WHY BDS IS JUST AND IS A MUST

The Palestinians are poor. They are powerless. They have no voice or influence in the halls of power. They are demonized. They do not have well-heeled lobbyists doling out campaign contributions and pushing through pro-Palestinian legislation. No presidential candidate is appealing to donors—as Hillary Clinton did when she sent a letter to media mogul Haim Saban denouncing critics of Israel—by promising to advance the interests of the Palestinian people. Palestinians, like poor people of color in the United States, are expendable.

 Smoke and fire from an Israeli strike rise over Gaza City in July 2014. (Hatem Moussa / AP )

Smoke and fire from an Israeli strike rise over Gaza City in July 2014. (Hatem Moussa / AP )

Why I Support the BDS Movement Against Israel

By Chris Hedges

The Palestinians are poor. They are powerless. They have no voice or influence in the halls of power. They are demonized. They do not have well-heeled lobbyists doling out campaign contributions and pushing through pro-Palestinian legislation. No presidential candidate is appealing to donors—as Hillary Clinton did when she sent a letter to media mogul Haim Saban denouncing critics of Israel—by promising to advance the interests of the Palestinian people. Palestinians, like poor people of color in the United States, are expendable.

Justice for Palestine will never come from the traditional governmental institutions or political parties that administer power. These institutions have surrendered to moneyed interests. Justice will come only from us. And the sole mechanism left to ensure justice for Palestine is the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. Sanctions brought down the apartheid regime of South Africa. And they are what will bring down the apartheid regime of Israel. BDS is nonviolent. It appeals to conscience. And it works.

All Israeli products including Jaffa citrus fruits, Ahava cosmetics, SodaStream drink machines, Eden Springs bottled water and Israeli wine must be boycotted. We must refuse to do business with Israeli service companies. And we must boycott corporations that do business with Israel, including Caterpillar, HP and Hyundai. We must put pressure on institutions, from churches to universities, to divest from Israeli companies and corporations that have contracts with Israel. The struggle against apartheid in South Africa was long and hard. This struggle will be too.

Gaza, a year after Israel carried out a devastating bombing campaign that lasted almost two months, is in ruins. Most of the water is unsafe to drink. There are power outages for up to 12 hours a day. Forty percent of the 1.8 million inhabitants are unemployed, including 67 percent of the youths—the highest youth unemployment rate in the world. Of the 17,000 homes destroyed by Israel in the siege, not one has been rebuilt. Sixty thousand people remain homeless. Only a quarter of the promised $3.5 billion in aid from international donors has been delivered—much of it diverted to the Palestinian Authority, the Israeli puppet regime that governs the West Bank. And no one in Washington—Republican or Democrat—will defy the Israel lobby. No one will call for justice or stay the Israeli killing machine. U.S. senators, including Bernie Sanders, at the height of the Israeli bombardment last summer voted unanimously to defend the Israeli slaughter of a people with no army, navy, air force, mechanized units, artillery or command and control. It was a vote worthy of the old Soviet Union. Every senator held out his or her tin cup to the Israel lobby and chose naked self-interest over justice.

Israel, like the United States, is poisoned by the psychosis of permanent war. It too is governed by a corrupt oligarchic elite for whom war has become a lucrative business. It too has deluded itself into carrying out war crimes and then playing the role of the victim. Israeli systems of education and the press—again mirrored in the United States—have indoctrinated Israelis into believing that they have a right to kill anyone whom the state condemns as a terrorist. And Israel’s most courageous human rights campaigners, intellectuals and journalists are slandered and censored in their own country, just as American critics such as Norman Finkelstein, Max Blumenthal and Noam Chomskyare in the United States.

Those who become addicted to the wielding of the instruments of war, blinded by hubris and a lust for power, eventually become war’s victims. This is as true for Israel as for the United States.

Israel’s goal is to make life a living hell for all Palestinians, ethnically cleansing as many as it can and subduing those who remain. The peace process is a sham. It has led to Israel’s seizure of more than half the land on the West Bank, including the aquifers, and the herding of Palestinians into squalid, ringed ghettos or Bantustans while turning Palestinian land and homes over to Jewish settlers. Israel is expanding settlements, especially in East Jerusalem. Racial laws, once championed by the right-wing demagogue Meir Kahane, openly discriminate against Israeli Arabs and Palestinians. Ilan Pappecalls the decades-long assault against the Palestinian people “incremental genocide.”

In Gaza, Israel practices an even more extreme form of cruelty. It employs a mathematical formula to limit outside food deliveries to Gaza to keep the caloric levels of the 1.8 million Palestinians just above starvation. This has left 80 percent of the Palestinians in Gaza dependent on Islamic charities and outside aid to survive. And the periodic military assaults on Gaza, euphemistically called “mowing the lawn,” are carried out every few years to ensure that the Palestinians remain broken, terrified and destitute. There have been three Israeli attacks on Gaza since 2008. Each is more violent and indiscriminate than the last. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has said that a fourth attack on Gaza is “inevitable.”

During its 51-day siege of Gaza last summer Israel dropped $370 million in ordinance on concrete hovels and refugee camps that hold the most densely packed population on the planet. Two thousand one hundred four Palestinians were killed. Sixty-nine percent—1,462—were civilians. Four hundred ninety-five were children. Ten thousand were injured. (During the attack six Israeli civilians and 66 soldiers were killed.) Four hundred Palestinian businesses were wiped out. Seventy mosques were destroyed and 130 were damaged. Twenty-four medical facilities were bombed, and 16 ambulances were struck, as was Gaza’s only electrical power plant. Israel tallied it up: 390,000 tank shells, 34,000 artillery shells, 4.8 million bullets. Most of the civilians who died were killed in their homes, many of the victims torn to shreds by flechette darts sprayed from tanks. Children were burned with white phosphorous or buried with their families under rubble caused by 2,000-pound iron fragmentation bombs. Others died from dense inert metal explosive, or DIME, bombs—experimental weapons that send out extremely small, carcinogenic particles that cut through both soft tissue and bone. The Israel Defense Forces, as Amira Hass has reported, consider any Palestinian over the age of 12 to be a legitimate military target. Max Blumenthal’s new book, “The 51 Day War,” is a chilling chronicle of savage atrocities carried out by Israel in Gaza last summer. As horrible as the apartheid state in South Africa was, that nation never used its air force and heavy artillery to bomb and shell black townships.

A report by Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) found Israel killed and injured more civilians with explosive weapons in 2014 than any other country in the world. Hamas’ indiscriminate firing of wildly inaccurate missiles—Finkelstein correctly called them “enhanced fireworks”—into Israel was, as a U.N. report recently charged, a war crime, although the report failed to note that under international law Hamas had a right to use force to defend itself from attack.

The disparity of firepower in the 2014 conflict was vast: Israel dropped 20,000 tons of explosives on Gaza while Hamas used 20 to 40 tons of explosives to retaliate. Israel’s wholesale slaughter of civilians is on a scale equaled only by Islamic State and Boko Haram. Yet Israel, in our world of double standards, is exempted from condemnation in Washington and provided with weapons and billions in U.S. foreign aid to perpetuate the killing. This is not surprising. The United States uses indiscriminate deadly force in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia that outdoes even Israel, leaving behind civilian victims, refugees and destroyed cities and villages in huge numbers.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who during his last election campaign received 90 percent of his money from U.S. oligarchs such as Sheldon Adelson, has internally mounted a campaign of state repression against human rights advocates, journalists and dissidents. He has stoked overt racism toward Palestinians and Arabs and the African migrant workers who live in the slums of Tel Aviv. “Death to Arabs” is a popular chant at Israeli soccer matches. Thugs from right-wing youth groups such as Im Tirtzu routinely beat up dissidents, Palestinians, Israeli Arabs and African immigrants in the streets of Tel Aviv. It is a species of Jewish fascism.

Israel is not an anomaly. It is a window into the dystopian, militarized world that is being prepared for all of us, a world with vast disparities of income and draconian systems of internal security. There will be no freedom for Palestine, or for those locked in our own internal colonies and terrorized by indiscriminate police violence, until we destroy corporate capitalism and the neoliberal ideology that sustains it. There will be no justice for Michael Brown until there is justice for Mohammed Abu Khdeir. The fight for the Palestinians is our fight. If the Palestinians are not liberated none of us will be liberated. We cannot pick and choose which of the oppressed are convenient or inconvenient to defend. We will stand with all of the oppressed or none of the oppressed. And when we stand with the oppressed we will be treated like the oppressed.

Written FOR

IS FACEBOOK ABOUT TO RECOGNISE PALESTINE?

Strange happenings at the zionist controlled social media …..

New map shows West Bank and East Jerusalem as outside of Israel

You have to like this ....

You have to like this ….

Facebook Redraws Israel’s Borders

New advertising settings place Judea-Samaria, parts of Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights as ‘outside Israel,’ according to Israeli media.

Facebook not only considers Jewish areas of Judea and Samaria (Shomron), but also parts of Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, as outside of Israel, according to exposé published Sunday.

The social network updated its advertising system recently allowing editors of popular pages the chance to gear their posts toward a specific geographical location.

However, a great deal of the State of Israel is not considered within Israel’s borders, according to Channel 2. 

Areas within the desired country are usually shown ‘highlighted’, whereas areas outside that country’s borders are greyed out, they explained.

Channel 2 tested the new system to aim posts in eastern neighborhoods of Jerusalem, for example, and saw that the rest of the State of Israel became automatically “greyed out.” The same happened during any attempt to aim posts toward areas over 1949 Armistice lines or in the Golan Heights.

The news site notes that, as of right now, the posting system merely becomes burdensome; whereas choosing “Israel” should aim the posts to all of the State of Israel automatically, separate settings are required to specify areas Facebook apparently deems as outside its borders.

Facebook did not respond to the channel’s requests for comment.

From

Book Review ~~ THE IDEA OF ISRAEL: A HISTORY OF POWER AND KNOWLEDGE

If you are an Israeli and are a product of the Israeli education system, especially under the age of 40, read this book.

If you are a Jewish-American and have been blindly consuming your institutional, mainstream “idea of Israel,” read this book.

If you are a U.S. lawmaker, writing the annual checks to Israel and playing jack-in-the-box every time the Israeli prime minister speaks in the Congress, read this book.

If you are a Palestinian who thinks Israelis are not worth engaging because they all know the history, read this book.

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On THE IDEA OF ISRAEL

By Sam Bahour

This book will go down in history as a monumental recording of the Israeli History Industry for generations to come. At its core, the book is a snapshot into a decade of inner Israeli dynamics, from 1990 to 2000, when the basic assumptions that Israel propagated for decades about how the ‘miracle’ of Israel came into being started to be challenged. The history of how this decade was reached is as fascinating as how horrific has been its aftermath.

Except for its last chapter, this book is not for everyone. Israeli historian, Ilan Pappe, takes the reader through the maze of knowledge creation in Israel and how that journey has interacted with power. The invaluable intellectual contribution and framing that Professor Pappe provides cannot be overstated. He documents for all serious researchers who follow how the dust (or more like blood) of Israel’s foundational moment has yet to settle. The events in and around 1948 that led to the creation of Israel and the colossal loss of Palestine were such a historic tragedy that even the well-oiled Israeli and Zionist public relations machines have been unable get traction to settle the historic account.

In today’s messy and distracted world, those who write (or for that matter, make films and movies, produce theater and art, compose music, write poetry, and the like) frequently have a moment when they question the value of their creative works. Well, Professor Pappe makes it abundantly clear where all these creative works fall in the bigger picture and why it is of utmost importance that we never lose sight that every progressive act of creativity which speaks truth to power is a data point towards rectifying the injustices of the world. When the injustice is the source of a nation’s creation, the process of correction is excruciatingly slow, but inevitable if strategically addressed.

The last chapter of The Idea of Israel is titled, “Brand Israel 2013”. This is a brief but shockingly telling account of how much money and brain power Israel is willing to dump into a bottomless bucket while trying to force feed a fabrication into mainstream knowledge. The notion of actually correcting the historic mistakes, any of them, is not even considered.

As I noted above, the book is not for everyone;

If you are an Israeli and are a product of the Israeli education system, especially under the age of 40, read this book.

If you are a Jewish-American and have been blindly consuming your institutional, mainstream “idea of Israel,” read this book.

If you are a U.S. lawmaker, writing the annual checks to Israel and playing jack-in-the-box every time the Israeli prime minister speaks in the Congress, read this book.

If you are a Palestinian who thinks Israelis are not worth engaging because they all know the history, read this book.

My hat is off, again, to Professor and friend, Ilan Pappe, for an invaluable contribution to peace with justice.

Happy purposeful reading.

The Idea of Israel: A History of Power and Knowledge

By Ilan Pappe

Publisher: Verso (January 2014)

http://www.versobooks.com/books/1117-the-idea-of-israel

GAZA ~~ A WINDOW TO HELL

A destroyed home in Khuzaa, September 2014. (Anne Paq /ActiveStills)

A destroyed home in Khuzaa, September 2014. (Anne Paq /ActiveStills)

A window to hell in Gaza

Spending the day of 17 August in Khuzaa was like peering through a window to hell. But what we witnessed in the landscape of apocalyptic oblivion paled in comparison to the experience described to me by two Palestine Red Crescent volunteers who had attempted to break through the Israeli military cordon during the siege of the town.

Twenty-five-year-old Ahmed Awad and 24-year-old Ala’a Alkusofi arrived at the edge of Khuzaa at a time when Red Cross ambulance crews refused to travel anywhere near the town. They said they had come to collect the body of a man whom soldiers had lashed to a tree by both arms and shot in the leg. When they arrived at the site, the soldiers ordered the driver of their ambulance, Muhammed Abadla, to exit the vehicle. When he obliged, they told him to walk five meters forward and switch on a flashlight. As soon as he flicked the light on, the soldiers shot him in the chest and killed him.

“It was something I’ll never forget,” Awad recalled, “seeing a colleague killed like that in front of me. I couldn’t believe what I witnessed.”

The two Red Crescent volunteers told me they later found a man in Khuzaa with rigor mortis, holding both hands over his head in surrender, his body filled with bullets. Deeper in the town, they discovered an entire family so badly decomposed they had to be shoveled with a bulldozer into a mass grave. In a field on the other side of town, Awad and Alkusofi found a shell-shocked woman at least 80 years of age hiding in a chicken coop. She had taken shelter there for nine days during the siege, living off of nothing but chicken feed and rain water. “She couldn’t believe it when we found her,” said Alkusofi. “She was sure she would die with the chickens.”

Horror stories

In nearly every shattered home I entered in Khuzaa, on every bomb-cratered street, in destroyed mosques and vandalized schools, I heard horror stories like this. Every resident I met in this town was touched by the violence in one way or another. While visiting the town, I wandered into the courtyard of a rehabilitation clinic for women and children afflicted with Continuous Traumatic Stress Disorder — a condition that affects a solid majority of youth in Gaza.

Located on a street lined with four-story apartments pockmarked with bullets and tank shells, the school was completely empty, but the signs of an Israeli presence were everywhere. As we entered, we found Stars of David spray painted by soldiers across the walls, right below colorful heart-shaped paper cut-outs bearing the names of students. In the closet of an administrative office that was neatly kept except for a few scattered papers, I found a spent M72 Light Anti-Tank Weapon. It was one of the shoulder-mounted launching tubes manufactured in Mesa, Arizona, by the Norwegian-owned Nammo arms corporation. The weapon had been used by the Israelis to rocket civilian homes across Gaza’s boundary regions.

In a classroom across the courtyard, sunrays burst through a gaping hole in the wall about the size of a 120mm tank shell. They shone light on a series of colorful posters decorated with matching ribbons that contained motivational messages. They read:

It always seems impossible until it’s done

Stay alive

Look to the future

No negative thoughts allowed

We wandered around the corner, past a group of children filling a jug of water from a truck that replaced the water tower Israeli forces detonated, past the giant dome of the Ebad al-Rahman mosque, which now sat on a pile of rubble next to the toppled water tower like the ancient ruins of some bygone empire. Nearby, we entered a small courtyard surrounded by a warren of shattered homes. At the edge of the yard, a small boy lay impassively in his bed in a room with no walls. A ceiling fan that looked as though it had been melted dangled above his head. In the center of the yard sat a gigantic olive green barrel. It was a spent Giant Viper round — one of the C4-packed mine clearing devices the Israelis fired into the center of Khuzaa during the assault on the town. A hen flapped its wings next to the barrel and chased after baby chicks bouncing through the rubble.

“Where are you from?” an old man called out to me from the road. He wore large spectacles and a morning robe, his front pocket stuffed with paper notepads, various cards and a glasses holder. He reminded me of my older Jewish relatives who came of age before the digital era and grew accustomed to carrying stacks of business cards, coupons and handwritten reminders in their shirt and coat pockets along with assorted mints and pens.

“I’m from America,” I told the man, readying for an indignant response.

“Ahhhh, Amreeka,” he grumbled. “I want to thank the American people,” the man continued, advancing to within two feet of me. “They are nice people, they give us food and bread and they give the Israelis weapons to kill us. They have different standards. It would be nice if they treated us all as humans.”

“We love life”

He introduced himself as Ali Ahmed Qudeh, the father of Kamal Qudeh, the doctor who treated the town’s wounded under heavy bombardment and in spite of being injured himself. Like his son, Ali Ahmed was a supporter of Fatah, the rivals of Hamas. And like virtually everyone I met in Gaza, he was an ardent supporter of the armed resistance of the Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ armed wing. “Our weapons are not terrorist weapons, our weapons are [for] self-defense,” he insisted. “Our weapons are to free our land. We are dignified people, we love life. We don’t hate life like they say. But we’ll die for our land.”

As a group of small children gathered in the courtyard, Ali Ahmed detailed to me how many family members each child lost in the assault on Khuzaa. Pointing at the little boy lying in bed, he suggested that the most devastating consequence of the war was not the death toll, but the psychological impact on the youngest members of his community.

“That kid wants to make an atomic bomb and obliterate Israel!” he roared. “Why? Because he saw his family members die in front of him! How can you raise kids who want to make bombs?”

When I made my way back into the road, I heard Ali Ahmed call after me again. He was rushing forward through the rubble with a tray of sweets. “I don’t mean to say that all Americans are bad,” he said, urging me to take a freshly baked cookie. “It’s the government that’s the problem, not the people.”

Just then, an Israeli squadron of American-made F-16s roared through the sky. A small girl standing beside me ducked reflexively at the sound of the jets, bracing for another missile strike. The war was far from over.

This essay is excerpted from Max Blumenthal’s new book, The 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gazapublished by Nation Books.

VIDEO ~~ GAZA WAR; ONE YEAR LATER AND WHY BDS IS A MUST

Video: BDS and the Gaza war — Ali Abunimah on France 24

This week I’m on a speaking tour in France organized by Campagne BDS France.

At events in Paris, Bordeaux, Montpellier and Lyon, we’re marking 10 years since the Palestinian call forboycott, divestment and sanctions.

This week we also mark the first anniversary of the beginning of Israel’s 51-day assault on Gaza that killed more than 2,200 people and devastated the territory. One year on there’s been almost no reconstruction, no lifting of the siege and no accountability for those who committed these crimes.

While in Paris I was interviewed by the news channel France 24 about these topics, as well as Palestinians’ right to resist and a one-state solution.

Such a broad-ranging discussion about Palestine on a mainstream news channel is rare, at least in my experience. Watch the English-language interview above.

IN PHOTOS ~~ INTERNATIONAL AL QUDS DAY IN TIMES SQUARE

Photos  © by Bud Korotzer

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IN PHOTOS ~~ GAZA REMEMBERED ON THE STREETS OF NEW YORK

Photos  © by Bud Korotzer

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PINKWASHING PALESTINE

Last week, in an article on the controversial rainbow flag mural a Palestinian artist painted on Israel’s apartheid wall, the Associated Press made this claim: “A 1951 Jordanian law banning homosexual acts remains in effect in the West Bank, as does a ban in Gaza passed by British authorities in 1936.”

In fact, there is no law in the West Bank, or in Jordan, that bans sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex.

Khaled Jarrar’s rainbow mural “Through the Spectrum” painted on the Israeli separation wall near Qalandiya checkpoint in the occupied West Bank. (Khaled Jarrar)

Khaled Jarrar’s rainbow mural “Through the Spectrum” painted on the Israeli separation wall near Qalandiya checkpoint in the occupied West Bank. (Khaled Jarrar)

AP corrects story falsely claiming homosexuality is illegal for Palestinians

Last week, in an article on the controversial rainbow flag mural a Palestinian artist painted on Israel’s apartheid wall, the Associated Press made this claim: “A 1951 Jordanian law banning homosexual acts remains in effect in the West Bank, as does a ban in Gaza passed by British authorities in 1936.”

In fact, there is no law in the West Bank, or in Jordan, that bans sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex.

Yesterday, several days after I contacted AP to inform them of this, they issued the following correction:

In a story June 30 about Palestinian protesters whitewashing a gay pride rainbow flag, The Associated Press reported erroneously that homosexual acts are banned by law in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. While homosexuality is largely taboo in Palestinian society, there are no laws specifically banning homosexual acts.

This may surprise people, since the notion that homosexual activity is criminal – and even punishable by death – is a staple of a form of anti-Palestinian propaganda called pinkwashing.

Pinkwashing is a rhetorical strategy that deploys Israel’s supposed enlightenment toward LGBTQ issues todeflect criticism from Israel’s human rights abuses and war crimes and to seek to build up support for Israel among Western liberals and progressives.

In a 2 July email, I pointed AP editors to the annual publication State-Sponsored Homophobia, from international LGBTQ advocacy group ILGA. Its 2014 edition states (emphasis added):

The British Mandate Criminal Code Ordinance, No. 74 of 1936 is in force in Gaza.

Section 152(2) of the Code criminalizes sexual acts between men with a penalty of up to 10 years.

This Code was in force also in Jordan until 1951 and in Israel until 1977, before they adopted their own Penal Codes. Note that in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), however, the Jordanian Penal Code of 1951, largely modified in 1960, is in force, having no prohibition on sexual acts between persons of the same sex.

AP editors were initially skeptical and pushed back, insisting that various clauses in the Jordanian Penal Code that applies in the occupied West Bank indirectly outlawed homosexual activity.

I’m glad that after they delved deeper into the matter, they have done the right thing and made a correction.

Expert views

The AP’s mistake also led me to look deeper into the issue.

I asked two experts for some background on the law in Jordan as well as the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip and the kinds of claims made about it.

Anis F. Kassim is one of the foremost experts on international, Jordanian and Palestinian law and long-time editor-in-chief of the Palestinian Yearbook of International Law. He was also an adviser to the Palestinian legal team in the successful 2004 case against Israel’s wall in the West Bank at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

Kassim confirmed that the Jordanian Penal Code “is silent on acts committed by adults of the same sex with their own respective free will.” But I also wanted to know if any other clauses, not explicitly mentioning homosexual activity, had been used to target people who engage in such activity.

“Having checked the reported cases – as published – and with the old and young practitioners, I have not found any court case involving homosexuality,” Kassim told me.

As regards the 1936 law still in force in Gaza, Kassim said that it “could be interpreted as allowing homosexuality.” But he noted that such acts in Gaza would potentially be “punishable if the act was committed by force against the victim. By implication, if it is committed with free will of the victim it may not be a criminal act.”

“Chain of fabrications”

I also spoke with Joseph Massad, the foremost academic authority on Jordan who has written the classic book on the country Colonial Effects: The Making of National Identity in Jordan. Massad is also author of Desiring Arabs and Islam in Liberalism.

Massad says that the original, incorrect AP report “is part of the more generalized racist campaign by Western pro-Israel news organizations that want to insist on pinkwashing Israeli crimes with the added benefit of propagandizing against neighboring Arab countries.”

He observes that ILGA itself “used to be part of such propaganda efforts, claiming without evidence” in the 1993 edition of its annual Pink Book that Jordan criminalized homosexuality.

“It seems the Associated Press was simply repeating such propaganda and might very likely have relied directly on it, not having updated its sources,” Massad states.

Massad says that ILGA’s website later corrected the mistake, “by referring to a mostly ignorant Orientalist book written by a German and an Israeli collaborator – even if in this one case the authors got the story right – rather than by referring to the actual text of the law.”

The bigger point, he says, is that since “Western propaganda is based on a chain of propagandistic fabrications, you end up getting [organizations like] AP quoting ILGA quoting other German and Israeli sources. What is always absent is an actual Arab documentary source.”

Massad notes that, as in the AP story, “the law itself is never quoted nor is a history of its case application even explored, but rather what is presented is anti-Arab propaganda buttressed by any opinion that would help the AP Jerusalem bureau prove Israel’s superiority over the Arabs.”

The 1936 British Mandate criminal code for Palestine makes it illegal for men to have sex with women or men in a way that “contravenes natural laws.” That law remained in effect in Israel until 1977, in contrast with Jordanian law that did not criminalize such acts at all.

Yet, Massad observes, “we never read stories by AP and other Western news organizations between 1951 and 1977 about how retrograde and repressive Israel was toward homosexuals compared to its Arab neighbors, including the West Bank before and after Israel occupied it. This could very well be because the US and Western Europe also repressed their homosexuals during this period.”

“Who knows?” Massad observes dryly, “Maybe Israeli homosexuals fled to the West Bank between 1967 and 1977 to avoid prosecution in Israel.”

“But after Israel replaced the law in 1977, not only does AP not contrast it negatively with its Jordanian and Palestinian neighbors who had not criminalized such acts for decades before Israel,” he says, “but AP fabricates a story to make Israel look superior to both of them.”

No asylum

Even the corrected story still asserts that “Gay Palestinians tend to be secretive about their social lives and some have crossed into Israel to live safely.” This claim, often based on unverifiable anecdotes, is also a staple of Israeli pinkwashing.

But a 2008 Tel Aviv University study of the handful of known cases – “Nowhere to Run: Gay Palestinian Asylum-Seekers in Israel” – found that Israel subjects Palestinians to particularly atrocious treatment, expelling them precisely because they are Palestinian. There is no legal framework that allows any Palestinian to seek asylum in present-day Israel.

Israel’s foundational laws and policies are designed precisely to keep Palestinians out, as they are considered a “demographic threat.”

Massad says it is worth asking how the “error” was committed in the first place, “and how the news organization initially came to decide that there was an anti-homosexual law in Jordan and the West Bank where none existed.”

“Indeed, AP, the largest and perhaps the richest news organization in the world, has consultants and fact checkers that often check claims made by those who oppose US and Israeli policies,” he states, “but it seems little is made of their expertise when it comes to endorsing US and Israeli propaganda, and it had to be left to The Electronic Intifada to alert them.”

GAG ORDER OR RACISM?

Almost a year ago a mentally challenged young Ethiopian man allegedly crossed over from Israel to the Gaza Strip. About the same time, a young Bedouin from Israel also crossed over. Neither were heard from since and nothing appeared in the Israeli press about their disappearances.

WHY ???

Does no one give a damn or is it only the government of Israel that doesn’t?

You decide after reading the following …

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An Israeli has been missing in the Gaza Strip for ten months, it was revealed on Thursday morning following the lifting of a gag order.

Avraham Mengistu, 29, a resident of Ashkelon, left his home in the city in the early hours on September 8, 2014 and never returned after crossing the border into Gaza.

A second citizen, a Bedouin resident of the south, is also reported missing.

Gag order lifted: Two Israelis held captive in Gaza

Possibly mentally ill Ethiopian Israeli apparently crossed border fence of his own free will, and was captured in September 2014; second citizen also reported to be in captivity.

An Israeli has been missing in the Gaza Strip for ten months, it was revealed on Thursday morning following the lifting of a gag order.

Avraham Mengistu, 29, a resident of Ashkelon, left his home in the city in the early hours on September 8, 2014 and never returned after crossing the border into Gaza.

A second citizen, a Bedouin resident of the south, is also reported missing.

A senior defense official said there was no current information on Mengistu’s fate, and that he had initially been arrested by Hamas. According to the source, Hamas claimed it had questioned Mengistu but released him because he was not a soldier. The official furthermore said there were attempts to negotiate his release.

According to Yoav Mordechai, the coordinator of government activities in the territories, current information suggests that Mengistu is being held by Hamas. However, senior defense officials said it was unclear whether this was the case.

A senior Palestinian official in the Gaza Strip who is familiar with the case told Ynet that Mengistu was held by Hamas in Gaza at one point and released him after realizing he was not a soldier. According to the source, Hamas announced that Mengistu had left Gaza through tunnels in Rafah and continued on to Egypt, and that he is no longer in Gaza.

“Now that the story of my brother has finally come out, we will no longer remain silent,” the missing man’s brother, Yalu Mengistu, told Yedioth Ashkelon. “There will be rallies and demonstrations, there will be media coverage and especially, we will be talking. They will hear us. We have lost confidence in the country and it seems like it does not care about our brother. The prime minister bothered to contact us only this week, on Wednesday. We sent him a letter at the beginning of the incident and he could not find the time to meet with us.”

Sources say that Mengistu began walking on the beach, heading south. He reached the Zikim beach area, and continued walking south until he crossed the military obstacles on the beach that divide Israel from Gaza.

Mengistu is allegedly mentally ill and is known to the Ashkelon social services.

Security forces stationed in the area noticed the man after he had crossed the border, and forces were immediately dispatched to the area, including a helicopter and ground troops. Mengistu continued on his path into Gaza and never returned.

The military wing of Hamas, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, held a mass rally in Rafah in September of 2014. On the day of the rally, a display was erected in Rafah — a tall pole with a big black square attached to it with the writing “the black box” in Hebrew and Arabic. The sign, which Hamas failed to explain, caused a stir in Gaza, and the Palestinian media in the Strip tried to no avail to figure out the nature of the vague message.

Hamas apparently hoped that the case would be reported in Israeli media, but began pushing the issue in Arab media sources when they realized that a gag order had prevented reports from emerging that would reach the Israeli public. From there, the story reached international media — specifically bloggers, as official news agencies could not verify the story through the Israeli government.

A joint investigation was launched by the Shin Bet and the Southern District Police’s terrorism unit.

It later transpired the Ethiopian immigrant had left his home and gone missing for days at a time on numerous occasions.

His family reported three different cases in the past in which he left home and failed to return.

His family was informed of the situation by social services shortly after Mengistu reportedly crossed the border.

Mengistu’s mother lives in Ashkelon, while his father lives in central Israel. He has eight siblings.

The lifting of the gag order came after Hamas leader Khaled Mashal claimed Wednesday that Israel had sent messages to the group through a European intermediary, asking the organization to return the bodies of two soldiers in their possession since Operation Protective Edge.

Gaza residents were witness on Wednesday evening to a parade by the organization’s military wing marking the anniversary of Operation Protective Edge. The procession included a mock tank and a giant fist holding “military ID tags” belonging to Staff Sergeant Oron Shaul alongside two tags bearing question marks.

Staff Sergeant Oron Shaul was killed in the “Golani Tragedy” in Saja’iyya on July 20, 2014. Six of his friends were killed in the attack and Shaul was declared as missing. Five days after the incident, then head of the IDF’s manpower directorate, and current Chief Military Rabbi notified the family of Oron’s death.

Goldin was killed in an incident which would later be dubbed the “Black Friday,” in Rafah. The commander of the Givati reconnaissance company, Major Benaya Sarel, and his radioman Sergeant Liel Gidoni where killed in the incident as well. Sec.-Lt. Hadar Goldin was declared missing, and later declared dead, as a result of brave actions by Captian Eitan Pond, which brought forward the evidence necessary to assume he had died.

 

Source

*

And FROM (Click on link)

Two Israeli Citizens Kidnapped by Hamas

An Israeli Arab and an Israeli of Ethiopian descent are both being held in Gaza.

GAZA, ONE YEAR LATER ~~ A VIDEO TO WATCH AND SHARE

Prominent Jews and Palestinians and others stand for Palestine in this heartbreaking video with Jonathan Demme, Gloria Steinem, Tony Kushner, Diana Buttu, Chuck D, Eve Ensler, Brian Eno, Roger Waters, Mira Nair, Wallace Shawn, Naomi Klein, Mira Nair, Raj Patel, Noura Erakat and many others. To learn more or take action, visit freedom4palestine.org. Project of JewishVoiceforPeace.org with assistance from IMEU.org (Institute of Middle East Understanding)

*

Meanwhile, Israel is preparing for their next round … (Click on link)

A year on, army looks to last Gaza war for lessons on fighting the next one

 

GAZA, A YEAR LATER ~~ THE REAL STORY AND THE ONE FROM REUTERS

The Western Media has their own version

The Western Media has their own version

Gaza Today …..

Gaza today ....

Gaza today ….

The real report here …. (click on link)

‘I feel only pain’: Gaza children suffer emotional trauma one year after war – report

Regular nightmares, fear about another war and refusal to step outside their homes – all these are symptoms of emotional trauma experienced by the children of Gaza a year on from the deadly Israeli operation, a report by an international watchdog says.

And the Reuters whitewash … (Click on link)

Gazans look to a hopeful future through resilient character

A year after Operation Protective Edge, there is a stark contrast in Gaza’s scenery, where destroyed neighborhoods can be seen from the roof of a new boutique hotel.

 

ISIS OR ZION; WHO WANTS TO RID JERUSALEM OF CHRISTIANS?

It's pretty obvious what the answer is

It’s pretty obvious what the answer is

One really has to wonder who the real culprits are ….

ISIS purportedly threatens to ‘slaughter’ Christian Arabs living in Jerusalem

 Flyer purportedly issued by an ISIS branch in Jerusalem that threaten Christian Arabs. (photo credit:Courtesy)


Flyer purportedly issued by an ISIS branch in Jerusalem that threaten Christian Arabs. (photo credit:Courtesy)

Menacing Arabic flyers, purportedly issued by an Islamic State branch in Jerusalem, threatened Christian Arabs over the weekend with slaughter unless they flee the capital by the end of Ramadan.

While the authenticity of the leaflets, which bear the Islamic State insignia, cannot be verified, they called upon like-minded zealots to identify “those who collaborate with the Zionists” and provide their addresses.

“Those who work with the Zionists also encourage Muslims to leave their religion and become more secular and open, and they spread evil,” the leaflet stated. “They take these Muslims away from us…. We know where they are, but we need help to find them all – all those Christian collaborators.”

A police spokesman on Monday said that he was unaware of the leaflets, which were clandestinely distributed roughly one week after a church by Lake Kinneret was set alight in an apparent hate crime.

The note goes on to state that “ISIS soldiers will work to kill these people so this country is clean of them and… will clean this country and the Muslim Quarter from these Christians during this holy Ramadan.”

It added that the group’s operatives will begin their search in the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Beit Hanina, Shuafat, the Muslim Quarter of the Old City, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

“Because the Christians violated the Pact of Omar [made when Muslims conquered Jerusalem], we will do this,” the note concluded. “So we tell our Christians and the nonbelievers: Go away now or you will be killed when the Id [al Fitr festival ending Ramadan] is near.

And you will be slaughtered like the sheep. One month is enough for them to go away.”

The leaflets were signed “The Islamic State – Emirate of Bayt al-Maqdis [the Holy City, i.e., Jerusalem].”

While no Christian Arabs who received the note agreed to be interviewed, one Israeli man with numerous Arab friends said the vitriol has rattled some within the community.

“They’re fearful for their lives and don’t want to go to the police because they feel that the police won’t be responsive,” the man said, requesting anonymity.

“What’s most problematic is that in this case individuals aren’t being targeted but an entire group, which is pretty darn serious,” he continued.

“If leaflets with swastikas and similar threats were sent to Jewish neighborhoods, people would be outraged. I hope and pray it amounts to nothing at all.”

Noam Ivri and Seth Frantzman contributed to the translation of this document.

Source

BREAKING THE FAST FOR PEACE

“When God created us He didn’t say ‘You’re a Muslim, you’re a Christian, you’re a Jew’.”  “We are all humans and I wanted to share the good precious holy moments of Ramadan with other people. Everyone has a different view and perspective we need to share it together to remove the anger and the sadness in the area.”

Jews and Muslims sit together for an iftar meal in Jerusalem (Photo: Linda Gradstein/The Media Line)

Jews and Muslims sit together for an iftar meal in Jerusalem (Photo: Linda Gradstein/The Media Line)

Muslims, Jews hold joint iftar meals for Ramadan fast

Jewish families hosted by Palestinian families for post-fast meal; ‘I wanted to share the good precious holy moments of Ramadan with other people,’ says Arab woman hosting Jews for iftar.

As the call to prayer marking the end of the day-long Ramadan fast echoed from a nearby mosque, the two dozen people sat down and began eating. There were many traditional Arab foods, and conversation flowed easily. It looked like any post-fasting dinner table in the Arab world.

What was unique here is that most of the guests had never met the hosts, Bronka and Aref Tahboub, before this night. The Tahboubs had opened their home to a group of Israeli Jews who wanted to experience the iftar meal.

“There are so many things here that we don’t control,” Aref told The Media Line in fluent Hebrew. “But Arabs and Jews have to live together. I’ve worked with Jews all my life and I want my children to get to know Jews.”

The meeting was organized by Kids4Peace, a grassroots organization that brings Muslim, Christian and Jewish children in Jerusalem together. About 25 Jewish families signed up to be hosted by Palestinian families, along with their children.

The Tahboubs have three children, two boys, age 14 and 11, and a daughter who is 9, and all three children are fasting. While it is only compulsory to fast from puberty, many children choose to start earlier.

“They see all of their neighbors fasting, and they want to do it too,” Bronka, an English teacher told The Media Line. “Ramadan is a special time for us. We believe that the gates of hell are closed, and the sky opens the doors to our prayers.”

Ramadan also marks the time that Muslims believe Allah revealed the Qur’an to the Prophet Mohammed, who was illiterate. As it based on the solar calendar, rather than the lunar calendar, it rotates through the seasons. Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. Mohammed used to break his fast with a date, and Muslims today do the same.

At the Tahboubs in the upscale East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina, the Jewish guests quickly feel at home.

“It starts with me being a citizen of Jerusalem,” Duel Peli, a lawyer whose daughter attends Kids4Peace told The Media Line. “Jerusalem is a mixed city with people from different ethnic origins and different nationalities. I live in this city I want to be friendly with as many of the different populations as I can.”

He says that being part of Kids4Peace, which divides the children into groups of one-third Jewish, one-third Christian and one-third Muslim, has been an eye-opening experience for him. The parents have parallel workshops to the children, who go to summer camp together in the US.

“I find myself in the minority which is an important feeling for me to have,” he said. “It makes me understand what it is like to be a minority in Jerusalem and in Israel.”

The population in Jerusalem is two-thirds Jewish and one-third Arab, divided between Muslims and Christians. The meetings have continued despite more than a year of tensions in Jerusalem, which began last June when Hamas terrorists kidnapped and killed three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank. Jewish extremists then kidnapped a Palestinian boy, Mohammed Abu Khdeir, from Shuafat, a neighborhood less than a mile from Beit Hanina. Bronka Tahboub says she knows Mohammed’s father well, and visited him after his son was killed.

His death, and the fighting between Israel and Hamas last summer in Gaza, during which several rockets were fired toward Jerusalem, has negatively affected her nine-year-old daughter Leen, who for the past year has refused to sleep in her own bed.

Yet Bronka says the tensions have only strengthened her resolve to reach out to her Jewish neighbors.

“When God created us He didn’t say ‘You’re a Muslim, you’re a Christian, you’re a Jew’,” she said. “We are all humans and I wanted to share the good precious holy moments of Ramadan with other people. Everyone has a different view and perspective we need to share it together to remove the anger and the sadness in the area.”

After dinner, as the kids played soccer outside, Bronka took out a water pipe and began puffing on melon and mint scented tobacco. As the water pipe made its rounds, the tensions in Jerusalem between Arabs and Jews seemed far away.

 

 

FROM

BEX ALERT ~~ ISRAELI ‘NON-VIOLENCE’ DOCUMENTED ON VIDEO

The video Israel doesn’t want you to see ….

Image by Latuff

Image by Latuff

Israelis use electric stun guns on Gaza flotilla passengers

*

Ali Abunimah

Contrary to Israeli claims that the Marianne was taken peacefully, this video shows that armed commandos used brutal violence against unarmed passengers aboard the Gaza-bound boat early on Monday.

According to the organizers of the flotilla, 14 of the 18 civilian passengers and crew remain in Israeli custody more than two days after they were violently abducted in international waters to prevent them breaking the Israeli-imposed siege on Gaza.

Palestinian citizen of Israel and member of the Israeli parliament Basel Ghattas, former Tunisian president Moncef Marzouki, Spanish European Parliament member Ana Miranda and Israeli journalist Ohad Hemo have been released.

The other passengers remain in detention at Givon prison in present-day Israel.

Violent attack

The video shows Ghattas addressing officers on an Israeli naval ship through a megaphone.

Ghattas says that he is not in command of the Marianne but is speaking with the captain’s permission. He offers the Israelis that they send one unarmed person onto the Marianne to talk to the captain.

The Israeli officer asks, “You’re suggesting that one of us come aboard unarmed?”

Ghattas responds: “Unarmed, he boards the ship and we talk to him.”

The offer appears to have been rejected as the video – first released by Israeli media – then shows the Israeli commandos announcing their intention to forcibly seize the boat.

The Israeli officer also lectures the passengers that they are on their way to “support a regime that has the same ideology as those who committed act of terror on your coast” – an apparent reference to the massacre of tourists on a Tunisian beach which has no connection whatsoever to Gaza or the people or groups in it.

Not only that, but Islamic State, the group that claimed the Tunisia attack, recently threatened all-out waragainst the Palestinian resistance group Hamas which runs the interior of Gaza.

One of the passengers then replies, “Why this bullshit? We are not supporting any regime.”

The video then apparently shows Israeli commandos attacking a screaming passenger with a Taser – an electrical stun gun. Someone is heard to shout, “Stop, stop what you’re doing!”

The video then also shows the invaders speaking again with Ghattas, addressing him as a member of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset.

Ghattas tells them: “you are now attacking a ship on international waters.”

An Israeli continues to make violent threats, saying “we don’t want to hurt you.”

The faces of the Israeli attackers are obscured, something likely done to protect them from possible prosecution over what flotilla organizers have previously termed an act of piracy.

ISRAEL APPLAUDS THE WORLD’S SILENCE

In a statement Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu justified the seizure of the Marianne, claiming that the “flotilla is nothing but a demonstration of hypocrisy and lies that is only assisting the Hamas terrorist organization and ignores all of the horrors in our region.”

Netanyahu insisted that “preventing entry by sea was done in accordance with international law and even received backing from a committee of the UN Secretary General.”

“Israel is the only democracy that defends itself in accordance with international law,” Netanyahu insisted, adding that “there is no siege on Gaza.”

martin-luther-king-silent

Israel seizes Gaza-bound boat in “act of piracy”

Palestinian children take part in a rally to show support for the latest attempt to break the siege of Gaza by sea, at the Gaza City port on 28 June 2015. (Ashraf Amra APA images)

Palestinian children take part in a rally to show support for the latest attempt to break the siege of Gaza by sea, at the Gaza City port on 28 June 2015. (Ashraf Amra APA images)

Israeli forces boarded and commandeered the Marianne on Monday, one of four boats that were bound for Gaza in the latest attempt to break the tight Israeli siege of the occupied territory.

At around 2 am Gaza time Marianne was surrounded by three Israeli navy boats while in international waters more than 100 miles off the coast of Gaza, organizers Freedom Flotilla III said in a press release.

“After that we lost contact with the Marianne and at 05:11 am (Gaza time) the IDF [Israeli army] announced that they had ‘visited and searched’ Marianne,” the press release states. “They had captured the boat and detained all on board ‘in international waters’ as they admitted themselves. The only positive content in the IDF announcement was that they still recognize that there is a naval blockade of Gaza, despite the Netanyahu government’s recent denial that one exists.”

Organizers called the seizure of the boat and its passengers an “act of piracy.”

Israel’s Haaretzreports that the boat is being towed to Usdud (Ashdod), a port in present-day Israel, where the passengers “will be interrogated before being escorted to Ben Gurion Airport and flown out of Israel.”

The 18 passengers aboard the Marianne include Basel Ghattas, a Palestinian citizen of Israel and member of the Israeli parliament, former Tunisian president Moncef Marzuki, Spanish member of the European Parliament Ana Miranda and Professor Robert Lovelace, retired chief of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation in Canada.

Many Palestinians in had eagerly awaited the flotilla, hoping that it would call international attention to the siege which Israel imposed eight years ago.

Members of the crew of the Marianne, which was seized by Israeli forces in international waters early on 29 June as it headed toward Gaza. (Freedom Flotilla III)

Members of the crew of the Marianne, which was seized by Israeli forces in international waters early on 29 June as it headed toward Gaza. (Freedom Flotilla III)

Three other boats – Rachel, Vittorio and Juliano II – that also made up the flotilla have headed back to their ports of origin.

In total, 47 passengers from 17 countries were aboard the boats, which carried medicines, solar panels and above all a strong message of solidarity for the 1.8 million Palestinians still besieged in Gaza one year after Israel began its 51-day destructive assault that killed more than 2,200 people.

An independent UN Human Rights Council inquiry into the attack, published last week, found extensive evidence of war crimes approved by Israel’s leaders at the “highest level.”

Violence incitement

Ghattas joined the flotilla despite violent threats and incitement from fellow lawmakers in Israel to lift his parliamentary immunity so that he could be prosecuted.

Yair Lapid, head of Israel’s purportedly centrist Yesh Atid party, for instance denounced the flotilla as a “provocation against the state of Israel.”

“This is a flotilla of a group of terror supporters a heinous flotilla that needs to be stopped,” Lapid added. “We need to act against the flotilla the same way we do when dispersing a violent protest and these guys need to all be arrested.”

In a Huffington Post column on Sunday, Ghattas defended his right to take part in the flotilla.

Bigots in “a discriminatory Jewish state as a white Southern extremist in a Confederate state, seek to diminish the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel and their representatives in the parliament,” Ghattas writes.

“More than anything, it is obvious that the situation of Palestinians in Gaza will inevitably lead to another round of bloody war, perhaps even more horrifying than the one we had less than one year ago,” Ghattas adds. “Still, my very outspoken colleagues in the Knesset would not even consider lifting the blockade as a means to avoid future war.”

“No siege on Gaza”

In a statement Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu justified the seizure of the Marianne, claiming that the “flotilla is nothing but a demonstration of hypocrisy and lies that is only assisting the Hamas terrorist organization and ignores all of the horrors in our region.”

Netanyahu insisted that “preventing entry by sea was done in accordance with international law and even received backing from a committee of the UN Secretary General.”

“Israel is the only democracy that defends itself in accordance with international law,” Netanyahu insisted, adding that “there is no siege on Gaza.”

The fact that 18 civilians aboard a yacht cannot sail to Gaza, and that there has been virtually no reconstruction in Gaza since Israel’s attack last year would tend to undermine Netanyahu’s contention.

According to Haaretz, after boarding the boat, Israeli army gunmen were “to hand out a letter issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, welcoming [the captives] to Israel and wondering why they sailed to Gaza and not Syria.”

“Perhaps you meant to sail somewhere else nearby – Syria, where Assad’s regime is massacring his people every day, with the support of the murderous Iranian regime,” the letter would reportedly state.

Netanyahu’s statement did not specify which UN “committee” he was talking about, but this was a likely reference to the 2011 “Palmer report” commissioned by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon into Israel’s attack the previous year on the Mavi Marmara.

Turkey rejected the report into the assault that killed 10 of its citizens on the Mavi Marmara in international waters and imposed sanctions on Israel.

The inquiry was heavily criticized for bias. The four-member committee that wrote the Palmer report was chaired by former New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer and vice-chaired by former president of Colombia Alvaro Uribe, a notorious human rights abuser close to Israel.

The inquiry commissioned by Ban was in addition to an official UN Human Rights Council fact-finding missionwhich found that Israel’s attack on the 2010 flotilla was illegal.

Determined

“It is disappointing that the Israeli government chose to continue the absolutely fruitless policy of ‘no tolerance,’ meaning it will continue to enforce an inhumane and illegal collective punishment against 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza,” flotilla organizers said in their statement.

“Israel’s repeated acts of state piracy in international waters are worrying signs that the occupation and blockade policy extends to the entire eastern Mediterranean.”

They also urged governments”to ensure that all passengers and crew from the Marianne are safe, and to strongly protest against the violation of international maritime law by the Israeli state.”

“We call on all civil society organizations to condemn the actions of Israel,” the statement concludes. “People all over the world will continue to respond and react to this injustice, as will we, until the port of Gaza is open and the siege and occupation is ended.”

This video, published on 20 June, shows Marianne calling at the Italian port of Messina for a solidarity visit.

Complicity kills!

Complicity kills!

SPOOF ON ISRAELI PIRACY

 

Spoof by Latuff

Spoof by Latuff

Israel seizes activist flotilla headed to Gaza

Naval special forces take control of ship, which carried 20 activists including MK Basel Ghattas, without violence.

 

Full report HERE

PIRACY AT SEA ~~ LIVE ON VIDEO

‘If you see this video IDF pirates have taken us prisoner’

NETANYAHU PREPARES TO ‘WELCOME’ FLOTILLA lll TO GAZA

Four boats carrying 47 pro-Palestinian activists will be welcomed with letter from PM: ‘It looks like you took a wrong turn. Perhaps you meant to sail to a place not far from here – Syria’.

The flotilla on its way to Gaza.

The flotilla on its way to Gaza.

Israeli Navy preparing to take over Gaza-bound flotilla

The Navy has been preparing to meet on Monday a flotilla carrying 47 pro-Palestinian activists to the Gaza Strip in an attempt to break the Israeli blockade.

The Navy commandos are expected to meet the four boats at an undetermined time – sometimes between the early morning hours and evening time, some dozens of kilometers from the coasts of Israel.

There are 18 passengers aboard the main boat, Swedish vessel “Marianne av Göteborg,” including Joint Arab List MK Basel Ghattas, former Tunisian president Moncef Marzouki and activist Dror Feiler.

The “Marianne” is accompanied by three smaller boats: “Rachel,” with eight passengers on board; “Vittorio” with nine passengers on board; and “Juliano II” with 12 passengers.

The commandos will try to take over the boats using non-violent measures and lead them to the Navy base in Ashdod.

After the takeover, the activists will be taken for questioning upon their arrival to Israel and then expelled out of the country through Ben-Gurion Airport.

The Prime Minister’s Office decided to take an unusual approach to the flotilla’s arrival.

The letter goes on to say that “If you were truly interested in human rights, you would not be sailing in solidarity with a terror regime that executes Gaza residents without trial, and uses the children of Gaza as a human shield.”

“Here in Israel we are dealing with a reality in which terror organizations like Hamas are trying to harm innocent civilians. We are protecting the citizens of Israel against these attempts in accordance with international law,” the letter continues.

“Despite this, Israel is aiding in the transfer of goods and humanitarian aid to Gaza – some 800 trucks a day, which transported over 1.6 million tons of goods over the past year … Israel is aiding hundreds of humanitarian projects using international organizations, including building clinics and hospitals.

The activists on board the four boats will receive a letter when they arrive in Israel welcoming them to the country and adding, “It looks like you took a wrong turn. Perhaps you meant to sail to a place not far from here – Syria. Where Assad’s regime is slaughtering its people on a daily basis, and this is done with the support of Iran’s murderous regime.”

“However, we will not allow the transfer of weapons to terror organizations in Gaza, as has been done before through the sea. Only a year ago we thwarted an attempt to smuggle via the sea hundreds of arms meant to hurt innocent civilians.”

The PMO stresses that “there is no siege of the Gaza Strip, and you are welcomed to transfer any humanitarian equipment through Israel,” adding that “preventing entrance (to Gaza) through the sea is done in accordance with international law, and even has the backing of a UN committee.”

The IDF, meanwhile, said the flotilla was an attempt at provocation and that its troops will not fall into any traps. The commandos taking over the boats will offer the activists food and drinks, the army said.

As a lesson learned from the takeover of the Mavi Marmara flotilla in 2010, the commandos will document the takeover and the IDF Spokesman’s Office will work to quickly distribute the footage to world media before the activists could post a “victory picture” of their own.

Source

UPDATE …

Israel seizes activist flotilla headed to Gaza

Naval special forces take control of ship, which carried 20 activists including MK Basel Ghattas, without violence.

Click HERE to see report

WHO SAID THE WAR IN GAZA WAS OVER?

And while Israel’s war on Gaza was declared over, the residents of Khuzaa remain under fire.

Israeli soldiers shot 16-year-old Islam Samir Tawfiq Abu Reda in the leg. (Ezz Zanoun)

Israeli soldiers shot 16-year-old Islam Samir Tawfiq Abu Reda in the leg. (Ezz Zanoun)

Israel shoots four boys enjoying evening walk in Gaza

On Monday, 22 June, Israeli soldiers fired on a group of four boys aged 16 to 17 in the southern Gaza Stripvillage of Khuzaa. Two of the boys were hit in the legs and one was critically injured.

The four friends had walked out to the edge of the village to spend the final hour of their fast for Ramadan.

“We were there to waste time before iftar [the meal that breaks the fast],” Muhammad Sami Abu Reda, 17, told The Electronic Intifada. Muhammad was one of the two boys who escaped injury on Monday.

“It’s a very nice area. You can see the fields and farms, and we go there because it used to be closed off but now they told us we can go there,” he explained.

Severe injuries

Last month, the Hamas-led government in Gaza announced the opening of a road that runs alongside the “buffer zone,” the no-go area imposed by Israel which covers a wide swath of land on the Gaza side of the boundary with Israel, in the east and north.

The “buffer zone” was supposed to be reduced in size under the terms of last August’s ceasefire between Hamas and Israel following Israel’s 51-day attack. However, it remains unclear just where Palestinians can safely walk, drive or farm.

In the month of May alone, Israeli soldiers fired on 14 people who were close to the boundary, leaving six Palestinians injured, according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR).

Islam Samir Tawfiq Abu Reda, 16, is one of the boys shot on Monday. Lying on his hospital bed, he told The Electronic Intifada that “everyone went to the road since it was announced on the news that it had been opened.”

Islam’s calf was struck by a bullet. While his wound required more than a dozen stitches, he is healing well.

But the other youth, Ibrahim Abu Reda, remains in intensive care. The outcome of his far more severe injuries is uncertain. Two bullets entered his right leg, one near the ankle and another below the knee, shattering his shinbone and severing veins and arteries.

The night he was shot, Ibrahim was treated by Dr. Qasim Kamel in a six-hour surgery at the European Hospital near Rafah, a city in southern Gaza. Kamel told The Electronic Intifada he hopes that he will not need to amputate the teenager’s leg.

In Ibrahim’s home, his parents showed this reporter photographs of the boy lifting weights and playing sports. His father, Jamal Ahmad Abu Reda, said Ibrahim was in Khuzaa’s soccer club and loved to go to the gym. He struggled not to cry as he described his son.

With tears streaming down her face, Safaa Abu Reda, Ibrahim’s mother, said “It’s my right to see my son walking.”

She is desperately worried that her son will not be able to receive adequate treatment in Gaza and wants him to be transferred to Israel. Doctors have told her that the likelihood that Ibrahim will be able to walk again is a slim 15 percent. She believes the odds would be higher if he could get treatment in Israel.

“Why are they doing this to my son? He had no weapons,” she said. “He just went there to walk and have fun, like everyone.”

Ibrahim is the younger brother of Ahmed Abu Reda, 18, who was used as a human shield by Israeli soldiers for five days during last summer’s war, as documented by the recent UN Human Rights Council’s independent investigation of Israel’s assault on Gaza as well as by other independent observers.

Ahmed was detained by Israeli soldiers on 23 July while attempting to flee Khuzaa with the rest of his family during Israel’s 11-day ground invasion of the small village.

“Buffer zone”

Before one reaches Khuzaa’s boundary with Israel, one must drive through cultivated farmland and greenhouses where farmers grow tomatoes, melons, peppers and zucchini on plots of land demarcated with thickets of crawling cactus.

As one approaches Israel, an inconspicuous fence appears. An Israeli watchtower stands behind. This is the boundary.

Since 2005, Israel has guarded the so-called “buffer zone” here, preventing farmers from safely accessing their lands that lie within it.

While initially the zone stretched 150 meters wide into tiny Gaza, Israel has expanded it over time. In 2010 the buffer zone grew to a 300-meter-wide area that runs alongside the boundary wall.

While the area was supposed to be reduced to 100 meters following the ceasefire, Hamdi Shaqqura, deputy director of PCHR, told The Electronic Intifada that people are fired on as far away as 500 meters from the border. “There is no guarantee from Israel or the international community that Palestinians will have access to their land,” he said.

At the beginning of this year, Gisha, an Israeli organization that monitors Palestinians’ ability to move freely in and out of Gaza, sent an information request to the Israeli military regarding its policy toward the buffer zone following the ceasefire.

Like PCHR, their data also shows that the ban was enforced on a larger area than was officially declared. They have yet to receive a response from the military.

“Silent gunshots”

At the hospital, The Electronic Intifada met the two other boys who were with Ibrahim and Islam when they were shot. Muhammad Sami Abu Reda, 17, said there was no sign that any Israeli soldiers were around. The boys had just paused for a moment while taking their walk when Islam suddenly fell to the ground. Then Ibrahim. Muhammad said the gunshots were silent.

“There were no warning shots,” Muhammad explained.

Muhammad and the other youth, Hisham Abu Mutliq, 17, tried to pick their friends up off the ground, but more shots were fired toward them.

“We ran behind a sand hill to take cover, but the Israelis kept shooting,” Hisham said.

The boys were able to use their mobile phones to call an ambulance, but help did not arrive for 15 minutes. The injured boys lay bleeding on the ground.

Kamel is hopeful that Ibrahim’s leg will heal after the surgery. When The Electronic Intifada visited him at the hospital, Ibrahim was in a deep sleep, but Kamel said he has been lucid and talking in between resting.

There has been a partial clearing of the rubble in Khuzaa, restoring a semblance of normalcy. The ruins of many of the demolished homes, of which nearly 400 were completely destroyed, have been swept into neat mounds, though some remain standing with their roofs sunken through to the ground.

The least destroyed of homes still show walls riddled with bullet holes. The molding on the minaret of a mosque in the center of the village is nearly entirely blown off.

And while Israel’s war on Gaza was declared over, the residents of Khuzaa remain under fire.

#SailingToGaza ~~ THE BASTARDS TRY TO STOP US AGAIN

The Israeli military is preparing to stop the pro-Palestinian flotilla from reaching Gaza.

The Israeli military is preparing to stop the pro-Palestinian flotilla from reaching Gaza.

‘Juliano’ attacked on its way to break the siege on Gaza

Statement by The Freedom Theatre
June 27th, 2015

Passengers of the Freedom Flotilla III bound for Gaza have announced that one of the boats, named Juliano after the co-founder and director of The Freedom Theatre, Juliano Mer Khamis who was assassinated in 2011, has been sabotaged. Divers damaged the boat’s propellers, causing it to take in water and the boat barely made it into port in Greece before it sank. On Saturday June 27th, passengers reported that the flotilla was followed by an unidentified patrol boat and a military aircraft.

Israel has engaged in a massive campaign to prevent the flotilla from reaching Gaza, threatening the participants in a similar fashion as during earlier attempts to break the illegal siege on Gaza. In 2010, Israeli troops attacked a similar flotilla in international waters, killing ten of the activists onboard and detaining many others.

Juliano Mer Khamis oftentimes declared that he was 100% Jewish and 100% Palestinian. He spoke of the necessity of a bi-national state where true democracy and justice may rule. Juliano’s work and vision inspired many people worldwide to act for justice in Palestine. The Freedom Flotilla does the same.

The sabotage of a boat named after a freedom fighter that believed in art as the most righteous form of resistance, proves to what length Israel is willing to go to silence criticism and activism against the occupation and apartheid system.

The boat Juliano is part of an international Freedom Flotilla Coalition calling for an end to the inhuman siege on Gaza, which violates the most basic human rights of the Palestinian people. The Flotilla comes less than a year after Israel’s brutal war against the Gaza strip in which more than 2,200 Palestinians were killed.

The Freedom Theatre welcomes the Freedom Flotilla initiative just like we welcome any other form of legitimate resistance against the Israeli oppression. No single person, organisation or movement can overcome the Israeli occupation and apartheid, but by considering us all part of a joint movement, supporting and complementing each other, we can and will succeed in bringing justice and peace to Palestine.

In just a few days the Freedom Flotilla will reach international waters outside the coast of Gaza, carrying more than 50 people from over 20 countries. The boats are also carrying urgently needed supplies and most importantly a message of solidarity to the besieged population of Gaza.

The Freedom Theatre wishes the flottilla a safe and successful journey to Gaza! Long live the Freedom Flottilla, long live Gaza and Palestine!

Website: https://freedomflotilla.org and https://ff3.freedomflotilla.org
Twitter: @GazaFFlottilla, @ShiptogazaSE

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More from USTOGAZA …

Freedom Flotilla III is Sailing to Open the Port of Gaza

Boats, with more than 50 crew and passengers from 20 countries are prepared to reach the port of Gaza and call on the international community to open it

Delegates from left: Mohammed El Bakkali, Al Jazeera journalist; Dr. Moncel Marzuki, former president of Tunisia; Dr. Basel Ghattas, Knesset MP; Claudio Tamaglini; Charlie Andreasson; Ann Wright

Delegates from left: Mohammed El Bakkali, Al Jazeera journalist; Dr. Moncel Marzuki, former president of Tunisia; Dr. Basel Ghattas, Knesset MP; Claudio Tamaglini; Charlie Andreasson; Ann Wright

This year’s mission, organized by the Freedom Flotilla Coalition against the naval blockade and the siege of Gaza, is about to sail to highlight the violation of the rights of 1.8 million Palestinians living in the world’s largest open-air prison.

The Israeli government claims that there are ‘unauthorized boats trying to illegally enter Israeli territorial waters’. There are no ‘unauthorized boats’, only an illegal and inhumane blockade; the UN has recently called to end it and Freedom Flotilla III sails to challenge it, without any need or desire to enter Israeli territorial waters. This fact is highlighted by the practices of Israeli naval forces against previous sea missions, which have intercepted all boats since 2009 in international waters, headed towards Palestinian waters off Gaza, never towards Israel or Israeli waters.

Freedom Flotilla III is invited by Palestinians in Gaza through various organizations that work for a relief of the thousands that were left heavily wounded, homeless, jobless, and displaced after recent Israeli operations in the Gaza Strip. We also have among our passengers Dr. Basel Ghattas, Member of the Israeli Knesset, who called in an open letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu to allow our mission to reach the port of Gaza.

Israel’s right-wing is now moving to penalize MK Ghattas for his participation in a legitimate political action of people from all around the world, while Deputy MFA Hotovely has announced international diplomatic action against the Freedom Flotilla III. Lawyers around the world are making legal moves against the mission, just as they did in 2011. We regret that “the only democracy in Middle-East” thinks this is the best course of action, instead of addressing the real problems of occupation, blockade and division of Palestine, as well as the openly legal discriminations against Palestinians and Israeli Arabs.

We remain undeterred, because our purpose is not to act against Israel, but against occupation. Our actions would not be needed, if governments worldwide and international bodies like the EU and the UN would take steps to ensure accountability of Israeli governments for war crimes and collective punishment against the 1.8 million Palestinian population in Gaza Strip. We welcome voices from Israel who publicly state that the State of Israel is not threatened by the action against the blockade.

The international community should stop turning a blind eye on the blockade and occupation and take steps urgently towards the direction of ensuring the opening of the port in Gaza, the only port of Palestine to the rest of the world.

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