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.