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May 13, 2010

Part 1: Ali Abunimah: Campus BDS Conference keynote speaker

There are six parts to this talk; absolutely brilliant. PLus a Q and A session. Go to Youtube by clicking in the screen.

A Song for Gaza

A Song for Gaza by Thomas Easaw – Ma-Tvideo France3 by Thomas Easaw

You just wont feel like listening to the radio these days
Cause twenty centuries after He lived and left that place
Its strange that people havent learnt that men are all the same
And discrimination is existing today

In West Asia everywhere, in West Asia today
Men are being butchered in its name
Many have died in bombings and most have died in vain
But West Asia has remained just the same.

Many times Ive wondered, well what are we looking for?
When a brother calls for help, is it right to help him or
Should we fear the Mighty Powers to execute the truth
World peace, as what they say is just an excuse.

So I call out to my friends, all around the world,
Let’s at least raise our voices against this
Its not wise to fight those powers for they could wreck this place I know
But it is cowardice not even talking about it.
If its song let’s sing for justice’s sake, for we can’t fight for it
But West Asia should never remain the same.

Israeli Buccaneers Prepare for Mayhem

Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israel’s naval forces are allegedly in training to prepare to seize eight boats scheduled to dock in the Gaza Strip on 24 May from Europe, Arabic-language media reported on Wednesday.

“About half of the Israeli naval forces will participate in an operation that was approved by the cabinet. [Israeli] Defense Minister Ehud Barak will supervise the operation,” an Israeli official told the Arabic-language satellite TV station Al-Hurra.

An Israeli security source told Ma’an that authorities will prevent the arrival of the boats “at any price.”

The Freedom Fleet is scheduled to set sail from the UK, Greece and Turkey. The European Free Gaza campaign said Israeli authorities informed them that the flotillas would be prevented from docking in Gaza.

The boats will be loaded with prefabricated homes, cement, and medicine and will be accompanied by 600 individuals in a bid to break the siege on Gaza.

On Sunday, Jamal Al-Khudari, head of Gaza’s Popular Committee Against the Siege, said Israeli threats to open fire at the boats reveal Israel’s weakness.

“Such threats reflect the occupation’s failure and embody state terrorism against peaceful individuals who come to support a people under siege and aggression,” a statement issued by Al-Khudari said.

Under international law, the activists attempting to dock in Gaza have the right to participate in breaking the siege, Al-Khudari added, saying the threats will not deter participants from arriving in Gaza.

The popular committee organizer said the group was coming well-equipped, and would be ready should the Israeli navy surround them for a long period of time.

The Freedom Flotilla announced plans in late April, saying a group of ships would depart from several corners of the Mediterranean and gather in international waters with the intent to deliver some 5,000 tons of building and medical supplies to the population under siege.

According to flotilla organizers, 600 activists will sail three cargo ships and five passenger boats for Gaza in what a statement called the “biggest internationally coordinated effort to directly challenge Israeli’s ongoing occupation, aggression, and violence against the Palestinian people.”

First ship to launch Wednesday in new push to break Gaza sea blockade

A crew member waves from the bow of the MV Rachel Corrie, the first ship to sail from Ireland to Gaza this month as part of an international flotilla to break the siege and deliver humanitarian aid to the coastal enclave (Photo courtesy of the Free Gaza Movement)

By Thameen Kheetan

AMMAN – The first ship of an international flotilla aiming to break the Israeli blockade on Gaza and deliver humanitarian aid to the strip will depart from Ireland Wednesday, pro-Palestinian activists said.

Three cargo ships loaded with some 5,000 tonnes of aid and construction materials, in addition to five boats carrying around 600 activists from several countries across the world, will meet in the Mediterranean Sea and head for Gazan shores, where they expect to arrive at the end of this month, the Free Gaza Movement announced on Monday.

More than 150 wheelchairs, a dental chair, blood collecting machines and hospital beds will be on board the cargo ships, as well as 500 tonnes of cement, prefabricated homes, medical equipment, school supplies, water filtration equipment and generators, according to Greta Berlin, a co-founder of the Free Gaza Movement, one of the partner NGOs in the flotilla.

The date of arrival at the Palestinian coastal enclave depends on the prevailing weather, Berlin told The Jordan Times over the phone from Ireland, where activists are preparing for the launch of the first cargo ship, the MV Rachel Corrie, which will carry 1,200 tonnes of humanitarian aid.

A bottle of Palestinian olive oil will be smashed against the ship, named after the American peace activist who was killed by an Israeli bulldozer in 2003 while protesting home demolitions in Gaza, as a “celebration of Palestinian land rights and international solidarity for justice and peace”, the movement said in a statement, a copy of which was sent to The Jordan Times.

Other ships and boats taking part in the flotilla will depart on May 22 from Greek and Turkish ports, Berlin said, explaining that one cargo ship and four passenger boats will depart from Greece, while a cargo ship and a passenger boat will sail from Turkey.

On board the passenger ships will be delegations from Ireland, Germany, Norway, Malaysia, South Africa and South American countries, she noted, adding that MPs, journalists and “high-profile” people are among the passengers.

Also on board of one of the ships will be a delegation of Viva Palestina activists, who organised their third land convoy to break the siege and enter Gaza last winter.

The flotilla’s major organising NGOs are the Free Gaza Movement, the European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza, the Ship to Gaza initiative in Greece and Sweden, the International Committee to Lift the Siege on Gaza, and the Istanbul-based Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief, Berlin noted.

In addition to delivering aid to the besieged coastal strip, the initiative’s aim is to break the blockade, which Israel has imposed since the Islamist movement Hamas took power in Gaza in 2007.

The blockade has left around 325,000 refugees in the strip under “abject poverty, unable to meet their basic food needs”, according to UNRWA. The organisation also says that it has been unable to conduct “any significant repairs or reconstruction” since the 22-day Israeli military offensive against the enclave in winter 2008/09.

Tel Aviv said last week it would not allow the flotilla to gain access to Gazan shores due to the sea blockade, adding that the activists have to go through Israeli authorities in order to get the aid into Gaza.

“We don’t ask for their permission to go and travel straight from international waters to the waters of Gaza,” Berlin told The Jordan Times in an e-mail yesterday, considering that “there is no war at present and no reason to stop us”.

Polish-English activist Ewa Jasiewicz highlighted the importance of this month’s flotilla in offering the Palestinians construction materials, which activists say are normally not allowed into Gaza by the Israelis.

“Denying these construction items fits Israel’s strategy of collective punishment. It is about punishing the people of Gaza and disabling them from having a life with dignity and keeping them in a constant state of struggle,” she told The Jordan Times.

Meanwhile, some 15 Jordanians representing professional associations and civil society organisations will leave Amman for Turkey next week to take part in the flotilla, according to activist Wael Saqqa.

He said a special committee formed to organise the Jordanian participation has collected some JD100,000 as donations for the international initiative.

“We hope to do a similar activity on an Arab level… Why not have ships sail from different Arab coastal cities, for
example?” he remarked.

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