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We Call Upon the International Community to Restrain Israel
[Istanbul] One year ago today, six ships carrying nearly 700 human rights defenders, met at sea to commence the last leg of our voyage to Gaza to break Israel’s brutal stranglehold on 1.5 million Palestinians. A few hours later the Israeli military launched a full-scale assault on our civilian convoy, killing nine of our colleagues and injuring over 50 others.
Despite widespread condemnation and an UN-commissioned investigation that found Israel’s acts unlawful, possibly amounting to war crimes, Israel has yet to be held accountable. Families of the victims killed on the Mavi Marmara await justice and millions of Palestinians continue to demand their human rights respected.
Netanyahu Spurns Peace - by Stephen Lendman
Calling for Palestinian capitulation, not peace and liberation, Netanyahu delivered a litany of lies, fabrications, misstatements, and half-truths to AIPAC members on May 23, saying:
-- "Israel is unjustly accused of not wanting peace with the Palestinians. Nothing could be further from the truth." In fact, he once called the peace process "a waste of time," governing accordingly to avoid it.
-- Peace "can only come through....mutual trust," he said, adding that he envisions "peace in which a demilitarized Palestinian state recognizes the Jewish state." In fact, they're preconditions solely for them, no other states with which Israel has diplomatic relations, including peace treaty terms with Egypt and Jordan.
by Michel Chossudovsky and Julie Lévesque
The Spirit of Rachel Corrie (officially known as FINCH) carrying a humanitarian cargo to Gaza was attacked by an Israeli naval patrol within the so-called Palestinian Security Zone on May 15, at 10.54pm EDT. The ship is carrying 7.5 kilometers of UPVC (plastic) sewage pipes to help restore the devastated sewerage system in Gaza.
Global Research is a partner with the Perdana Global Peace Foundation's mission. A member of Global Research is on board the ship.
After being attacked by Israel and stranded in Egyptian territorial waters for 7 days, The Spirit of Rachel Corrie has lifted anchor and is sailing back towards Gaza [8.33am EDT, 14.33pm local time] in defiance of both the Egyptian and Israeli navy patrols. SPREAD THE WORD
We call upon human rights organizations, Palestinian solidarity organizations Worldwide to take an active position regarding the Spirit of Rachel Corrie.
SPREAD THE WORD, REPORT THIS MESSAGE ON FACEBOOK
Support the Spirit of Rachel Corrie's resolve to break the blockade. What happens in the next few hours will be decisive. Egypt is complicit in supporting the blockade.
The objective is to break the Egypt-Israel agreement and open up the border crossing by land and by sea between Egypt and Gaza.
The Spirit of Rachel Corrie Mission will inevitably have a direct bearing on future humanitarian endeavors including the Freedom Flotilla which is scheduled to sail to Gaza in June.
Stealing Palestinian Land Dunam by Dunam - by Stephen Lendman
One dunam is 1,000 square meters, four dunams to an acre. Israel is stealing them incrementally to control all valued Palestinian land, dispossessing indigenous people illegally in the process.
B'Tselem is the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories. In May, it published a comprehensive report titled, "Dispossession & Exploitation: Israel's policy in the Jordan Valley & northern Dead Sea," saying:
Both areas contain "the largest land reserves in the West Bank," covering 1.6 million dunams or 28.8% of the Territory. It's home to 65,000 Palestinians in 29 communities, as well as another 15,000 in dozens of small Bedouin ones. In addition, about 9,400 Israelis live in 37 settlements, including seven outposts.
Poet, Author, Civil Rights activist Alice Walker says “The Gaza Flotilla is the Freedom Ride of This Era”
“If we allowed the Freedom Ride to stop after so much violence had been inflicted, the message would have been sent that they can stop a nonviolent campaign by inflicting massive violence." 1961, Diane Nash, Freedom Ride organizer
By Ann Wright
Alice Walker, one of America’s premier writers, poets and civil rights activists said this month, “The Gaza Flotilla is the Freedom Ride of this era.” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VB6qZs-VJLw0). Remembering growing up in Mississippi, Walker said “We prayed for people to come to break through the Klan, the racist police, the white citizens’ councils, to come and see what we suffered with every day.” Walker added, “We must oppose oppression with every ounce of our blood. We must go and see what is happening and join our stories to their stories. We do this especially for the youth. It may take the rest of our lives, but we will start now.”
1961 Freedom Rides
Killing Rachel Corrie Twice - by Stephen Lendman
On May 16, at 6:54AM Gaza time (3:54AM GMT), in international waters, an Israeli naval vessel attacked the Malaysian owned Spirit of Rachel Corrie ship (officially the MV Finch), carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza. More details below.
Lawless Monday followed Nakba Day's bloody Sunday, Israeli security forces assaulting unprecedented numbers of nonviolent demonstrators in Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and along the Lebanese/Syrian borders.
Egypt was complicit, blocking activists from reaching Rafah. So was Jordan, forcefully preventing Palestinian supporters from approaching the King Hussein Jordan River Crossing Point.
Nonetheless, the day was potentially historic. Activists hope it will inspire greater global support for Palestinian liberation and justice, what only hindsight will show.
From the Stay Human Convoy in Gaza:
The Buffer Zone: realities of this accursed siege
This morning as well, we woke up after only a few hours' sleep: various meetings with our Palestinian comrades here, and which we have been able to attend to everyday, keep us all busy late into the evenings. These are obviously followed by the Convoy's endless assemblies, which keep us all awake until the early hours.
Montreal, 12.30 AM EST,
Global Research has been in contact with the Spirit of Rachel Corrie, a Malaysian ship carrying a humanitarian aid cargo to Gaza, which has been attacked in international waters by Israel.
Israeli Violence Marks Nakba Day - by Stephen Lendman
For Palestinians worldwide and millions supporting them, Nakba Day commemorates loss of their homeland, initially 78% in 1948, then the rest 19 years later in 1967.
Speaking for many, Audeh Rantisi recounted the horror, saying:
"I cannot forget three horror-filled days in July 1948," weeks after Israel's May 14 Yom Ha'atzmaut, its Declaration of Independence at the expense of displaced and slaughtered Palestinians.
"The pain sears my memory," he said, "and I cannot rid myself of it no matter how hard I try."
Many hundreds of thousands of Palestinians endured brutality, harassment, humiliation, and loss of their entire world, what Edward Said called "a slow death," shattered lives, and the incalculable horror of it all.
Explaining the horrific toll, Rantisi added:
From the Stay Human Convoy in Gaza:
14th May 2011- Gaza City
Everywhere in the world, the sea evokes the universal feeling of an endless expanse of water that stretches out to the horizon, as far as the naked eye can see...bearing evocations of limitless possibilities that fire the imagination, bringing forth dreams and desires of travelling beyond one's native turf.
In this land under military siege, however, where every attack is aimed at undermining the population's autonomy- thus rendering it dependent upon the ‘generous' concessions of the oppressors- the sea is first and foremost one of the few remaining outlets for survival and self-sustenance.
Solidarity with Palestine - by Stephen Lendman
Ahead of May 15 Nakba commemorations, massive crowds assembled in Cairo's Tahrir (Liberation) Square in solidarity. They displayed banners, proclaiming, "The People want the Rafah Crossing opened," and "Palestine is a Arab state."
They also waved Palestinian flags, chanting "Solidarity with the Palestinian Intifada" and "National Unity" ahead of a planned weekend march to Gaza. More on that below.
Domestic issues were also addressed, including ending recent sectarian violence and concerns about popular unaddressed issues under military junta rule. After Friday prayers, Sheikh Safwat Hegazy addressed the crowd, saying:
"(Appointed prime minister) Essam Sharaf: this is not your government. This is the revolution's government. You should kick out the six former (NDP ruling party) ministers from the cabinet. We won't accept (deputy prime minister) Yehia El-Gamal who's part of the former regime...."
Remembering the Nakba
About this time each year, millions of Israelis and Jews around the world celebrate Israel ’s independence in 1948. But what is a time of celebration for Jewish Israelis is a very different kind of anniversary for over one and a half million Palestinians in Israel, over four million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza - 40% of whom live in refugee camps, some 650,000 in refugee camps elsewhere in the middle east, and over 3 million around the world with UN-registered property claims against Israel who are now living in what is known as the Palestinian Diaspora. For them - the largest and longest-standing registered refugee population in the world - March 14 marks the remembrance of their greatest collective tragedy.
From the Stay Human Convoy:
We are getting to know Gaza.
From the Stay Human Convoy:
The sun had not yet risen in Cairo, as the Stay Human convoy began to prepare the departure for Gaza. The journey about to be embarked upon was one filled with expectations and hope. The importance of the crossing the border at Rafah following the protests that brought down the Mubarak regime was on the minds of everyone, as well as the desire to remember Vittorio Arrigoni in the same place where he dedicated his life. The convoy will carry a message to the people of Palestine addressed to the entire world: Palestine is not alone, Vik's dreams are also ours, solidarity towards those who struggle against oppression and exploitation knows no borders.
From the Stay Human Convoy:
12 May 2011,
After leaving Cairo this morning at dawn, the 80 activists of the ‘Restiamo Umani' convoy have entered Gaza at 4pm after crossing five Egyptian check-points.
The convoy, whose goal is to return to the place where Vittorio Arrigoni has spent his life, wrote a first report - posted on www.vik2gaza.org- “We are going to Gaza, Vittorio is with us”.
The convoy will remain in the Gaza strip until the 17 of May to meet the Palestinian people who day by day are trying to resist the Israeli military occupation. The convoy will also join the commemorations for the thirtieth day of Vittorio's death and for Nakba, the day of the Palestinian catastrophe, which will take place between the 14 and the 15 of May.
From the Stay Human Convoy:
Today marks the official start of the 'Stay Human' Convoy. 80 activists from all over the world, from Italy, Germany, England, the United States, France and Poland have gathered in Cairo.
The Egyptian capital, that is both a meeting place and a point of departure for the Convoy, has witnessed over the past few months huge mobilizations that led to the fall of the Mubarak regime.
A few days ago, and in response to popular pressure, the Egyptian government stated that the Rafah Border Crossing would be reopening. The capital is currently packed with demonstrators who are preparing 3 days of initiatives.
Italian construction firm Pizzarotti is stupefied, bewildered, stunned.
In an article on today's Corriere della Sera, Italy's top newspaper, covering Deutsche Bahn's withdrawal from the Israeli project for a high-speed train line that cuts through the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Michele Pizzarotti said "We are astonished to find ourselves involved in these protests."
Pizzarotti, through a joint venture with Israeli Shapir Engineering, has been contracted to build tunnels in section C of the planned A1 train route from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv; section C starts in the Latrun enclave and ends at Cedars Valley, both in the occupied West Bank.
East Jerusalem Residents: Lawlessly Revoking Their Status - by Stephen Lendman
On April 7, 2011, HaMoked: Center for the Defense of the Individual and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) filed a petition, demanding that Israel's Interior Ministry stop revoking residency permits given East Jerusalem Palestinians.
After its June 1967 annexation, life for Palestinian residents became an ongoing cycle of neglect, discrimination, poverty, shortages, and persecution, compounded by the encircling Separation Wall and worsening daily hardships.
Commemorating Palestine's Nakba - by Stephen Lendman
What Ilan Pappe described as "the ethnic cleaning of Palestine," Edward Said called its "holocaust," saying:
"Every human calamity is different, but there is value in seeing analogies and perhaps hidden similarities." He called Nazi extermination "the lowest point of (Jewish) collective existence." Occupied Palestinians today "are as powerless as Jews were" under Hitler, devastated by "power used for evil purposes," not self-defense.
As a result, they hang onto life by a thread, while Israel's military juggernaut systematically reigns terror against them, no one intervening to help. "Is this the Zionist goal for which hundreds of thousands have died," Said asked? Isn't it time for justice advocates to demand for Palestinians what Jews spent decades to achieve.
In his book titled, "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine," Pappe documented Israel's master plan D (Dalet in Hebrew), a war without mercy:
Palestinian Unity: Done Deal or Wobbly? - by Stephen Lendman
A previous article explained the announced deal, accessed through the following link:
In late April, Fatah and Hamas announced a reconciliation draft agreement, including a transitional government and planned presidential and legislative elections within a year.
It signaled hope for rapprochement between the two sides, as well as better prospects for Palestinian independence within 1967 borders, UN membership, achieving peace, and ending Israel's 44 year occupation. However, fulfillment faces long odds without strong Western backing, unlikely to surface given determined Israeli and Washington pressure to subvert it.
Despite unresolved issues between the two sides, AFP writer Nasser Abu Bakr headlined on May 3, "Palestinian factions sign unity deal in Cairo," saying:
Oppressing West Bank Palestinian Children - by Stephen Lendman
The Al-Zaytouna Centre for Studies and Consultations is a Beirut, Lebanon-based organization engaged in "strategic and futuristic studies on the Arab and Muslim worlds, (highlighting) the Palestinian issue."
In spring 2010, it published a Britain-Palestine All Party Parliamentary Group (BPAPPG) study, including the widespread detention of Palestinian children titled, "Under Occupation: A Report on the West Bank," discussed below.
Under military occupation, Palestinian children are treated like adults. Each year, about 700 are arrested, brutally interrogated, and prosecuted in military courts, denying them justice.
Since 2000 alone, over 7,000 have been brutalized. On January 31, 2011, 222 Palestinian children were imprisoned, 34 aged 12 - 15. Some at times are 10 or younger. At age 16, they're considered adults in violation of international law.
Palestinian Unity Deal Announced - by Stephen Lendman
On April 27, the International Middle East Media Center headlined, "Rival Palestinian Factions Reach Reconciliation Agreement," saying:
Meeting in Cairo, Palestinian media sources announced a Hamas - Fatah reconciliation draft agreement, signaling hope for rapprochement between the two sides.
Both parties agreed to form a transitional government soon. The two delegations, headed by Fatah President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal discussed security issues and ways to coordinate forces on both sides. They also chose an election date, but didn't disclose it.
"A Hamas official (Izzat Ar-Rishiq) reported that all points of differences with Fatah have been overcome....Egyptian sources said that the two parties will be invited into Egypt soon (for an) official signing ceremony."
From Foreign Policy
When Montgomery comes to Nabi Saleh
Posted By Mark Perry
On March 24, the Israeli government arrested Bassem Tamimi, a 44-year-old resident of the small Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh, which is just west of Ramallah. Tamimi was arrested for leading a group of his neighbors in protest marches on a settlement that had "expropriated" the village's spring -- the symbolic center of Nabi Saleh's life.
Israel's Lawless Arrest of Ahmad Qatamish - by Stephen Lendman
On April 21, the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association expressed grave concern about Qatamish's arrest:
"not only because (it's) motivated by his political opinions and beliefs and as such should be considered a case of arbitrary detention, but also because (he's) been (targeted by) Israeli authorities before on numerous occasions, notably" for long incarcerations without charge.
As a result, Addameer feels he'll again be administratively detained "without proper recourse to justice and without any legitimate means to defend himself."
Speaking on his behalf, Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) member Dr. Mustafa Barghouti called Israel's arrest "a shameless attempt at muzzling him in an unjustifiable attack on his freedom of expression."
US human rights advocates who are planning to sail their boat - The Audacity of Hope - this spring as part of an international flotilla in solidarity with the people of Gaza will not be deterred by implied threats of violence by the Israeli government, say the boat’s organizers.
The Israeli media recently reported that that country's UN ambassador, Meron Reuben, asked the international organization to stop the flotilla, which is expected to include some 12 boats carrying a thousand nonviolent civilians from dozens of countries. Reuben characterized the activists as "terrorists" with ties to Hamas, the Islamist party that rules Gaza, who are "willing to become martyrs."
Commemorating Palestinian Political Prisoners - by Stephen Lendman
Since 1979, April 17 annually is Palestinian Prisoners Day, commemorating Mahmoud Hijazi's 1974 release - the first ever prisoner swap with Israel.
Acknowledging the day, the Addameer Prisoners Support and Human Rights Association highlighted the thousands of persecuted prisoners, launching a new campaign on their behalf "to raise awareness of specific cases....whose detention (pose) serious risks."
Ayed Dudeen is one of many affected, incarcerated without charge or trial since October 2007, the longest interned administrative detainee. A father of six, he's, in fact, been held for most of the past 19 years unjustly like so many others for shorter or longer periods.
Addressing Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, Military Judge Advocate General Avihai Mandelblit, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Israel's Permanent UN Mission in Geneva, Addameer expressed "strong concerns" on his behalf.
By Pam Bailey, Mondoweiss
When the news first broke that Vittorio Arrigoni, the Italian who had been volunteering in Gaza with the International Solidarity Movement, had been kidnapped and murdered, the response in the U.S. and international media was similar to this comment by Charles Glass in The National: “After what happened to this brave young man, how many others will volunteer to take his place - when it may mean death to those who love them?”
The New York Times commented: “(The murder) raised embarrassing questions for Hamas about the security it says it has restored.... It also raises the specter of a growing boldness on the part of more extreme, virulently anti-Western Islamic groups in Gaza, which would pose a challenge not only to Hamas but to foreign activists promoting the Palestinian cause.”
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I want to tell you something. As we know, there is every possibility that the U.S. Boat to Gaza will not get through. We know the Israelis intend to stop the flotilla and we know they have the military (but not the moral) power to do so. However, if nothing else gets through, the letters will get through. Do you realize how important this is? More important than food, building materials, more important even than medicine. These letters carry hope. solidarity and love - without which people cannot survive. And the letters will get through! If the physical letters are confiscated by the Israelis, there will be copies and there are many ways to get the copies to the people of Gaza. These letters, your letter, will get through. I encourage everyone of you to write a letter and send it to the address below. The impact and sustenance every letter gives is incalculable. Your letter may be short, it may be long, it may be profound, it may be simple. That you cared enough to write it is what counts. You may save a life or give someone, your brother or sister the strength to go on.
P.S. My own letter is below. I offer it only as an example. As you can see it is short.
Dear Friends, Brothers and Sisters,
I write to let you know that you are not alone. That you have the love and support of all freedom loving people. That your struggle and your suffering under the cruel yoke of oppression both from outside and inside Gaza is not unknown or unwatched. That we are trying to break through the walls. That as long as you, our brothers and sisters in Gaza are not free, none of us are free. But we will be free! Because we will not cease the struggle, and there are multitudes of us. We are legion. We will keep coming and they will try to stop us but we will not cease because love does not cease. Hatred, bigotry, racism, the need to control are based on fear but the strength of our love and determination will overcome their fear. Someday soon truth will overcome lies. Someday soon love will overcome fear. Someday soon peace will overcome violence. Someday soon we shall unite in Gaza and we shall embrace and dance in the warmth of victory. Someday soon we will see each other and we will look into each other's eyes and cry with joy. Someday soon.
Stay strong and know that you are loved,
Veterans For Peace
The Audacity of Hope - To Gaza With Love
Sending personal letters to the people of Gaza
The U.S. Boat to Gaza is collecting thousands of personal letters to the people of Gaza from people like you throughout the U.S. This act of friendship and solidarity will mean a great deal to Gazans who every day experience the impact of the Israeli blockade and siege. Our boat - The Audacity of Hope - will sail as a human rights mission to help end the illegal Israeli naval blockade of Gaza. The letters will be carried as our cargo on the U.S. Boat to Gaza when it sets sail in May as part of the 2nd International Freedom Flotilla. Alice Walker talked about the radical power of love to create change. This letter-writing campaign – To Gaza With Love – allows you and thousands of other people to be part of that change. To include your voice in this great effort please take a moment to write a letter, send a poem, make a drawing or any other creative act of friendship. Send it:
Letters to Gaza
119 West 72nd Street #158
New York, NY 10023