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Veterans For Peace Appeals to Israeli Soldiers to Lay Down Their Arms

Israel's military has in recent days attacked the Gaza strip with drones and F-16s, and has apparently been preparing for a possible ground war. Israel is using weaponry provided by the United States at the expense to U.S. taxpayers of $3 billion per year. Veterans For Peace member Doug Rawlings addresses the following statement to members of the Israeli military:

"I have been to where you are going. From my heart, I beseech you not to join me. In 1969, I was sent to Vietnam as a reluctant soldier, a draftee, who did not have the courage of my convictions. I chose to follow the orders of my government rather than to follow the dictates of my conscience. It’s been over forty years now, and I still remember the faces of the Vietnamese people who were victimized by my lack of moral autonomy. I became one of Pharaoh’s army, and, to this day, I have been wading through the miasma of that murderous indecisiveness. Had I heeded Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. instead of General William Westmoreland, I would have refused to serve as a pawn in my government’s immoral invasion and occupation of Vietnam.

"Westmoreland was one of many who appealed to some kind of base sense of national self-righteousness that relegated a whole people – the “enemy”-- to a form of sub-human existence. He, too, heard from chauvinist generals like yours who demanded that we '…bomb the Vietnamese people back to the Stone Age.' Dr. King, on the other hand, was imploring us to not exploit others, to recognize the sacredness of all people, and to not 'trample over others with the iron feet of oppression.' He recognized that '…peace is not merely a distant goal we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means.'

"You, my friends, have become the means of your government, and it is up to you to say that you would rather be warriors for peace than serve in Pharaoh’s legions. Follow the lead of the Dr. Kings of the world, not the generals who are willing to use the blood of others to seek some kind of political goals. Rejoin the 'beloved community' of world citizens who recognize the sanctity of all human life. Reject the immoral orders of those who would send you to do their bloody bidding. Refuse orders to attack Gaza. The world is waiting for the first army of peace-makers to turn back the tide of war. Why not start with you?"

Veterans For Peace is a national organization, founded in 1985 with approximately 5,000 members in 150 chapters located in every U.S. state and several countries. It is a 501(c)3 non-profit educational organization recognized as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) by the United Nations, and is the only national veterans' organization calling for the abolishment of war.

Israeli Terror Attacks: Day 6

 

Israeli Terror Attacks: Day 6

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Israeli terror attacks continue. They're merciless. Defenseless civilians are targeted. It's official policy in all Israeli conflicts. Besieged Gazans are sitting ducks.

 

Where can they go? How can they hide? What can they do but pray they'll survive? Many won't. Through midday Monday, Haaretz reported 95 Gazan deaths. Another report said 97. These numbers will rise.

Israeli Terror Attacks: Day 5

 

Israeli Terror Attacks: Day 5

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Sunday as this is written is day 5. Monday when it's read will be day 6. How much longer will this continue? How much more death, destruction, and human misery is tolerable?

 

Seventy-two confirmed Palestinian deaths were reported. Sunday attacks killed 24. Most are civilians. They include 14 children and eight women. 

Straight Talk on Gaza

 

Straight Talk on Gaza

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Palestine's democratically elected government is targeted. West Bank coup d'etat authority has no legitimacy. Abbas' term as president expired in January 2009. Israel rigged his 2005 election. 

 

What's ongoing is illegal aggressive war. Israeli provocations caused it. Israel's entire history reflects belligerence. It lives by the sword. It's a modern-day Sparta. 

Israeli Military Assault on Gaza Not defence but murder of unarmed civilians

By MAIREAD MAGUIRE, NOBEL PEACE LAUREATE, www.peacepeople.com

It is with the greatest sadness, mixed with frustration, and a sense of helplessness, that many people around the world, myself included, watched on television the horrific scenes of death and destruction perpetrated, yet again, by the latest Israeli military assault on Gaza and its besieged, mostly young population.

The question on many people lips is; ‘When is the Israel government going to stop
this bombing and continual wars and threat of war, against the Palestinians, and its neighbours, admit that there will be no military solution to the Palestinian Occupation, and begin to talk seriously with their enemies, in order to solve the problems for the sake of the Palestinians, Israelis, and indeed the whole of the middle east and world!’?

Watching Israeli bombs landing on Gaza and hearing the death toll rise to fifteen

Likening Palestinians to Blades of Grass

By Elizabeth Murray, Consortium News

In early 2010, one of Washington DC’s most prestigious think tanks was holding a seminar on the Middle East which included a discussion of Israel’s December 2008-January 2009 assault on Gaza which killed about 1,300 Palestinians. When the death toll was mentioned, one expert on the panel smiled enigmatically and intoned: “It’s unfortunate, but every once in a while you have to mow the lawn.”

The remark, which likened killing hundreds of men, women and children – many of them noncombatants – with trimming the grass, was greeted with a light tittering around the room, which was filled with some of Washington’s most elite, highly educated and well-paid Middle East experts. Not a single one objected to the panelist’s black humor.

Ahmed Jabari (1960 - 2012)

 

Ahmed Jabari (1960 - 2012)

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

On November 15, thousands in Gaza City residents mourned Jabari's assassination. Israel murdered him the previous day in cold blood. 

 

Score another victory for occupation harshness. Add one to the column of Israeli crimes against humanity. Volumes are needed to list them. Israel lives by the sword of injustice. One day perhaps it will perish for its villainy.

Abbas Ill-Serves and Insults Palestinians

 

Abbas Ill-Serves and Insults Palestinians

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Abbas is a longtime Israeli collaborator. He provides enforcer services, not legitimate governance. Corruption, sham elections, targeting critics, and other type malfeasance continue on his watch. 

 

Instead of governing responsibly, he defiles rule of law principles and other democratic values. Why Palestinians put up with him, they'll have to explain.

Obama Rejects Palestinian Statehood

 

Obama Rejects Palestinian Statehood

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

What do you call a Black man who rejects equal rights for his own people and others? A racist traitor.

 

What do you call a rejectionist leader? A criminal who should be impeached, removed and prosecuted.

 

Tepid Palestinian Authority UN Upgrade Bid

 

Tepid Palestinian Authority UN Upgrade Bid

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Instead of going for easily within reach full UN membership, Abbas prefers settling for less. Why he'll have to explain.

 

Others say it reflects his longtime collaboration with Israel. Doing so betrays his own people. Why they tolerate him, they'll have to explain.

 

Israeli Commandos Electro-Torture Ship to Gaza Activists

 

Israeli Commandos Electro-Torture Ship to Gaza Activists

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

On October 20, masked Israeli commandos lawlessly interdicted Ship to Gaza Estelle in international waters. It was over 30 nautical miles from Gaza's coast when intercepted.

 

Netanyahu praised their criminality. He accused on board activists of trying to "delegitimize Israel." He also claimed "there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza." 

ACADEMICS RESPOND TO UNIVERSITY PRESIDENTS' TOUR OF ISRAEL: CALL FOR BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT, SANCTIONS

Prominent scholars and human rights activists issued an open letter (download PDF) to university presidents who participated in a recent tour (July 1-9, 2012) of Israel designed to bolster cooperation between US and Israeli universities sponsored by the American Jewish Committee, calling upon the university officials to “not…pursue institutional relationships between your universities and Israeli universities, and to discontinue any existing institutional relationships that might already exist.”

Israel attacks Gaza-bound boat in International Waters, Defying International Law Kidnaps Parliamentarians and activists

From Robert Naiman

follow #Estelle on Twitter.

Shortly after 4:00AM EDT when the Gaza-bound Estelle was in international waters approx. 17 Nautical Miles north of Arish, Egypt (as per the last coordinates we have) Israeli warships surrounded the Estelle and the assault on the peaceful ship started.

Communications were lost at that time and all reports we got from the ship were choppy.

We believe based on prior Israeli threats and practice that the boat and passengers will be taken to the Israeli port of Ashdod and that the passengers will be charged with entering Israel illegally even though they have done no such thing.

Among others, the following individuals were on board:

Former Member of Parliament Manly James, Canada
Member of Parliament Hagen Aksel, Norway
Member of Parliament Britton Sven, Sweden
Member of Parliament Kodelas Dimitios, Greece
Member of Parliament Sixto Ricardo, Spain
Member of Parliament Diamantopoulos  Evangelos, Greece

* Full list of individuals on board:
http://shiptogaza.se/en/news/sailors-onboard-estelle
* Pictures of passengers on board
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/1319
* Jim Manly's pre-recorded video message: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8egYBdf-Zo

Israeli Envoy calls “Estelle” a Provocation While 7 Parliamentarians Sail to Break the Blockade of Gaza

By Ann Wright

Calling the latest sailing of a boat to challenge the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza a “provocation", Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor, called on the UN Secretary-General, the Security Council, and all responsible members of the international community to take immediate action to end this provocation.”

Prosor added, “I want to stress that Israel is not interested in confrontation, but remains determined to enforce its naval blockade of the Gaza Strip — and will take all lawful actions to this end.  Their clear provocation raises tensions and could easily spark a serious escalation of the conflict.”

Seven parliamentarians from 5 European countries are on sailing on the sloop “Estelle” to break the Israeli Blockade of Gaza.  Among the 20+ passengers are parliamentarians fromGreece, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and a retired parliamentarian from Canada.

Over 80 Irish Parliamentarians have signed a petition of support for the “Estelle’s” mission and 70 Greek Parliamentarians have also signed their petition.

Passengers from Canada, Finland, Greece, Israel, Italy, Norway, Spain and Sweden are on the “Estelle.”

All onboard are peaceful civilians who have received refresher non-violence training.

The “Estelle” carries a cargo of aid to the Israeli blockaded Palestinian population of Gaza, and a cargo of solidarity.  It also carries an anchor and communication equipment needed for the construction of Gaza's Ark (see www.gazaark.org). 

The “Estelle” is expected to reach Gaza by this weekend.

About the Author:  Ann Wright served in the US Army/Army Reserves for 29 years and retired as a Colonel.  She was also in the US Diplomatic Corps for 16 years and resigned in 2003 in opposition to the Iraq war. She has traveled to Gaza four times since the Israeli attack on Gaza that killed 1440, wounded 5,000 and left 50,000 homeless. She was an organizer for the 2009 Gaza Freedom March that brought 1300 persons from 55 countries to Cairo in solidarity with the people of Gaza and was on the 2010 and 2011 Gaza Freedom Flotillas.  She is an organizer for Gaza’s Ark.

Dear UNESCO: You're Going to Honor Shimon Peres? Really?

UPDATED WITH UNESCO RESPONSE BELOW

Dr. Amii Omara-Otunnu
UNESCO Chair & Executive Director

Institute of Comparative Human Rights
UConn-ANC Partnership
Director, University of Fort Hare Linkage Program
University of Connecticut
Storrs, CT.06269, USA.

Dear Dr. Omara-Otunnu

I understand that your office, as part of the annual International Conference on Comparative Human Rights to be held on Tuesday, October 23, 2012 at the University of Connecticut, will be honoring several individuals (through their representatives) for their stellar contributions to advancing human rights in its fullest sense in their specific regions of the globe.  

Israel asks UN to block ship headed for Gaza

By AFP

New York: Israel’s UN envoy on Tuesday asked the world body to try to persuade a Swedish ship carrying rights activists not to try to break the Jewish state’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.

“I call on the Secretary-General, the Security Council, and all responsible members of the international community to take immediate action to end this provocation,” the envoy, Ron Prosor, said in a letter to UN chief Ban Ki-moon, and the council’s president for October, Guatemalan envoy Gert Rosenthal.

Prosor said the sailing vessel Estelle, which left the Italian port of Naples on Saturday, was expected to arrive near Gaza in about a week.

He added that the Gaza blockade was solely for security purposes, saying: “There is not a single civilian good that cannot enter Gaza.”

“I want to stress that Israel is not interested in confrontation, but remains determined to enforce its naval blockade of the Gaza Strip — and will take all lawful actions to this end,” Prosor wrote.

“Their clear provocation raises tensions and could easily spark a serious escalation of the conflict.”

The Israeli ambassador to the United Nations said the rights activists aboard the Estelle should instead head for Syria to deliver goods much-needed to address the humanitarian crisis in the war-torn country.

He noted, however: “They understand that it is much easier to face news cameras in Tel Aviv than bullets in Damascus.”

The Estelle, whose voyage was organised by an international pro-Palestinian coalition, is carrying humanitarian goods to the Gaza Strip.

The 17 activists on board include passengers and crew from Canada, Israel, Norway, Sweden and the United States.

Israel says the blockade — imposed in June 2006 — is necessary to prevent weapons from entering the coastal territory, which is run by the Islamist movement Hamas.

Parliamentarians from 5 countries sail on the Estelle to break the Israeli Blockade of Gaza

Today the Freedom Flotilla Coalition tall ship, The Estelle is on its way to Gaza carrying Parliamentarians from Greece (Vangelis Diamandopoulos), Norway (Aksel Hagen), Spain (Ricardo Sixto Iglesias) and Sweden (Sven Britton); and a retired Canadian Parliamentarian (Jim Manly - see his personal message below*).

On the Estelle now are citizens of Canada, Finland, Greece, Israel, Italy, Norway, Spain and Sweden.

All on board the Estelle are peaceful civilians committed to non violence.

The Estelle carries a cargo of aid to the Israeli blockaded Palestinian population of Gaza, but above all it is carrying a cargo of solidarity.

It also carries an anchor and communication equipment needed for the construction of Gaza's Ark (see
www.gazaark.org).  It is expected to reach Gaza by the weekend.

* Personal message from former Canadian Member of Parliament Jim Manly sailing on the Estelle

15 October 2012
 
Greetings to all of you and thank you for your many messages of encouragement and support. These mean a great deal to all of us on the Estelle as we sail toward Gaza.
 
I appreciate the dedication and commitment of all on board this boat. All of us are committed to non-violence and we are on this journey because of our commitment to the Palestinians of Gaza who are suffering because of this illegal blockade.
 
The whole history of the Flotilla Movement is a story of perseverance in our commitment to justice for Palestinians in Gaza and elsewhere. The focus should not be on us – the focus should be on the people of Gaza who await our safe arrival. They are also waiting for the world to listen – to hear their side of the story, which is missing from the mainstream media. Please read and download the recent UN Gaza Report from here: http://www.unrwa.org/etemplate.php?id=1423.
 
When Eva and I were in Bethlehem in May we saw an image painted on the “Annexation Wall” which reads: “Now you have seen. You are responsible!” We take this responsibility seriously.”
 
As we approach the Sea of Gaza we are filled with hope. I look forward to delivering the anchor for Gaza’s Ark (video: http://www.gazaark.org/2012/10/15/video-jim-manly-will-deliver-a-canadian-anchor-to-gaza) . We carry humanitarian supplies. Our only “dangerous cargo” is a cargo of HOPE.
 
Please hold us and the people of Gaza in your thoughts, meditations and prayers.
 
Sincerely,
Jim Manly

Broken Lives and Families in Bil'in

 

Broken Lives and Families in Bil'in

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

A documentary called "5 Broken Cameras" depicts daily and nightly Israeli horrors committed against peaceful Bil'in villagers. More below on what most people can't imagine.

 

Report on Russel Tribunal on Palestine NYC, 10/6&7 Report

On October 6th and 7th, the Russel Tribunal on Palestine was held in the
Great Hall at Cooper Union in NYC.  I attended this conference, and what I
took away from it confirmed the US role in sustaining Israel's human rights
abuses in Palestine, which clearly amount to Crimes Against Humanity under
International Law and Basic Laws of Morality.  These are the reasons for
charging Israel with Crimes Against Humanity in the World Court in the
Hague.

1) Israel practices a policy of a severe form of apartheid in the occupied
territories which is based on exclusive rights for those who are Jewish and
virtually no rights for those who are not.  Apartheid is a Crime Against
Humanity.

2) Land is confiscated from Palestinians and houses demolished to make way
for settlements and housing where only Jews can live. The Palestinians
affected are made homeless.  This is a Crime Against Humanity.

Swedish Aid Ship to Gaza Picks Up Passengers in Italy

By Stefan Jonsson

Outside La Spezia train station in Italian Liguria there is an old plane tree. The branches are not strong enough to bear their own weight but are propped up by steel girders that are attached to the concrete foundations. From the tree of life by the station, I walk along winding streets through a town that seems to be both freshly painted and public-spirited. Sheets and garments flutter from clothes lines stretching across backyards and alleyways.

The streets lead out into the harbour where the water shimmers in the October sunshine. There are crowds of people enjoying a leisurely Sunday stroll on the middle pier on their way to the schooner Estelle. It is moored in La Spezia for a few days on its way from Umeå to Gaza.

Who is sailing with the Estelle to Gaza to end the blockade?

Passenger I: Elik Elhanan, Israel

Elik Elhanan, Tel Aviv, Israel, is one of the passengers on board the Estelle on its last lap toward Gaza. He belongs to a well-known Israeli family whose forefathers emigrated to Palestine in the 1920s. His great-grandfather was the first Israeli ambassador to Sweden . His grandfather, Matti Peled, a general, was the first military person of high standing to oppose the 1972 occupation, and he formed peace groups with the Palestinians. He later retired from the army and devoted his time to writing a PhD in Arabic literature.

Erik is 35 years old now. When he was young he was a punk rocker. In 1995 he joined the Israeli army and became a paratrooper, over time advancing to become a member of an elite formation.

On 4th September 1997, his 16-year-old sister Smadar Elhanan was on her way back from school on the Ben Yehuda Avenue in Jerusalem. It was the first week of the school term and many people were out on the streets. That afternoon, three suicide bombers blew themselves up on Ben Yehuda. Five people died and twenty were wounded.

When Elik heard about the atrocity in his regiment, he called home, as did everyone in Jerusalem. There nobody had heard any news. When he called again, a neighbour answered. His parents had gone to identify their daughter. She and her best friend were among the dead.

Following the death of Smadar, Elik’s mother Noret Pelled Elhanan declared that she held the Israeli government and its politics of occupation responsible for the death of her daughter.

When Elik had completed his military service, he left the army and travelled around the world for almost two years before settling in Paris, where he sought contact with activists from countries around the world, working against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. His parents were involved in “We lost a child”, an organisation for Palestinian and Israeli parents who had lost their children. Two years ago, his father Rami participated in an entirely Jewish Ship to Gaza to end the blockade. On board were several survivors from the holocaust. They were stopped.

In 2002, Elik joined the soldiers who refused to take part in the war against Gaza, a group calling itself “The courage to refuse”. In 2004 he returned to Israel and, together with Palestinians who had been set free from Israeli prisons formed an organisation called “Combatants for peace”.

As I write these notes, we pass the Messina strait with Elik on board the Estelle. He sees the Israeli blockade of Gaza as criminal. Europe could easily apply pressure on Israel in the matter, as 40% of Israel’s trade goes to Europe. But, according to Elik, Europe and Israel appear to have reached an agreement as follows: Europe is absolved of the holocaust, and in turn does not protest against the Israeli occupation and oppression of the Palestinians.

Maria-Pia Boëthius, writer and member of the crew on board Estelle

Palestine: One or Two State Solution

 

Palestine: One or Two State Solution

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Opinions vary. Why isn't clear. Years ago, two states were possible. No longer. Israel controls over half the West Bank and much of East Jerusalem. More is added daily. 

 

When completed, the apartheid wall will control over 10% of Palestine. Isolated ghettoized bantustans on worthless scrubland won't work. Under those conditions, sovereign viability is impossible.

Occupation Hell in Palestine

 

Occupation Hell in Palestine

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Forty-five years and counting. In 1977, John Pilger titled his documentary film "Palestine Is Still The Issue." It's no different today than then. In many respects, it's worse.

 

Talk Nation Radio: The Risks and Benefits of Political Theater in the West Bank

The Freedom Theater in the Jenin Refugee Camp in the West Bank produces politically engaged theater and is under assault by both the Israeli military and the Palestinian Authority.  We speak about theater as therapy and theater as an alternative to violence with Gary English and Laura Wilson. 

Gary English is a Stage Director and Designer with credits that include over 100 productions at many of America’s major repertory theaters.  He is a Distinguished Professor of Drama at the University of Connecticut and a member of the Human Rights Institute Faculty at Connecticut.  He has been to the Middle East five times in the last two years and will spend the next year on leave from Connecticut when he will serve as Artistic Manager of The Freedom Theatre in the Jenin Refugee Camp in the West Bank. 

Laura Wilson is a professional Stage and Event Manager based in New York City with credits on Broadway and regional theatres who has been involved with active research and development for Freedom Theatre activities in the United States for the past year and a half.  She is working with Gary English as Editor on a book project entitled Theatre and Human Rights: The Israeli/Palestinian Conflict.

Read: "The Freedom Theatre Under Assault; Building a Cultural Institution Under Military Occupation" by Gary M. English and Laura L. Wilson -- PDF.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
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Democrats Throw Palestinians Under the Bus

 

Democrats Throw Palestinians Under the Bus

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

On Wednesday evening, Democrat convention delegates took three voice votes calling Jerusalem Israel's capital. Each time, nays sounded louder than yeas.

 

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa chaired the convention. Despite boos and no votes more audible than yes ones, he declared rewriting platform language policy.

This Land Is Their Land

 

This Land Is Their Land

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Palestine belongs to Palestinians. They're willing to settle for what lies within 1967 borders. It's 22% of what they lost. They also rightfully claim East Jerusalem as their capital. It's theirs, not Israel's.

 

Israeli settlements are illegal. This article discusses Migron. It's one of dozens of illegal Israeli outposts. Over 100 exist. 

Settler Attacks on Palestinians

 

Settler Attacks on Palestinians

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Last February, a Jerusalem Fund/Palestine Center (PC) report titled "When Settlers Attack" discussed data collected from 2004 to 2011. It includes over 3,700 separate incidents. It explains when, how, and why they occur.

 

Palestinians Living in Firing Zones

 

Palestinians Living in Firing Zones

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Life in Occupied Palestine is hard enough. Imagine how much worse in firing zones.

 

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA):

Rights of Demonstrators in Palestine

  Rights of Demonstrators in Palestine

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Last September, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) published an "Informational Pamphlet for Demonstrators in the Occupied Territories."

 

Beyond the Two-State Solution

Fast forward to 2048. The world is greatly changed, and in this year China invades France, occupying Paris and a good portion of the nation. The French are massacred, evicted, raped, chased, and terrorized. Towns are destroyed. Every town and village has its name changed to a Chinese name, and its prior existence erased from any history books produced from then forward.

Portions of France not yet under Chinese control shelter refugees by the millions. French citizens captured in their homes are held as "prisoners of war" and freed to become refugees in distant parts of France. China changes the name of its occupied areas from France to Chance. The remaining parts of the country are just referred to by their local (Chinese) names, as if they were part of no nation at all and yet somehow Chinese in the end.

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