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Hamas: Our people will bury US plans under their feet

Hazem Qasem
Palestine Information Center – June 23, 2018

GAZA – The Hamas Movement has said that the massive presence of citizens in the March of Return rallies on Friday, June 22, has reflected that the popular struggle in Gaza will continue until all goals are achieved.

In a press release, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qasem said the ongoing popular uprising on the Gaza border aims to entrench the Palestinian people’s right to return to every part of their land, including Jerusalem, and their right to live in dignity and with no blockade.

“Such ongoing rallies prove that the [Israeli] occupation’s attempts to terrorize our people into not participating in them have failed,” Qasem affirmed, pointing to the exposure of protesters to aerial attacks during the past week.

“These marches have sent a message to the US administration, which is trying to impose plans or projects aimed at liquidating the Palestinian cause, that our revolutionary people on the border will bury such schemes under their feet and will not allow any party to detract from their rights,” he underlined.

June 23, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

UN General Assembly condemns Israel for ‘excessive use of force’ on Gaza border

RT | June 13, 2018

The UN General Assembly has adopted a nonbinding resolution condemning Israel’s use of ‘excessive force’ against Palestinian protesters in Gaza. A US amendment to condemn Hamas did not get enough support.

The resolution condemns Israel for “excessive use of force” against Palestinian demonstrators on the Israeli-Gaza border and calls for the “protection of the Palestinian civilian population” in Gaza. It was adopted with 120 votes in favor and eight votes against, with 45 abstentions.

The amendment offered by US envoy Nikki Haley sought to condemn Hamas, which runs the elected government in Gaza, for firing rockets at Israel. The amendment received 62 votes in favor, with 58 nations opposed and 42 abstaining. It needed a two-thirds majority to pass, however, so it was not included in the final resolution.

The nearly identical resolution proposed by Kuwait was vetoed by the US in the Security Council on Tuesday. Unlike the Security Council resolutions, those adopted in the General Assembly are non-binding.

Haley condemned the adopted resolution as “morally bankrupt.”

“The resolution is one-sided, makes not one mention of Hamas which routinely initiates violence,” the US envoy said during the debate preceding the vote, adding that “What makes Gaza different is that attacking Israel is their favorite political sport.”

Israeli ambassador Danny Danon slammed the resolution as “empowering Hamas” and the countries that support it as “colluding with a terrorist organization.”

“I have a simple message for those who support this resolution. You are the ammunition for Hamas’s guns, you are the warheads for its missiles,” he said.

Over 130 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces during the protests along the border with Gaza that began on March 30. The deadliest day so far has been May 14, when the US embassy officially moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“We cannot remain silent in the face of the most violent crimes and human rights violations being systematically perpetrated against our people,” said Riyad Mansour, Palestinian envoy to the UN.

June 13, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Dalia Al-Najjar Discusses Her Cousin’s Murder by Israeli Snipers

By Robert Inlakesh | 21st Century | June 12, 2018

An interview conducted by Robert Inlakesh with Dalia Al-Najjar, the cousin of a 21 year old volunteer medic who was executed by Israeli sniper.

Dalia Al-Najjar and Robert Inlakesh discuss the murder of Razan Al-Najjar and Gaza’s demonstrations against the illegally occupying Israeli regime.

Donate to the campaign here

June 12, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Youngsters “Disabled for Life” by Israel’s Shoot-to-Cripple Policy in Gaza

By Stuart Littlewood | American Herald Tribune | June 10, 2018

Writing in the BMJ (British Medical Journal) the Head of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in Gaza, Dr Nafiz Abu-Shaban, reports that the death and injury toll by sniper fire, as at 18 May, was 117 dead, including 13 children, and 12,271 injured, of whom 6,760 had been hospitalised, including 3,598 with bullet wounds. The numbers will be considerably higher by now.

Worse still, according to Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) who operate in Gaza, the Israelis have been using ammunition that causes fist-sized wounds of “unusual severity”.

In a press release dated 19 April MSF surgeons in Gaza report “devastating gunshot wounds among hundreds of people injured during the protests over recent weeks. The huge majority of patients – mainly young men, but also some women and children – have unusually severe wounds to the lower extremities. MSF medical teams note the injuries include an extreme level of destruction to bones and soft tissue, and large exit wounds that can be the size of a fist.

“Half of the more than 500 patients we have admitted in our clinics have injuries where the bullet has literally destroyed tissue after having pulverized the bone,” said Marie-Elisabeth Ingres, Head of Mission of MSF in Palestine. “These patients will need to have very complex surgical operations and most of them will have disabilities for life.”

She is reported saying that she hadn’t seen these kind of injuries before. The wounds appeared to be caused by ammunition with an expanding ‘butterfly’ effect.

“Mass lifelong disability now the prospect for young Gazans who merely gathered in unarmed protest”

Abu-Shaban says the hundreds of high energy compound tibial fractures from Israeli live fire are the most difficult of all open fractures to treat. They may require between 5 and 7 surgical procedures, each operation taking 3-6 hours. “Even with state-of-the-art reconstruction, healing takes 1-2 years. Most of these patients will develop osteomyelitis. A steadily increasing toll of secondary amputations is inevitable. They will also need intensive rehabilitation, but the only rehabilitation hospital in Gaza was destroyed by Israeli bombing in 2014 and has not been re-built. Mass lifelong disability is now the prospect facing Gazan citizens, largely young, who were merely gathering in unarmed protest about Israeli occupation and siege that has rendered their political and social futures impossible.”

Reconstructing such injuries is far beyond the capabilities of Gazan medical services, now severely run down after 12 years of Israeli siege. Shifa is swamped and has no beds let alone the dedicated Limb Salvage Teams necessary for this work. Even London hospitals, which are fully resourced, would be stretched if confronted with mass casualties of this kind, says Abu-Shaban. “How are we here in Gaza to manage this situation? Why has no European government spoken out about events which if they had happened elsewhere would surely have been called an international outrage and probable war crime?”

Good question. The sniveling international community does nothing to stop the vile crimes perpetrated by the self-styled ‘most moral army in the world’.

“I understand there is now the question of an investigation by the International Criminal Court,” says the good doctor hopefully.

Well, not quite. The UN Human Rights Council in Geneva has adopted a resolution to set up an independent, international Commission of Inquiry to investigate all violations of humanitarian and international human rights law in the occupied Palestinian territory, with a particular focus on recent events in Gaza.

The resolution passed with only two states opposing (the USA and another of Israel’s poodles, Australia), 29 in favour, and 14 abstentions. The UK was one of those abstaining, alongside the EU states of Croatia, Germany, Hungary, and Slovakia.

“Gazans did all the dying and the Israeli soldiers did all the killing”

Trying to explain its abstention, the UK Mission in Geneva called the resolution “partial and unhelpfully unbalanced” for not “explicitly call[ing] for an investigation into the action of non-state actors such as Hamas.” The UK Government then issued this feeble statement: “In addition to abstaining on today’s resolution, we call directly on Israel to make clear its intentions and carry out what must be a transparent inquiry into the IDF’s conduct at the border fence and to demonstrate how this will achieve a sufficient level of independence. This investigation should include international members. The death toll alone warrants such a comprehensive inquiry. We urge that the findings of such an investigation be made public, and if wrongdoing is found, that those responsible be held to account.”

Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem had called the already-announced internal Israeli military probe “part of the whitewashing toolkit”. And the British Government was sharply criticised in parliament for its limp-wristed attitude and reminded of Israel’s self-exoneration over the killing of four boys playing on a beach during the 2014 military offensive on Gaza.

Conservative MP Crispin Blunt, former Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, asked: “Given that Gazans did all the dying and the Israeli soldiers did all the killing, how does the Minister expect an internal Israeli inquiry…. to be less partial and less unhelpfully unbalanced than the inquiry mandated by the UN Human Rights Council?”

“Systematic failure by Israel to carry out genuine investigations”

The preamble to the UNHRC resolution states the reasons for action brilliantly and is worth highlighting here….

Convinced that the lack of accountability for violations of international law reinforces a culture of impunity, leading to a recurrence of violations and seriously endangering international peace,

Noting the systematic failure by Israel to carry out genuine investigations in an impartial, independent, prompt and effective way, as required by international law, into the violence and offences against Palestinians by the occupying forces, and to establish judicial accountability for its actions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,

Emphasizing the obligations of Israel as the occupying Power to ensure the safety, well-being and protection of the Palestinian civilian population under its occupation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,

Emphasizing also that the intentional targeting of civilians and other protected persons in situations of armed conflict, including foreign occupation, constitutes a grave breach of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and poses a threat to international peace and security,

Recognizing the importance of the right to life and the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association to the full enjoyment of all human rights…

Despite all that, avid Israel admirer Theresa May, barmy Boris Johnson and the insufferably gutless spivs now populating the Foreign Office still couldn’t bring themselves to support the resolution.

“To live is to resist”

Another voice from Gaza, which I shall not name, reports:

“As you know we don’t have enough supply of electricity which means lots of hurdles and difficulties on all aspects of life. The conditions in Gaza are the most difficult ones in terms of the Zionist killings and aggression against the Great Marches of Return. I myself went there to the borders with my family three times and saw how their evil soldiers shooting innocent children and women. I heard some of the guys shouting that they have got nothing to loose. To live is to resist. That’s what we also teach to our students and young generations. The oppressed and occupied have got the right to resist by all means available.

“It is a pity and tragic as well that the injured could not find enough medical care and nursing due to the shortage of medical staff and equipment. Can you imagine? So many causalities were sent home after receiving only first aid and some sort of dressings to their wounds as there were no enough beds and treatment for them. That’s why many have lost their legs (amputations) where the enemies are using high velocity bullets.”

Boys’ legs the target

The shoot-to-cripple policy by Israel is nothing new. Retired trauma surgeon David Halpin, who has often worked on a voluntary basis in Gaza hospitals, drew attention to it in January 2011: “The deliberate injury of the limbs of 23 boys by high velocity weapons has been logged and described by Defence for Children International Palestine Branch (DCI-P) since March 2010.”

He pointed to the extreme poverty of large extended families which had forced boys and men to scavenge for broken concrete (‘gravel’) in the evacuated Eli Sinai ‘settlement’ and in the industrial zone by the Erez border control post at the northern end of the Gaza Strip. “The factories of the industrial zone have been progressively demolished by Israeli shelling etc…. A donkey and cart, shovel, pick, sieve, muscles and courage are the tools. The rubble is used to make blocks and poured concrete with the cement that is imported largely through the tunnels. Many dozens of men and boys do this work for precious shekels in the shadow of manned watch towers and under ‘drones’ above.”

A leg was the target in most cases, says Halpin. And where the leg was not the target it is likely the sniper was ‘aiming up’ so the flank, elbow etc was hit instead. “No weapons were being borne by the gravel workers so they posed no threat to the Israeli Occupation Force personnel. Instead they were bending their backs to their menial work within their internment camp.” In many cases those hit were likely to have lifelong disability. That, it seems, continues to be the Israeli regime’s sickening aim.

And to think that its chief degenerate, Netanyahu, was allowed to set foot in London earlier this week in his never-ending quest to demonize those who stand in the way of Israel’s warmongering and expansionist ambition – namely Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hezbollah.

June 10, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , | 2 Comments

Medical Aid for Palestinians attacked by pro-Israel lawyers’ groups

MEMO | June 7, 2018

UK charity Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) has described allegations of anti-Semitism made by two pro-Israel advocacy groups as an “appalling smear”.

According to a report in the Jewish News, UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) and the US-based Lawfare Project this week submitted a 17-page complaint against MAP to the Charity Commission.

The complaint claims that the respected humanitarian NGO is guilty of “racial hatred of Jews”, and claims MAP has “links to Palestinian terrorist groups”.

A MAP spokesperson told the paper: “This appalling smear appears to be part of a wider pattern of attacks on legitimate NGOs. Should the Charity Commission raise points with us, we would be pleased to respond.”

The article says that the pro-Israel activists accuse MAP of giving a “false impression” about the health of Palestinians. UKLFI’s Jonathan Turner said: “Readers of its misleading website would no doubt be surprised to hear that life-expectancy in Gaza in fact compares favourably with Glasgow.”

Turner added that MAP was “abusing its position as a charity to spread false information about Israel”, and using “the halo of its status as a charity to disguise its racial hatred of Israelis and Jews.”

Lawfare Project direct Brooke Goldstein said “it is incumbent on the Charity Commission to take action against MAP’s sinister abuse of charitable funds”.

The timing of the attack on MAP is no coincidence, coming after an appeal by the charity raised more than £1 million following Israel’s mass killing of Palestinian protesters.

MAP medics have been on the ground in the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip, and the charity’s social media accounts have given vital insights into Israel’s brutal crackdown.

June 7, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

Poll: 61% of Israel support military response to Gaza protests

MEMO | June 6, 2018

The majority of Israelis support Israel’s military response against the Great Marches of Return, a new poll revealed.

The poll was conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University between 28-30 May and included a sample of 600 people.

According to the monthly Peace Index a majority of respondents believed the Israeli military’s use of force against unarmed Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza was “proportionate”.

The poll revealed that 61 per cent of Israeli Jews believe “the Israeli army’s handling of the Palestinian protests near the border fence is correct, and that the force used against the demonstrators is also correct” however, 92 per cent of Arabs in Israel believe the Israeli army used excessive force.

A majority of Israelis, 68 per cent, believe the demonstrations were planned by Hamas, while 62 per cent of Arabs believe the protests resulted from “despair”.

Asked about the living conditions in the Gaza Strip, the index showed that half of Israelis believe the authorities should work to alleviate the hardship in Gaza by facilitating the freedom of movement and the entry of goods.

Of those surveyed, 43 per cent believe there is a possibility of a full-scale war with Iran, while more than half think Israel is ready to protect its citizens if such unrest broke out.

June 6, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

Two-state solution is dead, Palestinian courage should spur international action

Palestinians attend the funeral of paramedic Razan Al-Najjar, 21, shot dead by Israeli forces while healing the wounded during ‘Great March of Return’ [Mustafa Hassona – Anadolu Agency]
By Rick Sterling | RT | June 4, 2018

After 70 years, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is still unresolved. The conflict simmers for a few years, then erupts again with new massacres and violence.

After the failure of the two-state solution, recent events have again highlighted the need for a different approach. In the past couple months, Israeli Defence Force (IDF) soldiers have killed 118 Palestinian protesters and seriously wounded many thousands more. The protesters were unarmed and no threat to the soldiers. Gaza hospitals overflowed with victims.

Human rights groups filed a legal petition to make it unlawful for Israeli soldiers to fire on unarmed protesters. Last week the Israeli Supreme Court rejected the petition.

Israeli violence is usually portrayed as a “response” to Palestinian violence, but the reality is the opposite. The sequence of recent events is as follows:

– From the end of March till May 25, Palestinians in Gaza protested against their oppression as close as they could get to the border fences. About 118 were killed and many thousands seriously injured by Israeli snipers. They were all shot inside Gaza.

– On May 27 – 28, the Israeli military launched tank mortars at Palestinian military outposts inside Gaza, killing at least three.

– Next day, on May 29, Palestinian militants launched unguided mortars into nearby Israel. Most of them fell harmlessly and there were no Israeli casualties.

– Then, on May 30, Israeli jets and helicopters launched guided missiles and bombs on 65 different locations within Gaza.

Clearly, the violence started with Israelis killing protesters and then militants inside Gaza, but it’s not portrayed that way. Time magazine began its article with, “Palestinian militants bombarded southern Israel….”

Pro-Israel advocates wish to prevent people from seeing what is really happening. They know the potential damage if people see video such as Israeli snipers celebrating the shooting of unarmed protesters. To prevent this, a proposed law will make it illegal to photograph or video record Israeli soldiers. Palestinian journalists have condemned this attempt to criminalize journalism.

Reality of Israeli occupation

Israel calls itself the “Startup Nation” because of the economic and technological achievements. But in Gaza and the West Bank, Israeli policies and actions strangle the economies and worsen living conditions.

Palestinians in Gaza are kept separate from Palestinians in the West Bank. There is no trade, travel or inter-family visitation. This is in violation of international agreements including the Oslo Accords.

The claim that Israel “departed” Gaza is false. Israel controls the borders, sky and waters around Gaza, a coastal strip just 5 miles wide by 25 miles in length. Unemployment in Gaza is approaching 50 percent, the highest unemployment in the world. Fishermen are prevented from going out into deeper waters and shot at when they go beyond Israel’s imposed zone. Gazan farmers cannot export independently. Israel frequently blocks the import and export of crops and products. It is almost impossible to leave Gaza. Even outstanding students winning international scholarships may have their exit denied. The electrical and water treatment facilities have been bombed and destroyed by Israel. Nearly all the drinking water is contaminated. Israel restricts the amount of food permitted to enter Gaza so there is continual shortage leading to nutritional deprivation, stunted growth and anemia.

This situation is not new. Eighteen years ago, Israeli journalist Amira Hass described the history, the facts and statistics as well as her personal experience living in Gaza in the profound book “Drinking the Sea at Gaza: Days and Nights in a Land Under Siege”. The situation was extremely grim then but keeps getting worse.

At the northern Gaza border, Israel is now building a “sea barrier” extending far out into the Mediterranean. It will be above and below the water line. A major reason for this expensive project is to block sewage and pollution from the waters in front of Gaza. Because of Israeli attacks on sewage treatment and electrical infrastructure, sewage flows into the sea. Last summer, Zikim Beach in southern Israel had to be closed due to the inflow of sewage from Gaza. The ‘sea barrier’ now in construction will block the sea currents. This will keep the Israeli beach clean and greatly compound the problem in Gaza.

The strangulation, impoverishment and oppression are not confined to Gaza. In the West Bank, Israeli settlements continue to expand. This increases the number of checkpoints, restrictions and repression. Travel from Bethlehem to Jerusalem is impossible for most Palestinians. The majority of West Bank water from the aquifers is transferred to Israel or provided cheaply to settlers while Palestinians must buy water and store it in tanks on their rooftops. In the last few years, Israel has made it increasingly difficult or impossible for humanitarian groups to provide medical support including breast cancer screening. A compelling new book titled “The Other Side of the Wall” describes the daily struggle in the West Bank where Palestinians and international allies protest against the theft of land, abuses, random killings and imprisonments.

Defiant Courage

There seems to be a trend towards greater Palestinian unity and strategic agreement. The tens of thousands of Palestinians protesting in Gaza were unarmed and united behind the Palestinian flag rather than separate party or movement flags of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, PFLP, or DFLP.

The Palestinian protesters in Gaza show remarkable courage. Beginning on Friday March 30, they have returned week after week despite seeing thousands of their fellows shot and wounded or killed.

In an article titled “The Gaza Fence that Separates the Brave from the Cowardly”, Amira Hass wrote, “The desperate courage demonstrated by tens of thousands of citizens of Gaza over the past few weeks in general and on Monday in particular hints at the energies, the talents, the dreams, the creativity and the vitality of the inhabitants of this strip of land – who have been subjected to a 27 year policy of closure and siege aimed at suffocating and crushing them.”

Steadfast and persistent

Palestinian resistance continues despite Israeli violence and bloodshed. Seven years ago Palestinian refugees in Syria and Lebanon held “March of Return” protests at the northern borders. Israeli soldiers killed 13 and wounded many more.

In recent days, Gazans have again challenged the Israeli port blockade which prevents ships from departing or arriving. International solidarity with the Palestinian cause is also persistent. Three ships (two Swedish and one Norwegian) recently departed Scandinavia heading for the Mediterranean Sea and Gaza. Named the 2018 Freedom Flotilla, the ships are carrying dozens of international citizens to again demand that Israel stop its blockade of Gaza.

Despite the huge imbalance today, time may be on the side of the Palestinian cause. Systemic apartheid in South Africa existed for a long time and seemed strong. But ultimately it collapsed quickly. The same may unfold in Israel / Palestine.

Today, South Africa is an important supporter of the Palestinian cause. South Africa was the first nation to recall its ambassador to protest the “indiscriminate and grave Israeli attack” in Gaza.

Israel has the military might but Palestinian resistance and courage persists. The Palestinian population is steadfast and growing. They have increasing number of allies who support their cause. Young American Jews are unlike their parents and increasingly critical of Israeli policies. Some courageous Israelis, such as Miko Peled, speak out unequivocally that Israeli apartheid must end and be replaced by one state with democracy and equality for all. A million registered Palestinian refugees live in Lebanon and Syria, patiently waiting. They have not forgotten their legal claim and right to return.

The recent bloodshed and massacres underscore the fact that there is no solution on the current path. It only leads to increasingly unlivable conditions in Gaza plus more illegal settlements and oppression in the West Bank. The so-called “two-state solution” has been dead for many years and should be forgotten. As happened in South Africa, the international community can and should help. It is time to increase international pressure and expand BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) against Israel to help bring a peaceful end to this conflict with its constant oppression and recurring massacres.

The alternative is very grim. As described by Israeli journalist Gideon Levy, “The truth is that Israel is well prepared to massacre hundreds and thousands, and to expel tens of thousands. Nothing will stop it. This is the end of conscience, the show of morality is over. The last few days’ events have proved it decisively. The tracks have been laid, the infrastructure for the horror has been cast. Dozens of years of brainwashing, demonization and dehumanization have borne fruit. The alliance between the politicians and the media to suppress reality and deny it has succeeded. Israel is set to commit horrors. Nobody will stand in its way any longer. Not from within or from without.”

Palestinian courage should spur international action.

Rick Sterling is an investigative journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He can be contacted at rsterling1@gmail.com

Read more:

‘Summary executions & unacceptable brutality’: The Gaza flotilla massacre 8 years on

June 4, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | 2 Comments

While Razan lost her life, Nikki Haley lost her humanity

By Professor Kamel Hawwash | MEMO | June 3, 2018

Last Friday, 1 June, a Palestinian volunteer medic, Razan Al Najar, was fasting and tending to the wounded at Gaza’s artificial fence with Israel. Thousands of miles away, the US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, was scheming on behalf of Israel at the world body. The day ended with martyrdom and glory for Razan and shame and humiliation for Nikki.

Just like she had done since the start of the Great March of Return on 30 March, Razan said goodbye to her family to go to the border, knowing that her skills would undoubtedly be called upon to treat Palestinians planning to march to the fence that artificially separates Gaza from the rest of historic Palestine. They have been marching to exercise their right of return to the homes they and their families hail from and which Israel and its terrorist gangs had expelled them from in 1948 and continued to do since then. Razan’s medical skills would surely be needed because Israel decided to deploy tens of highly trained snipers to kill Palestinians. The number killed has now reached 119, with over ten thousand injured; some estimates put this figure at over 13,000.

A post on Facebook whose accuracy I cannot verify says that her last words to her mother were to ask her to cook stuffed vine leaves for her breaking of the fast meal at sunset. She said her goodbyes and left to join her medical colleagues at the fence. Nikki Haley would at that time probably been having her breakfast before heading to the UN to decide how to deal with the 15-member Security Council. It had failed to agree on any statement regarding the events at the Gaza fence since the start of the marches, despite the high number of casualties. The choice for the Council that day was whether to back a resolution tabled by Kuwait calling for protection for the Palestinian people or to back an American resolution condemning Hamas for a volley of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip in response to Israeli crimes.

Twenty-one-year-old Razan was the eldest of six siblings. She had a diploma in general nursing and had completed some 38 first aid courses. Although she had not secured paid work, she volunteered in hospitals and with NGOs and medical organisations, building skills and experience that made her an asset when it came to the Great March.

In an interview with The New York Times last month, Razan explained why she had volunteered to help with the Great Return March, especially as a woman. “Being a medic is not only a job for a man,” Razan said. “It’s for women, too.”

She also bore witness to the final moments of some of those who were fatally wounded. “It breaks my heart that some of the young men who were injured or killed made their wills in front of me,” she told Al Jazeera. “Some even gave me their accessories [as gifts] before they died.”

In a post on her Facebook account on the 16 May, Razan denied claims that she and others went to the fence under duress.

On 1 June, she was shot in the back by an Israeli sniper, the human rights group Al Mezan stated, citing eyewitnesses and its investigations. She was100m from the fence the moment she was shot and was wearing clothing which clearly identified her as a medic. Her blood stained medical vest accompanied her to her grave during what was a massive funeral the following day.

Contrast the humane and selfless acts of 21-year-old Razan, with limited opportunities to bring peace and justice to her people, with the shameful and brazen attempts in the Security Council by US Ambassador Nikki Hayley to deny another people, Razan’s people, protection from Israeli terror. While Kuwait had brought a resolution to the Council to call on it to fulfill its responsibility to an oppressed people and ensure their protection, Hayley was bringing a resolution to denounce Hamas for the volley of rockets that were launched into other Israeli controlled areas following the deadly attacks at the fence and bombings of the beleaguered enclave.

Votes on the two texts came shortly after Razan’s death. Haley failed to garner any votes for the resolution except her own, with three countries voting against it and 11 abstaining. A complete humiliation for the US and for Haley personally, leaving observers scrambling through historical records to find another occasion when a resolution only had the support of the country proposing it. None were found at the time of writing this piece.

Haley was again isolated when the US vetoed a resolution to protect Palestinians. With her Israel proxy[sic], she had turned her back on a largely unarmed Palestinian people, facing the might of Israel’s military, aided by American military hardware worth billions of dollars. She had walked out of a previous Council meeting on Israel’s killing of Palestinian protesters when their representative began to speak. It was a clear breach of protocol which brought heavy condemnation.  Given her overall performance as US ambassador, President Trump should, without delay, sack Haley. She has brought isolation and disgrace to her country; all for the sake of an undeserving ally, Israel.

On 1 June 2018, Razan lost her life while Nikki Haley lost her humanity defending the terrorist actions of a rogue state, Israel. Razan died a proud Palestinian full of humanity and will be remembered with the same name she was born with. In contrast, Nimrata Randhawa, the daughter of Sikh immigrants will one day pass away to be remembered by her adopted name, Nikki Haley, hiding her Indian heritage. Razan will be remembered for her selfless volunteering while Haley will be remembered for her astonishing role, supporting and shielding the world’s only apartheid state.

Razan had little power to change the dynamics and bring peace to the holy land, while Haley, from one of the most powerful offices in world politics, could have helped protect Palestinians and bring peace to the region. If only Razan had such a high profile office, the world would be a better place.

Rest in peace Razan Al-Najar, you are worth more than a million Nikki Haleys.

June 3, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Sacrificing Gaza: The Great March of Zionist Hypocrisy

By Jim Kavanagh | The Polemicist | June 2, 2018

The Great March of Return is a startling, powerful expression of Palestinian identity and resistance. Thousands of Palestinians have come out, bravely and unapologetically, to say: “We refuse to remain invisible. We reject any attempt to assign us to the discard pile of history. We will exercise our fundamental right to go home.” They have done this unarmed, in the face of Israel’s use of deadly armed force against targets (children, press, medics) deliberately chosen to demonstrate the Jewish state’s unapologetic determination to force them back into submissive exile by any means necessary. By doing this repeatedly over the last few weeks, these incredibly brave men, women, and children have done more than decades of essays and books to strip the aura of virtue from Zionism that’s befogged Western liberals’ eyes for 70 years.

What the Israelis have done over the past few weeks—killing at least 112 and wounding over 13,000 people (332 with life-threatening injuries and 27 requiring amputation)—is a historical crime that stands alongside the Sharpeville Massacre (69 killed), Bloody Sunday (14 killed), and the Birmingham Fire Hoses and Police Dog Repression as a defining moment in an ongoing struggle for justice and freedom. Like those events, this month’s slaughter may become a turning point for what John Pilger correctly calls “the longest occupation and resistance in modern times”—the continuing, unfinished subjugation of the Palestinian people, which, like apartheid and Jim Crow, requires constant armed repression and at least occasional episodes of extermination.

The American government, political parties, and media, which support and make possible this crime are disgraceful, criminal accomplices. American politicians, media, and people, who feel all aglow about professing their back-in-the-day support (actual, for some; retrospectively-imagined, for most) of the Civil-Rights movement in the American South and the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa but continue to ignore the Palestinian struggle for justice against Zionism, because saying peep one about it might cost them some discomfort, are disgraceful, cowardly hypocrites.

You know, the millions of anti-racist #Resistors who are waiting for a quorum of Natalie Portmans and cool elite, preferably Jewish, personalities to make criticism of Israel acceptable before finding the courage to express the solidarity with the Palestinian people they’ve always had in their hearts. Back in the day, they’d be waiting for Elvis to denounce Jim Crow before deciding that it’s the right time to side with MLK, Malcolm, and Fred Hampton against Bull Connor, George Wallace, and William F. Buckley.

Dis/Ingenuity

The bankruptcy of purportedly anti-racist and humanitarian liberal-Zionist ideology and ideological institutions reached an apogee with the eruption of various apologia for Israel in the wake of this crime, not-so-subtly embedded in mealy-mouthed “regret the tragic loss of life” bleats across the mediascape. All the usual rhetorical subjects were rounded up and thrown into ideological battle: “Israel has every right to defend its borders” (NYT Editorial Board);  the “misogynists and homophobes of Hamas” orchestrated the whole thing (Bret Stephens); the protestors are either Hamas “terrorists” or Hamas-manipulated robots, to be considered “nominal civilians” (WaPo ). And, of course, the recurring pièce de résistance: Human Shields!

Somewhere in his or her discourse, virtually every American pundit is dutifully echoing the Israeli talking point laid down by Benjamin Netanyahu during the Israeli attack on Gaza in 2014: that Hamas uses the “telegenically dead” to further “their cause.” The whole March of Return action is “reckless endangerment, bottomlessly cynical” (Stephens). Women and children were “dispatched” to “lead the charges” although they had been “amply forewarned…of the mortal risk.” It’s a “politics of human sacrifice” (Jonathan S. Tobin and Tom Friedman), staged by Hamas, “the terrorist group that controls [Gazans’] lives,” to “get people killed on camera.” (Matt Friedman, NYT Op-Ed). The White House, via spokesman, Raj Shah, adopts this line as its official response “The responsibility for these tragic deaths rests squarely with Hamas,” which “intentionally and cynically provoke[ed] this response” in “a gruesome… propaganda attempt.”

Shmuel Rosner takes this “human shields” trope to its ultimate “no apologies” conclusion in his notorious op-ed in the NYT, “Israel Needs to Protect Its Borders. By Whatever Means Necessary.” Feeling “no need to engage in ingénue mourning,” Rosner forthrightly asserts that “Guarding the border [or whatever it is] was more important than avoiding killing.” They want human sacrifice, we’ll give ‘em human sacrifice!

He acknowledges that Gazans “marched because they are desperate and frustrated. Because living in Gaza is not much better than living in hell,” and that “the people of Gaza … deserve sympathy and pity.” But the Palestinians were seeking “to violate [Israel’s] territorial integrity,” so “Israel had no choice” but to “draw a line that cannot be crossed,” and kill people trying to leave that hell. It was “the only way to ultimately persuade the Palestinians to abandon the futile battle for things they cannot get (“return,” control of Jerusalem, the elimination of Israel).” The alternative is “more demonstrations — and therefore more bloodshed, mostly Palestinian.”

Though he acknowledges that “the interests of Palestinians are [not] at the top of the list of my priorities,” Shmuel nonetheless feels comfortable speaking on their behalf. He sincerely “believe[s] Israel’s current policy toward Gaza ultimately benefits not only Israel but also the Palestinians.” Following the wisdom of “the Jewish sages” (featuring Nick Lowe?) he opines: “Those who are kind to the cruel end up being cruel to the kind.”

Fear not, Shmuel, for the pitiable people of Gaza: Knesset member Avi Dichter reassures us that the Israeli army “has enough bullets for everyone. If every man, woman and child in Gaza gathers at the gate, in other words, there is a bullet for every one of them. They can all be killed, no problem.” For their ultimate benefit. Zionist tough love.

There is nothing new here. Israel has always understood the ghetto it created in Gaza. In 2004, Arnon Soffer, a Haifa University demographer and advisor to Ariel Sharon, said: “when 2.5 million people live in a closed-off Gaza, it’s going to be a human catastrophe. … The pressure at the border will be awful. … So, if we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill. All day, every day…. If we don’t kill, we will cease to exist.” And when challenged again in 2007 about “Israel’s willingness to do what he prescribes… — i.e., put a bullet in the head of anyone who tries to climb over the security fence,” Soffer replied with a shrug: “If we don’t, we’ll cease to exist.”

Soffer’s only plaint: “The only thing that concerns me is how to ensure that the boys and men who are going to have to do the killing will be able to return home to their families and be normal human beings.” A reprise of Golda Meir’s “shooting and crying” lament; “We can never forgive [the Arabs] for forcing us to kill their children.” Ingénue mourning, anyone?

We can point out the factual errors and concrete cruelties that all these apologias rely on.

We can point out that Hamas did not “orchestrate” these demonstrations, and that the thousands of Gazans who are risking their lives are not instruments. “You people always looked down at us,” one Gazan told Amira Hass, “so it’s hard for you to understand that no one demonstrates in anyone else’s name.”

We can point out that the fence the Israelis are defending is not a “border” (What country are the Gazans in?), but the boundary of a ghetto, what Conservative British PM David Cameron called a giant “prison camp” and Israeli scholar Baruch Kimmerling called “the largest concentration camp ever to exist.” It’s a camp that tens of thousands of Palestinians were forced into by the Zionist army. The right of those families (80% of Gaza’s population) to leave that confinement and go home is a basic human right and black-letter international law.

We can point out that Gazans aren’t just trying to cross a line in the sand, they are trying to break a siege, and that: “The blockade is by definition an act of war, imposed and enforced through armed violence. Never in history have blockade and peace existed side by side. …There is no difference in civil law between murdering a man by slow strangulation or killing him by a shot in the head.” Those were, after all, the words of Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban, when he was justifying Israel’s attack on Egypt in 1967. And they are confirmed today by New York judge Mary McGowan Davis, who says: “The blockade of Gaza has to be lifted immediately and unconditionally.”

We can point out that there can be no excuse in terms of modern international law or human rights principles for Israel’s weeks-long “calculated, unlawful” (HRW) mass killing and crippling or unarmed protestors who were standing quietly, kneeling and praying, walking away, and tending to the wounded hundreds of meters from any “fence”—shootings carried out not in any “fog of war” confusion, but with precise, targeted sniper fire (which, per standard military practice, would be from two-man teams).

As the IDF bragged, in a quickly deleted tweet:  “Nothing was carried out uncontrolled; everything was accurate and measured, and we know where every bullet landed.” Indeed, as Human Rights Watch reports, senior Israeli officials ordered snipers to shoot demonstrators who posed no imminent threat to life, and many demonstrators were shot hundreds of meters, and walking away, from the fence.

We can point out that the IDF’s quick deletion of that tweet indicates its consciousness of guilt awareness, in the face of proliferating images of gruesome, unsupportable casualties, of how bad a Rosner-like “no apology, no regrets” discourse sounds. After all, it’s hard, since they “know where every bullet landed,” not to conclude the Israelis deliberately targeted journalists and medical personnel, who were never threatening to “violate [Israel’s] territorial integrity.” There have been at least 66 journalists wounded and 2 killed wearing clearly marked blue “PRESS” flak jackets. And everyone should see the powerful interview with Canadian doctor, Tarek Loubani, who was shot in the leg, describing how, after six weeks with no paramedic casualties, suddenly:

in one day, 19 paramedics—18 wounded plus one killed—and myself were all injured, so—or were all shot with live ammunition. We were all… away during a lull, without smoke, without any chaos at all, and we were targeted…So, it’s very, very hard to believe that the Israelis who shot me and the Israelis who shot my other colleagues… It’s very hard to believe that they didn’t know who we were, they didn’t know what we were doing, and that they were aiming at anything else.

It was on another day that this 21-year-old “nominal civilian” nurse, Razan al-Najjar, was killed by an Israeli sniper while tending to the wounded:

Of course, pointing all this out won’t mean anything to these apologists or to those who give them a platform. Everybody knows the ethico-political double standard at work here. No other country in the world would get away with such blatant crimes against humanity without suffering a torrent of criticism from Western politicians and media pundits, including every liberal and conservative Zionist apologist cited above. Razan’s face would be shining from every page and screen of every Western media outlet, day after day, for weeks. Even an “allied” nation would get at least a public statement or diplomatic protest; any disfavored countries would face calls for punishment ranging from economic sanctions to “humanitarian intervention.” Israel gets unconditional praise from America’s UN Ambassador.

Indeed, if the American government “defended” its own actual international border in this way, liberal Zionists would be on the highest of moral saddles excoriating the Trump administration for its crime against humanity. And—forgetting, as is obligatory, the thousands of heavily-armed Jewish Zionists who regularly force their way across actual international borders with impunity—if  some Arab country’s snipers killed hundreds and wounded tens of thousands of similarly unarmed Jewish Zionist men, women, children, and paraplegics who were demonstrating at an actual international border for the right to return to their biblical homeland, we all know the howling and gnashing of morally outraged teeth that would ensue from every corner of the Western political and media universe. No “Guarding the border was more important than avoiding killing” would be published in the NYT, or tolerated in polite company, for that scenario.

Nathan J. Robinson got to the bottom line in his wonderful shredding of Rosner’s argument, it comes down to: “Any amount of Palestinian death, however large, was justified to prevent any amount of risk to Israelis, however small.” Western governments and media have fashioned, and are doing their utmost to sustain, an ethico-political universe where Israel canlay siege to a million people, ‘bomb them occasionally,’ and then kill them when they show up at the wall to throw rocks.”

Is there a way anymore of not seeing the racism of Zionism? Can we just say, once and for all, that the interests of Palestinians—not as pitiable creatures but as active, fully, enfranchised human beings—are not anywhere on the list of Soffer’s or Dichter’s or Rosner’s (or the Western media’s or governments’) priorities, and refuse any of their pitifully disingenuous expressions of concern for the Palestinians’ benefit? Nobody gets to put “For your own benefit,” in front of “Surrender or I’ll put a bullet in your head.” The only concern any of these commentators have for the people of Gaza is that they submissively accept their forced displacement and imprisonment in “the largest concentration camp ever to exist.”

Does the vulgarity of it shock you?

The “human shields, human sacrifice” trope, which all these apologias hang on, is particularly mendacious and hypocritical as used by Zionists. It’s also a classic example of projection.

This is a “human shield”:

It is Israel which has repeatedly used the specific, prohibited tactic of using children as “human shields” to protect its military forces. According to the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child, Israel is guilty of the “continuous use of Palestinian children as human shields and informants.” Besides this namby-pamby UN Committee that no red-blooded American/Zionist would pay any attention to, the High Court of Justice in Israel identified and denounced the “human shield” procedures the IDF acknowledged and defended using 1,200 times. These include “the ‘neighbor procedure,’ whereby neighbors of wanted Palestinians are forced to go into the wanted man’s house ahead of troops, in case it is booby-trapped,” and Israeli “soldiers forcibly position[ing] members of [a] family, including the children, at the windows of [a] home and proceed[ing] to fire from behind them.”

So, when Zionists use a “human shields” argument as a moral cudgel against unarmed civilian protestors, and a moral justification for a powerful army, which brazenly uses children to shield its own soldiers, killing scores of those protestors by the day—well, it’s not a stretch to see this charge is a projection of Zionists’ own pattern of thought and behavior.

Besides being an ongoing tactic of today’s Israeli army, “human shields” and the “human sacrifice” they imply were an integral element of the Zionist narrative—expressly articulated and embraced, with no apology, as a necessity for the establishment of a Jewish State.

Take a look at what Edward Said in 2001 called: “the main narrative model that [still] dominates American thinking” about Israel, and David Ben-Gurion called “as a piece of propaganda, the best thing ever written about Israel.” It’s the  “’Zionist epic’…identified by many commentators as having been enormously influential in stimulating Zionism and support for Israel in the United States.” In this piece of iconic American culture, an American cultural icon—more sympathetically liberal than whom there is not—explains why he, as a Zionist, is not bluffing in his threat to blow up his ship and its 600 Jewish refugees if they are not allowed to enter the territory they want:

–You mean you’d still set it [200 lbs. of dynamite] off, knowing you’ve lost?… Without any regard for the lives you’d be destroying?…

Every person on this ship is a soldier. The only weapon we have to fight with is our willingness to die.

–But for what purpose?”

Call it publicity.

–Publicity?

Yes, publicity. A stunt to attract attention… Does the vulgarity of it shock you?

More Zionist tough love.

In the face of the scurrilous “human shield” accusation against Palestinians now being used to denigrate the killed, maimed, and still-fighting protestors in Gaza, we would do well to recall Paul Newman’s Zionist-warrior, “no apology,” argument for 600 telegenically dead Jewish men, women, and children as a publicity stunt to gain the sympathy of the world.

Lest we dismiss this as a fiction, remember that Paul Newman’s fictional boat, Exodus, is based on a real ship, the SS Patria. In 1940, the Patria was carrying 1800 Jewish refugees from Nazi-occupied Europe whom the British authorities refused entry into Palestine. While the Patria was in the port of Haifa, it was blown up and sunk by Munya Mardor on the orders of the Haganah, which did not want Jewish refugees going anywhere but Palestine. At least 267 people were killed. The Haganah put out the story that the passengers had blown up the ship themselves – a story that lasted 17 years, nourishing the imagination of Leon Uris, author of the Exodus fiction. This wasn’t a commander or leading organization urging people to knowingly take a deadly risk in confronting a powerful enemy; it was “their” self-proclaimed army blowing its people up with no warning—and then falsely claiming they did it to themselves! Nobody who wouldn’t use “bottomlessly cynical” to denigrate the Haganah should be using it to denigrate Gazans.

At a crucial moment in history, it was Zionists who practiced a foundational “human shield” strategy, holding the victims of Nazism “hostage” to the Zionist “statehood” project – as none other than the publisher of the New York Times, Arthur Hays Sulzberger, recognized and criticized:

I cannot rid myself of the feeling that the unfortunate Jews of Europe’s D. P. [Displaced Persons] camps are helpless hostages for whom statehood has been made the only ransom. …[W]hy in God’s name should the fate of all these unhappy people be subordinated to the single cry of Statehood?

The Exodus/Patria/Paul Newman/Haganah willingness to blow up hundreds of Jewish refugees in order to force their way into a desired territory was an attitude endemic to the Zionist movement, and enunciated quite clearly by its leader, David Ben-Gurion, as early as 1938: “If I knew it was possible to save all [Jewish] children of Germany by their transfer to England and only half of them by transferring them to Eretz-Yisrael, I would choose the latter.” You want human sacrifice?…

(Sulzberger, by the way, “opposed political Zionism not solely because of the fate of Jewish refugees because he disliked the ‘coercive methods’ of Zionists in this country who use economic means to silence those with differing views.” Yes, the NYT ! So change is possible.)

What’s Right Is Wrong

And here’s the thing: You want to call what the Gazans did—coming out unarmed by the thousands, knowing many of them would be killed by a heavily-armed adversary determined to put them down by whatever means necessary—a “politics of human sacrifice”? You are right.

Just as you’d be right to say that of the Zionist movement, when it was weak and faced with much stronger adversaries. And just as you’d be right to say it of the unarmed, non-violent Civil Rights Movement, when it faced the rageful determination of the immensely more powerful American South, to preserve the century-old Jim Crow apartheid that was its identity, by whatever means necessary.

Princeton Professor Eddie Glaude, Jr. nailed it when, to the visible discomfort of his MSNBC co-panelists, he responded to the invocation of the White House line that it’s “all Hamas’ fault and that they’re using them as tools for propaganda,” with: “That’s like saying to the children in the Children’s March of Birmingham it was their fault that Bull Connor attacked them.”

Civil-rights activists did put children on the front lines, and put their own and those children’s lives in danger to fight and defeat Jim Crow. They knew there were a lot of people armed and willing to kill them. And children, as well as activists, were killed. And those actions were supported (but by no means “orchestrated”) by “extremist” organizations—i.e., the Communist Party. At the time, conservatives attacked Freedom Riders with the same arguments that Zionists are now using to attack Gaza Return Marchers.

All unarmed, non-violent but disruptive, Gandhian strategies to eliminate entrenched systems of colonial-apartheid rule will knowingly sacrifice many lives to attain their victory. Call it a politics of human sacrifice if you want. I won’t make any ingénue objections. But it’s not a sign of the subjugated people’s cynicism; it’s a result of their predicament.

“Human sacrifice” defines the kind of choices a desperate and subjugated people are forced to make in the face of armed power they cannot yet overcome. A militarily-weak insurgent/liberation movement must use an effectively self-sacrificing strategy of moral suasion. That is now a standard and powerful weapon in political struggle. (Though moral suasion alone will not win their rights. Never has. Never will.)

For Gazans, it’s the choice between living in a hell of frustration, misery, insult, confinement, and slow death, or resisting and taking the high risk of instant death. It’s the choice faced by people whose “dreams are killed” by Israel’s siege and forced expulsion, and who are willing to risk their lives  “for the world’s attention.” Young men like Saber al-Gerim, for whom, “It doesn’t matter to me if they shoot me or not. Death or life — it’s the same thing.” Or the one who told Amira Hass: “We die anyway, so let it be in front of the cameras.” Or 21-year-old Fathi Harb, who burned himself to death last Sunday. Or Jihadi al-Najjar, who had to make the choice between continuing to care for his blind father (“He was my sight. He helped me in everything, from going to the bathroom to taking a shower to providing for me… I saw life through Jihadi’s eyes.”) or being killed by an Israeli sniper while, as his mother Tahani says “defending the rights of his family and his people.”

Tough choices, to get the world’s attention. This is the kind of choice imposed on the untermenschen of colonial-apartheid regimes. The only weapon they have is their willingness to die. But Gazans won’t get the sympathetically-anguished Paul Newman treatment. Just “bottomlessly cynical.”

Paul’s choice, Sophie’s choice, is now Saber’s and Jihad’s and Fathi’s, and it’s all bad. Maybe some people—comrades and allies in their struggle—have a right to say something about how to deal with that choice. But the one who doesn’t, the one who has no place to say or judge anything about that choice, is the one who is forcing it. Those who are trying to fight their way out of a living hell are not to be lectured to by the devil and his minions.

So, yes, in a very real sense, for the Palestinians, it is a politics of human sacrifice—to American liberals, the gods who control their fate.

By choosing unarmed, death-defying resistance, Palestinians are sacrificing their lives to assuage the faux-pacifist conscience of Americans and Europeans (particularly, I think, liberals), who have decreed from their Olympian moral heights that any other kind of resistance by these people will be struck down with devastating lightning and thunder.

Funny, that these are the same gods the Zionists appealed to to seize their desired homeland, and the same gods the civil-rights activists appealed to to wrest their freedom from local demons of lesser strength. Because, in their need to feel “sympathy and pity,” the sacrifice of human lives seems the only offering to which these gods might respond.

The Nakba Is Now

The Israelis and their defenders are right about something else: They cannot allow a single Gazan to cross the boundary. They know it would be a fatal blow to their colonial-supremacist hubris, and the beginning of the end of Zionism—just as Southern segregationists knew that allowing a single black child into the school was going to be the beginning of the end of Jim Crow. Palestinians gaining their basic human rights means Israeli Jews losing their special colonial privileges.

As Ali Abunimah points out, Arnon Soffer was right, when he said: “If we don’t kill, we will cease to exist,” and Rosner, when he said the Gazans threatened the “elimination of Israel.” To continue to exist as the colonial-apartheid polity it is, Israel must maintain strict exclusionist, “no right of return,” policies. Per Abunimah: “the price of a ‘Jewish state’ is the permanent and irrevocable violation of Palestinians’ rights… If you support Israel’s “right to exist as a Jewish state” in a country whose indigenous Palestinian people today form half the population, then you… must come to terms with the inevitability of massacres.”

What’s happening in Gaza is not only, as Abunimah says, a “reminder… of the original sin of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and the creation of a so-called Jewish state,” it is a continuation of that unfinished work of the devil. The Nakba is now.

I’m all for everybody on both sides of the issue to be aware of the stakes and risks in this struggle, without any disingenuous denials.

Whether you sympathize with, or denigrate, the choices of people who put their own, their comrades’, and even their children’s, lives at risk is not determined by whether some tactical choices can be characterized as “human shields, human sacrifice”; it’s determined by what they’re fighting for, and what and whom they are fighting against, and where your solidarity lies.

Stage Left

Here’s the core of the disagreement about Gaza (and Palestine in general): There are those—they call themselves Zionists—who think the Palestinians deserve to have been put in that concentration camp, and who stand in solidarity with the soldiers who, by whatever means necessary, are forcing them to stay there. And there are those—the growing numbers who reject Zionism—who stand in solidarity with every human being trying to get out of that camp by whatever means necessary.

There’s a fight—between those breaking out of the prison and those keeping them in; between those seeking equality and those enforcing ethno-religious supremacism; between the colonized and the colonizer. Pick a side. Bret Stephens, Shmuel Rosner, and Tom Friedman have. The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Breitbart have. ABC, CBS, (MS)NBC, and Fox have. The Democrats and Republicans and the Congress and the White House have. And they are not shy about it.

It’s past time for American progressives to clearly and unequivocally decide and declare which side they are on. It’s time for professedly humanitarian, egalitarian, pro-human rights, anti-racist, and free-speech progressives to express their support of the Palestinian struggle—on social media, in real-life conversation, and on the street.

It’s time to firmly reject the hypocritical discourse of those who would have been belittling any expression of sorrow and outrage over Emmet Till, Chaney, Schwerner and Goodman, and the four black schoolgirls killed in Birmingham, while “ingénue mourning” the terrible moral quandary in which those disrupters had put Bull Connor’s boys. Don’t shrink from it, talk back to it—every time. Make them ashamed to be defending colonialism and apartheid with such patently phony arguments.

Politically? At a minimum, demand of any politician who seeks your vote: End the blockade of Gaza, immediately and unconditionally. Support BDS. Refuse any attempt to criminalize BDS and anti-Zionism. Stop blocking UN and ICC actions against Israeli crimes. Restrict arms sales to Israel. Reject the hypocritical Zionist apologetics. Refuse any attempt to censor or restrict the internet. (This last is very important. Nothing has threatened Zionist impunity more than the information available on the internet, and nothing is driving the demand to censor the internet more than the Zionists’ need to shut that off.)

This is a real, concrete, important resistance. What’ll it cost? Some social discomfort? It’s not sniper fire. Not human sacrifice. Not Saber’s choice.

Are we at a turning point? Some people think this year’s massacre in Gaza will finally attract a sympathetic gaze from the gods and goddesses of the Imperial City. Deliberately and methodically killing, maiming, and wounding thousands of unarmed people over weeks—well, the cruelty, the injustice, the colonialism is just too obvious to ignore any longer. And I hope that turns out to be so. And I know, Natalie Portman and Roger Waters and Shakira, and—the most serious and hopeful—the young American Jews in groups like Students for Justice in Palestine and IfNotNow. There are harbingers of change, and we must try.

I also know there is nothing new here. Thirty years ago, a doctor in Gaza said: “We will sacrifice one or two kids to the struggle — every family. What can we do? This is a generation of struggle.” It was obvious thirty years ago, and forty years before that. The Nakba was then. The Nakba is now. Was it ever not too obvious to ignore?

My mother was an actress on Broadway, who once came to Princeton University to share the stage, and her professional skills, with Jimmy Stewart and other amateur thespians. She played the ingénue. Me, I’m not so good at that.

By all means, regarding Palestine-Israel and the sacrifices and solidarity demanded: No more ingénue politics.

June 2, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Palestinian ‘Medical Volunteer’ Killed by Israeli Fire in Gaza

Paramedic Razan al-Najjar was shot dead by an Israeli sniper on the Gaza border on June 1. (Photo: via Twitter)
Palestine Chronicle – June 1, 2018

A Palestinian woman – reportedly a medical volunteer – was shot dead by Israeli soldiers on Friday, Gaza’s health ministry has reported, as protests continued on the border with Israel.

Razan al-Najjar – a 21-year old volunteer with the ministry of health – was shot by Israeli forces on the eastern border of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.

There is little information yet on how Najjar was killed.

Friday’s death marks weeks of demonstrations on the Gaza border, beginning 30 March, which has seen at least 123 Palestinian protesters killed by Israeli gunfire.

The protests – dubbed “the Great Return March” – called for the right of return of refugees, and peaked on 14 May when the US moved its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to the contested city of Jerusalem.

Over 61 Palestinians were killed and 2,400 injured on that day, while tens of thousands protested along the besieged strip’s border.

Israeli snipers fired live rounds and tear gas at the protesters, with condemnation from the UN and human rights groups.

June 1, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , | 3 Comments

Gaza Palestinians call for supporters around the world to mobilize in solidarity

Plan for mass protests to end the blockade and occupation

Participants in Gaza’s Great March of Return on the eighth Friday of the demonstration.

Contact:

U.S.: Pam Bailey | founder/director, We Are Not Numbers | +1 301-518-0199 | pam@wearenotnumbers.org

Gaza: Ahmed Alnaouq |+972 567676219 | ahmed@wearenotnumbers.org

Protests marking two historic dates are planned along Israel’s massive “security fence” in Gaza June 5 and 8. June 5 is the 51st commemoration of the Israeli invasion and occupation of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem and on June 7 of the same year, Israel seized control over Jerusalem’s Old City. The committee of Palestinians coordinating the ongoing, mass protests in the Gaza Strip are calling on human rights advocates around the world to mobilize June 5 and 8 in solidarity.

The largest protest in Gaza (as well as in the West Bank) is planned for June 8, since that is a FridayIt also marks the 51st anniversary of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty in international waters off the Gaza Strip. The intelligence ship was well-marked as an American vessel and only lightly armed. This particular anniversary is ironic, since the Israeli navy just attacked and seized a Palestinian vessel called the Liberty when it attempted to sail out of the Gaza harbor May 29.

“We urge all free people everywhere to join the Palestinians by organizing solidarity events to demand that their governments exert pressure on Israel to end its oppression and occupation of the Palestinian people,” said a statement from the Legal Committee of the National Commission for the Return and Breaking-the-Siege Marches. Specifically, the committee calls on activists to push for a ban on the supply of weapons to Israel and support the public boycott of Israeli products.  

“As a nation under occupation, siege and apartheid rule, we need your help to end this oppression, including the blockade of Gaza imposed 12 years ago,” the statement concluded. “We need you to scream out against injustice and double standards and urge your governments to carry out their moral and legal duties to protect the civilians of Palestine.”

Ahmed Alnaouq, project manager for We Are Not Numbers, a youth project in Gaza, notes, “The media and agencies are publishing charts and graphics showing the number of dead and wounded, but it is critical to remember that each one of those numbers represents an unarmed human who had a story to which most of us—even those in the West—could relate. Our team has been busy trying to write those stories so the world cannot hide behind the anonymity of ‘collateral damage’.”

——————————————

WeAreNotNumbers.org—a group of young adults in Gaza whose lives have been forced into a state of limbo by the world’s highest unemployment rate (60 percent among youth), a constant threat of war, a ban on most travel and shortages of electricity averaging 20 hours a day—has worked for the past three years to document the stories of the “silenced voices” in Gaza. Since March 30, when the massive, nonviolent protests began in Gaza, the team has produced regular stories and videos about the “human faces behind the numbers in the news”—including the 128 killed and 13,375 injured by Israeli snipers.

Working for Peace and Justice: Hebron Freedom Fund is a U.S. based 501c3 organization that supports the resiliency and nonviolent efforts of Palestinians living under the most difficult circumstances of Israel’s occupation. 

June 1, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | Leave a comment

‘Summary executions & unacceptable brutality’: The Gaza flotilla massacre 8 years on

RT | May 31, 2018

On May 31, 2010, Israeli forces ambushed an aid flotilla heading to Gaza, killing 10 activists in a siege that drew international condemnation and sparked damning investigations, despite Israel’s efforts to control the narrative.

Six ships – three carrying international aid – were on their way to Gaza to break the blockade imposed by Israel in 2007 when Israeli forces raided the vessels in international waters, about 64 nautical miles from the blockade zone.

The flotilla was organized by the Free Gaza Movement umbrella organization and the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Aid (IHH). Nine Turkish people were killed during the ambush, while a 10th died in 2014, after spending four years in a coma as a result of his injuries.

A UN Human Rights Council report said at least six of the killings were “consistent with an extra-legal, arbitrary and summary execution.” At least 50 other people were injured and Israel arrested more than 600, including 60 journalists, politicians and other passengers.

‘No satisfactory explanation for deaths’

On May 30, the flotilla gathered off the coast of Cyprus to make its way to Gaza. The Israel Defense Forces and Navy told the ships to go to the Israeli port of Ashdod, which the flotilla ignored and Israel claimed the move was a “provocation.” At 4am, Israel signal-jammed communications, and half an hour later, launched its attack.

When Israeli forces attempted to board the largest boat, Mavi Marmara, they were met with resistance. Passengers sprayed water hoses and threw things, including chairs. The first of three helicopters arrived and stun grenades were thrown at the boat, while at the same time, forces took over the other, smaller boats in the flotilla.

The Turkish-owned boat experienced the harshest response in the raid. Nine men were killed on board after being shot some 30 times between them, with five receiving gunshots to the head, Turkey’s autopsies revealed. A 19 year old, who also had US citizenship, was shot five times at close range.

According to Israel’s account, a number of the Mavi Marmara passengers were “hardcore” and bore bars and knives. Activists, however, claim the soldiers began shooting as soon as they entered. “After 20 minutes, maybe 15 minutes, there were three dead bodies,” Knesset Member Hanin Zoabi recounted.

A 2011 Report of the UN Secretary-General’s Panel of Inquiry found Israel gave “no satisfactory explanation” for any of the deaths. It also said that “such substantial force at a great distance from the blockade zone and with no final warning immediately prior to the boarding was excessive and unreasonable.”

While there were no fatalities on the other boats, those on board say they too suffered violence from the raiding Israeli forces. “They treated all of the boats on the flotilla with violence, they didn’t treat any of us peacefully and when they say that, it’s an absolute lie,” Alex Harrison, who was on board another of the vessels, told a Palestine Solidarity Campaign meeting in June, 2010. “Two of the women were hooded, Guantanamo-style.”

Suppressing footage

The flotilla raid drew international outrage, despite Israel getting ahead of the story whilst the activists were detained. Protests over the incident erupted around the world and tensions between Israel and Turkey deteriorated. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the raid was to “prevent the infiltration of thousands of rockets, missiles and other arms that could hit our cities, communities or people.”

Israel sought to play down the events of the raid, releasing radio recordings it claimed showed the boat’s passengers were anti-Semitic and threatening but which it later had to admit had been edited and couldn’t be confirmed as from the Mavi Marmara, as originally claimed.

Officials also released select footage, allegedly showing the activists being violent. This included clips from the footage they had seized, which was condemned by the Foreign Press Association and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). Efforts were also made to frame the IHH as a terrorist organization and some of the passengers as members of Al-Qaeda.

A UN Human Rights Council panel accused Israel of suppressing footage of the raid. The IDF attempted to confiscate images and footage, taking phones and laptops from them, including those belonging to journalists on board. Despite this, an hour of footage from Mari Marmara was released by filmmaker Iara Lee, who was on board.

Israel’s inquiry into the events found its actions were legal under international law and noted the “regrettable consequences of the loss of human life.” The UN General Assembly’s 2010 fact-finding mission found Israeli forces were guilty of a series of violations of international law, and its disproportionate response “betrayed an unacceptable level of brutality.” Israel said this was biased.

In November 2017, the International Criminal Court’s prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said it would not prosecute Israel, but that there is “reasonable basis to believe that war crimes were committed by some members of the Israel Defence Forces.”

Eight years on from the flotilla deaths, Gaza remains under blockade and with two wars waged on Gaza since then, the situation on the ground is more bleak than before. A new flotilla is currently making its way to Gaza, due to arrive in July.

May 31, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , | 1 Comment