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Why bombing Ashkelon is the most tragic irony PDF Print E-mail
Dec 30, 2008 at 12:00 AM

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

How easy it is to snap off the history of the Palestinians, to delete the narrative of their tragedy, to avoid a grotesque irony about Gaza which – in any other conflict – journalists would be writing about in their first reports: that the original, legal owners of the Israeli land on which Hamas rockets are detonating live in Gaza.

That is why Gaza exists: because the Palestinians who lived in Ashkelon and the fields around it – Askalaan in Arabic – were dispossessed from their lands in 1948 when Israel was created and ended up on the beaches of Gaza. They – or their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren – are among the one and a half million Palestinian refugees crammed into the cesspool of Gaza, 80 per cent of whose families once lived in what is now Israel. This, historically, is the real story: most of the people of Gaza don't come from Gaza.

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Canadian Union of Postal Workers letter regarding Israeli attack on Gaza Freedom Flotilla PDF Print E-mail
May 31, 2010 at 12:42 PM

By email and mail

May 31, 2010 

Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Office of the Prime Minister 
80 Wellington Street 
Ottawa  ON      K1A 0A2

Dear Prime Minister Harper,

I am writing to you on behalf of the 54,000 members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.  You will be aware that the Israeli navy, in an act of piracy in international waters, has hijacked the international flotilla of ships which was attempting to deliver essential humanitarian aid to Gaza.  The aid includes construction materials which would enable the people of Gaza to rebuild the homes destroyed by Israel in Operation Cast Lead in 2009.  
  
There are nearly 700 people on board the boats, all of whom are civilians from around the world, including Members of Parliament from a number of nations, eminent writers and a Nobel Peace Prize winner. They have undertaken this mission out of concern for the people of Gaza, who are now entering their fourth year under siege, without access to basic necessities. They pose no threat to Israel, and are completely unarmed.  
   
Despite this, the Israeli navy has attacked the flotilla outside of international waters this morning resulting in fatalities estimated by the Israeli military itself as 10 and by news sources at possibly in excess of 20 with another large number injured. Israeli news sources say that hospitals around Ashdod have been told to prepare for many injured people arriving. 

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Walls triumph over bridges…conference on siege is a victim of siege PDF Print E-mail
Oct 20, 2008 at 01:03 AM

Gaza Community Mental Health Programme  Date : 10-20-2008 
 
In a shocking turn, the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme found their International Conference, "Siege and Mental Health… Walls vs. Bridges" under siege. The conference was scheduled to be held on 27-28 October in the Gaza strip. However, following one year of planning and preparation, the academic conference has been disrupted by the Israeli Authorities decision to deny admittance to the international conference participants, only two weeks prior the conference. What better irony to highlight the effects of the siege?

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Free Gaza Movement to set sail again on October 28, 2008 PDF Print E-mail
Oct 26, 2008 at 12:14 AM

On October 28, 2008, the Free Gaza Movement will set sail again for Gaza. On board will be a Nobel Peace Prize winner, five physicians, a member of the Israeli Knesset, and a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council. The boat will again carry 26 passengers and crew to the port of Gaza.

“We’ve spent the past month making sure our boat is better and stronger, because the weather is getting more severe. Since we promised the people of Gaza we’d return, we wanted to make sure we would return safely”, said Derek Graham, first mate on board the boat. Mairead Maguire, the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize winner for her work for peace in Northern Ireland and one of the passengers on board stated, “We sail to Gaza to show the people we love and care for them. What less can we do whilst our governments remain silent and inactive in face of such preventable suffering of the women and children of Gaza and Palestine.”

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Power to the (Palestinian) People! PDF Print E-mail
Jan 23, 2008 at 12:00 AM

Jeff Halper
January 23, 2008

The people of Palestine have done it again, taking their own fate in their hands after being let down by their own "moderate" political leadership and, indeed, the entire international community in their struggle for freedom. Early this morning they simply blew up the wall separating Gaza from Egypt, breaking a siege imposed on them by an Arab government in collaboration with Israel.

We, the peoples of the world, should take great pride and encouragement in this quintessentially civil society refusal to accept subjugation, to abandon their fate to governments, including their own, for whom the lives of ordinary people are simply grist for their political charades – Annapolis and its subsequent "peace process" being but the last cynical expression. For the Palestinians represent far more than just themselves. Their refusal to submit to the dictates of governments, or to governments' lack of interest in the well-being of people in general, reflects the desire of billions of oppressed people for identity, freedom, a decent life and actualization of their collective and individual rights and potentials. Most of the oppressed, the "wretched of the earth" as Franz Fanon called them a half-century ago, are too preoccupied with the daunting daily struggle for survival to organize and resist. Others do resist in a myriad of ways, but are most often repressed by their own political and economic "leaders," disappearing anonymously from view. In a few cases they have managed to mount effective resistance to oppression, even to prevail – though the billions spent on "counterinsurgency" warfare by the US, Europe, Russia, Israel and many "developing" nations augur ill for peoples attempting to overthrow oppressive regimes.

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Jewish group condemns Israeli attack on Gaza Freedom Flotilla PDF Print E-mail
May 31, 2010 at 12:41 PM
News release – for immediate release May 31, 2010

Montreal -- Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV) has expressed shock and outrage in response to the deaths and injuries of participants in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla at the hands of the Israeli navy.

The UN and numerous NGOs have described the conditions in Gaza, caused by the Israeli blockade, as a humanitarian disaster. This flotilla is an heroic attempt to break the blockade, which has inflicted so much needless pain and suffering on the people of Gaza for the past several years,” said IJV spokesperson Larry Haiven. “The flotilla has our organization's full support.”

Instead of responding to this growing concern for the suffering that the people of Gaza caused by the blockade, Israel has reacted by unleashing murderous violence against this non-violent solidarity effort,” Haiven continued.

The international community must stand up to this horrifying instance of state terrorism by taking immediate action to hold Israel accountable for this crime. We must put an end to Israeli impunity,” he concluded.

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Report: At least 10 activists killed as Israel Navy opens fire on Gaza aid flotilla PDF Print E-mail
May 31, 2010 at 12:40 PM

Haaretz

31.05.10

Over 60 pro-Palestinian campaigners wounded after aid convoy sailing for Gaza Strip ignored Israel's order to turn back, Turkish news reports. IDF confirms two commandos also wounded.

By Anshel Pfeffer, Avi Issacharoff, The Associated Press and Reuters

Israel Navy troops opened fire on pro-Palestinian activists aboard a six-ship aid flotilla sailing for the Gaza Strip, killing at least 10 and wounding several others after the convoy ignored orders to turn back, Turkey's NTV reported early Monday.

NTV said between 10 and 15 people were killed, with over 60 wounded.

The IDF also confirmed that two navy commandos had been wounded in fight, which apparently broke out after activists tried to sieze their weapons.

According to the army, commandos who stormed the Turkish ferry Marmara, the largest vessel in the convoy, encountered violent resistance by activists armed with sticks and knives.

Earlier Monday, Al Jazeera reported that the Gaza aid flotilla had changed course to avoid a confrontation with Israeli warships.

The Israeli naval vessels reportedly made contact earlier with the six-ship flotilla, which is carrying 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid and supplies to Gaza.

The Israeli navy was operating under the assumption that the activists manning the boats would not heed their calls to turn around, and Israeli troops were prepared to board the ships and steer them away from the Gaza shores and toward the Israeli port city of Ashdod.

Huwaida Arraf, one of the flotilla organizers, said the six-ship flotilla began the journey from international waters off the coast of Cyprus Sunday afternoon after two days of delays. According to organizers, the flotilla was expected to reach Gaza, about 250 miles (400 kilometers) away, on Monday afternoon, and two more ships would follow in a second wave.

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Israel planned for Lebanon war months in advance, PM says
  • Olmert's leaked testimony contradicts earlier remarks 
  • Criticism from inquiry may force resignation

Conal Urquhart in Tel Aviv
Friday March 9, 2007
The Guardian

Preparations for Israel's war in Lebanon last summer were drawn up at least four months before two Israeli soldiers were kidnapped by Hizbullah in July, Ehud Olmert, the prime minister, has admitted.

His submission to a commission of inquiry, leaked yesterday, contradicted the impression at the time that Israel was provoked into a battle for which it was ill-prepared. Mr Olmert told the Winograd commission, a panel of judges charged with investigating Israel's perceived defeat in the 34-day war, that he first discussed the possibility of war in January and asked to see military plans in March.

According to the Ha'aretz daily, which obtained details of Mr Olmert's testimony, the prime minister chose a plan featuring air attacks on Lebanon and a limited ground operation that would be implemented following a Hizbullah abduction. Hizbullah had made several attempts to capture Israeli soldiers on the border since Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon in 2000.

Israeli commentators believed that Mr Olmert and Amir Peretz, the defence minister, took the opportunity of the kidnapping to show they could manage a war in spite of their limited military experience. But the outcome of the war seemed to highlight their lack of experience and also deficiencies in Israel's military planning.

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