EYEWITNESS TO ISRAELI TERROR

Eyewitness onboard boat to Gaza says Israeli forces beat passengers and stole thousands of dollars, antibiotics during raid

Dr. Swee Ang is a medical doctor and was a passenger onboard the al-Awda, a ship headed to Gaza as part of the Freedom Flotilla. The Israeli navy commandeered the vessel on July 29, 2018.

The last leg of the journey of al-Awda (the boat of return) was scheduled to reach Gaza on 29 July 2018. We were on target to reach Gaza that evening. There are 22 on board including crew with $15,000 of antibiotics and bandages for Gaza. At 12.31 p.m. we received a missed call from a number beginning with +81… Mikkel was steering the boat at that time. The phone rang again with the message that we were trespassing into Israeli waters. Mikkel replied that we were in International waters and had right of innocent passage according to maritime laws. The accusation of trespassing was repeated again and again with Mikkel repeating the message that we were sailing in international waters. This carried on for about half an hour, while al-Awda was 42 nautical miles from the coast of Gaza.

Dr. Swee Ang. (Photo: Blizard Institute
Queen Mary University of London)

Prior to the beginning of this last leg, we had spent two days learning non-violent actions and had prepared ourselves in anticipation of Israeli invasion of our boat. Vulnerable individuals especially those with medical conditions were to sit at the rear of the top deck with their hands on the deck table. The leader of this group was Gerd, a 75-year-old elite Norwegian athlete and she had the help of Lucia, a Spanish nurse in her group.

The people who were to provide non-violent barrier to the Israelis coming on deck and taking over the boat formed three rows – two rows of threes and the third row of two persons blocking the wheel house door to protect the wheel house for as long as possible. There were runners between the wheel house and the rear of the deck. The leader of the boat Zohar and I were at the two ends of the toilets corridor where we looked out at the horizon and inform all of any sightings of armed boats. I laughed at Zohar and said we are the Toilet Brigade, but I think Zohar did not find it very funny. It was probably bad taste under the circumstances. I also would be able to help as a runner and will have accessibility to all parts of the deck in view of being the doctor on board.

Soon we saw at least three large Israeli warships on the horizon with five or more speed boats (Zodiacs) zooming towards us. As the Zodiacs approached I saw that they carried soldiers with machine guns and there was on board the boats large machine guns mounted on a stand pointing at our boat. From my lookout point the first Israeli soldier climbed on board to the cabin level and climbed up the boat ladder to the top deck. His face was masked with a white cloth and following him were many others, all masked. They were all armed with machine guns and small cameras on their chests.

They immediately made to the wheel house overcoming the first row by twisting the arms of the participants, lifting Sarah up and throwing her away. Joergen the chef was large to be manhandled so he was tasered before being lifted up. They attacked the second row by picking on Emelia the Spanish nurse and removed her thus breaking the line. They then approach the door of the wheel house and tasered Charlie the first mate and Mike Treen who were obstructing their entry to the wheel house. Charlie was beaten up as well. Mike did not give way with being tasered in his lower limbs so he was tasered in his neck and face. Later on I saw bleeding on the left side of Mike’s face. He was semi-conscious when I examined him.

They broke into the wheel house by cutting the lock, forced the engine to be switched off and took down the Palestine flag before taking down the Norwegian flag and trampling on it.

They then cleared all people from the front half of the boat around the wheel house and moved them by force and coercion, throwing them to the rear of the deck. All were forced to sit on the floor at the back, except Gerd, Lucy and the vulnerable people who were seated around the table on wooden benches around her. Israeli soldiers then formed a line sealing off people from the back and preventing them from coming to the front of the boat again.

As we entered the back of the deck we were all body searched and ordered to surrender our mobile phones or else they will take it by force. This part of search and confiscation was under the command of a woman soldier. Apart from mobile phones – medicines and wallets were also removed. No one as of today (4 August 2018) got our mobile phones back.

I went to examine Mike and Charlie. Charlie had recovered consciousness and his wrists were tied together with plastic cable ties. Mike was bleeding from the side of his face, still not fully conscious. His hands were very tightly tied together with cable ties and the circulation to his fingers was cut off and his fingers and palm were beginning to swell. At this stage the entire people seated on the floor shouted demanding that the cable ties be cut. It was about half an hour later before the ties were finally cut off from both of them.

Around this time Charlie the first mate received the Norwegian flag. He was visibly upset telling all of us that the Norwegian flag had been trampled on. Charlie reacted more to the trampling of the Norwegian flag than to his own being beaten and tasered.

The soldiers then started asking for the captain of the boat. The boys then started to reply that they were all the captain. Eventually the Israelis figured out that Herman was the captain and demanded to take him to the wheel house. Herman asked for someone to come with him, and I offered to do so. But as we approached the wheel house, I was pushed away and Herman forced into the wheel house on his own. Divina, the well known Swedish singer, had meanwhile broken free from the back and went to the front to look through the window of the wheel house. She started to shout and cry “Stop –stop they are beating Herman, they are hurting him”.  We could not see what Divina saw, but knew that it was something very disturbing. Later on, when Divina and I were sharing a prison cell, she told me they were throwing Herman against the wall of the wheel house and punching his chest. Divina was forcibly removed and her neck was twisted by the soldiers who took her back to the rear of the deck.

I was pushed back to the rear of the boat again. After a while the boat engine started. I was told later by Gerd who was able to hear Herman tell the story to the Norwegian Consul in prison that the Israelis wanted Herman to start the engine, and threatened to kill him if he would not do so. But what they did not understand was that with this boat, once the engine stopped it can only be restarted manually in the engine room in the cabin level below. Arne the engineer refused to restart the engine, so the Israelis brought Herman down and hit him in front of Arne making it clear that they will continue to hit Herman if Arne would not start the engine. Arne is 70 years old, and when he saw Herman’s face went ash color, he gave in and started the engine manually. Gerd broke into tears when she was narrating this part of the story. The Israelis then took charge of the boat and drove it to Ashdod.

Once the boat was on course, the Israeli soldiers brought Herman to the medical desk. I looked at Herman and saw that he was in great pain, silent but conscious, breathing spontaneously but shallow breathing. The Israeli Army doctor was trying to persuade Herman to take some medicine for pain. Herman was refusing the medicine. The Israeli doctor explained to me that what he was offering Herman was not army medicine but his personal medicine. He gave me the medicine from his hand so that I could check it. It was a small brown glass bottle and I figured that it was some kind of liquid morphine preparation probably the equivalent of Oramorph or Fentanyl. I asked Herman to take it and the doctor asked him to take 12 drops after which Herman was carried off and slumped on a mattress at the back of the deck. He was watched over by people around him and fell asleep. From my station I saw he was breathing better.

With Herman settled I concentrated on Larry Commodore, the Native American leader and an environmental activist. He had been voted Chief of his tribe twice. Larry has labile asthma and with the stress all around my fear was that he might get a nasty attack, and needed adrenaline injection. I was taking Larry through deep breathing exercises. However Larry was not heading for an asthmatic attack, but was engaging an Israeli who covered his face with a black cloth in conversation. This man was obviously in charge.

I asked for the Israeli man with black mask his name and he called himself Field Marshall Ro…..Larry misheard him and jumped to conclusion that he called himself Field Marshall Rommel and shouted how can he an Israeli take a Nazi name. Field Marshall objected and introduced himself as Field Marshall ? Ronan. As I spelt out Ronan he quickly corrected me that his name is Ronen, and he Field Marshall Ronen was in charge.

The Israeli soldiers all wore body cameras and were filming us all the time. A box of sandwiches and pears were brought on deck for us. None of us took any of their food as we had decided we do not accept Israeli hypocrisy and charity. Our chef Joergen had already prepared high calorie high protein delicious brownie with nuts and chocolate, wrapped up in tin foil to be consume when captured, as we know it was going to be a long day and night. Joergen called it food for the journey. Unfortunately when I needed it most, the Israelis took away my food and threw it away. They just told me ”It is forbidden” I had nothing to eat for 24 hours, refusing Israeli Army food and had no food of my own.

As we sailed towards Israel we could see the coast of Gaza in total darkness. There were three drilling rigs in the northern sea of Gaza. The brightly burning oil flames contrasted with the total darkness the owners of the fuel were forced to live in. Just off the shore of Gaza are the largest deposit of natural gas ever discovered and the natural gas belonging to the Palestinians were already being siphoned off by Israel.

As we approached Israel, Zohar our boat leader suggested that we should start saying goodbye to each other. We were probably two to three hours from Ashdod. We thanked our boat leader, our captain, the crew, our dear chef, and encouraged each other that we will continue to do all we can to free Gaza and also bring justice to Palestine. Herman our Captain, who managed to sit up now, gave a most moving talk and some of us were in tears.

We knew that in Ashdod there will be the Israeli media and film crews. We will not enter Ashdod as a people who had lost hope as we were taken captive. So we came off the boat chanting “Free Free Palestine” all the way as we came off. Mike Treen the union man had by then recovered from his heavy tasering and led the chanting with his mega-voice and we filled the night sky of Israel with Free Free Palestine as we approached. We did this the whole way down the boat into Ashdod.

We came directly into a closed military zone in Ashdod. It was a sealed off area with many stations. It was specially prepared for the 22 of us. It began with a security x-ray area. I did not realize they retained my money belt as I came out of the x-ray station. The next station was strip search, and it was when I was gathering up my belongings after being stripped when I realized my money belt was no longer with me. I knew I had about a couple hundred Euros and they were trying to steal it. I demanded its return and refused to leave the station until it was produced. I was shouting for the first time. I was glad I did that as some other people were parted from their cash. The journalist from Al Jazeera, Abdu,l had all his credit cards and $1,800 taken from him, as well as his watch, satellite phone, his personal mobile, his ID. He thought his possessions were kept with his passport but when he was released for deportation he learnt bitterly that he only got his passport back. All cash and valuables were never found. They simply vanished.

We were passed from station to station in this closed military zone, stripped searched several times, possessions taken away until in the end all we had was the clothes we were wearing with nothing else except a wrist band with a number on it.  All shoe laces were removed as well. Some of us were given receipts for items taken away, but I had no receipts for anything. We were photographed several times and saw two doctors. At this point I learnt that Larry was pushed down the gangway and injured his foot and sent off to Israeli hospital for check-up. His blood was on the floor.

I was cold and hungry, wearing only one teeshirt and pants by the time they were through with me. My food was taken away; water was taken away, all belongings including reading glasses taken away. My bladder was about to explode but I am not allowed to go to the toilet. In this state I was brought out to two vehicles – Black Maria painted gray. On the ground next to it were a great heap of rucksacks and suit cases. I found mine and was horrified that they had broken into my baggage and took almost everything from it – all clothes clean and dirty, my camera, my second mobile, my books, my Bible, all the medicines I brought for the participants and myself, my toiletries. The suitcase was partially broken. My rucksacks was completely empty too. I got back two empty cases except for two dirty large man size teeshirts which obviously belonged to someone else. They also left my Freedom Flotilla T-shirt. I figured out that they did not steal the Flotilla tee as they thought no Israeli would want to wear that tee in Israel. They had not met Zohar and Yonatan who were proudly wearing theirs. That was a shock as I was not expecting the Israeli Army to be petty thieves as well. So what had become the glorious Israeli Army of the Six Day War which the world so admired?

I was still not allowed to go to the toilet, but was pushed into the Maria van, joined by Lucia the Spanish nurse and after some wait taken to Givon Prison. I could feel myself shivering uncontrollably on the journey.

The first thing our guards did in Givon Prison was to order me to go to the toilet to relieve myself. It was interesting to see that they knew I needed to go desperately but had prevented me for hours to! By the time we were re-x-rayed and searched again it must be about 5 to 6 a.m.. Lucia and I were then put in a cell where Gerd, Divina, Sarah and Emelia were already asleep. There were three double decker bunk beds – all rusty and dusty.

Divina did not get the proper dose of her medicines; Lucia was refused her own medicine and given an Israeli substitute which she refused to take. Divina and Emelia went straight on to hunger strike. The jailers were very hostile using simple things like refusal of toilet paper and constant slamming of the prison iron door, keeping the light of the cell permanently on, and forcing us to drink rusty water from the tap, screaming and shouting at us constantly to vent their anger at us.

The guards addressed me as “China” and treated me with utter contempt. On the morning of 30 July 2018, the British Vice Consul visited me. Some kind person had called them about my whereabouts. That was a blessing as after that I was called “England” and there was a massive improvement in the way England was treated compared to the way China was treated. It crossed my mind that “Palestine” would be trampled over, and probably killed.

Charlie Andreasson@Andreasson_C

We failed, we never reached Gaza. Once again Israel showed its ugly face and by force boarded our ship on international waters and stole our private belongings like watches, money, credit cards, driving licenses, etc. Once again we got to know what it’s like to be Palestinians

At 6.30 a.m. 31 July 2018, we heard Larry yelling from the men’s cell across the corridor that he needed a doctor. He was obviously in great pain and crying. We women responded by asking the wardens to allow me to go across to see Larry as I might be able to help. We shouted “We have a doctor” and used our metal spoons to hit the iron cell gate get their attention. They lied and said their doctor will be over in an hour. We did not believe them and started again. The doctor actually turned up at 4 p.m., about 10 hours later and Larry was sent straight to hospital.

Meanwhile to punish the women for supporting Larry’s demand, they brought hand cuffs for Sarah and took Divina and me to another cell to separate us from the rest. We were told we were not going to be allowed out for our 30 minutes fresh air break and a drink of clean water in the yard. I heard Gerd saying “Big deal”

Suddenly Divina was taken out with me to the courtyard and Divina given four cigarettes at which point she broke down and cried. Divina had worked long hours at the wheel house steering the boat. She had seen what happened to Herman. The prison had refused to give her one of her medicines and given her only half the dose of the other. She was still on hunger strike to protest our kidnapping in international waters. It was heart-breaking to see Divina cry. One of the wardens who called himself Michael started talking to us about how he will have to protect his family against those who want to drive the Israelis out. And how the Palestinians did not want to live in peace…and it was not Israel’s fault. But things suddenly changed with the arrival of an Israeli Judge and we were all treated with some decency even though he only saw a few of us personally. His job was to tell us that a tribunal will be convened the following day and each prisoner had been allocated a time to appear, and we must have our lawyer with us when we appear.

Divina by the end of the day became very giddy and very unwell so I persuaded her to come out of hunger strike, and also she agreed to sign a deportation order. Shortly after that possibly at 6 p.m. since we had no watches and mobile phones, we were told Lucia, Joergen, Herman, Arne, Abdul from Al Jazeera and I would be deported within 24 hours and we would be taken to be imprisoned in the deportation prison in Ramle near Ben-Gurion airport immediately to wait there. It was going to be the same Ramle Prison from which I was deported in 2014. I saw the same five strong old palm trees still standing up proud and tall. They are the only survivors of the Palestinian village destroyed in 1948.

When we arrived at Ramle prison Abdul found to his horror that he his money, his credit cards, his watch, his satellite phone, his own mobile phone, his  ID card were all missing – he was entirely destitute. We had a whip round and raised around a hundred Euros as a contribution towards his taxi fare from the airport to home. How can the Israeli Army be so corrupt and heartless to rob someone of everything?

Conclusion:

We, the six women on board al-Awda had learnt that they tried to completely humiliate and dehumanize us in every way possible. We were also shocked at the behaviour of the Israeli Army especially petty theft and their treatment of international women prisoners. Men jailors regularly entered the women’s cell without giving us decent notice to put our clothes on.

They also tried to remind us of our vulnerability at every stage. We know they would have preferred to kill us but of course the publicity incurred in so doing might be unfavourable to the international image of Israel.

If we were Palestinians it would be much worse with physical assaults and probably loss of lives. The situation is therefore dire for the Palestinians.

As to international waters, it looks as though there is no such thing for the Israeli Navy. They can hijack and abduct boats and persons in international water and get away with it. They acted as though they own the Mediterranean Sea. They can abduct any boat and kidnap any passengers, put them in prison and criminalise them.

We cannot accept this. We have to speak up, stand up against this lawlessness, oppression and brutality. We were completely unarmed. Our only crime according to them is we are friends of the Palestinians and wanted to bring medical aid to them. We wanted to brave the military blockade to do this. This is not a crime. In the week we were sailing to Gaza, they had shot dead seven Palestinians and wounded more than 90 with life bullets in Gaza. They had further shut down fuel and food to Gaza. Two million Palestinians in Gaza live without clean water, with only two to four hours of electricity, in homes destroyed by Israeli bombs, in a prison blockaded by land, air and sea for 12 years. The hospitals of Gaza since the 30 March had treated more than 9,071 wounded persons, 4,348 shot by live fire from a hundred Israeli snipers while they were mounting peaceful demonstrations inside the borders of Gaza on their own land. Most of the gun-shot wounds were to the lower limbs and with depleted treatment facilities the limbs will suffer amputation. In this period more than 164 Palestinians had been shot dead by the same snipers, including medics and journalists, children and women. The chronic military blockade of Gaza has depleted the hospitals of all surgical and medical supplies. This massive attack on an unarmed Freedom Flotilla bringing friends and some medical relief is an attempt to crush all hope for Gaza. As I write I learnt that our sister Flotilla, Freedom, has also been kidnapped by the Israeli Navy while in international waters.

BUT we will not stop, we must continue to be strong to bring hope and justice to the Palestinians and be prepared to pay the price, and to be worthy of the Palestinians. As long as I survive I will exist to resist.  To do less will be a crime.

PIRACY AND TORTURE

UNBELIEVABLE THAT THE WEST ALLOWS THIS TORTURE TO CONTINUE

 Many people on the Al Awda were beat up and tasered when the IDF fascists boarded the boat.  The doctor on board had 2 ribs broken.  This remains a very dangerous voyage taken by our brave allies out of love for the people of Gaza and love of justice.

Read the instructions at the end of this post to see what YOU can do.

 

last group photo sent from Al Awda (The Return).

Two people from Al Awda (The Return) have been released, but most of the crew and participants are still in unlawful detention at Givon prison in Israel. We are still gravely concerned for their safety and well-being as we had no contact with most of them as of 14:00 CESTtoday. We continue to demand that our boat and the medical supplies on board reach their rightful recipients, Palestinian civil society in Gaza.

Although the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) claim that the capture of our vessel happened ‘without exceptional incident’, eye-witness Zohar Chamberlain Regev reports that at the time of boarding: “People on board were tasered and hit by masked IOF soldiers. We did not get our passports or belongings before we got off the boat. Do not believe reports of peaceful interception.” We urgently need to know the details of who was injured and how seriously, and what treatment they are receiving, if any. A military attack on a civilian vessel is a violent act and a violation of international law. Taking 22 people from international waters to a country which is not their destination constitutes an act of kidnapping, which is also unlawful under the international Convention of the Law of Sea.

From the time we lost contact around 13:15 local time on Sunday, we know that the IOF blocked all communication signals, including satellite phones. We are very concerned about this violation of journalists’ right to report freely and we remain gravely concerned about their ability to keep their professional equipment and their storage media. As Australian journalist Chris Graham recently observed “Bad things happen when good people stay silent, as history well records. But horrendous things happen when media are prevented from scrutinizing the actions of a state.”

Two of our participants, Zohar Chamberlain Regev and Yonatan Shapira, Israeli citizens, have been charged with attempting to enter Gaza and conspiracy to commit a crime, and were released on bail last night.  Boat leader, Zohar Chamberlain Regev, reports seeing blood on the deck of the Al Awda as the last participants were being dragged off the ship.

In comparison with the violence routinely directed at Palestinian civilians, including at fishers from Gaza, and the violent capture of Palestinian fishing boats, yesterday’s seizure and kidnapping may not be the most serious of Israeli crimes. What these violents acts have in common is that there is no accountability demanded by other governments and Israel continues to enjoy total impunity.

We call on national governments, civil society and international organizations to demand that Israeli authorities immediately release our boat so that we can deliver our much-needed medical supplies on

Al Awda and the fishing boat itself to the rightful recipients in Gaza. Detailed specification of our exact cargo on board are available on request.

Israel’s capture of the lead boat in this Gaza-bound flotilla may seem like a predictable outcome to some, but that doesn’t make it any less violent nor any less illegal. Our second boat

Freedom will follow Al Awda within a day or two, and the Freedom Flotilla will continue until the blockade ends and Palestinians of Gaza regain their full freedom of movement.

Details about detainees still in prison, including their last videos and personal statements, can be found on our website and Facebook pages.

 

https://jfp.freedomflotilla.org/news/2-released-but-most-participants-in-still-in-prison-grave-concern-for-safety-and-cargo

 also: https://www.facebook.com/FreedomFlotillaCoalition/posts/2089230181108643

and here: https://twitter.com/GazaFFlotilla/status/1023927626719748096

 

Call/email/tweet for release of US participant Joe Meadors

Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State

Tel: +1 202 647 4000 (ask for Israel & Palestine desk, and American Citizen Services, and/or Operations Center

Email: pompeom@state.gov

Website: http://state.gov

Twitter: @SecPompeo

 

Also call:

US Embassy in Israel

U.S. Embassy Jerusalem

14 David Flusser

Jerusalem 9378322, Israel

Phone: 02-630-4000 (ask for Ambassador, American Citizen Services and/or Duty Officer)

@usembassyjlm

 

Branch Office Tel Aviv

71 HaYarkon Street

Tel Aviv 6343229, Israel

Phone: 03-519-7575 (ask for Ambassador, American Citizen Services and/or Duty Officer)

 

BEAUTIFYING APARTHEID

The mural appeared on the separation wall in Bethlehem just days before the 17-year-old activist is due to be released.

Italian artist Jorit Agoch paints Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi on the Israeli separation wall, July 25, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

New Mural of Palestinian Ahed Tamimi Painted on Occupation Wall

An unknown artist has painted a mural of Palestinian resistance icon Ahed Tamimi on the Israeli separation wall in Bethlehem, just as her father said she might be released on Sunday after almost eight months of unjust imprisonment.

Media outlets had speculated about the artist’s identity, some describing him as Palestinian, but he has since come out as Italian street artist Agostino Chirwin. Also known as ‘Jorit Agoch,’ he has a reputation for hyper realistic murals of activists, politicians and other campaigners.

While painting the 13-foot mural, Chirwin obscured his identity by keeping a black cloth wrapped around his head.

Ahed Tamimi’s portrait was painted next to a mural of dead Palestinian nurse Razan Al-Najar, in Bethlehem. July 25, 2018. Photo | Reuters

Ahmad Arabi, an activist from the Popular Resistance committee in Bethlehem, said the mural was part of the preparations to celebrate Tamimi’s release.

Tamimi, 17, recently told Egyptian news outlet Al-Ahram Gate she had completed her high-school diploma in prison and that she was getting ready to apply to the Law or Political Science faculty.

The streets of Bethlehem, Nabih Saleh, the West Bank and occupied Palestine in general are readying to welcome Tamimi, who was sentenced to eight months in prison after a video of her slapping and yelling at an Israeli soldier who had entered the family home went viral.

Agoch is known for his disctinctive, hyperrealistic murals. July 25, 2018. Photo | Reuters

Tamimi’s 15-year-old cousin, Mohammed Tamimi, had been shot in the head with a rubber-coated steel bullet a day before. Tamimi was charged with aggravated assault, obstructing the work of soldiers, and incitement on January 2.

“The Israeli authorities usually do not inform the detainee or his family of the date of release, but I think she will get a decision” to reduce her detention by 21 days, said Bassem Tamimi, her father.

 

Source

IRELAND SETS THE PACE FOR BDS

Thank you Ireland!

Ireland becomes the first country ever to pass a law boycotting goods from illegal Israel settlements in Palestine!

Image by Carlos Latuff

Irish senate passes bill banning products from Israeli settlements

 

The Irish senate has voted in favor of a bill banning the importation of products from illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, paving the way for the country to become the first EU nation to enforce a boycott of Israeli settlement goods.

The bill, which passed on Wednesday in the upper house of the Irish parliament, the Seanad, will need to make its way through more Seanad votes and then the lower house before becoming law.

The bill passed with 25 lawmakers voting in its favor, 20 against it and 14 abstaining.

Palestinian officials and activists supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement hailed the move as courageous.

Hanan Ashrawi of the PLO Executive Committee released a statement after the vote saying she was “truly honored to extend our sincere appreciation of and deep gratitude to the Seanad Éireann who took a courageous and principled stand in support of peace, justice, and morality.”

Ashrawi praised the “historical friendship and solidarity between both the Palestinian and Irish peoples,” adding that the legislation bears great significance for Palestine, particularly in the context of Ireland’s firm commitment to defending social justice, equality and freedom and the rights of the oppressed, including the Palestinians, a people in captivity and exile.”

She went on to implore other EU countries and the international community to follow in Ireland’s path “to hold Israel accountable and to act on their declared principles and policies by banning all settlement products and beginning a process of de-occupation in Palestine.”

While the bill calls only for the boycott of the importation of goods produced in Israeli settlements, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed it “gives a tailwind to those who seek to boycott Israel and is utterly contrary to the principles of free trade and justice”. The bill does not ban all Israeli products.

According to the Irish Times, the EU has estimated that settlement goods make up about one percent of the €50 million annual imports from Israel to the country, at €500,000.

The Irish government, however, estimated in 2012 that the figure stood closer to €1.5 million.

The Irish Times highlighted that many fruits and vegetables imported from Israel come from the settlements, specifically Medjool dates. The dates are farmed by settlers in Jericho, famous in Palestine for its dates, on occupied Palestinian land.

According to the newspaper, if enacted into law, regulating settlement goods may prove difficult for the country, given reports of Israeli settlement companies bypassing EU labeling regulations by bringing products from settlement farms to processing facilities inside Israel proper, from where they are labeled and shipped out.

“By using such tactics, exporters can present their goods as ‘made in Israel’, thereby enjoying preferential access to the EU’s markets,” the Irish Times reported.

The Israeli government, which slammed the bill as “populist, dangerous and extremist,” has increased its measures to combat the BDS movement, as it has expanded to include companies, universities, and religious institutions around the world divesting from organizations complicit in Israel’s violation of Palestinian rights.

Despite previous pressure from Israel on Ireland to kill the legislation, the Irish lawmaker behind the bill, Frances Black, said in a statement prior to the vote that “trade in settlement goods sustains injustice”.

“In the occupied territories, people are forcibly kicked out of their homes, fertile farming land is seized, and the fruit and vegetables produced are then sold on Irish shelves to pay for it all,” she said, adding that “settlements are war crimes, and it’s time for Ireland to show some leadership and refuse to support them.”

2nd GROUP OF YOUNG JEWS REALISE WHAT ‘BIRTHRIGHT’ REALLY MEANS

Another group of young American Jews just walked off their Birthright trip, to meet with a Palestinian family and see the reality of the Occupation for themselves, a reality Birthright actively hides

8 left-wing activists stage 2nd Birthright walkout in less than a month

Participants affiliated with IfNotNow leave trip four days early to meet with Palestinian family whose home is slated for demolition in East Jerusalem

Birthright has refused to show us the truth about the occupation’s impact on Palestinians, instead asking us to visit a site operated by a far-right settlement organization. We’ve decided instead to go meet with the Sumarin family, a family that has lived in East Jerusalem under threat of eviction for years to learn from them and hear their story.

More HERE on FacBook page

*

And HERE on Twitter

IN PHOTOS ~~ THE FEARLESS WOMEN OF WALL STREET

Our group wanted to do something in solidarity with the Gaza Women’s March yesterday so decided to spend a few hours with the Fearless Girl statue – our Ahed – at Bowling Green because there are so many tourists there – maximum exposure.  We do this once or twice a month and there is always a very positive reaction.    

Some people respond to the little statue very affectionately with hugs, yesterday she got a kiss (from an adult).  It seems we actually manage to create the Ahed connection among some visitors.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Commentary by Chippy Dee

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

ROGER WATERS PLAYS MUNICH DESPITE MUNICIPAL OPPOSITION

Roger Waters plays Munich despite mayor’s effort to stop concert over his support for BDS

I believe all people, all of us, all of our brothers and sisters, all of our fragile globe, whatever their ethnicity or religion or nationality, deserve the same basic human rights under the law,” Roger Waters told the crowd at a Munich concert last week. 

Waters performed in Munich following a campaign to cancel his concert backed by the city’s mayor, Dieter Reiter, who accused Waters of anti-Semitism. An attorney for Waters asked Reiter to retract his statement, according to the Jerusalem Post, and Waters addressed the row himself from the stage at Munich’s Olympic Hall and later posted to social media. The musician explained that the mayor was championing a petition that alleged Waters is anti-Semitic because he endorses the Palestinian movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel.

Munich passed a law last year that prohibits the use of public facilities to persons who support the BDS movement.

Here’s the video of Waters in Munich:

Dieter Reiter, the Mayor of Munich, has issued a press release denouncing me as anti-Semitic.

The Mayor claims I make increasingly hateful anti-Semitic remarks.

I stand for human rights...

MONTH OF PRIDE FOR BDS

First, they were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize

Now this;

Argentina’s Soccer Association cancels the friendly soccer match between Argentina and “Israel”, planned to be held in occupied Jerusalem soon, in response to BDS 

Image by Carlos Latuff

Argentina cancels football friendly with Israel in Jerusalem

The match was expected to be played at the Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem which was once home to a Palestinian village.

Argentina‘s national football team has cancelled an upcoming friendly match with Israel, Argentine news sources reported.

Argentinian sports website Minutouno reported on Tuesday that Saturday’s game in Jerusalem had been “suspended” amid an “escalation of violence, threats and criticism” directed at captain ‘Leo’ Messi.

Argentina, a major contender to win the World Cupthis summer, has made four previous pre-World Cup visits to Israel since 1986.

The fixture between the two teams was set to be played in Jerusalem’s Teddy Stadium on June 9, which is built on land that was once a Palestinian village that was destroyed in 1948.

Israeli media reported that in light of this latest development, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will speak to his Argentinian counterpart Mauricio Macri by telephone.

The ambassador of Palestine in Argentina, Husni Abdel Wahed, had expressed his opposition to the friendly.

“This match would be similar to us celebrating … the occupation of Malvinas,” he told Radio Cooperativa on Tuesday, referring to the Falkland Islands.

Abdel Wahed went on to say that the match was part of the celebrations of Israel’s 70th anniversary since its establishment in 1948, after hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forcibly displaced from their villages and lands by Zionist paramilitaries.

“For us, it is unacceptable to hold this game in Jerusalem because it is occupied territory, and it is painful to see that the team, which has the love and support of so many Palestinians and Arab citizens, support the violation of international law,” he said.

‘Nothing friendly about military occupation ‘

Last month, the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement launched a campaign urging Argentina to pull out of the fixture.

“There is nothing ‘friendly’ about military occupation and apartheid,” the movement said, which calls for an end to the occupation of Palestine, the right of return for Palestinian refugees, and equal rights for Palestinians citizens of Israel.

“Don’t play Israel until Palestinians’ human rights are respected.”

BDS criticised the fixture as “political”, and accused Israeli officials of using it to cover up attacks on Palestinians “on and off the field”.

As part of the campaign, Mohammed Khalil, a Palestinian footballer, directed a message towards Argentina’s beloved forward Lionel Messi.

“I call on the Argentinian team and especially captain Lionel Messi – because he is very popular in Palestine, particularly in the Gaza Strip – to stand in solidarity with Palestinians and to boycott the scheduled game with Israel, which is occupying our land,” Khalil said.

Khalil was shot by Israeli snipers on March 30, during the first Friday protests of Palestinians demonstrating east of Gaza, demanding their right to return.

He was shot in both of his legs, and one of his kneecaps had to be removed, putting an end to his footballing career.

Earlier this week, the head of the Palestinian Football Association (PFA) Jibril Rajoub slammed the friendly as being opposite “a game of peace”.

“The Israeli government is trying to give it political significance by insisting it be held in Jerusalem,” Rajoub said.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA NEWS

IN PHOTOS ~~ NEW YORKERS REMEMBER THE NAKBA

70 Years and counting ….

Nakba Day, 70 years, memorial demo, 5/18,  at Times Sq. NYC . According to Al Jezeera 800 people attended.


Photos © by Bud Korotzer

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Related report from Al Jazeera (Click on link)

Far away from Gaza, a showdown in NYC’s Times Square

Hundreds protest in New York City in solidarity with Palestinians after another week of bloodshed in the Gaza Strip.

JEWS ON THE MARCH FOR GAZA ~~ LIVE BROADCAST

Jewish Voice for Peace-New York City headed to Senator Chuck Schumer’s office telling him to break his silence on Gaza. Palestinians should be free!!

HOW CAN I SUPPORT THAT?

URGENT ANNOUNCEMENT for all young Jews!!!!!!!!

Meanwhile in New York …..

THESE ARE   FOTOS FRM THE ANTI-ADELSTEIN & ANTI- ZIONIST BIRTHRIGHT PROGRAM EVENT ON 4/15.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Related article ~~ Click on post

Dozens of American Jews arrested protesting Gaza violence

From Boston to San Francisco, young activists from IfNotNow demonstrate outside the offices of prominent Jewish institutions and senators, demanding they condemn Israel’s violence against Gaza protesters.

IN PHOTOS ~~ MULTI DEMOS IN NEW YORK

 DEMO @ UNION SQ. IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE RIGHT OF RETURN MARCH

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

And another demo against ‘Agent Orange’

*

*

*

IN PHOTOS ~~ THE FEARLESS GIRL ON WALL STREET (AND MORE)

There is a statue in lower Manhattan called Fearless Girl, she stands facing the Wall Street Bull with a stance and facial expression of total defiance.  A small group organized by Samidoun, which represents Palestinian political prisoners, decided go there with signs calling for the freedom of Ahed Tamimi, a teenager in prison in Palestine/Israel.  When they arrived there they put a keffeyeh on the little statue.  That act seemed to have sent an electric shock through the crowd.  Suddenly everyone wanted to pose with Fearless Girl, some held Free Ahed Free Palestine posters.  Most of the people there were tourists who were much more familiar with what was going on in Palestine/Israel than most Americans are.  Parents were heard explaining to their children who Ahed was.  During the 2 hours there only 2 people objected to the Keffeyeh on the statue.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Commentary by Chippy Dee

*

*

New Yorkers who support justice for the Palestinian people have been very occupied over the past weeks, despite bone chilling weather most of the time has been spent on the streets.  Many of the people participating were there because they saw 30,000  people on a symbolic march of return to their land, nonviolent and  unarmed,  demonstrating for their freedom on their own land, on the Gaza side of the barrier, while Israeli military trained snipers, under no threat, and as their own families celebrated their freedom at Passover sedars, looked through their scopes, took aim and fired.  They deliberately assassinated one person after another leaving 31 murdered and over 1,000 injured.  A coalition of many groups called for a demonstration at Union Sq. on Friday, April 6th.  As the large plaza in the park filled with hundreds of people someone cried out, she had just received a call from Gaza telling her that her old friend, photojournalist Yassir Murtaja, wearing a clearly labeled vest with the word PRESS marked on it, had been murdered.  There was an outpouring of grief and anger and a memorial was planned for Murtaja and the other slain Palestinians.

Two days later, on another freezing night, about 90 people gathered at the same place for a chance to memorialize the Gaza dead and to share the enormous sadness and the even more enormous rage.  People came with candles to light the darkness and some brought flowers.  There were silent moments to think about the horrors we had witnessed on television and on our computer screens.  And yet more moments to fully understand that Israel had shown the world that they were fascists.  They had shown  their true ugly face.  All left with a determination to work even harder for boycott, divestment, and sanctions.

*

*

*

*

Most Israel supporters are quiet now, the voices of the apologists for Israel have been shamed into silence for the moment.  Netanyahu and the settler/colonials born in Russia and Brooklyn are in control.

UNION SQ. MEMORIAL FOR YASSIR MURTAJA > 4/8/18

*

*

*

*

*

IN PHOTOS ~~ FOR THE MARTYRS OF PALESTINE

THE PALESTINIANS ARE NOW WALKING IN THE DESERT FOR 70 YRS.

NYC Students For Justice In Palestine held an emergency public meeting at Washington Sq. Park Manhattan to recognize Palestinian Land Day and mourn and protest the killing of 16 Palestinians attending a mass peaceful demonstration at the Gaza Zionist border.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

*

*

*

*

*

*

 

See THIS related post (Click on link)

Videos of Palestinians shot walking, running and praying appear on social media, but US cables keep mum

IN PHOTOS ~~ 5K RUN FOR GAZA

On Saturday morning, March 24th, under bright sunny skies that turned the scene technicolor, supporters of Palestine gathered in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, for the 4th annual UNRWA 5k run to raise money for mental health services for the children of Gaza.  In the past decade Gaza has suffered several major military attacks from Israel with thousands being murdered, both children and adults.  Their homes, schools, hospitals and water treatment facilities have been bombed turning their shore into an open sewer and making the water unsafe to drink.  Some babies are born blue, oxygen deprived, because of the nitrates in the water their mother has to drink.  They are being blocaded, not allowing essentials into the area.  Electricity has been cut to only a few hours a day making it impossible to keep food fresh or run necessary medical equipment. 

The number of runners has increased every year which is a likely indication that people are aware of the deterioration of life in Gaza and are determined to do what they can to help the children there.  The number of runners that volunteered has risen over the years to well over 1,000 and the money raised was about $350,000 – well over the amount raised in prior years.

When participants arrived they were treated to breakfast donated by several food shops and after greeting friends and checking in there was dabke dancing.  At 9:30 everyone lined up for the 5K run.  Many wore Palestinian flags around their shoulders like Superman capes.  The colors glowed in the sunlight.  Whole families, 3 generations, got into the line.  Most were on their feet but many were carried while others were in strollers, wheelchairs, or on scooters. The atmosphere was jubilant.  A little one in a stroller called out to her mother, “faster, faster”, as they approached the finish line.

The events of last Saturday morning made it crystal clear that there are people living very many miles away from Gaza who keep Gaza and Palestine in their hearts and they are teaching their children to do the same.  They know of the nakba and Palestine will not be forgotten or abandoned.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

Commentary by Chippy Dee

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

 

 

MUST SEE VIDEO ~~ ROGER WATERS ON ‘SUPREMACY’

Roger Waters releases ‘Supremacy’ in protest of US Jerusalem move
Waters reads out poem by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish to music composed by Palestinian group Le Trio Joubran; ‘On the surface, it narrates the last speech of The Native American to The White Man, but it speaks also to Darwish’s beloved Palestine, and its indigenous people, in fact to all victims of settler colonialism everywhere, always,’ Waters says.
 *

*

Same struggle in Canada …

 

WOMEN’S DAY IN NEW YORK HIGHLIGHTS PALESTINIAN FREEDOM

Support for Ahed Tamimi was there in full force

*

Here are scenes from the March in New York City

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

SARAH SILVERMAN LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN TO FREE AHED TAMIMI

Silverman promoted an email campaign launched by Amnesty International which called on supporters to write to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and protest Tamimi’s detention. “There is nothing Ahed Tamimi has done that can justify the continuing detention of a 17-year-old child,” Amnesty wrote in its appeal.

*

Sarah Silverman Calls On Jews To Stand Up For Palestinian Ahed Tamimi

The arrest of Ahed Tamimi, a 17-years old Palestinian girl arrested after being filmed slapping an Israeli soldier near her West Bank home, has evolved into an international debate, pitting human rights groups against the government in Jerusalem and pro-Israel groups.

Now, comedian Sarah Silverman is weighing in on Tamimi’s side and urging fellow Jews to do the same, even if it means parting with the Israeli government. “Jews have to stand up EVEN when — ESPECIALLY when — the wrongdoing is BY Jews/the Israeli government,” Silverman tweeted Thursday.

Jews have to stand up EVEN when — ESPECIALLY when — the wrongdoing is BY Jews/the Israeli government.

Silverman promoted an email campaign launched by Amnesty International which called on supporters to write to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and protest Tamimi’s detention. “There is nothing Ahed Tamimi has done that can justify the continuing detention of a 17-year-old child,” Amnesty wrote in its appeal.

 

Source

GLOBAL DAY OF ACTION TO FREE THE TAMIMIS

What can you do on the 18th of February?

Read on to see ….

Free the Tamimis Campaign calls on allies, comrades and supporters around the world to protest the ongoing incarceration and systematic targeting of members of the Tamimi family and the village of Nabi Saleh.

On Tuesday the 19th of December 2017, 17 year old Ahed Tamimi was arrested from her family home in Nabi Saleh by the Israeli army under the cover of darkness. Ahed is one of over 300 Palestinian children in Israeli military detention. Her mother, Nariman Tamimi was arrested later on the same day when she went to inquire about her daughter. On Thursday the 11th of January 2018, Mohammad Tamimi, Ahed’s cousin, was arrested from his home in Nabi Saleh. 11 days later, his brother Osama was also arrested on his way home from work. All of them remain incarcerated and have been subjected to sleep deprivation, emotional abuse and inhumane interrogation.

The Tamimi family and the village of Nabi Saleh are targets of a political campaign that aims to crush their resistance to the Israeli settler colonial regime. The Free the Tamimis Campaign calls on Palestine’s allies, comrades and supporters around the world to take action and demand the release of Ahed, Nariman, Mohammad and Osama, as well as all Palestinian prisoners.

What can you do on the 18th of February?

1. Organize marches and sit-ins in front of the Israeli embassies and consulates.
2. Organize vigils in your towns, neighborhoods, and streets.
3. Call and email your political representatives and demand they take action.
4. Take it to social media and use #FreetheTamimis

For inquiries and support to plan your action, please contact falastine@freetamimis.info

Thank you for your support!
Free the Tamimis Campaign.

From FaceBook

HOW YOU CAN HELP THE CHILDREN OF GAZA

The following links were sent to me from Australia. They are all important and will give you an idea how YOU can help the children of Gaza during these most difficult days for them. Please take the time and click on every link posted below.

The following note was sent along with the links by a dear friend and Brother, Ayman Qwaider,  from Gaza now living in Perth, Australia:

I am writing to share one of my passionate community education projects called Gaza Children Cinema which I founded in Gaza back in 2013. I often say that only hope left in Gaza is the young generation which we need to invest in to build up a better future for Gaza and for the region. The overall situation in Gaza is devastating which has demoralised me personally a lot. However, I often get energized when watching those kids in Gaza still smiling despite the harsh realities. 

Now the links dealing with the activities ……

https://www.facebook.com/GazaChildrenCinema/

*

https://www.gofundme.com/gaza-childrens-cinema-2v7zz5dg

*

http://www.fopwa.org/2016/11/gaza-childrens-cinema-infofood-stall-perth-wa/

The following are links to articles dealing with the situation ….

They are both MUST READS

https://grokonline.com.au/2017/10/28/escaping-war-and-weaving-magic-the-gaza-childrens-cinema/

*

Cinema salvation

« Older entries