Tag Palestine and Israel

Free Gaza makes it into the Gaza Strip again

Despite the Israeli government’s threat to forcibly stop them the Free Gaza group made a second successful sailing to Gaza Strip today. Their first sailing, on 24 August, made them the first people to freely enter Gaza Strip in forty-one years.

Israel has imposed an immoral and illegal1 blockade on Gaza Strip since June 2007, in an attempt to undermine Hamas, who won the elections in January 2006, and as collective punishment of Gazans for electing them.

The blockade means Gazans have been unable to travel in or out of Gaza Strip to see family members or go to universities they’ve been accepted into, or receive medical care. It also means an increasing lack of things like spare machinery parts and all the other things that go into running a civilised world.

This kind of cowardly collective punishment has been carried out before in this part of the world and that is estimated to have cost the lives of a million people, half of whom were children.

Let’s hope Free Gaza is just the beginning of the breaking of this siege.

  1. Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Article 13. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country. []

Israeli best seller challenges Zionism

Jonathan Cook on Dr. Shlomo Sand’s new book:

Dr. Shlomo Sand argues that the idea of a Jewish nation—whose need for a safe haven was originally used to justify the founding of the state of Israel—is a myth invented little more than a century ago.

In addition, he argues that the Jews were never exiled from the Holy Land, that most of today’s Jews have no historical connection to the land called Israel and that the only political solution to the country’s conflict with the Palestinians is to abolish the Jewish state.

… he predicted a rough ride from the pro-Israel lobby when the book is launched … in the United States next year.

In contrast, he said Israelis had been, if not exactly supportive, at least curious about his argument.

The shooting of Thomas Hurndall

There’s a documentary drama on the UK’s Channel 4 tomorrow night at 9 PM, telling the story of Thomas Hurndall’s murder by an Israeli sniper, and his family’s fight to uncover the truth.

I met Tom on the human shield action to Iraq in 2003. He left Iraq when war became inevitable and travelled on to Gaza where he was eventually shot in the head by Hayb, an award-winning Israeli marksman, while trying to save Palestinian children who were having pot shots fired around them by Israeli snipers.

Israel/Palestine: The future is one nation

Outgoing Prime Minister of Israel, Ehud Olmert, recently quoted as saying:

(I am saying) what no previous Israeli leader has ever said: we should withdraw from almost all of the territories, including in East Jerusalem and in the Golan Heights.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki, in response:

We wish we had heard this personal opinion … (before) he resigned.

No shit. But this all pre-supposes the dead end that is the two-state solution. As Ghada Karmi wrote last week in The Guardian:

A unitary state is inevitable. Establishing an exclusive state defined along ethnic-religious lines and excluding its previous inhabitants was unjust and ultimately unsustainable. No political acrobatics will alter this. The sooner the UN, which unwisely created Israel in the first place, takes charge of the consequences, the better it will be for Palestinians, for Israelis and for the region as a whole.

God’s chosen people…

Here’s recent recent footage of the Israeli navy firing machine guns at unarmed Palestinian fishing boats.

The Sunday Herald reports (webpage removed):

The footage, taken on September 6 by Andrew Muncie, who is from the Highlands, shows an Israeli gunboat engaging fishing boats while international observers hold their arms in the air and scream for them to stop firing.

No-one was injured in the incident, but Palestinian fishermen claim 14 colleagues have been murdered at sea by the Israeli navy since the onset of an economic blockade imposed after Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007. Israel says patrolling these waters is a vital security measure to stop weapons being smuggled into Gaza.

Free Gaza boats successfully break Israeli blockade

Over the weekend a group from the Free Gaza Movement, including my good friend Ken O’Keefe, set out in boats from Cyprus and successfully broke Israel’s contemptible economic blockade of Gaza. Ken emailed through a few photos today, with this message:

Some pictures to share of a day that may have largely ignored in the West, but was deeply powerful and moving to not just the people of Gaza, but to the Arab world and beyond.

And a news report from France 24:


A couple of people now have asked me to post the quotes that currently appear at random in the top right hand corner of my blog, so here they are in random order. I’ll add new ones at the top.

Throughout the world, on any given day, a man, a woman or child is likely to be displaced, tortured, killed or “disappeared,” at the hands of governments or armed political groups. More often than not, the United States shares the blame. —Amnesty International, 1996

The 20th century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy; the growth of corporate power; and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy. —Alex Carey

What do I want from this life? What makes you happy is not enough. All the things that satisfy our instincts only satisfy the animal in us. I want to be proud of myself. I want more. I want to look up to myself and when I die, I want to smile because of the things I have done, not cry for the things I haven’t done. —Tom Hurndall (a friend of mine who I met in Iraq, he was murdered by an Israeli soldier)

To initiate a war of aggression … is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole. —Nuremberg Trial Proceedings, 30th September 1946

Choice is an illusion, created between those with power, and those without. —The Merovingian, The Matrix Reloaded

The Pentagon admits that it has no intelligence at all … —CNN, 21st March 2003

The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact; non-Westerners never do. —Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (Note: if you want to know why the West became superior at applying organised violence have a read of Guns, Germs, and Steel.)

Why of course the people don’t want war … But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship … voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. —Hermann Goering

Crime is naught but misdirected energy. So long as every institution of today, economic, political, social, and moral, conspires to misdirect human energy into wrong channels; so long as most people are out of place doing the things they hate to do, living a life they loathe to live, crime will be inevitable, and all the laws on the statutes can only increase, but never do away with, crime. —Emma Goldman

The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them. —George Orwell

In 1996, Madeleine Albright, then the US secretary of state, was asked on national television what she felt about the fact that 500,000 Iraqi children had died as a result of US-led economic sanctions. She replied that it was ‘a very hard choice,’ but that, all things considered, ‘we think the price is worth it.’ —Madeleine Albright

Winston Peters: the only member of Parliament named after a concrete block. —David Lange

… our country is now geared to an arms economy which was bred in an artificially induced psychosis of war hysteria and nurtured upon an incessant propaganda of fear. —Douglas MacArthur American military leader

The Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it. —John Gilmore

Got nothing against no Viet Cong. No Vietnamese ever called me a nigger. —Muhammad Ali, upon hearing the news that he is to be drafted. (Attributed)

It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. —Henry David Thoreau

The propagandist’s purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human. —Aldous Huxley

This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous. (Short pause) And having said that, all options are on the table. (Laughter). —George W. Bush

Everyone fights with their abilities – the Israelis have helicopters and rockets and the Palestinians have nothing but themselves and some very primitive home-made explosives. —Lea Tsemel

I grew up in an Israeli culture where suicide attackers are really heroes. Look at Samson, who in order to fight the Philistines in Gaza made the theatre collapse on himself and all the civilians there. He is a very big hero among Jewish children. I grew up on the myth of better suicide than surrender. So what is so special about suicide bombers? —Lea Tsemel

I think the Iraqi people owe the American people a huge debt of gratitude. That’s the problem here in America. They wonder whether or not there is a gratitude level that’s significant enough in Iraq. —George W. Bush, demonstrating American delusion and arrogance.

Israel “far worse” than apartheid South Africa

The situation for Arabs in Israel & Palestine is “far worse” than apartheid South Africa. These were the words used by Ronnie Kasrils, a great figure in the fight against apartheid in South Africa.

Tom Hurndall’s murderer convicted

After a long battle by Tom’s family Wahid was convicted yesterday for killing Tom Hurndall, a friend of mine I met in Iraq.