and institutions in Lebanon that violate those laws and conduct collaborations, associations or investments in Israel or with Israelis.

We salute the recent statement by the Scottish Committee for the Universities of Palestine calling for a boycott of Israel, the letter signed by 300 Canadian academics to Canadian Prime Minister Harper asking for sanctions against Israel, and the appeal by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario University Workers Coordinating Committee supporting a ban on collaborations between Canadian and Israeli universities.

to sign the above statement email rania at rania [at] ourwords.org

the response to the lebanon document has not been good so far. and i should say that this was true in 2006, right after the israeli invasion of lebanon when we tried to garner support for the boycott then. the apathy here and the desire to collaborate with israeli terrorist academics whose institutions fund and produce the knowledge for massacres of palestinians and lebanese is appalling to say the least. but in lebanon it is also illegal, though that law is not enforced as it should be. and our activism around this died down because only 6 months after our post-war organizing the lebanese army started a war against the palestinian refugee camp nahr el bared. it is one war after another. and usually palestinians bear the brunt of the assaults. it is not that we forget here about these atrocities and war crimes, but we move on. and this is what is challenging. zionists around the world never let us forget what happened to them during world war ii. and yet since world war ii people here in lebanon, syria, palestine have continuously suffered at the hands of those who suffered in europe. people here continue to pay the price though they had nothing to do with european anti-semitism. but war upon war upon war, massacre upon massacre upon massacre: these crimes are all worse than anything that happened in world war ii. why? because these israeli terrorists know better. because they are doing what was done to them. there is a great photo essay comparing the warsaw ghetto with the gaza ghetto that makes this point visually. but this is also worse because it is live on television. we watch, we read, we know. and still the carnage continues. the world that never forgets jewish suffering always forgets palestinian and arab and muslim suffering. even as it happens. they forget. they forgive. ehud olmert bombs a united nations building, he apologizes, is forgiven, and goes on to bomb hospitals, homes, children. this is why we should heed as’ad’s call and never forgive, never forget.

we should never forgive israeli or american terrorists who are in cahoots with these war crimes 100% as the guardian demonstrated today with respect to the american-made white phosphorous as does this report on al jazeera makes clear as well:

likewise this report by shirene tadros on al jazeera shows the american-israeli terrorism produced by american-made white phosphorous directed on the tar al hawa area of gaza:

all of those who do not sign statements, who do not act, who sit in the comfort of their little academic offices or wherever else they work and choose not to do something about these massive war crimes are complicit in them as i have said many times before. likewise, a professor friend in gaza sent this to me today, which is now posted on electronic intifada beseeching us to all act, to do something to support palestinians in gaza and across the world:

المقاطعة ، وسحب الاستثمارات ، والجزاءات : دعوة من غزة

يتزايد النداء عالمي لمقاطعة و سحب الاستثمارات و الجزاءات من اسرائيل

مع تزايد عدد القتلى في قطاع غزة في كل ساعة ، والصمت والتواطؤ. يتحتم
على المواطنين المعنيين لمطالبة حكوماتهم باتخاذ إجراءات فورية لوقف
الإبادة الجماعية الاسرائيلية في غزة.

اكتب اليوم النموذج وطالب ب :
1. إن مجرمي الحرب الإسرائيليين استدعوا أمام المحكمة الجنائية الدولية
أو محكمة خاصة لجرائم الحرب التي ارتكبت في غزة. (ذكر ممثلكم أن التحقيق
أو الملاحقة أو تسليم المسؤولين عن جرائم الحرب هو واجب جميع الأطراف
المتعاقدة في اتفاقيات جنيف.)
2. و ردا على الانتهاكات الجسيمة للقانون الإنساني الدولي والقانون
الدولي لحقوق الإنسان التي ارتكبتها اسرائيل، ان تنهي دولتكم كل
الاتفاقيات التجارية والعلاقات الاقتصادية مع إسرائيل ، بما فيها الاتحاد
الأوروبي اتفاق الشراكة مشروطاً بالانضمام إلى حقوق الإنسان والمبادئ
الديمقراطية
3. إن تقطع دولتكم العلاقات الدبلوماسية مع اسرائيل.

لقد كانت الاحداث الجارية في غزة متوقعة و محشوداً لها من قبل الاسرائيلي
البروفيسور ارنون سوفير ، رئيس قوات الدفاع الاسرائيلية كلية الدفاع
الوطني. البروفيسور سوفير وضح النتائج المرجوة في اسرائيل الى انسحاب
احادي الجانب من قطاع غزة في مقابلة مع صحيفة جيروساليم بوست (24 مايو
2004) :

جيروساليم بوست : كيف ستظهر المنطقة في اليوم الذي سيلي الانسحاب احادي
الجانب؟

– أولا وقبل كل شيء، بدلا من دخول غزة على غرار ما فعلنا الأسبوع الماضي،
سنقول للفلسطينيين في حال اطلق و لو صاروخ واحد فوق السور ، سنقوم
باطلاق النار 10 مرات اضعاف بالمقابل. والنساء والأطفال سيقتلون ، وسيتم
تدمير المنازل. بعد المرة الخامسة من مثل هذه الحادثة ، لن تسمح الأمهات
الفلسطينية لزوجهن اطلاق صواريخ القسام ، وذلك لأنهن سيعرفن ماذا
ينتظرهن.

ثانيا ، عندما يعيش 2.5 مليون شخص في قطاع غزة المغلق، فإنها ستكون كارثة
إنسانية. هؤلاء الناس سيصبحون اكبر الحيوانات مما هم عليه اليوم ،
بمساعدة من جنون الإسلام الأصولي. الضغط على الحدود سيكون مروعا. انها
ستكون حرب مروعة. هكذا ، إذا كنا نريد أن نبقى على قيد الحياة ، علينا أن
نقتل ونقتل ونقتل. طوال اليوم ،و كل يوم… وإذا لم نقتل، فلن يصبح لنا
وجود… الانسحاب احادي الجانب لا يضمن “السلام” — إنه يضمن دولة
صهيونية يهودية مع أغلبية ساحقة من اليهود…
جيروساليم بوست : تحويل التبرعات؟

ارنون سوفير : نعم. وقطاع غزة سيكون كارثة و سيكون أبعد من قدرتنا على
تقديم المساعدة. ولا بد أن تكون هناك نطاق واسع من المعونات الدولية.
سيكون على الولايات المتحدة الضغط على مصر للتنازل عن الأرض.
وفي الآونة الأخيرة، قال ماتان فيلناي ، نائب وزير الدفاع الإسرائيلية،
لراديو الجيش الاسرائيلي خلال عملية “الشتاء الساخن” (29 فبراير 2008 ) :

انها ستجلب على نفسها اكبر المحرقة لاننا سوف نستخدم كل قوتنا للدفاع عن
انفسنا.
في الأيام التي أعقبت هذا البيان ، 107 فلسطينيا لقوا مصرعهم. أخفق
المجتمع الدولي في اتخاذ إجراءات. هذا التقاعس ، تليها تصريحات أوروبية
عن نوايا لرفع مستوى الاتفاقيات التجارية مع إسرائيل ، كان بمثابة الضوء
الاخضر للمجازر الحالية.

الكولونيل الاحتياطي يواف غال ، وهو رائد في سلاح الجو الإسرائيلي، قال
لراديو الجيش الاسرائيلي خلال عملية “ممثلون الرصاص” (11 يناير 2009) :
وأعتقد أنه كان ينبغي أن تكون أقوى! درسدن! درسدن! إبادة مدينة! على كل
حال ،قيل لنا أن وجه الحرب قد تغير. لم تعد

كما هي عليه من تقدم الدبابات أو تنظيم عسكري. […] هي أمة بأكملها ، من
السيدة المسنة للطفل ، هذا هو الجيش. هده أمة تخوض حربا. وأنا ادعوهم
بالأمة ، على الرغم من أنني لا أراهم كالواحد. فهو قتال أمة لأمة. قتال
المدنيين للمدنيين. اقول لكم أننا […] يجب أن نعرف […] أن الأحجار لن
تلقى علينا! أنا لا أتحدث عن الصواريخ — ولا حتى الحجر سوف يلقى علينا.
لاننا يهود. […]؛أريد العرب أن يلذوا بالفرار من غزة إلى مصر. هذا هو
ما أريد. أريد لتدمير المدينة ، وليس بالضرورة الأشخاص الذين يعيشون
داخلها.
لوضع حد لإفلات إسرائيل من العقاب ندعو المجتمع المدني لدعم الحملة
الفلسطينية للمقاطعة دولية ، سحب الاستثمارات و الجزاءات ضد اسرائيل.

الموقعون
مجموعة الدول الواحدة الديمقراطية — غزة
رابطة مدرسي الجامعات في فلسطين — غزة
المنتدى الثقافي العربي — غزة

التي أقرتها
اللجان الشعبية ضد الجدار والمستوطنات — في الضفة الغربية

With the death toll in Gaza growing hourly, silence is complicity. It is imperative for concerned citizens to demand that their governments take immediate action in order to stop Israeli genocide in Gaza.

Write your representative today and demand:

1. That Israeli war criminals be brought before the International Criminal Court or a Special Tribunal for war crimes committed in Gaza. (Remind your representative that the investigation, prosecution or extradition of those responsible for war crimes is an obligation of all high contracting parties to the Geneva Conventions.)

2. That in response to Israel’s severe breaches of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, your state terminate all favorable trade agreements and economic relations with Israel, including the EU Association Agreement which is conditional upon adherence to human rights and democratic principles.

3. That your state cut all diplomatic ties with Israel.

The current events in Gaza were predicated and advocated for by Israeli Professor Arnon Soffer, Head of the IDF’s National Defense College. Professor Soffer spelled out the desired results of Israel’s unilateral disengagement from Gaza in an interview with the Jerusalem Post (24 May 2004):

Jerusalem Post: How will the region look the day after unilateral separation?

…First of all…. Instead of entering Gaza like we did last week. We will tell the Palestinians that if a single missile is fired over the fence, we will fire 10 in response. And women and children will be killed, and houses will be destroyed. After the fifth such incident, Palestinian mothers won’t allow their husbands to shoot Kassams, because they will know what’s waiting for them.

Second of all, when 2.5 million people live in a closed-off Gaza, it’s going to be a human catastrophe. Those people will become even bigger animals than they are today, with the aid of an insane fundamentalist Islam. The pressure at the border will be awful. It’s going to be a terrible war. So, if we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill. All day, every day…If we don’t kill, we will cease to exist…Unilateral separation doesn’t guarantee “peace” – it guarantees a Zionist-Jewish state with an overwhelming majority of Jews…

Jerusalem Post: Voluntary transfer?

Arnon Soffer: Yes. And Gaza is going to be such a disaster that it will be beyond our capacity to help. There will have to be large-scale international aid. The US will have to pressure Egypt to cede land.

More recently Matan Vilnai, Deputy Defense Minister of Israel, told Army Radio during “Operation Hot Winter” (29 February 2008):

They will bring upon themselves a bigger shoah because we will use all our might to defend ourselves.

In the days following this statement, 107 Palestinians were killed. The international community failed to take action. This inaction, followed by European declarations of intentions to upgrade their trade agreements with Israel, served as a green light for the current atrocities.

Reserve Colonel Yoav Gal, an Israeli Air Force pilot, told Army Radio during “Operation Cast Lead” (11 January 2009):

I believe that it should have been even stronger! Dresden! Dresden! The extermination of a city! After all, we’re told that the face of war has changed. No longer is it the advancing of tanks or an organized military. […] It is a whole nation, from the old lady to the child, this is the military. It is a nation fighting a war. I am calling them a nation, even though I don’t see them as one. It is a nation fighting a nation. Civilians fighting civilians. I’m telling you that we […] must know […] that stones will not be thrown at us! I am not talking about rockets – not even a stone will be thrown at us. Because we’re Jews.[…] I want the Arabs of Gaza to flee to Egypt. This is what I want. I want to destroy the city, not necessarily the people living within it.

In order to end Israel´s impunity we call on civil society to support the Palestinian campaign for an international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel.

Signatories,
The One Democratic State Group – Gaza
University Teacher Association in Palestine – Gaza
Arab Cultural Forum – Gaza

Endorsed by,
Popular Committees Against the Wall and Settlements – West Bank

if you need further reasons why you must act watch this video that is a montage of all the israeli terrorist propaganda circulating in the media in the u.s., and i’m sure around the world, as compared to the facts on the ground that most journalists are not privy to given the fact that israeli terrorists like to ban people from witnessing their war crimes and massacres:

why is it that so many disparate groups are speaking up and acting out? (as opposed to world leaders who breathe a lot of hot air and don’t to anything…) for those of you who like to just sit on your asses and put your name to a simple petition and feel like you did something, here are a few you can sign:

amnesty international: Tell Congress to help humanitarian workers get into Gaza and to suspend all transfers of weapons to Israel

stop the bloodshed petition to the united nations: The world cannot allow the bloodshed in the Middle East to continue. Thousands of innocent civilians have been killed and wounded, almost 1 million made homeless, and a catastrophic larger conflict is possible. We call on US President, UK Prime Minister Blair and the UN Security Council to support UN Secretary-General that call for an immediate ceasefire.

avaaz.org: Petition to the UN Security Council, the European Union, the Arab League and the USA: We urge you to act immediately to ensure a comprehensive ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, to protect civilians on all sides, and to address the growing humanitarian crisis. Only through robust international action and oversight can the bloodshed be stopped, the Gaza crossings safely re-opened and real progress made toward a wider peace in 2009.

okay and now it is 3:48 am and i have to meet baha’a in 4 hours…must sleep. tisbah ala watan ya tamara… mwah!

blaming the victims in gaza

carlos latuff
carlos latuff

i am not one to blame the victims in any situation. this is, of course, what israeli terrorists’ propaganda does. the story that has been playing over and over and over again in my head all day long is that of ahmed samouni. i cannot get this boy’s face, his words, his story out of my head, nor do i want to. i have seen him interviewed by sherene tadros on al jazeera in an excellent report (posted below), but here is the story in its textual version as well:

Ahmed Samouni witnessed what many are calling a massacre, after being left for days amidst the dead bodies of his mother and four brothers.

The horror that the 16-year-old has seen is hard for him to put into words, but the effects are written all over his face.

“It was the third missile I remember. The other ones had killed my elder brother and injured people, they kept bleeding. But the third missile, that killed them all,” he said.

“My brother was bleeding so much and right in front of my eyes he died. My other brother Ismail, he also bled to death,” he narrated in between sobs.

“My mum and my youngest brother, they are gone. Four brothers and my mother, dead. May God give them peace.”

On January 7, paramedics brought back the dead and injured from the Samouni and other houses nearby, after they had spent four days trapped in their home.

According to the survivors’ accounts, partly corroborated by the International Red Cross and the United Nations, Israeli soldiers raided their homes and then huddled the extended family together into one house.

The following day they shelled and dropped missiles around the house.

Witnesses say at least 30 members of the Samouni family were killed.

“We were put in an ambulance, but there were still people inside the house, dead and injured,” Ahmed told Al Jazeera. “For days we all bled. We were so hungry; I remember giving my brother Isaac a tomato to eat before he died.”

Al Jazeera tracked down the ambulance driver who rescued Ahmed. The Red Cross were denied access by the Israeli army to the area for four days after the house was shelled.

“On the day we got permission, the army told us to leave the ambulances around two kilometres from the house,” said Mohamed el-Halby, a paramedic. “So we walked and all around us we could see they had bulldozered the area. The houses we passed had Israeli soldiers standing on the roofs.”

“We went inside and heard screams coming from one room. There were about 15 people inside, two were dead, the rest sitting around them. That was just one room.”

Six year-old Abdullah was trapped inside the same house as Ahmed, surrounded by his dead cousins and uncles. Terrified and distraught he struggled to speak.

He said they only had tomatoes to eat, and when asked what happened to his family, he said they were there, in front of him, dead. All he could do was just look at them.

Wael, Abdullah’s father, escaped on the first day of the Israeli raid. For four days he thought his son was dead.

“I didn’t know what to do, I still don’t…look at him he is so ill, they are all terrified,” Wael said.

“He cries all the time. His shoulder is hurt and it has infection but he cant stand the smell, he cries when he looks and smells his wounds. And his leg, look. I want to take him out of Gaza for treatment and I want to be able to go back to the house and get the rest of my family so that I can bury them.”

Al Jazeera tried to get to the family’s house, in an area called Zeitoun, but it wasn’t safe.

The closest one could get was about one kilometre away, and journalists, paramedics and aid workers need Israeli army permission to get to the area.

what is the israeli terrorist response to this massacre? it is to blame the victim:

Israel has accused Hamas of using civilians as human shields and has said militants have fired rockets from rooftops of homes and mosques.

Mark Regev, an Israeli government spokesman, said: “Israel wants to see no harm to the children of Gaza. On the contrary, we would like to see their children and our children grow up without the fear of violence. Until now, Hamas has deliberately prevented that from becoming reality.”

the problem with israeli terrorist mark regev is that he lies; he is incapable of telling the truth. mind you he is not in gaza and has not seen the truth and will not allow human rights workers and journalists inside to see the truth, but nevertheless claims to have an answer that he promotes as “the truth.” the reality is not only precisely the opposite–it is 100% the fault of israeli terrorists–but also his fabrication of the truth blames the victims–not just hamas but families like the samouni family who are suffering beyond our imagination as a result of israeli terrorism.

of course this is something i have been thinking a lot about because israeli terrorists ALWAYS blame the victim. every f^%$#(&* day. but i started wondering today about this practice of blaming the victim. because it really seems to me like israeli terrorists have another fringe benefit from their massacre of palestinians in gaza: it enables them to play the role of victim yet again. you see, zionism is dependent upon jews being the only victims, the ur-victims, the victims who have suffered in a way that no one else can compare–not rwandans, not sudanese, not bosnians, not the congolese, and certainly not palestinians. this is how they articulate their colonial project in palestine. they are victims who have nowhere else to go (meanwhile 70% of israeli colonist terrorists hold 2 passports, a clear sign that they have plenty of other places to go). but of course jews would say that they are not safe elsewhere and they would cite examples like this one:

In response to a rise in anti-Semitic attacks since the beginning of Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Monday called on world leaders to condemn all forms of incitement and hatred and to hold to account those responsible.

“We have received with great concern and revulsion many reports of physical, moral, verbal and other manifestations of anti-Semitic attacks towards Jews and Israeli citizens in many parts of the world,” Livni said in a written statement.

there have been a few stories here and there, mostly in europe from what i have seen, of some anti-semitic attacks on jewish spaces or jewish people. while, of course, i do not support such attacks on jews, i feel that livni and her cohorts in the terrorist zionist entity enjoy such attacks. i’m quite serious about this. i think that they want this system to keep working for them. in other words, israeli terrorists–and jewish terrorists before they stole palestine from palestinians–fled anti-semitism in europe and made arabs pay the price for that. the world has been forced to watch movies, read books, study in school world war ii from the vantage point of jewish suffering as the most important suffering in the world (even in the u.s. when the genocide of native americans and the trans-atlantic slave trade should be given far more prominence). americans find themselves subjected to israeli terrorist propaganda through agents of the israel lobby like the anti-defamation league, which serves to brainwash and silence. this further serves to keep any information that is the slightest bit truthful about palestine in the deep recesses of the closet. but these stories of anti-semitism, big and small, are constantly paraded about in the media and they are used to garner support for the terrorist state of israel. because this is always out of context, because palestine is never mentioned, the cycle works. so now people in europe are angry–as they are all around the world–and they some are mistakenly targeting jews rather than zionism and israeli terrorists. but this works to israeli terrorists advantage. i think they enjoy seeing these stories in the news because it continues to obscure palestine’s history and present and it perpetuates the myth that anti-semitism is the biggest threat. when israeli terrorism and colonialism is a far greater threat not only in palestine, but regionally and perhaps globally.

the-body-of-a-child-is-re-001

when people around the world don’t regurgitate israeli terrorist propaganda, israeli terrorists whine about it:

PM Ehud Olmert referred to the international condemnations of Israel’s military action in the Gaza Strip, saying: “About the Palestinian’s unending murderousness towards us, about the exploitation of civilians in Gaza as human shields against the IDF, no one is speaking for some reason.”

yet if you want to see what it is that olmert is trying to hide by such statements all you need to do is watch ayman mohyeldin’s reporting on what has been happening in rafah:

such statements by olmert are also emerging, no doubt, because such statements about palestinians and about anti-semitism always come out when the united nations seeks to highlight israeli terrorist atrocities:

Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, told Al Jazeera: “In the end they [the UN] passed the resolution, it was not unanimous. I would not say it was that heated, at the end of the day there were still differences of opinion.

“Many states praised the Palestinian delegation for the flexibility they had shown in the negotiations, but they could not quite reach a consensus.”

Speaking in the Gaza Strip, John Ging, head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) operations in Gaza, repeated his call for an immediate end to the fighting.

“I say now, to all politicians, here in Israel and internationally, you have an obligation to the ordinary people in the name of humanity and all that is civilised, we need to stop this now. Those who help will never be forgotten.

“Israel is responsible for its own actions and it is very clear to us that there are a lot of actions in this conflict that will need to be fully investigated independently and internationally.

“Those who have been killed and injured, those who are innocent, deserve accountability.”

Peter Splinter, Amnesty International’s representative at the United Nations in Geneva, backed the call for an investigation, saying “there must be a full accountability for war crimes”.

“Evidence of war crimes is presenting itself each day,” he told Al Jazeera.

war crimes. will we ever see a nuremberg for palestinians? 18 days of a murderous rampage against palestinians in gaza:

919 martyrs. 4,500 injured. 80,000 internally displaced palestinians in gaza. who have nowhere to flee to.

as a point of comparison consider what such figures would mean in the united states:

With more than 5,000 dead or wounded in a community of 1.4 million people, reminded Erekat, there are few whose lives have not been directly hit by the Israeli aggression. If the same scale of tragedy was visited on the United States, he said, more than one million people would be dead.

al mezan has its new martyrs names and its toll of the events on electronic intifada. here is the latest, though the figures are not as current as those i quoted above from al jazeera a few moments ago:

1. North Gaza District:

At approximately 2pm Saturday, 10 January Israeli aircrafts fired a missile at a group of young men in the al-Salatin area, west of Beit Lahia, killing Ahmad Ibrahim Juma, 25, and Umar Juma, 19.

At approximately 2:30pm also Saturday, IOF troops stationed in the town of Beit Hanoun opened fire at the al-Bora neighborhood, killing an 18-year-old girl, Nariman Abdul-Karim Abu Odeh from a live bullet to her chest.

At approximately 4:20pm Saturday, an Israeli drone fired a missile at a small crowd near Barrawi gas station in Beit Lahia, injuring a 40-year-old pregnant women; Wafa al-Masri, and another 24-year-old woman, Ghada al-Masri. The pregnant woman had to abort her fetus and had her leg amputated. The other woman had both her legs amputated.

At approximately 4:45pm Saturday, an Israeli aircraft fired a missile at the al-Sultan apartment compound in Jabaliya town. The compound’s residents started to evacuate it. However, IOF fired artillery shells at the entrance of the compound as people were evacuating, killing three of them, two of whom were children. They were identified as:

* Ali Kamal al-Nuthor, 12;
* Amer Kamal al-Nuthor, 15; and
* Shadi Fatho Ijneed, 27.

Another 11 people were injured, including one child.

At approximately 5:25pm Saturday, IOF troops stationed in Jabaliya fired eight artillery shells towards the eastern parts of the town. Al Mezan’s field worker reported that the shells were used for the first time. After hitting the ground, a light bounced from each shell, not very high from the ground. As they landed, they caused fires around it.

About 30 minutes later, an Israeli aircraft fired a missile into a crowd in Beit Lahia. One man was critically injured as a result. At 6:45pm, an aircraft fired a missile at the house of Nafiz al-Helu in northern Beit Lahia, killing two of its residents and injuring three, including a woman and a child. Those who were killed were identified as:

* Mohammed Nafiz al-Helu, 22; and (his sister)
* Amina Nafiz al-Helu, 18.

Two minutes after, aircraft fired missile at the Beit Lahia Park, destroying it.

At approximately 7:20pm Saturday, an Israeli aircraft fired a missile into a crowd of people who were sitting in front of a house in their neighborhood, killing three and injuring six, including a 2-month-old baby. Those who were killed were:

* Rami Jamal Salman, 21;
* Abdul-Muti Ratib Sulaiman, 20; and
* Sami Umar, 35.

At approximately 8:25pm Saturday, Israeli aircraft raided a house owned by the Rayyan family in Jabaliya, destroying it and damaging three neighboring houses. No casualties or injuries were reported in this raid.

At approximately 10:10pm Saturday, Israeli aircrafts raided the house of Waheed Ahmad in Jabaliya refugee camp. The house was destroyed and three neighboring houses damaged, however, no casualties or injuries were reported in this raid.
At approximately 2am on Sunday, 11 January 2009, an Israeli aircraft fired a missile into a crowd of residents of the al-Karama apartment complex, killing Ibrahim Ayish Salman, 25. When neighbors tried to help the victim, a second missile was fired at them, killing Ala Fathi Bashir, 40, and his 18-year-old son, Suhaib. Yet, when neighbors tried to help them, aircrafts fired a third missile, killing a 40-year-old woman, Lamias Hasan Bashir, and 75-year-old woman, Jamila Hassan Zyadeh. Four other people were injured in this attack.

At approximately 3:35am on Sunday, Israeli troops fired an artillery shell at the al-Karama area. The shell hit the house of Mohammed Khalaf and killed his cousins, Ibrahim Mohammed Khalaf, 35, and Bilal Yihia Khalaf. Twenty-five minutes later, an Israeli aircraft raided the house of Tawfiq Saqir, which is located near the Beit Lahia market. The house was destroyed completely and five neighboring houses were damaged.

At approximately 9:30 am on Sunday, 11 January 2009, an Israeli aircraft fired a missile into a crowd of children who were near the Olo al-Azm Mosque in the north of Beit Lahia, killing the four of them, three girls and a boy. They were identified as:

* Haitham Yasser Marouf, 12;
* Fatima Mohammed Marouf, 16;
* Khawla Ramadan Ghabin, 16; and (her sister)
* Samar Ramadan Ghabin, 14.

On the next day, the body 14-year-old Abdul-Rahma Ghabin was found, raising the casualties of this attack to five children. According to Al Mezan Center’s investigations, these children belong to families who had evacuated their homes and took shelter in the al-Fakhoura School, which was shelled by the IOF. They went back home with their parents to pick some clothing and other necessities and return to the shelter.

At 10am on the same day, medical sources at al-Shifa Hospital announced the death of 51-year-old Abdul-Hakim al-Sultan, who was injured inside his house in the al-Salatin areas western Beit Lahia.

At approximately 11:45am on Sunday, Israeli troops fired artillery shells at the al-Jurun neighborhood in Jabaliya. One shell hit the house of Khalid Abid, killing his 25-year-old son Khalid, and injuring 20-year-old daughter Shahira.

Later, at approximately 1:10pm Sunday, IOF troops fired artillery shells that hit houses in eastern Jabaliya, killing Hueesin Nazmi Abu Sultan, 40, inside his house.

At approximately 3:05pm on Sunday, Israeli troops fired artillery shells at the al-Bora neighborhood in Beit Hanoun, injuring a child inside her house. She was identified as Dalia Fareed Abu Odeh, 12. Another woman, Iman Sami Nusair, was injured.

At approximately 3:35pm on Sunday, Israeli troops fired artillery shells at eastern Jabaliya, killing a 12-year-old boy, Musab Abdul-Muhsin Khadir, and a 15-year-old girl, Amal Najeeb Alloush. Another five people were also injured.

At 4pm on the same day, the Emergency Administration at Kamal Udwan Hospital announced that four of its ambulances stopped as a result of the shortage in fuel.

At approximately 7:00pm on Sunday, Israeli troops fired artillery shells at the Masoud Street in Jabaliya town, killing a one-and-a-half-year-old girl, Tasnim Yasser al-Rafat, inside her house. Another young man, 19-year-old Mohammed Khadir, was also killed inside his house in the area.

Between 7:50pm Sunday and 4pm Monday, Israeli aircrafts raided three houses in Jabaliya and Beit Lahia, destroying them completely and damaging 12 houses. The targeted houses were owned by Ibrahim Lubad and Zyad al-Masri, from Beit Lahia, and Yousef Ghbeet from Jabalia.

At approximately 5am today, Monday 12 January 2009, medical sources announced the death of 33-year-old Said Mahmoud al-Amawi, who was injured in the IOF shelling of the al-Fakhora School [on 6 January].

At approximately 5:30am Monday, Israeli aircrafts raided the house of Ali al-Dhai in Jabaliya, destroying it completely. Six minutes later, aircrafts raided the house of Mahmoud Abu Matar in Beit Lahia, destroying it and damaging five houses near it. One hour later, they raided Sheikh Zayid town park, damaging it and many houses in its vicinity.

At approximately 7:35am Monday, Israeli troops fired artillery shells at houses in eastern Jabaliya and Beit Lahia, killing a 34-year-old woman, Afaf Hasan Juma, inside her house.

At approximately 7:40am Monday, Israeli aircrafts raided a farm in the al-Nuzha Street in Jabaliya town, injuring three girl children.

At approximately 7:35am Monday, Israeli aircrafts raided the house of Sadi al-Jamal in Jabaliya, destroying the house and damaging three houses and a kindergarten near it. At 8am, medical sources announced the death of a woman, 22-year-old Amal al-Madhoun, who was injured on 9 January 2009 by IOF snipers.

At approximately 12:05pm Monday, Israeli aircraft raided a vegetable stand owned by Yasser Shbair in Sheikh Zayid town, injuring him critically. Later, the corpse of Khalid al-Abid, 21, was found in the al-Salatin neighborhood in western Beit Lahia.

2. Gaza City District:

At approximately 12:30am Sunday 11 January 2009, about 20 Israel tanks and armored vehicles invaded the southern suburbs of Gaza City. The force, covered by helicopter gunships and aircraft, reached the southern Gaza City neighborhood of Tel al-Hawa. Tanks and aircrafts opened heavy fire at the area.

At approximately 2am, an artillery shell hit the house of Talat Hamudeh in Tel al-Hawa neighborhood, killing his two children and injuring him and his wife. The children were identified as:

* Faris Talat Hamudeh, one year; and
* Muhammad Talat Hamudeh, two years.

Three hours after its invasion, the force evacuated, leaving 13 casualties. It should be noted that the IOF had thrown leaflets on this neighborhood ordering its residents to evacuate their homes. Most of them left to UN shelters or relatives’ homes. Some stayed.

At 1:40am Sunday, Israeli aircraft raided the house of Ahmad al-Jabari, who is a leader in Hamas. The four-story house, which is located in the eastern Gaza City neighborhood of al-Shejaiya, was completely destroyed. Many homes around it were damaged.

At approximately 2am also Sunday, Israeli aircraft raided a mobile phone and stock exchange shop near the Pediatrics and Optics Hospitals in Nasser neighborhood in Gaza City. The shop was destroyed and the two hospitals and many houses in the area were damaged, especially in the neighboring al-Dana apartment Block.

At approximately 5:15am Sunday, Israeli aircrafts raided a four-story house owned by Mohammed Awadallah, 76, in the Nasser neighborhood in Gaza City. The house was completely destroyed.

At approximately 7pm Sunday, Israeli aircrafts raided the house of Fatah Palestinian Legislative Council member, Mohammed Dahlan in the Rimal neighborhood in Gaza, destroying it completely. At the same time, IOF troops fired artillery towards the house of Ahmad Mushtaha, 55, in al-Shejaiya neighborhood in the east of Gaza City, killing him and his 24-year-old son, Wajeeh. As neighbors arrived at the house to help the victims, an IOF drone fired a missile at the house, killing two: Muhammad al-Jundi, 20, and his brother Monthir.

At approximately 11pm Sunday, IOF fired an artillery shell at the house Hisham al-Katati in the al-Zeitoun neighborhood in Gaza City, killing his wife, 42-year-old Dalal al-Katati.

At approximately 2am Monday, 12 January 2009, Israeli aircraft fired a missile at two men, Muhammad Nassar, 22, and Ayman Shaldan, 35, in the east of the al-Shejaiya neighborhood east of Gaza City. They were both killed. As Jaber Hussein Habib, 52, and Mohammed Jamal Yasan, 17, tried to help them; a second missile targeted them and killed them.

3. Central Gaza District:

At approximately 12pm, on 10 January 2009, an IOF aircraft fired a missile at al-Sika Street in eastern al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza district, killing 26-year-old Mohammed Hasan Harb.

At approximately 12:55pm on the same day, IOF fired artillery shells at al-Safaa Mosque, which is located in Block One in al-Bureij refugee camp. One of the shells landed directly on the mosque, destroying it partially. Another shell hit an adjacent house owned by 28-year-old Mousa al-Askari, destroying it partially and injuring Mousa’s wife and his two sons, who were identified as:

* Six-year-old Ayman al-Askari;
* Seven-year-old Mosab.

The latter was reported to have sustained critical injuries.

At approximately 1:30pm, the IOF fired artillery shells, which was followed by aerial raid on the apartment of 39-year-old Ramzi Hasan Suliman Abu al-Deeb in al-Nouri Tower in al-Nuseirat refugee camp of the central Gaza district. The attack caused damage to the apartment, and injured 12-year-old Mojahed Ali al-Burs, and his 17-year-old brother, who later died of his wounds.

At approximately 7:45pm on the same day, IOF aircraft raided an agricultural field west of al-Nuseirat camp. The attack injured a 88-year-old woman, Fatma Muhammad Ahmed Tbeil, with shrapnel while she was in her house. Fatma later died of her wounds.

At approximately 11:30pm, on the same day, IOF aircraft raided the two-story house of 55-year-old Abdul-Rahim Shaker in al-Nuseirat camp. The house, which was inhabited by five persons, was totally destroyed as well as three nearby houses.

At approximately 12:05am, on 11 January 2009, IOF aircraft hit the two-story house of Farhoud Younis Abu Khabeeza in al-Nuseirat camp. The house was inhabited by five families, a total of 25 persons. The attack destroyed the house totally and caused damage to five neighboring houses.

At approximately 12:20am that same day, IOF aircraft bombarded the two-story house of 49-year-old Muhammad Hasan Shahin, which was inhabited by nine persons. Shahin’s house and another nearby house were destroyed as a result.

4. Khan Younis District:

At approximately 10pm, on 10 January 2009, the IOF launched tens of artillery and aerial attacks at areas along the borderline, east of Khzaa village, east of Khan Younis city. Shells hit many houses in the village. According to eyewitnesses, some of these shells released white smoke causing residents to suffer from suffocation, spasm and syncope. Tens of houses also were burnt.

At approximately 10:30pm on the same day, the IOF shelled with artillery a house owned by the Qdeih family, also in Khzaa village, killing 35-year-old Hanan Fathi Qdeih and injuring all of her kids and other family members.

At approximately 10:30pm on the same day, IOF aircraft raided the house of Ibrahim Baraka in Bani Suhaila town, east to Khan Younis. The house was damaged as a result.

Earlier, at approximately 8am that same day, IOF aircraft shelled a group of people who were close to the area of the IOF’s incursion into Khzaa village, killing 22-year-old Nour Mohammed Ameish. Other people, including a woman, were killed in another attack in the village.

At approximately 10:30am that same day, IOF aircraft fired a missile at a group of people close to al-Awda school, which is located on the main street connecting Abasan town and Khzaa village east to Khan Younis. The shelling killed 19-year-old Khaled Abu Ryiala, and injured another person.

5. Rafah District:

At approximately 2:38pm on Sunday 11 January 2009, Israeli aircrafts raided the al-Falah Charity’s building in the al-Shabora refugee camp in Rafah. No casualties or injuries were reported.

Earlier, at 1:55pm also Sunday, Israeli aircraft fired a missile at a civilian car on the Awni Dheer Street in Rafah, injuring four people; including a doctor, and destroying the car.

Between 3:10pm and 7:10pm on Sunday, Israeli aircrafts launched a series of air raids at the borderline between Rafah and Egypt. Later, at 2am Monday, they launched another series of air raids. In all, they fired 42 heavy missiles, according to Al Mezan’s field worker in Rafah.

At approximately 4:15am on Sunday, Israeli aircraft fired a missile at a motorcycle, killing Mohammed Al-Shair, 23, and critically injuring Mahmoud Abu Luli, 24.

These attacks have continued in the midst of a severe humanitarian crisis in Gaza, with approximately 200,000 people having already left their homes. Most of the population does not have access to water. Moreover, the health sector is still suffering from an enormous load of injured and killed people under severe shortages in medical supplies and personnel, and restrictions on the movement of ambulances and medical consignments.

add these names to the list of martyrs. they will not be blamed and their deaths will not be in vain. we will never forget them. and we will fight to support the resistance that is continuing to defend palestinians in gaza.

60046_wm_457x400

i’m sitting here at 3:48 am typing this. watching ramattan television via al jazeera arabic. they are saying that this is the most intense night of fire on them yet. it is hard to imagine. i feel like i hear this every day. and yet every day israeli terrorists terrorize more. not only by increasing the bombardment, but also by the way that israeli terrorists use palestinians as guinea pigs to test out new weapons they develop in the universities that we should all be boycotting:

Israel is testing a new “extremely nasty” type of weapon in Gaza, two medics charged as they returned home to Norway Monday after spending 10 days working at a hospital in the war-torn Palestinian territory.

“There’s a very strong suspicion I think that Gaza is now being used as a test laboratory for new weapons,” Mads Gilbert told reporters at Oslo’s Gardermoen airport, commenting on the kinds of injuries he and his colleague Erik Fosse had seen while working at the Shifa Hospital in Gaza.

The two medics, who were sent into the war zone by the pro-Palestinian aid organisation NORWAC on December 31, said they had seen clear signs that Dense Inert Metal Explosives (DIME), an experimental kind of explosive, were being used in Gaza.

“This is a new generation of very powerful small explosives that detonates with an extreme power and dissipates its power within a range of five to 10 metres (16-98 feet),” said Gilbert, 61.

“We have not seen the casualties affected directly by the bomb because they are normally torn to pieces and do not survive, but we have seen a number of very brutal amputations… without shrapnel injuries which we strongly suspect must have been caused by the DIME weapons,” he added.

The weapon “causes the tissue to be torn from the flesh. It looks very different (from a shrapnel injury). I have seen and treated a lot of different injuries for the last 30 years in different war zones, and this looks completely different,” said Fosse, 58.

“If you are in the immediate (vicinity of) a DIME weapon, it’s like your legs get torn off. It’s an enormous pressure wave and there is no shrapnel,” he explained.

Gilbert also accused Israel of having used the weapon in the 2006 Lebanon war and previously in Gaza, and referred to studies showing wounds from the explosive could cause lethal forms of cancer within just four to six months.

“Israel should disclose what weapons they use and the international community should make an investigation,” he said, stressing the amount of damage apparently caused by the new form of explosive.

“We are not soft-skinned when it comes to war injuries, but these amputations are really extremely nasty and for many of the patients not survivable,” he said.

to get a sense of where these massacres, war crimes are taking place here are some maps that lovely rania gave me:

gaza-map-1

gaza-map-2

so much devastation, so difficult to keep up with it all. here is some good news for the day, however, with respect to more world-wide solidarity with palestinian steadfastness and resistance in gaza. first is the london protest against ahava, the dead sea salts made on israeli terrorist colonies in the west bank. here is a photograph from their action:

417902

second is the news about the boycott campaign turkey:

Consumers Association of Turkey calls on Turkish citizens to boycott Israeli, US and British products by saying “We will not provide ammunition for siyonist Israel`s attacks”.

Consumers Association members protested Israel in front of Israeli Embassy and announced the list of products that they wanted consumers not to buy.

Honorary President of Consumer Association Lawyer Bülent Deniz said Israel killed hundreds of Palestanians since December the 27, and injured thousands.

“The ones who can survive are under the threat of dying any minute because of medicine and food scarcity”, he said.

Deniz stated, ” we will use our power as consumers and boycott Israel, US and British products”.

Turkish Consumers Association said, “on the boycott list is specific firms that openly declare their support and cooperation to Israel, as well as the ones that transfer funds to Israeli army.”

Some of them include Lay’s, Doritos, Cheetos, Hayat Su, Danone, Activa, Elite Cafe, Becel, Lipton, Calve, Knorr, Algida, Magnum, Carte D’or, Axe, Rexona, Signal, Dove, Omo, Domestos, Marlboro, Parliament, Lark, Muratti, Coca Cola, Pepsi Cola, Starbucks Coffee chain, Mc Donald’s and Burger King.

third, in mauritania the boycott movement is growing:

The Association of Social Workers of Mauritius has asked the public to boycott all Israeli products on the local market.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Mauritians on Saturday marched from the Port Louis race course to the municipality of Port Louis to denounce the massacre and genocide of the Israeli army in Gaza.

Addressing the assembly, Alain Ah-Vee of the political party Lalit declared that the decision of the Mauritian government to suspend the activities of the consulate of Israel is a step in the right direction.

He added that the former prime minister, Seewoosagur Ramgoolam had also taken the same decision in 1976 and that it is now the right time to sever all relations with the Jewish state.

Ah-Vee further made an appeal to the Mauritian government to press member countries of the Southern African Development Community to take similar steps and also show their solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Imran Dhannoo, a social worker, has asked that all Israeli products such as Carmel, Jaffaden juices, Israeli foodstuffs of Yarden France, generic medicines of the firms Teva and Ivax, should be taken out of sale and boycotted.

Also at the initiative of the organisation Mauritians against War, another march took place from Square Khadafi in the capital on Saturday in which politicians from practically all parties took part.

Vice Prime Minister Rashid Beebeejaun called for the closure of the Israeli consulate in Mauritius and declared that the military incursion by Israel is aimed at destroying the Palestinian state.

Attorney General and Minister of Justice Rama Valayden cited Cardinal Renato Martino of the Vatican who had declared that the conditions of living in Gaza had become those of a concentration camp.

& what you can do–for academics–is sign a new petition for scientists opposing the siege of gaza:

To: International Community

(voir plus bas la meme petition en francais)

We, the undersigned, as scientists and members of universities, express our utmost concern and condemnation of the current Israeli attacks in Gaza strip. This is a clear violation of international law, specifically the Fourth Geneva Convention “relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War” (1949).

We cannot remain silent as we receive mails from our colleagues in Gaza, such as

– Suleiman Baraka, astrophysicist in Gaza, who got his PhD in IAP (Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris) and also spent one month in the institute in September 2008. He completed a postdoc in USA, National Institute of Aerospace, and was planning to go back to Gaza to open a research centre in physics. He wrote to us that, after a F16 strike, his house has blown up and swept away, his mother is injured and his 10 years old son is in coma;

– Ziad Medoukh, chief of the French department in Gaza Al-Aqsa university and coordinator of the university peace centre. While he obtained a grant from the French government to study in Paris 8 university, he was not allowed by the Israeli army to leave Gaza. His two cousins and three neighbours are dead in the bombing. After their funeral, he witnessed: “The Israeli army is on its way to destroy Gaza, it bombards everything: schools, mosques, universities, houses, shops, hospitals, police stations and ministries”;

– Students and members of the Islamic university, located on the centre of Gaza, and bombed throughout the night of December 28th.

We are convinced that our individual and official collaborations with researchers and universities in Palestine, and in Gaza, contribute to the peace and communication between people.

In the light of the above, we call on our governments

*to condemn the attack,
* to make pressure on the UN to take actions to « restore international peace and security », on behalf of the Chapter VII of its charter.

Furthermore, we ask for

* the end of the siege on Gaza,
* the free movement of Palestinians, including students and researchers

finally, perhaps most importantly, is the solidarity that the zapatista army of national liberation (ezln) through subcomandante marcos offers as he knows what it means when the victim is blamed, when the victim feels defeated so this offering of solidarity and support becomes all the more crucial:

We don’t know about you, but we Zapatistas from the EZLN, we know how important it is, in the middle of destruction and death, to hear some words of encouragement.

I don’t know how to explain it, but it turns out that yes, words from afar might not stop a bomb, but it’s as if a crack were opened in the black room of death and a tiny ray of light slips in.

As for everything else, what will happen will happen. The Israeli government will declare that it dealt a severe blow to terrorism, it will hide the magnitude of the massacre from its people, the large weapons manufacturers will have obtained economic support to face the crisis, and “the global public opinion,” that malleable entity that is always in fashion, will turn away.

But that’s not all. The Palestinian people will also resist and survive and continue struggling and will continue to have sympathy from below for their cause.

And perhaps a boy or girl from Gaza will survive, too. Perhaps they’ll grow, and with them, their nerve, indignation, and rage. Perhaps they’ll become soldiers or militiamen for one of the groups that struggle in Palestine. Perhaps they’ll find themselves in combat with Israel. Perhaps they’ll do it firing a gun. Perhaps sacrificing themselves with a belt of dynamite around their waists.

And then, from up there above, they will write about the Palestinians’ violent nature and they’ll make declarations condemning that violence and they’ll get back to discussing if it’s Zionism or anti-Semitism.

And no one will ask who planted that which is being harvested.

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.

american arrogance = death

i think that press tv could learn a lot from watching al jazeera’s “inside story” in terms of learning how to shut people up when they need to be shut up. though i think al jazeera should cease putting these racist american and zionist mofos on the air. we get enough of their hatred in the very air we breathe. last night in “inside story” imran garda hosted a discussion related to george bush’s recent remarks on abc tv when he said:

i think i was unprepared for war.

on “inside story” was phyllis bennis of the institute for policy studies, anas al tikriti, an iraqi expatriate, and a raging lunatic called jack brockman who should be locked up and sent away for life. the man is clearly smoking a heavy amount of crack cocaine. because this discussion–the lies and callous, evil rhetoric of burkman as well as the hard-hitting factual responses from bennis and tikriti are so important i’ve typed up a transcript as well. this is especially important to see how much the americans emulate the zionist regime and to see how arrogant and cold-blooded they are as embodied in this soulless burkman person (though giving him the status of personhood is a bit much). i’ve bolded the particularly racist and appalling statements by burkman as well as some of tikriti and bennis’ responses to those statements. if you want to know what colonialism is, what imperialism is just read burkman’s arrogant remarks. it’s all here in black and white.

bennis: it was as if the bush administration was somehow the victim as opposed to the perpetrator of this illegality [of the iraq invasion and occupation].

burkman: how i respond is: who cares? iraq is working brilliantly. you don’t see it anymore on the american nightly news programs. you don’t see it on the european programs. why? because it’s working. for god’s sake starbucks is going into baghdad. i mean, you have a condo boom in baghdad. the french and the germans are buying condos all over the country. you don’t hear about these things. iraq is working. you know, that’s the bottom line. did george bush rig the intelligence? yeah, the rigged the intelligence. you know, i’ll admit that, but the reality is, the united states needed to put a large american army in the heart of the arab world to settle that region down. that region in the wake of 9/11 was going nuts. it was going wild. and the u.s. had to settle it down and that’s what we did. we’ve had no new attacks on the united states since then. bush should get a lot of credit for that and that region is a lot calmer. bush has prevented several regional wars there. i think bush will be like harry truman and richard nixon in that his stock will rise over time. the europeans, the european intellectuals have taken the racist view that arabs are nothing but a bunch of savages that are incapable of democracy. george bush proved them wrong. he said…

bennis: that’s george bush’s view

burkman: no that’s not bush’s view, that’s the european view. in european capitals that’s what they’re afraid to say–that they’re afraid to state. bush has proved them wrong with a high degree of education, and building a real democracy and it’s happening.

tikriti: well sadly i think that that basically underscores the preposterous arrogance that we’re about to see the end of that basically stands for and represents. who cares? well, try asking that of the entire iraqi nation. try asking that of the more than a 1,000,000 people that have died as a result of the 2003 invasion and illegal occupation. try and ask that of the people who have had their entire livelihoods demolished as a result. the iraq that mr. burkman talks about that’s working well, well i’d like him very much to go and visit baghdad and tell me exactly where he thinks it’s going well. the reason why, mr. burkman, you’re not seeing iraq on your nightly news any more is because it’s not working well. it’s a shameful disgrace. it’s a stain on the conscience of every american who takes the stand that you take. the fact that coming back to the initial issue that you–[he’s cut off by burkman, but garda let’s him finish]. unfortunately, the very decision to invade iraq upon the lies, and the rigging that jack burkman thankfully admitted did take place, that’s very much put forward the view that the iraqis themselves cannot handle their own affairs, cannot handle the dictator that was at their helm. the very fact that the americans still–till this very moment–run the streets in baghdad, run every single street in iraq, shows very much that the american administration, this american administration has nothing but contempt for the iraqi people whose livelihoods have demolished.

burkman: i would give my distinguished opponent’s views more credibility if he had spoken up when saddam was killing hundreds of thousands if not millions of people–

tikriti: i did, i did. mr. burkman, you don’t know me. you don’t know me.

burkman: well let me ask you this: what is your vision for the region? george bush, even though you criticize him, had a vision to make this region better. what do you want to do? do you want to leave dictators running…saddam hussein in power for…

bennis: this is the essence of american exceptionalism. this is the essence of american arrogance. that the notion that we have the right to decide what that region should look like. you’re right that saddam hussein’s regime, in the past, had used weapons of mass destruction. how do we know that? we sold them to him. it was the american type culture collection, a small outfit outside of washington, who sold the seed stock for biological weapons in the 1980s with the approval of every u.s. administration and some in congress who knew about it. so we should be very modest here about claiming what was going on there that we had nothing to do with. at the moment that the u.s. decided to go to war–excuse me [burkman rudely interrupts her]–i’m looking at the headline of today’s new york times, not a radical screed, the new york times, “bombs kill 21 iraqis, including children at a mosul school.” you tell me how that squares with the idea that iraq is working, everything is great. this war has brought nothing but death and destruction to the people of iraq, it has destroyed the lives of not only the 4,000 soldiers who–from our country–who have been killed and their families, but over 300,000 who have come back with serious mental and emotional wounds that we have yet to figure out how to solve. and it began with an illegal invasion.

burkman: okay, with respect to wmds i’ll even give you one better: george bush’s father, when he was vice president told saddam hussein to use chemical weapons on the iranians because they were breaking through the lines and guess what? it was the right decision at the time. but that’s not the issue. what i would ask these scholars, these two intellectuals, what is your vision for the region? george bush had a vision, he took action…

bennis: my vision for the region is to let the iraqis decide their own vision.

burkman: do you want to leave? they’re powerless people ruled by dictators. somebody has to step in and remove the dictators otherwise there will never be change.

bennis: no, someone has to stop supporting dictators and letting people decide.

tikriti: yes, if i can just say here, unfortunately we have this very simplistic, very naive, and frankly quite offensive viewpoint that since i’m opposed to the war, i’m opposed to the american presence in iraq that i must be a supporter of saddam. i’ve been an opponent of saddam all my life, sir. i’ve lived my entire life–and i am from iraq–i’ve lived my entire life outside iraq as a result of saddam, who by the way–hang on [rudely interrupted by burkman] who by the way were constantly backed up by your own administration, subsequent administrations. and as phyllis said, who were propped up by weapons sold by your own corporations without a word of condemnation from your part so–

burkman: so tell me, what was your vision for getting rid of saddam?

bennis: the vision was to stop american support.

tikriti: can i ask something? mr. burkman, what business is it of yours to decide who rules my country? it’s my country. it’s my struggle. unfortunately, aside from the fact that i am pleased that saddam is no more, however, i look at what kind of remains are left of iraq–a shattered nation, a shattered population, and now, unfortunately, people like me, millions upon millions–the vast majority of iraqis–who hated saddam’s guts–now wish that he was still here.

burkman: you want me to answer that? who cares?

tikriti: that is unfortunate. that is the legacy that bush leaves.

burkman: tell that to the thousands and thousands of kurdish families that saddam hussein killed and ruined–

tikriti: with your weapons.

burkman: –that you don’t care about–that you forget about.

bennis: who we abandoned in 1991?

tikriti: with weapons that you supplied. with information that you supplied. it was your weapons. your fingers. unfortunately george bush sr. and george bush jr.’s are soaked in iraqi blood. time after time after time iraqi people were let down by subsequent american administrations.

bennis: [when asked about improvement by garda] well it depends on how you interpret it. certainly there are people in baghdad in the government and in the parliament who have been empowered in a whole new way. the shi’a majority, which was disproportionately discriminated against under saddam hussein, has risen to be a dominant power. now i think that most iraqis will say that that the existence of a parliament is not enough to compensate for the loss of a very advanced, overwhelmingly middle-class society with very advanced education and health care levels, a society that had one of the smallest wealth-poverty gaps in the entire arab world. for all of the repression of the saddam hussein years, which was horrific, the standard of living in terms of economic and social rights for iraqis was very high. and the destruction of that–of a largely urban, developed society suddenly has no more than 2-4 hours a day of electricity, water is rationed to 1-2 hours a day in almost all of the country, with the exception of the green zone, the u.s. controlled part of baghdad, the conditions of life are still horrific. and as we see today, people are skill being killed in large numbers. the division of baghdad in to tiny enclaves–walled off, literally blocked off, by blocks, looking like a maze–very much in parallel with what the israeli occupation of the palestinian territories is looking like with its separation wall. dividing communities. showing the kind of ethnic cleansing that went on within these wars in iraq has succeeded to dividing what was once a very vibrant and multicultural society into tiny ethnic enclaves. it’s the destruction of an ancient and very vibrant society so the question of who paid the price is a very, very powerful one.

burkman: well i guess the message there is that dictators work so leave them alone that’s what they want. it’s working for everybody so it’s just that george bush had a different vision. he wants to lead people out of the 9th century. he wants to lead those people out of darkness. and this was the way to do it. it’s not just a question of iraq. some of what she says about iraq is true. but after 9/11 the u.s., as the world’s hegemon had to make changes in the mideast. the region wasn’t working for the u.s., it wasn’t working for europe, it wasn’t working for–

garda: but you keep talking about 9/11: iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. it’s been proven.

burkman: well, it depends on how you look at that. even if there are no links to al–even if there are no links between al qa’eda and saddam–and i’m not sure that that’s the case–but even if that’s the case, the reality is that entities like al qa’eda only exist because of all the support from radical arab regimes. saddam hussein over the years has contributed mightily to terrorism in the world. there’s no question about that. nobody can dispute that. had there been–if you didn’t have this radical arabism in the mid east, you would never have had organizations like al qa’eda.

tikriti: it’s this kind of arrogance that’s unfortunately isolating the american people, sadly, because of the faults of the american administration, the entire american people are suffering as a result in the eyes of the entire world. rhetoric such as that, i’m sorry to say, bigoted, almost racist, leading people from darkness into light–

burkman: why is it bigoted?

tikriti: how dare you claim that iraq was living in darkness! how dare you! the cradle of civilizations! where more than a million scholars, where more than intellectuals–no hang on: you are supporting, your regime is supporting dictators around the world. you came and picked on iraq for one particular reason and that was oil. don’t make it a thing about driving people from darkness to light. that is a racist–that is an extremely offensive rhetoric that you should be ashamed of yourself for saying. however, i would say this–

burkman: ashamed of?

tikriti: yes absolutely! let me finish. in iraq despite the dark days of saddam, despite the ba’athists, which was once again propped up by subsequent, successive american administrations, there was not one single suicide bombing. there was not one single terrorist anywhere–either in iraq or around the world that came from iraq. iraq never ever saw the kind of bombings that we saw in the aftermath of the invasion and the illegal occupation. iraq became a hotbed of terrorism simply because the bush strategy in iraq made it possible for al qa’eda and other groups to come and make iraq that hotbed of terrorism. so unfortunately, despite the fact that george w. bush and his cronies, and people who prop them up, such as jack burkman, may feel that they have a reason to hold their heads up high–try telling that to the iraqi people. try telling that to children for the past ten years haven’t had a life to speak about.

bennis: [in response to garda’s question about obama withdrawing troops] no i think it’s important that they be withdrawn much before that. the agreement says that the united states can withdraw troops at any time. the problem that we face is that while barack obama campaigned on the notion that he would end the war, his actual strategy was not an end to the complete occupation. it was to withdraw what he identifies as combat troops, which is an official term within the military, but clearly all the troops in iraq are engaged in or in danger of having to engage in combat. so the real end of the war is only to be made possible with the withdrawal of the u.s. troops. there are many wars now in iraq that have been created by the u.s. occupation. the end of the u.s. occupation will not end all of those wars. but only with the end of the u.s. occupation–meaning all the troops and all the mercenaries and closing the bases and stopping the effort to control the oil–that will make possible the potential for iraq to end its own wars.

burkman: i don’t know, i don’t think obama will have much choice. i think the u.s. will have to be there. i mean, i want them out, george bush wants them out as soon as possible, i mean, we have 2, 3, 4 years or more. i don’t think there’s any way to do it without seeing the just terrible problem in the region. but let me as you this: everybody’s focused, your guests are all focused on the down side. what if it works? what about the upside? what about the potential? what if iraq works? what if george bush succeeds in creating a vibrant, thriving democracy in the heart of the mid east? has anyone ever thought of the upside potential of this for the region and the world?

bennis: not with a 1,000,000 people dead. no. there is no upside for 1,000,000 people dead.

burkman: how many did saddam kill, phyllis?

bennis: well, the estimates are several hundred thousand. with our help. i don’t think we need to add to that bloody legacy.

tikriti: well, in my book what starts with a lie does really end very, very well. and george bush has admitted, sort of regrets–no apology though–regrets the false information although it’s not his fault once again. however, it comes 6 years too late and unfortunately more than 1,000,000 people have perished as a result of his fallacy. i’m not here to see his expression of his regret. it’s wrong and unfortunately i don’t see a kind of short term resolution of the crisis that is iraq and unfortunately it won’t work, jack. believe me, it won’t work.

american ignorance, american arrogance leads to death. you see why i left my country? these people really need to be locked up. i’m thinking the sort of re-education prison camps (yes, i know, i am opposed to prisons in general) but life in prison for people like this burkman and the entire bush regime and all previous american regimes and those who supported them. let’s take out everyone else from prison–mumia, peltier, etc. and put these guys in their stead. let’s force them to be educated. though i’m wondering if it would be possible given that these people clearly have brains the size of peas.

borders, boycott, and the continuing ethnic cleansing of palestine

Strike day two. I went to the university today–yesterday as today–at the usual time. But it was a ghost town. There were not services and buses full of students unloading at the gates. Even the coffee shop was closed. Rami’s felafel stand was empty–no customers. I found out today that there are 13,000 who travel to Nablus–out of some 19,000 students overall–for classes at An Najah National University. But no one is traveling now, at least not students, because of the strike. Faculty are still required or asked to make an appearance each day for a few hours. It has given me some extra time to read and to run some errands. Yesterday I went downtown for a few hours to visit a bookshop, pick up some fresh bread and dates, and go to the bank. As I was sitting down with my banker, a lovely young man whom I’ve gotten to know over the past few months, we got into a conversation about politics. Somehow we started talking about Hezbollah and he expressed his disapproval of them. “They’re Shi’a, you know, they’re not really Muslims,” he said. Another division. Layer them on. Like Palestinians don’t have enough divisions inside Palestine based on political parties, class, whether or not one is from a village or a city, whether or not one is Christian or Muslim, whether or not one is a refugee, whether or not one is from 1948 or 1967 Palestine (and news about Israeli recruitment of Palestinians in 1948 for their terrorist army does not bode well in this regard). Let’s add another. The U.S., Israel, Europe have created this monster of divide-and-rule colonialism that infects the brain at such a dizzying rate. It’s overwhelming. This is a time when we need solidarity among people at every level across political, class, ethnic, national lines. It feels exhausting sometimes having to challenge these points of view whenever I encounter them. I feel like I encounter them far too often.

amer-shomali

The only way I seem to be able to deal with these hurdles is to keep Rania’s ever optimistic, ever inspirational voice in my head. I keep trying to think of ways people can think of coming together through boycott, for instance. I wondered today if there is a way to connect this strike–the need of faculty members to seek a better wage with the need to support other economies in Palestine. There was a report today about the staggering rate of Israeli imports into Palestine that furthered this thinking:

An overwhelming 74% of goods imported into the Palestinian territories come from Israel, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) reported on Monday.

PCBS’ figure is based on the vouchers of the value added tax (VAT), which is collected by Israel, for 2007.

Imports increased by 9% compared with 2006, including a 19% increase in imports of petroleum products and electric power compared with 2006, the increase in chemical products and medicines was 15%.

Palestinian imports totaled over three billion US dollars.

Exports totaled 392 million US dollars, reflecting a 7% increase over 2006.

One argument too many Palestinians use to resist boycotting Israeli products is a defeatist one. They say that it’s impossible because to live one necessarily has to use goods and services from the Israeli colonial occupiers. This is true. For instance, the water and electricity in our homes or workplaces comes from them. We pay bills to them even though they steal the water from Palestine they sell back to us. Or there are also some products that are produced by Palestinians but that are made with Israeli raw materials because they cannot be found here. But this is precisely why one must boycott whenever and wherever one can: since we have so few choices in our lives here, we must boycott Israeli products wherever possible (and I would add we should boycott American products as well–but as you may imagine if it’s impossible to get people to agree to boycotting Israeli products, boycotting American products is even more of a challenge).

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Rania reminded me of some good news that could be related to the boycott campaign against Starbucks, especially because there are so many awesome forces working against them:

Starbucks has seen its fourth-quarter profit almost wiped out by the cost of closing under-performing outlets and falling customer numbers.

While, of course, those of us who refuse to spend money at American businesses that give substantial profits to the Zionist state, there are other reasons why people boycott Starbucks as well:

The protests are designed to call attention to a number of issues, including Starbucks’ use of genetically engineered ingredients in their brand-name products, as well as the company’s refusal to brew and seriously promote Fair Trade coffee.

Of course, we don’t have Starbucks here in Palestine–thank God!–though as I’ve commented before people continue to purchase Nescafe (or anything from Nestle), which is worse in many respects. One of the many crimes of Nestle, which is also known as Osem in Israel and here, is the fact that one of its main factories is on the village of Najd, which is one of the 531 Palestinian villages ethnically cleansed by Jewish colonists in 1948. The photograph below is one I took of Osem in Najd (the name of the village has been ethnically cleansed, too, as it is now called Sderot).

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When there are choices, however, as I stated above, one should make those choices and there is a choice as can be seen in this photograph. I found Al Wald instant coffee, which is made in Jenin. This company is Palestinian owned and of course does not profit off of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. Given that ethnic cleansing began as soon as the Jewish colonists/terrorists arrived here has continued unabated since then there must be solidarity on all levels: economic, political, cultural, social. In particular there must be solidarity surrounding the continued expulsion of Palestinians from their home as in the case of the al-Kurd family from their Sheikh Jarrah home in Al Quds this week. As I wrote the other day, this campaign the cancer that is Israel is spreading into Palestinian lands house by house, olive tree by olive tree. The forced removal of the al-Kurd family from their home reveals a rather interesting conundrum for Israeli settler colonists who took over the home:

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The story of the al-Kurd house is long and disputed and involves complicated legal and political battles. Mohammad al-Kurd and his parents were one of several families of Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war who were housed in the Sheikh Jarrah district in 1956, a time when it was under Jordanian control.

His family came from Jaffa, near Tel Aviv, and his wife’s family was from Talbeyieh in west Jerusalem. Under an agreement with the UN agency for Palestinian refugees the families gave up their food ration cards and were given the properties under 33-year leases, which would revert to full ownership as long as they paid a token rent and kept the properties in good order.

It appears, however, that the land was previously owned in the late 19th century by Jews – it is close to an old Jewish tomb long popular with pilgrims. In 1967, when Israel captured east Jerusalem, the property was taken by the custodian for absentee property, an Israeli institution that had also taken control of all property left behind by the 700,000 Palestinians who fled or were forced out in the 1948 war.

Two Jewish groups began a legal process to reclaim ownership of the property and in 1972 the court gave control of the land to the heirs of two rabbis who appeared to be the 19th century owners.

The al-Kurd family say their Israeli lawyer made the agreement without their knowledge.

The couple became ‘protected tenants’, liable to pay rent to their new Israeli landlords but they refused on principle.

“Why should I pay rent for my own house?” said Fawzieh al-Kurd, 57, who sat yesterday by a tent on a patch of wasteland not far from her house. In 2001, several settlers began to occupy an outer part of the house and remain in place today – despite court orders to evict them.

As soon as the couple was evicted at 4am on Sunday, a group of Jewish settlers moved in. They remain there today while armed police officers and private security guards patrol the surrounding area where several settler families live.

“The Israeli government did what they wanted to do,” said al-Kurd. “Because we are Palestinians they have to humiliate and insult us like this? Don’t we deserve to live in peace on our land?”

The United Nations relief and works agency (UNRWA) said it opposed the eviction of the al-Kurds and of all Palestinian refugees.

“Throwing an elderly couple out of their house in the early hours of the morning is shameful,” said Chris Gunness, a spokesman. “UNRWA will continue to offer the family assistance but nothing we offer can compensate for the loss of a home.”

Although Israel’s absentee property laws were applied on the al-Kurd family in favour of the original Jewish owners they are rarely, if ever, applied on properties in Israel that were owned by Palestinians before the 1948 war.

Rabbi Arik Ascherman, of the Israeli group Rabbis for Human Rights, acknowledged that the al-Kurd land may have belonged to Jews before 1948 but told the Associated Press: “Do any of us Israelis really want to go back to the situation where everyone owns what they owned in 1948?”

The fact that the al-Kurd family is a family of refugees from Yaffa and west Al Quds makes this case all the more interesting. Indeed, I actually think we should take up Rabbi Ascherman’s question and pursue it. If Israel is the democracy it claims to be, and if legal cases set precedents, then why not now argue that, okay, there is now a legal case stating that those who owned land in the 19th century are the rightful and lawful owners and therefore all Palestinians should reclaim their land. I fully think that this should pursued. And, in the meantime, we should see who it is living in the al-Kurd family’s home or on their land in Yaffa and West al Quds. If it is a Jewish family, let’s find a way to evict them so the al-Kurd family can claim their right to return under international law. This seems fair to me. But, of course, Israel is not a democracy, except in rhetoric, and of course the Zionist state subsists on hypocrisy and double speak.

The situation in Al Quds is made all the more interesting because as I type, people in Jerusalem are voting for a new mayor. Supposedly only the top two candidates support the continuing ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their land in Al Quds through illegal settlement expansion. There are two interesting Al Jazeera stories on this election, the first one compares the three candidates and gives you a sense of how normalized and institutionalized racism is in Israeli society:

The second story from Al Jazeera focuses on Arcadi Gaydamak, who supposedly is trying to win Palestinian votes in the election, though most Palestinians are boycotting it entirely since regardless they have no power over the colonial regime occupying their city and always stealing more land:

One thing that strikes me from this second clip are the images of the 2006 Israeli invasion of Lebanon when Gaydamak apparently funded tents for Israelis during the war. Check these out. Do you have any idea what happens to Lebanese under siege? There are no bomb shelters. There are no resort-like cabanas masquerading as refugee tents. It’s really sick and disgusting as it looks as if they are having a beach party while at the same time Gaza and Lebanon were being bombarded back to the stone age.

The ever expanding settlements of Al Quds, like the rest of Palestine, should be a symbol of why there should be increased resistance to this immoral colonial regime. As I’ve written over the past few weeks, there is certainly a growing movement of boycott around the world–especially in Europe–but it is problematic to say the least to isolate and boycott only goods from illegal Israeli settlements. Boycott must be comprehensive and total as the entire land of Palestine is occupied. Omar Barghouti makes this case very lucidly:

Politically speaking, though, and even if distinguishing between produce of settlements and produce of Israel were possible, activists who on principle – rather than out of convenience – advocate a boycott of only the former may indicate that they themselves are merely objecting to the Israeli military occupation and colonization of 1967 and have no problem whatsoever with Israel as a state that practices apartheid, or institutionalized racial discrimination, against its own “non-Jewish” citizens and that denies Palestinian refugee rights, sanctioned by the UN. Even if we ignore those other grave injustices committed by Israel, and irrespective of what solution to this entire oppression any of us may uphold, one cannot but recognize the inherent flaws in this argument.

When a state X occupies another “state” Y and persistently violates UN resolutions calling for an end to this occupation, the international community often punishes X and not some manifestation of X’s occupation! Governments aside, international civil society organizations have repeatedly boycotted entire states implicated in prolonged belligerent occupation, apartheid or other severe human rights violations, and not just parts of those states. Was there ever a movement calling for boycotting the bantustans alone in South Africa? Are there calls for boycotting only the Sudanese army and government officials present in Darfur today? Did any of the free-Tibet activists ever call for boycotting only those Chinese products made in Tibet?

Forgetting for the moment the fact that it was born out of ethnic cleansing and the destruction of the indigenous Palestinian society, Israel is the state that built and is fully responsible for maintaining the illegal Jewish colonies. Why should anyone punish the settlements and not Israel? This hardly makes any sense, politically speaking. Despite their noble intentions, people of conscience supporting peace and justice in Palestine who accept this distinction are effectively accommodating Israeli exceptionalism, or Israel’s status as a state above the law.

Finally, and most crucially, there is a moral problem that must be addressed in this approach. Ignoring Israel’s denial of refugee rights and its own system of racial discrimination against its “non-Jewish” citizens, the two other fundamental injustices listed in the BDS Call, is tantamount to accepting these two grave — certainly not any less evil — violations of human rights and international law as a given, or something that “we can live with.” Well, we cannot. Why should European civil society that fought apartheid in South Africa accept apartheid in Israel as normal, tolerable or unquestionable? Holocaust guilt cannot morally justify European complicity in prolonging the suffering, bloodshed and decades-old injustice that Israel has visited upon Palestinians and Arabs in general, using the Nazi genocide as pretext.

Indeed. What about the slow genocide–and denial of that–happening in Gaza? We know what happens to those why deny what happened during World War II to the Jews–and of course I would never advocate that. It happened. But why does that necessitate the specter of the Nazi holocaust whenever one states the facts of Palestine–its past or its present? Look at what the ITF is doing in Jayyous, because they do not only uproot families, but also olive trees:

Less than a week after an Occupation High Court decision to change the route of the Apartheid Wall in Jayyous, Occupation forces began destroying farmland in the south of the village to make room for the construction of the Wall. They are currently in the process of cutting down some 200 olive trees that have already been marked for uprooting.

Look at what the Israeli media said about the effect of its denial of fuel to Gaza:

As fuel terminals close in response to recent Qassam attacks, Gazan residents suffer blackouts due to shutting down of power stations. Vilnai: ‘Pity we’re falling for this propaganda; if there is one kilowatt in Gaza it’s in a rocket-manufacturing workshop’

In contradistinction, here is what the BBC has to day about the same situation (and the last time I checked, the BBC was not a Hamas propaganda outfit):

Residents said Gaza City was plunged into darkness as the plant’s last two turbines were shut down late on Monday, a day after the other one was stopped.

Today, the Zionist state has allowed some fuel into Gaza, but it is limited and it is likely that the same situation will repeat itself before long and Gaza will yet again suffer darkness and cold.

And make no mistake: this will continue. In spite of Hamas’ repeated claim that they are willing to settle on 1967 borders, Livni made it clear that she is not interested on this, in spite of UN Resolution 242, or the fact that this has been the main negotiating point since the horror that has been the so-called “peace process” (otherwise known as the war process for those who live here). Here she shows her true colors (perhaps emboldened by Barack Obama’s selection of Rahm Israel Emanuel?):

Kadima Chairwoman and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni distanced herself Tuesday from outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s recent assertion that Israel needs to return to its pre-1967 borders.

“I as Kadima Chairwoman am not committed to the outgoing prime minister’s comments – but to Kadima’s platform, and this is what determines exactly how we will hold negotiations,” said Livni, speaking in an interview with Army Radio.

Olmert called on Monday for withdrawing from the territories and “returning to the area that was Israel until 1967.”

Livni continued: “Between myself and Olmert there have been differences. When I wrote the platform of Kadima, upon its establishment, Olmert spoke in terms of ‘consolidation.’

“You can’t just throw the key to the other side and hope for the best, especially not in Judea and Samaria.”

She was referring to the plan for a pullout from the West Bank touted by Olmert when he headed Kadima’s 2006 electoral bid. Livni herself will be seeking to bring the ruling Kadima party victory in the upcoming general elections in February.

However, Livni did affirm the importance of continuing peace talks with the Palestinian Authority, and of reaching a final agreement based on territorial compromise.

“We want to maintain a safe state in Israel and this cannot be done on all of it. We need to finish the conflict with the Palestinians and look out for the security of our citizens,” she told Army Radio.

Let’s be clear: I am by no means advocating that the border is the 1967 border. Not one inch of Palestine can ever be negotiated away. Truth, international law, and human rights will win in the end. But, Livni’s claims are important in the sense that it reveals in a very obvious way how Israelis are never interested in peace and always interested in continuing expansionism as is the case with every colonial regime over the course of history. But like South Africa and India and Algeria and Haiti and so many other former colonies one day Palestine will be free and the fact that Israelis make it so easy by revealing their true colors so clearly for all the world to see makes our jobs that much easier.