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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.
Producer: David Swanson.
Engineer: Christiane Brown.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download or get embed code from AudioPort or LetsTryDemocracy.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Embed on your own site with this code:

<object autostart="false" data="http://davidswanson.org/sites/davidswanson.org/files/talknationradio/talknationradio_20120912.mp3" height="100px" width="400px"></object>

Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at http://davidswanson.org/talknationradio

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.

World Bank Opposes Palestinian Sovereignty

  World Bank Opposes Palestinian Sovereignty 

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Washington controls the World Bank. Current president Jim Yong Kim formerly was Dartmouth College president.

 

The World Bank and IMF were established to integrate developing nations into the Global North-dominated world economy. 

Are Drones Moral Killing Machines? NY Times National Security Journalist Says Yes

 

By Dave Lindorff


Are weaponized drone aircraft more moral than the more traditional killing machines used in warfare? In an opinion published in Sunday’s New York Times, the paper’s national security reporter, Scott Shane, argues that they are.


Talk Nation Radio: An Israeli General's Son Meets Palestinians, Reverses His Beliefs

What happens when an Israeli from a Zionist military family meets Palestinians and hears their side of the story?  Miko Peled was brought around to researching the history of Israel and of his own family.  His grandfather signed Israel's Declaration of Independence.  His father was a general in the war of 1967.  His neice was killed in a suicide attack in Jersalem.  He has come to see the story of Israel as virtually the reverse of what he had believed.  Peled discusses his new book, The General's Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine, with a foreword by Alice Walker.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Engineer: Christiane Brown.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download or get embed code from Archive.org or AudioPort or LetsTryDemocracy.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Embed on your own site with this code:

<object autostart="false" data="http://davidswanson.org/sites/davidswanson.org/files/talknationradio/talknationradio_20120711.mp3" height="100px" width="400px"></object>

Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at http://davidswanson.org/talknationradio

Yasser Arafat's Bout With ... Polonium?

The Mystery of Arafat’s Death

July 10, 2012

Editor Note: In 2004, when Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat suddenly fell ill and died, suspicions swirled that he might have been poisoned, but no autopsy was performed. Now, nearly eight years later, his death is getting new scrutiny, though ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern doubts a complete answer will ever be found.

By Ray McGovern

We may never know with complete certainty whether the still unexplained health crisis that suddenly did in Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was due to natural or unnatural causes. But the recent discovery of polonium on Arafat’s clothing, added to a considerable body of circumstantial evidence, has increased an already widespread suspicion that Israel was involved in his sudden demise.

Palestinian Authority Police Brutalize Peaceful Protesters

  Palestinian Authority Police Brutalize Peaceful Protesters

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

President Mahoud Abbas is a longstanding Israeli collaborator. He and unelected Prime Minister Salam Fayyad serve illegitimately.

 

Israeli Turned Palestinian Activist

  Israeli Turned Palestinian Activist

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Popular 1965 Hal David/Burt Bacharach lyrics said "What the world needs now is love, sweet love. It's the only thing that there's just too little of." 

 

It applies aptly to how Israel treats Palestinians.

 

Palestinian Footballer Near Death

  Palestinian Footballer Near Death

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Several Palestinian prisoners continue hunger striking for justice.

 

Footballer Mahmoud Sarsak declined food for 90 days and counting. He's been detained uncharged for nearly three years. He demands release. Israel refuses.

Gaza Blockade's Fifth Anniversary

  Gaza Blockade’s Fifth Anniversary

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Gaza's blockade is illegal. Collective punishment is prohibited. Fourth Geneva's Article 33 states:

 

"No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited."

Israel Upside Down

Miko Peled has written a perfect book for people, including Israelis, who have always heard that the Israeli government can do no wrong.  The General's Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine is partly an account of the author's father's life.  His father, Matti Peled, was an Israeli general, war hero, military governor of the Gaza strip, member of Parliament, professor, and columnist who turned against the occupation of Palestine. 

Largely, however, the book is an account of Miko Peled's own life, and the evolution of his thinking about Israel. This autobiographical narrative, by a very likable and moral author, takes us step by step from unquestioning Zionism to condemnation of Israeli war crimes.  For those who would condemn the morality of this intellectual journey, there are two obvious responses.  First, read it. 

Second, the false accusations of hating Israel that often result from any sensible proposal to protect Israel from its government cannot easily apply here, by the accusers' own logic, because the author dutifully performed his Israeli military service, and his father killed a huge number of people in the name of Israel.

Such shallow prejudices have no place in this book, which respectfully and non-confrontationally persuades the reader gradually, through the course of a self-questioning life's story, that much of what is commonly assumed about Israel is in fact the reverse of reality.  The Peled family's military history is of less interest as superficial immunity from false accusations, than as a starting place for an argument that runs its course from the necessity of brutalizing Palestinians all the way through to the necessity of Israelis and Palestinians living together as friends and family.

Miko Peled grew up in Jerusalem believing that Israel had always been a little David struggling honorably against an Arab Goliath.  His grandfather, Avraham Katznelson, had been an important figure in the founding of Israel.  His father, Matti Peled, had in 1948 fought in either the War of Independence or the Catastrophe, depending on which label one prefers.   Matti Peled was also a leader of the Six-Day War of 1967, when Miko -- born in 1961 -- was a child.

Palestinian Hunger Strikes Continue

  Palestinian Hunger Strikes Continue

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Over 2,000 Palestinian hunger strikers redefined courage. Their willingness to die for justice was unprecedented.

 

On May 14, an Egyptian brokered deal was reached. Strike leaders and Israel Prison Service (IPS) officials agreed on terms. They included:

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