IN PHOTOS ~~ INTERNATIONAL REFUGEE DAY IN NEW YORK

March to Trump Towers ….

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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IN PHOTOS ~~ WAS YOUR GRANNY ARRESTED YESTERDAY FOR DEMANDING PEACE?

15 PEOPLE WERE ARRESTED

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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IN PHOTOS ~~ UNITED STRUGGLE ~~ US OUT OF PUERTO RICO // ISRAEL OUT OF PALESTINE

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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Newsletter of Veterans for Peace

 

AFTER 50 YEARS ISRAELIS MUST DISRUPT THE ‘NORMALCY’ OF THE OCCUPATION

One of the most disturbing aspects about the reality in Palestine is its normalcy.

It has become normal to see Palestinians shot and killed, even children. The faces of young Palestinians showing up daily on social media, boys and girls shot by soldiers, accused falsely of attempting to stab a soldier.

It has become normal to see Israeli soldiers shooting skunk water and tear gas, and snipers using live ammunition at unarmed protesters who want the land that was once theirs and the freedom they never had.

Image by Latuff

Why Israelis must disrupt the occupation

And it has become normal for us to engage in the endless, fruitless debate on whether Palestinians throwing stones at armed Israeli soldiers who invade their homes constitutes violence, or whether or not Zionism – which produced this violence – is a racist ideology. And all the while the suffering and the oppression of millions of Palestinians go on almost uninterrupted.

It is no secret that Israelis and Palestinians live two separate realities.

Even when we privileged Israelis go to the village of Nabi Saleh on a Friday to participate in the weekly protest, at the end of the day we are free to leave the village, leave the occupation and return to our safe, clean, well-paved spheres. Unlike the Palestinians we leave behind, our homes will not be raided, our roads will not be blocked and our children will not have to hide for days or weeks from the threat of being shot, arrested and tortured.

We return home sweaty and tired, covered in tear gas and skunk water and we feel we did our bit. But what bit did we do? What is the role of the privileged Israeli activists within the resistance and why are we accomplishing so little?

To begin with we need to admit that this is resistance and ask whether we are willing to take part.

On any given Friday there may be about 10 Israeli activists, be it in Nabi Saleh or Bilin, currently the two main locations for Friday protests in the occupied West Bank. Some Israelis walk in the back, some in the front.

Shadows?

Some like to say they are merely documenting. Most, like shadows, don’t seem like they know their place and don’t want to interfere. Few confront the Israeli forces. So the question that begs to be asked is, what are we accomplishing?

If we don’t use our privilege to push the envelope and to confront the Israeli authorities, then we are indeed mere shadows.

My latest visit to Nabi Saleh was on 26 May, exactly two weeks after Saba Abu Ubaid, 23, was shot and killed by Israeli forces during a protest there.

The march began, as always, with people walking down the hill from the mosque after noon prayer, carrying flags and chanting. There were about 30 or 40 people (though in the charges that would be brought against me, the Israeli police claimed there were 200 protesters), mostly Palestinians with a few regular Israelis and other foreigners.

After a few minutes we were confronted by the Israeli forces who informed us we were to disperse.

How does one begin to describe the outrage? Fully armed soldiers on occupied land telling the people whose village they invaded that they must disperse. But in Palestine, this is normal so there is little outrage.

“Shoot them in the legs”

The usual pushing and shoving began and was then followed by the firing of tear gas, skunk water and, before too long, live ammunition. Considering what had taken place there just two weeks earlier, seeing snipers take their positions and take aim at the kids on the hills was cause for serious concern. I heard someone whose name badge identified him as Raja Keyes order the snipers to “shoot them in the legs.”

Nabi Saleh residents began sitting in front of the snipers to block their sights. More tear gas, more skunk water and more snipers followed.

Keyes was right next to me when he walked to a group of women and children watching the events from the side of the road and, with a smile on his face, threw a tear gas grenade at them. One of the mothers ran up a terrace to interfere with the snipers and was pushed around by soldiers. I ran up towards her, went around a young officer who tried to stop me and by the time I reached her they came for me.

Four or five officers, including Keyes had me in a tight grip. The officers were from Magav – although often described as “border police,” Magav is a unit within the Israeli military.

By that time, the officers had good reason to resent me and want me out of the way.

The photos and videos of my arrest made their way to social media, so suffice it to say they were not gentle and I was not compliant. (My arrest is at about 12:10 in the video below of the day’s events, made by Palestinian activist Bilal Tamimi.)

At one point after I was arrested, Keyes introduced himself formally to me as “force commander” and asked for my ID, which I did not have.

Later on, when I was taken away in the armored vehicle, he was seated in the front and I proceeded to tell him that he was no “commander” and he was not heading any “force” but rather they were all a gang of armed bullies.

But this is not about me or any other single activist. It is about the role that we Israelis can play which is unique because Israeli law provides us with a shield that Palestinians and international activists do not have.

It is not our role to play unbiased spectators or to document, nor is it our role to just follow along. We can get in the faces of the commanders and the soldiers and disrupt their work. In fact, one of the comments made constantly by the commanders is that we are “disrupting their work, and will be arrested for that.”

My response is that this is precisely the point! Why show up if we let them go about their business? When we are arrested we are always charged with disrupting officers on duty, even when we don’t, but that is exactly what we must do.

Along Highway 443 – sometimes known as the “apartheid highway” – there is a sign in Hebrew that says: “By order of the commanding general, Israelis are prohibited from entering the villages along this road.” When activists do go to the villages to protest, they challenge this command. But still, the shield that our Israeli ID provides us can be used to disrupt the normalcy of the occupation everywhere.

Israelis, even dedicated, well-meaning ones, do far too little and we use far too little of our privilege to challenge and combat the injustice meted out against Palestinians. Most Israeli activists won’t even call for refusal to serve in the Israeli army because they consider that too radical.

No one likes to be arrested, particularly when it involves a night or two in jail, sharing a smoke-filled room with no ventilation and no company save cockroaches and two-bit criminals who hate activists even more than they hate Arabs.

If we are to play a role in the overthrow of injustice, and if we are to one day see an end to the oppression of more than half of the people with whom we live, then we must use our privilege and act to end the normalcy and the oppression.

IN PHOTOS ~~ UNITED AGAINST ISLAMOPHOBIA

Image by Latuff

In 30 cities throughout the U.S. fascistic hate groups held hate rallies on Saturday, 6/10.  They claimed that they were opposing Sharia Law which Muslims were intending to establish here.  Many of the participants were confronted by groups opposed to their anti-Muslim tirade with fights breaking out in some cities.  In NYC there was no violence – the anti- fascists outnumbered the hate groups many times over.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Report by Chippy Dee

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SUPPORT FOR HUNGER STRIKERS CONTINUES TO GROW

While Trump‘s visit attempted to revive the illusions of “peace in the framework of Pax Americana of the region, the ongoing hunger strike of the Palestinian prisoners reminds us that the Israeli occupation regime denies the Palestinians even the most basic human rights.

Image by Carlos Latuff

Day 38: 200 prisoners in Israeli jails join Palestinian hunger strike

Haifa: A demo supporting Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike closed central streets

by in Herak Haifa

(The following article was published in Hebrew on May 23, 2017, in “Local Call” and Haifa ha-Hofshit)

While Trump‘s visit attempted to revive the illusions of “peace” in the framework of Pax Americana of the region, the ongoing hunger strike of the Palestinian prisoners reminds us that the Israeli occupation regime denies the Palestinians even the most basic human rights.

A communiqué issued by “the captive movement” (al-Harakah al-Asira), as the prisoners call their resistance movement inside the occupation prisons, on the 20th day of the strike, called for the unification of the struggle on both sides of the Green Line and in the Palestinian Diaspora by a unified action of all the Palestinian patriotic forces, including the follow-up committee that represents Arab citizens of Israel. In a historic precedent, the leaders responded to the prisoners’ initiative, met in Ramallah and declared a general strike by the entire Palestinian people in all areas of the homeland and in exile, set for Monday, May 22, the 36th day of the strike. Indeed, throughout the West Bank, there was great response to the call yesterday, and streets were lined with closed shops and businesses. The strike was also felt, to a lesser extent, in East Jerusalem and Palestinian cities within the Green Line.

The Prisoner’s Square, Haifa

Haifa continues to be a focal point for Palestinian protest activity, in which an expanding stratum of activists emphasizes the unity of the Palestinian struggle beyond the borders dividing the territories occupied since 1967 and those occupied since 1948. However, the struggle also exposes the leadership crisis and the difficulty of giving effective expressing to the frustration, the anger and the desire to struggle. This difficulty is exacerbated because, according to the rules of the game of the “Jewish democracy”, Palestinian public opinion is not a factor to be considered.

The first protest vigil in support of the prisoners’ hunger strike took place in Haifa on the second day of the strike, April 18. It took place in the German Colony, the tourist center of the city, in the square named “The Prisoner’s Square” since October 2011, when a group of activist staged a hunger striker there, under the slogan “Hungry to Freedom”, in solidarity with a previous prisoners’ strike.

The vigil was also meant to mark Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, April 17, which was chosen not coincidentally as the appropriate date to launch the strike. It should be noted here that when we speak in Arabic we don’t use the term “sajeen” (prisoner) but “aseer” that means “captive”. It conveys the view of Palestinian prisoners as prisoners of war – those held by the enemy as a result of their struggle for freedom. Compromising the correct translation is another concession that we inadvertently do to Israeli and Western public opinion, which have difficulty digesting the Palestinian narrative.

The next two protest vigils were held on April 29 and May 9 at the initiative of Herak Haifa. The site chosen by the Herak was a little up the German Colony, on the corner of Allenby Street and HaCarmel Avenue (Ben Gurion), a smaller space at the intersection where more traffic passes. When, a few months ago, Bassel al-A’araj, activist and theoretician of al-Herak al-Shababi in the West Bank, was assassinated by the occupation forces, Herak Haifa decided to name the junction after him. The holding of protest vigils at the junction is also intended to establish the name in the public consciousness.

On Friday, May 19, the Communist youth held another solidarity activity with the prisoners, slightly higher at the German Colony, in the Bahai Circle. They brought water, salt and glasses and offered passers-by to drink salt water as a symbolic show of solidarity with the strikers. The youth movement’s orchestra created another attraction to draw attention to the event.

Taking to the Streets

In the meantime, young activists began to organize, in the spirit of the movement that had halted the Prawer plan, aiming to initiate more united and militant activity. They called for a demonstration on Monday, May 22, even before the Palestinian leaderships on both sides of the Green Line declared the general strike on this day in support of the prisoners’ struggle.

They published an invitation to a Facebook event entitled “Ash-Shaware’a” (to the streets), hosted by 8 activists from different movements, and many activists worked intensely to invite and prepare. There were 254 “attendees” at the FB event and on Monday, before the scheduled hour, “The Prisoner’s Square” was already filled with young people, as well as many veteran activists, from Haifa and the region.

The police also made their preparations, bringing reinforcements, including special anti-riot units, some attack dogs and a special police van to carry potential detainees. In practice, however, the police preferred not to intervene, even when the demonstrators, after about half an hour of shouting slogans in the square, went down to Carmel Avenue, blocked the street and began marching.

Some 200 demonstrators marched on the main street of the German Colony in the direction of Allenby Street, between the crowded cafes and restaurants, providing the iconic images of Haifa with Palestinian flags waving and the Bahai Gardens and the golden Shrine of the Bab in the background. From there the protesters continued on Allenby Street in the direction of Wadi Nisnas, where the police blocked traffic on both sides. The demonstrators marched up al-Jabal Street (“ha-Ziyonut Avenue”), turned to Khuri Street and finally poured into al-Wadi Street, the narrow main street of Wadi Nisnas.

When the demonstrators reached the last intersection inside the Wadi (the valley), they made a small meeting in the middle of the street. The organizers thanked everybody for taking part and asked for their active participation in a pre-determined plan for the continuation of the struggle, including demonstrations, leaflets distribution and a “Day of Rage” on Thursday, June 1.

IN PHOTOS ~~ MAY DAY IN NEW YORK

What was thought of as a forgotten day came to life once again in New York’s Union Square Park …. May Day still lives in the hearts of working men!

Image by Hugo Gellert

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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Palestine was remembered

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Monday, May 1st was the 131st anniversary of the first May Day. A Holiday born in the United States of America, but officially celebrated in most countries EXCEPT the United States.

The Brief Origins of May Day

Most people living in the United States know little about the International Workers’ Day of May Day. For many others there is an assumption that it is a holiday celebrated in state communist countries like Cuba or the former Soviet Union. Most Americans don’t realize that May Day has its origins here in this country and is as “American” as baseball and apple pie, and stemmed from the pre-Christian holiday of Beltane, a celebration of rebirth and fertility.

In the late nineteenth century, the working class was in constant struggle to gain the 8-hour work day. Working conditions were severe and it was quite common to work 10 to 16 hour days in unsafe conditions. Death and injury were commonplace at many work places and inspired such books as Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle and Jack London’s The Iron Heel. As early as the 1860’s, working people agitated to shorten the workday without a cut in pay, but it wasn’t until the late 1880’s that organized labor was able to garner enough strength to declare the 8-hour workday. This proclamation was without consent of employers, yet demanded by many of the working class.

At this time, socialism was a new and attractive idea to working people, many of whom were drawn to its ideology of working class control over the production and distribution of all goods and services. Workers had seen first-hand that Capitalism benefited only their bosses, trading workers’ lives for profit. Thousands of men, women and children were dying needlessly every year in the workplace, with life expectancy as low as their early twenties in some industries, and little hope but death of rising out of their destitution. Socialism offered another option.

A variety of socialist organizations sprung up throughout the later half of the 19th century, ranging from political parties to choir groups. In fact, many socialists were elected into governmental office by their constituency. But again, many of these socialists were ham-strung by the political process which was so evidently controlled by big business and the bi-partisan political machine. Tens of thousands of socialists broke ranks from their parties, rebuffed the entire political process, which was seen as nothing more than protection for the wealthy, and created anarchist groups throughout the country. Literally thousands of working people embraced the ideals of anarchism, which sought to put an end to all hierarchical structures (including government), emphasized worker controlled industry, and valued direct action over the bureaucratic political process. It is inaccurate to say that labor unions were “taken over” by anarchists and socialists, but rather anarchists and socialist made up the labor unions.

At its national convention in Chicago, held in 1884, the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions (which later became the American Federation of Labor), proclaimed that “eight hours shall constitute a legal day’s labor from and after May 1, 1886.” The following year, the FOTLU, backed by many Knights of Labor locals, reiterated their proclamation stating that it would be supported by strikes and demonstrations. At first, most radicals and anarchists regarded this demand as too reformist, failing to strike “at the root of the evil.” A year before the Haymarket Massacre, Samuel Fielden pointed out in the anarchist newspaper, The Alarm, that “whether a man works eight hours a day or ten hours a day, he is still a slave.”

Despite the misgivings of many of the anarchists, an estimated quarter million workers in the Chicago area became directly involved in the crusade to implement the eight hour work day, including the Trades and Labor Assembly, the Socialistic Labor Party and local Knights of Labor. As more and more of the workforce mobilized against the employers, these radicals conceded to fight for the 8-hour day, realizing that “the tide of opinion and determination of most wage-workers was set in this direction.” With the involvement of the anarchists, there seemed to be an infusion of greater issues than the 8-hour day. There grew a sense of a greater social revolution beyond the more immediate gains of shortened hours, but a drastic change in the economic structure of capitalism.

In a proclamation printed just before May 1, 1886, one publisher appealed to working people with this plea:

  • Workingmen to Arms!
  • War to the Palace, Peace to the Cottage, and Death to LUXURIOUS IDLENESS.
  • The wage system is the only cause of the World’s misery. It is supported by the rich classes, and to destroy it, they must be either made to work or DIE.
  • One pound of DYNAMITE is better than a bushel of BALLOTS!
  • MAKE YOUR DEMAND FOR EIGHT HOURS with weapons in your hands to meet the capitalistic bloodhounds, police, and militia in proper manner.

Not surprisingly the entire city was prepared for mass bloodshed, reminiscent of the railroad strike a decade earlier when police and soldiers gunned down hundreds of striking workers. On May 1, 1886, more than 300,000 workers in 13,000 businesses across the United States walked off their jobs in the first May Day celebration in history. In Chicago, the epicenter for the 8-hour day agitators, 40,000 went out on strike with the anarchists in the forefront of the public’s eye. With their fiery speeches and revolutionary ideology of direct action, anarchists and anarchism became respected and embraced by the working people and despised by the capitalists.

The names of many – Albert Parsons, Johann Most, August Spies and Louis Lingg – became household words in Chicago and throughout the country. Parades, bands and tens of thousands of demonstrators in the streets exemplified the workers’ strength and unity, yet didn’t become violent as the newspapers and authorities predicted.

More and more workers continued to walk off their jobs until the numbers swelled to nearly 100,000, yet peace prevailed. It was not until two days later, May 3, 1886, that violence broke out at the McCormick Reaper Works between police and strikers.

For six months, armed Pinkerton agents and the police harassed and beat locked-out steelworkers as they picketed. Most of these workers belonged to the “anarchist-dominated” Metal Workers’ Union. During a speech near the McCormick plant, some two hundred demonstrators joined the steelworkers on the picket line. Beatings with police clubs escalated into rock throwing by the strikers which the police responded to with gunfire. At least two strikers were killed and an unknown number were wounded.

Full of rage, a public meeting was called by some of the anarchists for the following day in Haymarket Square to discuss the police brutality. Due to bad weather and short notice, only about 3000 of the tens of thousands of people showed up from the day before. This affair included families with children and the mayor of Chicago himself. Later, the mayor would testify that the crowd remained calm and orderly and that speaker August Spies made “no suggestion… for immediate use of force or violence toward any person…”

As the speech wound down, two detectives rushed to the main body of police, reporting that a speaker was using inflammatory language, inciting the police to march on the speakers’ wagon. As the police began to disperse the already thinning crowd, a bomb was thrown into the police ranks. No one knows who threw the bomb, but speculations varied from blaming any one of the anarchists, to an agent provocateur working for the police.

Enraged, the police fired into the crowd. The exact number of civilians killed or wounded was never determined, but an estimated seven or eight civilians died, and up to forty were wounded. One officer died immediately and another seven died in the following weeks. Later evidence indicated that only one of the police deaths could be attributed to the bomb and that all the other police fatalities had or could have had been due to their own indiscriminate gun fire. Aside from the bomb thrower, who was never identified, it was the police, not the anarchists, who perpetrated the violence.

Eight anarchists – Albert Parsons, August Spies, Samuel Fielden, Oscar Neebe, Michael Schwab, George Engel, Adolph Fischer and Louis Lingg – were arrested and convicted of murder, though only three were even present at Haymarket and those three were in full view of all when the bombing occurred. The jury in their trial was comprised of business leaders in a gross mockery of justice similar to the Sacco-Vanzetti case thirty years later, or the trials of AIM and Black Panther members in the seventies. The entire world watched as these eight organizers were convicted, not for their actions, of which all of were innocent, but for their political and social beliefs. On November 11, 1887, after many failed appeals, Parsons, Spies, Engel and Fisher were hung to death. Louis Lingg, in his final protest of the state’s claim of authority and punishment, took his own life the night before with an explosive device in his mouth.

The remaining organizers, Fielden, Neebe and Schwab, were pardoned six years later by Governor Altgeld, who publicly lambasted the judge on a travesty of justice. Immediately after the Haymarket Massacre, big business and government conducted what some say was the very first “Red Scare” in this country. Spun by mainstream media, anarchism became synonymous with bomb throwing and socialism became un-American. The common image of an anarchist became a bearded, eastern European immigrant with a bomb in one hand and a dagger in the other.

Today we see tens of thousands of activists embracing the ideals of the Haymarket Martyrs and those who established May Day as an International Workers’ Day. Ironically, May Day is an official holiday in 66 countries and unofficially celebrated in many more, but rarely is it recognized in this country where it began.

Over one hundred years have passed since that first May Day. In the earlier part of the 20th century, the US government tried to curb the celebration and further wipe it from the public’s memory by establishing “Law and Order Day” on May 1. We can draw many parallels between the events of 1886 and today. We still have locked out steelworkers struggling for justice. We still have voices of freedom behind bars as in the cases of Mumia Abu Jamal and Leonard Peltier. We still had the ability to mobilize tens of thousands of people in the streets of a major city to proclaim “THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE!” at the WTO and FTAA demonstrations.

Words stronger than any I could write are engraved on the Haymarket Monument:

THE DAY WILL COME WHEN OUR SILENCE WILL BE MORE POWERFUL THAN THE VOICES YOU ARE THROTTLING TODAY.

Truly, history has a lot to teach us about the roots of our radicalism. When we remember that people were shot so we could have the 8-hour day; if we acknowledge that homes with families in them were burned to the ground so we could have Saturday as part of the weekend; when we recall 8-year old victims of industrial accidents who marched in the streets protesting working conditions and child labor only to be beat down by the police and company thugs, we understand that our current condition cannot be taken for granted – people fought for the rights and dignities we enjoy today, and there is still a lot more to fight for. The sacrifices of so many people can not be forgotten or we’ll end up fighting for those same gains all over again. This is why we celebrate May Day.

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IN PHOTOS ~~ WEEKLY SUPPORT FOR PALESTINE IN NEW YORK

A WEEKLY EVENT WE HOLD AT UNION SQ. IT’S CALLED SAMIDOUN[FREENALL POLITICAL PRISONERS]. THIS WEEK IT WAS GEARED TO THE HUNGER STRIKERS.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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Our very own Carlos Latuff was there in spirit

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EYE ON THE WEST BANK ~~ SUPPORT GROWS FOR PRISONERS’ HUNGER STRIKE

As envisaged during the last days, at this very moment the daily clashes during the rallies to support Palestinian prisoners increased in the West Bank. The population feels very close to the protest of the empty stomachs, even if there are no hopeful news. The number of arrested minors is also increasing, in particular in the refugee camps. In this article, I am trying to tell you my impressions on-site. 

Broad support for Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike

 

Rallies in the West Bank

By Antonietta Chiodo,  from the West Bank. English Translation by Milena Rampoldi

I am here in the West Bank, close to the Palestinian population to describe daily life and to show that a child is forced to live a completely different life than the life we could imagine in a normal Western country, even if the latter is often rather boring.

In my previous articles, I have talked about what is happening here these weeks, after the participation of almost 2.000 prisoners detained in Israeli prisons in the hunger strike proclaimed by al Fatah leader Marwan Bargouthi.

On April 27, 2017, next to the Aida refugee Camp where there is the “famous” separation wall, embellished by the artists’ murals, early in the morning the rally in support of the prisoners starts. Many bins were reversed and burned to avoid the approach of the Israeli military forces to the main road leading to Jerusalem.

Many children carry stones, and are ready to escape at the start-up of their friends. In the distance, the emptiness, suffocatingly waiting for the Israeli soldiers. On the earth, hundreds of tear gas cartridges used to stun the population.

A moment later I try to take some photos. Then a military car at high speed moves in our direction. The tear gas makes our eyes water, and the confused voices of the children stun us.

On the day Abu Mazen called a general strike, all protesters hope to find a place of refuge. We are happy to see a small shop which has left the roller shutter open so that we can enter. Inside wet wipes and water are distributed to clear our throat and to blot the swollen eye lids.

In the end when I am able to open my eyes, among the shelves I see people bent to the ground with the head between their hands. Others run along the streets, and hide their face in the pullovers trying to get away as fast as possible from the main road. We stop for an hour, outside the air has become unbreathable.

At last, we come back to the street. In the meantime the boys have become tired, and some of them has taken the bicycle from home to run faster than the gas. In the distance, we can see three silhouettes of Israeli soldiers; directly in front of us there is an ambulance of the international Red Cross. At least 15 people have been rescued since this morning, among them also a couple of American tourists.

The children always stand in readiness, while from the roofs somebody with the face covered by a kefia throws stones towards the wall. The alarm restarts again, and the ambulance reverses to park behind a partition. We hear children crying, while they are running towards us… to make us understand that the time has come… again we have to find a place of refuge.

They run as swift as the wind, all of them scream, the gun-shots are blown in the sky, and the general escape starts again. A Palestinian photojournalist is hunched over his legs because he is without gas mask. He tightens his eyes between his hands. Then he stands up suddenly, and starts to escape to avoid the toxic powders. The smell is indescribable.

In the meantime, my companion sprays perfume on paper handkerchiefs and distributes them among the people. As a good Palestinian, he has gained experience over all these years.

A child runs towards us and tells us that a 17-year-old guy was arrested. He was kicked to the ground by four Israeli soldiers and then dragged on the asphalt like a lamb to the  slaughter. We cannot intervene, because we understand how quickly they would arrest us. And if arrested, we could not tell the latest in a long string of stories of ordinary  guerrilla where children play the role of disarmed, small heroes, like David played against Goliath.

So this is the result of today, April 27, next to Bethlehem: 4 minors arrested, at least fifteen people rescued because of the damages caused by toxic gas, and among them a couple of tourists.

The Israeli military forces did not just attack the rally, but also prepared an invasion into the near village arresting 7 people, the majority of which were minors.

In the  village of Betunia two people, one adult and one child, were arrested.

 

Written FOR

INTERVIEW ~~ SUPPORT FOR PALESTINIAN HUNGER STRIKERS CONTINUES TO GROW

A couple of days ago, the leader of al Fatah, Marwan Barghouti, published his shocking article on New York Times. He had just started a legendary protest, called the “struggle of the empty stomachs”. Marwan has been able to start an extended non-violent struggle of at least 1.300 prisoners in Israeli prisons, a hunger strike. The objective is to show their reality to the rest of the world, and to make people understand what is going on in this land of denied rights. In his article published by New York Times Marwan attacks the Israeli military forces by using very hard words. The Zionist regime is responsible for the total absence and/or the daily violation of human rights, for daily physical and psychological torture, and also for bad food. 

Image by Carlos Latuff

Day 5 of 1,500 Palestinian detainees’ hunger strike in Israeli occupation jails!

Interview with Khaled, during a rally to support Palestinian prisoners

by Antonietta Chiodo, ProMosaik, English translation by Milena Rampoldi

In these hours, the population wants the competent authorities to take their responsibility to sanction a state whose law is based on the exercise of violence and power against a helpless population. However, as we can see today, this population has not stopped resisting. The President of the Palestinian Authority Abu Mazen declared his unconditioned solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners. The groups next to Hamas and the Islamic Party have not made a clear decision about whether they will participate to the hunger strike by involving their own members in Israeli prisons or not.

The day after the publication of Barghouti’s article and the extended participation to the hunger strike by prisoners, the Knesset put the leader Marwan Barghouti and other three main organizers of the protest in solitary confinement in the high-security prison in the Northern West Bank next to the city of Jenin. Since the beginning of the protests, the clashes and arrests are increasing, in particular around Nablus, Hebron, and Bethlehem.

Today I went into the streets and talked to a group of people during a solidarity rally for the Palestinian prisoners in hunger strike. Among them there was also an about eight years old handicapped child. Some of them wore gas masks. An ambulance was ready to intervene in case of clashes.

Everywhere the shapes of Israeli soldiers. In sight the separation wall. There are upset garbage containers which make me think about a day full of tensions. During the rally, I talked to Khaled, one of the guys participating to the protests, to ask him a couple of questions about them.

Have there been news from the prisons during these last hours?

No, since the beginning of the hunger strike, Israel has not been giving any information… we have only heard that the leaders of the protest were put into solitary confinement and that many prisoners are not even allowed to talk to their own lawyer.

Do you feel supported by the Palestinian Authority these days?

I cannot answer to this question… I cannot say anything about it… I am just a man who decided to take to the streets these days… as many women and children did… we would like to tell the world what has been happening in this land since seventy years now….  However, politics are the heart of Palestine… the whole world turns around politics, we do not want to know if one is on our part or not… since this is our life, and our freedom, and we will continue our resistance against the occupation, day after day… If you want to know if we trust Abu Mazen …. Then I can answer you: No, Palestine has stopped trusting him since a long time now.

Were there many clashes during these rallies? Do you think others will follow today?

We protest the whole day, also in the evening. They usually attack us in the afternoon or after sunset. As you can see, we have no arms. We just have flags… but we resist. Because resisting is the thing we can do best…. And it is not a coincidence that the majority of people participating to these rallies comes from the refugee camps, in particular from the Dheisheh Refugee Camp.

Do you think that Marwan Barghouti’s initiative will be really helpful?

Yes, I am absolutely convinced that it is a light, an open window so that the world can look into here… so that all can see how strong we the Palestinians are… we prefer dying than continuing to be oppressed and tortured. Our situation has been unchanged for seventy years now… So our fellows have started this struggle, and we have to support them because they are brave men and true examples for us.

 

Written FOR

PASSOVER ON THE STREETS OF NEW YORK

Young Jews are trying to find their way to accommodate their budding radicalism with their Judaism. The following video is of a Passover Seder held in the streets of New York …. sponsored by 

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Image by Pete Pasho

IN PHOTOS ~~ THE CONNECTION BETWEEN DEATH AND TAXES

Tuesday April 18, 2017, in the United States this is TAX day. Thousands of people will rush to get their taxes in to the Internal Revenue Service on this final day.  But on Saturday, April 14th, hundreds of thousands of people throughout the United States, in all the major cities, put their feet on the streets demanding Trump release his tax returns. This was a massive national political action protesting Trump’s resistance to make his tax returns public. All presidents for the last forty years have done so. This demand is important because the public has no way of knowing if his policies will benefit the American people or his international business interests.

On a beautiful spring day  New Yorkers also put their feet to the streets protesting Trump’s resistance. The rally began at New York City’s Bryant Park 6th Avenue. The police cordoned off an entire traffic lane for blocks to accommodate  the thousands prepared to march up 6th Avenue to Trump Towers on 5th Avenue and then to Trump’s International Hotel at 59th Street Columbus Circle after the speeches at the park. It took well over an hour for the parade of people to finally pass Bryant Park.  

Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Report by Chippy Dee

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More Photos by Matthew Weinstein HERE

TURNING HATRED TO TOLERANCE IN JERUSALEM

After finding anti-Arab slogans spray-painted near a Jerusalem park, which has come to symbolize peaceful coexistence, residents were not content with the mere removal of the hateful graffiti calling for Arabs to ‘go home’ and for ‘revenge’, resolving to head for the park to make signs bearing messages against bigotry and racism; ‘We want to live in peace and harmony.’

The racist graffiti

Anti-Arab graffiti prompts message of tolerance in Jerusalem

‘We love our neighbors’

Residents of the Baka neighborhood of Jerusalem were shocked on Wednesday to discover racist, anti-Arab graffiti sprayed near a park connecting the neighborhood with the Arab neighborhood of Beit Safafa.

“Arabs, go home,” and “We want revenge” were two of the hateful slogans sprayed on walls near the park, which was, since its establishment, a popular recreational spot for Jews and Arabs alike, thus becoming a symbol for peaceful coexistence.

“Khaneh was right” was also sprayed on the walls in reference to Rabbi Meir Kahane, the founder of the outlawed Kach movement, who was assassinated in Manhattan in 2012.

The stunned residents reported the vandalism to the city municipality, which was promptly removed.

Not content with the mere removal of the graffiti, some of the residents made their way to the park with their children—still during their Passover holiday—and made big colorful signs bearing the opposite message of the hateful graffiti: ‘We love our neighbors.’

Ilana Nelson, a resident of the neighborhood who made the sign with her kids, said “our message, the message of the residents, is that we do not tolerate racism.

“We want to live in peace and harmony with our neighbors. Just yesterday I was at the park with my husband and I saw a nice couple, an Arab Muslim and a woman wearing a Hijab, who asked a Jewish couple to take their picture,” she added.

“I thought we lived normal lives in a normal world, and then we woke up to that.”

Nelson’s son, who studies at Jerusalem’s Yad be-Yad Max Rayne Bilingual School, wrote the sign in both Hebrew and Arabic.

(Translated & edited by Lior Mor)

 

Source and more photos HERE

SWOONING OVER WAR IN SYRIA

Image by Carlos Latuff

More HERE

Not everyone is swooning ……

HANDS OFF SYRIA DEMONSTRATION @ UNION SQ. NYC

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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Mazin Qumsiyeh PhD, adds the following from Palestine …..

The attack on Syria by the United States while illegal per international
law (not sanctioned by the UN Security Council and opposed by Russia and
China) comes to remind as all of four basic facts of geopolitics:

1-US Presidents no matter how “unconventional” must always obey the rules
set for them. Trump came to office opposing intervention in Syria and is
now directly siding with the “rebels” and has accepted the 1990s neocon
strategy of regime changes across Western Asia that are supposed to benefit
"Israel".

2-As Henry Kissinger said: “all foreign policy is domestic policy”. With a
strong Zionist lobby in the US and absence of any counter lobby that
watches over US (let alone world) interests, we have a push for wars
supposed to help apartheid Israel whether in Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, or Syria.

3-Modern warfare kills far more civilians than military (the ratio now is
>10 to 1). War is immoral, illogical, and criminal and has no “good side”
or “bad side”. The only positive thing now is that countries that use wars
as their main tools (Israel, US being the key ones) will lose because wars
have now become also illogical in terms of achievement of policy. Just take
as examples in the past 20 years: the US attack on Iraq and Israel’s attack
on Gaza and Lebanon. It is now almost a given like the Newtonian laws of
physics.

4-People still have the power to change things. Governments regularly lie
to their own people (all governments). But their biggest tools are to a)
create fear, b) create apathy (powerlessness). Getting people to be good
consumers (of propaganda and products) is key to government “success”
(short term as it may be and to enrich politicians and their backers). Key
to human rights advocate success is getting people to be good involved and
informed citizens. The conflict between the two (governments and people) is
the real consequential conflict we face. It is between short term greed and
long term planetary interests. It is an existential conflict for humanity.

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FRENCH STUDENTS ‘WELCOME’ THE ISRAELI AMBASSADOR

Video of student walkout on meeting with Israeli Ambassador to France- merveilleux!

You don’t have to be a French speaker to understand this!!

 

Je Suis Palestine!

FINALLY SOME POSITIVE ACTION ON THE STREETS OF JERUSALEM

Anti-occupation peace demonstration in Jerusalem

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Some 2,000 mostly Jewish protestors march in Jerusalem. The event was organized by Meretz, the Joint List and left-wing NGOs.
Several hundred mostly Jewish protesters marched in Jerusalem late Saturday to denounce nearly 50 years of what they consider to be Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, police said.
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The demonstration’s organizers and media estimated that some 2,000 people marched from west Jerusalem to near the Old City’s Jaffa Gate to a platform bearing both Israeli and Palestinian flags.

The event was organized by the secular left-wing opposition party Meretz and the Arab-dominated Joint List, parliament’s third largest bloc with 13 seats, and left-wing NGOs.

Slogans such as “Jews and Arabs are not enemies” and “No to a government of annexation” were among chants heard in Hebrew and Arabic.

The protest came at a time when those who back the creation of a Palestinian state find it harder for their voices to be heard under a government considered to be the most right-wing in Israeli history.

Police said the demonstration passed off peacefully, despite tensions over an incident earlier in the day.

A Palestinian attacker from the West Bank who stabbed and wounded three Israelis was shot dead by police near the Old City’s Damascus Gate.

On Wednesday, a Palestinian woman who attacked border guards with scissors was shot dead in the same area.

 

SOURCE

TIMELY TOON ~~ AIPAC DECLARES WAR ON BDS MOVEMENT

Netanyahu  addressed the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS, movement aimed at Israel, saying Israel will defend itself on the “moral battlefield… We’ll defend ourselves against slander and boycotts.”

Image by Carlos Latuff

Related report HERE

AIPAC speakers say the enemy is BDS, while ‘biggest Jewish-led protest’ surges outside 

IN PHOTOS ~~ RUNNING FOR GAZA IN BROOKLYN

On March 25th, for the 3rd year in a row, UNRWA held a 5K run in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.  The sky was threatening, the temperature was moderate after a week of winter cold, and the rain never arrived.  At 8AM people started arriving to pick up their numbers, tee shirts, and have something to eat.  At 9AM about 1400 runners took off – they included babies and grandparents, some ran, some walked, some were pushed in carriages and some were in wheelchairs, one used a scooter and many were carried.  It was truly a joyful family event.  The Brooklyn event raised approximately $200,000 for mental health services for the children of Gaza.  The people of Gaza will see photos and videos of the event – they will see that good people are thinking of them and trying to help.  There will be 4 more 5K runs in other U.S. cities.  The people of Gaza will not be forgotten!

Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Report by Chippy Dee

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JEWS AGAINST AIPAC ~~ ‘IF NOT NOW, WHEN?’

Activists from the IfNotNow group entered a conference held by the America Israel Public Affairs Committee Sunday, demanding that American Jews stop supporting what they say are Israeli abuses toward the Palestinians.

IfNotNow Protesters At AIPAC Conference

Security at the AIPAC conference, the largest pro-Israel conference of the year, was extremely strict and according to IfNotNow members, the four activists purchased tickets as AIPAC delegates in order to gain access to the building. The IfNotNow activists dropped banners from the center’s third floor stating that their group “reject AIPAC and the occupation” before security guards removed them.

AIPAC delegates watching the from the hallways booed the protestors as they were taken out. Most participants, however, were spread out in conference rooms and were not aware of the protest taking place.

About 15,000 participants are expected to attend the three-day AIPAC conference that began Sunday, where top Israeli and American leaders are discussing Middle East policy in the first major meeting since the November elections.

 

RELATED ….. (Click on link)

AIPAC Revoked Credentials Of IfNotNow Activists Registered To Conference

Meanwhile ….. outside the conference

And a LiveStream from yesterday …

IN PHOTOS ~~ WAR IN IRAQ, 14 YEARS AND COUNTING

“ MONEY FOR JOBS AND EDUCATION                             

  NO MONEY FOR WAR AND OCCUPATION”  

On March 19th, these words were the  chant which resounded from about two hundred people gathered on the steps of the main NYC public library, and their march from the library to the  U.S. military recruiting station surrounded by a massive electronic American flag at Times Square.  This event took place on the anniversary of the 14th year of the American attack on Iraq and its continuing war.  

Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Report by Chippy Dee

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