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What is Irresponsible and Provocative-- Israel’s Blockade of Gaza or The Gaza Flotilla?

By Ann Wright

In the latest Israeli diplomatic attempt to stop the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, Israel leaned on the Obama administration to put heavy pressure on the Government of Turkey to refuse to allow Turkish ships to join the international citizen activist initiative to end Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza. Israeli diplomats have been intimidating, threatening and cajoling countries in Europe, Canada and the United States in the past six weeks to dissuade their citizens from participating in the flotilla and to forbid ships to depart from their countries. (http://www.truthout.org/why-we-must-sail-gaza/1305382992?q=israelis-moun...)

U.S. says challenging Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza is “irresponsible and provocative”

Forty-Four Years of Occupation

Forty-Four Years of Occupation - by Stephen Lendman

On March 7, Palestinian Prisoners Society head Qadura Fares presented a paper to the UN International Meeting on the Question of Palestine, addressing the plight of political prisoners in Israeli prisons and detention facilities, saying:

Palestine "has been under criminal occupation for 44 years. During that time, (Israel) committed the worst crimes against humanity, violating every international instrument. The occupier has killed tens of thousands of our struggling people, most of them defenseless civilians. There have been over 800,000 instances of imprisonment. Tens of thousands of people have been injured," 30% left with permanent disabilities.

Moreover, thousands of homes, crops, and other property have been destroyed. "All this has been done in full view of the world." Even Israeli rabbis "legitimized the slaughter of Palestinian babies (claiming they'll) grow up to become enemies."

Scottish Court to Rule on Whether Anti-Israel Protesters are 'Anti-Semitic'

By Ken Ferguson

Cupar, Scotland--This county town of Fife, is not exactly a news hot spot. Probably the last big story here was the landing of Italian
balloonist Vincenzo Lunardi nearby in 1785 at the end of a 43-mile flight from
Edinburgh.

However the small town’s sleepy Sheriff court is about to host a key
legal case involving a US student from New York and two anti Israeli
protestors who have been charged with racism.

For the information of US readers, in Scotland the Sheriff isn’t some John Wayne figure with the star on his chest, but is rather the bewigged judge presiding over the local court.

This case centers on an incident at nearby St. Andrews University, where
two students are facing racially aggravated conduct charges after
allegedly making comments and gestures critical of the State of Israel
and its flag.

Press reports are already in danger of prejudging the case, with

Netanyahu's War on Gaza

Netanyahu's War on Gaza - by Stephen Lendman

Governing lawlessly by any standard, Netanyahu waged war on Gaza since becoming Israel's prime minister for the second time on March 31, 2009.

Under his leadership, May 31 marked the anniversary of Israel's barbaric slaughter of nine Freedom Flotilla activists in international waters, injuring dozens more trying to deliver thousands of tons of vital aid to besieged Gazans, suffocating illegally since June 2007.

At the time, Defense Minister Ehud Barak blamed Flotilla organizers for inciting the attack, while his deputy, Danny Alalon, said they were connected to international terrorist organizations, trying to smuggle in arms. In fact, none were on board nor on other aid ships trying to breach Israel's lawless blockade.

Caught red-handed in a bald-faced lie, Haaretz writer Gideon Levy said:

"WE ARE UNARMED AND WE ARE SAILING"

On Anniversary of Mavi Marmara Killings, U.S. Boat to Gaza Announces Passenger List

New York, NY-May 31, 201l. Organizers of the U.S. Boat to Gaza announced today that they expect some 50 people will be aboard The Audacity of Hope when it joins the second "freedom flotilla" in late June to break the siege of Gaza.

The announcement came on the year's anniversary of the 2010 Israeli attack on unarmed passengers aboard the Mavi Marmara, killing nine, including an 18-year old U.S. citizen of Turkish descent.

Leslie Cagan, coordinator of the U.S. Boat to Gaza, said, "We are sailing-despite threats by the Israeli armed forces to use attack dogs and snipers against us-and despite frantic diplomatic pressure by the Israeli government to prevent other countries from allowing the flotilla to sail." She commented that while Egypt has just opened the Rafah border to Gaza, the maritime blockade and the Israeli siege of Gaza still exist.

The Fiddle and The Drum: Memorial Day 2011

Posted on May 30, 2011 by kathleenkirwin

On this Memorial Day, 2011, Joni Mitchell’s Fiddle and the Drum is sadly all too relevant. As a Canadian, Joni composed the song in 1969 to tell the United States how “we have all come to fear the beating of your drum.” I have been singing this song ever since. It is a piece of my soul. I share it today in memory of the untold numbers who Amercia has killed while beating the drums of war.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6z79WMOPtk

And so once again
My dear Johnny my dear friend
And so once again you are fightin’ us all
And when I ask you why
You raise your sticks and cry, and I fall
Oh, my friend
How did you come
To trade the fiddle for the drum

You say I have turned
Like the enemies you’ve earned
But I can remember
All the good things you are
And so I ask you please
Can I help you find the peace and the star
Oh, my friend
What time is this
To trade the handshake for the fist

Commemorating Our Martyrs and Preparing to Sail Again

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

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.

Humanitarian Ship to Enter Gaza Territorial Waters, Break the Blockade

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.

READ THE REST AT GLOBAL RESEARCH.

Stealing Palestinian Land Dunam by Dunam

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

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.

Day 4 of the Stay Human Convoy in Gaza

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.

BREAKING NEWS: Israel Attacks Humanitarian Ship to Gaza in International Waters

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

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:

Stay Human Convoy in Gaza: So many things to see, so many people to meet…

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

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...."

Veterans For Peace Remembers the Nakba

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.

Voices that are resisting

From the Stay Human Convoy:

We are getting to know Gaza.

Finally in 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.

In the name of Vittorio Arrigoni, the ‘Stay Human' convoy has entered Gaza

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.

Stay Human Convoy on its way to Gaza

From the Stay Human Convoy:
Cairo.
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.

Pizzarotti should follow in Deutsche Bahn's footsteps

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 Palestinians: Lawlessly Revoking Their Status

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

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?

Palestinian Unity: Done Deal or Wobbly? - by Stephen Lendman

A previous article explained the announced deal, accessed through the following link:

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2011/04/palestinian-unity-deal-announced.html

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

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.

Tell me lies

Title above comes from a post by a brother Vietnam Vet BOHICA.

 

Palestinian Unity Deal Announced

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."

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