PHOTOS ~~ WHY ARE EYES CLOSED WHEN IT COMES TO PUERTO RICO?

Open your eyes and your hearts

Since hurricane Maria destroyed much of Puerto Rico living conditions there are critical.  People have lost everything and now they are without water, without fuel to run generators, without medicine, and without electricity – which they will not get back for many months.  Supposedly there is food on the docks that cannot be distributed.  The response of the Trump Administration has been very slow yet there is much that can be done to alleviate the situation by using the National Guard and the military with their planes, helicopters, and vehicles to distribute the essentials.

10% of the people in NYC are either from Puerto Rico or have family there.  The Puerto Rican people are American citizens.  Because they see little being done the people in NY have reached out to their neighbors and collections of canned food, diapers, batteries, and other necessities are being gathered in homes all over the city.  They are then being brought to fire houses from which they will be transported to Puerto Rico.

Collecting aid in New York …

Photos © by Bud Korotzer Report by Chippy Dee

*

*

*

*

*

 

IN PHOTOS ~~ SUPPORT FOR ‘THE DREAMERS’ CONTINUES TO GROW

  On Sept 9th, once again,  4,000 DACA demonstrators flooded  New York City’s Columbus Circle across from Trump’s International Hotel.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

IRONIC PHOTOS OF THE WEEK ~~ ILLEGALS AGAINST ‘ILLEGALS’

The illegal, OUTLAWED JDL demonstrates against ‘illegal immigrants’

*

 MASSIVE DEMO @ COLUMBUS CIRCLE .

THE “DREAMERS” ARE THE YOUTH WHICH WERE PROMISED STAYING IN THE U.S. UNDER THE OBAMA DACA LEGISLATION WHICH IS NOW UNDER THREAT FROM TRUMP.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Related report (Click on link)

Paul Ryan Says Trump Should Not End Protections For Dreamers

The House speaker has tried to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program through Congress.

IN PHOTOS ~~ THOUSANDS STAND (KNEEL) IN SUPPORT OF NFL PLAYER’S RIGHT TO DISSENT

White players kneeling during anthem a nightmare for NFL

(click on link to view video)

Political sports writer Dave Zirin speaks at the New York City rally in support of Colin Kaepernick’s protests during the National Anthem.

www.espn.com/video/clip?id=20437731

On Wednesday August 23rd, people gathered at the offices of the National Football League [NFL| in Manhattan NYC.  By some accounts 3-4 thousand people attended. The rally was in support of quarterback, Colin Kaepernick who refused to stand for the Star Spangled Banner prior to the beginning of the football game but instead choose to kneel rather than pay homage to the flag that represents the racism which is so prevalent against the Black population in the United States, especially in the murder of Black people by police, a crime that goes unpunished. As a result of his doing  this Kaepernick has not been picked as a team player on any of the NFL football teams for the coming season.  At this point many other players are also ‘taking the knee’, including young people on college and high school teams.

The rally included a broad array of many civic and community activist organizations, the   speakers demanding that Kaepernick be given the opportunity to play.  If not a boycott of the games and the sponsors of the NFL was demanded. The speakers did not limit the issue to Kaepernick but discussed the broader struggle against white supremacy which projected itself so violently in Charlottesville with fascists parading with torches and proclaiming, “You [Blacks] will not replace us” and “Jews will not replace us”. One  of the many speakers was Dave Zirin [sports commentator for the Nation Magazine] who spoke of the Palestinian struggle to great applause as he pointed to the fascist/Zionist Jewish Defense League  across the street demonstrating against this rally. Another speaker was Linda Sarsaur, who is one of the organizers of the Women’s March the day after Trump’s inauguration, a Palestinian activist in America who is subjected to the Islamaphobia so prevalent in the United States. She noted in her speech “if you are not ready to put your life on the line for freedom then take the word out of your mouth”. 

The rally ended with everyone holding the hands of the people next to them as a minister said a prayer asking for justice.  Several important issues were addressed at this event – Colin Kaepernick’s punishment for exercising his 1st amendment right to freedom of speech, the racism increasingly prevalent, and the power of money, in this case in the hands of the team owners, to do whatever they want in disregard of the people.  Certainly a fact of life in all areas in the USA today.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Report by Chippy Dee

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Also see THIS report from The Nation

TOONS (AND PHOTOS) ~~ THE LATEST IN WMD’s AND ‘SELECTIVE RACISM’

CharlottesvilleParis,London and now Barcelona. Sad days when cars, trucks, vans became weapons of mass destruction.

Images by Carlos Latuff

The hate and violence continues …..

When it comes to challenging racist ideology, US politicians make an exception for Zionism

IN PHOTOS ~~ NEW YORKERS MARCH AGAINST HATE

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Surely there IS enough love to go around!

IN PHOTOS ~~ REMEMBERING HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI 72 YEARS LATER

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

 

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

IN PHOTOS ~~ SOLIDARITY WITH PALESTINIANS ON THE TEMPLE MOUNT

With the increasing intensity of conflict at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Zionist state and the deaths of three Palestinians the American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) of New Jersey  called for a protest street demonstration at the cross roads of the world: New York City’s Times Square.

Here where hundreds and hundreds  of people pass  every hour about five hundred people took to the street to shout their anger and demand a free Palestine. Older people and younger ones, mothers with their children in strollers carried the Palestinian colors.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Report by Chippy Dee

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

 

PHOTO OF THE DAY ~~ PALESTINIAN YOUTH GIVE A ‘WARM WELCOME’ TO INVADING FORCES

FROM

Israeli invading forces receive a ‘warm’ welcome from Palestinian youths.

PHOTOS OF THE DAY ~~ GAY PRIDE FROM HEAVEN ABOVE

For Gay Pride Month, Double rainbow over New York City

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

*

*

Great way to end Pride Month

IN PHOTOS ~~ PRIDE WITHOUT PREJUDICE

Gay Pride Parade in New York City

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Latuff added his 2 cents ….

IN PHOTOS ~~ YEMEN IS STARVING TO DEATH

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

*

*

IN PHOTOS ~~ INTERNATIONAL REFUGEE DAY IN NEW YORK

March to Trump Towers ….

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

 

PHOTO OF THE DAY ~~ THE BRAVEST LITTLE BOY IN PALESTINE

Good morning from Palestine!

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

15 PEOPLE WERE ARRESTED

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

IN PHOTOS ~~ DARK DAYS OF RAMADAN IN GAZA

“Power cuts have become a part of our life. We have already adapted to living with long hours of darkness.”

Image by Carlos Latuff

Abbas has no shame being Israel’ gatekeeper while it’s turning Gaza into a concentration camp where people are locked up living in harsh conditions

In photos: Gaza left to suffer in the dark

Gaza City’s Beach Street, a busy thoroughfare connecting the southern and northern areas of the Strip, is often in total darkness. During power cuts the lights go out along Gaza’s most trafficked streets, plunging the roads into darkness and causing accidents.

Palestinians in the occupied Gaza Strip have endured a chronic electricity crisis since Israel imposed an economic blockade on the territory 10 years ago.

The territory’s electricity infrastructure has been targeted and damaged during successive Israeli military offensives, and Israeli import restrictions have hindered repair.

An Egyptian crackdown on tunnels through which cheaper fuel was smuggled into Gaza exacerbated the situation in 2013.

Rolling blackouts now last 20 hours per day after Gaza’s sole power plant shut down when it exhausted its fuel supply in mid-April. Resupply has been delayed due to an ongoing dispute between the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza over high taxes on diesel fuel and the collection of payments from electricity consumers.

Currently, there are only four hours of electricity per day in Gaza, and that is about to decrease as Israel moves to cut its electricity supply to the territory by 40 percent.

Hospitals have become dependent on generators and solar-based sources that can keep vital equipment running for a few hours when there is no electricity.

Power cuts disrupt the operation of water pumps and wells, with water supply to households currently standing at four to eight hours every four or five days.

Wastewater plants have been forced to shorten treatment cycles, causing 120 million liters of untreated sewage to flow into the Mediterranean Sea each day.

The crisis has led the International Committee of the Red Cross to warn that Gaza is on the brink of “systemic collapse.”

Reportage by Mousa Tawfiq, a journalist based in Gaza and photos by Mohammed Asad, a photojournalist based in Gaza.

Mahmoud Banat, 47, used to run one of the biggest appliance repair and retail shops in Gaza City’s Beach refugee camp. “I took this profession from my father. I’ve done my best to keep up with new technology and the daily improvements in this field.”

Banat said the chronic power cuts in Gaza have caused damage to appliances, and some residents have bought equipment to protect their devices from potential harm caused by outages.

“As you can see, my shop is full of broken and disabled televisions and electrical devices. People are suffering and losing a lot of money to fix their devices. People prefer energy-saving televisions that can be powered with generators and batteries. Some types of televisions consume a lot of power and they aren’t widely used these days.”

Banat’s business hasn’t benefited from the situation.

“When the electricity crisis began in 2006, I started to face difficulties at my shop as I couldn’t work during the power cuts,” he said. He sold his shop and moved into a smaller one, where he currently only does repairs, and no longer sells appliances.

“It’s a disastrous situation. My life is completely destroyed and I have five children; two of them are university students.”

In addition to harming Mahmoud’s business, the electricity situation has put pressure on his wife, Najwa Banat, 42.

“We suffer from a water crisis as there is no electricity to run water pumps at the houses,” she said while preparing a cup of tea.

“I can’t do any housekeeping. I have to get up after midnight to wash clothes and clean the house. I make sure to keep the candles away from the hands of my children. I’m always stressed and feeling uncomfortable. We live in a very difficult situation surrounded by hardships and daily challenges.”

In 2010, Ahmad Rajab, 26, opened his barbershop in Gaza City.

“Eight years ago, when I finished school, my family didn’t have enough money to pay my university fees. Some of my relatives advised me to learn a simple trade that people always need. I decided to master the skill of shaving and I had a diploma from a certified training center.”

From day one, Rajab had to contend with the electricity crisis.

“At the beginning, I bought a small generator to use during power cuts. When we were using the Egyptian fuel, I needed $6 a day just for fuel. Nowadays, with the Israeli fuel, which is three times more expensive, I need $18. I don’t think that I’ve ever earned more than $20 a day.”

“I bought those rechargeable shavers for $100. They are not cheap, but it is my only choice to keep working.”

“I hope to have a better tomorrow and for this crisis to be solved. We have begun to believe that it’s our destiny to not have a better life. It’s like a nightmare without end.”

Hussam al-Sousi, 24, took his mother and two sisters to Gaza City’s corniche to escape from darkness and boredom. They found that the corniche was darker than their house.

“We came here for some relief, but it is all the same. We are very lucky to have the car headlights,” he said.

Hussam, a law school graduate, works at his father’s garment factory.

“Even our work is affected. We used to work in the morning. Now, we organize our work according to the electricity. Sometimes we have to work after midnight using generators with expensive fuel.”

For Hussam’s mother, Sanaa al-Sousi, 45, the power cuts cause other woes: “My daughters’ midterm exams were in the last week. They had to get up very early to study [when the electricity was on]. Studying by candlelight gave my youngest daughter Leila a headache. I don’t know what we are going to do if the crisis lasts until the final exams.”

For Leila, 8, there are additional consequences: “There is no ice cream in the shops. I don’t know what I’m going to eat during summer.”

“I sell grilled and boiled corn on the beach. I work here during summer because the beach is full of people, while in winter, I sell vegetables in a small booth at the market,” said Mahmoud Ghanim, 26. “I’m a father of two sons and my wife is pregnant with a girl. I have no choice but to work hard.”

Ghanim, who lives in Beach refugee camp, said that he had to leave school at the age of 15 to work with his father as a fisherman. His family’s trade has been badly affected by the Israeli naval blockade and constant violence against Gaza fishermen by Israeli forces.

“It wasn’t an easy choice, but I couldn’t risk my life for a job that could barely feed my children,” he said.

Ghanim found his own solution to be able to work during the dark nights – a solution which cost him the equivalent of a week’s earnings.

“Before the current crisis, I didn’t face any problems at nighttime because Beach Street was always illuminated, but now we are in darkness. I paid $40 to buy a battery, a charger and a power-saving light to use when there is no electricity.”

Suha Ashour, 68, has been going to al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City for dialysis treatment for a decade.

“In 2007, I had a heart attack. The medical treatment and the consequences of the heart attack affected my kidneys. I have to go to the hospital three times a week for dialysis sessions.”

Ashour, a mother of six, said that the four-hour sessions are exhausting, especially during summer.

“After the sessions, when I return home, I feel suffocated and I can’t stay in hot weather. My sons brought me an air conditioner, but most of the time there is no electricity and it’s very difficult for me at this age to stay in such circumstances.”

Ashour said hospital staff have warned her and other patients that their dialysis treatment may be disrupted by power cuts.

In 2012, the neonatal unit at al-Nasr children’s hospital in Gaza installed a solar power system to ensure the running of their equipment. The unit receives 100 to 200 patients per month and any power cut can put infants’ lives in jeopardy, according to its coordinator Dr. Shireen Abed.

“We deal with very sensitive cases aged between zero and 28 days. Our unit receives three to five patients per day and all the equipment needs electricity: incubators, monitors and ventilators,“ she said.

“When the solar power system needs periodic maintenance, the situation becomes catastrophic. We transfer the neonates to other units to be attached to the required devices. The power cuts pose a real danger to the lives of our children in the unit, but the solar system provides us with the needed power.”

“I can’t imagine the situation without this solar power system,” she added.

Palestinians in Gaza have used backup generators to provide electricity to their houses and shops. But the high price of the Israeli fuel, $2 for a liter, is out of reach for many in the territory, where unemployment rates are the highest in the world.

“People didn’t use batteries or solar cells in their houses before 2014, they used generators,” said Ziad al-Rayashi, 32, the owner of a batteries and solar cells shop in Gaza City. “Using the generator for eight hours each day costs an average family more than $480 a month. No one can afford it.”

Al-Rayashi sells alternatives that don’t require fuel.

“Engineers invented new methods. We use car batteries to generate electricity by charging the battery and using it for lighting and watching television.”

A car battery charging system cost $1,200 a year ago, according to al-Rayashi. This price was far out of reach for the average Gaza resident – especially after the last cuts to civil servants’ salaries by the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank – so retailers slashed prices to increase demand. He now sells the system for $650.

Despite the price drop, people prefer smaller battery charger systems used just for lighting and Wi-Fi. “This more simple system costs $40 and it can barely light a room, but people can’t afford the bigger one,” al-Rayashi said.

“We do our best to provide our people with the cheapest devices, despite all the difficulties we face. We pay a lot of taxes to the Israeli side to get our goods from their ports and crossings.”

Though Gaza gets more than its fair share of sun, the use of solar power is very limited.

“It’s cleaner and better, but very expensive. The most simple solar power system costs $1,700 just for lighting and television. The upper class are the only people who can buy this system,” al-Rayashi said.

University student Khalid Mahdi, 19, and his friend Hussam al-Khatib, 20, play billiards at a small shop in Gaza City.

“We escaped from the poor LED lighting at our houses to find the same lighting at the billiards hall,” Mahdi said.

“Playing billiards is a hobby and we do our best to practice it regularly, but we can barely see the balls with these lights,” he added. “Every Gazan has these lights at his house and complains of their bad quality. But we don’t have other choices.”

“We are university students. We can’t study with bad lighting and we can’t practice billiards for the same reason,” al-Khatib said.

Most buildings and workshops have big generators which are usually put in the street, causing noise pollution. Yet even towers have stopped using them due to the long hours of power cuts and the cost of the fuel needed to power the generators.

Police officer Ahmad Musallim, 42, lives on the eighth floor of the Sea Tower in Gaza City.

“The generator works for 10 minutes every two hours for the elevator, and from 6 pm to 9 pm every day. If a person wants the elevator [outside the fixed time], he must pay 5 shekels [approximately $1.50] to turn on the generator.”

“My children go to school. After six hours of class, they have to walk up eight flights of stairs. I wish I could do anything to help them.”

“Power cuts have become a part of our life. We have already adapted to living with long hours of darkness,” said Fatima Qudaih, 42, in Khan Younis, southern Gaza.

“The long power cuts prevent us from using the water pumps. It’s the nightmare of every housewife here in Gaza. We can’t wash clothes or dishes.”

“My son takes some jerrycans and fills them at a nearby water station. It’s more expensive and much more difficult to use,” she added.

Wafaa al-Najjar, 63, and her sister Samiha, 60, use a clay oven to bake and cook at their home in Khan Younis.

“We used to use an electric heater for baking, but now we use this oven, especially since cooking gas is expensive,” Wafaa said.

The sisters use tree branches from their farm for the fire. “We live in a rural area. Women in these areas are strong and rely on themselves. We know that our life is difficult, but we do our best to keep going. We simply don’t have any other choice,” Wafaa said.

According to Samiha, the bread baked on the electric heater tastes better, but the one made in the clay oven reminds them of their mother.

Ahmad al-Jahjouh, 52, a carpenter in Gaza City, said that his work is “paralyzed” with only four hours of electricity each day.

“Sometimes the four hours of electricity are during the night. At first, I was coming to my shop with my workers and we worked after midnight. But the neighbors complained because of the noise, which I fully understood.”

“I used to have 20 workers in this shop. Now, it’s just me and my two sons. We produce nothing. And even when we use the generator, our profit is negligible.”

“I have nothing to say. I don’t sleep and I’m very tired. We have been suffering for years and our patience has run out.”

 

FROM

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

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Newsletter of Veterans for Peace

 

IN PHOTOS ~~ UNITED AGAINST ISLAMOPHOBIA

Image by Latuff

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

Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Report by Chippy Dee

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

FREEDOM AND DIGNITY HUNGER STRIKE ENDS WITH PARTIAL VICTORIES

All salutes to the courageous, struggling Palestinian prisoners, on the front lines of the Palestinian struggle for liberation! Their victories and their struggles are those of the Palestinian people and of all people seeking justice and liberation.

And salutes to all of those around the world who have been part of the prisoners’ struggle and Palestinian victory for the past 40 days.

Image by Carlos Latuff

Palestinian prisoners suspend hunger strike after 40 days of struggle

After 40 days, Palestinians suspend mass hunger strike in Israeli prisons

*

Hundreds of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons suspended a 40-day mass hunger strike during dawn hours on Saturday, after reaching an agreement with the Israel Prison Service (IPS) that reinstated the prisoners’ family visitation sessions to two times per month, according to initial information from Palestinian leadership and IPS, with details yet to emerge regarding any additional achievements.

 *
The agreements came on the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, for which some hunger strikers had vowed to fast and forgo the salt and water mixture being consumed by the prisoners from dawn until sunset — the only source of nutrients the hunger strikers were consuming.
 *
Palestinian leaders applauded the prisoners’ “victory” on Saturday, saying that the agreement represented an “important step towards full respect of the rights of Palestinian prisoners.”
 *
However, increasing family visits was but one of a number of demands hunger-striking prisoners were calling for — including the right to pursue higher education, appropriate medical care and treatment, and an end to solitary confinement and administrative detention — imprisonment without charge or trial.
 *
The national committee formed to support the hunger strike has meanwhile said that more details regarding the outcome of the hunger strike would be revealed later.
 *
While further information about the agreement has not yet been released, reports indicated that further achievements of the strike also centered on the issue of family visits, including access to more relatives including grandparents and grandchildren; improved communication, especially between imprisoned children and women and their families, and the installation of public telephones; easing security prohibitions and the frequent bans on family visit imposed by the Israeli prison administration, according to Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Samidoun.
*
An IPS spokesperson told Ma’an that an agreement was forged between the Israeli state, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and the Palestinian Authority (PA), granting prisoners the second monthly family visit, to be funded by the PA.
*
The move effectively reinstated the number of family visits that were formerly provided to Palestinian prisoners, before the ICRC reduced the number of visits it facilitated last year from two to one visit a month, a decision that sparked protests across the Palestinian territory.
 *
However, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said back in August 2016 that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had already approved a decision to cover all financial expenses for the second visitation session. A spokesperson for neither the PA nor PPS could immediately be reached for comment.
 *
“It is appalling that it should take a 40-day mass hunger strike of Palestinian prisoners to restore family visits taken away by an international agency that should be motivated by the rights and well-being of the prisoners. Far from a neutral bystander, the ICRC was in fact a party to this strike and a participant in the confiscation of the rights of Palestinian prisoners,” Samidoun wrote.
 *
The group’s report argued that, “This raises once again sharp questions about what really provoked the cut in family visits for Palestinian prisoners and the level of Israeli involvement in what was claimed at the time to be a mere financial decision, despite Palestinian pledges to cover costs.”
 *
Talks at stand-still until Barghouthi brought in at 11th hour
*
Head of the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Qaraqe and head of PPS Qaddura Fares said in a joint statement that the prisoners suspended the “Freedom and Dignity,” following more than 20 hours of negotiations between IPS officials and prison leaders in Ashkelon prison, including Marwan Barghouthi — the imprisoned Fatah official who has been the primary leader of the strike.
 *
The statement added that IPS officials announced the end of the strike after negotiating with Barghouthi, who IPS had consistently refused to speak with throughout the strike’s duration, as hunger strikers had meanwhile refused to enter negotiations without the presence of Barghouthi.
 *
The joint statement did not mention which of the hunger strikers’ demands were actually met by Israeli prison authorities.
 *
A Palestinian source knowledgeable about negotiations elaborated to Ma’an later Saturday afternoon that the talks started Friday at 9 a.m. at Ashkelon prison, initially in the absence of Marwan Barghouthi.At the beginning, representatives of hunger-striking prisoners were Ahmad Barghouthi, Nasser Uweis, Ammar Mardi, and Nasser Abu Hmeid.
 *
However, the sources said that negotiations did not make progress until IPS agreed to bring in Marwan Barghouthi.The sources said that after Barghouthi’s arrival, IPS then “immediately agreed to some of the prisoners’ demands” and promised to respond positively to them.
 *
At 4:20 a.m. Saturday, a phone call was made between the imprisoned leaders of the hunger strike and officials from the PA and the Fatah movement outside of Israeli prisons, and after discussions, Marwan Barghouthi agreed to end hunger strike, the sources said.
 *
The IPS spokesperson confirmed to Ma’an that Barghouthi was involved in the agreements that ended the hunger strike, but said that IPS was not considering the talks “negotiations,” as they only reinstated a previous policy and did not provide any new concessions to the prisoners.
 *
The IPS spokesperson told Ma’an that some 834 prisoners remained on strike to the 40th day, and that 18 prisoners who remained hospitalized would be returned to Israeli prison following the improvement of their health conditions.
 *
The spokesperson declined to comment on whether any of the other demands were met.
 *
The final round of talks came after Palestinian security officials and officials of Israel’s internal security agency, the Shin Bet, had reportedly been engaged in negotiations in recent weeks.
 *
A meeting between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and US President Donald Trump during Trump’s two day visit to Israel and the occupied West Bank also reportedly played a role in reaching an agreement.
Abbas also reportedly raised the issue with Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s special representative for international negotiations, during a meeting in Ramallah on Thursday.
 *
Palestinians, UN, celebrate hunger strike’s ‘victory’
 *
United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov said he welcomed reports that the hunger strike had been suspended. “I call on all sides to abide by the terms of the agreement and avoid similar heightened tensions in the future,” he said in a written statement.
*
A spokesperson for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Xavier Abu Eid released a statement Saturday by the “Free Marwan Barghouthi and all Palestinian prisoners’ international campaign,” saying that the hunger strike had “prevailed.”
*
“This is an important step towards full respect of the rights of Palestinian prisoners under international law. It is also an indication of the reality of the Israeli occupation which has left no option to Palestinian prisoners but to starve themselves to achieve basic rights they are entitled to under international law,” the statement read.
 *

As the statement pointed out, the hunger strike was one of the longest strikes in Palestinian history and included a wide participation of Palestinian prisoners from across political factions.“The epic resilience and determination of the hunger strikers and their refusal to end their hunger strike despite the repression and very harsh conditions they endured allowed for their will to prevail over the will of the jailer.”

*
Israeli forces had attempted to break the hunger strike through various punitive measures — with the measures being repeatedly condemned by human rights organizations — including putting hunger strikers in solitary confinement, “inciting” against the hunger strikers and their leaders — most notably Barghouthi, and threatening to force feed the hunger strikers, the statement highlighted.
 *
Scores of Palestinian prisoners were also transferred to Israeli hospitals during the hunger strike, with reports emerging that prisoners were vomiting blood and fainting. Palestinian leaders had feared possible deaths among the hunger strikers if their demands were not met.
*
The statement went on to thank all those who stood in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners, particularly former political prisoners in South Africa, Ireland, and Argentina.“The Palestinian people are a nation held captive, and the Palestinian prisoners are the reflection of this painful reality,” the statement read.
 *
Spokesperson for the PA Youssef al-Mahmoud also congratulated the hunger strikers on “achieving their demands.”
 *
“Our heroic prisoners achieved a new victory in their legendary resistance,” he said, adding that the government would continue its efforts to “guarantee that all Palestinian prisoners are freed without exceptions or conditions.”
 *
He also called for an end to political divisions in Palestine and to work on regaining national unity to support Palestinians.
 *
Meanwhile, member of Fatah’s central committee Jamal Muheisin and head of the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Qaraqe held a press conference at Yasser Arafat square in Ramallah to announce the “victory” of the hunger strike.
 *
The national committee formed to support the hunger strike also released a statement saying that the hunger strikers had achieved a “legendary triumph forcing the occupation government to negotiate with the leaders of the hunger strike and Marwan Barghouthi after having refused to negotiate for 40 days.”
*
The statement highlighted that the “epic hunger strike” brought back unity between Palestinians in Israeli prisons and revived the spirit of national solidarity, which has succeeded in “thwarting the occupation’s plots.”
*
The statement added that more information regarding the details of the agreement between IPS officials and the hunger strikers would be released later.
 *
The Hamas movement said a statement that it “hails the incredible steadfastness of the Palestinian prisoners inside the Israeli prisons,” in which “Israeli prison authorities had no choice but to succumb to the prisoners’ just demands.””This victory serves as an evidence that by unity, will, and steadfastness Palestinians can achieve even the impossible missions in their struggle against the unjust occupation,” the statement continued, going onto thank families of prisoners, the Palestinian people, and “the free world” for showing devoting their time to solidarity actions throughout the hunger strike “to keep this humanitarian issue alive.””Their efforts and support rallies drew the world’s attention to the prisoners’ ongoing plight, and revealed the ugly face of the Israeli Occupation of being a blatant violator of the Palestinians’ human rights,” Hamas affirmed, adding that “the prisoners’ issue will remain a core one, and the ultimate goal of setting them free will never be forgotten.”
 *
Palestinians imprisoned by Israel have underwent numerous hunger strikes since the Israeli army occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza in 1967, with several hunger strikers being killed during strikes owing to Israeli policies of force-feeding the prisoners.
 *
Their demands have ranged from insisting on better quality prison food to ending torture in Israeli prisons.
 *
According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, 6,300 Palestinians were held in Israeli prisons as of April, most of whom are being held inside the Israeli territory in contravention to international law which forbids holding Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza outside the occupied territory.
 *
While Israeli authorities label Palestinians as “security prisoners,” activists and rights groups have long considered Palestinians held in Israeli custody as political prisoners, and have routinely condemned Israel’s use of prison as a means of dismembering Palestinian political and social life in the occupied territory.
 *
Addameer has reported that 40 percent of the male Palestinian population has been detained by Israeli authorities at some point in their lives.
*
*
THE STRUGGLE IS FAR FROM OVER ….
*
In Photos … NYC rally brings Palestinian prisoner solidarity to the heart of Times Square

Photo: Joe Catron

*

Photo: Zachariah Barghouti

*

Photo: Joe Catron

*

Photo: Joe Catron

*

Photo: Joe Catron

*

Photo: Joe Catron

*
New York City activists and supporters of justice in Palestine came together in Times Square on Wednesday, 24 May for an event in solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners on hunger strike.
*
The event, Portraits4Palestine, was organized by Existence is Resistance and thePalestinian Youth Movement, with the participation of Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, BAYAN USA, Committee to Stop FBI Repression, the International Action Center, the International League of Peoples’ Struggle, NYC Students for Justice in Palestine and the US Palestinian Community Network, as well as Al-Awda New Yorkand the Syrian American Forum. Participants took photos holding signs in support of the prisoners and distributed information, engaging with passers-by.
*
The rally went on for over two hours as each group spoke about the prisoners and chanted in support of the Palestinian struggle and the prisoners’ hunger strike. Adnan of Samidoun led chants in Arabic and English as participants waved signs and banners in support of the strike, which began on 17 April 2017. 1500 out of a total of nearly 6500 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails launched the strike for basic human demands, including an end to the denial of family visits, proper health care and medical treatment, the right to access education, and an end to solitary confinement and administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial.
*
Joe Catron of Samidoun spoke at the rally, saying that “the Palestinian prisoners’ struggle is a century old, like the broader Palestinian national movement against Zionist settler colonialism. It will not end today or with the Strike of Freedom and Dignity.” He encouraged people to continue to organize and invited all to attend the upcoming protest on Friday, 26 May to support the prisoners outside the Best Buy in Union Square.
*
BAYAN USA also shared information about the campaign to stop the declaration of martial law in Mindanao in the Philippines. They denounced martial law as leading only to further militarization, destabilization and neoliberalism, a threat to the people and their rights. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network expresses its solidarity with the Filipino people and the demand to immediately lift martial law in Mindanao and confront potential US involvement and the “war on terror” framework.
*
The rally was of great interest to many passers-by, with various people coming to join the rally after seeing the protest and finding out more about the Palestinian prisoners’ strike. One mime performing in Times Square joined the protest and sang Palestinian songs in support of the prisoners.
*
Many more actions are being planned to support the prisoners’ strike in New York City. On Friday, 26 May, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network will gather outside the Best Buy in Union Square at 5:30 pm for a protest in support of Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike.
*
The protest will also urge the boycott of HP products, as Hewlett-Packard is engaged in extensive contracts with the Israeli occupation military and prison system; it is part of a global day of action for the 40th day of the strike, called by the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee. All are encouraged to attend and join the demonstration.
*
Rally report FROM

IN PHOTOS ~~ DRONES WELCOME TRUMP TO JERUSALEM

How zion views the occupation ……

Events to celebrate the quinquagenary of Jerusalem’s reunification kicked off on Sunday night at an event attended by the president and prime minister. The official semicentennial takes place on Jerusalem Day, observed this year on May 24.

At a ceremony held on the backdrop of the Old City, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remarked: “Fifty years ago we returned to the heart of our capital and our country, and 50 years ago we did not conquer—we liberated.”

Drones spell out ’50’ above Jerusalem (Photo: Mizmor Productions)

*

Drones spell out ‘Jerusalem’ above the capital (Photo: Mizmor Productions)

*

Drones form a Star of David above Jerusalem (Photo: Mizmor Productions)

*

The Old City (Photo: Mizmor Productions)

*

(Photo: Mizmor Productions)

Thank you America for making the occupation a reality!

IN PHOTOS ~~ MAY DAY IN NEW YORK

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

Image by Hugo Gellert

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

*

*

Palestine was remembered

*

*

*

*

*

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

The Brief Origins of May Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FROM

« Older entries