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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
Remembering Vittorio Arrigoni - by Stephen Lendman
On April 15, International Solidarity Movement (ISM) members grieved for one of their own, their press release headlining, "Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank unite in mourning of slain activist Vittorio Arrigoni," saying:
"People will gather in Al Manara square in Ramallah and at Al Jundi al Majhull, (Gaza's) unknown soldier park," honoring the death of their comrade, slain and abandoned in a house north of Gaza. More on his death below.
Other events took place throughout Palestine, including protests following Friday's prayers across from the UN's Gaza headquarters. Bil'in and Al Masara also dedicated their weekly demonstrations to Vittorio, Vic to his friends.
On Saturday, the Popular Committee in Nablus held a commemoration with political parties in Nablus center, celebrating his work and condemning his killing.
Prospects for a Palestinian Spring - by Stephen Lendman
A previous article headlined, "Arab Spring Yet to Bloom," explaining that despite months of heroic Middle East/North African uprisings in over a dozen countries from Morocco to Syria to Oman, none so far achieved change. It suggested that months, perhaps years, of sustained struggles lie ahead.
Access it in full through the following link:
Liberating struggles, in fact, never come easily, quickly, or without pain against entrenched power determined to keep it. However, social movements at times succeed when ordinary people sustain heroic determined efforts. In America, abolitionists, suffragettes, unionists, and civil rights champions proved it against imposing power forced to yield.
In her book, "Challenging Authority," Professor Frances Fox Piven said:
Palestinian Statehood and Other Political Issues - by Stephen Lendman
A previous article addressed an independent Palestinian state within 1967 borders, accessed through the following link:
It explained a likely September UN vote on recognition, establishing de jure General Assembly membership despite strong Washington and Israeli opposition. The implications are stunning.
Haaretz reported that Netanyahu privately said he doesn't take the possibility "lightly, but we should also not exaggerate its" importance....Perhaps the Palestinians will have a majority in the UN, but what matters is not only the quantity but also the quality," adding "no one can impose a solution on Israel," suggesting non-compliance or hostile action will follow.
From Mazin Qumsiyeh
We are heart-broken. To our hundreds of friends in Italy, to his family, to
our global community, we in Bethlehem area send our condolences from the
Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People.
Our friend and fellow activist Vittorio Arrigoni, a most wonderful human
being, was murdered in Gaza.
Tuesday at 7 PM we will have a gathering to remember him, Juliano, and
others murdered over 130 years of colonization in this troubled lands and to
discuss our plans for the coming months in the Bethlehem area. By
reservations only (email me at firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will give you
Brandeis students challenge war criminal Avi Dichter
Jerusalem Expulsions: Even Tony Blair can't save Palestinian bookseller to
Statement issued by the other 3 members of UN mission on Gaza war Hina
Jilani, Christine Chinkin and Desmond Travers (AKA the Goldstone report)
Palestinian civil society organizations applaud the Freedom Flotilla that
will again, in May, challenge the brutal and illegal siege of the people of
Gaza. Decent people around the world will be working in support this
While we rightly focus on Gaza we must not forget that Israeli colonial
authorities are implementing their racist apartheid policies throughout
historic Palestine. In the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and in the
Negev and the Galilee, ethnic cleansing and killing/injuring civilians are
just some of the many violations of basic human rights. The aim is always to
keep us isolated as well as divided, the better to achieve the goal of
For this reason, we call on civil society organizations and people of
conscience around the world to support and join the other important
international challenge this summer to the Israeli siege of the whole of
Palestine. The daily indignities heaped on the Palestinian people are
reflected in the attitude of officials at Tel Aviv airport to prevent any
humanitarian/solidarity trips. Israel's attempts to prevent entry by peace
activists even though the occuupied Palestinian Territories are recognized
internationally as illegally occupied by Israel. We must oppose Israel's
arbitrary, unlawful, and abusive behavior (See the Right to Enter Campaign
A week of solidarity: 8 - 16 July
Hundreds of men, women and children fly into Tel Aviv airport to visit us in
the occupied Palestinian territories The international community must
recognize our basic human right to receive visitors from abroad and support
the right of their own citizens to travel to Palestine without harassment.
We call upon citizens of many countries to visit us on July 8th. Where
Israel works to isolate us, we invite you to join with us openly and proudly
as the decent human beings you are. We do not accept the attempts to keep us
apart or to force you to speak less than with the honesty you are used to.
You will be accommodated locally. You will enjoy Palestinian hospitality and
a program of networking, fellowship, and volunteer peace work in
Palestinian towns and villages (e.g. land reclamation).
Local activist groups in Europe and in the United States are organizing
delegations. Email us at email@example.com if you would like to be
connected to the organizing group in your country.
Tomorrow morning at 10am in Al Manara Square in Ramallah and at 12 in Bethlehem, Nablus and Gaza Palestinian and international associations and NGOs will demonstrate for the immediate liberation of Vittorio Arrigoni, Italian Iinternational Solidarity Movement volunteer kidnapped today in Gaza. Demonstration will also take place in Rome and Milan, Italy. Below is the press release from Luisa Morgantini, former vice president of European Parliament.
FREE VITTORIO ARRIGONI NOW!
We have learnt with anguish and dismay about the kidnapping of the Italian
volunteer Vittorio Arrigoni.
We call on the government of Gaza, on Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and on
all the authorities in the Gaza Strip to intervene immediately and to
negotiate with the groups who are responsible for the abduction of Vittorio.
We also call on the Italian Government in order to engage any possible
action and to be in connection with the Palestinian Authority in Gaza,
Goldstone Commission Members Affirm Study Findings - by Stephen Lendman
A previous article addressed chairman Richard Goldstone's fall from grace, accessed through the following link:
It discussed his shameless retraction of irrefutable evidence he and other commission members found - namely, that Israel willfully committed crimes of war and against humanity by attacking Gazan civilians and non-military targets in clear violation of international law. Moreover, it was done disproportionately to cause mass deaths, injuries and destruction.
Shockingly, however, Goldstone accepted Israel's internal investigation findings, knowing facts were suppressed and distorted to justify policies. For whatever reasons, he capitulated, selling his soul at the expense of his honor, character, dignity, and high-mindedness, erased in his April 1 Washington Post op-ed too late to retract.
While IDF attacks Gaza, Israeli Diplomats Furiously Attempting to Halt the Gaza Freedom Flotilla
By Ann Wright
Israeli Diplomats Urged Countries to Stop the Gaza Flotilla
While the Israeli military pounded Gaza in the past month killing 14 Palestinians and wounding 52 including 19 children, Israeli diplomats embarked on a massive political campaign to stop the next international flotilla to Gaza that will challenge Israel’s naval blockade of the 1.5 million Palestinians who live in Gaza. In extensive meetings around the world, Israeli diplomats urged diplomats of European countries, Turkey, the United States and the United Nations to use their authority to stop the ships in the next flotilla to Gaza.
From Linda Chapman, New York Theatre Workshop
The murder of Juliano Mer-Khamis, actor, director, founder of the Freedom Theatre in the Jenin Refugee Camp, is an assault on art and artists, peacekeepers and the creative lives of young Palestinians who live under occupation and the constant threat of violence.
As international theater makers who are dedicated to working for the rights of all people to express and liberate themselves through creative non-violence, we condemn this unspeakable crime and any act of censorship, harassment or violence against those who practice and promote freedom of expression.
We reaffirm our support for the important mission of The Freedom Theater.
Abdelfattah Abusrour, Alrowwad Theater and Cultural Center
Aravind Enrique Adyanthaya
Iman Aoun, Ashtar Theater
Edna M. Barrón, Performer (SF)
George Bartenieff, Theater Three Collaborative
Israel: Spoiling for Another Fight? - by Stephen Lendman
Throughout its history, Israel intimidated as a regional menace, preemptively attacking Palestinians and regional neighbors for any reason or none at all. Each time, it's claimed self-righteousness and "self-defense," what scoundrels always say.
Until his death, Edward Said passionately defended Palestinian rights. He accused Israel of turning Palestine into an isolated prison, suffocating an entire population, impoverishing and slaughtering them, blaming them for its own state terror, and creating a wasteland of destruction and human misery.
Moreover, he said Israeli regimes sanctioned torture, targeted assassinations, and mass killing as official policy, besides committing every imaginable human indignity and degradation against people for their faith, ethnicity and presence.
The Italian Coalition "Stop That Train" Meets with Pizzarotti:
Withdraw from the Israeli Project for the A1 Railway
In Italy, "Stop That Train" launches a campaign calling on Pizzarotti & C. SpA to withdraw from the construction of the Israeli high-speed railway crossing the occupied Palestinian territories. The German Ministry of Transport defines the project as "potentially in violation of international law."
Indiscriminate warfare, as opposed to deliberate killing, was undoubtedly Israel's state policy
Richard Goldstone's Fall from Grace - by Stephen Lendman
The line from Gilbert & Sullivan's HMS Pinafor explains, saying: "Things are seldom as they seem. Skim milk masquerades as cream."
Goldstone's shameless reversal exposes the true man, a Judas, not what most people believed. Why is at issue? More on that below.
Two previous articles articles discussed his retraction, accessed through the following links:
On April 1, his Washington Post op-ed headlined, "Reconsidering the Goldstone Report on Israel and war crimes," saying:
"Our report found evidence potential war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity by both Israel and Hamas." The latter ones, in fact, were minor by comparison, responding only to Israeli provocations.
Revisiting Israel's Terror War on Gaza - by Stephen Lendman
Despite no legitimate provocation, Israel began terror bombing Gaza on December 27, 2008. Invasion followed, attacking innocent civilian men, women and children for over three weeks, using missiles, bombs, shells, and illegal weapons against defenseless people. Mass slaughter and destruction ensued.
Brazen crimes of war and against humanity were committed. No culpable officials were held responsible. Security Council no-fly zone protection wasn't ordered. International community leaders approved or were silent. Washington was complicit by supplying Israel with weapons, munitions, and encouragement. Obama acts the same as Bush, waging a quartet of lawless wars and using proxies in others.
Operation Cast Lead remains one of history's greatest crimes. Yet Israel was green-lighted to wage it with impunity, what it's done numerous times in its history, besides terrorizing Palestinians by:
April 1st, 2011 - This week on War News Radio, Foreign Affairs, we learn about the role of Chinese investment in Afghanistan. Then, we hear from a freelance journalist about his time in the Middle East. Finally, we look at the changing status of foreign correspondants. Our program begins with a round up of this week's news.
Land Day commemorates the sacrifice of six young Palestinians who, in 1976, were killed in the area of al-Jahil while protesting the expropriation of their land. For the past three years, throughout the world Land Day is commemorated with Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) actions targeting the Israeli economy. March 30, 2011, in fact, saw the launch from Palestine of an international campaign to block the activities of the Jewish National Fund (JNF).
Since 1901, under the pretext of working for the environment, the JNF has stolen land and resources from the Palestinian people, selling the land exclusively to Jews or planting non-native trees so as to distort and cancel the sites of Palestinian history and culture.
Photo: Erica Silverman/IRIN: Undergraduate students on the green at Islamic University in Gaza City
16 March 2011 (IRIN) - The next generation in the Gaza Strip may be less educated, less professional and perhaps more radical because an Israeli blockade has restricted educational and employment opportunities, say UN and other sources.
by Missy Comley Beattie
My hands are curved, poised above the keyboard. I’m staring at a document, blank except for the cursor that’s blinking to the rhythm of an Annie Lennox song, “Love is a Stranger.” My eyes are focused on this small vertical mark that, at other times, could be a soporific. Just not now. Because the Lennox lyrics are bitter.
It’s savage and it’s cruel
It shines like destruction
Comes in like a flood
And it seems like religion
It’s noble and it’s brutal
It distorts and deranges
And it wrenches you up
And you’re left like a zombie
This describes love but it could be the tune of our times, as harsh as the world in which we live.
[Note, Nichols’ original piece is available on Waging Nonviolence.]
An estimated one thousand Palestinians, joined by Israeli and international activists, took to the streets on Friday, 25 February, to demand the opening of Shuhada Street, a former thoroughfare in the West Bank city of Hebron. Israeli occupying forces fired foam-tipped bullets, tear gas, and sound grenades, injuring nine protestors. Many demonstrators also suffered adverse effects of the tear gas.
Seventh Annual Israeli Anti-Apartheid Week - by Stephen Lendman
The web site apartheidweek.com announced it in over 60 cities worldwide, including:
Adelaide, Al Quds, Amman, Amsterdam, Bard (NY), Basel, Beirut, Belfast, Berkeley, Bern, Bethlehem, Bilbao, Birzeit, Bordeaux, Boston, Brisbane, Brussels, Cape Town, Cleveland, Denver, Dublin, Dundee, Durban, Edmonton, Gainesville, Gaza, Geneva, Grahamstown, Haifa, Houston, Ireland, Johannesburg, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Le Mans, Lille, Lillehammer, London (Ontario), Lyon, Melbourne, Mexico City, Miami, Midwest, Montreal, Nablus, Naples, Nazereth, Neuchatel, New York, Ottawa, Paris, Perth, Peterborough, Port Elizabeth, Pretoria, Providence, Regina, St. Louis, Stellenbosch, Sudbury, Toronto, Utrecht, Yaffa, and Zurich.
Other cities not officially part of IAW may also participate, including major ones involved before.
At a time when the issue of civilian casualties in Libya has been dominating the international agenda, our Recording Casualties of Armed Conflict programme has launched Every Casualty.org, a website aiming to raise the profile of casualty recording worldwide and the organisations that undertake it. The site is a one-stop shop for information on casualties of conflict worldwide. It engages 22 of the organisations that record them in the International Practitioner Network convened by ORG.
You have failed to keep your oath to represent the wishes of the Palestinian people, so…
We the Palestinian People
hereby issue you a notice of termination, and demand the following:
Suspend and terminate the Oslo Accords
Dissolve the Palestinian Authority – Abbas must resign
End the blockade of Gaza
End all security arrangements with Israel
Release Palestinian political prisoners from Palestinian jails
Unify the resistance – Build a national platform upon which to coalesce Palestinian political parties and formations in their resistance to apartheid, colonialism, and ethnic cleansing
Notice of termination served on February 28, 2011 4:00-6:00 p.m.
at the General Delegation of the PLO Mission to the U.S.
1320 18th Street, NW, Washington, DC
Issued by the United States Palestinian Community Network
By Ahmet Dogan, Times Union
My son, Furkan, was killed in May by the Israeli military while attempting to deliver humanitarian aid by sea to the Gaza Strip. As he was just 19, he asked his mother and me for our permission to participate. Our decision will be with us for the rest of our lives.
We could not crush his humanitarian impulse and say no to him. Parents the world over wrestle with questions of when to let their children pursue their dreams, and most reluctantly let go as their children enter early adulthood. We did the same and took parental satisfaction in his concern for others. But never did I imagine that the Israeli military would storm his ship, killing Furkan and eight others, and then blame our son and his co-passengers for their own deaths.
Obama on Palestinian Rights: "Nyet" - by Stephen Lendman
On February 18, as expected, Washington vetoed a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements as illegal under international law. The vote: 14 yes, America the sole no, isolating the US and Israel on this long festering issue. The measure had nearly 120 co-sponsors.
In a post-vote briefing, ambassador Susan Rice outrageously lied, saying:
"....as the United States has said on many, many occasions for many years, we reject in the strongest terms the legitimacy of continued settlement activity."
Unsaid was that America, for many decades, funded Israel generously to build them, a process continuing grievously under Obama, besides outlandish amounts of military aid, support for Israel's occupation, and partnering in all its aggressive wars.
In a February 18 press release, Americans for Peace Now (APN) expressed "disappointment," APN's President and CEO Debra DeLee, saying: