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March 11, 2009


Viva Palestina Email Alert
17.00 (GMT) Wednesday 11th March 2009


Many were in tears, some of them inconsolable at having to leave their new-found family. Today, a large number of the convoy members and the activists who joined them in Gaza made their way to the infamous Rafah crossing to leave Palestine and head home.

George Galloway, who met with Prime minister Ismael Hania last night, was due to leave today too. It was a warm meeting where the PM thanked Viva Palestina for breaking the siege and, by doing so, gave a moral boost to the people of Gaza and hope to every Palestinian child.

Prime Minister Hania handed George his personal Prime Minister’s passport as a symbolic gesture of gratitude and appreciation for his stance with the Palestinian people. Other gifts and souvenirs were handed to members of Viva Palestina.

About twenty stayed behind today to tour the area and to meet with various bodies and officials – in order to assess and evaluate the urgent needs of the Gaza population.

Talat Ali, the only convoy leader who decided to stay behind, visited an orphanage housing between 100 to 150 orphans. They listened to harrowing accounts of the slaughter that took away the lives of their loved ones.

Some children are so traumatised after spending days and nights under the rubble of their demolished homes, with the bodies of their parents, that they cannot speak.

Then, the Viva Palestina members visited an area where tents were erected to house the destitute who lost their homes after the bombings. Each tent has a capacity of between 10-15 people. In These extreme weather conditions, whole families sleep on hard ground, struggling to keep themselves warm in the freezing nights.

Last night, F16s bombed Gaza again making martyrs of eight souls. An activist told me that one of the bombs exploded only 200 yards from where they were sleeping. She said ‘ I went back to sleep ‘.

That is the measure of Viva Palestina and the measure of the people of Gaza, who daily say to Israel, “Your bombs do not scare us and they will NEVER defeat us!”

Prepared and translated by Farid Arada

The Tactics Of the Israel Lobby

By Charles Freeman

March 11, 2009 “WSJ” — -To all who supported me or gave me words of encouragement during the controversy of the past two weeks, you have my gratitude and respect.

You will by now have seen the statement by Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair reporting that I have withdrawn my previous acceptance of his invitation to chair the National Intelligence Council.

I have concluded that the barrage of libelous distortions of my record would not cease upon my entry into office. The effort to smear me and to destroy my credibility would instead continue. I do not believe the National Intelligence Council could function effectively while its chair was under constant attack by unscrupulous people with a passionate attachment to the views of a political faction in a foreign country. I agreed to chair the NIC to strengthen it and protect it against politicization, not to introduce it to efforts by a special interest group to assert control over it through a protracted political campaign.


Freeman Withdrawal Marks Victory for Israel Lobby

By Daniel Luban and Jim Lobe*

WASHINGTON, Mar 10 (IPS) – Amb. Chas Freeman withdrew from consideration for a top intelligence post in the Obama administration on Tuesday, following a vitriolic battle that pitted Republican lawmakers and pro-Israel hardliners opposed to his appointment against liberals and members of the intelligence and diplomatic communities who had come to his defence.


Ilan Pappé at Leuven this Friday

I would like to invite you to come to the lecture on the 13th of march at the Arenberginstitute in Leuven (Naamsestraat 96) at 3pm given by Prof Ilan Pappé.

Ilan Pappe, born in Haifa in 1954 is currently a Chair in the Department of History, the University of Exeter and a co-director of the Exeter Center for Ethno-Political Studies.

He wrote extensively on the 1948 Naqbah and is regarded as one of Israel `new historians’ who challenged the official Zionist version of events.

Among these, he defends the Palestinian narrative and analysis of the events of the 1948 War. In particular he subscribes to the thesis that Palestinians were intentionally expelled by Yishuv and later Israeli forces in terms of a plan drawn up even before the war.

Extract of his books introduction:

“I am pro forced transfer, I see nothing immoral in it.” David Ben-Gurion said to the Executives of the Jewish Agency, June 1938

On the cold morning of March 10, 1948 a group of eleven men, consisting of Zionist leaders of the old guard and young Jewish military officers, finalized a plan for the ethnic cleansing of Palestine . That same evening military orders were given to the ground units who had to prepare for the systematic expulsion of Palestinians from large parts of the country. The orders contained a detailed description of the methods to be used to forcefully expulse the people: large scale harassment, intimidation; besieging and bombarding villages and population centers; burning houses, country estates and merchandise; expulsion; and, finally, placing mines in the rubble to prevent the displaced residents to return. Each unit had its own list of villages and neighborhoods that together formed the goals of the overall plan. This Plan D (DALET in Hebrew) was the fourth and final version of less comprehensive plans that described the fate that the Zionists had in store for Palestine and therefore for its indigenous people.

Once the decision was taken, it took six months to complete the task. After that time, almost 800,000 people were displaced – more than half of the original Palestinian population – 531 villages were destroyed and eleven urban neighborhoods were emptied of their inhabitants.

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