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Date

June 6, 2010

Call From gaza to the citizens of the world to break the siege

Besieged Gaza, Palestine

5.6.2010

One-and-a-half years after Israeli army perpetrated a massacre upon the population of Gaza, Apartheid Israel commits another crime against partisans of Palestine in international waters. The world is moved at the plight of Palestinians and their supporters. All of the seven crossings between Gaza and Israel, including the Rafah Crossing—the only access Gaza has to the external world—remain hermetically sealed.

We request that the citizens of the world oppose this deadly, medieval blockade. We no longer rely on governments. The failure of the United Nations and its numerous organizations to condemn such crimes proves their complicity. Only civil society is able to mobilize to demand the application of international law and put an end to Israel’s impunity. The intervention of civil society was effective in the late 1980s against the apartheid regime of South Africa. Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have not only described Israel’s oppressive and violent control of Palestinians as Apartheid, they have also joined this call for the world’s civil society to intervene again.

We, therefore, ask people of conscience and civil society organizations to put pressure on their governments until Israel is forced to abide by international law and international humanitarian law. Without the intervention of the international community which was effective against apartheid in South Africa, Israel will continue its war crimes and crimes against humanity, as articulated by the Goldstione report.

We call on civil society organizations worldwide to intensify the
anti-Israel sanctions campaign to compel Israel to end to its aggression.

Besieged Gaza,

5.6.2010

Signatory Organizations:

The One Democratic State Group

University Teachers’ Association

Arab Cultural Forum

Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel

Association of Al-Quds Bank for Culture and Info

Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements

International Solidarity Movement

Palestine Sailing Federation

Palestinian Association for Fishing and Maritime

Palestinian Network of Non-Governmental Organizations

Palestinian Women Committees

Progressive Students Union

Medical Relief Society

The General Society for Rehabilitation

Gaza Community Mental Health Program

General Union of Palestinian Women

Afaq Jadeeda Cultural Centre for Women and Children

Deir Al-Balah Cultural Centre for Women and Children

Maghazi Cultural Centre for Children

Al-Sahel Centre for Women and Youth

Ghassan Kanfani Kindergartens

Rachel Corrie Centre, Rafah

Rafah Olympia City Sisters

Al Awda Centre, Rafah

Al Awda Hospital, Jabaliya Camp

Ajyal Association, Gaza

General Union of Palestinian Syndicates

Al Karmel Centre, Nuseirat

Local Initiative, Beit Hanoun

Union of Health Work Committees

Red Crescent Society Gaza Strip

Beit Lahiya Cultural Centre

Al Awda Centre, Rafah

Israeli Protest at Ashdod for Freedom Flotilla Aid for Gaza

rageunderground — 1 juin 2010 — A day after a botched Israeli raid to stop the Gaza “Freedom Flotilla” from carrying some 700 activists and 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid to the besieged territory, details remain scant about the operation, in which at least nine activists were killed.

Several ships were towed into the port around noon on Monday. The largest passenger ship, the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara arrived about 6:45 p.m. Monday as the sun was setting on a day that saw at least nine of the approximately 600 activists on board killed in a skirmish with Israeli commandos.

Israel has also barred journalists from accessing the Ashdod port to which the ships, and their passengers, were towed — and even the wounded were being treated at hospitals under heavy military guard.

Apache helicopter gunships buzzed noisily over the otherwise sleepy Israeli seaport of Ashdod, where dozens of local activists and foreign journalists had descended on the waterfront in anticipation of the seized fleet’s arrival.

“We are trying to express our solidarity with the activists and with the people of Gaza by maintaining a presence at the port,” said Inna Michaeli, one of about 100 left-wing Israeli activists and coordinator with the Coalition of Women for Peace, on Monday. “But we are being stopped by the police and by the army. They have turned our country into a military zone.”

At the port there were hundreds of Israeli’s in support of the IDF, as this footage shows.

Latuff

Lead Letter in The Independent on Sunday From British Writers In Support of Palestine

June 4th 2010

Dear Editor

The murder of humanitarian aid workers aboard the Mavi Marmara in international waters is the latest tragic example of Israel’s relentless attacks on human rights. But while violently preventing the free passage of medical, building and school supplies to Gaza, Israel continues to pride itself as a highly cultured, highly educated state. In solidarity with Palestinian civil society and its call for a Boycott Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel, we the undersigned therefore appeal to British writers and scholars to boycott all literary, cultural and academic visits to Israel that are sponsored by the Israeli government, including those organised by Israeli cultural foundations and universities. (This boycott does not include courageous independent Israeli organisations who openly oppose the occupation.) We also ask that writers, poets and British funding bodies actively support Palestinian literary events, such as the Palestinian Literary Festival and the Palestinian Writing Workshop.

Materially and ideologically, state-sponsored Israeli academic and cultural events both prop up and mask the on-going brutal occupation of Palestine. Israeli universities are key players in the creation and dissemination of government policy, and while some Israeli cultural foundations may promote ‘dialogue’ between the two peoples, there can be no true dialogue when one party is a military superpower and the other a nation of second-class citizens, refugees and virtual prisoners. Appearing as an international guest at all such Israeli cultural and academic events helps to divert attention from, and normalize, Israeli war crimes in Gaza; the annexation of East Jerusalem; and the on-going illegal settlement of the West Bank. Such appearances will also help to normalise Israel’s recent abhorrent military actions at sea.

More information on the cultural and academic boycott of Israel may be found at http://www.pacbi.org and http://www.bricup.org.uk. But in brief, we the undersigned do not wish to lend our presence or approval to cultural or academic events underwritten by the State of Israel, nor do we wish to help sustain the deliberately fostered illusion of moral and military parity between the two actors in this conflict. Rather as Britons and British residents, we believe that we have a historical and moral obligation to support the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people in their struggle for long-denied peace, justice and self-determination.

Yours truly,

BWISP (British Writers In Support of Palestine)

bwisp.info@googlemail.com

Rowyda Amin (poet)

Prof Mona Baker (scholar)

John Berger (novelist, art critic, essayist, poet, Booker Prize winner)

Marilyn Booth (scholar)

Kevin Cadwallender (poet)

Jenny Diski (novelist, essayist, travel writer)

Alison Fell (novelist, poet)

Naomi Foyle (poet, editor, scholar and BWISP co-ordinator)

Prof Patrick Ffrench (scholar, writer)

Prof Ian Gregson (poet, literary critic)

Rumy Hasan (scholar)

Aamer Hussein (writer)

Judith Kazantzis (poet and BWISP co-ordinator)

Mimi Khalvati (poet)

Wendy Klein (poet)

Stephen Knight (poet and critic)

Diane Langford (novelist)

Catherine Lupton (writer)

Lauro Martines (writer, socio-political and historical scholar)

Alan Morrison (poet and editor)

Dr Dalia Mostafa (scholar)

Ali Nasralla (scholar)

Sybil Oldfield (academic, scholar, feminist historian/biographer)

Julia O’Faolain (novelist)

Jeremy Page (poet, editor, critic)

Thomas Pakenham (historian)

Dr Ian Patterson (poet and scholar)

Prof Jonathan Rosenhead (scholar)

Dr Duncan Salkeld (literary scholar)

John Siddique (poet and writer)

Mark Slater (scholar, critic and writer)

Dr Derek Summerfield (writer, scholar)

David Swann (poet and writer)

Kate Webb (writer, critic)

Irving Weinman (novelist and BWISP co-ordinator)

Eliza Wyatt (playwright)

Evie Wyld (novelist)

Robin Yassin-Kassab (novelist)

Galloway announces new land and sea convoys to break the siege of Gaza

Speaking at a demonstration in London yesterday (5th June) which organisers estimated to be more than 20,000 strong, George Galloway announced new land and sea convoys to break the siege of Gaza.

“After extensive discussion in Istanbul,” said Galloway, “I can announce that a land convoy will leave Britain shortly after the end of Ramadan in September this year and travel through Europe, down through Turkey and Syria into Jordan. We will ask the Egyptian government then to ensure passage from the port of Aqaba to Rafah and into Gaza.

“At exactly the same time a flotilla of boats will be leaving to tour the countries of the Mediterranean before heading for Gaza.

“These combined sea and land convoys will be co-coordinated by Viva Palestina with other organisations in Britain and with our friends throughout the Middle East and in Turkey.”

For more information please contact Alice Howard at Viva Palestina on 07889 726777 or Rob Hoveman on 07507 600561

———————
Alice Howard
Viva Palestina UK
Tel: +447889726777
Email: alice@vivapalestina.org
Website: http://www.vivapalestina.org/
Sign up to the Viva Palestina Mailing List http://www.vivapalestina.org/alert.htm

Viva Palestina, helping to make the positive steps in breaking the siege of Gaza!

Nobel Peace Laureate Defies Israeli Blockade

What is not allowed

RICHARD TILLINGHAST
Richard Tillinghast is an American poet who lives in Co Tipperary. He is the author of eight books of poetry, the latest of which is Selected Poems (Dedalus Press, 2010 ), as well as several works of non-fiction

*

No tinned meat is allowed, no tomato paste,
no clothing, no shoes, no notebooks.
These will be stored in our warehouses at Kerem Shalom
until further notice.
Bananas, apples, and persimmons are allowed into Gaza,
peaches and dates, and now macaroni
(after the American Senator’s visit).
These are vital for daily sustenance.

But no apricots, no plums, no grapes, no avocados, no jam.
These are luxuries and are not allowed.
Paper for textbooks is not allowed.
The terrorists could use it to print seditious material.
And why do you need textbooks
now that your schools are rubble?
No steel is allowed, no building supplies, no plastic pipe.
These the terrorists could use to launch rockets
against us.

Pumpkins and carrots you may have, but no delicacies,
no cherries, no pomegranates, no watermelon, no onions,
no chocolate.

We have a list of three dozen items that are allowed,
but we are not obliged to disclose its contents.
This is the decision arrived at
by Colonel Levi, Colonel Rosenzweig, and Colonel Segal.

Our motto:
‘No prosperity, no development, no humanitarian crisis.’
You may fish in the Mediterranean,
but only as far as three km from shore.
Beyond that and we open fire.
It is a great pity the waters are polluted
twenty million gallons of raw sewage dumped into the sea every day
is the figure given.

Our rockets struck the sewage treatments plants,
and at this point spare parts to repair them are not allowed.
As long as Hamas threatens us,
no cement is allowed, no glass, no medical equipment.
We are watching you from our pilotless drones
as you cook your sparse meals over open fires
and bed down
in the ruins of houses destroyed by tank shells.

And if your children can’t sleep,
missing the ones who were killed in our incursion,
or cry out in the night, or wet their beds
in your makeshift refugee tents,
or scream, feeling pain in their amputated limbs –
that’s the price you pay for harbouring terrorists.

God gave us this land.
A land without a people for a people without a land.

You will have no protection

You will have no protection
Alice Walker, The Electronic Intifada, 4 June 2010

— Medgar Evers to Civil Rights Activists in Mississippi, shortly before he was assassinated, 12 June, 1963

My heart is breaking; but I do not mind.

For one thing, as soon as I wrote those words I was able to weep. Which I had not been able to do since learning of the attack by armed Israeli commandos on defenseless peace activists carrying aid to Gaza who tried to fend them off using chairs and sticks. I am thankful to know what it means to be good; I know that the people of the Freedom Flotilla are/were in some cases, some of the best people on earth. They have not stood silently by and watched the destruction of others, brutally, sustained, without offering themselves, weaponless except for their bodies, to the situation. I am thankful to have a long history of knowing people like this from my earliest years, beginning in my student days of marches and demonstrations: for peace, for non-separation among peoples, for justice for Women, for People of Color, for Cubans, for Animals, for Indians, and for Her, the planet.

I am weeping for the truth of Medgar’s statement; so brave and so true. I weep for him gunned down in his carport, not far from where I would eventually live in Mississippi, with a box of t-shirts in his arms that said: “Jim Crow Must Go.” Though trained in the United States Military under racist treatment one cringes to imagine, he remained a peaceful soldier in the army of liberation to the end. I weep and will always weep, even through the widest smiles, for the beautiful young wife, Myrlie Evers, he left behind, herself still strong and focused on the truth of struggle; and for their children, who lost their father to a fate they could not possibly, at the time, understand. I don’t think any of us could imagine during that particular phase of the struggle for justice, that we risked losing not just our lives, which we were prepared to give, but also our children, who we were not.

Nothing protected Medgar, nor will anything protect any of us; nothing but our love for ourselves and for others whom we recognize unfailingly as also ourselves. Nothing can protect us but our lives. How we have lived them; what battles, with love and compassion our only shield, we have engaged. And yet, the moment of realizing we are truly alone, that in the ultimate crisis of our existence our government is not there for us, is one of shock. Especially if we have had the illusion of a system behind us to which we truly belong. Thankfully I have never had opportunity to have this illusion. And so, every peaceful witnessing, every non-violent confrontation has been a pure offering. I do not regret this at all.

When I was in Cairo last December to support CODEPINK’s efforts to carry aid into Gaza I was unfortunately ill with the flu and could not offer very much. I lay in bed in the hotel room and listened to other activists report on what was happening around the city as Egypt refused entry to Gaza to the 1,400 people who had come for the accompanying Freedom march. I heard many distressing things, but only one made me feel, not exactly envy, but something close; it was that the French activists had shown up, en masse, in front of their embassy and that their ambassador had come out to talk to them and to try to make them comfortable as they set up camp outside the building. This small gesture of compassion for his country’s activists in a strange land touched me profoundly, as I was touched decades ago when someone in John Kennedy’s White House (maybe the cook) sent out cups of hot coffee to our line of freezing student and teacher demonstrators as we tried, with our signs and slogans and
songs, to protect a vulnerable neighbor, Cuba.

Where have the Israelis put our friends? I thought about this all night. Those whom they assassinated on the ship and those they injured? Is “my” government capable of insisting on respect for their dead bodies? Can it demand that those who are injured but alive be treated with care? Not only with care, but the tenderness and honor they deserve? If it cannot do this, such a simple, decent thing, of what use is it to the protection and healing of the planet? I heard a spokesman for the United States opine at the United Nations (not an exact quote) that the Freedom Flotilla activists should have gone through other, more proper, channels, not been confrontational with their attempt to bring aid to the distressed. This is almost exactly what college administrators advised half a century ago when students were trying to bring down apartheid in the South and getting bullets, nooses, bombings and burnings for our efforts. I felt embarrassed (to the degree one can permit embarrassment by
another) to be even vaguely represented by this man: a useless voice from the far past. One had hoped.

The Israeli spin on the massacre: that the commandos were under attack by the peace activists and that the whole thing was like “a lynching” of the armed attackers, reminds me of a Redd Foxx joke. I loved Redd Foxx, for all his vulgarity. A wife caught her husband in bed with another woman, flagrant, in the act, skin to skin. The husband said, probably through pants of aroused sexual exertion: All right, go ahead and believe your lying eyes! It would be fun, were it not tragic, to compare the various ways the Israeli government and our media will attempt to blame the victims of this unconscionable attack for their own imprisonment, wounds and deaths.

So what to do? Rosa Parks sat down in the front of the bus. Martin Luther King followed her act of courage with many of his own, and using his ringing, compassionate voice he aroused the people of Montgomery, Alabama to commit to a sustained boycott of the bus company; a company that refused to allow people of color to sit in the front of the bus, even if it was empty. It is time for us, en masse, to show up in front of our conscience, and sit down in the front of the only bus we have: our very lives.

What would that look like, be like, today, in this situation between Palestine and Israel? This “impasse” that has dragged on for decades. This “conflict” that would have ended in a week if humanity as a whole had acted in defense of justice everywhere on the globe. Which maybe we are learning! It would look like the granddaughter of Rosa Parks, the grandson of Martin Luther King. It would look like spending our money only where we can spend our lives in peace and happiness; freely sharing whatever we have with our friends.

It would be to support boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel to End the Occupation of Gaza and the West Bank and by this effort begin to soothe the pain and attend the sorrows of a people wrongly treated for generations. This action would also remind Israel that we have seen it lose its way and have called to it, often with love, and we have not been heard. In fact, we have reached out to it only to encounter slander, insult and, too frequently, bodily harm.

Disengage, avoid, and withhold support from whatever abuses, degrades and humiliates humanity.

This we can do. We the people; who ultimately hold all the power. We the people, who must never forget to believe we can win.

We the people.

It has always been about us; as we watch governments come and go. It always will be.

Alice Walker is a poet, novelist, feminist and activist whose award-winning works have sold over ten million copies.

……………………………………………………….
——–
Jewish Peace News editors:
Joel Beinin
Racheli Gai
Rela Mazali
Sarah Anne Minkin
Judith Norman
Lincoln Z. Shlensky
Rebecca Vilkomerson
Alistair Welchman
————
Jewish Peace News archive and blog: http://jewishpeacenews.blogspot.com

Freedom Flotilla Protest at the White House 6/4/10

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