COLDPLAY TO PLAY BOTH SIDES OF THE WALL

The British rock band Coldplay will play two “peace concerts” for Israelis and Palestinians.

Coldplay singer Chris Martin

Coldplay singer Chris Martin

Coldplay to Play 2 Israeli-Palestinian Peace Concerts in West Bank

The British rock band Coldplay will play two “peace concerts” for Israelis and Palestinians.

The concerts, set for Nov. 3 and 4, will be performed at an outdoor location north of the Dead Sea, Israel’s Channel 2 reported Monday.

The shows will aim to promote human rights and bring people together, The Times of Israel reported. The tickets — 50,000 for each concert — will be sold in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Coldplay, which has sold over 80 millions records worldwide, will arrive in Israel two weeks before the shows and record a song with Israeli and Palestinian artists.

Few artists have attempted similar Middle East peace-themed concerts on this scale. Roger Waters, the former Pink Floyd frontman, played a concert in the Israeli Jewish-Muslim coexistence village Neve Shalom in 2006. He has since become a leading proponent of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.

Leonard Cohen made a failed attempt to play a concert in the Palestinian territories in 2009 while touring in Israel.

Coldplay singer Chris Martin is currently the artistic director for the Global Citizen Festival, which is run by the Global Poverty Project, an organization devoted to ending extreme poverty by 2030.

Two of Coldplay’s recent musicvideos were directed by Israelis.

From Coldplay’s FaceBook Page

The band fronted by Chris Martin has come under fire after posting a link to a “Freedom for Palestine” video by the band OneWorld on their Facebook page.

The song, which contains the controversial lyrics: “No matter your faith or your community/ this is a crime against humanity” and “Enough illegal occupation/ violence and racial segregation,” calls for people to rally in support of Palestine. As the chorus goes, “We are the people/ this is our time/ stand up, sing out/ for Palestine.”

TOP TEN BDS VICTORIES OF 2016

“People now realize that it doesn’t make any sense to claim that you’re a progressive or that you care about basic principles of equality and human rights if you can’t apply those principles to the question of Palestine … and a freedom struggle that has gone on for decades now.”

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What were the top 10 BDS victories of 2016?

2016 began with a bang: French telecommunications giant Orange announced in early January it was dumping its Israel affiliate.

This came just months after boycott activists renewed their campaign against the company over its support for Israel’s 2014 assault on Gaza and its complicity in Israel’s colonization of the occupied West Bank.

The same week, a major Irish corporation yanked its cement contracts with Israel following boycott pressure.

Meanwhile, churches, student unions and local activists continued to organize strong boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns that caused panic among Israeli leaders.

Embarrassed by these significant victories, Israel spent 2016 waging “an all-out war” on the global BDS campaign, “in a desperate attempt to crush it,” according to the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC).

Bullying

Israel resorted to threatening and bullying individuals, adopting policies to expel suspected boycott activists and to bar others from entering.

This followed last year’s naming by Israel’s leading financial daily of Omar Barghouti, a co-founder of the BDS movement, among 100 people most likely to influence Israel’s economy in 2016.

Israel imposed an effective travel ban on Barghouti, following threats against him and other Palestinian human rights defenders by top Israeli government ministers in March.

Amnesty International condemned the threats, which included a call by intelligence minister Yisrael Katz for “targeted civil eliminations” of BDS leaders with the help of Israeli intelligence.

“Israel has attempted to stigmatize, demonize and in some cases delegitimize BDS from above, after failing to crush the movement at the global grassroots and civil society levels,” notes the BNC.

But throughout 2016, BDS has only grown stronger, the group adds.

“The logic of appeasing Israel’s regime of oppression has started giving way to the logic of sustained international pressure, which proved instrumental in ending apartheid in South Africa,” it says.

With that spirit in mind, here are the top 10 BDS successes of 2016, as covered by The Electronic Intifada.

10. Activists rose up against Hewlett Packard. Campaigners in dozens of cities across six continentsparticipated in an international week of action against Hewlett-Packard, bringing attention to the company’s role in enabling Israel’s rights violations.

9. Irish company divested from Israel’s cement industry. One of Ireland’s largest companies, CRH, announced in January that it was chucking Israeli assets after sustained grassroots boycott pressure. CRH held 25 percent of the shares in Mashav, owner of Israel’s top cement manufacturer Nesher.

Nesher cement has been used in constructing Israel’s wall and settlements in the West Bank and in the light rail network serving Israeli settlements in occupied East Jerusalem.

8. Spanish municipalities declared themselves “apartheid-free zones.” More than 50 cities across Spain now declare themselves free of Israeli products in a campaign that began in July 2014, at the height of Israel’s attack against Gaza.

With more than 120,000 residents, Cádiz, in Andalusia, is one of the largest cities to support the campaign.

7. Norwegians ditched Israeli products. Two major cities in Norway voted to boycott Israeli goods and services produced in settlements inside occupied Palestinian territory.

6. Churches continued to mobilize for Palestinian rights. Denominations voted in 2016 to boycott Israeli financial institutions, and to dump or bar investments in corporations that profit from Israel’s occupation.

A church in California vowed not to purchase supplies from Hewlett-Packard, a company that provides equipment to Israel’s military and settlements.

Presbyterians reaffirmed their previous commitments to divestment, while 24 denominations together called for “economic leverage” against businesses or governments that violate human rights.

Lutherans voted to call for an end to US aid to Israel.

5. Governments and political parties stood up to anti-BDS bullies. Sweden, followed by the Netherlands and Ireland, publicly upheld the right of citizens to work for BDS.

Meanwhile, the European Union and the US State Department admitted that boycott advocacy is a protected free speech right.

The Canadian Green Party and the Dutch government rejected pressure by right-wing Israel lobby groups.

4. Activists helped defeat anti-BDS legislation. Grassroots campaigners fought back against a growing wave of legislation promoted by US state and federal lawmakers – and encouraged by Israel lobby groups and the Israeli government – to suppress BDS activism.

In Massachusetts, an anti-boycott amendment was withdrawn in the state senate in July following a campaign by Palestine solidarity groups.

The amendment, which was tacked onto an unrelated economic bill, would have blacklisted individuals and businesses that engage with the Palestinian-led boycott of Israel. Organizers said that in order to successfully counter the imminent anti-boycott legislation there, they knew they had to engage directly with lawmakers over a sustained period.

In the UK, a test case for banning BDS campaigning failed in the high court.

And in France, a court overturned a government ban on a meeting to support individuals facing trial for their Palestine solidarity activism. The BDS campaign in France continued to flourish despite the government’s crackdown.

In May, lawmakers in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, made history: theirs was the world’s first full legislature to vote down an anti-BDS law.

3. G4S was forced to buckle under BDS pressure. Under years-long pressure by grassroots campaigns, the world’s largest private security firm, G4S, ditched most of its Israeli businesses.

Four UN agencies in Jordan and one in Lebanon ended their contracts with the corporation.

The city of Berkeley, California, also voted to divest from private prison corporations, including G4S, for its role in human rights abuses against undocumented persons in the US and Palestinians under occupation.

2. Telecom giant Orange quit Israel. The French telecommunications company Orange announced it was quitting Israel in January, following sustained international boycott pressure.

The campaign calling on Orange to cut ties with Israel’s Partner Communications began in 2010 and involved unions and groups in France, Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt, countries where Orange or its affiliates have tens of millions of mobile phone subscribers.

The campaign received a major boost in May 2015 when BDS Egypt called for a boycott of Orange subsidiary Mobinil, which has 33 million customers. This came after The Electronic Intifada revealed the extent of Orange’s complicity in Israel’s 2014 assault on Gaza.

“Orange had no choice but to realize that investing in occupation, profiteering from Israel’s colonization of Palestinian land and involvement in violations against Palestinian rights is a commercially bad investment,” said Abdulrahman Abou Salem of BDS Egypt, a coalition of trade unions, political parties and campaign groups.

Partner Communications, which operated under the Orange Israel brand, built and operated extensive mobile telephone infrastructure in Israel’s settlements built on Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank in violation of international law.

1. Students stood strong. Students in the US, Canada and the UK passed strong divestment measures in their student governments and trade unions, amidst intensifying smear campaigns by outside Israel advocacy groups and shady websites.

Students “are eventually going to be members of the public in various capacities after they graduate. And the rapidly shifting politics around Israel-Palestine on campuses is something that we should really take heart in,” Rahim Kurwa, a graduate student at UCLA, told The Electronic Intifada in August.

Since the beginning of 2016 alone, more than a dozen campuses around the US passed some form of divestment resolution or boycott measure, Kurwa, a member of Students for Justice in Palestine, said.

“People now realize that it doesn’t make any sense to claim that you’re a progressive or that you care about basic principles of equality and human rights if you can’t apply those principles to the question of Palestine … and a freedom struggle that has gone on for decades now.”

SOLIDARITY FOR STANDING ROCK CONTINUES TO GROW

As the crisis in Standing Rock continues, so does the support  both internationally and nationally.

Solidarity has always been a thing of beauty in our hands.

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Cuba-Trained Doctors Head to Standing Rock

A delegation of doctors trained at the Latin American School of Medicine in Cuba announced they will head to Standing Rock to “serve in solidarity.”

In a late Thursday Facebook post, a group of U.S.-based medical professionals trained at Cuba’s famous Latin American School of Medicine, or ELAM, announced they will head to Standing Rock “to humbly serve in solidarity with the Sacred Water Protectors on the front lines of the current human rights and ecological crisis occurring right now in North Dakota.”

Dr. Revery P. Barnes, a graduate of ELAM, said in a post on Facebook, “We answer the call to serve in alignment with the mission and core principles of our alma mater and dedication to our commitment to serve underserved communities in our HOME country.” The delegation will work in collaboration with the Standing Rock Medic and Healer Council.

“While Cuba instilled in us an unwavering commitment to internationalism, with the acceptance of a full scholarship to medical school at ELAM, we made the moral commitment to respond to the needs of our most vulnerable communities here at home in the U.S.,” the statement continued.

On Wednesday, the Standing Rock Medic and Healer Council – which has been providing emergency and chronic health care services to the thousands of water protectors gathered at Standing Rock – issued a warning about the grave health and safety threats posed by escalating use of violence by Morton County Sheriff’s Department and Dakota Access Pipeline security personnel, whom they described as creating “war-like conditions.”

While the Facebook statement did not give details about the size of the delegation or when it is expected to arrive, the announcement comes as thousands of U.S. Army veterans are expected to arrive at the Oceti Sakowin camp this weekend in anticipation of the Dec. 5 eviction notice given to the camp by the Army Corps of Engineers and North Dakota Governor, Jack Dalrymple.

Health and safety concerns for the thousands of Water Protectors, who are asserting their Indigenous sovereignty in attempts to block the multi-billion dollar Dakota Access Pipeline project, are also on the rise as harsh winter conditions have been exacerbated by state law enforcement threats to cut off supplies and access to emergency services.

The Latin American School of Medicine was created in 1999 by the Cuban government and is one of the largest medical schools in the world, with approximately 19,550 students from 110 countries. All students receive a full scholarship, including room and board, and preferential treatment is given to applicants from marginalized groups who intend to return and practice in their own communities. The school plays a key part in Cuba’s widely-hailed medical internationalism, which has seen the socialist country send over 80,000 health care workers to over 94 countries to provide treatment and assistance to impoverished or underprivileged populations.

And from within ….

Family & Friends of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade

Jim Williams is taking our flags to Standing Rock! He left Friday morning with a busload of veterans who plan to join 2,000 or more other veterans in protecting the indigenous peoples rights to their lands. He is the son-in-law of Lincoln vet Matti Mattson. Jim remembered helping Matti carry the VALB flag as well as the FFALB banner, and he wanted to take ours to Standing Rock.  As we waited for the bus in Manhattan early Friday morning, we had a chance to explain the significance of the Brigade and the flags. There were tons of supplies and food — and excitement. I felt as if I were sending them off to Spain!

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And the best news of the day …..

(Click on link)

Alternate Route for Dakota Pipeline to Be Explored

  • The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe won a major victory in a battle that has become a global flash point for environmental and indigenous activism.
  • The Army Corps of Engineers said that it would not approve permits for the Dakota Access Pipeline at a site that the tribe said would threaten a water source and sacred sites.

BLACK FRIDAY PROTEST AT HP

Reaching out to Best Buy shoppers on Black Friday with materials and information about HP’s role in human rights violations, protesters faced the rain for several hours to spread the word about Hewlett Packard’s involvement in the oppression of Palestinians.

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NYC Black Friday protest draws dozens to protest HP involvement in oppression of Palestinians

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On the busiest shopping day of the year, protesters in New York City – hailing from Manhattan to Gaza – joined in the Black Friday kick-off of the International Week of Action against HP’s complicity with Israeli attacks on Palestinian rights, protesting outside Best Buy in Union Square.

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Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network organized the protest, which highlighted HP’s role in providing servers and management systems to the Israel Prison Service that imprisons over 7,000 Palestinian political prisoners. Hewlett Packard is also involved in providing imaging equipment for Israeli checkpoints and ID cards, enabling the siege of Gaza, providing services to Israeli settlements, and supporting other occupation infrastructure. The New York City event is one of over 99 protests around the world between 25 November and 3 December demanding a boycott of HP and an end to HP’s involvement in deportations, incarceration and oppression in Palestine, the United States and around the world. These protests were organized in response to a call from the International Boycott HP Coalition and the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC).

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Reaching out to Best Buy shoppers on Black Friday with materials and information about HP’s role in human rights violations, protesters faced the rain for several hours to spread the word about Hewlett Packard’s involvement in the oppression of Palestinians.

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Several Zionist counter-protesters, including one person dressed in an Israeli military uniform, repeatedly heckled the protesters and attempted, yet failed, to provoke confrontations. Throughout the protest, demonstrators chanted loudly against HP and its complicity in the occupation of Palestine, urging shoppers to boycott Hewlett Packard technology products. A wide range of activists, groups and writers concerned with Palestine participated in the demonstration, while a group of youth from a video training class organized by Picture the Struggle interviewed participants. Picture the Struggle works to document justice movements, including the Black movement, in New York City, through video, photography and audio recording.

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Samidoun is planning to join and encourages all to attend the protest on Monday, 28 November in New York City in solidarity with Rasmea Odeh, former Palestinian prisoner and torture survivor facing persecution in the United States. A major hearing in her case to determine the entry of evidence relating to her PTSD after torture will take place on 29 November in Detroit, which is also the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The Rasmea Defense Committee is organizing protests and buses to Detroit to support Odeh, while protests are taking place in Tampa, Tucson, Fort Lauderdale, Salt Lake City and elsewhere to demand justice for Rasmea. In New York City, protesters will gather at Zuccotti Park at Liberty Street and Broadway at 3:30 pm on Monday.

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Photos 1, 3 by Bud Korotzer/Desertpeace

Photos 2, 4, 6 by Joe Catron

Photo 5 by Anne Pruden

 

WRITTEN FOR

FIDEL’S PALESTINIAN CONNECTION

The deceased Cuban leader and PLO chief Yasser Arafat enjoyed close relations and shared anti-imperialist ideology.

Cuban President Fidel Castro greets Palestine leader Yasser Arafat, right, at a dinner reception.

Cuban President Fidel Castro greets Palestine leader Yasser Arafat, right, at a dinner reception.

Fidel Castro: The Palestinian connection

Dalia Hatuqa

 It’s November 1974, and Yasser Arafat, sporting his signature Ray-Ban sunglasses and checkered black-and-white headscarf, is waving to a cheering crowd on the tarmac of Jose Marti International Airport outside Havana.

He descended from the Algerian Airlines plane that took him from New York City to the Cuban capital, where he was greeted and embraced by Fidel Castro, who was at that time prime minister and had been in power for 15 years.

Castro died late on Friday at the age of 90, according to the Cuban government.

The moment in Havana wasn’t the first time the two men had met – their initial encounter happened just over a year earlier at the 4th Summit of Non-Aligned Countries in Algeria. However, it was the first time they met on Cuban soil.

Despite not being a head of state, Arafat was given a presidential welcome in Havana: Cuban Communist Party officials, ministers and others warmly welcomed the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leader that day.

Later on, he was awarded one of the country’s highest decorations, the Orden Nacional Playa Giron, or Bay of Pigs Medal, which, according to Cuba’s government radio, is “awarded to Cuban citizens or foreigners who have excelled in the struggle against imperialism, colonialism and neo-colonialism, or who have done great deeds for peace and progress of mankind”.

The iconic picture of Arafat and Castro walking on the tarmac – housed at the Yasser Arafat Foundation in Ramallah – tells the tale of how an unlikely relationship between the two men, and the PLO and Cuba, were forged.

And while Cuban-Palestinian relations can be traced as far back as the 1966 Tricontinental Conference in Havana, it was Arafat’s November 1974 trip that “cemented the official Palestinian relationship with Cuba”, said Hosni Abdel Wahad, the Palestinian Authority’s assistant foreign minister for the Americas.

“It was during that visit that the official PLO-Cuban ties were forged and the first [PLO] representative office was opened in Havana thereafter.”

Cuba recognises the PLO

It is believed that unofficial ties were made between Cuba and the Palestinians during a first-of-its-kind trip by Fidel’s brother, Raul Castro, and Che Guevara to the Gaza Strip in late 1959.

Events in the 1950s set the stage for this trip: during that time, all Latin American countries, with the exception of Cuba, consistently supported the Israeli position over that of the Palestinians in international forums.

Che Guevara, who was not Cuban but was an instrumental figure in the country’s revolution, spoke in support of the Palestinians in the coastal enclave and elsewhere.

This culminated in Cuba’s recognition of the PLO when it was founded in 1964, making it one of the first countries to do so.

The Cubans trained Palestinian cadres, and Fidel himself was a staunch advocate of the Palestinian quest for freedom and independence.

– Mansour Tahboub, former acting director of the Arafat Foundation

Many of Arafat’s pictures at the Yasser Arafat Foundation, which traces and commemorates the life of the late Palestinian leader, attest to a close relationship with Fidel Castro and Cuba.

The mostly black-and-white images document a series of visits by Arafat to the Latin American country – by some accounts, as many as eight; and these are just the official ones, said Mohammad Odeh, who heads Fatah’s Latin America department.

“That’s a significant number considering Cuba is such a geographically distant country.

“It was, at best, a 12-hour plane ride from any European country, yet Arafat made the trip on numerous occasions. Castro always welcomed him like he was a head of state.”

Mansour Tahboub, former acting director of the Arafat Foundation, said such visits were also a testament to the close historical ties.

“Cuba has always been a strong supporter of Palestinians in all realms: political, military, vocational training,” Tahboub said.

“The Cubans trained Palestinian cadres, and Fidel himself was a staunch advocate of the Palestinian quest for freedom and independence.”

The rare archival footage at the foundation provides a window into many milestones of Cuban-Palestinian relations, such as Arafat pictured on stage – with former Syrian president, Hafez al-Assad, in the background – condemning Egypt for signing the 1978 Camp David Accords with Israel, during the 6th Non-Aligned Summit in Havana in September 1979.

During that time, Egypt was suspended as a member of the Non-Aligned Movement after its agreement with Israel was criticised as “an act of complicity with the continued occupation of Arab territories”.

But these pictures show only a portion of the decades-long relationship between the two men. The PLO and Cuba were natural allies, as both championed what their leaders saw as a struggle against imperial and colonial powers.

Quest for independence

Indeed, Castro conflated Cuba’s “strife to fight imperialism” with the Palestinian quest for independence from Israel’s occupation.

“Cuba’s backing of the Palestinians wasn’t exceptional,” explained Abdel Wahad, who studied journalism in Cuba.

“It was part of the Cuban support system to all people struggling for freedom and fighting against colonialism.”

Castro reaffirmed this belief on numerous occasions, including during an interview with the French weekly Afrique-Asie in 1977.

“The Palestinian movements have shown their ability to resist imperialist … aggression … [The Palestinian cause] will prevail sooner or later in spite of the betrayal by Arab reactionaries, imperialist manoeuvres and Israeli aggression.”

In almost every one of Castro’s many speeches, he voiced support for the Palestinians alongside condemnations of US “imperialist plots”.

Following the end of the Six-Day War, Cuba condemned Israel for the first time at the UN. And of all the Latin American countries that had PLO representative offices at the time, only Cuba and Nicaragua granted the PLO full diplomatic status.

Yet despite its close relationship with the PLO, Cuba continued to maintain relations with Israel until 1973. It was during the Non-Aligned Movement summit of that year in Algeria that Cuba announced it would break off relations with Tel Aviv.

Several historical accounts refer to a dramatic scene unfolding at the event after Castro was reportedly convinced to cut ties with Israel.

Tales were told of an embrace between Castro and former Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi, and some claimed that “Arafat ran across [the hall] to embrace Fidel, and the applause lasted for minutes”.

During the Non-Aligned Movement’s heyday, before the end of the Cold War, Cuba also gave much-needed political support to the Palestinians in international fora, such as the UN.

Around that time, Cuba co-sponsored the UN General Assembly resolution that equated Zionism with racism.

Even when the UN later repealed the resolution in 1991, Cuba stood in opposition.

Quid pro quo?

Some argued that the prominence Cubans gave to the Palestinian cause was a quid pro quo for helping the Castro government secure influence among “Third World nations”.

“The symbiotic relationship between the two … enabled Castro, despite his role in Latin America and Africa as a Soviet client and surrogate, to assume a leadership position in the Third World and within the Non-Aligned Movement,” wrote David J Kopilow, a former consultant for the Hudson Institute in Washington specialising in Central America.

Cuba assisted the PLO – especially left-leaning factions like the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) – in forging ties with neighbouring states.

The Cubans had a huge role in us seeking the status of non-member observer state, and we still liaise with them on all high-level international matters.

– Mohammad Odeh, head of Fatah’s Latin America department

“The Cubans played a vital role in facilitating our interactions on the Latin American scene,” said Hisham Abu Ghosh, a member of the DFLP’s political bureau.

The DFLP had an especially close relationship with the Cuban regime; the party’s leader Nayef Hawatmeh made dozens of trips to the island, the most recent of which was made in November 2013.

The PLO also found fertile ground in Cuba for political training and support, giving “logistical and professional guidance for Palestinian factions”, according to Abdel Majeed Sweilim, professor of political science at Al Quds University.

The Latin American state also took a special interest in providing educational support to Palestinians.

“Despite Cuba’s economic woes, the government would give more than 150 Palestinians annually opportunities to study medicine, engineering and other disciplines,” said Odeh, who studied dentistry on the island in 1970 under a full scholarship granted by the Cuban government.

Close relations have been maintained between the Palestinians and Cuba, but “the nature of the relationship has differed”, explained the PA’s Abdel Wahad. “There is an official relationship with the state of Palestine.”

Cuba was even consulted in the lead-up to the UN’s recognition of Palestine as a “non-member observer state”.

“I was in Cuba two years ago to consult with officials about the UN bid,” Fatah’s Odeh said.

“Not many people know this, but the Cubans had a huge role in us seeking the status of non-member observer state, and we still liaise with them on all high-level international matters.”

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More from MA’AN HERE

From Palestine to Cuba: Palestinian leaders remember the late Fidel Castro

EVEN THE DEAD SUFFER FROM CORPORATE GREED

See the similarities …..

In North Dakota

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And in Occupied Jerusalem …..

Mamilla cemetery does not exist anymore. What exists now is a hotel, a school, a parking lot, a public garden, a nightclub and the US consulate. Also a museum to celebrate tolerance. But the meaning of tolerance in West Jerusalem, a few steps away from the Old City, is surreal — to build the story of a new Jerusalem, the Israeli authorities are erasing its past.

Mamilla cemetery does not exist anymore. What exists now is a hotel, a school, a parking lot, a public garden, a nightclub and the US consulate. Also a museum to celebrate tolerance. But the meaning of tolerance in West Jerusalem, a few steps away from the Old City, is surreal — to build the story of a new Jerusalem, the Israeli authorities are erasing its past.

Therefore, Palestinians stand in solidarity with the Souix 

Image by Carlos Latuff

Palestinians and Dakota People together

Palestinians and Dakota People together

A LETTER FROM GAZA TO STANDING ROCK ~~ ‘YOUR STORY IS OUR STORY’

As a Palestinian in Gaza, I have grown up feeling detached from the rest of the world as Israel tightens its decade-long blockade. I am sure many of you feel the same way. But we are not isolated. We are “soulmates” in the way that counts.

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Gaza writes to Standing Rock: Your story is our story

Israa Suliman

Dear Native Americans:

Although we are of different color, religion, culture and place, I have learned, as I read about the protests at Standing Rock, that we have much more in common than differences. When I read your history, I can see myself and my people reflected in yours. I feel in my core that your fight is my fight, and that I am not alone in the battle against injustice.

My ancestors were not the only ones who lived in Palestine. Jews, Christians and Arabs all lived side by side in my country. But my ancestors—including my grandparents and great-grandparents—were the indigenous people, just like you. And they suffered the same fate as your people. America’s policy of occupation and displacement through forced marches like the Trail of Tears, and the gradual transfer of so many of your people to massive, impoverished reservations, hurts me deeply because it is so similar to the ethnic cleansing of my ancestors by the Israeli military occupation in what we call “al-Nakba” (the catastrophe). We know what you know: that our land is sacred.

In 1948, my ancestors—along with nearly a million other Palestinians—were frightened away or forced off their lands, in some cases at gunpoint. More than 10,000 others were massacred. Hundreds of our villages and cities were completely destroyed in a systemic plan to erase our identity—just as yours has been under continuing assault.

Palestine today is just 22 percent of our original homeland. Like you, some of my people (an estimated 1.5 million) must live in degrading “camps” (our word for reservations), where living conditions are “comparable to the Third World.” Like your reservations, they are characterized by high rates of unemployment, poverty and suicide.

Many other Palestinians (about 6 million)—now including descendants of the original residents—are scattered elsewhere around the world, just as yours are around the United States. Today, not only has the military occupation taken over our land and declared it “the state of Israel,” but it continues to carry on a policy of expulsion, demolishing Palestinian houses in the little bit of land we retain, building illegal settlements and preventing free movement with a network of “security checkpoints.”

Like you, we don’t control our natural resources. Just as you were not consulted about the Dakota Access Pipeline that will traverse your land and contaminate your water supply if installed, we are not consulted by Israel, which wants to mine the gas supply in our harbor for its own use and monopolizes the water supply in the West Bank for the green lawns of its own residents—leaving Palestinians parched and dry. In Gaza, where I live, only 10 percent of our water supply is drinkable due to the conditions in which we must live. We too know that “water is life.”

When I was young, I saw how the media portrays negative images of you, especially in Hollywood films—depicting you as uncivilized, savage, racist and drug abusers. Likewise, my people are portrayed as terrorists, “backward,” misogynists and anti-Semitic. And yet no one regards whites as all the same.

Like yours, our resistance has been labeled as acts of terrorism and violence rather than as a fight for survival and dignity. That’s not surprising, since this is the policy of every oppressor who seeks to criminalize others to justify its acts. It is the oppressor’s way to create its own version of reality to rationalize its behavior and brainwash the masses. And it is the oppressor’s plan to make the colonized feel weak and alone. But you are proving they won’t succeed and I want you to know that my people are with you.

Seeing your women, elders and youth stand together to protest the pipeline and your exclusion from decision making is so inspiring! It gives us strength to go on with our own struggle.

As a Palestinian in Gaza, I have grown up feeling detached from the rest of the world as Israel tightens its decade-long blockade. I am sure many of you feel the same way. But we are not isolated. We are “soulmates” in the way that counts.

Sincerely,

Israa Suliman
We Are Not Numbers

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Image by Latuff

Palestinians and Dakota People together

Palestinians and Dakota People together

#InternationalSolidarityExtraordinaire ~~ BRAZILIANS AIDING PALESTINIAN FARMERS

The Landless Rural Workers Movement, or Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST), sent its yearly delegation to Palestine for the olive harvest in solidarity with farmers in the West Bank.

A delegation from Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement joins the harvest to help Palestinian farmers pick olives and resist Israeli violence.

A delegation from Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement joins the harvest to help Palestinian farmers pick olives and resist Israeli violence.

Brazil’s MST begins solidarity olive harvest

The Landless Rural Workers Movement, or Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST), sent its yearly delegation to Palestine for the olive harvest in solidarity with farmers in the West Bank.

MST is a mass social movement in Brazil formed by rural workers and those who want to fight for land reform and against injustice in rural areas.

Members of the delegation are assisting with the physical work of picking olives as well as serving as witnesses to Israeli state or settler violence directed against Palestinian farmers. The hope is to ensure Palestinian farmers, even in high-risk areas, are able to harvest their olives.

The olive oil industry constitutes 25% of Palestine’s agricultural income and supports the livelihoods of approximately 100,000 Palestinian families. The constant threat of Israeli state and settler violence and upsets the olive harvest in Palestine each year.

The MST activists have already taken part in olive harvests across the West Bank, mainly in areas targeted by Israeli settlers. As a part of the 20-day olive picking delegation, MST representatives are also meeting with Palestinian civil society organizations, unions, and politicians.

On Monday, MST met with the Alternative Information Center (AIC) in Beit Sahour. AIC Director Nassar Ibrahim provided an overview of the Palestinian national movement, stressing the importance of mobilizing democratic forces against the occupation in both Palestinian and Israeli societies. AIC Senior Project Coordinator Ahmad Jaradat discussed the relationship of the Palestinian struggle for liberation to other international social justice movements.

MST has acted in support of the Palestinian national movement for years. It is one of the largest social movements in the world, with a membership of 1.5 million.

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#InNorthDakota ~~ PALESTINIANS STAND WITH THE SIOUX

Palestinians know too well the threat to their own water supply ….

As Native communities face an ongoing genocide and continue to resist the imperialist settler-colonial regime of the United States, Palestinians are too experiencing a genocide and ethnocide within our homelands from the settler-colonial state of Israel.”

Image by Carlos Latuff

"Water is life for all of us": Palestinian activists join Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to protest DAPL

“Water is life for all of us”: Palestinian activists join Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to protest DAPL

Palestinians join Standing Rock Sioux to protest Dakota Access Pipeline

Nadya Raja Tannous

“Perhaps only in North Dakota, where oil tycoons wine and dine elected officials, and where the governor, Jack Dalrymple, serves as an adviser to the Trump campaign, would state and county governments act as the armed enforcement for corporate interests. In recent weeks, the state has militarized my reservation, with road blocks and license-plate checks, low-flying aircraft and racial profiling of Indians. The local sheriff and the pipeline company have both called our protest “unlawful,” and Gov. Dalrymple has declared a state of emergency.

It’s a familiar story in Indian Country. This is the third time that the Sioux Nation’s lands and resources have been taken without regard for tribal interests. The Sioux peoples signed treaties in 1851 and 1868. The government broke them before the ink was dry.

When the Army Corps of Engineers dammed the Missouri River in 1958, it took our riverfront forests, fruit orchards and most fertile farmland to create Lake Oahe. Now the Corps is taking our clean water and sacred places by approving this river crossing.”

Dave Archambault II, Chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, opinion piece in the NY Times

The Bakken formation in the northern United States and southern Canada is listed by US energy companies as one of the most promising options for national oil extraction, only surpassed in size by the oil fields in Alaska. The fields in North Dakota have beenincreasingly targeted for Bakken shale oil resources over the past years and they are quite familiar with public controversy: many of us remember the proposal of the infamousKeystone XL pipeline from 2008-2015, which was held in starkly low public opinion andstruck down twice by the Obama administration. The proposed Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is not so different from its failed counterpart. It is mapped out for the same length of 1,172 miles as the Keystone XL and is targeting the same Bakken shale reserves for carry across the upper Midwest. The proposed $3.8 billion dollar DAPL would transport 570,000 barrels of crude oil per day across four states and cross the Missouri River itself. Parent company, Energy Transfer Partners is selling the pipeline as an economic booster, job creator, and sure investment for the future of the American people. Yet, who exactly are they referring to and who did they consult?

In the hills outside of Bismarck, North Dakota is the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, sitting along the banks of the Cannonball River, a tributary to the Missouri River. The pipeline construction sites can now be seen from the reservation, but many people here saw the pipeline coming before it even arrived. Just as Energy Transfer Partners and TransCanada failed to consult Native Tribes who live along the planned pipeline route and whose sacred lands, ancestral lands, and main water sources will be compromised by construction, there has not been a single tribal consultation around the proposed DAPL.

On April 1st , Sacred Stone Spirit Camp was erected on the bank of the Cannonball as a residence for water protectors, many whom came from within and off the reservation to stand against pipeline construction, call for water preservation, and call for recognition of the Federal treaties held with the Great Sioux Nation. What started out as a few hundred people quickly increased into the thousands, stemming the creation of the Oceti Sakowin and Red Warrior Camps on the other side of the Cannonball.

Protectors, support, and solidarity with Standing Rock are arriving from all edges of the world, many of them representing Indigenous Nations. My own caravan set out from California the 2nd week of September, preceding the Palestinian Youth Movement-USA Caravan that arrived soon after. As a contingent of Indigenous peoples in diaspora and recent settlers on Turtle Island, we attest that those standing at Standing Rock are standing for our present and future as well. We must in turn stand for each other against the present, future, and historical supremacies of erasure, the active legacy of settler-colonialism, and the viciousness of greed.

The pipeline company seems to remain unconcerned by the risk of polluting the reservation’s main water source, the highly probable degradation of land and sacred sights, and their trespass against a series of federal laws, and they are becoming increasingly reactionary to the flow of protectors in and out of the protector camps and surrounding areas. Just a few weeks ago, on September 28th, alarming images and video were released of armed police and military-style vehicles cornering protectors holding a prayer ceremony at a North Dakota construction site. The video portrayed the intensity on the ground and just how vulnerable the protector camps are without the gaze of the public eye:

“They are moving in”
“They won’t let us leave. They have locked us in on both sides”
“They’ve got their weapons drawn”
“They’ve got snipers on top of the hill”
“They’re blocking me on Facebook”
“They are arresting everyone now. Everyone is running”
“Share this far and wide”

Transcript of LiveStream video via Unicorn Riot

The militarized forces blocked the only exit from the site to the public road before arresting 21 protectors. Other attendees posted photos of a crop dusting plane releasing a gas or chemical over the crowd. There has been little clarity thereafter of the makeup of the compound or the purpose of the spray.

The participation and planning of direct actions against DAPL construction, however, are continuing, with over 100 cars caravanning out to 5 construction sites the week of October 3rd and successfully halting construction for the day. Local authorities, private security hires, and the National Guard are seemingly disturbed by the presence of protectors as well, and are going out of their way to restrict access in and out of the protector camp area and intimidate newcomers. Indeed my own caravan coming from California was discouraged from approaching the reservation on the main road running from Bismarck, ND due to the checkpoints erected by North Dakota authorities. Our longwinded encounter with the highway patrol on our way to North Dakota — who insisted on not only checking all of our IDs followed by standing on the side of the highway outside of the car for an hour but also “passed our information down the line to the authorities higher-up” including suspicions of illegal activity — seemed to be motivated to dissuade an influx of supporters into the area. Stories of license plate checks, racial profiling of Native and ethnic drivers and/or car passengers, as well as arrests at roadblocks, circulated through the camps. Democracy Now, The New York Times, Huffington Post, and many independent news sources also reported these same tactics.

Why did I go in the first place? Because somewhere in the awkward power dynamic of being a US citizen, a non-native inhabitant of Turtle Island, and a Palestinian in the Diaspora, I saw the struggle for livelihood and culture, the struggle against settler-colonialism, the struggle to protect the sacred and maintain your own legitimacy, and the ever ominous force of erasure and historical amnesia. What I later saw at Standing Rock both embodied this and became bigger than it; as a Mohawk Elder said to me, “Without water, we [humans] are infertile dust”.

At a council fire in Oceti Sakowin during my stay, 280 Indigenous Nations were thanked for their support and representation at the camps. Movement leaders at Sacred Stone Spirit Camp have repeatedly stated that the gatherings of different Indigenous Nations near Cannonball, ND is the largest in the past 150 years on the North American continent.

The council fire sits at the mouth of the main entrance of Oceti Sakowin Camp, outlined by rows of flags representing many of the Indigenous Nations who have come to stand with Standing Rock. At the end of one of the rows is the Palestinian flag. Seeing it filled me equally with joy and sadness because it confirmed two things that I had pondered throughout the long drive from California to North Dakota: the first thought is that the power of collective resistance against greed and settler-colonialism is a mighty force. That thought was embodied by my joy to see a representation of will by the presently unseen Palestinian siblings who had come to take a stand against destructive powers. The second thought was embodied by sadness for, if the struggle for protection of water, culture, land, heritage, and livelihood is truly mirrored in Standing Rock and Palestine, then the struggle ahead is both vast and uncompromising.

I spoke with many inspiring protectors from the Maori in New Zealand, indigenous representatives from Ecuador, Canadian representatives from the Blackfoot Nation who were longtime activists in the “Idle No More” mobilizations, and Dakota/Lakota/Nakota from Standing Rock and the neighboring reservations among so many others.

From a variety of perspectives and personal stories, the same foundational message was repeated back to me: this stand isn’t just about standing for Native rights, it is about protecting the water, protecting our earth and securing the livelihood of our next generations. Water is life for all of us.

Myself and fellow members of the Palestinian Youth Movement–United States Branch had reflected on the latter thought when we authored our statement of solidarity “with the Standing Rock Sioux, the Great Sioux Nation and our other native sisters, brothers and siblings in the fight against the DAPL”, circulated on September 7th. Segments read:

“We condemn all forms of state violence against our First Nation siblings and denote that the undermining of their sovereignty and livelihood is a part of the continuing dialectic of settler-colonialism transnationally.

Since the arrival of settlers on Turtle Island, First Nations have resisted genocide and displacement. From seizure of land to reservations, from boarding schools to massacres, the state has done everything in its power to erase and eradicate First Nation peoples. Yet, they are still with us today and they continue to resist. Protecting their land, people, and future generations from the DAPL is a testament to their strength and resilience.

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As Native communities face an ongoing genocide and continue to resist the imperialist settler-colonial regime of the United States, Palestinians are too experiencing a genocide and ethnocide within our homelands from the settler-colonial state of Israel.”

The comparisons are uncanny. I had spent most of the hours on the road to North Dakota contemplating the connections between the obstacles and oppressions facing those in Standing Rock and the obstacles and oppressions facing we Palestinians under occupation and apartheid. However, upon arriving at Standing Rock, I no longer just thought about the similarities, I felt them in my bones.

When protectors at Standing Rock asked me about what Palestinians experience in our own fight against settler-colonialism, oppression, and greed, I answered sometimes through the language of statistics. Yet, more often, I told them narratives of genocide, exile, delegimitzation, broken promises, and resounding resilience.

Sitting around a fire, burning sage and cedar wood, Darlene Meguinis of the Blackfoot Nation in Canada reflected on the beginnings of the Idle No More movement, in which she is still an active organizer. She told me: “Everything must start with prayer and ceremony, especially organizing.” She reminded me that the founders ofIdle No More, elders Nina Waste, Jessica Gordon, Sheelah Mcleen, and Sylvia McAdams, had rooted the movement in ceremony. The result of doing so, Meguinis maintained, was to center the focus of the collective actions for change.

Native youth in the #NoDAPL Youth Council at Standing Rock reiterated similar ideas about DAPL actions. Two youth leaders recounted to me, “we are striving for the results that we want to see but are being directed by our ancestors. We are here, acting now, for our children.”

Intention and prayer surrounded much of the daily camp life and easily dispersed the tensions outside, even as the DAPL Company and National Guard helicopters flew low over the camps each morning, afternoon and night (something that pointedly reminded me of life in Palestine).

Some mornings along the bend of the Cannonball River, which delineates Oceti Sakowin/Red Warrior Camp from Sacred Stone Spirit Camp, Native artists reflected the beauty around them in paintings and art installations. One of the organizers was Albuquerque artist Monty Singer, whose picture is shown below.

The time set out to create art and music, to gather around fires and drum circles, toparticipate in prayer and ceremony with each other uplifted the vibrant energy of the camps and the people within them. We cheered, prayed and supported the direct actions as best we could every day; donations from across the U.S. and internationally flooded into the main entrance in the afternoons and community kitchens and donation booths ran 24/7 to maintain the swelling of protector numbers. Hundreds of people ebbed and flowed into the camps every single day.

The sheer power required to uphold the movement is sobering: in light of the failed injunction by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe against the US Army Corps of Engineers at the lower court level, a Federal Appeals court officially halted construction of the pipeline, underlining the same temporary hold parameters as the decree proposed on September 9th by the Department of Justice (DOJ). That hold applies solely within 20 miles on either side of Lake Oahe near the Missouri River.

Other locations on the planned pipeline route are still open for construction and, though direct actions at sites of DAPL construction have not wavered, they are increasingly receiving less and less media attention with increasingly severe charges being applied to protectors. For example, the 5 protectors who strapped themselves to bulldozers at an active DAPL construction site 100 miles down Hwy 94 from the reservation during my stay at Oceti Sakowin Camp were slapped with felony charges for “criminal trespassing”, the same charges outlined against Amy Goodman in her arrest warrant as a result of her coverage of the DAPL in early September (although her charges at the time constituted a misdemeanor and were thankfully dropped October 17th after a court hearing). Some of those arrested were even extradited back to their home states to face their charges from North Dakota in addition to preexisting protest charges in other states.

My last night in Standing Rock, I spoke with a woman by the name of “Terry”, a resident of Bismarck, ND. I asked her why I had met so few non-natives from the local area at Standing Rock. Her response was direct and had very little to do with the sheriff’s implemented checkpoints and roadblocks: “It is because of the media propaganda. For example, during the dog attacks, Bismarck news covered a worker’s injury at the site and the hospitalization of a guard. No one gave popular air time or writing space to cover the effects of the dog attacks on protectors.” She mentioned that an article in the conservative paper, Town Hall, soon after the attacks read: “So dogs were unleashed on these protestors. Good”. She and a few others from Bismarck came to the camps because they saw past the media pressure. “We understand that the fight for clean water and recognition of Native sovereignty affects everyone in the surrounding area”, she told me, which would become increasingly apparent if oil leakage wells up in the Bakken region.

In Geneva, on September 20th, Dave Archambault II, Chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, urged the UN Human Rights Council to stand with the tribe in opposing the DAPL project and advocate for the recognition of their sovereign rights, including the protection of water and sacred places. Protectors are remaining vigilant on and off site, many walking to pay respects to the graves of the Dakota/Lakota/Nakota ancestors that have been disturbed by construction.

Martina Looking Horse, a longtime writer from Cheyenne River Reservation, has been camping at Standing Rock for over a month. She told me that she and her family plan to stay until the pipeline is defeated but stressed that the conditions at camp are not easy to live under. The torrential rainstorms, the swings of hot and cold, and the impending North Dakota winter discourage many from staying longer than a few weeks. Yet, Looking Horse affirmed her belief that she and many others will carry on, with or without the support of mainstream media. The hope, she reaffirmed, is that the national and international people of conscience will continue to support in all the ways that they can, hold the US government accountable to their promises, and not forget that the protectors are still there taking a stand.

The day that I left, the PYM-United States Branch’s official caravan came into Oceti Sakowin, bringing supplies, people power, and small gifts for the tribal council as visitors to the land. They also read our statement at the tribal council fire and met many people, as I had, who stated how glad they were to see Palestinians supporting the front lines against movement suppression. The solidarity with Palestine for all of us who participated in caravans from PYM was overwhelming. What was supposed to be a few-day trip was extended into a week.

Inspired by the stories, the people, the call to our moral responsibility to protect each other and the water that keeps us alive, we hope to return back to Standing Rock and bring supplies for winter.

Friends of Sabeel North America also sent forward a statement of solidarity, in part remarking:

“we know that settler colonialism depends on the exploitation of land and natural resources to the detriment of indigenous communities…Today, we see you, the Sioux nation and members of the other 280 Native American tribes who have joined you to protect the water of the Missouri River and stop the Dakota Access Pipeline, taking a stand for all life, the embodiment of resilience. As the Israeli occupation continues, Palestinian land is stolen, ancient olive trees are uprooted, and blood is shed, your struggle inspires our work and we redouble our efforts to witness and nonviolently resist. We stand in full support of indigenous sovereignty and self-determination.”

The light of hope in Standing Rock is not fizzling out. Upon returning to the Bay Area, I came across many art builds and donation efforts, and have been seeing many more events publicized by friends and family in New York State, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Arizona.

Thanks to Caleb Duarte and the wonderful youth from Fremont High School in Oakland (recently arrived unaccompanied youth from Chimeltenango, Guatemala) who made this solidarity banner:

Art build in Oakland, CA : Recent unaccompanied minors from Guatemala write “Water is Life” in Maya. (Photo: Nadya Tannous)

Art build in Oakland, CA : Recent unaccompanied minors from Guatemala write “Water is Life” in Maya. (Photo: Nadya Tannous)

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Dignidad Rebelde woodblock print at the Oakland Art Build for Standing Rock. (Photo: Nadya Tannous)

Dignidad Rebelde woodblock print at the Oakland Art Build for Standing Rock. (Photo: Nadya Tannous)

I remember thinking as I left Standing Rock to return to California: peoples suppressed by power and greed have strength when they rise together. There is a poignant uniting force through something as important as the world that sustains us.

The river was quiet when I left, with lots of green and tall grass on its banks. The river flats lay muddy and fertile, the slow current reflecting the sky day and night, the water turning pink and orange by sunset.

A water protector strapped to heavy machinery down the Hwy 94 shouted out, before being removed to jail,

“This pipeline is a pipeline to the past. We need to be building sustainable infrastructure for the future, not destructive unsustainable industries that hurt land, that hurt water, that hurt people. Everything is wrong about this pipeline… We’re here standing in solidarity with millions of people from around the world that are against this pipeline.” (via Unicorn Riot)

The collective call for justice is ringing loud and clear. Mni Wiconi –Water is life.

Please support Standing Rock. Donate here to Sacred Stone Spirit Camp.

Donate here to the Sacred Stone Camp Legal Defense Fund.

Donate here to the next PYM caravan to Standing Rock.

Source and more photos HERE

IN PHOTOS ~~ PROTESTING U.S. MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM [THAAD] IN SOUTH KOREA

Over one hundred people gathered in Manhattan’s Korean business on October 21st to protest  the American missile “defense” system [THAAD] in South Korea.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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SOS VIDEO MESSAGES FROM THE WOMEN’S BOAT TO GAZA

SOS video messages were released by the Freedom Flotilla group after the all women crew members were reportedly intercepted and taken by Israeli forces en route to the shores of Gaza. Shortly before the release of the videos, Al Jazeera reported that the activists were expected to be detained and taken to the Israeli port of Ashdod, then deported.

Image by Carlos Latuff

Womens BoatTo Gaza intercepted by the Occupation Navy. Piracy on the open waters! Israel is the enemy of all mankind.

Womens BoatTo Gaza intercepted by the Occupation Navy. Piracy on the open waters! Israel is the enemy of all mankind.

SOS video messages from Zaytouna-Oliva

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Contact President Barack Obama    (202) 456-1111
Contact Secretary John Kerry           kerryj@state.gov or
                                                          (202) 647-4000

Unlike other nations that have women on the boat, we Americans provide military equipment to Israel that may very well have been used against Ann and our international friends.  Please ask Secretary Kerry and President Obama to demand Israel immediately release the women and that they do an investigation on the incident as there are a number of troubling circumstances that are against US and international law. And don’t forget to say that the blockade on Gaza must end.

More contact info here ….

UN: His Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-moon
United Nations Secretary-General
E-mail: sgcentral@un.org
Twitter: @UN_Spokesperson

EU: Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
Email: federica.mogherini@ec.europa.eu
Twitter: @FedericaMog

AUSTRALIA

Julie BishopMinistro de Asuntos Exteriores
E-mail: Julie.Bishop.MP@aph.gov.au
Teléfono: +61 8 9388 0288
Twitter: @JulieBishopMP
Facebook: Julie Bishop MP

CANADA

Justin Trudeau, Primer Ministro
Casa de los Comunes
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6
(No necesita franqueo!)
Teléfono: +1 613 995 0253
Teléfono: +1 514 277 6020
E-mail: j+ustin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca
Twitter: @JustinTrudeau

Stephane DionMinistro de Asuntos Exteriores
Casa de los Comunes
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6
Información de contacto
mailto:stephane.dion@parl.gc.ca

Para más contactos en Canadá: http://canadaboatgaza.org

FRANCE

Monsieur le Président, protégez la Flottille des Femmes pour Gaza
http://www.plateforme-palestine.org/Monsieur-le-President-protegez-la-Flottille-des-Femmes-pour-Gaza

NEW ZEALAND/AOTEAROA

Please contact: https://kiaoragaza.wordpress.com/2016/10/04/demand-israel-allows-womens-boat-to-gaza-safe-passage/

NORWAY

Børge Brende
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
N-0032 OSLO
E-mail: utenriksminister@mfa.no
Twitter: @borgebrende
www.shiptogaza.no

SOUTH AFRICA

Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Womensboattogazasouthafrica/?fref=ts

SPAIN

  • Please check the following link for detailshttp://www.rumboagaza.org/convocatorias-asalto-zaytouna/
  • Rumbo a Gaza calls on civil society and organizations to gather at 7pm in front of Spanish government offices the same day of the possible interception.
  • Rumbo a Gaza calls on the Spanish Government and Spanish MPs and MEPs to protect the Women’s Boat to Gaza mission and their participants, including the Spaniard Sandra Barrilaro.

UK

Boris Johnson, Foreign Secretary
Tel: +44 20 7219 4682
E-mail: boris.johnson.mp@parliament.uk
Twitter: @borisjohnson
Facebook: facebook.com/foreignoffice
Twitter: @foreignoffice

70 AMERICAN INTELLECTUALS THAT ARE ACTUALLY INTELLECTUAL

More than 70 American intellectuals called for a targeted boycott of all goods and services from Israeli West Bank settlements.

This picture taken on June 5, 2015 shows people walking past a sign painted on a wall in the town of Bethlehem in the south of the Tel Aviv-occupied West Bank on June 5, 2015, calling for a boycott of Israeli products coming from illegal settlements. (Photo by AFP)

This picture taken on June 5, 2015 shows people walking past a sign painted on a wall in the town of Bethlehem in the south of the Tel Aviv-occupied West Bank on June 5, 2015, calling for a boycott of Israeli products coming from illegal settlements. (Photo by AFP)

70 American Intellectuals Call for Boycott of Israeli Settlements

More than 70 American intellectuals called for a targeted boycott of all goods and services from Israeli West Bank settlements.

The boycott call, an open letter, was published in the most recent issue of the New York Review of Books, which is dated Oct. 13.

Among the signers are Bernard Avishai, Peter Brooks, Peter Beinhart, Todd Gitlin and Martin Sherwin.

The letter said the signatories “oppose an economic, political, or cultural boycott of Israel itself as defined by its June 4, 1967, borders,” which they refer to as the “so-called Green Line.” This boundary, according to the letter writers, “should be the starting point for negotiations between the Israeli and Palestinian parties on future boundaries between two states. To promote such negotiations, we call for a targeted boycott of all goods and services from all Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories, and any investments that promote the Occupation, until such time as a peace settlement is negotiated between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority.”

The letter also calls on the U.S. government to remove Internal Revenue Service tax exemptions from West Bank entities and to exclude the settlements from Israeli trade benefits.

IN PHOTOS ~~ NETANYAHU’S MINION OF ABOMINATIONS

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PROTESTING NETANYAHU @ HIS AWARDS DINNER @ PLAZA HOTEL NYC

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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IN PHOTOS ~~ PROTEST AGAINST APARTHEID

What was still is ....

What was still is ….

Be sure not to miss this post from yesterday (Click on link)

TRANSFORMATION OF A SELF HATING JEW TO A TERRORIST

PROTESTING THE JEWISH NATIONAL FUND CONVENTION @ THE NYC HILTON HOTEL

Photos  © by Bud Korotzer

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IN PHOTOS ~~ DEMO AT G4S ~~ GET OUT OF PALESTINE AND STANDING ROCK!

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On September 16, people gathered at the NYC office of G4S demanding G4S get out of Palestine and Standing Rock North Dakota USA-where recently G4S security guards released some dogs on the “PROTECTERS” of their Native historic lands against the attempt to lay  an oil pipeline(the Dakota Access Pipeline)  through their lands.

At the end of the protest the protesters marched through the public access of the building loudly chanting “G4S out of Palestine and Standing Rock” much to the consternation of the building’s security guards.

Photos and commentary © by Bud Korotzer

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WOMEN SET SAIL TO FREE GAZA

Two boats packed with activists, politicians, and artists from around the world have set sail for the Gaza Strip as part of an effort to break a nearly decade-long Israeli blockade. The boats, named Amal and Zaytouna (“hope” and “olive” in Arabic, respectively), set sail on Wednesday from Barcelona, with only women comprising the crew for each vessel.

(FREEDOM FLOTILLA COALITION/FACEBOOK)

(FREEDOM FLOTILLA COALITION/FACEBOOK)

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Images by Carlos Latuff

Women's Boat to Gaza

Women’s Boat to Gaza

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This is the one Carlos drew when we 1st broke Israel's siege, 23/08/08 We arrived successfully 4 more times

This is the one Carlos drew when we 1st broke Israel’s siege, 23/08/08 We arrived successfully 4 more times

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For the past two days, locals and international supporters have been flocking to attend the activities hosted by Rumbo a Gaza (Boat to Gaza) to mark the launch. Hundreds attended the events, including concerts, talks and non-violence training.

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Related report from Mondoweiss

Two women’s boats set sail for Gaza in effort to break blockade

Allison Deger

Two vessels with all-female crews set sail for Gaza from Spain on Wednesday in an attempt to break the nine-year Israeli blockade on the coastal Mediterranean strip. The “Women’s Boat to Gaza” is the fourth of its kind, captained by women-only, with 30 female activists and high-ranking officials aboard the Arabic-named Zaytouna (“Olive”) and the Amal (“hope”)

The organization said in a statement the boats are on a course to pierce Israel’s maritime control over Gaza’s borders, and in doing so, raise awareness of conditions inside of the Strip.

“While our focus is on opposing the blockade against the Palestinian people of Gaza, we see this in the larger context of supporting the right to freedom of movement for all Palestinians,” the group said on their website. “The Occupation daily violates the rights of Palestinians to move freely around their country and to leave and return to their country, as guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

Gaza is home to 1.8 million Palestinians, under siege since 2007. In the last decade, unemployment has soared to 42 percent, according to the World Bank. Gaza’s weak infrastructure already lacking basic services took a toll in the 2014 war, and of the funds promised to reconstruct, only half have been disbursed. 

Since 2014 Gaza’s southern crossing into Egypt has also mostly been shut down, with the exception of a few dozens of days of openings, leaving a majority of Gaza’s residents living in poverty reliant on aid parcels to survive. 

Notable passengers on the boat include Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead MacGuire from Northern Ireland, retired U.S. army colonel and State Department official Ann Wright, parliamentarian Marama Davidson from New Zealand’s Green Party, and playwright Naomi Wallace.

“We hope that people will put pressure on their governments to hold Israel accountable, to put sanctions on Israel for what it’s doing to the Palestinians and to tell them to lift the blockade,” Wright told the Middle East Eye before the ships left port in Barcelona two days ago.

“For us, as the women of the world, this fight is also important, it is important to show our rights and opportunities; to prove that we are able to send ships to the Gaza Strip; to show that we stand in solidarity with women and people in the area,” Palestinian-Spanish activist Jaldia Abubakra told Spanish RT.

In 2010 passengers aboard a boat in an aid flotilla charted toward the besieged Gaza Strip, the Mavi Marmara, were intercepted by Israeli commandos in an night-time raid while the boats were nearing the edge of international waters. The Israeli navy fired several rounds while commandeering the ship, killing 10 passengers including the husband of one of the sailors now aboard the Women’s Boat to Gaza, Çiğdem Topçuoğlu.

At the time Israeli officials claimed the ships were shuttling weapons. Ultimately, no such items were found stored. “Since no material aid is being provided, Israeli cannot claim the ships are bringing contraband,” the Women’s Boat to Gaza said.

The after effects of the raid disrupted relations between Israel and Turkey for six years. The two countries had a rapprochement earlier this year when they signed a memorandum of understanding. In the deal, Turkey agreed to absolve Israel of any civil or criminal penalties for the deaths of its citizens. Topçuoğlu came out against the agreement last spring. 

The two-boat flotilla left Barcelona two days ago with a sendoff from the city’s mayor. “Barcelona wants to continue to exercise the Mediterranean leadership for peace and human rights,” said a letter to the government of Israel from the Barcelona City Council.

The ships are due to arrive in Gaza during the first week of October. 

IN PHOTOS ~~ ANTI BDS BILL MEETS RESISTANCE FROM NEW YORKERS

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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First read this related article from Mondoweiss (Click on link)

NYC city council anti-BDS bill meets resistance from protesters

Additional notes by Chippy Dee

When about 100 supporters of Palestinian human rights gathered in a hearing room at City Hall to voice their objections to an anti-1st amendment free speech resolution which opposes BDS, they didn’t expect a free inquiry into what BDS was or why this form of non-violent protest was a historically time honored form of protesting injustice going back, in American history, to the Boston Tea Party.  But neither did they expect abject rudeness, a total lack of professionalism, and blatant hostility from a body of lawmakers purporting to represent all  New Yorkers, not just Zionist supporters of current Israeli policy.

When they entered the chamber they saw that the 2 front rows were set aside for people testifying for the motion. None for those against it.  The committee chair, Helen Rosenthal, announced that 2 hours had been set aside for the hearing (that was later extended), that there would be a rotation of the speakers representing each side, and that nobody should make a sound, no applause, no laughter, no booing – only hand motions were acceptable.  The 1st speaker was Rep. Charles Barron, a member of the NYS legislature who had been  on the NYC Council in the past.  He was to make a statement of his own and also read a statement on behalf of his wife who currently serves on the NYC Council.  Barron is a long time supporter of Palestinian human rights having led one of the earliest attempts to break the Gaza blockade.  Before long he was interrupted by Rosenthal addressing him as “brother” and telling him to make his remarks more brief.  He responded asking her not to call him brother and that he would take the time he needed.  He also said that no person of color should support the motion. As he spoke 2 council members on the panel appeared to be paying no attention while doing something with their phones (texting?).

The next speaker supported the motion.  He essentially said the same thing all the other proponents said at great length – mostly an often repeated pack of lies.  That BDS supporters want to destroy the Jewish state because they are antisemites,  it is all just an effort to delegitimize Israel, and that BDS supporters intimidate students on campuses all over the country.  They gave no example of any student being threatened either verbally or physically by any BDS supporter.  This writer thinks that if Zionist students are feeling threatened it is because they are not comfortable with hearing about the outrages that Israelis are visiting upon Palestinians and prefer to bury their heads in the sand.

People against the measure tried to explain what BDS stood for, its’ place in history (the Montgomery bus boycott, Indian independence, the anti-apartheid struggle in So. Africa), its’ international support,  it’s  support among Jews and the constitutional free-speech issues.  Each time after a supporter of the motion spoke the panel questioned them, giving them more time to speak on their position.  This was not done when opponents spoke.  If anything, they were challenged and asked if they supported a one state or 2 state solution in Palestine/Israel.  They answered that BDS did not take a position on this issue.  Some council members pressed, insisting on hearing the speakers personal opinion on the issue.  In general the questioning was rude, insulting (calling people anti-semites) and saying that what they were saying was untrue (i.e., calling them liars)

Meanwhile, it was abundantly clear that this was a charade.  Members of the audience, all supporters of Palestinian human rights, began, one by one, to object to the hearing, to shout “Free Palestine”, some waved Palestinian flags.  One person stormed out saying that she felt like she was sitting at a council meeting in Israel. Rosenthal had them ejected by the security  guards and then demanded that the entire balcony be ejected although most of them were sitting quietly.  Many of those ejected were scheduled to speak against the motion but she would not allow them to return.  A member of the city council who was not involved in the hearing saw what was happening and he arranged for security to let the speakers back into the hearing room.  Among the last few opponents to speak were 2 citizens of Israel.  One spoke of his time in the IDF, where soldiers had contests on how many ‘Arabs’ they could kill (Israel never speaks of Palestinians, they refuse to recognize their existence) and the other described, in detail, the many acts of racism she witnessed in her years there.  When she concluded Rosenthal said that she knows she should thank her for her testimony “but I won’t”.

When it was over many discussed whether anything was accomplished.  Most thought it was important to be there because the group made it clear that opposition exists, that it will continue to fight for Palestinian human rights using BDS, and that the opposition will come from many communities, including Black, Muslim, and Jewish.

STILL TIME TO GET ON BOARD THE BOAT TO GAZA

Same Struggle …. Be a part of history by CHANGING IT!

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Wear our T-shirt,
logo on front,
Women’s Boat to Gaza 
in all our coalition languages on back.
Men’s and women’s styles and sizes, available now, $25 plus $5 postage. Contact Kit Kittredge, marnykit@gmail.com to order.
Ask about discounts for bulk orders to sell at fundraising events.
 
Our U.S. national goal is $30,000.  Please help by holding a fundraiser in your community.  We can send fliers and a powerpoint presentation on Women’s Boat to Gaza for the program.

 

IMAGE OF THE DAY ~~ THANK YOU CELTICS! LOVE FROM GAZA!!

Footballers in Gaza thank Celtic fans for their recent displays of solidarity with the Palestinian people.

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Carlos Latuff adds his two cents …

Join the Thunderclap: Red card for Apartheid! Expel racist Israel from Fifa!

Join the Thunderclap: Red card for Apartheid! Expel racist Israel from Fifa!

#InIsrael ~~ THE BAN IS ON

Image by Carlos Latuff

The Israeli government has called on citizens to ‘turn in’ boycott activists for deportation.

The Israeli government has called on citizens to ‘turn in’ boycott activists for deportation.

Israel bans entry for two more US activists

Wilson Dizard

Israel has banned an American activist who has worked for years helping Palestinians in Gaza, after denying her entry into the country, detaining her for hours and deporting her against her will.  The woman’s ban comes after Israel banned five U.S. citizens at the border in July, all of them the U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation, and another American woman last week crossing from Jordan.

Washington D.C.-based activist, Pam Bailey, 59, who has been to Gaza many times before, arrived at Ben Gurion International Airport on Sunday and told passport control the truth; that she said was there helping a Swedish women’s aid group, Women to Women (Kvinde til Kvinde), that works alongside the Switzerland-based human rights organization Euro-Mediterranean Rights Human Rights Network (EuroMed). Bailey is the head of her own EuroMed-affiliated project, We Are Not Numbers, which tries to help Palestinians under occupation tell their stories.

Although she had a permit arranged by Kvinde til Kvinde to enter Gaza, Bailey faces a decade-long ban from entering the area, after Israel decided she was working with an activist group that they told her was “illegal” in the state.

After waiting for an hour in a small room, a border official “just informed me I was going to be deported and I would not be allowed to go to Gaza for ten years,” she said. The official did not offer an avenue for appeal. She says she feels devastated by the ban because the young people she helps out in Gaza are like her extended family. Her interest in the region began years ago.

“Basically, my first trip to the West Bank in 2007 was driven by a fascination with the Middle East, a sympathy for Palestinians and a desire to return to my reporting roots by experiencing this area of conflict for myself. The people I met there, and the injustice I witnessed, turned that curiosity into a passion,” she said.

Bailey’s ban comes as Israel cracks down on international attempts at intervention into its military occupation of Palestinian areas, encouraging Israelis to inform on outside agitation by visitors who support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign. Bailey believes that in her case Israel wants to undermine Palestinian civil society groups and make them dependent on outsiders, easier for the state can control.

“They don’t want an independent Palestine working, but they’re totally fine with internationals cleaning up dirty work,” Bailey said.

The U.S. Campaign, whose five members found themselves turned back from Ben Gurion in July, found no help from U.S. consular officials. The U.S. State Department acknowledges the reality of this discrimination, the U.S. Campaign writes.

“Four of the five delegates who were questioned, held, and denied entry were people of color and Muslim, and the fifth had a long beard. Israel has ethnically and religiously profiled visitors so often that the State Department’s travel advisory for Israel reads: “Some US citizens of Arab or Muslim heritage not on the Palestinian Population Registry or otherwise prohibited from entering Israel have experienced significant difficulties and unequal and hostile treatment at Israel’s borders and checkpoints,’” the U.S. Campaign said.

Bailey’s story reflects that of another American activist, Charlotte Kates, whom Israel turned away from a land border crossing on August 15. Kates said she received a five-year ban.

She was there as the international coordinator for the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, on a trip to support Bilal Kayed, a hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner of Israel. Kates was the subject of lengthy interrogation about her association with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, as well as her advocacy for Kayed.

Both Kates and Bailey were told verbally by officials of the length of their ban.

Bailey said that after she was summarily informed of her ban, authorities shuffled her through the Kafakesque process of being forcibly deported from the state of Israel. After one small room, officials lead her to a larger one, where other travellers waited to see if they were going to be kicked out of the country.

Soon, Israeli border control officials came for her, and put her on a small van with metal bars on the windows, and drove her out of Ben Gurion into Israel to a warehouse-like detention facility. The van held one other passenger, a crying Russian woman who spoke no English.

Once at the detention center, authorities took Bailey’s possessions from her and left her under guard with another international traveler, a British woman who was on her way to work in Ramallah. That woman had also been told by Israeli border officials that she couldn’t enter the country for ten years.

“They had asked her for all the names and numbers of her coworkers and she refused to do that,” she said. Demanding to look through cell phones and social media posts has become a common practice when facing scrutiny entering Israel.

Bailey languished in the detention facility, still deprived of her passport by border control, where the only pieces of furniture were bunk beds and a table, upon which “mystery meat subway sandwiches and water” sat.

While she was there, she tried to engage one of the guards in conversation.

“‘What threat do you think I am,’ I asked. He said ‘Don’t you think we have a right to say who can come into our country?’ so I said ‘I don’t want to come into your country. I don’t want to stay here,’” she recalled. Then the guard stopped talking.

After more waiting, Bailey encountered another bizarre twist: a medical exam. She refused.

“Then they wanted me to see one of their doctors,” she told Mondoweiss. They took her to a room “where there was a blood pressure monitor and a hypodermic needle. So I said ‘no, I am not doing this,’” she recalls.

The security officials detaining her refused to speak English, she said.

“I ended up calling them fascists, so as a result I ended up being put in a room by myself,” after refusing medical treatment she never asked for.

After several more hours of waiting, officials drove her to the tarmac at Ben Gurion and up to a United Airlines flight back to the United States. Still without all her bags or her passport, which was in the hands of a flight attendant, Bailey protested by sitting down in the aisle until a sympathetic  attendant managed to get her bag of personal items. Another piece of luggage full of GRE study books for Gazans was still in the hands of Israeli officials. Bailey never got that back.

Bailey plans to appeal her ban with the help of the group Right to Enter, which advocates on behalf of people denied entry into Israel. Sudden and unexpected denials of entry into Israel have happened to Americans of Palestinian descent as well.

Kates, the other American activist denied entry in recent days, this time at the King Hussein Bridge, said that people who appear to be Arab or Muslim, and especially Palestinian, are treated far worse than European-looking international visitors by border officials.

“Furthermore, my experience of prolonged interrogation and being held for hours at the bridge pales next to the experience of Palestinians being denied their basic right to return to enter their own homeland – part and parcel of the denial of the fundamental right of return – and subject to harsh interrogation, being deported for carrying international passports, and being subjected to cruel and degrading treatment at the border,” Kates said.

“During just my own time at the bridge, I encountered numerous Palestinians facing enormous delays and aggressive interrogation, Palestinians denied entry to their own homeland, and Palestinians presented with ‘limited-access’ entry permits prohibiting them from visiting Jerusalem. I encountered a family from Gaza who had one of the rare permits to exit via Erez/Beit Hanoun and then the bridge to Jordan to see family members. As they had studied in the US and UK, they were questioned by border guards as to why they wished to return to Gaza at all, rather than staying in another country. Border control and interrogation is part and parcel of the system of Israeli colonization and dispossession separating Palestinians from their land and seeking to force even more Palestinians outside their homeland. It is part of the same system that denies millions of Palestinians their right to return and attempts to continue the Nakba on an ongoing basis,” Kates wrote in a statement following her ordeal.

“At the same time, I also witnessed numerous holders of international passports singled out for their names, visibly Muslim or Arab appearance, or travels to Arab countries, and subject to degrading and offensive interrogations regarding their religion and personal relationships,” Kates continued.

Right to Enter, the entry advocacy group, has advice for people held up at Ben Gurion or a land-crossing. Even if Israel denies you entry, it’s not the end of the story.

“Remain calm but firm.  Remember you are not alone in being denied entry and many before you have been successful in entering even after being denied entry, some by making an appeal case on the spot and others by returning a few days/weeks afterwards,”  their website reads on what to do if denied entry  “DO NOT throw a tantrum or insult the officials.  This will only antagonize the situation.”

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