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Refusing to Acquiesce in Gaza

Observations after Operation “Pillar of Cloud”
By Joshua Brollier

Gaza City-The past few days have been harrowing, yet still deeply inspiring in Gaza as people in the strip must carry on with their lives after the Israeli army’s deadly 8 day offensive operation “Pillar of Cloud” which killed at least 160 Palestinians and left over 1000 wounded, many of them severely.  To “carry on” in Gaza does not mean returning to predictable routines or a reasonable set of expectations of calmness in what amounts to everyday life in most parts of the world.  This is exceptionally true for Palestinian fishermen who return to the daily struggle with the Israeli Navy to fish in waters that are rightfully theirs.   

The Start of a Legal Intifadah

Professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law and author of Palestine, Palestinians, and International Law, Francis A. Boyle said today: "This can be the start of a 'Legal Intifadah' by Palestine against Israel:

1. "Palestine can join the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court and file a Complaint with the ICC against the illegal settlements and settlers, who are committing war crimes;

2. "Palestine can join the Statute for the International Court of Justice, sue Israel at the World Court, and break the illegal siege of Gaza;

3. "Palestine can join the Law of the Sea Convention and get its fair share of the enormous gas fields lying off the coast of Gaza, thus becoming economically self-sufficient;

4. "Palestine can become a High Contracting Party to the Four Geneva Conventions [this deals with the laws of war];

5. "Palestine can join the International Civil Aviation Organization and gain sovereign, legal control over its own airspace;

6. "Palestine can join the International Telecommunications Union and gain sovereign legal control over its own airwaves, phone lines, bandwidths."

Chicago Solidarity Activists Currently in Gaza

CHICAGO, IL - In response to the ongoing humanitarian crisis there, and to answer calls for a solidarity presence from some of its humanitarian organizations, several delegations of international activists and grassroots journalists are now in the Gaza Strip, meeting and working with survivors of Israel’s recent bombing campaign.  

Travelers include Kathy Kelly, Johnny Barber and Joshua Brollier of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, who left for Cairo on Thursday, November 22 and passed through the Rafah border crossing into Gaza on Monday, November 26. The activists aim to complete their Gaza itinerary whether or not the current ceasefire holds.

Kathy Kelly, who witnessed Israel’s “Cast Lead” campaign 4 years ago, has been interviewing survivors of the current, much briefer, campaign.  “This was worse than 2009 because of the intensity of the bombing,” reported one doctor. “Bombs fell so frequently, morning, noon, and night, and it felt like there was no place safe to hide.” 

The delegates spoke with EMT workers excavating a leveled 4-story building in Jamaliya, then met with farmers at a buffer zone protest at Khan Younis, whose acreage on the Gaza side of the border fence has been inaccessible due to long-standing Israeli policy of firing on those who approach the fence. Later, they met with a water specialist who reported that no desalinization plants are currently working.  At one site neighbors grieved a family of 14 lost under the ruins of a three-story building thought to be a safe place to hide from the bombing.

Josh Brollier and Johnny Barber interviewed fishermen on the Gazan seashore – “Youth don’t want to leave their homeland but can’t see how they will have any future here.”  They talked to teenagers whose fishing boat was boarded by by Israeli troops for working more than three miles from shore.  They had refused an order to strip naked in their boat and then acted to prevent the customary destruction of their boat’s motor by gunfire. “I grabbed the motor,” reported one youth, “and said ‘you can put the bullet here [indicating his head] but I will not do what you ask me to do.”

Delegates will post on twitter (info_from_vcnv), facebook and the Voices website, vcnv.org

Please contact Voices co-coordinators in Chicago, Buddy Bell and Gerald Paoli, for updated information and cell phone numbers for the activists in Cairo and Gaza.

Voices for Creative Nonviolence (www.vcnv.org) has deep, long-standing roots in active nonviolent resistance to U.S. war-making. Begun in the summer of 2005, Voices draws upon the experiences of those who challenged the brutal economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. and U.N. against the Iraqi people between 1990 and 2003.

Arafat's Body Exhumed

 

Arafat's Body Exhumed

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

On November 27, Arafat's body was exhumed. Samples were taken from his remains and surrounding soil. Tests are being conducted. International experts are involved. 

 

Earlier evidence proved he died from radioactive polonium poisoning. Tests will check for all possible toxic substances. 

 

Abbas Submits Weak UN Status Bid

 

Abbas Submits Weak UN Status Bid

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Palestine deserves full UN membership. It's entitled to all rights and privileges afforded other Member States. Getting them is simple. It should have happened years ago. 

 

Palestine satisfies all essential criteria. On November 15, 1988, it achieved statehood. 

 

World Social Forum Free Palestine

 

World Social Forum Free Palestine

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

The World Social Forum calls itself "an open meeting place where social movements, networks, NGOs and other civil society organizations opposed to neoliberalism and a world dominated by capital or by any form of imperialism come together to pursue their thinking, to debate ideas democratically, for formulate proposals, share their experiences freely and network for effective action."

Gaza Still Boils

 

Gaza Still Boils

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Pillar of Cloud settled nothing. Little changed for 1.7 million Gazans. Suffocating siege continues. Israel provoked two border incidents. 

 

One Palestinian was shot and killed. Others were wounded. They threatened no one. These type incidents are commonplace. They won't end. Palestinians are blamed for Israeli crimes. 

Israel's War on Palestine

 

Israel's War on Palestine

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Operation Pillar of Cloud reflects the latest chapter in Israel's decades-long, slow-motion, genocidal war on Palestine.

 

So-called memorandum of understanding terms changed nothing. They're nonbinding, meaningless, and insulting. 

 

Palestinians: Dying to Live Free

 

Palestinians: Dying to Live Free

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Occupied Palestine is the longest unresolved conflict of our time. After 64 years, Palestinians remain largely isolated on their own.

 

Their suffering continues. Their rights don't matter. Western nations scorn them. Rhetorical support only is provided. It's insulting, demeaning and meaningless. 

 

Gaza Postmortems

 

Gaza Postmortems

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Discussion ranges from who won, who lost, who cares, what's next. Media scoundrels support Israeli aggression like they always do. More on that below.

 

Operation Pillar of Cloud, like decades of similar Israeli aggression, wasn't about self-defense in response to Palestinian rockets or other incidents. 

 

Gaza: Victimized by Israeli Terror Bombing

 

Gaza: Victimized by Israeli Terror Bombing 

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Tuesday night, Israel and Hamas agreed to halt hostilities. Midnight local time was chosen. Hamas didn't want conflict in the first place. 

 

Israel is a rogue state. It's a serial provocateur. Multiple attacks were launched. Hamas responded defensively. It's their right and responsibility under international law. It had no other choice. 

Israeli Terror Attacks: Day 8

 

Israeli Terror Attacks: Day 8

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

What can't go on forever, won't. As long as world leaders let Israel get away with murder, killing Palestinians won't stop.

 

Wednesday marks Operation Pillar of Cloud day 8. Ceasefire deals don't stop Israel's killing machine. It's a weapon of mass destruction.

 

Chicago Solidarity Activists to Travel to Gaza

CHICAGO, IL.- In response to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza and to answer calls for a solidarity presence from Gaza-based organizations, international activists and grassroots journalists are forming delegations headed to the Gaza Strip.  

Travelers include Kathy Kelly, Johnny Barber and Joshua Brollier of Voices for Creative Nonviolence who will be leaving for Gaza via Egypt on Thursday, November 22nd

“We travel in opposition to the United States government’s callous silence about continued Israeli war crimes happening in Gaza.  The United States supplied Israel with approximately 3.1 billion dollars in military aid in 2012 alone. We have a moral obligation to speak out when this money is used to kill Palestinians in Gaza,” says Joshua Brollier.  At least 130 Palestinians and 5 Israelis have been killed since Operation Pillar of Defense began 9 days ago.

We're All Gazans Now

 

We're All Gazans Now

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

The whole world's watching. Growing millions know. Israel’s a rogue terror state. It's amoral, brutish, and ruthless. Arabs are murdered for not being Jews. 

 

Gazans suffer most of all. Israel's been terror-bombing them daily. Civilians are maliciously targeted.

 

Israeli Terror Attacks: Day 7

 

Israeli Terror Attacks: Day 7

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

When will Israel decide enough's enough? When will enough dead Palestinian men, women, children, infants, and elderly satisfy Netanyahu's blood lust? He'll have to explain.

 

Death and injury totals keep rising. Perhaps hundreds already perished. Those injured approach 1,000. Many are in serious condition. Some won't survive. Others are maimed for life.

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.

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