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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
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 email@example.com) 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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