Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Why do so many spy agencies take so much interest in Gaza?

By Motasem A Dalloul | MEMO | September 16, 2019

The Gaza Strip is a part of Palestine with more than two million Palestinians living in around 365 square kilometres. It has been occupied by Israel since 1967, which has imposed a near-total 13-year land, air and sea blockade. It is regarded as one of the most densely populated areas on earth.

The coastal enclave has been subject to many Israeli military offensives, with three major attacks during the past decade alone. It has no natural resources and “less than four per cent of fresh water is drinkable and the surrounding sea is polluted by sewage.” Tragic humanitarian statistics — unemployment at 52 per cent; poverty 53 per cent; water pollution 95 per cent; and daily power outage 75 per cent — convey a bleak picture. A United Nations report warned in 2018 that it could soon become unfit for humans to live in by 2020.

However, Gaza has a presence in many corridors of power around the world, in both the East and the West. Last week, a security source in Gaza told me that they had so far discovered agents for 25 regional and international intelligence agencies operating in the territory.

Furthermore, every official or partisan Israeli election list has the issue of Gaza at the top of the agenda in their current campaigns. What are they promising to do with the Gaza Strip?

According to Ron Ben-Yishai, the military correspondent of Yedioth Ahronoth, for example, the Likud Party is planning a large-scale military ground operation in Gaza to deter the Palestinians’ “military power”, after which, he claimed, Israel will call for the world to disarm the security forces there and reconstruct the infrastructure and economy. The Blue and White party, said Ben-Yishai, is promising potential voters that it will do more or less the same thing as Likud.

The veteran journalist pointed out that the head of Israel’s Jewish Home party, Avigdor Lieberman, is promising its voters to carry out a similarly “strong” military operation in Gaza to “completely” remove its government before rebuilding the enclave “from zero”. Again, the intention is to have a disarmed population on Israel’s doorstep. The Yamina alliance led by the former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, meanwhile, is promising to carry out a massive air strike in Gaza and carry out assassinations (“targeted killings”) of Palestinian leaders.

It is no secret that Egypt is a major player in the situation in Gaza. It plays a role in the Israeli and internationally-backed blockade, and has a special unit in almost every security agency tasked with dealing with the Gaza Strip. In practice, Egypt, is the only state beside Israel which has a land border with the Gaza Strip, but regards it as a security issue and is dealing with it as such. As far as the Palestinians can see, though, since the time of ousted President Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s deep state gives priority to Israel’s interests in Cairo’s relationship with Gaza.

End Gaza Siege! – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

The UAE has imposed severe restrictions on Gaza since the victory of the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, in the 2006 elections. Hamas has been the de facto government in Gaza ever since. The government in Abu Dhabi has since deported or asked hundreds of Palestinians from Gaza to leave the Emirates, and has been running active intelligence agencies in the Gaza Strip with the help of Palestinian MP Mohammed Dahlan who lives in the UAE with his family.

During the 2014 Israeli military offensive against Gaza, the security services discovered that an ostensibly medical aid convoy which entered the territory included intelligence staff instead of doctors and medical staff. To avoid clashes with the UAE, the Gaza security officials immediately deported the UAE nationals.

Jordan also has a hidden agenda in Gaza. A security source told me that a Jordanian MP who visited the territory during the 2014 Israeli offensive was discovered collecting and reporting intelligence on behalf of a certain country. He was immediately deported with the threat that he would be exposed to the media if he did not leave his hotel in the enclave at once.

Other known agents active in Gaza include those working on behalf of Saudi Arabia, Western powers, the US and Russia. Prior to 2008/9, an American citizen in her 20s entered Gaza posing as a journalist and claimed to me that she was a CIA agent. Israel, of course, has many Palestinian collaborators in the territory.

Why are the countries of the world paying so much attention to the sliver of land known as the Gaza Strip? Could it be because Gaza is the only place in the whole Arab world which is being ruled by the people who were chosen by democratic elections declared to be free and fair by international monitoring bodies, including the NGO run by former US President Jimmy Carter? Or is it because the Gaza Strip is a “superpower” that the whole world is afraid of? May be the latter is true precisely because of that electoral accountability.

September 16, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Timeless or most popular | , , | 3 Comments

Saudi officials detain another Hamas leader in crackdown on Palestinian movement

Press TV – September 16, 2019

Saudi authorities have reportedly arrested another senior Hamas leader, as the conservative kingdom steps up its crackdown and repressive measures against the Palestinian resistance movement as well as those seeking to collect donations for people living in the impoverished Gaza Strip.

Palestinian political and family sources told Arabic-language al-Khaleej Online news website on Sunday that Saudi officials have detained Saudi Arabian citizen Abu Ubaydah Khayri Hafiz al-Agha – the son of one of the most prominent founders of Hamas, identified as Khayri al-Agha, who died of natural causes in Saudi Arabia in 2014.

The source added that Saudi authorities had put Agha in Dhahban Central Prison, which is a maximum security prison facility located near the Red Sea port city of Jeddah.

The director general of al-Zaytouna Center for Studies and Consultations, Dr. Mohsen Mohammad Saleh, told Khaleej Online that Agha is being kept behind bars for more than a year and a half, without any specific information about the reason for his detention.

On Saturday, Hamas called on Saudi authorities to immediately release its high-ranking official Muhammad al-Khudari, who was detained in the country five months ago without any clear charges.

Khudari, who has been living in Saudi Arabia for over 30 years, represented Hamas between mid-1990s and 2003 in Saudi Arabia. He has held other important positions in the Palestinian resistance movement as well.

Back on June 3, Lebanese Arabic-language daily newspaper al-Akhbar, citing informed sources who requested anonymity, reported that Saudi officials had been holding dozens of Saudi nationals and Palestinian expatriates in detention for months over affiliation to Hamas.

The report added that the most prominent figure among those arrested was Dr. Khudari.

Al-Akhbar went on to say that the campaign of arrests coincided with the closure and tight control of bank accounts, and a ban on sending any money from Saudi Arabia to the Gaza Strip.

Over the past two years, Saudi authorities have deported more than 100 Palestinians from the kingdom, mostly on charges of supporting Hamas financially, politically or through social networking sites.

The Riyadh regime has imposed strict control over Palestinian funds in Saudi Arabia since the end of 2017.

All remittances of Palestinian expatriates are being tightly controlled, under the pretext that these funds could be diverted indirectly and through other countries to Hamas.

Money transfer offices are asking the Palestinians to bring forward strong arguments for conversion, and do not allow the ceiling of one’s money transfer to exceed $3,000.

September 16, 2019 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , | 1 Comment

Hamas: Saudi detains one of ‘our senior leaders’

MEMO | September 9, 2019

Hamas on Monday said “one of its senior leaders” and his son have been in Saudi custody since April of this year, reports Anadolu Agency.

In a statement, the group said the Saudi security services arrested Mohammad al-Khoudary, who has been living in Saudi Arabia for three decades and described the arrest as a “reprehensible action”.

The statement mentioned that al-Khoudary was responsible for administering the relations with Saudi Arabia for over the past two decades and he got several leading positions in the movement.

“Hamas kept silent over the past five months of his arrest to allow for mediations efforts but these efforts have yet to bear fruit”, it said.

Euro-Mediterranean Monitor for Human Rights, a Geneva-based group, also said that the Saudi authorities detain around 60 Palestinians in its jails.

In a statement, the rights group called on Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz to order the immediate release of the detainees, especially those who are detained without specific indictments.

September 9, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , | 1 Comment

Hamas appreciates European court decision to remove it from terror list

Palestine Information Center – September 7, 2019

GAZA – The Hamas Movement has appreciated the verdict of a European court in Luxembourg to cancel previous decisions designating it and its armed wing, al-Qassam Brigades, as terror entities.

Hamas spokesman Abdul-Latif Qanua stated in a press release that the decision was a positive step in the right direction and would contribute to supporting the Palestinian people’s national cause and their right to struggle against the occupation.

“All laws have given our Palestinian people the right to struggle against the Israeli occupation and defend their national rights,” spokesman Qanua said.

He called for necessarily building up on this decision to remove further unjust bias against his Movement.

“Hamas is an integral part of our Palestinian people and won fair elections, and it would be unjust and frivolous to have it on terror lists,” the spokesman added.

According to local websites in Gaza on Friday, the Movement’s attorney in Europe, Khaled al-Showli, said the European Court of First Instance in Luxembourg decided last Thursday to remove Hamas and its armed wing from the world’s list of terrorism.

He also said that the court’s verdict was not final, but the previous decisions on the reinsertion of Hamas and its military wing on terrorist lists became “null and void.”

September 7, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , | 1 Comment

Paraguay Labels Hamas, Hezbollah ‘Terrorist Groups’; Israel Applauds

teleSUR | August 19, 2019

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Paraguay’s decision Monday to label Palestinian organization Hamas and Lebanese militant group and political party Hezbollah, as “international terrorist organizations,” a move that comes shortly after Argentina first blacklisted Hezbollah.

“I welcome the decision of Paraguayan President Mario Abdo to define Hezbollah and Hamas as terrorist organizations,” Netanyahu said in a statement  before he added that Israel is “working so that more countries will also take this important step.”

Paraguay announced its decision on Monday to designate the Lebanese group, along with the political faction of Hamas that governs Gaza in Palestine, as terrorist groups. The South American country’s presidency detailed that Hamas and Hezbollah will be ranked “international terrorist organizations” and al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group “global terrorist organizations”. The difference between the labels was not made clear.

With this resolution, the country “recognizes and reaffirms its commitment to redouble efforts to prevent and combat violent extremism”, the presidency stated.

Several states have already listed both groups as terrorists, among them Israel, the United States, and Canada. Washington designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization in 1997. However, the U.S. has been recently leading a fierce campaign in the backdrop of its warmongering against Iran and has been pushing more and more countries to designate the Hezbollah (which is backed by Iran) as a terrorist group.

Argentina was the first Latin American country to take the step, gaining recognition from Washington’s neoconservatives,  including U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Following Argentina’s move, a group of Republican lawmakers called on Pompeo to pressure Brazil and Paraguay to act the same and to designate Hezbollah.

“Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay are in a unique position to take meaningful strides in the fight against terrorism at the hands of Hezbollah,” said Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn in a statement at the time.

“We must recommit to ensuring that Hezbollah and other Iranian proxies are denied the resources they need to escalate their campaign of global terrorism,” added Ted Cruz, another Republican senator and co-signatory of the letter to Pompeo.

Hezbollah and Hamas leaders say their movements are resistance movements. The Palestine Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) was created out of the military occupation of the West Bank, Jerusalem, and Gaza, while the Lebanese Party of God (Hezbollah) rose to oppose the presence of Israel in the south of Lebanon.

The pressure exercised on Israel to leave the south of Lebanon (2000) and Gaza (2005) produced massive popular support which resulted in victories in both municipal and national elections. Both armed groups shifted since then towards increasingly passive policies, though at the same time they continue to be condemned to ostracism by Israel, the U.S. and Europe.

Last month, Trump’s administration imposed sanctions on Hezbollah political officials, including members of the Lebanese parliament, accusing the group of threatening the “economic stability and security of Lebanon and the wider region.”

RELATED: 

US Blames Hezbollah Leader for 1994 Buenos Aires Attack

August 20, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | 9 Comments

Facebook defeats appeal in US claiming it aided Hamas attacks in Israel

MEMO | July 31, 2019

Facebook Inc on Wednesday defeated an appeal by American victims of Hamas attacks in Israel, who sought to hold the company liable for providing the group a social media platform to further its terroristic goals, Reuters reports.

The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said the Communications Decency Act (“CDA”), a 1996 law regulating internet content, shielded Facebook from civil liability.

It also declined to consider the plaintiffs’ foreign law claims, noting that most plaintiffs, including relatives and estates of victims, said they were Americans living in Israel.

The plaintiffs originally sought $3 billion in damages from Facebook, for allowing Hamas to use its platform to encourage terrorist attacks in Israel, celebrate successful attacks, and generally support violence toward that country.

Their complaint described Hamas attacks against five Americans, four of whom died, in Israel from 2014 to 2016.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Facebook, based in Menlo Park, California, did not immediately respond to similar requests.

Wednesday’s decision is a fresh setback to efforts to hold companies such as Facebook and Twitter Inc liable for failing to better police users’ online speech. It upheld a May 2017 dismissal by US District Judge Nicholas Garaufis in Brooklyn.

In seeking to overturn that dismissal, the plaintiffs said Facebook functioned as a matchmaker between Hamas and people receptive to its messages, and should not be immune from liability as a mere “publisher” of Hamas’ content.

Circuit Judge Christopher Droney, however, said it would turn the CDA “upside-down” to suggest that Facebook’s having become an “especially adept” publisher exposed it to liability.

He also refused to hold Facebook liable because its “friend” and content-based algorithms might have helped direct people interested in Hamas.

“Merely arranging and displaying others’ content to users of Facebook through such algorithms – even if the content is not actively sought by those users – is not enough to hold Facebook responsible as the ‘developer’ or ‘creator’ of that content,” Droney wrote.

Chief Judge Robert Katzmann, part of the three-judge appeals court panel, dissented from the algorithms discussion.

He said Congress did not consider how broadly to immunize social media companies, when it passed the CDA to regulate online pornography, and might rethink how to treat those accused of encouraging terrorism, propaganda and extremism.

“Over the past two decades the Internet has outgrown its swaddling clothes,” Katzmann wrote. “It is fair to ask whether the rules that governed its infancy should still oversee its adulthood.”

The US Department of State has designated Hamas a foreign terrorist organization since 1997.

The case is Force et al v. Facebook Inc et al, 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 18-397.

July 31, 2019 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hamas lauds Abbas’s decision to revoke agreements with Israel

Palestine Information Center – July 26, 2019

GAZA – The Hamas Movement has applauded Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas’s decision to renounce the agreements signed with Israel as “a step in the right direction,” calling for translating it into actions immediately.

“This move is in line with the requirements of the difficult stage the Palestinian cause is facing and will repair wrong paths that have always twisted the Palestinian political trajectory and brought the Palestinian question to such difficult juncture,” Hamas stated on Thursday.

The Movement stressed that the Palestinian people looks forward to real and urgent practical measures that translate Abbas’s decision into actions.

July 26, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | Leave a comment

Egypt Rejects Hamas’ Request for Haniyeh to Travel

Palestine Chronicle | July 12, 2019

Egypt has rejected a request by Hamas to allow the head of its political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, to travel to a number of countries including Iran, Turkey, Qatar, and Russia.

Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported Egyptian sources as saying that after postponing its response, Cairo finally rejected it saying that regional and security conditions do not allow for Haniyeh to travel.

The news site quoted a Hamas source as saying:

“It is clear that Egypt completely objects to Haniyeh’s foreign tour, in protest against the countries which he will visit.”

The source pointed out that Hamas has decided that Mousa Abu Marzouk will head the movement’s delegation to Moscow next week to discuss the Palestinian reconciliation file among other issues.

The source added that the visit has been postponed more than once in the hope that Egypt would allow Haniyeh to travel.

July 12, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hamas Condemns Bahrain Minister’s Comments on ‘Israel’

Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid Bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa
Al-Manar | June 28, 2019

A senior member of the Hamas Political Bureau has condemned comments by Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Khalid Bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa that ‘Israel’ is a “country to stay” in the region which should be recognized.

Mousa Abu Marzook took to Twitter to say that the minister’s call for such recognition by Arab states proved that the goal of the “Peace to Prosperity” workshop in Manama is to destroy Palestinian rights and normalize ties with the Israeli occupation. The Hamas official reiterated his rejection of the workshop.

According to the Bahraini Foreign Minister on Wednesday, the Manama conference could be a “game changer”. Speaking to an Israeli TV channel, Al-Khalifa added that the Manama summit could be like Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s visit to occupied Jerusalem in 1977, which paved the way for the Camp David Accords and normalization of ties between Egypt and the Israeli occupation. He confirmed that his country recognizes the Israeli occupation state’s “right to exist” and that it wants “peace” with Tel Aviv.

June 28, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Mishaal: Palestinians are unanimous in rejecting deal of the century

Palestine Information Center – June 27, 2019

Former head of Hamas’s political bureau Khaled Mishaal has expressed the Palestinian people’s rejection of the US deal of the century and its economic conference in Bahrain.

In televised remarks on Tuesday, Mishaal described the deal of the century as “suspicious, poisonous and aimed at liquidating the Palestinian cause,” affirming that “the Palestinian people are unanimous in rejecting the deal and will not allow it to take place.”

“The deal of the century has no future and will be doomed to failure, God willing,” he said.

“There are Palestinian constants and red lines our people are adherent to and they will not accept any bargaining over them,” the Hamas official added.

He accused some Arab regimes of attempting to sell out Palestine which he described as “the Jewel of the Arabs” through accepting bribes coming from their own money.

“Those who have internal crises and agendas and want to sacrifice Palestine for their own sake and to please American are mistaken and committing a crime against Palestine. If they want to gamble, they should gamble with what they have,” he stressed.

He said that Israel can never be part of any solution or the region, describing it as an enemy of the Palestinian people and the Arab nation.

June 27, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | Leave a comment

Haniyeh: ‘Palestine is not for sale’

MEMO | June 27, 2019

Head of Hamas’ political bureau Ismail Haniyeh has said that the Manama workshop “secures economic cover for a political attempt to liquidate the Palestinian cause.”

Haniyeh’s statement came in a speech during a conference organised by Palestinian factions on Tuesday, entitled the Palestinian National Conference to face the Deal of the Century and Reject the Manama Workshop held in Gaza.

He added: “We are witnessing a crucial historical moment. Our position is clear: Palestine is not for sale. No for deals which consecrate the occupier’s hegemony over our land.”

He continued: “The Palestinian people stand today in the face of the Manama workshop in a renewed uprising and political revolution, as Palestinians have sensed the unprecedented strategic threat facing the Palestinian cause.”

Haniyeh pointed out that the Manama workshop “grants Israel the green light to expand its occupation efforts and control over the entire West Bank, in addition to paving the way for normalisation with Arab countries and the integration of the occupier in the region.”

He stressed that the workshop “was born dead and frustrated. The Palestinian people today stand unified in the face of these deals.”

Haniyeh continued that “all Arab people stand today to emphasise the significance of the Palestinian cause and that Jerusalem is the compass of the nation.”

On Tuesday evening the Manama Peace to Prosperity Workshop began in Bahrain, looking at the economic aspects of the Middle East peace settlement plan, known as the deal of century, according to US media.

Haniyeh demanded all factions “insist on steadfast adherence to the Palestinian cause, primarily Jerusalem, the right of return and a sovereign state with Jerusalem as its capital on the entire national territory.”

Haniyeh said: “We, Hamas, are ready now to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Gaza, in Cairo or anywhere.”

Haniyeh called for “the formation of a government of national accord to run our affairs, and prepare for the presidential and legislative elections as well as the Palestinian National Council.”

The movement’s leader also called for “the reconstruction of the Palestine Liberation Organisation to include all factions under one single leadership.”

June 27, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Disinformation and False Accusations of Anti-Semitism

Permitting Israel’s Slow Motion Genocide of Palestinians

By Heather Stroud | Dissident Voice | June 16, 2019

The smearing of George Galloway and widely reported disinformation that there was no evidence to support the claim that Viva Palestina delivered aid, raises serious concerns, not just in this case, but far beyond.

It is seriously disturbing how disinformation and lazy ‘cut and paste’ journalism has become common place within the monopoly media of the UK. One wonders where the professional and serious investigative reporting of old has gone.

With regard to the ‘possibly liable’ headlines of several national newspapers: Gaza charity ‘may have delivered no aid’ ‘no evidence of charitable activity’ and so forth…, as a participant of  the Viva Palestina Convoy 2009/10, I can confirm that not only was medical aid delivered to Gaza, there is significant evidence to support this. The medical supplies were, in fact, accurately documented as required and submitted to customs officials in the countries we passed through. So, why didn’t the charities commission, the government and the mainstream journalists find any evidence? Why didn’t they speak to any of the hundreds of witnesses who would likely be willing to testify in a court of law, were they called upon to do so.

My conclusion is that they didn’t look, which brings us to the more serious question: why didn’t they look?

It doesn’t take much imagination to consider why journalists and career politicians might have chosen not to look. It is frightening to consider how we have allowed ourselves to slide into this Orwellian condition of cognitive dissonance where investigative journalists and publishers are punished, criminalised and imprisoned for writing the truth, while the commonplace peddling of disinformation is rewarded.

To quote from George Orwell; “During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” Julian Assange understands this more than most.

I’m not an investigative journalist; however, as a concerned citizen, my first question would be: Who were the people within the Charities Commission that instigated ‘Viva Palestina’ (a campaigning group), to register as a charity.

I remember that none of the participants of the convoy considered what we were doing as charity. Palestinians are not looking for charity. They want a political solution that offers dignity, freedom and justice. It was this political solution we were attempting to achieve by driving the convoy of politically decorated ambulances overland to Gaza. The symbolism of taking medical supplies was the powerful message that drew people from their homes to wave their support as we drove by.

Further questions we should all ask: “What was the motive in forcing a campaigning group to register as though it were a charity? Were those behind this move politically motivated in any way?”

Given all the false charges of anti-Semitism directed against George Galloway and many other outspoken critics of Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians, it is credible to surmise that there ‘might’ have been political motives behind, not only forcing ‘Viva Palestina’ to fall under the power of the charities commission, but also the later investigation and false accusation – delivered ten years after the event: ‘of the probability that no aid was delivered’.

Seriously, such throw away meaningless phrases such as.., ‘may not have’ ‘high likely’ … whatever happened to evidence-based accusations?

The convoys of ambulances packed with medical supplies, (Viva Palestina 2009) grew out of an inspirational idea put forward by George Galloway. Both within the UK and indeed globally, individuals were/and continue to be shocked by the brutal attacks on a largely defenceless population living under siege in Gaza. The Israeli ‘Operation Cast Lead’ of 2008/9 left around 1,440 people dead and many more thousand injured. Ten years on, Gaza continues to face a slow genocide so the motivation to place blame on those who speak out about these outrageous war crimes and crimes against humanity, are well entrenched within the establishment and media.

The aims of Viva Palestina were threefold: besides delivering ambulances and medical supplies to Gaza by driving across Europe, Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Egypt in convoy, our aim was to raise awareness as to the desperate plight of the Gazan people. The medical supplies will have been used up long ago; however, our intended aim of  raising awareness and demonstrating love and solidarity toward the Palestinians is enduring.

Viva Palestina was not one person. It was an inspirational campaigning umbrella for more than a hundred and ten different groups that comprised around 500 people from an international collective of around 17 different nationalities. The largest contingent participating in the convoy came from UK, followed by Turkey, Malaysia, and Jordanian doctors.

I was one of four who represented the people of York. Besides contributing our own money we fundraised locally and were responsible for our own financial accounting. Although it’s credible to believe that £1M was around the total sum of aid delivered, other than the international groups none of the local UK groups would have individually met the threshold of the £25,000.00 that was the excuse to force charity status on us. Our first purchase was an ambulance for which we paid £6,000.00. Having acquired the ambulance money came in more readily and we were able to purchase medical supplies, a defibrillator, and a second hand dialysis machine. This we handed over personally to doctors from the Red Crescent in Gaza. However spurious claims that we might have handed over aid (aid that we supposedly didn’t have) to ‘the ruling government’ are misleading and disingenuous. Hamas is the democratically elected government of Palestine. Just like our government which has a financial responsibility toward the NHS, Hamas finances the main Al Shifa Hospital, along with a responsibility for the health services of the population of Gaza. Had we handed our ambulance and medical supplies over to them, as many did, this would have been absolutely legitimate.

In a report put out by the UK government based on the charity commissions findings, it is stated that trustees of Viva Palestina were found lacking in their assessment of the risks. I should add that all participants were aware that there were risks. It was discussed prior to departure of the convoy and during the journey on several occasions. Given the Egyptian military siege that took place in El Arish against all participants of the convoy, it would have been comforting to think our government thought well enough of us, to have made some diplomatic gesture toward protecting us. The only response I am aware of from them was: “You were advised not to go. You are on your own.” Maybe behind the scenes they said something, but we were certainly not aware of it.

In contrast it was evident that the Turkish Government, the Malaysian Government and others, did take diplomatic steps to offer assistance to their citizens and as a result the military confrontation and siege ended with few casualties. Sadly this was not the case at the Rafa borders where Palestinians gathered in protest of our coming under siege by the Egyptian military. One Egyptian soldier was killed and a Palestinian was shot in the legs. If a reminder were needed, this tragedy reflects the brutality of conflict in this area of the world and what Palestinians in Gaza face on a daily basis.

We have normalised wars waged against civilians as though this were a natural condition of being human. Gaza continues to face a slow genocide, so the motivation for Palestinians during this current ‘Great March of Return’ arrives out of a sense of despair as they witness their country being steadily stolen away. Trump’s declaration that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel simply added fuel to an already simmering anger. This desperate act of resistance arises in the belief that it is better to die in dignity than to die slowly on one’s knees.

The courage of the Palestinians comes from the belief that their individual death might trigger a global outrage that will finally bring justice and freedom for the children of their community. The realisation of this belief is slow in coming; however, it’s this faith in our common humanity that gives them the courage to transcend fear. It was this same faith that persuaded us to undertake the long journey across Europe and beyond in hopes of stirring a conscious awakening of decent people to this injustice.

In contrast to our good will, disinformation and labels function as a way of de-legitimising genuine resistance to injustice, resistance to the theft of one’s land, the theft of one’s freedom, and resistance to the theft of many lives… resistance to all that is inherently wrong.

Palestinians and their democratically elected government, Hamas, are frequently described as terrorists by Israel, UK and its politically ideological Zionist supporters; however, when Israel bombs Gaza and drops white phosphorous on its civilian population, it is stated that Israel is defending itself.

Labels and calculated disinformation function as a way of diverting attention  from legitimate outrage. People are afraid of the slurs and negative labels that might be attached to them; in the case of supporting Palestinians one is charged with being anti-Semitic. We just have to look at how these attacks on Jeremy Corbyn, George Galloway and the participants of Viva Palestina, to see how labels, false charges and calculated disinformation have become weaponised.

Labels don’t need truth to stick. Like lies they just have to be said often enough and with enough force to be intimidating and carry the power to turn a contrived falsehood into a popularly held truth. A false label is like the smelly stuff that clings to the bottom of your shoe if you are unfortunate enough to walk on the wrong part of the pavement. Evidently, George Galloway, like Jeremy Corbyn and all those of us on the Viva Palestina Convoy, have trodden in the wrong place by our physical endeavour to demonstrate an ongoing injustice and an unpalatable truth into the reaches of power.

June 16, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 1 Comment